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Title: True and authentic account of the Indian war in Florida
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Front Matter
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Front Matter 3
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Main
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Main 29
        Main 30
        Main 31
        Main 32
        Main 33
        Main 34
        Main 35
        Main 36
        Main 37
        Main 38
        Main 39
        Main 40
        Main 41
        Main 42
        Main 43
        Main 44
    Back Cover
        Page 44
        Page 45
    Spine
        Page 46
Full Text





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TRUE AND AITHENTFIC ACCOUNT


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INDIAN WAR IN FLORIDA,



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TRUE AND AUTHENTIC ACCOUNT



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INDIAN WAR IN FLORIDA,




GItINo THE PARTICULARS RESPECTING THE MURDER OF
9 THE WIDOW ROBBINN AND THE PROVIDENTIAL
ESCAPE OF HER DAUGHTER AURELIA, AND
HER LOVER, MR. CH ARJLRS 89UMERS, AF.
TER SUFFERING ALMOST INNUAE-
RABLE HARDSHIPS. *
The whole compiled from thA cmt auAMentic PwoCe.







EMBELLISHED WITH A COLORED ENGRAVING .







NEW YORK.
PUBLISHED BY SAUNDERS & VAN' WELT.
BROA DV AY.
1836;


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ACCOUNT.




TTHn present Indian war in Florida has been stamped
with butcheries and cruelties altogether without a par-
allel in modern times. It has been a war of extermina-
tion, the Indians seeming not inclined to give or receive
quarter. In such indiscriminate slaughter, many poor,
innocent, defenceless and inoffending women and chil-
dren have fallen a sacrifice to the tomahawk -and scalp-
ing knife! Mothers have been brutally butcher-d in
the presence of their offspring, and children have been
torn from the maternal embrace of their parents to share
a similar fate At considerable expense and labor' we
have compiled from public documents and other authen-
tic sources a short history of this bloody contest, which
we have thought would be acceptable to the public.
The Seminole Indians are a different race, as regards
their manners and mode of fighting from what they weri-
when Gen. Jackson fought and destroyed so many of
them in 1817. Their intercourse with the whites has
made them more "'agW.il.is. more cunning in eluding
their fpes and more formidable in defending lthiclit.:cl'-s.
Oseola, or Powell, as he is called, is supposed to have:
the greatest influence among them, and by whom the
other chiefs are dictated. He is known to entertain


- -' JY


/








4 The Indian

the most deadly hatred towards the whites, and has thus
S far baffled every effort to capture him. He is a half
blood, about thirty five years of age, very muscular and
active and knows not the sensation of fear. The skill
which he has shown in frustrating the treaty for the re-
moval of his tribe beyong the Mississippi, entitle him
Sto an equality in rank with Black Hawk or Tecumseh.-
In May 1832, a treaty was concluded with them to
give up their present territory at the end of threeyears
and remove to the praries of Arkansas. Itappears that a
considerable portion of them refused to leave- the land
of their fathers, prefering rather to die on-their native
soil than to remove on any terms to a land pregnant with
disease-denying even the scanty sustenance required
by the descendants of the aboriginal possessors of more
genial climes. In Ma.y 1836, the three years expired,
but our government thought it advisable to extend the
time for their removal six months, to enable them to per-
feet their arrangements.
bvy the treaty, their cattle and horses were to be sur-
rendered and paid for; and the Indian agent advertis-
ed the Indians to bring them in to be sold on the first
and fifteenth of lDcen ber last. Charles the head chief
assented to this, but others objected-e\pressing their
determination, to die in derence of their soil rather than
quit it, and in manifestation of this resolution, at one
of their Coninciils held in December last, nine warriors
entered and discharged 9 hull-ts in the Ili~ .'t of Charles
for his too great subserviency to the whitess. General
Thompson, formerly M. C. from Georgia, the Indian
Agent, soon after shared a similar fate near Camp King,
S by the hands of Powell, who it afterwards appeared
had borne towards him inveterate hatred, but until this
moment had concealed l;i, antiptlhii:s ,., skillfully, that
the General supposed him personally friendly. These
murders, together with those of two or three other
friendly chiefs, was the signal for the gL:n'ral rise of the


-a --







War in Florida. 5

Seminoles,and preparation to commence offensive opera-
tions-which was done by firstsending their women and
children south, in their canoes, near Cape Sable and
Ten Keys, for the purpose of preparing the County
Root, from which flour is made, and upon which in time
of scarcity they principally subsist. They next com-
menced an attack on the plantations of the whites in the
interior, and upon the settlements at New River and
Cape Florida, and plundered, destroyed and laid waste
every thing of value that came in their way. Not con-
tent with firing the dwelling houses, barns and cribs of
grain belonging to the whites, herds of cattle, horses,
hogs and poultry were shot down, and even the legs of
She latter were cut off, and their mangled bodies stuck
full of light wood splinters. Families widely separated
had no prospect of safety but in flight-without bearing
with them a single article of domestic comfort. Fur-
niture, clothing, bedding, agricultural implements, and
even bread-stuffs sufficient to sustain them until they
could reach a place secure from the murderous inroads
of desperate savages, the urgency of speedy yemonval
denied thetb the privilege of. On this'account the suf-
ferings of many families were augmented to a degree al-
most beyond the endurance of nature. All but life-all
that could render life desirable, was unavoidably left to
the merciless savages. The results of years of hardy
untiring industry, became the prey to Indian fires.
It has been stated by those who possess the informa-
tion requisite to a fair estimation, that in the month of
January, 500 families were driven from the;r homes in a
situation bordering upon starvation, who sought pro-
tection under the walls of St Augustine and other fort-
ified places, from the ravages of the enemy. All were
not so fortunate as to escape with their lives: many
were barbarously butchered by the Indians, regardless
of age or sex.


