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INVERNESS — Whether they chose to walk down the path or ride the tram, spectators had one mission — to watch the Seminoles fight the U.S. soldiers battle.
Fort Cooper Days, a two-day event with battle re-enactments, continues today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fort Cooper State Park, 3100 S. Old Floral City Road, Inverness. Re-enactments will be at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Hundreds of visitors watched the Saturday re-enactment that portrayed the battle on April 4, 1836, at Fort Cooper, which was surrounded by 500 Seminole Indians. One U.S. soldier’s negligence cost him his life.
“Pvt. Cook made a mistake by trying to run off and didn’t know what to do before a Seminole came and killed him,” said Ty Beswick, who portrayed Pvt. Cook during the re-enactment. “One soldier was killed and 20 militias were severely wounded.”
Before and after the re-enactment, guests visited with men and women portraying U.S. settlers, soldiers and Seminoles. Period acts, living history demonstrations, crafts, food and exhibits educated those who wanted to learn more about Florida’s history and their heritage.
“Seminoles found here knew the soldiers were out of food,” said Earl DeBary, a Seminole Indian re-enactor. “They knew that they were getting close on ammunition. They didn’t really want to fight them; they just wanted them to leave.”
Fort Cooper State park ranger Dianne Drye stressed during the re-enactments cannons and guns will fire and black-powder smoke will be present. Protective barriers are in place and pet owners should consider their pet’s sensitivity to loud sounds.
“We recommend people get here at least 30 minutes prior to the re-enactment to allow for ample time to get to the fort site,” Drye said.
Mobility-impaired transportation will be available for those in need at the West end of the picnic area.
Fort Cooper Days was hosted by the Friends of Fort Cooper State Park. Admission money will be used to support other events at the park such as Nights of Lights. Funds are also used to make park improvements.
For information about the event or the park, visit www.floridastateparks.org/fortcooper/ or call 352-726-0315.
Contact Chronicle reporter Eryn Worthington at 352-563-5660, ext. 1334, or email@example.com.
* WHAT: Fort Cooper Days.
* WHEN: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today with re-enactments at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
* WHERE: Fort Cooper State Park, 3100 S. Old Floral City Road, Inverness.
* ADMISSION: $6 for adults, children 12 years old and younger free.
* CONTACT: www.floridastateparks.org/fortcooper/ or call (352) 726-0315.