Sunday, November 30, 2008

Battle of Prairie Grove Events set for Next Weekend

Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park in Northwest Arkansas is planning a full slate of events next weekend to commemorate the 146th anniversary of the Battle of Prairie Grove and the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the battlefield park.
Prairie Grove Battlefield is located in the town of Prairie Grove just southwest of Fayetteville and the Northwest Arkansas metro area.
The battle was one of the most significant of the Civil War and one of the bloodiest of the war in the Trans-Mississippi. Tens of thousands of Union and Confederate troops battled for control of the ridge at Prairie Gove in an all-day battle in 1862. Although the fighting ended in a tactical draw, Confederate forces withdrew during the night leaving Northwest Arkansas in the hands of the Union.
The battlefield park today is one of the most beautifully preserved in the nation. Walking trails and a driving tour take visitors through the areas of heaviest fighting and past numerous preserved landmarks, including the historic Borden House seen here. Some of the heaviest and bloodiest fighting of the day took place in the yards and orchards around the house site.
If you would like to learn more about next weekend's events, which include the unveiling of a new painting of the battle, large-scale reenactments, living history demonstrations and more, please visit The site will offer detailed information on plans for next weekend through the coming week.
You can also read more about the Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas by visiting

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Special Three Day Holiday Sale on Books by Dale Cox

If you are interested in purchasing copies of any of my books as holiday gifts this year, you might consider checking out a special online sale that will take place for the next three days only.

Prices on all available titles will be reduced for these three days only. The sale will end on Sunday, November 30th, at midnight.

Because of a change in publishers that I will be announcing soon, this will be the only sale on any of the books this year.

The sale is now over, but check here for current pricing on my various books.

Here is a list of the current titles available:

  • The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida
  • The Battle of Marianna, Florida
  • The Battle of Massard Prairie, Arkansas
  • Two Egg, Florida
  • The History of Jackson County, Florida: Volume One
  • The Early History of Gadsden County

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Graves of U.S. Soldiers that Florida may close to the public

This photograph shows the Fort St. Marks Military Cemetery at San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park in St. Marks, Florida.
Buried here are soldiers from the 4th and 7th U.S. Infantry Regiments and the 4th U.S. Artillery. They died in the line of duty, primarily from sickness, while garrisoning a fort on this site from 1818 through the early 1820s.
The graves were originally located nearby at a spot that was threatened by development, so the remains were removed and brought here to the state park where they would be preserved and protected.
Now, however, the state of Florida has San Marcos de Apalache on a list of state parks that it may close (temporarily or permanent) because of budget shortfalls.
A closure of the site would, of course, restrict access to and threaten the preservation of the graves of these U.S. soldiers that died here serving their country.
Please email Florida Governor Charlie Crist at to urge him to find alternatives that will allow San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park and a number of other Florida State Parks and historic sites to remain open to the public. There are other areas of the budget that can be cut and creative measures that can be taken to save our Southern history.
If you would like to learn more about this highly significant historic site that dates back more than 300 years, please visit and look for the San Marcos de Apalache heading at the top of the main page.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Florida State Parks and Historic Sites Facing Closure - Please Speak UP!

The State of Florida is considering closing a number of its state parks and historic sites due to budget constraints.

Included among these are:
  • San Marcos de Apalache Historical State Park in St. Marks - The site of Spanish fortifications dating back to the 17th century, San Marcos was occupied by British troops during the American Revolution and was among the Spanish posts captured by Andrew Jackson during his 1818 invasion of Florida. It was here that the Ambrister, Arbuthnot and Prophet Francis executions took place, sparking an international incident. The park was also the site of Fort Ward, an unconquered Confederate fort that played a critical role in the Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida.
  • Constitution Convention Museum State Park in Port St. Joe - This museum preserves the site where Florida's first constitution was drafted and also protects artifacts related to the famed "lost city" of St. Joseph.
  • John Gorrie Museum State Park in Apalachicola - This museum preserves artifacts in information on the life of Dr. John Gorrie, the 19th century Apalachicola physician acclaimed as the inventor of the ice machine and, as a by product, of air conditioning.

While I certainly understand the need of Florida's government to live within its budgets, surely there must be better ways of coming up with needed dollars than closing (permanently or temporarily) the state's noteworthy historic sites. Not only does this violate a trust established between the state's government and its people, it jeapordizes the history of this beautiful and great state.

