Union, Confederacy face off again over Florida monument

Jan. 17, 2014 at 2:51 PM
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OLUSTEE, Fla., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Plans for a monument to Union soldiers at a Civil War battleground in Florida are being met with resistance from Confederate-tied groups.

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War contacted the state parks department last year with a request to have a monument placed at the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park, a 150-year-old battle site that currently contains three monuments to the Confederate side, the New York Times reported Friday.

Parks officials agreed and began searching for the proper location for the proposed obelisk, which would honor the soldiers on the Union side, which lost the Battle of Olustee.

Some members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said they consider a Union monument to be a betrayal of the park's legacy.

State Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, House Judiciary Committee chairman and a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said adding a Union monument would redefine the park.

"My biggest concern is that this is revisionist history and that these decisions are being made by park officials and not an elected body," he said. "You have to have some obligation to the people."

James Davis, the Florida division commander for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said the group would not be opposed to a Union monument on federal land outside of the 3-acre state park.

"We are not opposed to the monument at all; we are opposed to the location, and here is why -- it's like any other historical building," said. "You put something brand new in there and it destroys the significance of it."

Lew Scruggs, chief officer of park planning for the state, said officials plan to go forward with monument plans.

"We are trying to be objective," Scruggs said. "The mission in the state park system is to commemorate the battle between the two opposing forces; it's not restricted to one."

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