Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brooksville Raid re-enactment surpasses the original

The re-enactment of the Brooksville Raid has only bare historical resemblance to the 1864 skirmish across swampy terrain to destroy the means of support for the Confederates.

EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times (2007)

The re-enactment of the Brooksville Raid has only bare historical resemblance to the 1864 skirmish across swampy terrain to destroy the means of support for the Confederates.

If the original Brooksville Raid had been more like this weekend's modern-day re-enactment, the fortunes might have gone better for the Army of the Confederacy. As it was, the small skirmish that blew up in Hernando County in July 1864 ended up being a decisive victory for the Union forces.

The battle, which is regarded by Civil War historians as little more than a footnote, was short and cost eight lives: three Union and five Confederates. Unlike the 1,500-man re-enactment being staged this weekend over flat, open ground, the original raid was more of a game of hide-and-seek, played out in a swampy, mosquito-infested hammock that stretched across the county.

The 250 or so Union invaders who landed along the coast near Bayport that hot summer day had no real military objective. In fact, Hernando County was little more than a rustic farming community on the outskirts of Confederate territory. No formal troops were stationed here — just a small militia, or "home guard," that was incapable of fending off any type of serious attack.

But the Union forces were dead serious. Their goal was to pillage and destroy as much cattle, cotton, sugar and salt as possible (denying it to the enemy in the process) before beating a hasty retreat.

Hernando County historian Virginia Jackson, who knows more about the conflict than just about any other local resident, claims that while the invaders failed to destroy the tiny settlement that would later become Brooksville, they comfortably fulfilled their mission.

"They did exactly what they came to do," said Jackson, who helps run the Hernando Heritage Museum and was a longtime organizer of the Brooksville Raid Re-enactment. "What they left behind was total destruction that took decades to rebuild."

According to Jackson, some families whose farms were destroyed chose to flee rather than risk the rumored return of the Union forces.

Among those who stayed was William Hope, a founding settler of the area now known as Spring Lake, who arrived in 1836. Though Hope's family suffered the burning of two plantations, he rebuilt his farm and went on to be patriarch to generations of Hopes, some of whom still remain in the area.

Jackson believes that had the area been more heavily defended, the Union troops might not have had their way. As it was, there was just no stopping them.

"It was easy for them because there was no one here to stop it," Jackson said. "The Confederate Army just didn't think the county was important enough to defend."

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or lneill@sptimes.com.

Brooksville Raid re-enactment surpasses the original 01/13/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 13, 2011 5:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Gov. candidate Chris King: Climate change is biggest threat to Florida's economy

    Blogs

    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King today made his case for how economic growth and fighting climate change go hand in hand. His rivals for the Democratic nomination, Gwen Graham and …

    Winter Park businessman Chris King and his family
  2. Editorial: Buckhorn's proposed tax increase is too high for Tampa

    Editorials

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's proposed city budget for 2018 confronts some hard realities of the times. With debt payments looming and another fire station opening in fast-growing north Tampa, the City Council needs to consider raising property taxes, especially with the prospect of another homestead exemption around the …

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s proposed city budget for 2018 confronts some hard realities of the times. But it seems overly ambitious, and the City Council should be cautious about raising taxes too much in a single swoop.
  3. The next step in a sex abuse survivor's recovery: Erasing her tattoo

    Health

    Times Staff Writer

    TAMPA — Even after 20 years, Sufiyah can't escape the memories of being sexually exploited by gang members as a teenager.

    The tattoo makes it impossible.

    Sufiyah, an aAbuse survivor, prepares to have a tattoo removed  at Tampa Tattoo Vanish  on Thursday. During her teen years, she was sexually exploited by a gang. The tattoo is a mark of her exploiters. 

Tampa Tattoo Vanish is a new tattoo removal business run by Brian Morrison, where survivors of human trafficking get free tattoo removal.  [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  4. Cridlin: Linkin Park's Chester Bennington had a wail that stood apart

    Music & Concerts

    For all the old-timers' talk about how they don't make singers like they used to, about how rock vocalists of the 21st century can't hold a candle to the frontmen of yesteryear, here's a fact no hater could deny:

    Chester Bennington could flat-out wail.

    Chester Bennington of Linkin Park  performs at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa for the 2014 Carnivores Tour. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  5. Police investigating shooting in north Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Police were investigating a shooting in north Tampa Thursday that left one person seriously injured.