Please join me in writing to Gov. Charlie Crist at to voice your opposition to the closure of these and other Florida State Parks and historic sites and to encourage the governor to look in other areas were much greater cost savings can surely be realized.

Thank you!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Breaking News: Florida Saves Natural Bridge Battlefield!

There is major news tonight on the historic preservation front.
The governor and cabinet of Florida have voted to purchase critical property adjoining the Natural Bridge Historic State Park. The land includes the scene of much of the key fighting of the Battle of Natural Bridge.
Fought on March 6, 1865, the Battle of Natural Bridge was one of the last significant Confederate victories of the Civil War. It preserved Tallahassee's status as the only Southern capital east of the Mississippi not captured by Union troops during the war.
The battlefield is the second largest in Florida (only Olustee is larger). Today's announcement marks the first major Civil War related preservation project undertaken by the State of Florida in many years.
If you are interested in learning more about the battle, you can do so by clicking here. Also please consider my 2007 book, The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida. It is also available through most online bookstores, including Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
Here is the official announcement released today by the Florida Forever program:
~Florida Forever acquisition preserves 54.74 acres adjacent to Natural Bridge
Historic State Park~

TALLAHASSEE— Governor Crist and Cabinet today approved the purchase of 54.74 acres of land adjacent to the Natural Bridge Historic State Park in Leon County. The acquired parcel is significant to the protection of a first magnitude spring and features a Civil War battlefield.

“This important purchase is a part of the Florida First Magnitude Springs project and one of the top projects on the Florida Forever priority list,” said Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Deputy Secretary Bob Ballard. “This acquisition ensures that the geological, historical and cultural integrity of this property and the surrounding water resources are preserved for Floridians and visitors from all over the world to enjoy for years to come.”

This Florida Forever project focuses on land that provides increased protection for Florida’s First Magnitude Springs that discharge more than 100 cubic feet of water per second. Florida’s springs, scattered through northern and central Florida, draw from the Floridan aquifer system, which is the state’s primary source of drinking water. Springs, with clear, continuously flowing waters, are among the state’s most important natural resources and are famous attractions. This acquisition brings the Florida First Magnitude Springs project closer to completion, with 7,844 acres of the 14,081 acre project remaining.

The property contains many karst features such as sink holes, natural bridges, swallets, karst windows and submerged cave systems. By preserving the surrounding land, this project will preserve the area’s geological significance and protect Florida’s water resources from the effects of commercial, residential and agricultural runoff and other potential impacts.

The property is also the site of Florida’s second largest Civil War battle. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and cited as one of the top ten endangered Civil War sites in the United States by the Civil War Preservation Trust. In 1865, during the final week of the Civil War, the battle at natural bridge preserved Tallahassee as the only Confederate Capitol east of the Mississippi that did not surrender to Union forces. Today, important historical and cultural, resources can be found on the property dating from the Paleo-Indian period (10,000 B.C.) to the Civil War. The property will eventually be managed by DEP’s Division of Recreation and Parks as part of the Natural Bridge Historic State Park.

Originally established in 1999, the 10-year, $3 billion Florida Forever program is the largest land-buying initiative in the nation, conserving environmentally sensitive land, restoring water resources and preserving important cultural and historical sites. More than two million acres throughout the state have been placed in public ownership under Florida Forever and its predecessor program, Preservation 2000 (P2000). For more information on the Florida Forever program, visit

To view maps that outline the subject parcel in this purchase, visit the following links:


Friday, November 14, 2008

Fort Gaines, Georgia - History on the Chattahoochee

This is a photograph of a Confederate cannon at Fort Gaines, Georgia, framed by Spanish moss and still located in its original battery more than 140 years after the end of the Civil War.
Fort Gaines was the site of three different forts during the 19th century. The first fort, a square log stockade with two blockhouses, was built by the U.S. Army in 1816. The second fort, built during the Creek War of 1836, was held by Georgia militia forces for a few months. The third fort, built by Confederate forces, was occupied until the end of the Civil War.
One of the batteries of the Confederate fort is very well-preserved and the cannon in place there is an original, left behind and forgotten at the end of the war.
In addition to its military history, Fort Gaines offers a wide variety of historic sites and is a charming small town deeply imbedded in the frontier history of Georgia. If you would like to learn more about this fascinating community, please visit our new Fort Gaines, Georgia pages at

