State of Florida
Carl Sandburg has said: "Books say Yes to life. Or they say
No." The twelve volumes commemorating the Quadricentennial
of Florida say Yes. They unfold a story so adventurous and
thrilling, so colorful and dramatic, that it would pass for
fiction were the events not solidly rooted in historical fact.
Five varying cultures have shaped the character of Florida and
endowed her with the pride and wisdom that come from full
knowledge and abiding understanding. Let us enjoy with
deepening gratitude Florida's magnetic natural endowments of
sun and surf and sky. Let us also recognize in her unique
cultural heritage the pattern of energy and dedication that
will spur us to face the challenges of today and tomorrow with
I am grateful for the privilege of sharing these volumes
ORIGIN, PROGRESS, AND CONCLUSION
JOHN T. SPRAGUE,
BREVET CAPTAIN, EIGHTH REGIMENT U. S. INFANTRY.
A FACSIMILE REPRODUCTION
of the 1848 EDITION
by JOHN K. MAHON
FLORIDIANA FACSIMILE REPRINT SERIES
University of Florida Press
FLORIDIANA FACSIMILE &v' REPRINT SERIES
of the 1848 EDITION
WITH PREFATORY MATERIAL, INTRODUCTION
&- INDEX ADDED
NEW MATERIAL COPYRIGHT 1964
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
STATE INSTITUTIONS OF FLORIDA
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 64-19162
LITHOPRINTED BY DOUGLAS PRINTING COMPANY, INC.
BOUND BY UNIVERSAL-DIXIE BINDERY, INC.
TOM ADAMS JAMES W. KYNES
Secretary of State Attorney General
RAY E. GREEN J. EDWIN LARSON
State Comptroller State Treasurer
DOYLE E. CONNER THOMAS D. BAILEY
Commissioner of Agriculture Superintendent of Public Instruction
THE BOARD OF CONTROL
BAYA M. HARRISON, JR. GERT H. W. SCHMIDT
Chairman Vice Chairman
St. Petersburg Jacksonville
CHARLES R. FORMAN, D.V.M. JOHN C. PACE
Ft. Lauderdale Pensacola
WAYNE C. MCCALL, D.D.S. CHESTER E. WHITTLE
JAMES LAWRENCE KING J. B. CULPEPPER
Miami Executive Director, Tallahassee
THE QUADRICENTENNIAL EDITION
FLORIDIANA FACSIMILE & REPRINT SERIES
CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA by John Wallace. 1888. Edited by
THE CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA by Wil-
liam Watson Davis. 1913. Edited by Fletcher M. Green.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA by Joshua R. Giddings. 1858. Edited by
Arthur W. Thompson.
FLORIDA FOR TOURISTS, INVALIDS, AND SETTLERS by George
M. Barbour. 1882. Edited by Emmett B. Peter, Jr.
HISTORICAL MEMOIR OF THE WAR IN WEST FLORIDA AND
LOUISIANA IN 1814-15 by A. L. Latour. 1816. Edited by Jane
Lucas de Grummond.
HISTORY OF JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, AND VICINITY, 1513 to
1924 by T. Frederick Davis. 1925. Edited by Richard A. Martin.
NOTICES OF FLORIDA AND THE CAMPAIGNS by M. M. Cohen.
1836. Edited by O. Z. Tyler, Jr.
THE ORIGIN, PROGRESS, AND CONCLUSION OF THE FLORIDA
WAR by John T. Sprague. 1848. Edited by John K. Mahon.
PEDRO MENENDEZ de AVILES by Gonzalo Soil's de Meras. 1567.
(The Florida State Historical Society edition, edited and translated
by Jeannette Thurber Connor.) Edited by Lyle N. McAlister.
THE PURCHASE OF FLORIDA by Hubert Bruce Fuller. 1906. Edited
by Weymouth T. Jordan.
SKETCHES, HISTORICAL AND TOPOGRAPHICAL, OF THE FLOR-
IDAS by James Grant Forbes. 1821. Edited by James W. Covington.
THE WHOLE TRUE DISCOUERYE OF TERRA FLORIDA by Jean
Ribaut. 1563. (The Florida State Historical Society edition, includ-
ing a biography of Ribaut by Jeannette Thurber Connor.) Edited by
David L. Dowd.
The Quadricentennial Coat-of-Arms
Surmounted by the Crest symbolizing our National Emblem
and underlined by the Scroll, the Shield with the Tower of
Spain in the Heraldic quarter of honor, followed by the Fleur-
de-lis of France, the Lion Rampant of Britain, and the Mullets
and Saltier of the Confederacy--depicts the four-hundred-
year cultural heritage of our Florida of today.
The Florida Quadricentennial Commission acknowledges its deepest gratitude to
Chase D. Sheddan, distinguished scholar, and A. Vernon
Coale, noted Heraldic Artist, for their conception and
portrayal of the official Florida Quadricentennial Coat-
. . . .
LORIDA enjoys a unique position
among the fifty states of the Union.
Her city of St. Augustine antedates
Jamestown, the second oldest Euro-
Spean settlem ent w within the present
boundaries of the United States, by
forty-two years. But it was not until
1950 that Florida entered the select circle of the ten
most populous states of the nation. Since 1950 she has
passed Massachusetts in population and is challenging
New Jersey for eighth place. Within the South only
Texas with more than four and one-half times the area
of Florida has a larger population.
