PALM COAST, Fla. — Squeals of excitement carried across the battlefield as youngsters of today watched Civil War reenactors jockey for control of the battle on Saturday.

Florida regiment horses galloped bravely as their riders fired on the enemy, and cannons fired one after the other, while soldiers fell to the ground.

Staging the Pellicer Creek Raid over the weekend at the Florida Agricultural Museum, it’s as close to the Civil War as anyone wants to get. Based on a battle between pickets from the 7th New Hampshire Infantry and the 2nd Florida Cavalry, he said took place outside of St. Augustine, Colonel Keith Cole worked to coordinate the battle with historic accuracy from the attire to the battle cries of “Keep ‘em hot, boys”.

“I just finished 41 years as a reenactor. I was 14 when I started and here I am, still a history nut,” said Cole proudly.

“Everybody does this for different reasons. Me, I’m a history nut. I’ve been a history nut since my brother and I were able to walk and talk. Now I get to come out and live it. So many of the things I enjoy, camping, history, all gets rolled into one.”

Made up of history buffs, the chance to authentically immerse oneself in a particular time period is a big part of the allure. Cole has reenacted events in eight states, one foreign country, played a movie star once, and has been a movie extra, multiple times.

Recreating battles and time periods can be a pricey when getting started and Cole’s advice to people interested in getting involved is to dip their toe in and see if it’s for them first.

“We have a lot of people who walk up to us and say, this looks really cool and I’d like to try it,” said Cole. “Try it once. A lot of units have loaner equipment, because this is an expensive hobby. Everything we’re wearing, we own, individually.”

Living History, A Global Activity

The reenactment community attracts participants from all walks of life. People love the opportunity to shuck the daily responsibilities of today and immerse themselves in period characters according to Shorty Robbins, a member of the reenactment community for 25 years.

Part of the Golden Tea Cup Society, Robbins and her fellow reenactors staged a settlement behind the Clark Homestead on the museum property demonstrating what life would have been like during the 1860’s.

“Golden Tea Cup has always been bringing new people in, helping them get situated. The Florida Authentic Civilian Towne group is total immersion, live it all the time, nothing modern, at events,” she shared.

Even the soldiers created their own encampments just across the property near the Old Florida Museum, another Florida Ag Museum treasure trove.

Visitors to the museum over the two days of events walked through the encampments, talked with the reenactors or took guided hayride tours around the property before heading off to the battle, attending a historic tea party or historic photography talk.

An historical tea party and attire discussion.

“This event is extremely important to the Florida Agricultural Museum as well as our community, to tell a story that is so important to Florida history. It’s a way to educate the public about a slice of history. We try to throw in the impact it had on Florida agriculture during that time period,” said Florida Agricultural Museum Executive Director Kara Hoblick.

Those Who Don’t Remember History …

Various forms of the Pellicer Creek Raid have been taking place since 2010. On hiatus for several years, this weekend’s event drew Kevin Finn from Macclenny, Florida to the Florida Agricultural Museum. Participating in national reenactments, he’s been invited to the Gettysburg reenactment.

Finn says remembering and teaching history, the good and the bad, is important.

“First of all, we need to preserve our history. I think this is a good way for them to come and see hey what is this all about.” contributed to this report.