Monday, November 10, 2008

Providence Canyon State Park - Lumpkin, Georgia

Providence Canyon near the small town of Lumpkin, Georgia, is one of the most remarkable historic sites in the Deep South.
Despite their magnificent appearance, the spectacular canyons are not really that old.
Until the 1820s, this area was beautiful hill country. Early settlers cleared the trees and began farming, but a combination of poor conservation techniques and the unique nature of the soil allowed plow furrows to turn into erosion gullies. The gullies became ravines and, over time, the ravines became canyons.
It is astounding that pioneer farming practices could result in something so beautiful, yet Providence Canyon today is one of the most beautiful places in Southwest Georgia. To learn more, please visit our new Providence Canyon pages at

Sunday, November 9, 2008

An Artifact of the Second Seminole War

This unusual artifact was actually used by Native American warriors during an attack on a frontier family in Gadsden County, Florida, during the Second Seminole War.
A "lightard" or lightwood pine knot, it was used as a war club by Creek warriors that had taken refuge in Florida following the Creek War of 1836-1837.
Their fight against the whites continued after their flight to Florida and is remembered in that state as part of the Second Seminole War (1835-1842).
In 1840, a group of warriors attacked the McLane cabin near Telogia Creek in Gadsden County, using this pine knot to kill several members of the family.
If you would like to learn more about this incident of the Second Seminole War, please visit where you can read three excerpts on the McLane Massacre from my new book, The Early History of Gadsden County.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Honey Springs Battlefield State Park - Oklahoma

Just north of Checotah, Oklahoma (home of American Idol winner Carrie Underwood), Honey Springs Battlefield State Park preserves the scene of the battle that some have called the "Gettysburg of the West."
Fought on July 17, 1863, the Battle of Honey Springs was a critical Union victory that halted Confederate plans to retake the northern half of what was then called Indian Territory.
A force of 3,000 Federals with 12 pieces of artillery attacked a large force of Confederates along Elk Creek. In a fight that lasted most of the day, the Southern troops were finally forced to withdraw.
The site today is well-preserved and the state park offers interpretive trails, a tour road, memorial area, visitor center and picnic tables.
Our new Honey Springs pages are now online, so I hope you will take a few minutes to check them out at

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Blog: History of Gadsden County, Florida

In association with the release of my latest book, The Early History of Gadsden County, I have started a new page on the history of Gadsden County, Florida.
The new page focuses on the history, historic sites, culture, folklore and people of Gadsden County.
If you aren't familiar with this area, it is located between the Apalachicola and Ochlockonee Rivers just west of Tallahassee. Named for James Gadsden, a 19th century soldier and diplomat, Gadsden County has a rich history dating back to the Spanish era and has been the scene of a wide variety of fascinating historical events.
I'm launching the new page by excerpting a chapter from the book on the McLane Massacre, an incident of the Second Seminole War.
I hope you will drop by and, as always, feel free to comment or ask questions.

Petit Jean State Park - Arkansas

One of the most spectacular natural and historical preserves in the South, Petit Jean State Park is located just off I-40 and convenient to the Little Rock metro area.
The oldest unit in the Arkansas State Park system, the park preserves a beautiful natural and historical setting on Petit Jean Mountain.
The mountain takes its name from the old Arkansas legend of "Petit Jean," a young French girl that disguised herself as a cabin boy to follow her lover on his journey of exploration to America. Her identity was eventually discovered and she accompanied him as he and his men made their way up the Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers.
While camped at the base of Petit Jean Mountain, however, she supposedly became seriously ill and died. Local Native Americans carried her body to a beautiful spot on the summit of the mountain and buried her beneath a small mound of dirt and rock. The grave can still be seen today and it is alleged that the young woman's ghost haunts the top of the mountain that was named in her honor.
In addition to Petit Jean's grave, the mountain features spectacular views, unusual rock formations, a pre-Civil War pioneer cabin, waterfalls and more. Cedar Falls, seen here, is one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Rocky Mountains (notice the people standing behind it in the photograph). The park also is the site of Rock House Cave, a unique rock shelter where ancient Native American cave paintings can still be seen.
If you would like to learn more about Petit Jean State Park, please visit our newly updated pages at

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Talladega National Forest - Alabama

