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. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans

    Blogs

    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  2. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?

    Blogs

    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  3. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo

    Nation

    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  4. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies

    News

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  5. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win

    Colleges

    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.