Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park commemorates the site of Florida's largest Civil War battle. In 1909, the Florida legislature acquired three acres to build a memorial to commemorate the event. In 1912, when many living Civil War veterans still attended reunions, the battlefield became the state's first historic site. Today, the battle is reenacted every year during the second weekend in February.
The Battle of Olustee took place on February 20, 1864, between Union troops advancing west from Jacksonville and Confederate forces from Florida and Georgia. After several hours of battle, Confederate troops forced a Union retreat to Jacksonville. One of the regiments representing the Union that day was the African-American 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. This unit was one of the first black units formed during the Civil War and was originally commanded by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. Although the film does not cover the Battle of Olustee, scenes from the movie, Glory, which tells the story of this regiment, were filmed at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park.
On October 23, 1912, veterans of the Battle of Olustee gathered with other dignitaries including then Florida Governor Albert W. Gilchrist and U.S. Senator Duncan U. Fletcher to dedicate the monument remembering the battle and those who gave their lives here.
Although Olustee Battlefield officially became a state park in 1949, it holds the distinction of becoming the state's first State Historic Monument 40 years earlier in 1909. For more than 100 years, Olustee has welcomed visitors to walk its grounds and remember Florida's largest battle in one of our nation's bloodiest conflicts.
Every February, Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park plays host to the largest Civil War reenactment in Florida. Hundreds of reenactors, representing both sides of the conflict, come together to replay the events of February 20, 1864, at the Battle of Olustee.
In addition to the annual reenactment of the Battle of Olustee, the park also hosts an annual Exposition, in late summer, featuring music, living history and the foods and dress of the Civil War era. Blacksmiths demonstrate their skills, sutlers market their wares and men, women and children portray daily life of nearly 150 years ago.