Last week historian Barbara Gannon delivered the keynote address at the “Crossroads of Memory” conference hosted by the University of Mississippi. It was a fascinating talk. In it she shared the work that she and her students are doing at the University of Central Florida to identify the burial site of black and white United States soldiers as well as their efforts to honor their service on the Olustee battlefield in Florida.
The battle was fought on February 20, 1864 and included men from the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. It resulted in a Confederate victory. Unfortunately, after the war the Union dead were left undisturbed rather than relocated to a national cemetery and the battlefield itself eventually became a site of Confederate remembrance.
Professor Gannon and her students hope to change this. You can learn more about their ongoing research on November 17 by registering here.
The ongoing debate about Confederate monuments is important, but it has arguably overshadowed projects like this that go far in reimagining and reconfiguring our monument/commemorative landscape of the Civil War.