Monday, June 30, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The first explores the history of the Battle of Olustee, Florida. Olustee was the largest Civil War battle in Florida. In addition, it was statistically the greatest Union defeat of the war. An estimated 40% of the 5,500 Union troops that marched into the battle were killed, wounded or captured. The new pages explore the history of the battle and provide an online tour of Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park. To visit the new section, please click www.exploresouthernhistory.com/olustee.
The second new section explores the history of the Battle of Fayetteville, Arkansas. This Civil War battle was one of the last major Confederate attempts to retake control of Northwest Arkansas. The section features information on the history of the battle and photographs of the battlefield as it appears today. To visit the new section, please click www.exploresouthernhistory.com/battleoffayetteville.
This beautiful park area is the historic Plaza de la Constitucion in the center of St. Augustine, Florida.
The plaza is the oldest public park in the United States and remains a center for activity in the historic city.
Spanish Royal Ordinances dating from 1573 specified that the permanent city of St. Augustine, founded only 8 years earlier, be designed around a central park or plaza.
The park was a center of activity in the city. It was the location of St. Augustine's market place and many important structures faced the plaza, including the home of the Spanish governors. As a result, citizens were enjoying shopping and other activities here decades before the first settlers set foot at either Jamestown, Virginia or Plymouth, Massachusetts.
A number of unique landmarks can be found in and around the plaza. So far as I know, it is the only location in the United States that boasts a monument to a foreign constitution. An oblisk in the center of the plaza memorializes Spain's Constitution of 1812. St. Augustine was still a Spanish capital at the time the constitution was adopted.
A public well dating from the 16th century can be seen here, as can four Civil War era cannons that once armed the Water Battery at the Castillo de San Marcos. The Plaza de la Constitucion is also the location of the city's historic open air market structure. The old market is located near the east end of the plaza. Tradition that it was a slave market, however, is not accurate. The current structure was built after the end of the Civil War.
Our series on St. Augustine will continue. Until the next post, you can learn more by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com and looking for the St. Augustine heading.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
One of the most noted figures in Florida history was held prisoner here for a time.
On October 21, 1837, the great Seminole leader Osceola was seized by the U.S. Army when he appeared under a white flag for a previously arranged negotiation near St. Augustine. The action remains one of the more deplorable episodes in the history of the U.S. military.
Osceola and several other Seminole leaders were brought here to the Castillo, then called Fort Marion by the U.S. Army, and imprisoned in some of the rooms in the interior of the old fort. Two of the other leaders managed to escape, but Osceola was seriously ill and could not.
Following the escape, he and his family were placed aboard a ship in Matanzas Bay and sent to Fort Moultrie near Charleston, South Carolina. There he died from sickness on January 20, 1838, just three months after he was seized while under the protection of a white flag.
He is buried at Fort Moultrie, far from his Florida home, but his figure remains larger than life in Florida today. Revered by the state's Native American community, Osceola is also the symbol of Florida State University.
Our series on historic St. Augustine, Florida will continue. Until the next post, you can read more by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com and looking for the St. Augustine heading.