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6 The Indian

Among the first Indiaia depredations, was their vis-
it to the house of widow Robbins. The family consist-
ed of herself, her daughter Aurelia, and two colored.
servants. MrCharles Somers. a young man of about
S twenty-three, was on a visit, with the intention of con-
L/ ti. his happiness by a union with Miss Robbins,
to whom he had loan been devotedly attached: On the
approach of the savages, he prepared for the worst,
by barricading the front door, and securing the windows
of the house. The savages commenced their attack at
the fortified door, in forcing which several of them
were laid low by the desperate, unerring ai n of the in-
mates rifles. When they had effected an entrance, one
of the savages rushed upon Mrs Robbins, and buried
his tomahawk in her head! Mr Somers seized a rifle,
and in an instant her murderer fell lifeless across the
body of the parent of his betrothed. He then retreat-
ed to ,.back room, bearing on one arm his affi inced bride
and wit4i the other clenched the rifle which had carri-
ed death to their murderous leader's heart. Scarely
had he re-loaded, when the savages made their appear-
ance at the door, the foremost of whom received the
charge in his breast, and fell. He then rushed through
the back door, with Miss Robbins. There he was en-
countered by three athletic savages, when a desperate
contest ensued. Not only his own life, but that of one
dearer to him than his existence, depended upon his
exertions, and nerved him with herculean power. The
first savage that advanced upon him, was prostrated by
a tremendous blow from the butt-en'd of his rifle, which
was shivered to atoms, while the barrel remained within
his grasp! Another blow stretched a savage upon the
earth who was about to cleave the head of Miss Rob-
bins with his uplifted tomahawk. With; another dex-
terous horizontal blow the arm of a third savage was
disabled, and the blow spent itself on the side of his neck
just below his ear, and he staggered from the contest ,to



|;i








War in F.orida. 7

his companions, who were engaged in devastating the
property in front of the house. Somers now hurried
with his charge across a garden spot, in the rear which
was a deep forest, which they hastened to penetrate. -
This was an awful moment! Savage yells continually
assailed his ears; and he cast many an anxious glance be-
hind him, expecting every instant to be overtaken and
murdered. Miss Robbins was so much overwhelmed
that she sank insensible in his arms. He now gave up all
as lost-and conceived every rustling of the leaves to,
be the foot-steps of approaching savages. Summoning
all his strength and resolution, he raised her in his arms,
and hastened forward-his strength and vigor appa rent-
ly increasing as the prospect of escape became more
hopeless. He turned behind him, and fancied he saw
the hideous forms of his pursuers through the dark gloom
of the forest's shade, and quickened his pace, hoping
to reach a thicket near at hand. The yells of .the sav-
ages became more shrill and piercing, but love for her
whom he was endeavoring to save, urged him on, and
he gained the thicket: he pressed forward until he be-
came entangled in the under-wood, when he sank to the
ground with his burden exhausted and insensible!
In'a short time he was revived by the exertions and
kind care of Miss Robbins, who in the interim had re-
covered sufficiently to observe the situation of her pre-
server. Their pursersersers groping around endeav-
oring to discover the place of their concealment, and
more than once approached within a few paces of their
retreat, in which they would have probably succeed,
but for the deAsity of the foliage ,which covered them
from their view. They dared not stir from their retreat
nor scarcely uttera sound which could be heard by each
other-as imprecations and threats of savage vengeance
often fell from the lips of their pursuers, during the /
continuance of their search.
After five or six hours the savages relinquished the


I.








8 The Indian

pursuit, and returned to the house, which they set oit
fire. Miss Robbins, ufirgettnig that her mother had
fallen a victim 'to savage cruelty, in the ear)y part of
fie attack by the Indians, and hearing them express a
determination that her paternal home should become
the prey to disappointed fury, ejaculated-" Oh my-
God hall my poor mother perish in the flames?"-
Her recollection returning, What did I say ?-I have
have no mother,"-fell from her' lips as her head
-sank in silence upon the neck of her delhverer-the
only being on Earth toward whom her young heart in-
ldined for comfort and protection, in this period of
sorrow and distress.
As the savages were gone. they ventured from their
hiding place, in the hope of reacli-ng some place of se-
cUrity : but where could they go ? Dark and threaten-
ing clouds now ob-cured the horizon-aL thick anddense
foliage was Spread around them: their miscries aggra-
vated by myriads of jinsects with which the country
abounds, added to the fears which their discovery by
merciless enemies.were caculaled to beget, entirely dis-
heartened then. Falling on their knees, they implor-
ed the assistance and protection of Him who never for-
Ssakes the innocent in distress, and arose to commence
their wanderings in the lonely wilderness-rendered im-
penetrable by morasses, in which. at almost every step,
they sank ancle deep. They made but little progress
during the night, and the dawn of day wag hailed by
them with joy. The clouds which had overslidowed
them the night long, passed away, but where they were
they could not tell: not a sound, of friend or foe reach-
ed their ear-not a living thing met theirsight, except
fi ever and anon as birds of prey, winging their course a-
cross the forest, attracted by the scent of the corses of
butchered victims of barbarian cruelty, which had been
denied the last rites of humanity, and left to decay on
the spot where they perished. They were aware of the
danger attendant on pursuing their course by day-be-
sides being almost exhausted by fatigue, and long fast-
ing, and their their thirst being almost insupportable,


