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Re: [civilwarwest] Olustee Battlefield Tour

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  • Mike Peters
    Are you describing Olustee? Mike Peters Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry ... From: carlw4514 Sender:
    Message 1 of 11 , Jul 17, 2010
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      Are you describing Olustee?

      Mike Peters

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


      From: "carlw4514" <carlw4514@...>
      Sender: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Sat, 17 Jul 2010 19:16:23 -0000
      To: <civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com>
      ReplyTo: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [civilwarwest] Olustee Battlefield Tour

       



      I toured this battlefield during a recent vacation in Florida. There were some indications that there wasn't much to see, but a couple of us went anyway. I have to warn anyone who is thinking of going there that this is indeed not the place for the casual Civil War tourist. For such a person there just isn't that much to see. The museum many would consider a waste of time. They do a reenactment once a year there, and I'm sure that would be the time to go to get something a little more out of it.

      Nonetheless, I was glad we went. This is a state park, not part of the National Park Service. The effort to commemorate the battle began with locals soon after the war and became the state's first historic site in 1912. This meant a Southern perspective on the battle, including pride on rejecting invaders and stubborn insistence on remembering political aspects of the war that are de-emphasized in other accounts. In some instances, the facts were better kept too. I took a copy of the Smithsonian's Guide ["Smithsonian's Great Battles and Battlefields of the Civil War, A Definitive Field Guide by Wertz and Bearrs"] and various printed webpages on the battle as well. Some of these things made dubious assertions; in particular the Smithsonian Guide stating on page 126 that alarming reports that "the Rebels were tearing up the rails" would seem to need clarification at the very least, since the side wanting to stop the use of the railroads in Florida was in fac t the Federals. Perhaps more on these discrepancies in a future post, but if anyone can clarify this part I'd appreciate it.

      The museum was where I saw the .69 caliber Minie Ball. With help from some of you here, I now am sure that is exactly what I saw. Now you can imagine how little interest such a thing would be to a casual tourist, but at least for me it really caught my attention, since I felt I knew for a fact that no rifle musket of the time was manufactured in such a large caliber. To review, the conclusion would seem to be that these Minie Balls were provided for muskets converted from 'smoothbore' to 'rifled' after original manufacture due to the arms shortages as the war began.

      Well, to keep this from being too long a post, I'll save the rest for later if you indicate you want to hear it, which will include a Confederate use of a Rail Gun, Sneaky Abe working on his election, famed 54th Massachusetts vs poorly trained Colored troops, and more.

    • Mike Peters
      Forgive me previous post. Read post before the headline. Mike Peters Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry ... From: carlw4514
      Message 2 of 11 , Jul 17, 2010
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        Forgive me previous post. Read post before the headline.

        Mike Peters

        Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


        From: "carlw4514" <carlw4514@...>
        Sender: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Sat, 17 Jul 2010 19:16:23 -0000
        To: <civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com>
        ReplyTo: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [civilwarwest] Olustee Battlefield Tour

         



        I toured this battlefield during a recent vacation in Florida. There were some indications that there wasn't much to see, but a couple of us went anyway. I have to warn anyone who is thinking of going there that this is indeed not the place for the casual Civil War tourist. For such a person there just isn't that much to see. The museum many would consider a waste of time. They do a reenactment once a year there, and I'm sure that would be the time to go to get something a little more out of it.

        Nonetheless, I was glad we went. This is a state park, not part of the National Park Service. The effort to commemorate the battle began with locals soon after the war and became the state's first historic site in 1912. This meant a Southern perspective on the battle, including pride on rejecting invaders and stubborn insistence on remembering political aspects of the war that are de-emphasized in other accounts. In some instances, the facts were better kept too. I took a copy of the Smithsonian's Guide ["Smithsonian's Great Battles and Battlefields of the Civil War, A Definitive Field Guide by Wertz and Bearrs"] and various printed webpages on the battle as well. Some of these things made dubious assertions; in particular the Smithsonian Guide stating on page 126 that alarming reports that "the Rebels were tearing up the rails" would seem to need clarification at the very least, since the side wanting to stop the use of the railroads in Florida was in fac t the Federals. Perhaps more on these discrepancies in a future post, but if anyone can clarify this part I'd appreciate it.

