Make us your home page

37th annual Brooksville Raid Re-enactment will revisit Civil War times

SPRING HILL — Contrary to the stealth of Union troops in 1864, the Blue and the Gray enlisted for the 37th annual Brooksville Raid Re-enactment will descend this weekend with the clatter of hooves, the percussion of musket fire and the boom of cannons.

The re-enactment will take place Saturday and Sunday at the Sand Hill Scout Reservation, where skirmishes may have been fought that July nearly 153 years ago.

While mere onlookers were likely just wee ones on those three summer days, as many as 10,000 visitors are expected each day for this year's replication, officials say.

In other contrasts: Union interlopers numbered a reported 240, disembarked from two ships making landfall at the mouth of the Anclote River, scrambling through woods and gnarly mangroves to Bayport. Re-enactors and their families this year are estimated at 1,500 strong, arriving by pickup truck, horse trailer and RV from throughout Florida and surrounding states to play roles in the largest Civil War replay in the Sunshine State.

Also, Yanks came with pillage on their minds, to destroy salt plants and a cotton warehouse at Bayport, to burn crops, drive off cattle and otherwise disrupt Florida's food sources flowing to Confederate armies farther north. The re-enactors come with pitched battle in mind.

The original soldiers of Blue were likely young and eager. Many of the Gray they encountered were certainly so.

Otherwise, authenticity is the byword, said re-enactment co-chairwomen Joan Casey, involved with the nitty-gritty, and Mary Sheldon, researcher of Civil War histories and times.

The event, sponsored by the Hernando Historical Museum Association and North Pinellas County Scout Sertoma Club, aims to keep history alive and enables hands-on immersion with the war that took more American lives on U.S. land than any other.

Re-enactors will tote in 28 cannons and 60 horses to stage mock battles each day, with both North and South to be accorded a "win." Cannons are coming from as far away as Leesburg, Ga., and as close as Bushnell. Re-enactors bring their own mounts.

"Most artillery is authentic rather than replicas," Casey said. Performers wear authentically reconstructed uniforms of wool, uncomfortably hot in these climes, she noted.

About 50 sutlers, or tradesmen, who followed the troops will replicate their roles, serving up food that enhanced standard rations and selling nonarmament supplies to soldiers.

Visitors line up for fry bread, which was most popular, too, among real-life soldiers, Casey said. Essentially handmade palm-size dough flats fried in oil over a wood-burning stove, they may be topped with fried apples "or anything."

Recent, highly appreciated sutler additions to re-enactment menus are ice cream and ices. The ice cream maker researched her subject, authenticating that it was available during the Civil War, Casey said. Among other offerings, "Root beer is made the old-fashioned way," Casey said, as much as it can be while adhering to modern-day food safety rules.

Sutlers also will hawk such wares as replica uniforms and patches, powder horns, tin cups, hopsacking aprons and ladies dresses.

Period dresses are required for attendance at a ladies tea and ball on opening day. Sutlers, too, will be attired according to the late 1800s.

The 7 lbs. of Bacon Mess Band, appearing daily, will be suitably togged, as well.

With a nod to current comfort, visitors may bring their own lawn chairs; a limited number will be available for rent for $2.

>>if you go

37th Brooksville Raid Re-enactment

What: A period-authentic re-creation of the Civil War raid on Brooksville by Union soldiers, July 6 to 9, 1864

Where: Sand Hill Scout Reservation, 11210 Cortez Blvd., Spring Hill

When: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday

Admission: $10 for adults, $4 for youth ages 6 to 12, $3 for Scouts in uniform and free for kids 5 or younger; free parking

Phone: (352) 799-0129


.if you go



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

9:30 a.m.: Colors presented at battlefield

10:30 a.m.: Ladies tea and ball

Noon: Artillery demonstration

1:30 p.m.: Music by 7 lbs. of Bacon Mess Band

2:30 p.m.: Raid battle


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

9:30 a.m.: Colors presented at battlefield

10 a.m.: Church service

Noon: Artillery demonstration

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

1: 30 p.m.: Grand review

2 p.m.: Raid battle

37th annual Brooksville Raid Re-enactment will revisit Civil War times 01/17/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 4:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Comedy legend Jerry Lewis dead at 91


    LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis, the manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, has died. He was …

    In this Sept. 2, 1990, file photo, entertainer Jerry Lewis makes his opening remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon fundraiser in Los Angeles. Lewis, the comedian whose fundraising telethons became as famous as his hit movies, has died according to his publicist. [Associated Press]
  2. If you miss out on Retro Futura tour, you'll be needing a little 'Tenderness'


    Closing out Retro Futura Week is a little bit of a cheat. We started the week with the English Beat and we end it with an offshoot of the Beat, the band General Public and their hit …

  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 20


    The Art of the Brick: An elaborate display of more than 100 pieces of Lego artwork including the life sized sculpture of a man ripping open his chest, a 20-foot-long T. rex skeleton, a giant skull and replicas of famous works including Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night and Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona …

    Eliana Goldberg, 5, of Wesley Chapel looks at a Lego sculpture called "Everlasting" at The Art of the Brick exhibit, which opened Friday in Tampa and runs through Sept. 4. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters


    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 19


    Monster Jam Triple Threat Series: Come early for the Pit Party ($15 or free at local Ford dealers) to meet the drivers and get pictures with the trucks. 7 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $15-$80. (813) 301-2500.

    A crew member from the El Toro Loco monster truck, installs a truck tire, Thursday, 8/17/17 in preparation for Saturday's  Monster Jam Triple Threat Series at Amalie Arena, Tampa. The event will be held Saturday at 1pm and 7 pm.