Listen to Unearthing Florida
       
  Week 3   Pre-History   Program Menu
           
  Program 11 Gordon Willey  
      The 1864 Battle of Olustee was by far the largest battle fought in Florida during the Civil War and yielded a plethora of battlefield artifacts.

I’m Dr. Judy Bense and this is Unearthing Florida…

Nearly 11,000 soldiers engaged in the battle -- that ended in more than 2800 casualties and a Confederate victory. Tens of thousands of bullets were exchanged during the battle, with 20-thousand of them fired by the men of the U.S. 54th Massachusetts, an all-African American federal unit that fought there.

In 1994, archaeologists studied the Baker County site -- near Lake City--where the Battle of Olustee unfolded. Here they uncovered artifacts and identified features of the battle including the sites of field hospitals, earthworks, and camps. Not surprisingly, most the metal artifacts recovered were rifle bullets.

The size of the bullets varied but several were identified as coming from one particular type of rifle -- the Enfield. This British gun was used by both the North and South throughout the war. 
     
  Program 12 Miami Circle  
      Built and run by slave labor, the Yulee Sugar Mill was one of many essential industrial operations in Florida that supported the Confederacy during the Civil War.

I’m Dr. Judy Bense, and this is Unearthing Florida…

The Yulee Sugar Mill near Homasassa was part of a 5100-acre plantation owned by David Levy Yulee. It was built in 1851.

Throughout the war the mill provided sugar, syrup and molasses to southern troops. In 1864, a Union raid burned Yulee’s plantation mansion and although the mill itself wasn’t destroyed, production stopped for good.

The site is now a state park and many remnants of the mill including the virtually-intact chimney stack are still standing.

In 1997 archaeologists from the Gulf Archaeology Research Institute documented the mill’s boiler, wells, grinding machinery and sugar cane-processing kettles.

Their research has added tremendously to the interpretation of the site, which is open to the public.
     
  Program 13 Windover  
      In the summer of 2010, archaeologists investigated a Civil War cannon emplacement in Florida’s Torreya State Park along the Apalachicola River.

I’m Dr. Judy Bense with Unearthing Florida…

In 1862, the Confederate government of Florida made it a priority to defend the Apalachicola, which led to the manufacturing heart of the south at Columbus, Georgia. To accomplish this, obstructions were placed in the river and a series of defensive gun emplacements, with massive cannons, were set up.

One of these gun batteries was at a site called Hammock Landing. Here archaeologists have found a wide variety of remains from this gun emplacement, including a heavy floor timber -- with a large iron spike driven into it. This spike was probably used to pivot the gun.

Also found were the still-intact wooden walls built to support the magazine, where gun powder was kept, along with several smaller artifacts associated with firing the cannon.
     
  Program 14 Weeden Island  
      Throughout the Civil War, Union steamships like the U.S.S. Narcissus played a crucial role in Florida by blockading the coastline, transporting troops, and raiding salt work operations.

I’m Dr. Judy Bense, with Unearthing Florida…

Commissioned in 1863 by the U.S. Navy, the Narcissus served as a tugboat and performed near- shore boat operations throughout the war.

In a twist of tragic fate, the Narcissus was lost after the war ended. In January 1866, the ship was caught in a winter storm while en route to New York to be decommissioned. After being trapped on a sandbar, the boiler exploded- all 26 crew perished.

Beginning in 2006, principal investigator “Billy Ray” Morris and his team of underwater archaeologists found and recorded the remains of the vessel including the engine, propeller, wooden stern assembly, and remains of the exploded boiler.

More recently, part of a brass signal lantern was found buried in the sand.
     
  Program 15 Vero Man  
      Confederate vessels that slipped cargo past U.S. naval ships blocking Florida’s seaports were called blockade runners. They faced a constant threat of capture or destruction.

I’m Dr. Judy Bense, and this is Unearthing Florida…

Two such vessels, discovered in the Hillsborough River near Tampa, highlight the risks these smugglers took.

In the early morning light of October 17, 1863, two ships used as Confederate blockade runners—the Kate Dale and Scottish Chief --burst into flames after a federal raiding party slipped into the shipyard and set the two anchored vessels ablaze.

“Billy Ray” Morris and his team of underwater researchers found the charred remains of both vessels one year apart as part of an archaeological survey.

Excavations of the Kate Dale revealed the remains of a badly burned shoal draft sailing vessel, but little else. However, Morris and his team did locate structural remains, coal, and iron assemblies of the Scottish Chief still resting at the bottom of the Hillsborough River.
     
        Previous | Next
        Unearthing Florida Home