Dade City, Florida – On October 27 and 28, at the Pioneer Florida Museum, guests will witness a re-enactment of a war skirmish that took place within just a few miles of where they’ll be standing. Chipco Crossing”, this presentation combines fact and fiction to make a believable story. It’s a story of how North meets South in a key trade crossroad, to fight not only for community, but for the dimming hope that Florida would become an independent Southern state, at a point when Florida’s hopes for victory in the war were hanging by a thread.
In the mid 1800s, Chipco was the area located just to the east of Bayport and west of the Fort King Highway, from Blanton to Clear Lake and from Ft. Dade to Lake Iola, near today’s Dade City. The folks living in this area, which is now rolling orange groves and emerald pasture land, had one very important resource back then – a grist mill operated by J.J. Howell that was a life line for families near and far. In the course of bringing corn for milling, established and well- traveled routes to the north, south, east and west quickly became important trade links for the region. Chipco was at the heart of those routes.
Although there is no written record of the event portrayed in the “Skirmish At The Skirmish at Chipco Crossing re-enactment, Seeking to stop the movement of necessities for the Confederate armies, Federal troops frequently landed along the coast of Florida to destroy the salt works vital in the preservation of food prior to refrigeration. They marched inland to capture, destroy, and disrupt the Confederate supply lines. Florida was the largest provider to the Confederate armies of beef, driven on-the-hoof to railheads for transport to the armies, so the disruption of this chain was also a frequent target of Federal raiders.
In 1864, the fortunes of the Confederate States of America were fast ebbing. Most of the Confederacy’s major ports were closed or blockaded, and those that were still open were very small and in constant danger of being overrun by Federal troops. Of those left, Fort Brooke in Tampa and Bayport on the coast were sending military supplies overland via the old Fort King Highway that ran from Fort Brooke to Fort King (Ocala). Those supplies had to run through Chipco.
It is probable that Federal troops considered Chipco to be a prime target, and the perfect way to isolate both Fort Brooke and Fort King, effectively squelching the uprising in Florida. A fight where supply lines crossed might have been an significant skirmish, fought ferociously by those who realized this could be the final blow and the ultimate defeat of the Southern cause.
Pioneer Florida Museum and Village will present a reenactment of this Blue and Gray confrontation known as the “Skirmish At Chipco Crossing” on Saturday, October 27, from 9:00-4:00, and on Sunday, October 28, from 10:00 to the closing of the camps. Pioneer Florida Museum is located off U.S. Highway 301 at 15602 Pioneer Museum Road, one mile north of Dade City, This family friendly event is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, free for children ages 5 and under.
Battles will take place on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon at 2:00 PM on the 16 plush acres of the Pioneer Village. In addition to the afternoon battles, there will be a variety of period activities performed by costumed living historians, on-going traditional craft demonstrations, period music, living history scenarios, and military drills taking place throughout the village and camps located amongst the historic buildings.
On Saturday evening at 7:30, there will be a Camp Dance at the Mabel Jordan Barn, featuring the "7 lbs of Bacon Mess Band". Public is invited with a $5 admission charge. Period dress is welcome but not required to enjoy the old-time music and dancing. Free parking is provided, and the displays are handicap accessible. Please be aware that ONLY service animals are permitted inside the property. Due to the length of the battles, it is also recommended that you bring your own chair for seating. For more information, please call 352-567-0262
Skirmish at Chipco - Oct 28