Home for 2016 Event Registration

>>>Plans are Developing for the 2018 Reenactment to be held in November<<<

Welcome to the Official Site for the November 18-20th, 2016 Reenactment Event of the Battle of Bowlegs Creek in Fort Meade, Florida.

Sponsored by the Fort Meade Chamber of Commerce, the Fort Meade Historical Society and Museum and Hosted by the 75th Ohio Volunteer Regiment, U.S. Member Unit of Florida's Civil War Reenactor Community

A Combined Florida Historical Event:  2nd & 3rd Seminole War and American Civil War Reenactment on Same Property and Dates.

Large Property for Battles, Cols. Munson vs. Permane Maneuver Strategies, Reconstruction of Seminole Wars Fort, Tillis House, Ladies Tea, 7 LBS of Bacon Mess Band, Live Fire and Turkey Shoot Competitions, Central Location, Florida Fall Weather

List of Registered Reenactors 

Announcement:  Registration Opens July 15th, 2016!  

Now Available, Click the Link (below) or on the Left Side Bar Menu to Register.  

Click Here to Register

All registration is to be done by individuals, not by a unit list of participants.  One person per eform entry, Please.

Please register Minors over age 16 separately.  

There is no Reenactor Registration Fee.  

This event is free to Reenactors and their Families.

Walk Ons are Welcome.  Please visit us at the Registration Table on the day of your arrival.

Fort Meade Outdoor Recreation Area

1639 Frostproof Hwy , Fort Meade, FL 33841

Get Directions


Sketch of the 2nd Florida Cavalry (Union) and Federal United States Colored Troops (USCT) Infantry Garrison at Fort Meyers, FL on the Gulf Coast in 1865

Painting of the Confederate Cow Cavalry in action by Jason Walker Florida Artist

Dates:  November 18, 19 and 20, 2016

Event Information:  

Goal is to field up to 200 Military Reenactors from the ranks of the 4th Brigade, US, Florida Battalion-Department of the Gulf, CSA, and the 7th Florida Regiment, CSA.

  • Battle of Bowlegs Creek 2016:  Friday, November 18, Saturday November 19 and Sunday November 20th   
  • Location:  Fort Meade, Florida.  
  • The 75th Ohio Volunteer Infantry will now be the host unit for the Battle of Bowlegs Creek in Fort Meade, FL. 
  • Friday will be for School Day and Living History, and Saturday and Sunday will be for the Reenactment.
  • Registration opening date is July 15th.  
  • Period Camping, Campaigner, RV, and Modern Camping are available on site, including amenities of restrooms/drinking fountains, portlets and water and water buffaloes. 
  • No ability for RV Hook Ups. 
  • Shade tree-covered reenactment camping sites as well as the battle area.
  • No Reenactor Fee! 
  • Contact:  For more information on the Community Event as a whole, please contact Priscilla Perry by telephone at 863-285-8253 of the Fort Meade Chamber of Commerce or by email at fortmeadechamber@gmail.com
  • For the Reenactment Program Information, Sutlers, Food Vendors, Reenactors and Living History Demonstrators may contact Dwight Dovel at Hdqs75thovi@aol.com for specific questions. 






Reenactor Information:  

Federal Commander:  Colonel Chuck Munson, 4th Separate Brigade, Dept. of the South, U.S. www.4thbrigade.us
Union Camps Contact:  Major Tom Criscuolo

Confederate Commander:  Colonel James Permane, 2nd Co., (Co K, 4th Florida Regiment) Florida Battalion, 1st Division, Dept of the Gulf, CSA www.angelfire.com/de3/flabattalion
CSA Camps Contact:  Keith Van Leuven

Seminole Chief:  Hawkwood Kenny

US and CSA Military Campaigner Camps Contact:  Hal Merritt

Civil War Camps are located on the back side of the property.  Battles are at 2:30 PM on both days.

Reenactor Parking is behind the Civil War Military Camps.

Naval Commander:  1st Sergeant David Ekardt of the USS Fort Henry Marines www.ussforthenry.com 

Naval Boat Landing at the River is at Noon on both days.

Seminole Village and a Logged Fort facade are located on the front side of the property.  Battles are from 10- 12 Noon on both days.

Federal Seminole War Reenactor Impression and Equipment:  You may participate with your ACW Sky Blue Trousers, Suspenders, Forage Hat, Rifled Musket, Triangular Bayonet, Cartridge Box, Cap Box, Haversack, Canteen.  No Sack Coat.

Water Buffalos (Courtesy of the Florida Army National Guard), Firewood, Ice for Purchase and Shuttle (by the Fly Wheels Machinery Hobby Group) are provided.

Ladies Tea and Medical Displays are planned.  Currently looking for a Hostess for the Ladies Tea.

Period Ball will be held on Saturday Evening at the Covered Pavillion.  7 Lbs of Bacon Mess Band will be playing for the Ball:  7 LBS of Bacon Mess Band on Facebook 

Spectators will be paying $10 per vehicle, all occupants included.  All excess funds to be donated locally.

History and Connection to the Second Seminole War

Fort Meade, Florida, is historically Polk County's oldest settlement. During the Second Seminole War, in 1849, Lt. George Meade crossed the Peace River in close proximity of where the U.S. Hwy. 98 East bridge is now located.  Lt. Meade found a burned-out Native American village located to the north and ordered his troops to build a fort. Another well-known officer served during this time: Lt. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. Meade and Jackson would serve again on different sides in the War Between the States.

