On December 23rd, 1835 Major Francis Dade, with 106 officers and soldiers, left Fort Brooke (Tampa Bay) on a 100 mile march to Fort King (Ocala). Roughly 180 Seminole attacked them on December 28th and, at the end of this day long battle, there were only two soldiers still alive. One died the next day and the other, private Ransom Clark, made it back to Fort Brooke to report on the ambush. Thus started the 2nd Seminole War.
The Florida State Park system created the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park to preserve the battle site located next to Bushnell, Florida. Each year, in early January, the Dade Battlefield Society, Inc. sponsors the battle reenactment. It occurs just a few hundred feet from the site of the real battle and 2012 was the 32nd annual reenactment.
We attended Saturday’s activities, which included going through the camps, visiting with the sutlers (merchants who followed the armies), watching demonstrations, and viewing the battle. We even did a quick walk through one of the park’s nature trails. We learned a bit this time around. As it turned out, the place we chose to photograph the battle from (front, center and low to the ground) was not the best we could have selected. But we did get some interesting pictures. Next year we will select something better. It was an enjoyable day over all and we’re looking forward to photographing more battles as the season goes on.
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