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In 1996 the town of Micanopy was awarded a historic preservation grant and hired Southeastern Archaeological Research, Inc. [SEARCH] to conduct an archaeological excavation on property within the town limits.
This property is associated with the site of Fort Defiance and Fort Micanopy. These are two Second Seminole War period forts that were built by the U.S. Army to protect the settlers south of Payne's Prairie from attack during the War [1835-1842]. Fort Defiance was erected in April 1835. The soldiers stationed here saw action, during the Battle of Black Point, against an attack by Osceola, the Battle of Black Pool, the Battle of We-li-ka and the Battle of Micanopy. Two hundred Seminole warriors drew the Army into the woods for an hour of heavy fighting. Though outnumbered, the employment of a six pounder cannon and mounted Dragoons turned the fight in favor of the soldiers. Fort Defiance was burned by the Army in 1836 in an effort to eradicate an outbreak of fever. The following year, on April 30, 1837, Fort Micanopy was built on the same location but saw little action during the war. The fort was important as a supply depot, a military hospital, and as a rallying point for expeditions against the Seminoles until 1842, when the conflict ended.
With the valuable assistance of 162 volunteers, SEARCH recovered musket balls, pipe stems, bottle glass, military buttons, buckles, a powder flask, gun flints, and other historic artifacts. Examples of Seminole pottery were discovered as well as prehistoric artifacts dating to 1500 B.C. As a result of this project, this site was found to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.