Popular Pages

Share

   

Olustee
Ocean Pond
Civil War Florida


American Civil War
February 20, 1864

In February 1864, the commander of the Department of the South, Major General Quincy A. Gillmore, launched an expedition into Florida to secure Union enclaves, sever Rebel supply routes, and recruit black soldiers.

Brigadier General Truman Seymour moved deep into the state, occupying, destroying, and  liberating,  meeting little resistance on February 20, he approached Brigadier General 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.

Result(s): Confederate victory

Location: Baker County

Campaign: Florida Expedition (1864)

Date(s): February 20, 1864

Principal Commanders: Brigadier General Truman Seymour [US]; Brigadier General Joseph Finegan [CS]

Forces Engaged: Division [US]; District of East Florida [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 2,806 total (US 1,860; CS 946)


The Federal Campaign of 1864 in East Florida, by Mark E. Boyd in the Florida Historical Quarterly


The Battle of Olustee 1864: The Final Union Attempt to Seize Florida
When the Civil War began in 1861, Florida although the third state to secede from the Union was of little strategic importance to North or South. By the end of 1863, this position had changed dramatically. For the struggling Confederacy, Florida had become a crucial source of supplies, most especially for the troops in Savannah and Charleston



Kindle Available
Civil War Firearms

Standard Catalog of
Civil War Firearms

Over 700 photographs and a rarity scale for each gun, this comprehensive guide to the thousands of weapons used by Billy Yank and Johnny Reb will be indispensable for historians and collectors.
Florida and Part of Georgia and Alabama, c.1861
Florida and Part of Georgia and Alabama, c.1861
48 in. x 38 in$169.99
Buy at AllPosters.com
Framed

The Union campaign that climaxed in the Battle of Olustee began in February, 1864, when troops commanded by General 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 and 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 February 7, 1864. 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 an offensive. The defense of Florida was placed in the hands of Brigadier General Joseph Finegan and Brigadier General 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 February 20, 1864 the Union force of 5,500 men and 16 cannon marched westward from Macclenny. By this time, the Confederate forces almost equaled the Union opposing army in number. Finegan sent skirmishers to draw the Union forces to Olustee, and 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 with neither force constructing earthworks. The battle raged until dark, when the Union forces began a hasty retreat. In proportion to the number of troops involved, it was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

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.


Florida State Archives - Provost Guard House, Jacksonville, Florida. ca. 1864

Sid Meiers
Sid Meier's Civil War Collection
Take command of either Confederate or Union troops and command them to attack from the trees, rally around the general, or do any number of other realistic military actions. The AI reacts to your commands as if it was a real Civil War general, and offers infinite replayability. The random-scenario generator provides endless variations on the battles
Florida State Battle Map
State Battle Maps
American Civil War Exhibits
Civil War Timeline
Confederate Commanders
Union Generals
Civil War Music History
Women in the War
Ships and Naval Battles
Kids Zone Exhibits
Civil War Cooking
Civil War Summary
Enfield Rifle
1860 Enfield Civil War Musketoon
This piece is a full-size non-firing reproduction of the rifle used in the Civil War. The body is made of European hardwood

Confederate Military History of Florida
The political and military events in the Confederacy's least-populated state during the American Civil War. It begins with the secession of the Florida in January 1861 and continues through the actions at Santa Rosa Island, the Battle of Olustee, and the engagement at Natural Bridge.

Discovering the Civil War in Florida
A Reader and Guide

While Confederates fought to preserve their sovereignty and way of life, Union troops descended on Florida with a mission to cripple the Confederacy: to destroy seashore salt works, to prevent the transfer of supplies and raw materials into, and to seize slaves and cattle
road to olustee
Confederate Florida
The Road to Olustee

A campaign study and a quick history of Confederate Florida.
The political and social undercurrents of the time, and sheds light on the complex circumstances of the fateful Union campaign. Particularly of interest are the great chapters on the blockade and raid strategy of the Federal forces
Kindle Available
South Divided

A South Divided: Portraits of Dissent in the Confederacy
An account of Southern dissidents in the Civil War, at times labeled as traitors, Tories, deserters, or mossbacks during the war and loyalists, Lincoln loyalists, and Unionists by historians of the war
NYV Draft Riots
The New York City Draft Riots: Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War

For five days in July 1863, at the height of the Civil War, New York City was under siege. Angry rioters burned draft offices, closed factories, destroyed railroad tracks and telegraph lines, and hunted policemen and soldiers. Before long, the rioters also turned their murderous wrath against the black community
Battlefield Atlas
A Battlefield Atlas of the Civil War
Informative text enhanced 24 three-color maps and 30 black/white historical photographs.

The Official Virginia
Civil War Battlefield Guide

Virginia was host to nearly 1/3rd of all Civil War engagements. This guide covers them all like a mini-history of the war. This guide organizes battles chronologically. Each campaign has a detailed overview, followed by concise descriptions of the individual engagements
Kindle Available
Maps of Bull Run
The Maps of First Bull Run: An Atlas of the First Bull Run (Manassas) Campaign, including the Battle of Ball's Bluff, June-October 1861

    
    

Sources:
U.S. National Park Service
U.S. Library of Congress
Florida State Archives
University of Florida