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FLORIDA

Civil War sites in Olustee, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Tallahassee and Key West

Civil War battle scene

Florida Civil War Heritage Trail

More than 200 Civil War-related battlefields, sites and museums are listed in an 80-page guidebook created by the Florida Division of Historical Resources. Download a free copy from flheritage.com/preservation/trails/civilwar.

Olustee

Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
5815 Battlefield Trail Road, Olustee FL 32072
(Located on US 90 a short distance south of I-10,
15 miles east of Lake City and 2 miles east of Olustee)
386-758-0400
www.floridastateparks.org/olusteebattlefield
 Road map 
   Park commemorates Florida’s largest Civil War battle fought Feb. 20, 1864. Union troops under Gen. Quincy Gillmore, who was hoping to expand Federal control in the state, bumped up against 5,000 Confederates under Gen. Joseph Finegan.  Gillmore’s attacks failed and the Union troops retired to Jacksonville where they stayed the rest of the war. The battle is famous in part for the use of large numbers of United States Colored Troops, including the famous 54th Massachusetts of “Glory” fame. A mile-long walking trail highlights the action. Park open daily 8 am–dusk. Interpretive center open daily 9 am–5 pm. Free.


Jacksonville

Camp Milton Historic Preserve
1175 Halsema Road North
Jacksonville FL 32221
preserveflorida.org/Parks/camp-milton-historic-preserve.html, 904-630-3516
 Road map 
This park was the site of the largest Confederate camp in Florida (8,000 troops) and was the site of several skirmishes, including one fought just prior to the February 1864 Battle of Olustee. Trails and boardwalks take visitors through the park and include views of some of the original 1864 breastworks that once protected the camp. A museum and educational center offer artifacts found at the site. Open daily 9 am–5 pm. Free.


Pensacola and Area

General visitor info: www.visitpensacola.com

Ft Pickens
Fort Pickens
Santa Rosa Beach, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore
850-934-2600, www.nps.gov/guis.

Note: The fort is open for self-guided tours 8:30 am–dusk. However, the park road is subject to flooding. Before visiting, call the Road Conditions Hotline, 850-934-2656; check the park website; and/or find other ways to get there.

The largest of several forts built to defend Pensacola Harbor, Pickens gained the national spotlight when area Union troops abandoned other forts in the area and moved to Pickens in January 1861. Things heated up when Confederate authorities maintained that Fort Pickens and Fort Sumter (Charleston Harbor) among other Federal installations, were the property of the new Southern government. Unlike Sumter, Pickens remained in Union hands throughout the war.

Bagdad Village
Signs located at Forsyth and Thompson streets, Bagdad FL 32583

Historical marker here describes a "Skirmish on the Blackwater." Bagdad was the target of frequent Union raids from Pensacola aiming in part to gather building supplies for use in the navy yard there and to threaten the railroad at Pollard, Ala. Confederates met one such expedition here in Oct. 18, 1864, which forced a smaller Union force to withdraw. Union forces returned the next week, routing the Confederates and occupying the town. Civil War history of the area and map of the skirmish at www.bagdadvillage.org.


Tallahassee Area

Natural Bridge Battlefield State Historic Site
7502 Natural Bridge Road, Tallahassee FL 32305
15 miles southeast of Tallahassee
850-922-6007, floridastateparks.org/naturalbridge
 Road map 
A pick-up group of Confederate volunteers, boys and invalids fought off a series of Union attacks March 6, 1865, saving the Florida capital city from occupation. Tallahassee was the only Confederate state capital east of the Mississippi not occupied during the war. Park, with interpretive markers and monument is open 8 am–dusk. Annual reenactment first weekend in March. $3/vehicle.

San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park
148 Old Fort Road, St. Marks FL 32355
805-925-6216,
floridastateparks.org/sanmarcos

 Road map 
Confederates occupied the area in 1861, taking over the site of a nearly 200-year-old fort built by the Spanish. Southern soldiers constructed earthworks and placed artillery on the ruins of the old fort, renaming it Fort Ward. Soldiers from here participated in the Confederate victory at the Battle of Natural Bridge in March 1865. Fort Ward never was captured by force of arms and was turned over to Federal officials at the end of the war. Remains of the Confederate occupation, including portions of the earthworks, remain and are part of the interpretation of the site's long history. Open 9 am-5 pm Thursday-Monday. Park is free. $2/museum fee.

Museum of Florida History
500 S Bronough St, Tallahassee FL 32399-0250
850-245-6400, dhr.dos.state.fl.us/museum
 Road map 
Civil War section includes flags, soldier items and much information on the state during the war. Excellent Civil War section on the museum’s website. Monday-Friday: 9 am–4:30 pm; Saturday 10 am–4:30 pm; Sunday noon–4:30 pm. Free.

Old Capitol
Apalachee Pkwy and South Monroe Street, Tallahassee FL 32301
850-487-1902
 Road map 
Administered by the Museum of Florida History, this building has been in this location since 1845. Exhibits include Civil War material. See museum website for details. Open Monday-Friday 9 am–4:30 pm; Saturday 10 am–4:30 pm; Sunday noon–4:30 pm. Free.


Key West

General information: www.fla-keys.com

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
601 Howard England Way, Key West FL 33040
305-292-6713, www.floridastateparks.org/forttaylor
 Road map 
One of a series of forts built in the mid-1800s to defend the coast, Fort Taylor remained in Union hands during the war and served the US Navy’s Gulf Squadron. Civil War armament, exhibits featured as well as good beach access. Fort open 8 am–sundown daily. Guided tours daily. Fee charged. Good Civil War information at www.forttaylor.org.

Dry Tortugas National Park (Fort Jefferson)
70 miles west of Key West, accessible by boat from Key West
305-242-7700, www.nps.gov/drto
Ferry service: www.yankeefreedom.com
This isolated fortress is best known for the imprisonment of Dr. Samuel Mudd and other Lincoln assassination conspirators. Open daylight hours. $5/adult entrance fee to fort.


Good general information on the Civil War in Florida: