Dade Battlefield Historic State Park

One cold Sunday morning we went to the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park for a historic reenactment. The cold weather caused a decrease in the number of participants, but there were several tents up. Seminoles usually lived in thatched huts and log cabins but they did use tents when hunting. A reenactors told us that they were using the traditional 4-log fire - this reduces smoke. 
Over time Seminoles adopted some of the clothing styles from scouts they ran into. They favored buckskin leggings, long shirts with long sleeves, and sashes. Many tribes used strips of calico like a headband or turban. They must have been an impressive sight; the guys today sure were.
The story goes that in 1824 a large area in Central Florida was designated as a reservation for Seminoles Indians, who had to give up their lands across the Florida peninsula and move there. After a few years, as usual, settlers decided they wanted the reservation land, too. And the Indian population included a number of Black Seminoles, descendants from free black people. (The Gullah people of South Carolina were part of the same culture.) Slave traders weren't picky about who they "captured", and would take these people if they could, which, since they lived in Seminole land, aggravated the Indians. Eventually the government decided the answer to the problem would be to move the Indians again. The Indians thought differently. The government responded by sending in troops. At this time the troops wore blue uniforms and black leather forage caps. 
They had long muskets with attachable bayonets, and they trained to be able to reload up to 3 times a minute.  Unfortunately these guns couldn't hit anything beyond 100 yards, and while the Indians couldn't load their smaller rifles as fast, they were a lot more accurate. 
On December 28,1835, Major Dade and 108 soldiers went for a 100 march through the reservation, looking for the tribes. The story was narrated for us by reenactors representing a soldier who survived the battle and the Indian chief. As they were setting the scene, we could sometimes see Indians riding through the forest in the background.  
The Seminoles decided an ambush would be their best strategy. The troops made it through the obvious places for an ambush and were starting to relax, with 40 miles to go, when the attack started. It took six hours, but eventually all but 3 of the soldiers were killed. 
One of those was shot later, but two made it back to Forte Brooke. And in 1980, history enthusiasts started reenacting the battle.

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