Last weekend I had the extreme pleasure of attending the 150th Anniversary recreation of the Battle of Olustee. Though not well known, the engagement which took place on February 20, 1864, was the largest land battle to occur in the state of Florida, involving roughly 4500 troops on either side. A Confederate victory, the battle ended Union attempts to occupy the capital at Tallahassee. The famed 54th Massachusetts Infantry, recently transferred to Florida after their fight at Fort Wagner, was involved in the action.
I was honored to be allowed to join my old comrades from the 7th Florida Infantry, Company F. It was great to see old friends, many of whom I had not seen since I moved out of Florida many, many years ago. Unfortunately, I was not able to participate in the battle itself due to a bad foot, but I did march with the battalion to morning colors on Saturday morning. Thanks to Lt. Willie Evans for allowing me to rejoin the company for the weekend. It was a joyful reunion with Col. Don Bowman, Mike, Jimmy, Wayne, Frank, Gary and all the others who made me feel welcome.
It was a thrill to be back in uniform, and though my reenacting days are behind me, I will cherish the memories of the men with whom I served.