    On the "Peas" River, named by the Native Americans for the pea-pod type plants growing along the banks, tribes had rendezvoused for thousands of years as they migrated back and forth across the state. 

    Early on, "Florida Crackers" came from nearby states to settle and protect the land from Seminole Indian attacks. These independent pioneers bravely farmed the land and raised cattle, which was the first mainstay economic venture in the area. 

Exerpt taken from:  http://www.fortmeadechamber.iconosites.com/page/history-of-fort-meade 


Views of the WilloughbyTillis Battle Marker near the Reenactment Site

History and Connection To Fort Meyers and the Union West Gulf Blockading Squadron Operations on the Coast of Florida

Prior to the Battle of Fort Meyers, Federal Troops from Fort Meyers were sent into the interior to conduct operations in order to raid Confederate storehouses in the Interior of Florida, particularly those under the control of the Confederate "Cow" Cavalry which was a vital supply source of "beef on the hoof" to the Army of Virginia and others.  Confederate General Braxton Bragg was directing the supply trains for the CSA Commissary Department at that time, as Florida's abundance of cattle, cane sugar and salt was that important to the war effort.  It was those Union raiding operations that attracted the interest of the Confederate Military and Florida authorities.

Therefore, during the Civil War, Fort Meade was an important Confederate cattle-driving center. In 1864, several Union raids from their post at Fort Myers were directed at Fort Meade. One raid led to a skirmish at Bowlegs Creek south of Fort Meade in April 7, 1864. One Confederate soldier was killed and another was wounded. While the Union troops suffered no casualties, they did not continue their advance on Fort Meade. In May 1864, a larger Union force of over 200 men burned and sacked Fort Meade. They captured seven Confederate prisoners and confiscated more than 1,000 cattle. Nearly 100 Unionist refugees also returned with them to Fort Myers. - From: http://vivaflorida.org/Explore/Historic-and-Archaeological-Sites/Fort-Meade-Historical-Museum 


Monument to the USCT in Fort Meyers, FL                                        Monument to the Confederate Cow Cavalry in Plant City

Battle of Fort Myers (One Year Later)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Battle of Fort Myers
Part of the American Civil War
Date February 20, 1865
Location Lee County, Florida
Result Union victory
United States Confederate States
Commanders and leaders
Capt. James Doyle Col. Charles Munnerlyn
300 250
Casualties and losses
1 dead, 3 wounded 1 wounded

The Battle of Fort Myers was fought on February 20, 1865, in Lee County, Florida during the last months of the American Civil War. This small engagement is known as the "southernmost land battle of the Civil War."[1] (However, see Battle of Palmito Ranch.)

Fort Myers had been abandoned after the Seminole Indian Wars and was reoccupied by Union soldiers in December 1863. It was the only federally occupied fort in South Florida. Union commanders planned to send horse soldiers into the area north of the Caloosahatchee River to confiscate livestock from area cattle ranches, thereby preventing shipment of beef to the Confederate Army of the Tennessee in Georgia. By 1865, it was estimated that more than 4,000 head of cattle had been taken from cattle farms by the Union cavalry units from similar raids.

Fort Myers was used as a refugee center for escaped slaves and also for Union sympathizers who were being persecuted by the secessionists, who were burning their homes and driving them off their farms. At one period during the Federal reoccupation, more than 400 people crowded into the fort's grounds. The fort was garrisoned primarily by the 2nd Florida Cavalry (made up mostly of refugees who had enlisted), a recently detached company of the 110th New York Infantry and a company of black soldiers of the 2nd United States Colored Infantry, both from Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West.

The Confederates organized a special battalion of the state militia with the sole purpose of stopping the Union raids. The battalion, commanded by Col. Charles Munnerlyn, was made up of cattle drovers who were exempt from the Confederate Army. Among them was Capt. Francis A. Hendry. They became known as the Cattle Guard Battalion or "Cow Cavalry."

In early February 1865, the Cattle Guard Battalion was deployed at Fort Meade. They were ordered to attack Fort Myers because it was learned that the fort might soon be abandoned. Three companies and one artillery piece arrived at old Fort Thomson (LaBelle, Florida) on February 19. They marched down the river and camped near Billy's Creek. The next morning, they surprised several black Union soldiers on picket duty and shot them as they tried to flee.

The firing had alerted the fort, so the Confederates fired a warning shot from their cannon, followed by a messenger demanding the Union troops surrender. The fort's commanding officer, Capt. James Doyle, sent back a refusal: "Your demand for an unconditional surrender has been received. I respectfully decline; I have force enough to maintain my position and will fight you to the last." Doyle wheeled his own two cannons outside the fort. A battle began with the black Union soldiers firing the artillery and the white Union cavalrymen firing their carbines. Throughout the day, both sides continued sporadic firing, which finally ceased at dark. One black Federal soldier had been killed in the skirmishing.

The next morning, the Cattle Guard Battalion returned to Fort Meade. Even though the attack had been repelled, Fort Myers was abandoned by its garrison in early March.

"02, February in Florida History". Florida Historical Society. Retrieved June 18, 2010.
Grismer, Karl Hiram, Story of Fort Myers, The History of the Land of the Caloosahatchee and Southwest Florida. Island Press, 1984 ISBN 0-87208-226-1.

Views of Past Reenactment Event

Seminole Indian Reenactors in Florida

Site for the Battle of Bowlegs Creek Reenactment near the Train Depot Museum

Civil War Reenactors from the 75th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on the grounds during a Living History Event in Fort Meade On Memorial Day Weekend in 2015.

Union Column advancing to Bowlegs Creek taken from a previous Reenactment.