The Battle of Olustee took place on February 20th in 1864, in a pine forest near the town of Olustee, FL. More than 10,000 troops were involved in the conflict, including three “colored” regiments on the Union side.
The 54th Massachusetts, made famous in the 1989 film “Glory,” starring Denzel Washington and Matthew Broderick, was one such regiment. In fact, some scenes from “Glory” were filmed during a reenactment right here in the park!
The Olustee conflict ended after five hours of intense fighting, with 2,807 casualties and the Union troops retreating to Jacksonville. This decisive defeat of the Union at Olustee ended their invasion of Confederate Florida for the remainder of the war.
Olustee Battlefield became Florida’s first state park 48 years later, on October 23, 1912.
Visiting Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
Olustee Battlefield Park is located at 5815 Battlefield Trail Road, Olustee FL 32087, just 40 minutes from our North Florida inn, Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast.
The park includes an interpretive center, trails, monuments, wildlife, and more. The Confederate memorial, a towering stone obelisk protected by cannons, will draw your attention first. A smaller Union memorial is located near the front of the park.
Hike the mile-long interpretive trail to learn the story of the battle from both sides of the conflict in surprising and sometimes personal detail. The park interpretive center contains a fascinating collection of exhibits, artifacts, and a short video about the annual reenactment.
The annual Civil War Reenactment of the Battle of Olustee, typically held in February, is a huge event. More than 2,000 volunteers present a living history event detailing the battle. Attractions include a live reenactment of the battle, authentic camps, color ceremonies, memorial services, concerts, and more.
More than the Civil War
Olustee Battlefield Park is primarily a memorial to the soldiers who fought and died here – but that’s not all it is. Visitors may also enjoy hiking, biking, picnicking, and bird watching.
The park adjoins Osceola National Forest, home to abundant wildlife and foliage. Florida Black bear, bobcats, pileated woodpeckers, gopher tortoise, deer, and more have all been seen in the park.
Park flora includes one of the state’s showiest orchids: the white fringed orchid. You can also find hooded pitcher plants in the park. These fascinating plants are carnivorous, attracting, trapping, and eating insects.
The Nice Wander Trail will take you to different areas exploring the nature and history of the park. A section of the Florida National Scenic Trail also runs through the park.
Olustee Battlefield Park is open daily, from 9am to 5pm. Learn more at www.floridastateparks.org.
Why not make a day of it? Pack a picnic lunch and spend some time exploring the park and adjacent Osceola National Forest. Then head back to your comfy guest room at Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast and enjoy a relaxing beverage lakeside. Perfect!