The Battle of Olustee

The largest Civil War battle reenactment in the southeast U.S. springs to life in Olustee Florida near Lake City each year. This year was no exception as the battle that saved Tallahassee took center stage.

When the gunfire stops and smoke clears on the Battle of Olustee each year, the Florida Confederate Army is as victorious as they were during the Civil War.

"The union was going to march and take Tallahassee, and Tallahassee was the only southern capital, state capital that wasn't captured during [the] Civil War, and the Battle of Olustee is probably what stopped them," said James Anderson, a Civil War reenactor.

What hasn't stopped is the reenactment of the Battle of Olustee, bringing in about 1,500 reenactors to the battlefield each year.

"It's a great opportunity for a family to share a love of history together, the love of camping together and meet a lot of new friends," said Bill Danforth.

For some reenactors, the Battle of Olustee has other family significance.

"My great, great grandfather actually fought here in the battle. He was in the First Florida. He actually fought out here and he was wounded. He got shot during the Battle of Olustee," said Anderson.

And to truly portray the Battle of Olustee and those who fought in it, real weapons are used during the reenactment.

Civil war reenactors try to keep as many elements as authentic as possible, from tents in their camp grounds to the uniforms they wear on the battlefield

More than just a reenactment, the Battle of Olustee is breathing life into north Florida history. The Civil War reenactors are trained and organized into local units that mirror the actual local military units during the Civil War.