Laumer, Frank

Massacre (1968)
Dade's Last Command
Dade's Last Command (1995)
From Booklist
Laumer's latest history on the annihilation of a column of soldiers led by Major Francis Dade across Florida in 1835 "supersedes Massacre! [his 1968 work] as the definitive account" because the author has tracked down previously unrecorded documents, letters, and period interviews. Also new to this narrative is Laumer's own experience walking the trail in full gear as part of a reenactment. Laumer's focus is on the slaughter of Dade and most of his company, more than 100 soldiers and 3 survivors. The soldiers were marching specifically to quell the rebellious Seminoles who were aiding escaped black slaves. The successful attack on Dade's company triggered a brutal clampdown on the Seminoles. It has been said that the war in Florida was "a slave-catching enterprise for the benefit of the citizens of Georgia and Florida." It is noteworthy that the Second Seminole War, precipitated by Dade's battle, was the first American war fought over the issue of slavery, and it resulted in the removal of the Seminoles from their land, leaving the country "safe" for white expansion. Denise Perry Donavin
Nobody's Hero
Nobody's Hero (2008)
The story of Pvt. Ransom Clark, survivor of Dade's Battle, 1835

In December of 1835, eight officers and one hundred men of the U.S. Army under the command of Brevet Major Francis Langhorne Dade set out from Fort Brooke at Tampa Bay, Florida, to march north a hundred miles to reinforce Fort King (present-day Ocala). On the sixth day, halfway to their destination, they were attacked by Seminole Indians. By four o clock in the afternoon, only three wounded soldiers survived what came to be known as Dade's Massacre. Only two of those men managed to struggle fifty miles back to Fort Brooke. One of them, wounded in shoulder and hip, a bullet in one lung, was Pvt. Ransom Clark. This is the story of his incredible journey.

Nobody's Hero is a true adventure of an American soldier who refused to die, in spite of terrible wounds that would have stopped a lesser man. Frank Laumer has used historical documents, including Clark's own brief account, and, as Laumer explains, taken the bones of fact and put upon them the flesh of fiction. It is the story of great duplicity, not on the part of Seminole Indians, but of the politicians and officers who sent the men of Dade s command to their death. Dade's Battle was the pretext needed to begin what was to be the longest and most expensive Indian war in American history.

Laumer, Frank - Florida Authors
[Times photo: Stephen J. Coddington

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