Update: December 5, 2013, 5:54 PM
Eleven thousand men fought at the Battle of Olustee, the largest Civil War battle in Florida, which took place on Feb. 20, 1864. The fighting took place on the floor of a virgin pine forest and lasted until dark, when the Union forces retreated. There were 1,861 Union casualties, and 946 Confederate casualties, making the battle, proportionally, one of the bloodiest of the war.
This week, almost 150 years later, in a public school auditorium in Lake City, Fla., the Battle of Olustee once again pitted Confederates against Yankees. This time, there were no casualties. But at stake was the fate of a monument to the Union soldiers who fought in the battle, proposed by the Florida "department" of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
"We really don't want controversy," Charles "Buck" Custer, treasurer of the Union group, told TPM in an interview this week. "We're down here in Dixie, and we certainly don't want to make enemies of our neighbors and people that we live with. But on the other hand, I think there should be justice, if you will, and I think that those 2,000 Union soldiers that died up there are at least entitled to have people know that they were there and existed."
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