Some of the most beautiful scenery in the South can be found in Alabama's Talladega National Forest.
These historic lands were once part of the Creek Nation. Stripped from their Native American owners by the treaties of 1814 and 1832, the beautiful Talladega Mountains were opened to white timbering and settlement.
Over the decades that followed, much of the virgin timber was clear cut from the hills and the scenic beauty and value of the land all but disappeared. The forests were restored, however, during a massive Depression-era program that resulted in President Franklin Roosevelt's 1936 proclamation creating the Talladega National Forest.
The mountains today have been returned to a state of incredible natural beauty and form the centerpiece of one of the finest national forests in the South. Attractions include historic sites, mountain vistas, waterfalls, running streams, lakes, hiking trails, preserved wilderness areas, campsites, picnic areas and more. Alabama's beautiful Cheaha State Park is surrounded by the forest and provides a restaurant, cabins, chalets, hotel and more for those interested in exploring the highest mountains in the state.
To learn more about the Talladega National Forest, please visit our new pages at

Doug Ghee Accessible Trail at Cheaha State Park, Alabama

The historic mountains of the South are rich in beautiful scenery, but aren't always easy to explore for those with disabilities. Mt. Cheaha in Alabama, however, is different.
The park features the outstanding boardwalk seen here. Officially designated the Doug Ghee Accessible Trail, it gives visitors of all abilities the chance to explore some of the most beautiful terrain of Alabama's tallest mountain.
The accessible trail has no steps or steep inclines and leads from a paved parking area near Bald Rock Lodge out through the scene mountain forest to an overlook at Bald Rock, where visitors can enjoy one of the finest views in the state of Alabama.
The accessible trail follows roughly the same route as an early trail built by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers during the 1930s. When Cheaha State Park was established during the depths of the Great Depression, Bald Rock was selected as one of the original vistas where visitors could enjoy the spectacular views from the mountain. The accessible trail now gives all visitors the chance to enjoy the setting that attracted the original designers of the park.
You can learn more about Cheaha State Park and its numerous features by visiting

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Waterfalls of the Cheaha State Park Area - Alabama

The Talladega Mountains of Alabama are rich in scenic beauty, particularly in the area around Cheaha State Park.
These mountains are the highest in Alabama and offer a variety of historic sites, hiking opportunities, scenic vistas and other features rarely found so deep in the South.
Of particular interest to many visitors is the array of waterfalls found in the area immediately surrounding Mt. Cheaha. Three of these - Cheaha Falls (seen here), High Falls and Devil's Den - can be accessed via hiking trails and are relatively easy to reach.
To learn more about these falls, see additional photos and obtain directions to them from Cheaha State Park, please visit

Monday, November 3, 2008

Remember to Vote!

Tomorrow, November 4th, is Election Day.

No matter your candidates of choice, please take time to exercise your right as an American citizen and vote!

We often get so lost in the television ads and rigors of the campaigns that we forget just how precious this right is to us. According to the best statistics available, an estimated 1,341,756 American soldiers have given their lives in the of duty in wars and military conflicts since the days of the American Revolution. By voting, we honor each and every one of them even though many of their names have been long forgotten.

Cheaha State Park and Mt. Cheaha, Alabama

The photograph at right was taken from the highest point in Alabama, the top of Mt. Cheaha.
Now the site of Cheaha State Park, the mountain offers visitors a fascinating combination of scenic views, historic sites and natural wonders.
Most experts believe that Hernando de Soto's expedition marched within sight of the mountain, passing through the rich valleys below on its way down from the mountains to the bloody Battle of Mabila near the Gulf Coast. The 16th century soldiers raided Native American villages in the area for slaves and food.
In later times, the Mt. Cheaha area was part of the Creek Nation. The name, in fact, is thought to orginate from the Muskogee word "Chaha" which translates, roughly, to "high place." An important battle was fought at nearby Talladega during the Creek War of 1813-1814 and Andrew Jackson reported that Creek warriors fled into the mountains following the engagement.
Cheaha State Park itself was created in 1933 as a works project during the Great Depression. Numerous structures and trails built by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers can still be found in the park, along with a modern hotel, chalets, restaurant and more.
If you would like to learn more about this beautiful and historic state park, one of the true jewels of the Alabama State Park system, please visit

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Cheaha State Park, Alabama - New Pages Online!

We have launched our new pages for Alabama's phenomenal Cheaha State Park!

Located on Mt. Cheaha, the park preserves beautiful mountain scenery and is the location of the highest point in Alabama.

We'll talk a closer look at some key points of interest in and around the park over the coming days. Until then, you can learn more about this beautiful and historic park by visiting our new Cheaha State Park and Talladega National Forest pages at

Just follow the link and look for the Cheaha State Park heading.