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Lost Brooklyn: The Buffalo Soldier's house

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(Modern Cities)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Halfway through the Civil War, in March 1863, black Union soldiers occupied Confederate Jacksonville for nearly three weeks.

The following February, the United States sent 7,000 troops to Confederate Florida, including three black regiments.

When the Confederacy scored a resounding victory at the Battle of Olustee, Jacksonville, more than 40 miles east, became a defensive wall against Confederate advancement. Black soldiers manned a Union stockade with a 12-foot moat and heavy artillery guns through the marshes of what’s now inner-city LaVilla down to Brooklyn, where Camp Foster stood near the current intersection of Jackson and Magnolia streets.

Shotgun houses bear gables toward the street, with one long side hallway, front door to back, through which you could shoot the eponymous shotgun. Dogtrots bear rooms to either side of a central breezeway. Hall-and-parlor houses took root in the Southern countryside, which inner-city Brooklyn was in the 1870s, but rarely in cities.

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