        The museum was where I saw the .69 caliber Minie Ball. With help from some of you here, I now am sure that is exactly what I saw. Now you can imagine how little interest such a thing would be to a casual tourist, but at least for me it really caught my attention, since I felt I knew for a fact that no rifle musket of the time was manufactured in such a large caliber. To review, the conclusion would seem to be that these Minie Balls were provided for muskets converted from 'smoothbore' to 'rifled' after original manufacture due to the arms shortages as the war began.

        Well, to keep this from being too long a post, I'll save the rest for later if you indicate you want to hear it, which will include a Confederate use of a Rail Gun, Sneaky Abe working on his election, famed 54th Massachusetts vs poorly trained Colored troops, and more.

      • carlw4514
        i will describe the battle. I make the case that the Yankees, at least locally, had really bad Intel
        Message 3 of 11 , Jul 17, 2010
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          i will describe the battle. I make the case that the Yankees, at least locally, had really bad Intel
        • carlw4514
          Here s what I got out of the actual battle, assisted by further study of course. Seymour, the federal commander of the area, perhaps on his own initiative
          Message 4 of 11 , Jul 18, 2010
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            Here's what I got out of the actual battle, assisted by further study of course.

            Seymour, the federal commander of the area, perhaps on his own initiative decided it was time to start subjugating Florida. It struck me that the Federals blundered into a hornet's nest in this battle due to bad Intel. For one thing, there was little reason to suspect resistance to be light as they did. Surely it was known that the rail line running halfway down the state was giving valuable service to the Confederacy, so why wouldn't the Rebels be fighting to preserve it? Nonetheless, after Yank Cavalry reported to Jacksonville that they were only finding slim numbers of militia in the area, the decision was made to advance to Lake City halfway across the state west of Jacksonville and cut the vital rail line [amongst other goals]. This was done despite the breakdown of the only locomotive available, which could have assisted for supply.

            Meanwhile the Confederates were putting into place what had to be a considerable commitment of available forces, showing they indeed highly valued keeping the supply route open. This included a brigade of veterans from Georgia. Digging in on a well chosen defensive line, they waited for the Yankees. The federals obliged by sending in their forces piecemeal, furthermore having some of the least experienced troops at the forefront. There was certainly none of the advised 3 to 1 advantage for attack, but the complete opposite, equal size with piecemeal engagement. This is all just evidence the Yanks were unaware of what they were up against. To compound the error, when resistance first stiffened, there was no plan afoot to deal with such a development, the commanders just continuing to waltz into trouble. The Confederate commanders for some reason not really explained to my satisfaction, allowed the battle to be conducted about 2 miles in front of their earthworks; if I may be allowed to guess, the plan was to fall back but in the face of their success never did so. However, no one can claim that the fighting was anything less than quite intense.

            I'm not one to get into positions of regiments and brigades, but I will note that the 7th New Hampshire showed evidence of inexperience or incompetency, allowing confusion of orders and subsequent rapid removal to the rear without properly engaging. Likewise Spencer armed 7th Connecticut Infantry seemed to have proceeded to shoot up all their rounds in a jiffy and then leave. These developments left the green, partially trained 8th USCT to defend the left of the line. To their credit, they stood in and took terrific casualties without being otherwise effective, it was reported. I'm thinking it was at this point the Confederate leadership on the field decided to continue to fight on this line. Unfortunately for their cause, CS ammunition ran low at this time. The Federals managed to patch up their line in the lull. When reinforcments and ammunition returned for the Rebs, though, it became clear to the Bluebellies the fight was lost. The famed 54th Massachusetts amongst other USCT covered the retreat effectively. For unclear reasons, pursuit was ineffective and the Union troops before long were back in Jacksonville without further harassment. There was never again any serious attempt to take control of this part of Florida.

