BAKER COUNTY CONFEDERATE WAR
This memorial to the major engagement of the Civil War in Florida, Olustee Battlefield, covers 270 acres on U.S. 90 two miles east of Olustee.
The campaign that culminated in the Battle of Olustee (Ocean Pond) began when Gen. Q.A. Gillmore sent a Federal expedition from Hilton Head, S.C., to occupy Jacksonville for a fourth time. The general objectives were to break up communications between East and West Florida, thus depriving the Confederacy of large quantities of food supplies drawn from Central Florida; to procure for Northern use Florida cotton, turpentine and timber; to obtain recruits for Negro regiments; and to induce Unionists in East Florida to organize a loyal state government.
The expedition landed on Feb. 7, 1864, under the command of Gen. Truman A. Seymour. The next day Union raiders fanned out from Jacksonville, meeting little opposition. By Feb.11, their cavalry had penetrated to within three miles of Lake City, but after a sharp skirmish with hastily entrenched Confederates, they withdrew to Sanderson.
Early on the morning of Feb. 20, the Union force of 5,500 and 16 cannons proceeded west from Macclenny. The Confederate cavalry made contact with the advance Union elements about 12:30 p.m. The Confederate line was formed two and one-half miles east of Olustee with cavalry on each flank and infantry in the center.
The battle took place in a virgin pine forest free of underbrush. Neither side had the benefit of earthworks but fought in the open forest. The battle raged for five hours until the Union forces began a hasty retreat in the late afternoon. The Confederate cavalry pursued them until darkness, turning back with 150 prisoners. Casualties during the battle were 1,861 Union to 946 Confederate.
For the remainder of the war, Union forces occupied Fernandina, Jacksonville, St. Augustine and various points along the St. Johns River from which they carried out frequent operations against the Confederate forces defending east Florida.
The 1899 Florida Legislature created a commission to select a site and raise the funds for a suitable monument to commemorate the battle. The site was acquired by the State in 1909.
The name Olustee came from a Seminole Creek word, "Okasti." The Battle of Olustee was fought on February 20, 1864. The Confederate Army defeated the Union Army. Both sides suffered severe losses. Olustee is one of the area's oldest continually settled communities. It was a fort during the Territorial Period. It was one of Florida's earliest Methodist missions. Olustee became a sawmill town because the water in Ocean Pond was needed for steam-powered saws and there was an abundant supply of cypress trees in the area.

Another account from Baker County Centennial 1961

In February 1864, the commander of the Department of the South, Maj. Gen. Quincy A. Gillmore, launched an expedition into Florida to secure Union enclaves, sever Rebel supply routes, and recruit black soldiers. Brig. Gen. Truman Seymour moved deep into the state, occupying, destroying, and "liberating." Meeting little resistance, on February 20, he approached Brig. Gen. Joseph Finegan's 5,000 Confederates entrenched near Olustee. One infantry brigade pushed out to meet Seymour's advance units. The Union forces attacked but were repulsed. The battle raged, and as Finegan committed the last of his reserves, the Union line broke and began to retreat. Finegan did not exploit the retreat, allowing most of the fleeing Union forces to reach Jacksonville.

Charles Waterman writing in SUNTIME September 19, 1953 had this to say about Florida's participation in the war: Major General Q. A. Gillmore thought that by invading northern Florida from Jacksonville could cut off the Confederate supply source, secure recruits for colored reginents and get a Union outlet for the state's products. The .Jacksonville-Lake City railroad was the logical target of such an invasion.
"Historians are of the opinion that the expedition could have had little bearing on the outcome of the war but some believe it might have turned into a march of destruction similar, on a smaller scale, to Sherman's expedition in Georgia. With considerable secrecy and numerous divisionary activities, Union troop transports reach the mouth of the St. Johns river on the morning of February 7, 1864 with a naval escort and proceeded up the river without opposition except for sniping by Confederate guards.
"On the following day, the troops were disembarked and Colonel Guy V. Henry's cavalry began a series of probings of Confederate defenses to the west. On one occasion, Henry's men reached the hastily constructed brestworks of Brigadier General Joseph Finegan, commander of the B. District of East Florida, at Lake City.

"By the time the battle of Olustee was joined, February 20, 1864, the two armies were of about even strength but each side thought it was meeting a superior force."
"Previous to the battle of Olustee was the skirmish at the south fork of the St. Marys river at Barber's plantation. It is reported in the booklet "The Federal Campaign of 1864 in East Florida" page 9. This booklet distributed by the Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials, Tallahassee, Florida and written by Mark F. Boyd is the most complete account of the battle that we have ever seen. Mr. Boyd says: "Encouraged by the lack of resistance, Henry was ordered to continue his advance to the west. He reached the ford of the south fork of the St. Marys river at Barber's plantation on the 10th, where he was opposed by a small force of about 150 infantry. Casualties were listed at about 25. Barber's was described as a house, barn, three shanties, two rail fences and a creek. The Confederate losses were placed at two killed and two wounded. Barber's on the St. Mary's became the headquarters for the fight at Olustee.

