Dade Battlefield Historic State Park is a state park located in Tallahassee, Florida. The park preserves the site of the American Civil War battle of Dadeville (or Dade’s Farm), which was fought on December 19, 1864, between Union Army forces under Maj. Gen. William H. French and Confederate forces led by Maj. Gen. James F. Fagan. It was designated a National Historical Landmark in 1964.
On December 16, 1864, about 500 men from the 12th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry Regiment embarked aboard the USS Indianapolis to invade Georgia. A few days later they disembarked at Savannah, where they were met by Sherman who had sailed down from his winter quarters at Fort McAllister. The regiment then marched north through South Carolina toward North Carolina, encountering heavy opposition along the way from guerillas under the command of Major General Wade Hampton III. At Dadeville, the 12th Illinois encountered the main body of Confederate troops under the command of Maj. Gen. James F. Fagan.
In what became known as “the last major battle of the American Civil War”, the Federal cavalrymen successfully charged two lines of heavily fortified rebel infantry, forcing them back into their own fortifications. Although outnumbered, the Confederates counterattacked with artillery and succeeded in driving the Federals out of the town. This victory ended the fighting in Southwestern Georgia; only one company remained behind to guard the wounded and fallen soldiers. When told that all his men were dead, including those he left lying in the ditch,The remaining members of the 12th Illinois were eventually sent home, having accomplished their mission of ending the war. For this action, Captain Frederick Dent received the Medal of Honor, the first awarded for actions during the conflict.
Dadeville has been preserved as a historic site with several monuments and markers. In 1960, the city of Tallahassee acquired 1,400 acres (5km2) around the battlefield, including the land on which the monument stands today. With help from the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the area was developed as a recreational facility called Camp Lawton-Jackson, named after Lt. Colonel Jonathan Markes Adcock, Jr., who commanded the post. However, when President Lyndon B. Johnson announced plans to establish the Veterans’ Administration Regional Office in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1966, the office chose not to locate there but instead opted to take up residence in Jacksonville, Florida, near the Naval Submarine Base. As a result, Camp Lawton-Jackson fell into disuse.
After serving as an active duty base until 1971, it was transferred to the control of the City of Tallahassee, becoming a public recreation area bearing the name Dade Battlefield State Historic Site. Interpretive displays include historical photos, artifacts, uniforms, and weapons used by both sides during the battle. Visitors can also see the grave sites of many of the thousands of casualties suffered in the battle. There are four miles (6km) of marked hiking trails leading across the battlefield to the observation tower.
Other activities include:
- picnicking areas