Ocala in Marion County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Fort King National Historic Landmark
The start of the Second Seminole War:
The first attack on that deadly day
On December 23, 1835, two companies of U.S. troops were dispatched from Fort Brooke in Tampa under the leadership of Brevet Major Francis L. Dade. Their mission was to resupply and reinforce the troops at Fort King.
On the morning of December 28. 1835 the troops were ambushed near present day Bushnell by a group of Seminole under the leadership of Chief Micanopy. Micanopy and his men decimated the soldiers, and only one of the 110 soldiers survived. This event is known as the Dade Massacre.
by Seminole leader Halpatter Tustenuggee (Alligator)
“We had been preparing for this more than a year. Though promises had been made to assemble on the 1st of January, it was not to leave the country, but to fight for it. In council, it was determined to strike a decided blow about this time. Our agent at Fort King had put irons on our men and said we must
Osceola said he was his friend, he would see to him. It was determined that he should attack Fort King, in order to reach General Thompson, then return to the Wahoo Swamp, and participate in the assault mediated upon the soldiers coming from Fort Brooke, as the negroes there had reported companies were preparing to march. He was detained longer than we anticipated.
The troops were three days on their march, and approaching the Swamp. Here we thought it best to assail them; and should we be defeated the Swamp would be a safe place to retreat. Our scouts were out from the time the soldiers left their post, and reported each night their place of encampment. It was our intention to attack them on the third night, but the absence of Osceola and Micanopy prevented it.
On the arrival of the latter it was agreed not to wait for Osceola, as the favorable moment would pass. Micanopy was timid, and urged delay. Jumper earnestly opposed it, and reproached the old Chief for his decision. He addressed the Indians and requested those who had faint hearts to remain behind; he was going when Micanopy said he was ready.
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; opposite
The cannon was discharged several times, but the men who loaded it were shot down as soon as the smoke cleared away; the balls passed far over our heads. The soldiers shouted and whooped, and the officers shook their swords and swore. There was a little man, a great brave, who shook his sword at the soldiers and said, “God-dam!” No riffle-ball could hit him.
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 above another, with the cannon a short distance off. This they discharged at us several times, but we avoided it by dodging behind the trees just as they applied the fire. We soon came near, as the balls, as the balls went over us. They had guns, but no powder, we looked in the boxes afterwards and found they were empty.
When I got inside the log-pen, there were three white men alive, whom the negroes put to death, after a conversation in English. There was a brave man in the pen; he would not give up; he seized an Indian, Jumper’s cousin, took away his rifle, and with one blow with it beat out his brains then ran some distance up to the road; but two Indians on horseback overtook him, who, afraid to approach, stood at a distance and shot him down.
The firing had ceased, and all was quiet when we returned to the swamp about noon. We left many negroes upon the ground looking at the dead men. Three warriors were killed and five wounded.”
✶ Note that errors in spelling and grammar are of the original writer
Erected by Florida Department of State/Division of Historical Resources.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts and Castles • Native Americans • Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers • Wars, US Indian. A significant historical date for this entry is December 28, 1835.
Location. 29° 11.237′ N, 82° 4.985′ W. Marker is in Ocala, Florida, in Marion County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of East Fort King Street and SE 39th Avenue. Marker is located on the grounds of the Fort King National Historic Landmark. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3925 E Fort King St, Ocala FL 34470, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Attack on Fort King (here, next to this marker); It was a Hard Life at Fort King (a few steps from this marker); Treaty of Payne’s Landing (a few steps from this marker); The Treaty of Moultrie Creek (a few steps from this marker); The U.S. Army on the frontier (within shouting distance of this marker); The Second Seminole War / The Third Seminole War (within shouting distance of this marker); The Seminole War (within shouting distance of this marker); The First Seminole War (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ocala.
Also see . . .
1. Dade Massacre. (Submitted on July 7, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida.)
2. Fort King National Historic Landmark. (Submitted on July 7, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 13, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 7, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 141 times since then and 58 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 7, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.