We should like here to insert some exerpts from letters written by a northern Lieutenant and a Confederate soldier. Charles M. Duren of Bangor, Maine, enlisted in 1861 in the 24th Massachusetts Reg., and saw much service. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant 1863 in the 54th Mass. Vol. Inf. (a Negro reg. with white officers.) The original letters, of which these are only a part are in the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida Hisiory, U. of Fla.
His letters to his mother and father describe the landing at Jacksonville and movement to Baldwin where they captured "immense quantities (?) of cotton--one full battery rifled, guns--and one or two stray guns." About the soldiers captured he says: "Men captured are a greater part of them Florida men belong in state, they are glad to take the oath--and go to their homes, but I would not trust them as good Union men out of my sight, that's as much confidence as I have in them."

On February 27, 1864 Lieutenant Duren wrote from Jacksonville, seven days after the battle of Olustee:

In the Trenches Again
Jacksonville, Florida
February 27 1864

Dear Father:

"We are back again to this place from whence we started two or three weeks ago. Have had a hard campaign. Pushed 30 or 40 miles into the interior had several skirmishes. One fight where the enemy made a strong stand in force, too large for us to contend with. We fought them two hours when we retired in good order. Ammunition getting scarce as well as provisions.
"I can not say how long we shall remain here--but we are here now--living on the ground no shelter and not much to eat--but we are tough--can stand it.

Your affectionate son,
C. M. Duren, Lieut--54th M. Vol."

Mrs. Wilma Morris makes this comment about the battle:

"Lieut. Duren's outfit was under command of Gen. Seymour, U. S. A., and he was probably among the troops encamped at the Barber plantation Feb. 10, '64, where Col. Barton, U. S. A., made the Barber House his HQ's.
"At 7 A. M., Saturday, the entire column (3,000 troops) left Barber's down main road (old stage plank road) to Lake City. 3 A. M., the next morning, found them back at Barber's. The Federal troops retreated in an orderly fashion towards Jacksonville. The Plank Road was strewn with their discarded paraphenalia, but this was not their only remembrance left to Baker County; the Barber Bridge and Florida Atlantic and Gulf Central trestle were burned, the Barber slaves (numbering over 100) were freed, the Barber women harassed and 2,000 barrels of turpentine destroyed by burning at Mattox Crossing."

Letters written during 1863-64 by James R. Terrell during the time he was serving in the Civil War.
On September 19, 1863 in Levy County he mentioned of hearing several cannons and plenty of gunboats out at the keys. He wrote that salt was worth $10.00 a barrel and that he had shipped some home to his family. There was lots of sickness among the men in camp, according to his letter of September 28 and stated that Bragg has had a very heavy battle and have captured four thousand prisoners with the loss of fifteen thousand of his men.

"Camp Finigan Dec. the 30th, 1803

Dear Wife: I received the Sugar Cane you sent me by Rogero. I was glad to hear you were all well and mending. Dear Wife I can say to you that I am not well my back is not well yet. I hope these few lines may find you all enjoying of good helth. I can say to you we have orders to bee ready to march at any time but dont let this grieve you but let you Prayers be Raised to God that we may bee delivered and Return home to our families again. When you hear that we are gone you must enquiry at Waldo for the things I may send to you. May God so Bless the world and People as to give Peace on earth once more and so Bless our families as to See each other once mor on earth, wife and Children have Faith in God and pray earnistly for our deliver and peace on earth, You may continue to send your letters to Camp Finigan till you hear we have left here. I will inclose twenty dollars in one Bill to you and you must write whether you get it or not and if you get it I will send you some more. So nothing more at present only I Remain your affectionate husband till death.
James R. Terrell

"To Nancy Terrell and family
We are a living very hard. I have not ate any bread in better than two weeks.

"Olustee Station on the Railroad of Tallahassee
February 16, 1864

Dear Wife I am in Good health hoping these lines may finde you the same and the children the yankeys is in our country and we are all safe yet their is a plenty of yankeys hear dont be uneasy about me for we must run them out of the Country. We have a quantity of Soldirs from every Part. We have aline of men about three miles long. I lost all of my Bedding but one Blanket. I Saved all my clothing you go on with your Business Just like you did before for we must get them out if possible for they leave negros to guard the Place they take but the whites dont trouble the women They dont burn anything if they take anything they leave it again. I have not received any letter from you in a long time as soon as I get there I can I will write again if you get any chance you must write to me. I have not chance to write. Nothing more only I Remain your affectionate husband till death.
James R. Terrell
To Nancy Terrell and family."

