Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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 lneill@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1435.

If you go

When: Saturday and Sunday

Where: Sand Hill Scout Reservation, 11210 Cortez Blvd. (State Road 50), just east of Weeki Wachee.

Admission: $8 for adults, $4 for youth 6 to 12 years old and free for ages 5 and younger and Scouts in uniform. Park is free.

Information: Call (352) 799-0129 or visit brooksvilleraid.com online.

Schedule

Saturday

9 a.m.: Gates, camps, sutlers open

9:30 a.m.: Battlefield colors demonstration

10:30 a.m.: Ladies tea (period dress required)

11:30: Artillery demonstration

Noon: Anvil shoot

1:45 p.m.: Music by 7 lbs. of Bacon Mess Band

2:30 p.m.: Brooksville Raid battle

5:30 p.m.: Camps close

Sunday

9 a.m.: Gates, camps, sutlers open

9:30 a.m.: Battlefield colors demonstration

10 a.m.: Church service

11:30 a.m.: Anvil shoot

Noon: Artillery demonstration

12:30 p.m.: Music by 7 lbs. of Bacon Mess Band

1:30 p.m.: Grand review

2 p.m.: Brooksville Raid battle

4:30 p.m.: Camps close

Brooksville Raid re-enactors do battle this weekend 01/17/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 17, 2013 8:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Looking Back: Adele and her baby koala come out of hiding (December 27, 1991)

    Attractions

    This story appeared in the pages of the St. Petersburg Times on December 27, 1991. What follows is the text of the original story, interspersed with photos of the event taken by Times staff photographer Tony Lopez.

    BABY KOALA IS NOW OUT OF POCKET

    By Amber Grimes

    Times staff …

    Kunara, Busch Garden's shy baby koala, has been working his way out of his mother Adele's pouch since his birth.

TIMES | Tony Lopez
  2. Large brush fire burning in Brooker Creek Preserve near Westchase

    Fire

    A large brush fire is burning early Thursday morning in the Brooker Creek Preserve just north of Oldsmar near Westchase, but appears to be contained, according to reports.

  3. Clearwater confronts a new wave of homeless people, many addicted to spice

    Public Safety

    CLEARWATER — Having lived on the streets since 2014, when he said God ordered him to go out and watch over the homeless, Scott Elfstrom has seen new faces brought out by the typical drugs, despair or plain bad luck.

    Clearwater police Sgt. Rodney Johnson talks to a group of homeless people near the Clearwater Police Department. Johnson has worked to decrease the amount of spice being used in the homeless population.
  4. Preservation group's efforts help revitalize Hudson Cemetery

    Human Interest

    HUDSON — Since the 1970s, the area's unhoused could count on Hudson Cemetery as a place to eat, drink and doze. They would crouch behind bushes on the 2 acres — sandwiched between an ABC liquor store and a shopping center — and leave behind beer cans, cigarette butts and rotting clothes. They would …

    Dennis Kingsley, former president of the Hudson Cemetery Preservation Association, looks at recently cleaned headstones at the cemetery. It got a new fence and was cleared of weeds and brush in June.
  5. Adam Putnam