February 23, 2008

Monsoon Season

It's rained almost non-stop the past two days--good writing weather.

February 21, 2008

Battle of Olustee - 2008 - Redux

The weather was perfect for the event--not a cloud in the sky and about 75 degrees F. I'm sure it felt like 100 in those wool Union coats. Several scooters motored around to refill canteens.

The pictures are pretty self-explanatory. The crowd got restless it took so long for the Rebels to take to the field. There were a good deal more Union than Confederate actors, matching with historical data on the Battle of Olustee.

February 20, 2008

Interviews, Interviews

Conducted two interviews last week; I've got one planned for next week. I also acquired a set of interviews from 2003 that is gonna be a gold mine. Hopefully today I can get time to start pulling and pasting quotes from it.

Yesterday, I finished a first run-through of the second U.S. Senate term news clips and began studying the 1958 legislative race clips. Today, I think I'll return to 1958 for a bit and then switch to the new interview quotes.

February 19, 2008

The Last Stand

This is my favorite picture from the Olustee skirmish of 2008. I messed up a corner of the shot and included way too much grass at the bottom--so I cropped it. If the subjects weren't moving so much it would have been easier to isolate one Union squad. But I think it came out pretty well.

If I have my facts right, the actual battle would not have been much fun to film. It took place mostly in what is now the Osceola National Forest. I'm sure the Rebels' knowledge of the woods came in handy.

February 17, 2008

Battle of Olustee - 2008

Saturday, the Olustee Battlefield Festival rocked the north Florida pine forest with cannon and musket fire. The annual festival commemorates the Battle of Olustee in the American Civil War, a searing Union defeat and the largest confrontation in Florida. The official, choreographed battle was today, but Saturday provided more than enough Union-Confederate warfare to take a step back into history. The reenactors just went out with their canteens and guns and had a good time. Wow, the Union lined moved back at a quick pace.

I looked around the camp for the famous Massachusetts 54th Union regiment and learned an anecdote, the "train story." The Massachusetts 54th played the vital role of rear guard for the Union retreat from Olustee. When the train carrying wounded soldiers to the medical camp farther up North broke down, the 54th--despite heavy losses at Fort Wagner and then Olustee--gathered and pulled the train 4 or 5 miles into the station. Soon after Olustee the regiment was mustered out of existence if I recall correctly.

As well as being the foundation of modern Southern politics, the Civil War was a perennial interest for Lawton Chiles.

A photo tour of the event follows:

The cars lined up for quite some distance outside the park entrance.

This Union fragment receives its orders.

The Union posts flyers for new recruits.

The Union takes the field first.

After much anticipation, the Rebels finally approach.

The Dixie drummer boys.

Cannon blast sends a clump of palmetto soaring into the air.

The Confederate front line takes few losses.

A line of Union men take aim.

After about an hour of volley and thunder, the Union dead toll mounts.