SI IIII I i








War in FIoida. 9

they determined to proceed no farther on their way-un-
til the close of the day. After much search they espi-
ed a stagnant pool, swarming with flogs, lizards, and
other reptiles, with which they were forced to quench
their burning thirst: they entered an adjacent thicket,
and endeavored to compose and rest themselves, but
the attacks of the numerous insects required their con-
stlant exertions: and to aggravate their misery, in a
short time they were startled almost to distraction by
the yells of approaching savages-nine of whom appear-
Sed in a few moments-among whom was recognized
Sthe Indian whose arm.had been disabled in the contest
with Somers-his arm being bound up with wanTpum.,
He was supported by two others, and appeared very
weak. They passed within a few feet of their retreat
without discovering them, but they or some others were
within hearing the whole day-the forest resounding
with their fearful whoops. There are lew iltuations that
can be conceived more distressing than was their pres-
ent one to Mr Somers and Miss Robbins. Their strengh
exhausted by fatigue; their flesh torn by thorns and
lacerated by venomous insects, added to gnawing hung-
er, rendered them but poorly fitted for the hardships they
Were fated to endure. As Miss Robbins possessed but a
Sfeeble constitution, her privations produced, moments of
delirium. Her companion ventured to the stagnant
pool, from which he carried a quantity of water in his
hat to his fair charge, which she drank, and a few wild
berries which he gathered near their retreat, seemed to
partially revive her drooping spirits. 'She was, howev-
er too feeble to proceed further, and death now seemed
inevitable, unless some additional sustenance could be
Sprocured. Toward dusk it occurred to him that even the
frogs in the pbol might subserve the cravings of alpe-
tite, and he hastened to procure some: with difficulty he
succeeded in taking two, which he instantly devoured!
He then returned to his retreat, where he spent a
sleepless, watchful night. Towards day-break he was
aroused from his stupor by the distant sound of cannon,
which was followed by discharges of small arms, which
continued for some minutes. He rushed from his covert
ina the direction from which the sound came, and after



I ,





I



10 The Indian

proceeding abouthalf a mile, espied a detachment of
Florida volunteers, who quickly repaired to the assist-
ance of Miss Robbins-whom they bore to their camp,
where, by medical treatment and kind attention, she
soon recovered her health and strength.
The family of Mr Wm Cooley, an old and respected
inhabitant of New River, were attacked by the savages
in his absence-his wife and three children; and Mr Jo-
seph Flin.ton, a teacher in his family, were butchered in
a most cruel manner-his, house plundered, his stock
destroyed, and his slaves and horses carried away. The
cold-blooded massacre of this unfortunate family was
attended with many aggravations, as Cooley had always
been on the most intimate terms with the Indians: his
wife was taken captive by them several years since, and
was retained by them a sufficient length of time to ena-
ble her to Ibecome acquainted with their language,
customs, sc., and had ever since been considered a fav-
orite with them: his son was a favorite of their's, whose
language he also spoke, and whose skill in shooting 4c.
he emulated with a spirit remarkable f6r one of his
years. There were two other children besides this boy:
one an infant at the mother's breast. If any family had
reason to rely on past friendship for savage forbearance
it was this-but all anticipations of this kind were hor-
ribly disappointed by the awful result.
On the return of the husband and father to his home,
instead of the mutual greetings of wife and children,
and the gladsome sight of prospective enjoyment in the
Increase of his property, the stillness of the grave perva-
ded a desolated homestead. l'he body ofFlinton, ana-
tive of Cecil County, Maryland, first met his sight, man-
gled with an axe: near it lay the lifeless bodies of his
two eldest children, their hearts pierced-by the leaden
messengers of barbarian rifles-the book in which his
little daughter had been stuldying fastened in her hand
Sby thefirm grasp of death, and that of his son lying








War in Florida. 11

by his side. Further on he discovered the bodies of
his wife and infant-the former shot through the heart,
and the arm of the latter broken,. apparently by the
same shot that deprived its mother of life!
About ten days after the massacre of Cooley's family,
the Indians paid a second visit to his house, and took
away every thing which they had in the late attack left
behind, and ransacked a house but a short distance there-
fromi destroyed the furniture, ripped open the beds, &c.
One of the negroes belonging to Cooley, who was sup-
posed to have been carried off, afterwards returned, and
reported that at the time of the massacre, he succeeded
in making his escape by means of.a boat ; that the out-
rage was committed by Indians well known to him and
the other inhabitants of that part of the peninsula, and
who had oftentimes had intercourse with his master's
family ; they were about fifteen in number.
A family who dwelt but a short distance from the house
of Cooley, and were witnesses of the awful butchery of
his wife and children, had a very narrow escape from
sharing a similar fate-such were their fears a'nd pre-
cipitate flight, that a daughter (an interesting girl of 17
fled in dishabille, having sprung with terror from the
bed to which she had been confined many weeks by se-
vere sickness Not far distant d.velt another faimily-
the widow Rigley, her two daughters and an only son-
they were closely pursued by the svages, and were
compelled to ruli twelve miles through the wo3o, and
when they reached Cape Florida, they had scarcely a
garment remaining to their backs, they having been
torn off by the bushes; and almost the whole distance
they ran w' tlh iut siocs, having lost them at the com-
mencernent oftheir flight, and so completely :;ere they
exlihaustd, that they were unable to walk for several
days .-AJ of those who were thus compelled to fly, and
were notr overtaken by the pursuing savages,took refuge
at Cape Florida light, Key Biscayne, being about sixty




