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Re-enactors will bring famous battle to life

The annual re-enactment of Dade's Battle at the Dade Battlefield State Historic Site in Sumter County will be this weekend.

This weekend, re-enactors will bring to life the famous battle between the Seminoles and Army Maj. Francis Langhorne Dade in December 1835.

This weekend will mark the 20th annual re-enactment of Dade's Battle at the Dade Battlefield State Historic Site in Sumter County.

The yearly event commemorating the Second Seminole War battle is the park's biggest draw.

The battle re-enactment, highlighted by cannon and musket fire, tells the story of Dade, who marched his troops for five days from Fort Brooke, on Tampa Bay, to Fort King, near Ocala, to reinforce the garrison in December 1835.

Not one of the 108 soldiers made it to Fort King.

The attack on them by the Seminole Indians launched the Second Seminole War.

The re-enactment is set for Saturday and Sunday. Sunday's performance will feature narration by Frank Laumer, who has published two books on Dade's Battle.

Laumer, 74, will tell the story of the battle, but not through the eyes of Dade, who fell with the battle's first shot. Instead, he will tell the story through the voice of a 23-year-old infantryman, Ransom Clark, one of three soldiers who survived.

Pioneer craft artisans will be on hand to demonstrate blacksmithing, spinning, weaving, whittling and soap making.

Visitors are invited to wander through authentic Army and Indian encampments and talk with re-enactors from both sides.

The re-enactment will be at the Dade Battlefield Historic Site on County Road 476 near Bushnell. Re-enactments will be at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and gates open at 9 a.m. Admission is $5 for adults; children 12 and younger are free. Refreshments will be available.

For information, call (352) 793-4781.