Sunday, March 24, 2024

Native Americans wipe out U.S. Army command (Not Custer)


On December 23, 1835, one hundred and ten men under the command of Major Francis Dade left Fort Brooke (present-day Tampa), to reinforce and resupply Fort King (present-day Ocala).   Relations between the United States and the Seminoles in Florida had grown increasingly hostile as the U.S. Army tried to forcefully relocate the Seminole to reservations in Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma).

Major Dade knew he might be attacked, but having crossed several rivers and the thicker woods, he felt relatively safe and called in his flanking scouts in order to increase the speed of the marching column. Major Dade had no idea of the number of enemies he might be facing or where they might be.  His column was now completely blind.  Meanwhile, Seminole scouts watched the troops in their sky-blue uniforms every foot of the way.

The troops marched for five quiet days until December 28, when they were just south of the present-day city of Bushnell. Suddenly, they withered under a volley of fire delivered by one hundred and eighty hidden Seminole warriors.  Major Dade and half of his men were brought down immediately.

No organized defense was made.  The cannon was discharged several times, but the men around it were quickly shot down.  Most of the soldiers, still in two single file lines, were quickly killed.   Only three U.S. soldiers were reported to have survived the attack.

Lack of intelligence about the enemy, combined with the enemy’s use of terrain and the element of surprise account for this U.S. Army defeat.

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