k~i --- -^^ ---








12 The ltdian

in number, men, women and children, where, with the,
keeper of the light ME. Deblois, they, for their better
atfety, resorted to and took up their; abode in the Light-
House ; but tot having a suflici.;'t supply of provisions
and water for so many persons, they were compelled to
hoist a signal of distress, which was fortunately discov-
e-ed by a vessel pas.ising in sight, and which received
them on board and conveyed,them to St.. Augustine.
Am ong the many nt.fortunate families who were com-
pelled thus to leave their late peaceful homes, in quest
of aid, or for some place where they would be less ex-
posed, and in less danger of falling \ victims to the fatal
tomahawk and scalping knife of the sa;agts, there was
no instance in which a providential interpoi.itini was
so remain able, as that of ihe miraculous preservation and
deliverance of Mis. Mary Godfrey, the wife of Mr.
Thomas Godfrey, and her four female children, one an
infant at the breast. The husband of this unfortunate
woman had been, with others, drafted and compelled to
leave Iris f.liily unprotect d, for the purpose of endeav-
oring to check the enemy in their murderous career ; it
was not until she heard the frightful yells of the ap-
Sproaching sit:. ges; and saw the dwellings of her nearest
neighbors in flames, and thejinmates flying in every di-
reetion to escape from the awful death with lhiich they
were threatened, that she ;ias induced to follow their
example ; hut being impeded in her flight by the bur-
den of her infant, but six months old, she (as the only
alternative left her by .which she could escape from her
pursuer.,) was obliged to penetrate into a thick and mi-
ry swamp In this dreary and uncomfortable retreat,
the unfortunate mother found means to conceal herself
and helpless children for the space of four davs, with
nothing'to subsist on but a few wild roots and berries!
As she conclude(! by the almost constant % linoping of
thi Indians, that they had full possession of all the ad-
jAcent country, and that it would be impossible to escape


..1







war in Florida. AS

discovery should she attempt to seek a more comfortable
situntionr she came to the conclusion that it would be
preferable there to remain, and with her poor children
to fall victims to hunger and thirst, than to subject them-
selves to the tortures, which in all probability,, would
be inflicted on them were they to fall into the hands of
the enemy. As the savages appeared by their yells to
approach very near, to prevent a discovery she was o-
bliged to use every exertion to induce her suffering lit-
tle ones to stifle their .cries and lamentations, though
driven to it by pinching hunger and burning thirst !
On the fourth day finding that in consequence of her
extreme suffering, and privations, that she could no
longer afford the nourishment to her babe that it re-
quired, she, with becoming fortitude, endeavored to
prepare her mind to part with her precious change,
and to submit, without a murmur, to whatever might be
the will of Him to whom alone she now could look for
protection. Toward the close of the day, the pitiful
moans of her tender babe (produced by its sufferings)
were such as to be heard by and to attract the attention
of a straggling black, who had enlisted in the cause of
the enemy ; guided by its cries, and the bitter lamen-
tations of its poor mother and sisters, he was broughtin
full view of them, and at whose sudden and unexpected
appearance, the poor sufferers manifested their terrors
by a united shriek of horror and despair -the little girls
in the mean time clinging to their parent, and imploring
that protection, which she, poor woman, was unable to
afford them. The negro, grinning a ghastly smile,.as
if elated with the discovery, approached them with an
uplifted axe, apparently intent on their immediate de-
struction !-She. distracted mother at the moment, with
her arms raised, begged for the lives of her children ;
and on her pointing to her almost expiring infant, the
negro dropped his axe, and after contemplating the me-
lancholy spectacle for a few moments, appeared much


I.




WI? II-


The Indian


affected, and broke silence by assuring Mrs. G. that she
had nothing to fear, that neither herself or hewchildren
should be hurt-that he had two children who were
held in bondage by the whites, that to enjoy his own
liberty he had left them to their .fate, ard something
now seemed to whisper him, that if he should destroy
the lives of her innocent children, God would be angry,
and might doom his little ones to a similar fate by the
hands of the white men in whose power they were!
such, in substance, were the remarks of the relenting
African, and who further manifested his pity, by re-
questing Mrs. G. and'her children to remain concealed
where they were, and at night he would bring-them
food and water, and as soon as a favorable opportunity
should present, would conduct them to a path, which
would lead them to the plantation of some of their friends.
He then left them, and in proof of his fidelity, he early
in the evening returned, bringing with him two blankets
and a quantity of wholesome provision ; which as he
represented, he had succeeded in saving from (he house
of a planter which had been that afternoon set on fire ;
having thus provided for theirimmediate wants he again
retired, but early the next morning, once more made
his appearance, and, apparently much agitated, inform-
ing Mrs. G.' that a company of mounted Voqunteers
(whites) had just made their appearance in the neigh-
borhood, and had dispersed the Indians, who had been
there embodied, and as some of them in their flight might
seek-shelter in the swamp in which she was concealed,
he thought it unsafe for her to remain there any longer,
and proposed to her that she now improve the favorable
opportunity which presented, to escape to her friends,
and thathe would accompany her to within view of
them, which the friendly negro did, although at the
risk of his own life !
Mrs Godfrey relates the manner of her passing three
days in her dreary abode as follows:--" The first


Em




II I


War in Florida.


day, py apprehensions that our place of conce:lme-nt
would be tracked out by the savages and butchered,fill-
ed us with terror, too great to admit a thought of the
hunger and privations we endured. Their frightful
yells were heard without a moment's cessation during a
whole day, at the close of which I selected as dry a
place as could be found, which I overspread with a few
pine twigs, on which myself and poor helpless children
might repose for the night, which to me was a sleepless
one, as well as my little ones. Miserable as was our sit-
nation it would have been more so, had the rain contin-
udd to fall as on the previous night, in which event my
tender infant could not have survived the exposure till
morning.
On the 'morning.of the second day the'surr-rise was
bright and cheering, but the frightful ,whoopings of
the murderous savages continued, and our prospects of
leaving our concealment undiscovered were no better
than before. Near the close of the day the younger
children began to complaifi of hunger and thirst which
was only partially appeased by the few wild berries and
a little stagnant water we were enabled to procure. My
oldest daughter bore her sufferings with remarkable for-
titude. When not engaged in conversing (in a low
tone of voice) with her two younger sisters, to pacify
and avert their fearful forebodings of being seized and
murdered by the cruel Indians, her time was occupied in
relieving me. of the burden,of my helpless babe. We
passed the night of this day much as the first. Expos-
ed as we were to the heavy dew and unwholesome night
air, and compelled either to sit or lie upon the damp
ground, it was impossible for any of us to obtain that
repose which nature reqiiird : if.more conrmo t,,bly sit-
uiated, our fearful apprehensions pf being discovered and
put to death by the merciless savages, would have pre-
vented it.


