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This time, siege won't take two weeks

One of Citrus County's historic events, a siege by Seminole warriors under Chief Osceola against a U.S. Army stronghold, will be reenacted this weekend during Fort Cooper Days at Fort Cooper State Park.

During the siege, Osceola's warriors repeatedly attacked a contingent of U.S. soldiers who had built a crude fort to house a medical base camp in 1836. The battles took place on the site that is now the state park.

Chief Osceola led the attack. He came to the fort looking for his main adversary, Gen. Duncan Clinch, who was not at the fort. In the two-week battle, the longest continuous fight of the Second Seminole War, one U.S. soldier was killed. No records were kept of Seminole casualties. Osceola was captured not long after the battle and died in prison in 1838 at Fort Moultrie, S.C.

Park officials recommend arriving at least one hour before the reenactment times. The battle site has some bleachers, but they are expected to fill quickly.

The reenactment takes place at the site of the fort, which is on the far side of the lake at Fort Cooper. For those who don't mind a walk of about half a mile, round trip, a sandy foot trail leads to the battle site. Transportation for people with handicaps is provided by the park.

Period crafters and demonstrations are also part of the event. Craft demonstrators include blacksmiths, candlemakers, a cooper, rugweavers and flintnappers.

The state park is at 3100 S Floral City Road, between Inverness and Floral City. Battle times are at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Entertainers include folk singer Tom Sjoberg and The Riverland Cloggers on Saturday. Jesse Watson, Sjoberg and the Riverland Cloggers will perform Sunday.

Admission is $4 for adults, $1 for children 6-17; children under 6 are admitted free. For information, call the park at 726-0315.

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