Fort Basinger (1837-1850) - A U.S. Army post established in 1837 by Colonel Zachary Taylor during the Second Seminole War in present day Highlands County, Florida. Named after Lieutenant William E. Basinger, 2nd U.S. Artillery, who was killed at the Dade Massacre 28 Dec 1835. Abandoned in 1850.
Fort Basinger History
A U.S. Army post established 23 Dec 1837 on the Kissimmee River by Colonel Zachary Taylor during the Second Seminole War. The post was one of a series of small, temporary supply posts established along his route from Fort Brooke at Tampa to Lake Okeechobee. The fort was built out as a log palisade with blockhouses built at opposing angles on the south bank of the river. General Taylor deposited supplies and heavy baggage at the post and pressed on to Lake Okeechobee.
In December 1837 Colonel Zachary Taylor was on his way to Lake Okeechobee to round up Seminole Indians resisting removal. On Christmas day, 25 Dec 1837, Colonel Taylor and about 1,100 U.S. troops were ambushed by some 400 Seminole Indians under chiefs Alligator, Billy Bowlegs and Abiaca. The Seminoles had carefully prepared the site, even cutting the grass to clear a field of fire. The Seminole fire was devastating and Colonel Taylor's direct approach made the situation even worse. The U.S. forces suffered 26 killed and 112 wounded while the Seminoles had only 11 killed and 14 wounded. The Seminoles carefully selected their targets and many of the officers and NCOs were among the dead and wounded. Colonel Taylor was forced to retire to Fort Basinger in what was a tactical victory for the Seminoles. Strategically, Colonel Taylor had demonstrated the ability of U.S. forces to penetrate deep into Seminole territory with large forces and with improved tactics they would certainly prevail in the removal effort. Colonel Taylor was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General soon after the battle and later, in May 1838, assumed command of operations in Florida from Major General Thomas S. Jesup.
Abandoned in 1850.
Roadside marker, the fort site is on the Edna Pearce Lockett 1880's homestead in Highlands County, Florida. No remains of the fort. The Lockett estate was closed on the day of our visit and it appeared to be permanently closed.
Visited: 14 Feb 2012