Battle lines drawn over Union monument at Olustee

Reported by: Ryan Smith
Published: 11/06

OLUSTEE, Fla. — A new battle is brewing between Yankees and Rebels over our local history and it’s happening right in our own backyard.

Union and Confederate troops clashed at the Battle of Olustee on the now hallowed ground outside of Lake City.

It marked the only major civil war battle fought on Florida soil.

As passionate re-enactors prepare to play out the deadly exchange for its 150th anniversary in February, there’s a new fight between the two factions.

"If you have an Iraq war monument, you don’t want to put a Muslim/jihadist monument right in front of it," said Jim Shillinglaw with the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

That’s how some are comparing a proposal to place a monument memorializing Union soldiers at the state park.

Florida’s Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War charge there are three Confederate monuments and no Union memorial at Olustee.

Their mission states, "As Sons of Union Veterans we seek to balance the cultural representation by placing a monument there.”

They recently won state approval to build their own structure in what confederate legacies call rebel territory.

Specifically in front of a massive Confederate monument built in 1912.

"It’s really a thumb in the face of the other monument and the people who put it there," said Shillinglaw.

So the Sons of Confederate Veterans are on the attack — circulating a statewide petition — soon to invade the Florida Parks and Recreation Department in Tallahassee.

"It’d be a clash because people are passionate about their ancestors and their history.

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