When the Whiteman Invaded Florida

January 2012

Today we visited Dade Battlefield State Park for their 32nd Annual Reenactment of the battle of December 28, 1835. The weather was perfect and we were very excited to attend this event. We had been to a few Civil War Reenactments but never one dated prior to. Many persons traveling Interstate 75 mistake this park as a Civil War Battlefield. They would not be correct.  Before the Civil War was event thought of there was wars over Indian Territory. This is the story of one of those battles. We were walking on hallowed ground.

Dade Battlefield Main Entrance

Dade Battlefield Main Entrance

Upon arriving we walked through period camps of both the soldiers and the Seminole Indians. It was wonderful seeing so many participants! There was much activity in both of the camps. Women were cooking, children playing, men cleaning their guns and telling stories. After muzzle loader and primitive archery demonstrations we walked through the trader’s camp. There was so much to see and learn there as well, the food was pretty good to!

Seminole Camp

Seminole Camp

Soldier Camp

Soldier Camp

Soon it was time for the battle to start. Benjamin Dehart “The Cracker Tenor” started out the festivities with folk songs about the soldiers, Indians and the wilds of Florida. Park staff then came out and told us about the park and its history followed by Seminole Dress and Soldier Uniform Demonstrations. Then we were told the battle from both sides by wonderful narrators that stood along the battlefield as the fight commenced.

"The Cracker Tenor" Benjamin Dehart

"The Cracker Tenor" Benjamin Dehart

Seminole Dress Demonstration

Seminole Dress Demonstration

Soldier Dress Demonstration

Soldier Dress Demonstration

Telling the Seminoles side of the story

Telling the Seminoles side of the story

As the soldiers approached the battle began, Here is part of the story:

Not long after Spain sold Florida to the United States, settlers began encroaching upon these new lands. Settlers wanted land and escaped slaves wanted freedom…no one asked the Seminoles what they wanted. Over the next 30 years their lands were claimed and taken acre by acre. Black people were returned to slavery. When the Seminoles and the blacks began to resist, the settlers called for government help, that’s when the soldiers came. Forts were built roads were cleared. Two of these forts were Fort Brooke and Fort King. The Seminoles were asked to leave – this was no longer their home.

Dade's Battle Begins

Dade's Battle Begins

Fort Brooke at Tampa Bay was to send reinforcement up to Fort King (now known as Ocala) 100 miles away. On the morning of December 23rd, 1835, 108 soldiers led by Brevet Major Francis Langhorne Dade left Ft Brooke to march north 100 miles. On the sixth day they were attacked by Seminole Indians. At the end of a day long battle, the officers and men of Dade’s command had been destroyed. The Second Seminole War had begun.

The battle ends,and the Second Seminole War begins....

The battle ends,and the Second Seminole War begins....

We learned a lot about Florida history today. Things school books did not provide, or that we had forgotten since our school days. It was hard to put yourself in the shoes of either person, on either side of this battle. So next time you are driving past this park on I 75. Take a few minutes to take the exit at Bushnell and travel a few minutes off the highway. Take a trip back in time. Park Rangers and volunteers will be more than happy to show you around the visitor’s center and point out memorials of the fallen soldiers. Even better – visit them for the next reenactment event. This is fun for the whole family!

Fun for all ages!

Fun for all ages!

For more information on Dade Battlefield State Park visit: http://www.dadebattlefield.com

We do have other events coming up in the area as well!

41st Alafia River Rendezvous – Jan. 20 and 21st, 2012 for more information visit http://www.floridafrontiersmen.org

Fort Foster Rendezvous at Hillsborough River State Park/Fort Foster  Feb. 9-12th for more information visit: http://www.floridastateparks.org/hillsboroughriver/events.cfm?viewevent=6819#6819

Big Cypress Shootout Feb 24-26, 2012 for more information visit: http://www.BCShootout.com

For information on other state parks in Florida please visit http://www.floridastateparks.org

To hear more of the music of Benjamin Dehart check out http://www.thecrackertenor.com/

Don’t forget to visit our website as well http://www.notaclueadventures.com

Videos for event posted on our YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/Notacluegal

Additional Photos will be posted at : http://www.facebook.com/notaclueadventures?sk=photos

See you on the trail!

Jeanene

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About notacluegal

Jeanene was born in Pittsburgh, PA. As a young child her family was very active in the outdoors. Things changed when her parents decided to travel down different paths in life and with that decision so went many of the opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Being lucky to live in the suburbs Jeanene always had a backyard to play in and loved being outdoors. As the years passed she took every opportunity to be outdoors. She bought land in Tennessee and as a single mom moved her young daughter to the mountains. The were many life lessons learned on that mountain. There was no plumbing on the property – or even a house, but that did not stop her. She learned to live off of what was available and built her own cabin from the trees on her property. Those were rough years but the most rewarding. Now Jeanene resides in Tampa, Fl. and works as an office manager full time….but still yeans to be outdoors. Jeanene started “Not a Clue Adventures” to teach everyone she could how wonderful the outdoors are! That camping and fishing and hiking can be done by everyone and at many different levels. Single mom’s no longer have to be afraid to take their sons and daughters outdoors. By working with young couples, single parents and even seniors, she gets to teach others about her love for the outdoors and hopes to open their eyes to new adventures. In 2009, Jeanene completed certification as a Leave No Trace Instructor. She also works closely with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and the Florida State Parks. Jeanene is also certified in First Aid/Adult CPR.
This entry was posted in Activities, History, Local Parks, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to When the Whiteman Invaded Florida

  1. travelingmad says:

    Wow thanks for sharing this! I used to live in Florida (Jacksonville) and had never known about this. It would be pretty cool to watch history reenacted, especially for children that may have read about it.

  2. stephglaser says:

    Interesting information — this would be very educational to take kids to visit. Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by Travel Oops! Steph

  3. I quite like re-enactments – have to admit though, I’d probably be mostly on the side of the ‘injuns’ myself!

  4. How interesting! I learned a lot from your narrative and photos. Thank you so much for sharing.

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