Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dedication Monument at Yellow Bluff State Park.  Photo credit: Florida State Parks.
It's our favorite month of the year again, Florida Archaeology Month! This year's theme is the Civil War.  As part of our celebration, our blog will take a look at some of northeast Florida's Civil War sites to visit.

First on our list of sites to explore is Yellow Bluff Historic State Park, located on New Berlin Road in Jacksonville.

Yellow Bluff is an unobtrusive little site; it was mainly an earthwork, so not much has been built or installed on its grounds.  But though it may not seem all that glamorous, the fortification there played an important role for defending the St. Johns River during the Civil War.  Established by the Confederacy in the summer of 1862, it stood across from a companion fortification across the river on St. Johns Bluff.  The mouth of the St. Johns proved a critical point of control for both armies as a shipping port for cattle and other desperately needed supplies.

Yellow Bluff also bears the distinction of having been operated at the hands of the 8th Regiment of United States Colored Troops.

If you visit the site today, you can still see some of the T-shaped earthen berms established by the Confederacy in 1862.  You will also see cannon, but don't be fooled!  These cannon were not a part of Yellow Bluff's defenses originally.  Deriving from a shipwreck salvaged in the 1930s, these cannon are actually British weapons from about 1700.

NOT a Civil War-era cannon!  Photo credit: Florida State Parks.

Yellow Bluff Historic State Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.  Find more information on the park here and here.

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