r








16 The Indian

The next morning was cloudness and serene to, those
enjoying liberty-not so with us-wretched prisoners,
of the desert-fugitives from ruthless barbarians-sub-
jects of all the ills of life, and inheritors of misery!-
Weakened by constant exposure-harrassed by terrors
known only to those who have experienced hoirors like
our own, pursued by blood-thirsty savages-our limbs
so benumbed and cramped as to be hardly able to stand
erect, added to our continued fasting, how could it be
pleasant to us? Could but a little longer afford nour-
ishment to my babe sufficient to support life The lam-
entations of my other children (with the exception of
the eldest) thrust pangs to my heart, which none but a
mother, in a similar situation with myself, ever felt--
cleaving the heart more deeply than the tomahawk of
the savage In this hour of severe affliction, I did not
fail t6 look to and call on Him who had power to save
and to deliver us, and as He tempers the storm to the
shorn lamb," to revive and protract the life of my ten-
der infant'! By the assistance of kind Providence, We
were enabled to pass another night, and our lives were
spared to witness the rising of another sun, although
with great depression of spirits, and relaxation of bod-
ily strength, in consequence of being so long deprived of
wholesome nourishment, and indeed, so visible was it
as regarded my infant, as to render it almost certain
that before the close of the day, I should be compelled
to part with my little charge Though with apparent-
ly sufficient strength to raise its puny hands, its, constant
cries were shrill and distrtssing, and fortunately for us
they attracted the notice of a humane African, our de-
liverer." '
In other instances parents were less fortunate. They
were not only doomed to witness the destruction of their
property, the fruits of many year's labor, and if not so
fortunate as to escape, were treated with the most sav-
age barbarity. In many instances, where it was sus-
pected by the Indians that the husband and father had







W t m Ef@ida. 17

-volunteered or been drafted to aid in contending against
them, their wives and little ones became the objects of
savage vengeance.
One instance of this kind will here be narrated. A
settler had been called out to assist in repelling Indian
aggressions His wife, with her two children left alone
the victims of rovingsavages. An Indian and his squaw
visited them, and after demanding and receiving liquor,
and refreshing themselves with whatever they pleased
that the house afforded, and about to depart, the Indian
seized and bound one of the children, a lad about seven
years of age, while the squaw seized the infant, not-
withstanding the entreaties and distress of the distract-
ed'mother, and were in the act of bearing them off, as
two armed men were seen approaching, who prevented
them from carrying their diabolical intentions into exe-
cution, by shooting them on the spot.
In addition to the foregoing, many horrid murders
have been perpetrated; a great number of the most
valuable plantations have been totally destroyed, and
whole families missing: and as the Indians have been
frequently discovered dancing to and fro around their
burning dwellings, there can be but little doubt but
some of the missing were consumed in them--and as
places have been noticed where fires have been, enkin-
died, with burned stakes erected in the centre, they
are doubtless those to which a portion of those who
have fallen into their hands, have been inhumanly sac-
rificed, agreeably to their savage mode of torture.
On the receipt of the intelligence of the disturban-
ces, a force of about 500 mounted men were raised, who
volunteered for one month, furnishing their provisions,
arms, &c., under the impression that within that period
the sanguinary contest would be ended. Two slight
engagements ensued between the volunteers and Indians
-in the first of which the whites lost their baggage and
several men, and were evidently worsted: in the sec-











18 The Indian

-ond, every Indian was killed Who was engaged; the
I number was seven ot eight. This proved but a mo-
mentary, check to the fearless ferocity of the savages;
they were dispersed in small parties, and when pursued
took refuge in thickets, and fought with desperation,
apparently with the determination, either to kill or be
S killed, without regard to the numbers by whom they
were assailed.
A severe engagement with the Indians took place on
the 28th of December-when MajorDade started with
a detachment of U..S. Infantry from Tampa Bay to
Camp King, for the purpose of uniting his forces with
those of Gen. Clinch. About eight o'clock A. M. they
were surrounded by a body of Indians supposed to a-
mount to between, 800 and 1000, and were cut to piec-
ces-only three escaping, badly wounded, out of the
whole detatchment of 112 men-to relate the lamenta-
ble story of the- butchery of their comrades. Major
Dade was shot off his horse in the onset: captains Gard-
ner and Frazer fell soon after, mortally wounded, and
were scalped by the savages. Lieut. Bassinger who
was also wounded in the onset, and while crawling to a
place of concealment, which he had nearly reached, was
discovered by a hegro and tomahawked The page of
history contains nothing since the defeat of Gen. St.
Clair to compete with this atrocious and horrid butche-
ry.
The reader is referred to the following extract from
Maj. Belton's official report of the melancholy occur-
rence:
"It becomes my melancholy duty to proceed to the
catastrophe of this fated band, an elite of energy, pa-
triotism, military skill and constant courage. On the .
29th, in the afternoon, a man of my company, John
Thomas, and temporarily transferred to C. company;
2d artillery, Came in; and yesterday pr. Ransom Clark,
of the same company, with four wounds, very severe,


