About Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park is a Historic State Park in the Osceola National Forest. It commemorates the site of Florida’s largest Civil War battle via its exhibits, walking trails, and annual battle re-enactment.
History of Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
On 20 February 1864 at Olustee Battlefield, Union and Confederate troops clashed for five hours in what became Florida’s largest battle during the American Civil War.
It was the Confederates led by Brigadier General Joseph Finegan who emerged victorious, managing to break the line of the Union army led by Brigadier General Truman Seymour. The Battle of Olustee marked the Union army’s final incursion into the area until the war’s end a mere fourteen months later.
In 1897, money was raised to place a commemorative post at the battle site, and by 1912, further money had been raised to enlarge the monument. Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park now stands in commemoration of and with the aim of educating the public about the historic battle and its 2,807 casualties.
Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park Today
Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park has a mile-long nature trail with markings and signposts about the battle, as well as an Interpretive Centre with exhibits and artefacts which relate to the event. It is recommended that visitors to Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park can start their day at the park’s visitor centre, which has information about the site and activities.
Entrance is free, though a special event fee is charged during the annual Battle of Olustee Re-enactment in February. This re-enactment period spans over 5 days and includes tours of historically accurate camps, demonstrations, and interactions with living historians.
Getting to Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
From the centre of Jacksonville, the battlefield is reachable in around 45 minutes by car via the l-10 W road. It’s a 4 hour cycle ride along the scenic Jacksonville-Baldwin Trail and US-90 W road. There are a number of scenic walks and trails around the park which are integral to a deeper geographical understanding of the battle.