LARGO - Lewis Zerfas aka Lieutenant Edward York McCauley, Commander of the U.S.S. Fort Henry, addressed the Largo Chamber of Commerce at their business luncheon July 11 at East Bay Country Club.
Zerfas is a co-founder of the U.S.S. Fort Henry unit and has been reenacting for the past thirteen years.
He explained how members of the U.S.S. Fort Henry portray the former crewmen of the U.S. Navy gunboat which was stationed off the coast of Florida during the civil war.
The group works to keep the image of U.S. navy sailors and marines living in that era fresh in our minds.
The actors conduct period naval and nautical living history demonstrations, battle reenactments, school programs, parades, memorial services, and perform traditional sailor's music.
Those interested in area history will want to save the dates of November 11-12, Veteran's Day, as the crewmen will be hosting a living history on Egmont Key.
Egmont Key is accessible by boat and ferry service which operates on weekends from Fort De Soto Park to the Key.
During the civil war, Egmont Key was in the hands of the Confederate home guard but later was captured by the U.S. Navy and became a supply station, hospital and home for displaced Unionist citizens.
Confederates were imprisoned on the island, which was also used as a cemetery during the war. The original Civil War era lighthouse still stands.
The Veteran's Day event will focus on Egmont Key during various timelines, including the Seminole Indian War, Civil War, and Spanish American War.
Members of the U.S.S. Fort Henry will portray the three year Federal Navy occupation of the island from 1862-65.
During that period, Egmont Key was a U.S. Navy supply station for ships on blockade duty along Florida's Gulf Coast. It was also the Squadron's headquarters for a month when an outbreak of Yellow Fever claimed the fort at Key West.
Also planned for the Civil War portion of the event will be Confederate reenactors in the roles of the early (1861) occupation of the island, along with civilian reenactors portraying the "Unionists", civilians mostly from the Pinellas Peninsula who were loyal to the U.S.
Go to www.ussforthenry.com for more information on the U.S.S. Fort Henry living history upcoming event and to learn facts of interest concerning Tampa Bay's civil war days.
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