Monday, May 21, 2018
News Roundup

Brooksville Raid re-enactors do battle this weekend

The summer of 1864 brought blue-coated soldiers to the shores of Hernando County. Their intent was to crush enemy supply lines during the Civil War and strike a withering blow against the Confederate Army and the residents of the sleepy hamlet that would later become known as Brooksville.

This weekend will see the return of Civil War soldiers in full force once again. This time, however, they're arriving in cars, pickups and campers, and their rifles only shoot blanks.

While the 33rd annual Brooksville Raid Re-enactment doesn't come close to resembling the minor skirmish for which it is named, Civil War enthusiasts still flock every year to watch the Blue/Gray matchup that is as much a glimpse into an era of American life as it is entertainment, said Joan Casey, chairwoman of the event, which takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Sand Hill Scout Reservation, near Weeki Wachee.

"It's a fun, family-oriented event that allows people to travel back in time," said Casey, who has headed up the event since 1999. "I don't think there is anywhere near here you can go and get so much for the money."

Long considered the mother of all Florida Civil War re-enactments, the raid got its start in 1980 on a 90-acre site owned by former Hernando County Commissioner Murray Grubbs, a longtime enthusiast of Civil War-period guns and artillery. For 10 years, he played the amicable host, tending to all-night barbecues for re-enactors and volunteers before taking his perch on a patio overlooking the battlefield.

In 1990, the event moved to its permanent location at the Scout reservation. Under the direction of the Hernando Historical Museum Association and the North Pinellas County Scout Sertoma Club — the two organizations split the proceeds — the event typically draws more than 8,000 spectators over the weekend.

Bob Niepert, a longtime re-enactor, believes the secret to the Raid's success has been its dedication to authenticity. Visitors, he said, enjoy the opportunity to get a glimpse of 19th century life and see how soldiers of that era lived day to day.

"There's always been a deep educational aspect to what we do," said Niepert, who serves as field commander of the Florida 3rd Battalion, known as Hardy's Brigade. "Everything you see out there is authentic to the Civil War period. You walk into a camp and you won't see cell phones, or an electric coffee pot or anything you wouldn't see if you lived back then."

Casey said she has worked hard at making certain the event never gets stale, and tries to introduce new experiences she thinks the public will appreciate.

This year, Casey invited master anvil shooter Ron Gilbert, a Civil War enthusiast who uses explosive charges to send 100 pounds of steel rocketing skyward.

"People won't believe their eyes," Casey said. "It's a great show."

Spectators will also have plenty of other opportunities to amuse themselves when the mock battles aren't raging. People may tour the Confederate and Union camps both days and visit the sutlers (vendors) row for souvenir items.

The traditional re-enactment battles will be fought at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

   
Comments
Lightning-Capitals: Washington forces Game 7 with 3-0 victory

Lightning-Capitals: Washington forces Game 7 with 3-0 victory

WASHINGTON — The Lightning let one get away Monday night. And it might cost Tampa Bay a chance at the Stanley Cup.So now there will be a Game 7 to decide the Eastern Conference. Maybe this is how it should be. Maybe this is how it's supposed to...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The weather didn’t get Lightning fans down. Losing Game 6 did.

The weather didn’t get Lightning fans down. Losing Game 6 did.

TAMPA — If the Tampa Bay Lightning can overcome a 2-game deficit to the Washington Capitals and take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference final, then Deborah Schmeltzer can definitely drive across the Howard Frankland Bridge through a driving rainsto...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning journal: Capitals had a shot at Jon Cooper

Lightning journal: Capitals had a shot at Jon Cooper

WASHINGTON — Interesting how things work out in the world of hockey.Back in 2012, the first NHL team to ever interview Jon Cooper for a head coaching job was actually the Washington Capitals. The Caps general manager at the time was George McPh...
Updated: 1 hour ago
History has been kind to Lightning in Game 7s

History has been kind to Lightning in Game 7s

WASHINGTON — There's nothing more delicious in sports than Game 7.Unless your team is playing in it. Then there's nothing more nerve-racking.Most sports fans watch a big game with a nice cold drink. But if your team is playing in a Game 7, the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Prepare yourselves: Golden Knights will be talk of the Stanley Cup final

Prepare yourselves: Golden Knights will be talk of the Stanley Cup final

WASHINGTON — It's incredible. Unbelievable, really. Maybe the best sports story in this country and the sport of hockey since 1980's Miracle on Ice.And, as a side note, if the Lightning reaches the Stanley Cup final, everyone in the country out...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s Game 6 shutout loss

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s Game 6 shutout loss

Let's do it one more time, shall we?Game 7 it will be.If it matches Game 6, it will be extraordinary.RELATED: More Lightning coverageThe Lightning could not close the door on the Washington Capitals. The Caps, who apparently really don't want to lose...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tom Jones’ takeaways from Washington’s Game 6 win

Lightning-Capitals: Tom Jones’ takeaways from Washington’s Game 6 win

Caps D Dmitry Orlov has one of the most wicked slap shots in hockey. When he stepped into one in the first period, Lightning D Ryan McDonagh threw his body in front of it and blocked it with his shoulder — just inches from his face. McDonagh sh...
Updated: 2 hours ago
FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

TALLAHASSEE — The parent company of Florida utility giant Florida Power & Light announced Monday that it will buy the largest electricity producer in Northwest Florida, Gulf Power, in a $6.4 billion deal.Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy Inc. said in a...
Updated: 3 hours ago
One of Ybor City’s most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

One of Ybor City’s most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

TAMPA — Developers are poised to launch construction this week on one of Ybor City’s biggest new projects in years — a four-story, $50 million boutique hotel being created by a Chicago company that seeks out neighborhoods rich in color and character....
Updated: 4 hours ago
State softball: Admiral Farragut happy to be in title game this time around

State softball: Admiral Farragut happy to be in title game this time around

VERO BEACH — All season, Admiral Farragut has focused on two things:Believe in each other.Commit to the process.Well, it all paid off in a big way Monday in the Class 3A state semifinals at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach.Alyssa Rano hit a two-run ...
Updated: 5 hours ago