            http://www.nps.gov/hps/abpp/battles/fl005.htm

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Olustee

            http://battleofolustee.org/battle.html
          • Sweetsstar@aol.com
            While I was there I got two local written books on the battle. Also got another book on the whole Florida Campaign. Can t give titles right now as I am in
            Message 5 of 11 , Jul 18, 2010
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              While I was there I got two local written books on the battle.  Also got another book on the whole Florida Campaign.  Can't give titles right now as I am in South Carolina and my books are in California.
              Susan 
            • First
              Although I do not disagree with the assertion that the battle was full of inconsistencies, I do not think that Seymour should be maligned as the sole engineer
              Message 6 of 11 , Jul 19, 2010
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                Although I do not disagree with the assertion that the battle was full of inconsistencies, I do not think that Seymour should be maligned as the sole engineer of his own downfall. A quick review of the OR 9listed on one of the sites referenced in your e-mail) reveals that Gilmore pressured Seymour into the campaign against Lake City against Seymour's better judgement. The OR's also reveal that Seymour was aware of a force of between 4,000 and 5,000 rebels in the area. Seymour also opined that General Hardee was believed to leading the CS forces. Yet, Gilmore insited that Seymour advance albeit with a "totally worthless locomotive."

                Having asid that, Seymour did commit his troops piecemeal and never gives an adequate explanation as to why. In fact, he doesn't even speak about it. This is interesting when we consider that Seymour was known for being rash at times and quick to act. I have to wonder if he was intimidated by the spectre of Hardee. Or, whether he was less than willing to wholly committ to a plan that was not of his making. Take a look at his response to his superior officer regarding his actions: http://battleofolustee.org/reports/seymour10.htm

                Rash is hardly the word I would use to describe Seymour. Disrespectful perhaps, but not rash.

                One last thing to consider is Olustee in the greater context of 1864. Florida was not a war unto itself, but part of a larger national strategy requiring the cooperation of disparate commands. Although Seymour would have preferred autonomy based on his own statement to his commander, it is wholly conceivable that the Florida operation was only a small part of much larger whole. As such, Gilmore and Seymour were likely only a diversion for a much larger operation yet to come.

                --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "carlw4514" <carlw4514@...> wrote:
                >
                > Here's what I got out of the actual battle, assisted by further study of course.
                >
                > Seymour, the federal commander of the area, perhaps on his own initiative decided it was time to start subjugating Florida. It struck me that the Federals blundered into a hornet's nest in this battle due to bad Intel. For one thing, there was little reason to suspect resistance to be light as they did. Surely it was known that the rail line running halfway down the state was giving valuable service to the Confederacy, so why wouldn't the Rebels be fighting to preserve it? Nonetheless, after Yank Cavalry reported to Jacksonville that they were only finding slim numbers of militia in the area, the decision was made to advance to Lake City halfway across the state west of Jacksonville and cut the vital rail line [amongst other goals]. This was done despite the breakdown of the only locomotive available, which could have assisted for supply.
                >
                > Meanwhile the Confederates were putting into place what had to be a considerable commitment of available forces, showing they indeed highly valued keeping the supply route open. This included a brigade of veterans from Georgia. Digging in on a well chosen defensive line, they waited for the Yankees. The federals obliged by sending in their forces piecemeal, furthermore having some of the least experienced troops at the forefront. There was certainly none of the advised 3 to 1 advantage for attack, but the complete opposite, equal size with piecemeal engagement. This is all just evidence the Yanks were unaware of what they were up against. To compound the error, when resistance first stiffened, there was no plan afoot to deal with such a development, the commanders just continuing to waltz into trouble. The Confederate commanders for some reason not really explained to my satisfaction, allowed the battle to be conducted about 2 miles in front of their earthworks; if I may be allowed to guess, the plan was to fall back but in the face of their success never did so. However, no one can claim that the fighting was anything less than quite intense.
                >
                > I'm not one to get into positions of regiments and brigades, but I will note that the 7th New Hampshire showed evidence of inexperience or incompetency, allowing confusion of orders and subsequent rapid removal to the rear without properly engaging. Likewise Spencer armed 7th Connecticut Infantry seemed to have proceeded to shoot up all their rounds in a jiffy and then leave. These developments left the green, partially trained 8th USCT to defend the left of the line. To their credit, they stood in and took terrific casualties without being otherwise effective, it was reported. I'm thinking it was at this point the Confederate leadership on the field decided to continue to fight on this line. Unfortunately for their cause, CS ammunition ran low at this time. The Federals managed to patch up their line in the lull. When reinforcments and ammunition returned for the Rebs, though, it became clear to the Bluebellies the fight was lost. The famed 54th Massachusetts amongst other USCT covered the retreat effectively. For unclear reasons, pursuit was ineffective and the Union troops before long were back in Jacksonville without further harassment. There was never again any serious attempt to take control of this part of Florida.
                >
                > http://www.nps.gov/hps/abpp/battles/fl005.htm
                >
                > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Olustee
                >
                > http://battleofolustee.org/battle.html
                >
              • carlw4514
                [responding snip style] ... I agree with you here, although maybe not for the same reasons. Thanks for your interest in this. It should be noted that I have
                Message 7 of 11 , Jul 20, 2010
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                  [responding snip style]

