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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Dec. 4, 201312:00 PM EST

Proposed Civil War monument protested

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The state parks system is on the hot seat and a House leader is calling for action over a proposed monument to Union soldiers at the site of the biggest Civil War battle fought in Florida.

The bid to add a Union monument to the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park near Lake City has drawn a furious response, with about 100 people attending a public hearing at the Columbia County School District Auditorium.

Passions ran high, at one point erupting in a spontaneous chorus of “Dixie” led by a black man, H.K. Edgerton, who called Union soldiers rapists and wielded his large Confederate flag like a conductor’s baton as the audience sang.

Speakers blasted the proposal as disturbing hallowed ground in a rural community where most families stay for generations.

“Putting a Union monument at Olustee would be like placing a memorial to Jane Fonda at the entrance to the Vietnam memorial,” said Leon Duke, a veteran.

The park is in the Osceola National Forest, 50 miles west of Jacksonville and 15 miles east of Lake City. It was the site of a four-hour battle on Feb. 20, 1864, in which Union forces were routed by Confederate troops. 

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