_ ~~:~~~~_~__







War in Florida. 19

and stated that an action took place on the 2Sth, com-
mencing'about ten o'clock, in which every, officer fell,
and nearly every man. The command entrenched ev-
ery night, and about four miles from the halt were at-
tacked, and received at least fifteen rounds before an
Indian was seen. Major Dade and his horse were both
killed at the first onset, and the interpreter Louis. Lt.
Mudge, 3d artillery, received his mortal wounds. Lt,
Bassenger, 3d artillery, was not wounded till. after the
second attack ; and at the latter part of that he was
wounded several times before he was tomahawked.-
Capt. Gardner, 2d artillery, was not wounded until the
second attack, and at the last part of it. Lieut. Bas-
senger; after Capt. Gardner was killed, remarked, I
am the only officer left. and Voys we will do the best
we can." Lt. Keays, 3d artillery, had both arms brok-
en the first shot, was unable to act, and was tomahawk-
ed the latter p4rt of the second attack, by a negro.--
Lieut. Henderson had his left arm broken the first fire,
and after that with a musket fired at least thirty or for-
ty shorts. Dr. Catlin was not killed until after the sec-
ond attack, nor Was he wounded;. he placcd limselr be-
hind the breast-work, and with two double-barrelled
guns, said he had four barrels for them." Captain
Fraser fell early in the action with the advanced guard,
as a man of his company, [B 3d artillery] who came
in this morning, reports.
On the attack they were in column of route; and af-
ter receiving a heavy fire from the unseen enemy, they
then rose up in such a swarm' that the ground, covered,
as was thought, by light infantry extension, showed the
Indians between tlie files. Muskets were clubbed,
knives and bayonets used, and parties clinched. ,In the
second attack, our own men's muskets, from the dead
and wounded, were used against themselves; a cross
fire cut down a succession of artillerists at the fetce,
from which 49 rounds were fired. The gun-carriages


--- _I.


I I I I







20 The Indian

were burnt, and the guns sunk in a pond. A war
dance was held on the ground; many negroes were in
the field, and no scalps were taken by the Indians, but
the negroes, with hellish cruelty, pierced the throats of
all whose loud groans and criie showed the power of life
to b'e yet strong. The survivors were preserved by im-
itating death, except Thomas, who was partly stifled
and bought his life for six dollars, and in his enemy re-
cognised an Indian whose axe he had helved a few days
before at his post. About 100 Indians were well mount-
ed, naked and painted. The last man who came in
brought a note from Capt. Frazer, addressed to Major
Mountford, which was fastened to a cleft stick, and stuck
in a creek, dated, as is supposed, on the 27th, stating
that'they were beset every night and pushing on.
Many widows and orphans were made by this dread-
ful massacre-forty or fifty of whom took passage a few
days after for New Orleans, Where they arrived in
a most distressed condition. To the honor of humanity
the citizens raised seventeen hftndred and forty-one
dollars for their relief.
The next important engagement with the savages,
was three days after the fatal defeat of Major Dade's
detachment, by a party ol' regulars and volunteers, un-
der the command of Gen. Clinch-he having assumed
the command--and relying on the courage and intrepid-
ity of his men, formed the determination to penetrate
into the heart of the enemy's country. His force con-
sisted of two hundred regulars and three hundred and
fifty volunteers, They had three or four Indian guides,
the relations of the chief Charles who was killed by the
war party of the nation; and under their guidance it
was determined not to take the usual route to Tampa
Bay, but to follow a more westerly track in hopes of
taking the enemy by surprise. The Withlacooshe, or
as it is laid down on most maps, the Amaxura, is a riv-
er of some note which runs westerly along the border
of ,the Seminole territories, and empties into the Gulf,
The usual road to Tampa crosses the river by a bridge;


I


EIY




I II I 111 III III


War in Florida. 21

but the guides promised to take the troops across by a
ford lower down. On the morning of December 31 they
began to approach the Withlacooshee, and as it was ap-
prehended that tlie Seminoles, if they had received in-
formation of the route which the general had chosen,
might dispute the passage of the river, the baggage was
left at a point some five miles from the river bank, un-
der a guard, and the spies were ordered to keep a good
lookout. No signs of the enemy were discovered,
except a single track in the loose sanid,which here com-
posed the surface of the country, apparently of a man
on a full run, which one of the guides undertook to iden-
tify-(such is the nicety of, Indian science on matters of
this sort)-as the footstep of a certain negro, who had
belonged to the chief Charles. The river on the north
side, the direction in which the troops approached it,
Swas lined bi a thick hammock, a quarter of a mile in
width. lThe scouts beat through this without discover-
ing any signs of the enemy. On approaching the river
bank, it waq found to be h bold and rapid stream, some
twenty yards across, and too deep to be forded. An
old canoe was found, and after stopping the seams with
moss, it served to ferry over the regulars in parties of
four and five. After crossing, the trail led obliquely
about two hundred yards through a narrow hammock,
wpich lined the south side of the river, and then ascen-
ded a steep sandy luff or barren, on the top of which
was a clear open space. Having stationed sentinels,
the regulars stacked their arms on this open space, and
laid down to rest and refresh themselves while the vol-
unteers were crossing. Some were asleep, and others,
with true soldier-like non chalanco, were improving the
leisure in the enjoyment of a game of cards. A -small
party of the volunteers had swam their horses'across,
and were engaged in constructing a bridge for the pas-
sage of the others, when the sentinels came running in
with the news that the Indians were coming. Atfirst it
was supposed to be a 'alse alarm, but in a moment af-
ter th6y came rushing down the hammock, along the'
river bank; they even ventured out of their cover jnto
the open space occupied by the regulars, all the time
pouring in a heavy fire. It seemed to be their object,
3*


I.