In closing out this part of the history of the county at Olustee we want to list the following statistics taken from the booklet--"The Federal Campaign of 1864 In East Florida"--P. 29.
The casualties reported by both sides after the action are summarized below: Federal: killed, officers 11, men, 192, total 203, wounded officers 42, men 1110, total 1,152; missing, officers 2; men 504; total 506. Total officers 55; men, 1806, total 1861.
Confederate: officers killed 7; men, 86; total 93; wounded officers 49; men 798; total 847; missing officers 0; men missing 6; total 6. Total officers 56, men 890, total 946.


Olustee Battlefield State Historic Site
Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Recreation and Parks

Olustee Battlefield State Historic Site commemorates the largest Civil War battle in Florida.
The Union campaign that climaxed in the Battle of Olustee (or Ocean Pond) began in February 1864, when troops commanded by Gen. Truman A. Seymour embarked at Hilton Head, S.C. Their immediate objective was a fourth occupation of Jacksonville.
The force could then disrupt transportation links an deprive the Confederacy of food supplies from central Florida; capture cotton, turpentine and timber; gain black recruits for the Union army; and induce Unionists in east Florida to organize a loyal state government.
Seymour's expeditionary force landed at Jacksonville on Feb. 7. Scouts and raiders moved west and met little opposition.
Meanwhile, during the month of January, movement of the Federal fleet had been noted by the Confederate forces, and they began to prepare for a offensive. The defense of Florida was placed in the hands of Brig. Gen. Joseph Finegan and Brig. Gen. Alfred Colquitt. Once it was apparent the Union forces were moving westward in Florida, Finegan began searching for the Confederate army's best defendable position.
Finegan found that position at Olustee. With a lake called Ocean Pond on his left, a nearly impassable swamp on his right and only a narrow passage between, he called for troops to help defend Florida. Colquitt answered that call, bringing veteran troops from Savannah, Georgia.
On Feb 20, the Union force of 5,500 men and 16 cannon marched westward from Macclenny. By this time, the Confederate forces almost equaled the Union oppossing army in number. Finegan sent skirmishers to draw the Union forces to Oluslee; they made contact that afternoon. The Confederate line was formed. The infantry in the center was supported by cavalry on each flank.
The battle was joined on the floor of a forest of virgin pines, free of underbrush. Men fought in the open forest; neither force constructed earthworks. The battle raged till dark, the Union forces began a hasty retreat.
Battle casualties amounted to 1,861 Union and 946 Confederate soldiers. Union forces remained in Jacksonville until the end of the war and occupied several coastal towns and various places along the St. Johns River. They carried out frequent operations against Confederate forces defending east Florida but did not venture out in significant force again.
The 1899 Florida legislature created a commission to select a site and to raise funds for a suitable monument to commemorate the battle. The site was acquired by the state of Florida in 1909. The monument was built in 1912 and dedicated in 1913, just 49 years after the battle.

Real Fun in the Real Florida

  • The interpretive center offers exhibits that interpret this Confederate victory. It is open Thursday through Monday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., free of charge. The battlefield is marked by a trail and signs along the battle lines.

  • The battle itself is re-enacted each February.

  • For more information, contact Olustee Battlefield State Historic Site, PO. Box 40, Olustee, FL 32072; (904) 758 -0400.

  • BAKER COUNTY CONFEDERATE PENSION INDEX

    Aorman, J. M. A08669
    Alford, William R. A0001
    Allen, William Foster A04532
    Arline, Daniel H. A02187

    Barber, Isaiah D12074
    Barton, William A11149
    Bass, George P. A07011
    Baxley, William R. A03010
    Beasley, Jefferson Froy A05826
    Beasley, Raymon J. A11705
    Berry, Henry D. A11073
    Berry, Marion G. A07774
    Brown, John A06204
    Burnsed, James M. A01495
    Burnsed, James W. A05432

    Carroll, Thomas C. A08520
    Chalker, James Drysdale A10809
    Cobb, William C. A08050
    Coleman, Marion J. A10810
    Combs, George A12266
    Combs, John R. A10023
    Conner, Willis W. A08426
    Connor, Willis W. A12130
    Cook, Wilson A1145
    Crews, Samuel A12557

    Davis, Henry B. A07049
    Davis, James S. A00022
    Davis, Richard A. A08726
    Davis, Richard B. A12289
    Dinkins, Belona R. A01163
    Dinkins, Joseph J. A03008
    Dixon, Elisha A03310
    Dowling, John D. A01361
    Drawdy, Cornelius A12559

    Franklin, A. A12624
    Franklin, Pinkney A08802

    Garret, William A12951
    Garrett, George W. A02072
    Garrett, William M. A02812
    Godwin, James A00023
    Greek, William J. A00020
    Groves, John Wesley A02653
    Guthrey, Aaron D02422

