Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Battle of Olustee, Florida - Part Nine


This is another view of the Union mass grave at Olustee, Florida.
As the Confederates collected the bodies from the battlefield, they buried them in a large trench here. The exact number of men buried in the grave is not clear, but more than 200 Federals lost their lives in the battle and aftermath.
After the war, the grave was marked with a wooden cross and surrounded by a picket fence. Over the years both the fence and cross rotted away, but a local cemetery grew up around the grave and helped preserve the memory of its location.
Although Union dead from numerous battlefields across the South were moved to national cemeteries during the decades after the war, the bodies at Olustee apparently were left in their mass resting place.
The modern monument was placed a few years ago to mark the grave and is a stone recreation of the original wooden cross. It is one of only four monuments on the battlefield.
The Confederate dead from the battle were taken to Lake City and other communities around the area.
Our series on the Battle of Olustee will continue. Until the next post you can read more by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com/olustee.

7 comments:

Michael Hardy said...

Dale:

Thanks for the great posting.

Where is this monument? Growing up in Florida and reenacting, I’ve been to Olustee many times. However, I can not seem to place this marker. It has been about ten years since my visit.

Regards,
Michael
www.michaelchardy.com

Dale said...

Michael,

Thanks for the note!

When you go to Olustee and turn in off U.S. 90, look to the left immediately as you cros the railroad tracks. There is a firetower there and a little parking lot for a section of the Florida trail.

Pull off to the left there and you will see the little cemetery straight ahead of you. To enter, walk around the fence to the north side and you will find a gate. The monument is in the cemetery about half way down.

Dale

Dale said...

P.S.

Any chance you are ever in the area of the Shelton Laurel massacre there in North Carolina? I would love to get some photos of the site.

Dale

David Miller said...

We rarely hear about battles that took place this far south, and in Florida. Lots of stuff in Viginia and that, but never the deep south. I have just moved to Georgia and I want to find out as much Civil War history as I can. Thanks for a great post.

Dale said...

David,

Thanks for the kind words! There are some fascinating places in the Deep South. If you want to see some great photos of sites around Georgia, I also recommend www.civilwaralbum.com. It has one of the best collections of current photos of sites across the Deep South that you will find.

Best,
Dale

dicky ferry said...

Dear Dale, I have long been a student of Olustee. I have spent quite a bit of time researching the fate of the union & confederate dead. I have always thought the cemetary was the logical choice. At this time I haven't been able to verify that it is the site? Dicky Ferry

Dale said...

I based the information here on what is provided at the park. I noticed a photograph of the original marker in the museum there. I agree, it seems logical, but I'm not sure if any archaeological evidence has ever been found to verify the site or if it is based on tradition.

Dale