The Battle of Olustee, originally named the Battle of Ocean Pond happened 148 years ago. Both my husband and I are Civil War re-enactors with the 3rd Florida, Company A, a Confederate Unit. Captain Bill is with the attending medical corps and follows the troops onto the field to check for dead and dying. In reality, he checks for injuries or heatstroke, a common happening when soldiers wore woolen uniforms in the humid Florida heat.
Being a re-enactor has added richness to my writing, although I started because I love history. I’ve found friends that also love to be here.
The reasons people participate are as varied at the soldiers and their wives. Some honor their ancestors who fought bravely for a Cause they believed in. Some want to keep history alive, portraying it accurately. The men are soldiers, medical, or civilians like a funeral director, sepia toned photographer, muleskinner, blacksmith, carpenter, hat-maker, the list is as long as the occupations of men in that period.
Women portray laundresses, cooks and seamstresses. One makes lace on a hand loom, another cooks soap from lye, while mothers herd their children out of the way of drilling soldiers.
It’s a love that crosses generations.
The battle spread across miles as the Union tried to gain control of the railhead. The intention was to cut the supply lines from the south. Florida was providing beef and food to the starving Rebels. The Confederates used Cavalry to decimate the Union troops.
Almost three thousand men were killed or wounded during this battle. It makes no difference any more if they were Confederate or Union, they were all patriots, Americans to the last drop of blood.
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