2018 Olustee Battle Reenactment
Experience the 42nd Annual Olustee Battle Reenactment (aka Battle of Ocean Pond Reenactment) on February 16-18, 2018 at the Olustee Battlefield State Park near Sanderson, Florida. This is the famous site of Florida’s Largest Civil War Battle. The Battle of Olustee is the largest, annual Civil War event in the southeastern United States. Over 2,500 Civil War reenactors (men, women and children) come to the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park every year from all over the United States. These reenactors portray military personnel (infantry, artillery, cavalry, medical), members of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, and Civil War era civilians and sutlers. Numerous Civil War authors and historical exhibitors can be seen throughout the weekend. You can listen to almost continuous presentations under the large (9,000 square feet) tent. Plenty of seating is available.
Olustee Battle Reenactment ((aka Battle of Ocean Pond Reenactment)
Shuttle rides are available to the Battle Site at Olustee from the Lake City Airport and Baker County Prison Center. Both sites are located on US 90 East & West of the Olustee Battle Site. Minimum bus charge is $2.00 for Adults and $1.00 for Students; Preschool children are free.
ATM not available – credit/debit cards not accepted
Adults – $10
School-age children – $5
Pre-school-age children – FREE
Olustee Battle Reenactment Schedule
Parking: No public parking is available at the state park during the re-enactment weekend. Parking with shuttle service is available at the Lake City Airport on the east side of Lake City to the west of Olustee, or at the Baker County Correctional Facility (CCF) one mile east of Olustee. Both sites are on Route 90. Shuttle services is $2 for adults and $1 for children under 12. Once visitors arrive at the battlefield park, handicapped visitors can be shuttled to the authentic campsite and sutler village and the re-enactment battle site.
Stay another day and come back next year!
Reenactors, sulters and other exhibitors wishing to spend the night after the Olustee Battle Reenactment may stay until Monday.
(386) 758-1312 – (386) 758-0400 – 877-635-3655
Spectator Tips for Olustee Battle Reenactment
Camps: While a number of the Olustee Battle Reenactment participants camp in the modern area, most camp in Civil War style—from tents in all sizes and styles to campaign (no tents and just what they can carry on their backs). The camps are everywhere. Many are strictly military, others are civilian and still others are combined. Visitors/spectators are encouraged to visit the authentic camps, wander among the campfires, listen to the soldiers and civilians and ask questions. While you should not wander through the modern reenactor camps, you are welcome to visit the authentic Federal (Union) infantry and civilian camps, the combined Federal and Confederate cavalry and artillery camps, and the Confederate infantry and civilian camps.
Sutlers are Civil War-era merchants. During the Civil War every regiment or brigade had a sutler licensed to follow along and sell “extras” to the men. These extras included food items, such as cans of sweetened condensed milk (a favorite with the men); to clothing, such as civilian-style shirts; to some items hidden away from the eyes of the Provost (military police). Olustee usually has 40-50 sutlers in attendance and these sutlers must pass inspection for the authenticity of their goods and appearance.
Daily Olustee Battle Reenactment Schedule
Friday: Education Day
Friday is the day when thousands of students invade the site with their teachers and parents to learn more about the Civil War. There are medical, cavalry, artillery and infantry demonstrations. Some students are here just to roam, talk to the reenactors and absorb history. Others have definite history assignments they are working on, everything from books to audio and photographic projects. If you wish your child to attend, ask your school to contact the Florida Park Service at (386) 397-2733, visit https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Olustee-Battlefield, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Many home-schoolers bring their children to Olustee to absorb this period of our history “in the flesh.”
Saturday: Olustee Battle Reenactment
Unless you must witness the scripted Olustee Battle Reenactment, Saturday is the best day for spectators. Not only do you have most of the day to visit the authentic camps and sutler area, but the full-scale Saturday battle is not until 3:30 pm (or 2 hours later than on Sunday). In addition, the crowds will be smaller than on Sunday. And after the battle, why rush to wait in the lines at the bus pickup points when you can take your time ambling through the camps watching the reenactors rest up and clean their weapons after fighting and dying.
After dinner, many of the reenactors will be putting on their dress uniforms and gowns for the Reenactor’s Ball later that evening. The Ball is not open to the spectators and you will have left the event site long before it begins. Other reenactors will spend the evening campfire visiting, telling tales of other events, discussing the Civil War and just visiting with friends. The “sense of community” is strong among reenactors and many of us don’t see each other except for these events, as our homes are distant from one another. But friendships are strong and campfire visits are the best time to meet with comrades: when officers and enlisted men, from ditch diggers to bank presidents and even, of all things, entomologists, share the warmth of the fire and a drink from a canteen (or other liquid containers).
Sunday: Olustee Battle Reenactment
Plan to arrive early on Sunday, as the main event – the scripted Olustee Battle Reenactment, is at 1:30 pm. If you want to see any of the camps or spend time at the sutler area you need to arrive early as you should really head toward the battle area about 12:30 at the latest. Arrive after this time and the best seats—there are only eight sets of bleachers—will be taken. Why not pack a picnic lunch and use the time waiting to enjoy it with your family. An authentic band will play Civil War music to entertain you while you wait. [Hint: Since this is a Federal defeat, most of the action takes place on the Union side (east side) of the field. Find a seat on the ground there.]
Even before the troops begin to assemble for Sunday’s Olustee Battle Reenactment, many of them will take down their tents and pack their belongings. We all have a long drive home—especially those from the northern states—and after the battle we will be scattering to the four winds. If you do not arrive early on Sunday then you should visit the camps before the battle. After the battle, when the troops are breaking camp, is the best time to visit the sutlers who usually stay until Monday. And when you have finished there, the bus lines will be much shorter for the ride back to your car.
Mark your calendar today you don’t miss the next Olustee Battle Reenactment at the Olustee Battlefield State Park near Sanderson, Florida.
Tags: Olustee Battle Reenactment, Battle of Olustee Reenactment,Battle of Ocean Pond Reenactment, Olustee Battle Civil War Reenactment, Civil War Reenactment