22 The Indian

by pushing down the hammock along the river,'to get
possession of the landing place, and cut off the commu-
nicationbetween the regulars and the volunteers; but a
party of the volunteers plunged into the river, some on
horseback and some on foot, and others extending them-
selves along the bank and firing across, beat the Indians
back, and kept open the communication. The enenfy
were very shy of the rifles of the volunteers, but seem-
ed to have no great fear of the regulars, for whose aim
they entertain much contempt.
The regulars were taken entirely by surprise, but they
behaved with great gallantry, forming into platoons and
returning the enemy's fire with as much regularity and
exactness as if they had been on parade. The Indians
however, had greatly the advantage, as they were post-
ed among the trees at the bottom of the bluff, while the
regulars were exposed in the open space at the top o
it. The Indians seemed to be coming in during thl
whole time of the engagement, and those who came i
last, were observed to have packs as though they wer
just offa journey. It was conjectured that they were
waiting the approach of the whites at the bridge above,
and were obliged to make a rapid movement in order to
intercept them. at the ford. Oseola, otherwise called
Powell, the leader in the war, was observed the fore-
most of the assailants. He wore a red belt, and three
long feathers, and would step boldlf out from behind
his tree, take a deliberate aim, and bring down his man
at every fire !-whole platoons levelled their muskets at
him, and the tree behind which he stood was complete-
ly riddled by the balls, while he repeatedly called on
his followers to stand by him, and not run from "the
pale faces." At the beginning of the disturbances, he
gave out that there were three men whose lives he would
have, viz.-Charles the Chief, who was in favor of are-
moval, Gen. Thompson, the Indian Agent, and General-
Clinch. The deaths of the two former he has already
effected.
The heat of the engagement lasted about an hour,
but the Inlians kept up a continual whooping and oc-
casional firing until near dark. The troops had more


El








War in Florida. 2. 3

than sixty killed and wounded, principally wounded.-
The loss fell almost entirely on the regulars-not more
than six or seven volunteers having been hurt. It was -
impossible to ascertain how great the loss of the In-
dians was. It was conjectured that there were upwards
of 400 Indians in the engagement; as soon as they re-
tired the troops fell back beyond the hammock on the
north side, carrying with them their wounded, and slept
upon their arms through fear of being again surprised.
Gen. Clinch was in the hottest of the fight through-
out the engagement. His horse was shot under him in
two places, neck and hip. A ball passed through his
cap, entering the front and passing out of the back part
of the top, ard another ball passed through the sleeve
of the bridle arm of his coat! At one moment a little
confusion occurred among the troops; in consequence of
some soldiers giving the word Retire !'-whereupon
the General immediately threw himself in front of the.
men, and his horse staggering under him, lie dismounted,
advanced to the front, and amid a shower of bullets from
the Indians exclaimed that "before he would show his
-back to the enemy he would die upon the field!" A
gallant charge followed, by which the savages were
routed and driven from the field !
During the action, the yelling of the savages was in-
cessant, and somewhat appealing. 'Ten times their num-
ber of civilized enemies in an open field would not have
been so formidable. The regulars were compelled to
watch their opportunity and fire by follies, as did the
volunteers whenever they saw a flash from the thicket;
the killed of the whites were buried, and firesbuilt over
their graves, so that the Indians obtained no scalps,
A remarkable incident occurred at the foregoing bat-
tle, a Jacksonville volunteer, who was among the num-
ber that remained on the east side of the river, during
the fight on the othlr, seeing an Indian aim his rifle at
one of his comrades, levelled his own at the savage a-
cross the stream about 100 yards, felled him on the spot,
swam over, got his scalp, and with the.trophy in his hand
returned to the place lie had left! 'The savage was left
on the ground by his companions, as it is a custom with


I"t~







24 The Indian

them never to bury or even approach a scalped Indian, as
the loss of his scalp renders him in their eyes an unclean
thing!
,After the engagement on the Withincooche, the main
body of the enemy moved south, destroying almost ev-
ery thing of value in their course, burning every house
and destroying every plantation between St. Augustine
and Cape Floiida, a distance of two hundred and fifty
miles. The amount ofproperty destroyed was immelise.
Whenever they set fire to a'dwelling, they danced round
it until it was reduced to ashes! In most cases they
found the houses deserted by the whites, who on receiv-
ing intelligence of the approad'h of the Indians, had fled
for their lives, leaving their most'4aluable effects behind.
An aged grand-parent, who was too infirm to attempt an
escape by flight, and an affectionate little grand daugh-
ter, who was much attached to her grandfather were left
behind. The savages entered and secured both, and
having conveyed them to alittIe distance from the house,
set it on fire, after which they returned; and while con-
suiting together in what manner they should dispose of
their captives, the poor old man (who entreated only for
the life f his grand-child) was fortunately recognized
by one of the savages, as one from whon his family had
received relief when driven to the greatest extremities
by the war of 181S-in consequence,'by his kind inter-
position, they were left uninjured, and with sufficient food
for their subsistence for several days-an instance in
prool'of what has been frequently said to be one of the
most noble characteristics of a savage, that whether at
peace or war, "lie never forgets a favor, nor injures a
friend."
Early in March, Gen. Gaines, with a considerable body
of Carolina and Georgia troops under his command,
penetrated as far as the Withlacoochee, where he met
with the main body of the Indians encamped on the op-
posite bank of the river, and by whom, during the night'
he waq attacked. He had,by stratagem, succeeded in con-
cealing a part of his force, and thus decoyed them over.
After a short but severe contest, he succeeded in driving
them back with loss. Early the succeeding day the at-
tack was renewed by the savages;and continued for three


I.




