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Contact: Craig Morris, 904.641.7155
JACKSONVILLE, FLA. --- Legendary filmmaker Ken Burns said "The Civil War was fought in ten thousand places…" did you know Jacksonville was one of them? Many residents today aren't aware of the degree to which our town and its people suffered in the war. Jacksonville was occupied four times by the Union army and navy. Cities such as Atlanta, Richmond, Charleston, and Savannah were each occupied only once. From 1862, Union naval vessels continually patrolled the St. Johns River as far south as Palatka. Citizen's homes were destroyed, personal items looted, livestock slaughtered, boats and ferries burnt. Majestic centuries-old Live Oak trees, for which Jacksonville was nationally famous, were cut down to build ships. Starvation and disease was widespread; medical aide all but nonexistent. The fate of the city would ultimately hinge upon the area's most notable geographical feature: a historic ninety foot high bluff located on the south side of the St. Johns River. On October 20 and 21, the Timucuan Preserve, a unit of the National Park Service, will host the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of St. Johns Bluff. This living history weekend will be held at Fort Caroline National Memorial and will highlight how the Civil War affected Jacksonville and Northeast Florida. The event is free and special programs will take place on Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and on Sunday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Cannon and musket firing programs will be the highlight of the weekend, but living historians will also demonstrate Civil War medicine, military engineering, camp life including cooking and music. Portrayed will be infantry soldiers of both the North and the South; including Union gunboat sailors, marines, artillery crews, engineers, doctors and nurses, military musicians, and chaplains. "The Civil War had a great impact on the Jacksonville area, but the story of what happened here is often overlooked". "This is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to come and learn of our city's significant role in our nation's greatest conflict", said Timucuan Preserve Superintendent, Barbara Goodman. Life for ordinary citizens, those left behind by the soldiers, was often a matter of the will to survive. This event will shed light on this often overlooked aspect of the Civil War. "Golden Tea Cup Society" a living history group that portrays civilian life in the Civil War, will hold ongoing demonstrations of sewing, quilting, needlework, spinning, and candle making, skills relied on when supplies were blockaded. Each day at 2:30 PM they will also conduct a special program on the antebellum hobby of china doll collecting, using authentic and reproduction dolls. The event is free and open to the public on Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and on Sunday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Saturday Schedule: Cannon program: 10 AM, 1 PM, 2 PM and at 3 PM
Musket program: 10:30 AM, 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM and at 3:30 PM Sunday Schedule: Cannon program: 12 PM, and 2 PM
Musket program: 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM
Fort Caroline National Memorial is open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. seven days a week. It is located at 12713 Ft. Caroline Road, in the East Arlington section of Jacksonville, Florida, 32225. For more information, please call Fort Caroline National Memorial at 904-641-7155 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/TIMU. Like us on Facebook at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and follow us on Twitter @TimucuanNPS.