                  --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "First" <rwestb87152002@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Although I do not disagree with the assertion that
                  > the battle was
                  > full of inconsistencies, I do not think that Seymour
                  > should be
                  > maligned as the sole engineer of his own downfall.

                  I agree with you here, although maybe not for the same reasons.
                  Thanks for your interest in this.
                  It should be noted that I have located no support for my claim that bad Intel was to blame for such a decisive defeat, other than that Fed Cavalry reported light "home guards" only around Ocean Pond.

                  > A quick review of the OR 9listed on one of the
                  > sites referenced in your e-mail) reveals that
                  > Gilmore pressured Seymour into the campaign
                  > against Lake City Lake City against Seymour's
                  > better judgement.

                  If you read Gillmore's reports, he denies this, so I think it turned into a blame game,

                  Gillmore:"On the 18th. I was greatly surprised at receiving a letter from General Seymour... stating that he intended to advance without supplies... I at once dispatched General Turner (my chief of staff) to Jacksonville to stop the movement."
                  from http://battleofolustee.org/reports/gillmore1.htm

                  Gillmore: "General Seymour was never intrusted, and it never was my intention to intrust him with the execution of any general plan in Florida"
                  from http://battleofolustee.org/reports/gillmore11.htm

                  Now just before reading these OR's [just now], I was just going by the Smithsonian Guide stating that Gillmore had told Seymour to stay and guard Jacksonville. Other sources say Gillmore ordered the expedition. So I chose to say Seymour proceeded "perhaps on his own initiative." I'm not sure anyone has gotten to the bottom of this.


                  >The OR's also reveal that Seymour was aware of a force
                  >of between 4,000 and 5,000 rebels in the area.


                  That is indeed interesting, good job of spotting that. I would have to guess he believed his cavalry found no sign of them in the Olustee area.


                  > Rash is hardly the word I would use to
                  > describe Seymour.
                  > Disrespectful perhaps, but not rash.


                  The Smithsonian Guide indicates he was an experienced combat veteran "who had held command in a series of major actions" without evidently particularly distinguishing himself.


                  > Florida was not a war unto itself, but part of
                  > a larger national strategy requiring the cooperation
                  > of disparate
                  > commands.... As such, Gilmore and Seymour
                  > were likely only a diversion for a
                  > much larger operation yet to come.


                  Stay tuned for what Lincoln had in mind. As far as further future operations go, they switched to the Tallahassee area. It would seem the Confederate Generals Finegan and Colquitt succeeded not only in winning the battle but also the campaign.
                • hank9174
                  carl, your usual insightful thread conjures a number of random thoughts: 1) 21st century florida is pretty much though of as greater Miami where as the 19th
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jul 21, 2010
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                    carl,

                    your usual insightful thread conjures a number of random thoughts:

                    1) 21st century florida is pretty much though of as 'greater Miami' where as the 19th century mind would envision the panhandel and nothern most tier of counties down to about st augustine.

