Thursday, January 2, 2014

Florida over the New Year - Confederate Images

Traveled down to Florida after Christmas over the new years holiday and was pleased to see a few Confederate images while on my vacation. On Monday December 30th we drove over to Cedar Key FL which is a small quaint little town on the Gulf coast of Florida, west of Gainesville.  The town hosts a seafood festival and an art festival each year.  It is largely off the beaten path but it enjoys a trickle of tourists and fishing is the industry here including shrimping and oysters and there is a clam farm also.  There is a row of a half dozen restaurants on Dock Street directly on the Gulf as well as a renovated fishing pier.  Smoked mullet is a local delicacy and fresh caught fried shrimp and clams are a must when dining there.
Restaurants on Dock Street in Cedar Key FL
Briefly visited the Cedar Key Museum and was pleasantly surprised to see a Confederate Battle Flag flying on the balcony of the museum along with other flags representing the nations under which Cedar Key was existed.  The museum provides a few displays of photos from the War Between the States and a saber from the War.  Cedar Key was important to the Union during the War and they occupied the city for periods throughout the War and blockaded the port facilities there and conducted raiding parties inland to capture provisions including cattle, cotton and slaves.  The Florida Railroad ran from Amelia Island north of Jacksonville across the state to Cedar Key and so these towns on the ends of the line were important transportation and trading towns for north-central Florida.  The website provides a nice accounting of Cedar Key during the WBTS.  On February 13th 1865, the Fight at (railroad) Station No. 4 resulted in a Confederate victory when forces under Captain Dickinson drove a force of 386 Union troops under Major Weeks back west down the rail line onto Way Key (the largest of the Cedar Key islands).  The historic Island Hotel in Cedar Key dates from 1859 and was owned by Major Parsons who commanded a volunteer Confederate detachment out of Cedar Key from Federal gunboats and raiding parties.  An interesting story regards the disappearance of the Confederate treasury at the end of the War when a train running this line was stopped near the plantation of David Yulee in Cottonwood near Archer, just east of Cedar Key but was found empty by Federal troops. 
Cedar Key Musuem
Confederate Salt Kettle and Cannon Outside Cedar Key Museum

Also saw a billboard on I-75 for the Battle of Olustee reenactment which is celebrating the Sesquicentennial of that Confederate victory on February 20th, 1864. Union troops under General Seymour were moving west out of Jacksonville where they controlled the port towards Lake City when they were met by Confederate troops under General Finegan who had built fortifications just east of the town near a rail station called Olustee. The Battle resulted in a convincing Confederate victory, forcing the Federals back to Jacksonville and ending the Union efforts to organize a state government loyal to the Union for the 1864 elections, after inflicting casualties of 1861 (against the Confederate casualties of 946).  Lake City has a nice large Confederate flag right on I-75 greeting tourists to the area.  The website for this Battle of Olustee is .  The reenactment will be held the weekend of February 14-16, 2014. 

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