Olustee's Battlefield State Park

    By Florida Division of Historic Resources Staff

    The Battle of Ocean Pond took place at this site in 1864.

    Florida has a rich and diverse history.  African American landmarks and legacies exist in various locations throughout the state, including Olustee County. 

    Olustee Battlefield State Park

    Two miles east of Olustee on U.S. Highway 90
    This site commemorates the February 20, 1864, Battle of Ocean Pond. A Union force of approximately 5,200 troops under the command of General Truman A. Seymour marched westward to meet a Confederate force led by General Alfred H. Colquitt. The battle lasted nearly five hours before Union forces retreated. Casualties amounted to an estimated 1,860 Union and 946 Confederate soldiers.

    The Olustee Battle Festival and Re-enactment commemorates the largest Civil War battle fought in Florida, resulting in more than 2,800 casualties and a Confederate victory. Three African American regiments, the 8th and 35th United States Colored Troops and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, fought as part of the Union Army. It is estimated that one-third of the total Union casualties for the battle were from the black regiments.

    Each year dozens of African American Civil War reenactors pay tribute to the black regiments by participating in the reenactment of the Battle of Olustee. Since 1975, reenactors gather at the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park, the actual site of the February 20, 1864, Civil War battle. The activities of both soldiers and civilians during the war are portrayed, including military camps and drills, medical demonstrations, and period music concerts. Held during President’s Day weekend just east of Lake City (located near the intersection of I-75 and I-10 in North Florida), the event features a Civil War skirmish on Saturday afternoon and the re-enactment of the Battle of Olustee on Sunday.

    For more information visit the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park’s website at www.floridastate parks.org/Olusteebattlefield or call  386-758-0400.

    Adapted from Florida Black Heritage Trail, published by the Florida Department of State, in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA, copyright 2007. For more information on African American sites, please visit flheritage.com. The complete book can also be found at: http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/milesmedia/floridablackheritage/