Friday, February 5, 2010

The Second Seminole War

The book, The Everglades, River of Grass, by Marjory Stoneman Douglas, was the inspiration for this post. The book was also featured here.

From "The Everglades":

"At the insistence of the slave states Florida was purchased from Spain in 1818." "Seventy chiefs and warriors were collected at Camp Moultrie near St. Augustine and made to sign a treaty which required the Indians to move south of the Withlacoochee River on the west coast."

Rather than complying with the Articles of the Treaty at Camp Moultrie, the U.S. Government decided that the best policy would be the removal of the Indians from Florida and relocating them in Arkansas. "Let every measure short of war be taken, wrote the secretary of the war [Lewis Cass]...". "They [the Indians] were given until January, 1836, to prepare to leave."

"Against these [ about 3,000 Indians and others who refused to go to Arkansas, including Osceola] General Clinch's seven hundred regulars were thought to be enough. War was taken for granted." "General Thompson himself was the first man to die (28 December 1835)*." Then came the Dade Massacre. *This article stated that the Seminole War had been in progress for almost a month when Gen. Wiley Thompson was killed.

"The word was war. Fright and anger took the place of the jubilation with which the frontier people had waited across the border for January, 1836. The Dade Massacre** was the single act by which the whole wrath of the American nation was detonated, like a chip knocked off a shoulder."

"Congress called out the troops. Southern states called for volunteers. Brevet Brigadier General Duncan L. Clinch, Brevet Brigadier General Eustis, Brevet Major General Edmund L. Gaines, General Smith [Persifor Frazer Smith], Lieutenant Colonel Twiggs, commanded regulars, militia and volunteers. There was haste, confusion, a divided command, and no planning whatsoever."

**"Colonel Francis Dade was enroute from Fort Brooke (near Tampa Bay) with 117 men to reinforce General Clinch at Fort Drane. "After marching about half the distance, Dade's forces fell into an abuscade." [Source]

This source stated that "...the Seminoles met Gen. Clinch on the Withlacoochee, Dec. 31, and subsequently baffled Gen. Scott; but they were so hard pressed by Gen. Call and Gen. Jesup that, after losing several battles, they asked for peace, and in the spring of 1837 agreed to emigrate. Osceola, however, fled to the woods, and renewed the war."

A contemporary (1836) source, First Lieutenant George A. McCall of the 4th U.S. Infantry, described the events surrounding the Seminole war.

The names of the members of the United States Army who were wounded and/or killed during the hostilities with the Florida Indians beginning August 11, 1835, and ending in 1842 are found in the Appendix in this book. Here is a list of Creek Officers and Soldiers who died (and their heirs).

A modern map of the locations of the Battles of the Seminole Wars can be found here.

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