Fort Cooper State Park
A small section of the fort has
been reconstructed on its
original site.
Old Military Road
A preserved section of the old
Military Road, a Second
Seminole War path, can be
seen at Fort Cooper.
Fort Cooper State Park - Inverness, Florida - Fort Cooper State Park, Florida - Fort Cooper State Park, Florida
Fort Cooper State Park
A rough log stockade of the Second Seminole War,
Fort Cooper was located near Inverness, Florida.
A Fort of the Seminole Wars
Fort Cooper State Park preserves the site of
a field fortification built during the early days
of the Second Seminole War. Located just
outside present-day Inverness, Florida, the
park is popular with nature lovers as well as
history enthusiasts.

Things were not going well for the U.S. Army
in its war against the Seminoles during the
spring of 1836. Indian warriors had won a
major and bloody victory over a column of
soldiers at the nearby
Dade Battlefield a few
months earlier and then had turned back
advances by armies under Generals Duncan
L. Clinch and Edmund P. Gaines.

The task of fighting the Seminoles now fell to
General Winfield T. Scott, who attempted to
use European style tactics of converging
columns to trap Osceola, Wildcat, Micanopy
and other Seminole leaders and their
followers. The strategy of Scott's campaign
was ill-conceived for the Florida wilderness.

As Scott's column marched south along the
edge of the Cove of the Withlacoochee, which
provided shelter for large groups of Seminole
warriors, he found himself slowed by a large
number of wounded and sick soldiers. To
temporarily relieve himself of these men so
he could pick up the speed of his movement,
he left Major Mark Anthony Cooper on the
west shore of Lake Holathlikaha with five
companies of the First Battalion of Georgia
Volunteers and a small artillery company to
guard the sick and wounded.

To better defend their position, Cooper's men
built a rough log stockade on a rise or low
bluff overlooking the lake. Named in Major
Cooper's honor, Fort Cooper served to
protect the sick and wounded until additional
relief could arrive to help move them.

The building of the rough rectangular fort
quickly proved worth the effort as the camp
came under attack from Osceola and a large
body of Seminole warriors who had been
camped on the opposite side of the lake.

Several sharp skirmishes were fought
between the men in the fort and attacking
Seminole warriors, but the safety of Fort
Cooper was never seriously threatened.

General Scott returned to the site with more
men and supplies on April 18, 1836, and the
sick and wounded were removed, along with
Major Cooper and his men. The fort had
served its role.
Archaeologists relocated the site of Fort
Cooper during the 20th century and the old
fort was added to the National Register of
Historic Places in 1972. No trace of the
original walls remains, but a short section of
the stockade has been constructed to help
visitors visualize the appearance of the fort.

A walking path leads visitors to the site of
Fort Cooper and long a surviving portion of
the old Military Road. The park also offers
picnic areas, hiking trails, campgrounds, a
swimming beach and more. Fort Cooper
Days, an annual festival, is held there each
Please click here to visit the official
park website.

To reach Fort Cooper State Park, travel south
from downtown Inverness on U.S. Highway
41 to Eden Drive. Turn left on Eden Drive,
cross the Withlacoochee State Trail (a rails to
trails project) and then turn right on Old Floral
City Road. The park will be ahead on your

The park is 365 days a year from 8 a.m. until
sunset. Admission is $3 per vehicle or $2 for
pedestrians and bicyclists.
Site of Fort Cooper
Beautiful old live oaks shade
the hill where Fort Cooper
once stood.
Sign Post at Fort Cooper
A sign post on the Old Military
Road provides distances to
other key Seminole War forts.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.