II



War in Florida. 25

days successively, when finding the number of their slain
and wounded very considerable, they retired and sought
a covertin a neighboring swamp. Gen. Gaines' loss was
but four killed and twenty wounded; among the former
was Gen. lazard, and among the latter Gen. G. General
Gaines having been disappointed in receiving a supply
of ammunition and stores, as well as a"reinforcement,
which, under the command of Generals Clinch and Scott
were to be sent to join him, was placed in a very criti-
cal situation-entrenched and surrounded by the enemy,
his communications cut off, and almost destitute of pro-
visions as well as ammunition. Supplies had been sent
him by Gen. Clinch, but the detachment after proceeding
within six miles of Gen. Gaines' encampment, found'the
signs of Indians so frequent that they thought it unsafe
to proceed further, and therefore returned to Fort Drane.
In this alarming condition Gen. Gaines held a council
with his officers, by whom it was decided that it was bet-
ter to kill and eat their horses, than to trust to the mer-
cy of the savages, and not only on their horses" were
they compelled to depend for subsistence, but to such ex-
tremities were they finally driven, that even their dogs
(with a single exception) were butchered, cooked, and
Distributed sparingly among the men. The solitary one
reserved shared a similar fate, contrary to the orders of
Gen. Gaines, to' whom he was much attached, to appease
the almost starved soldiers. One of them, watching a
favorable opportunity, seized the dog, conveyed him a
short distance from the camp, and strangled him. He
was soon detected in the act 6f disposing of one of the
quarters to a comrade, for five dollars and was severe-
ly punished. At this melancholy period their hunger
Swas too great to be disregarded whatever the consequen-
ces might be. On one occasion a famishing soldier gave
six dollars for a piece of horse's entrails a foot long! five
dollars were given for a single biscuit, and the same
Amount for a quart of corn! One soldier offered anoth-
er a dollar for one ounce of tobacco, who refused it. Ma-
ny other similar instances could be mentioned relative
to the distressed condition of tlese unfortunate men,
suffering beyond the power of conception, in a savage
wilderness. In this deplorable condition were they found




.... I mIlll lll ll IIIII Ir








26 The Indian

when Gen. Clinch happily succeeded in reaching them
'with supplies and a reinforcement of Alachua militia.-
They met, as mightbe supposed, with a joyful reception.
The Alachua volunteers cheerfully distributed their bis-
cuits and corn, reserving none for themselves. It was
affecting to witness the greqdiness and thankfulness with
which iley received a whole or a half biscuit from their
deliverers.
The day previous to the arrival of Gen. Clinch,
Oseola sent a negro to the camp of General Gaines,
requesting an interview, and promising to stop killing
white men if he would stop killing 'Indians.-This
proposition was agreed to, and Oseola was told to
come next day with a white flag, when they would
have a talk with him. The next day, in company with
another chief, he came to within about one hundred
yards of the fort, waved his white flag around three
times, and sat down upon a log. Three officers from
the camp went to meet him.
Oseola informed them that Gen. Clinch was on his
way to, join them with alargenumber of horsemen. He
expressed his willingness that hostilities should cease,
and give up his arms. The officers required him to' sign
articles of agreement by which he bound himself 'to
proceed immediately to Tampa Bay, and thence embark
for the Mississippi., Some say that Oseola objected to
this way of removing, and wished to go by land. Others
that he would not promise to go at all, but wished to
live on the other side of the Withlacoochee, and to
have that river for the boundary line between them and
the whites. Their discussion was interrupted by the
arrival of Gen. Clinch. During the course of it, Oseola
inquired how they were off for provisions. They told
him they had a plenty. He said, he knew they had not,
and if they would come over the river, he would give
them two beeves and a bottle of brandy.
The evening of the day on which their interview was
interrupted by the .arrival of Gen. Clinch, Oseola sent
word to Gen. Gaines, that if he would send away the
horsemen (Alachua militia,) they would come and sur-
render their arms. We know not whether from sus-


El~~_ n








War in Florida.


picion or otherwise, the horsemen were not sent away.
After waiting three days to hear more of Oseola, and
not having provisions to remain longer, Gen. Gaines
returned to Fort Drane, at which place Oseola was to
have met him.
Oseola's request for an interview with Gen. Gaines
was no doubt an artifice of that cunning chief, on learn-
ing the approach of a reinforcement, either to give time
to make a safe retreat, or a stratagem by which, after
introducing five hundred Indians within the breast-work
under the pretence of surrendering their arms, to make
an attack .with his main force, and taking advantage
of the confusion, to massacre the whole before Gen.
Clinch could render them any assistance. Every recent
engagement with his followers affords additional evi-
dence of the daring character of this chieftain. He
seems to, be unacquainted with fear, and no' reliance
can be placed on his declaration that he was tired of
killing white men.' Deep-rooted hatred to the "pale
faces," and despair of pardon for his unparalleled
atrocities, have possession of his heart, and he will no
doubt continue to manifest his hatred to the whites,
until In is placed where he can no longer raise his
murderous arm against the innocent! and yet, he may
be supposed almost bullet-proof, as forty balls were
taken I'rom the trunk of the tree which sheltered him
during tlie battle of Withlicooche !-in that battle the
Indians have acknowledged that they lost 138 men.
Micanopy, the head chief, they say, had fired but one
gun during the war. He had his choice, either to fight
)r die; he chose the former, raised his rifle and shot
Major Dade, and immediately thereafter retired to his
town, where he has remained ever since.
After the arrival of Gen. Clinch, the Indians separated
into straggling parties, and so far from having been
beaten and compelled to sue for peace, the small parties
which have been since met with, have fiercely resisted,
until put in danger ol the bayonet. The face of the
country, interspersed with hammocks, cyprus swamps
and marshes, impenetrable to the white man, presents
serious obstacles to the prosecution of a campaign in
Florida; and while these fastnesses constitute the


_ I.


* -~r.-







28 The Indian War in Florida.


natural defence of the Indians, they preSent difficulties
almost insurmountable to their pursuers. As the in-
supportably warm and unhealthy weather will prevent
further operations on the part of the whites, the regular
forces have retired into summer quarters at St. Augus-
tine; and thus has ended this unfortunate campaign.
The savages, unsubdued, continue fearlessly to stalk
over the graves of Major Dade and his brave com-
panions.


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