Seminole Wars

Bushnell Travel Blog

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Dade Battlefield State Park

The "Dade Massacre" was a 1835 defeat for the United States Army that started the Second Seminole War, which lasted until 1842.

On December 23, 1835, 110 U.S. troops under Major Francis L. Dade departed from Fort Brooke (present-day Tampa) and headed up the King Highway (military road) on a resupply and reinforce mission to Fort King (present-day Ocala). Dade knew his men might be attacked by Seminole Indians who were shadowing his men, but believed that if an attack were to occur, it would occur during one of the river crossings or in the thicker woods to the south. Having passed these, he felt safe and recalled his flanking scouts in order that the command could move faster.

Although the terrain he was now in, pines and palmettos, could not have concealed anyone who was standing or walking, it could and did conceal crouched or prone warriors waiting in ambush. The Seminoles did not refrain from attacking in the other places because they thought they could achieve better surprise later, but because they were waiting for Osceola to join them. They finally gave up waiting and attacked without him.

The troops marched for five quiet days until December 28, when they were just south of the present-day city of Bushnell, Florida. They were passing through a high hammock with oaks, pines, cabbage palms, and saw palmetto when a shot rang out.

In the late afternoon of that day, 180 Seminoles lay in wait approximately 25 miles (40 km) south of Fort King. The Seminoles had terrain and the element of surprise in their favor. Major Dade, who was on horseback, was killed in the Seminoles' first volley, by all accounts, by the very first shot, which by pre-arranged plan began the attack. Many of the soldiers, in two single file lines, were also quickly killed; few managed to get their flintlock rifles from underneath their heavy winter coats.

An eyewitness account by Seminole leader Halpatter Tustenuggee (Alligator, as the white man called him) read as follows:

"We had been preparing for this more than a year... Just as the day was breaking, we moved out of the swamp into the pine-barren. I counted, by direction of Jumper, one hundred and eighty warriors.

Upon approaching the road, each man chose his position on the west side... About nine o'clock in the morning the command approached... So soon as all the soldiers were opposite... Jumper gave the whoop, Micanopy fired the first rifle, the signal agreed upon, when every Indian arose and fired, which laid upon the ground, dead, more than half the white men. The cannon was discharged several times, but the men who loaded it were shot down as soon as the smoke cleared away... As we were returning to the swamp supposing all were dead, an Indian came up and said the white men were building a fort of logs. Jumper and myself, with ten warriors, returned. As we approached, we saw six men behind two logs placed one above another, with the cannon a short distance off... We soon came near, as the balls went over us.
Seminole Chief Micanopy
They had guns, but no powder, we looked in the boxes afterwards and found they were empty".

Only three U.S. soldiers purportedly survived the attack. One was killed the next day by a Seminole. Ransome Clarke, although badly wounded made it back to Fort Brooke, where he provided the only narrative from the Army's side of what had occurred. A third soldier also returned to Fort Brooke, but died a few months later without leaving a report of the battle. The dead soldiers were buried at the site.

- The ambush that the Seminoles prepared for the soldiers can be compared as a version of the ambush prepared for the Romans by Hannibal and his Carthaginians during the Second Punic Wa at the Battle of Lake Trasimene although in miniature. Both featured an army marching on a road attacked by surprise from the left while a body of water lay to the right.

Seminole Chief Ocseola

The Seminole are a Native America  people originally of Florida who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation was formed in the 18th century and was composed of Native Americans from Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama, most significantly the Creek Nation, as well as African Americans who escaped to Florida from slavery in South Carolina and Georgia. While roughly 3,000 Seminoles were forced west of the Mississippi River during Indian Removal, including the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, who picked up new members along their way, approximately 300 to 500 Seminoles stayed and fought in and around the Everglades of Florida. In a series of wars against the Seminoles in Florida, about 1,500 U.S. soldiers died. The Seminoles never surrendered to the United States government, hence, the Seminoles of Florida call themselves the "Unconquered People.

Flatwoods, palmetto's and pine tree's
" Today they have sovereignty over their tribal lands and an economy based on tobacco sales, tourism, and gambling and entertainment.

In the late 18th century, the members of the Lower Creek Nation began to migrate into Florida to remove themselves from the dominance of the Upper Creeks. They intermingled with the few remaining indigenous people there, some recently arrived as refugees after the Yamasee War such as the Yuchi, Yamasee, and others. They went on to be called "Seminole", a derivative of the Mvskoke' (a Creek language) word simano-li, an adaptation of the Spanish "cimarrĂ³n" which means "wild" (in their case, "wild men"), or "runaway" [men]. The Seminole were a heterogeneous tribe made up of mostly Lower Creeks from Georgia, Mikasuki-speaking Muskogees, and escaped African-American slaves, and to a lesser extent, Indians from other tribes and white Europeans.

The unified Seminole spoke two languages, Creek and Mikasuki (a modern dialect similar to Hitchiti), two different members of the Muskogean Native American languages family, a language group that includes Choctaw and Chickasaw. It is chiefly on linguistic grounds that the modern Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida maintain their separate identity today.

The Seminole were on good terms with both the Spanish and the British. In 1784, the treaty ending the American Revolutionary War returned all of Florida to Spanish control. The Spanish Empire's decline allowed the Seminole to settle more deeply into Florida. The Seminole were led by a dynasty of chiefs founded in the 18th century by Cowkeeper. This dynasty lasted until 1842, when the majority of Seminoles were forced to move from Florida to the Indian Territory (modern Oklahoma) after the Second Seminole War.

www.floridastateparks.org/dadebattlefield

 

bkretzer says:
Well written blog, Ed! Very interesting!
Posted on: Apr 18, 2009
Andy99 says:
Very interesting, Ed! I'd like to see this historic park some time.
Posted on: Apr 18, 2009
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Dade Battlefield State Park
Dade Battlefield State Park
Seminole Chief Micanopy
Seminole Chief Micanopy
Seminole Chief Ocseola
Seminole Chief Ocseola
Flatwoods, palmettos and pine tre…
Flatwoods, palmetto's and pine tr…
Dade Battlefield State Park
Dade Battlefield State Park
Dade Battlefield State Park museum
Dade Battlefield State Park museum
Seminole crafts
Seminole crafts
American solider uniform
American solider uniform
Seminole indian
Seminole indian
Seminole game
Seminole game
Flatwoods
Flatwoods
Mike
Mike
Mike
Mike
Me
Me
Mike
Mike
Pinecone
Pinecone
Me
Me
Bushnell Sights & Attractions review
Dade Battlefield Historic State Park
Two dollars a car load gets you into the park. The first stop is the museum. Take the time to check it out. Very interesting!! I also suggest reading … read entire review
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photo by: ejames01