                    2) 'rifled musket': a 'musket' is a weapon that fires a 'ball'. 'rifled' describes a feature of a musket. a 'bullet' is a type of musket ball. later it became more common to associate musket with ball and rifle with bullet.

                    3) such changes in usage are similar to the modern concepts of 'roll up' the car window in this age of push buttons and 'clockwise' in an era of digital timepieces.

                    pardon my interruption, I am just back from vacation ;)


                    HankC


                    --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "carlw4514" <carlw4514@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > [responding snip style]
                    >
                    > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "First" <rwestb87152002@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Although I do not disagree with the assertion that
                    > > the battle was
                    > > full of inconsistencies, I do not think that Seymour
                    > > should be
                    > > maligned as the sole engineer of his own downfall.
                    >
                    > I agree with you here, although maybe not for the same reasons.
                    > Thanks for your interest in this.
                    > It should be noted that I have located no support for my claim that bad Intel was to blame for such a decisive defeat, other than that Fed Cavalry reported light "home guards" only around Ocean Pond.
                    >
                    > > A quick review of the OR 9listed on one of the
                    > > sites referenced in your e-mail) reveals that
                    > > Gilmore pressured Seymour into the campaign
                    > > against Lake City Lake City against Seymour's
                    > > better judgement.
                    >
                    > If you read Gillmore's reports, he denies this, so I think it turned into a blame game,
                    >
                    > Gillmore:"On the 18th. I was greatly surprised at receiving a letter from General Seymour... stating that he intended to advance without supplies... I at once dispatched General Turner (my chief of staff) to Jacksonville to stop the movement."
                    > from http://battleofolustee.org/reports/gillmore1.htm
                    >
                    > Gillmore: "General Seymour was never intrusted, and it never was my intention to intrust him with the execution of any general plan in Florida"
                    > from http://battleofolustee.org/reports/gillmore11.htm
                    >
                    > Now just before reading these OR's [just now], I was just going by the Smithsonian Guide stating that Gillmore had told Seymour to stay and guard Jacksonville. Other sources say Gillmore ordered the expedition. So I chose to say Seymour proceeded "perhaps on his own initiative." I'm not sure anyone has gotten to the bottom of this.
                    >
                    >
                    > >The OR's also reveal that Seymour was aware of a force
                    > >of between 4,000 and 5,000 rebels in the area.
                    >
                    >
                    > That is indeed interesting, good job of spotting that. I would have to guess he believed his cavalry found no sign of them in the Olustee area.
                    >
                    >
                    > > Rash is hardly the word I would use to
                    > > describe Seymour.
                    > > Disrespectful perhaps, but not rash.
                    >
                    >
                    > The Smithsonian Guide indicates he was an experienced combat veteran "who had held command in a series of major actions" without evidently particularly distinguishing himself.
                    >
                    >
                    > > Florida was not a war unto itself, but part of
                    > > a larger national strategy requiring the cooperation
                    > > of disparate
                    > > commands.... As such, Gilmore and Seymour
                    > > were likely only a diversion for a
                    > > much larger operation yet to come.
                    >
                    >
                    > Stay tuned for what Lincoln had in mind. As far as further future operations go, they switched to the Tallahassee area. It would seem the Confederate Generals Finegan and Colquitt succeeded not only in winning the battle but also the campaign.
                    >
                  • carlw4514
                    good to hear from you, Hank
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jul 21, 2010
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                      good to hear from you, Hank
                    • trrranger
                      I am new to this group but I went to the University of North Florida and did a project on the Battle of Olustee (Ocean Pond). I have several battle reports
                      Message 10 of 11 , Aug 25, 2010
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                        I am new to this group but I went to the University of North Florida and did a project on the Battle of Olustee (Ocean Pond). I have several battle reports still saved on a portable hard drive. I'd be happy to send you these and discuss the battle and get your opinions.
                        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "carlw4514" <carlw4514@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > good to hear from you, Hank
                        >
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