“There are some, apparently, who consider this to be a lengthy truce and believe that the war is still going on.”
- Charles Custer
On February 20, 1864, Union forces approached 5,000 Confederate soldiers waiting near Olustee Station, Florida. The bloodiest Civil War battle on Florida soil, the Battle of Olustee resulted in a Confederate victory and the death, wounding or disappearance of 2,000 Union and 1,000 Confederate soldiers.
Today, the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park features three monuments to Confederate soldiers but no commemoration of the Union lives lost. As a result of visitors to the site asking time after time about a monument to Union soldiers, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War last year requested permission from the state parks department to place an obelisk in honor of Union soldiers on the battlefield. What ensured was "an online call to arms...issued by the national Confederate group’s leader to oppose the “Darth Vader-esque obscene obsidian obelisk” in what the group’s members see as the Second Battle of Olustee."
In The New York Times' "Blue and Gray Still in Conflict at a Battle Site," Lizette Alvarez tells the story of this "Second Battle of Olustee" as descendants of both Union and Confederate soldiers, as well as other Florida residents, debate whether the Union should be memorialized on the site of a Confederate victory. In the words of John W. Adams, a member and former division commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans: “Old grudges die hard...And feelings run deep.”
What are your reactions to this article and story? Are we still a nation divided over a war fought 150 years ago?