Uncovering Black and White Union Soldiers on the Olustee Battlefield

Earlier this month I shared some information about the important work that historian Barbara Gannon and her students at the University of Central Florida are doing to identify and honor the Black and white Union soldiers buried in a mass grave on the Olustee battlefield in Florida.

Dr. Gannon and a few of her students recently delivered a presentation on their research, which you can view below. I highly recommend watching it as I consider this project to be a wonderful example of the intersection of public and digital history.

I am also pleased to share that Dr. Gannon has been invited by my friends at the Massachusetts Historical Society, here in Boston, to deliver a talk about this project in the spring. The goal is to connect her with individuals and groups that can assist her team in bringing the project’s goals to fruition. Stay tuned for additional information about this visit.

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

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4 comments… add one
  • Eric koszyk Dec 3, 2021 @ 22:10

    Fascinating discussion, and I would like to volunteer in any way I can, especially due to being a veteran (albeit in the National Guard at a time of peace) and having a wife who is a veteran; also having lived in Northern Florida for a brief time and having gone to the battlefield while there. I would love to know how to be of help, including reaching out to elected officials or helping with research.

    I was really moved by Professor Gannon’s words about how wrong it is that U.S. soldiers are buried unknown and unhonored in a state of the United States.

    One question I have — is it actually known exactly where all of the U.S. soldiers are buried? I’m not sure if that topic was covered specifically; I might have missed it.

    If not, are they using the same techniques used to locate bodies of Native American children who died at Indian Boarding Schools around Canada and the United States?

    Once again, thank you for posting this.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 5, 2021 @ 6:42

      Hi Eric. I can’t tell you what those opportunities might be short of contacting Professor Gannon. I am sure you are going to hear more about this project in the near future. Thanks so much for your interest.

  • Msb Nov 27, 2021 @ 3:36

    Thanks for the opportunity to watch this. And happy Thanksgiving!

    • Kevin Levin Nov 27, 2021 @ 3:49

      Glad you enjoyed it. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

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