    Harris, Henry H. A12688
    Harvey, Jesse W. A01252
    Harvey, John J. A01812
    Herndon, John R. A00011
    Herndon, Urban C. A11842
    Hodges, James M. A11744
    Hodges, William L. A04020

    Jernigan, Edward A01609
    Johnson, Josiah A12218
    Jones, John A00015

      Lauramore, John C. A07882
      Lauramore, Richard M. A05832

      Mann, Archabald J. A00191
      Mathias, John A06456
      Mikell, Benjamin A07044
      Mikell, John S. A02403
      Mikell, Robert W. A01705
      Mitchell, David Wilson A10392
      Mobley, John Edward A03013
      Morgan, Benjamin L. A01300
      Motes, David D05242

      Newborn, Thomas Henry A01806
      Nipper, Hiram A03011
      Norman, Jeremiah J. A03657

      Pease, Nathan D. A03472
      Powell, Temple A00021
      Powers, James H. A00024

      Raulerson, William J. D21570
      Reed, Joseph L. D20693
      Revells, Edmond A12267
      Revels, Henry D11350
      Rhoden, H. D. A10361
      Rhoden, Thomas A11961
      Rowe, James E. A00554
      Rowe, Robert L. A07045
      Ruis, Alfred A08042

      Stephens, A. M. A03448
      Stephens, A. M. D04099
      Stewart, Joseph A12555
      Stone, William H. A04439
      Swain, George T. A03494
      Sweat, Henry Maxwell A12723
      Sweat, James D12325
      Sweat, James A. D12322

      Tanner, Benjamin H. A00016
      Taylor, Gordon S. A12291
      Thompson, William J. A07047
      Thornton, John A01380
      Thornton, William A01539
      Tyre, Jesse A01891

      Walker, Mitchell A03012
      Williams, Alex N. A12687
      Williams, Alexander N. A11146
      Williams, Amanda A10411
      Williams, Elias A01936
      Williams, Elias W6374
      Williams, John D. A01556
      Williams, William A11145
      Williamson, Stephen A05825


    "The Confederate States:

    To Jas. M. Burnsed, Nov 4, 1862, for assisting and delivering Freeman Sweat, a deserter from Captain Roberts Company 8th Fla Regt and delivering to J. L. Dozier, Enrolling Officer at Lake City $11.40.
    James M Burnsed, Sheriff of Baker County.

    I certify that the above account is just and correct, and that the deserter was delivered to me as stated by the said Jas M Burnsed Sheriff of Baker County, and that the deserter were (sic) turned over to Brig. Genl Finegan by me.
    J. L. Dozier
    Enrolling Officer
    13th Regt Fla Militia

    Approved Joseph Finegan
    Brigadier General

    Received Lake City May 26 1863 of Major H R Teasdale (?) Eleven 40/100 Dollars in full of the above account
    Signed duplicate
    J M Burnsed Sheriff"

    Freeman Sweat deserted July 23rd 1862 from Camp Leon, Florida. His son, Abner Jackson Sweat was born on August 19, 1862. Freeman died of pneumonia on December 25, 1862 at Florida Hospital, Richmond, VA, six weeks after having been returned to his regiment.

    Abner Jackson Sweat married James M Burnsed's youngest daughter, Fannie, on November 10th, 1885, six months after her father's death.

    Provided by: Christine Hadden 5/15/2004


    Remembering My American Heritage:
    My American Warriors
    By Linda Davis

    Hear the sounds of scuffing soldiers’ feet
    Tired, weary, marching from Lexington
    Marching home in victory not defeat
    It was done; a nation was born!

    Hear the sounds of scuffing soldiers’ feet
    “Remember the Alamo” was the cry
    Marching home in that sad defeat
    Yet, today the Texas Lone Star proudly flies

    Hear the sounds of scuffing soldiers’ feet
    Brother against brother, father against son
    Our nation’s darkness defeat,
    Four hellish years then a cry, “Let it be done!”

    Hear the sounds of scuffing soldiers’ feet
    Up that place called San Juan Hill
    Glory for men from west, south, east
    This war, ‘Twas Teddy’s greatest thrill.

    Hear the sounds of scuffing soldier’s feet
    In France, Germany, and all around
    A world war not just once but repeated
    Doughboys and G. I.’s alike stood their ground.

    Hear the sounds of scuffing soldier’s feet
    In Asian jungles, desert storms, other lands.
    For God, home and country: Peace is what he seeks
    All My Brave American Warriors… So grand!

    Always Marching Home
    Scuffing, scuffing,
    Scuffing
    Feet.

    Just wanted to share with you that I won first place in the NSDAR American Heritage Literature and Drama Contest in the category of poetry.
    Linda Davis 2010


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