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19 May 1840--One of the Bloodiest Battles of the War

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The Battle of Bridgewater by Lake Levy between Micanopy and Wacahoota is one of the bloodiest battles of the 2SW. Almost completely forgotten until I researched it back around 1995.

Around that time, I was looking through Sprague's list of soldiers killed in the war, and the causes. I was making a list of how many were actually killed in battle. I came up with some interesting figures, that you can see on my web page, "Soldier deaths from Seminoles--the statistics." http://www.southernhistory.us/solddeth.htm

You can read further about that. What I want to talk about here is Bridgewater.

Bridgewater is high up on the list of deaths by Seminole. Even outranks Harney's trading post on the Caloosahatchee by one more killed. And only behind Dade Battlefield and Okeechobee in number of deaths.

Why it was forgotten all these years is a mystery. Maybe it didn't have all the political fanfare as the other battles. Dade Battle, Okeechobee, and Caloosahatchee all had some politics involved.

The clues I found about Bridgewater came in bits and pieces, and if you didn't know what you were looking for, you would not have recognized it. For example, the one of the best citations I came across strictly by chance. Written by Dr. Andrew Welch, "A Narrative of the Early Days and Remembrances of Oceola Nikkanochee, Prince of Econchatti, written by his guardian."

Since Welch wrote his book in 1840, he included in the back excerpts that he had clipped from the newspaper. On page 203:

On Wednesday, the 20th inst., while a lieutenant and two men were passing between Micanopy and a place called 'Black Point,' they were surprised, and fired on by a party of Indians; the lieutenant and one man wounded, and one killed. Same evening, Lieut. Sanderson, in command of Micanopy, while on a scout with eighteen or twenty men, discovered a fire in the woods, and on going to see from whence it proceeded, was surrounded by about fifty Indians; Lieut. S. and nine men, three blood-hounds and their keeper, killed upon the spot, and four men missing. On Friday, news reached Newnansville, that three men were killed between posts no. 11 and 12. On Thursday, a scout discovered the trail of about 100 Indians in the 'Wolf Hammock,' six miles south of Newnansville."--East Florida Advocate

I have determined that this happened near Lake Levy. The mix-up of the date May 19th or 20th was common back then, due to the time it took for communication to travel. If you sent word of the war from Florida to Washington, it would normally take about two weeks to get there.

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