On Tuesday, 10th, our journey took us to the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park. This battle took place on December 28th, 1835 and sparked the Second Seminole War.
Here is some background information:
“Tensions were extremely high in Florida when Major Dade and 108 men marched out from Fort Brooke (today's Tampa) in late December of 1835. The U.S. Government was attempting to force the Seminoles to voluntarily relocate to new lands west of the Mississippi. Hundreds of Seminole chiefs and warriors were opposed to the move. Although several small encounters had taken place, open warfare had not yet erupted.
Dade and his men were marching, with a single piece of artillery, to reinforce the garrison at Fort King, a frontier stockade on the present site of Ocala. The soldiers were wary of possible attack, but by the 28th had emerged from the thick swamps along their route and were marching through fairly open pine lands.
The day was very cold and, more relaxed now that they had emerged from the thickets and swamps, the men were wearing heavy coats over their weapons. Major Dade and an advance guard were slightly ahead of the main column, but the soldiers had no scouts out on their flanks.
According to one survivor, Private Ransom Clarke, the major had just promised the men a three day Christmas rest when they reached Fort King when suddenly a shot rang out. Unknown to Dade and his men, they had been watched for days since they had left Tampa Bay and were now walking into an ambush laid by around 200 Seminole warriors. The Native American leaders Micanopy, Jumper and Alligator were all on the field.
Following the signal shot, the Seminoles opened fire from the cover of palmetto and high grass and Major Dade, his horse, and roughly half the column went down in the first volley. One survivor told Major F.S. Belton that fifteen rounds were fired by the Indians before the soldiers ever actually saw a warrior.
The Seminoles swarmed forward, but were driven back by the fire of Dade's cannon. The artillery blasts caused a pause in the battle long enough for the soldiers to regroup.
Taking advantage of the brief lull they threw up a triangular breastwork of logs. It was only about three logs high, however, when the Seminoles attacked again. Archaeologists later found piles of flattened rifle balls at the site of the log breast works.
When the smoke finally cleared, virtually the entire army force had been wiped out. Dade, his officers and at least 103 men were dead.
Four soldiers, all badly wounded, survived the attack. Among these were Privates John Thomas and Ransom Clarke of Company C, 2nd U.S. Artillery. Despite their wounds, Thomas and Clarke carried the news of the attack back to Fort Brooke. A third survivor, Joseph Sprague, also reached the fort before dying, but a fourth was killed before he could make it to Tampa Bay. Dade's interpreter Louis Pacheco, was either captured or voluntarily went over to the Seminoles.
Although there had been several small skirmishes or incidents before the 28th, it was the destruction of Dade's command that sparked the Second Seminole War.”
We started at the visitor center with a 12 minute movie on the battle and then went thru the museum.
Two of the items that I found interesting:
We then walked to where the battle took place. This is the military road:
The log breast works:
Think about that…over 100 bodies laid here for about 7 weeks – I just couldn’t even imagine what that expedition saw!
The end of the trail – there were three monuments erected where the leaders were killed.
Notice the trees in the above photos – they were huge.
It is a nice little park and if you are in the area, take the time to learn about a piece of our history. The cost was $3.00 per vehicle.
They also have activities all year long. Today there was a class on making pine needle baskets – sorry I missed it – .
Their web page can be found here: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Dade-Battlefield
On Wednesday, 11th, we got caught up on some chores around the motorhome (washing, cleaning, email, etc.). Tomorrow we are heading south so stay tuned and enjoy today.