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> Battle At Gainesville
Gainesville was very fortunate during the Civil War-there were only two skirmishes, or battles, neither too destructive. The most important battle occurred on February 15, 1864. A description of the event can be seen on a Florida Historical Marker in front of the City Hall: "The first Civil War gunfire in Gainesville's streets came…when a raiding party of 50 men from the 40th Massachusetts Cavalry entered the City to attempt the capture of two trains. The raid was unproductive, for the Federal troops were met and repulsed by the Second Florida Cavalry at what is now Main Street at University Avenue. Five days later, the main Federal force was defeated at the battle of Olustee, 50 miles to the north." About 2,500 people lived in Gainesville on August 17, 1864, when the second battle (depicted in this drawing from the Courier Journal) occurred. An estimated 303 Union troops, under the command of Colonel A. H. Harris, occupied the city. A force of 275 dismounted Florida Cavalry, commanded by Captain John Jackson Dickison, moved up from the south and the forces joined in what was the second most important Civil War battle in Gainesville. The Federals were driven from the City after a brisk fight and suffered severe casualties. The battle line formed along Depot Avenue, from Southeast 4th to Southwest 2nd Streets. The home on the right has a sign that says "Beville House."
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