Neither number nor age is necessarily a distinction,
but most Americans are impressed by the former and
revere the latter. Floridians view the recent and rapid
increase in their state's population as an indication of
youthful vigor. In 1860 eleven states of the Union had
a million or more inhabitants, a status symbol not at-
tained by Florida until the mid-1920's. At the turn of the
century Florida ranked thirty-third in a nation of forty-
six commonwealths; today she is ninth in population
among the fifty states. In contrast to the national increase
of less than 20 per cent from 1950 to 1960, Florida's
population increased by more than 78 per cent. The
number of people living in the state in 1964 is more than
twice that of 1950.
While boasting of their state's recent surge, Floridians
are also proud of their four-hundred-year-old origin. In
1957 the Florida Quadricentennial Commission was
established. With the approval of its members local or-
viii Florida's Quadricentennial
ganizations have celebrated the quadricentennials of
several historic events. The attempt of Tristin de Luna
to found a colony on the western tip of Santa Rosa Island
in 1559 was observed in Pensacola by reconstructing the
Spanish village settlement. In 1962 Jacksonville noted
the Quadricentennial of Jean Ribault's explorations with
a colorful drama. Even before this tribute to the French
explorer, a museum was built near the spot where in
1564 another Frenchman, Rene de Laudonnibre, brought
the first Protestant colonists to an area within the present-
day United States. These and other quadricentennial
celebrations will culminate in 1965 with state, national,
and international observance of the founding of St.
There are many ways to celebrate quadricentennials-
parades, speeches, pageants, the re-creation of villages and
forts, and the restoration of buildings. Some of these are
spectacular but fleeting; others, including the restoration
of buildings, will remain for our descendants to see and
feel. More enduring than any of these are ideas. For this
reason the Governor, the Cabinet, and the Florida Quad-
ricentennial Commission gave priority to the reprinting
of rare and valuable books relating to Florida. These re-
productions will endure. They will enable many Ameri-
cans to share in the state's past, and will provide source
material for the historian.
Until recently few authors or publishers were inter-
ested in Florida. Englishmen brought the first printing
press to Florida in 1783 and from it came a newspaper
and two books. But for a century and a half the books
on Florida were rare and the number of copies printed
was small. In cooperation with the University of Florida
Press the Quadricentennial Commission is reprinting
Florida's Quadricentennial ix
twelve rare or semi-rare books. The subject matter in
these volumes covers a period of more than three hun-
dred years of Florida's history-the French and Spanish
settlements, the War of 1812, the purchase by the United
States, the Seminole War, the Civil War and Reconstruc-
tion, and the modern period. In addition to textual re-
productions, these facsimile editions contain introduc-
tions by businessmen, journalists, and professors. The
Quadricentennial Commission hopes these twelve books
will stimulate the production of other reprints and en-
courage students to write original manuscripts which
describe and interpret Florida's past.
The Florida Quadricentennial Commission
FRED H. KENT, Chairman-Jacksonville
DOYLE E. CARLTON, SR.-Tampa
JEAN ANN CONE-Tampa
CLARENCE M. GAY-Orlando
HAROLD W. GOFORTH-Ocala
JOHN MARSHALL GREEN-Ocala
KATHRYN ABBEY HANNA-Winter Park
CHARLES H. OVERMAN-Pensacola
JOHN D. PENNEKAMP-Miami
JOHN FITE ROBERTSON-Sarasota
GERT H. W. SCHMIDT-Jacksonville
H. E. WOLFE-St. Augustine
By the middle of the eighteenth century some native Americans,
thrust from their ancestral lands by the move-or-die policy of
British colonists, found homes in Spanish Florida. Unlike most of
their displaced brothers, the Seminole Indians bought Negroes and
gave haven to escaped slaves. But the Seminole was an easy
master. After the War of 1812 Seminole and Negro were more
nearly partners than master and slave. In the First Seminole War
the United States Army invaded the Spanish colony to chastise
both Negro and Indian in a conflict that did much to persuade
Spain to cede the Floridas to the United States.
The federal government first attempted to confine the Seminoles
and Negroes to a specified area in Florida, and then tried to move
them to a reservation located west of the Mississippi River. The
second effort and the aggressiveness of white men, who made
false as well as legitimate claims to ownership of the Seminoles'
Negroes, brought on the Second Seminole War. This longest and
most costly of all American Indian wars was a seven-year cam-
paign of United States regulars and state militia against mobile
forces of Seminole and Negro warriors. In 1842 most of the Semi-
nole chiefs signed treaties which allowed 300 or more of their
people to live unmolested in the Everglades and on the fringes of
white settlements in southwestern Florida. A decade later in a
third war the Indians again resisted the aggression of white men.
Despite casualties and removal, some Indians remained in Florida,
where today they enjoy the respect of their white neighbors.
Commissioned and non-commissioned officers penned memoirs
of the second, the real Seminole-Negro war. The most comprehen-
sive of these accounts, one which combined personal experiences-
xii EDITORIAL PREFACE.
and research, was written by John Titcomb Sprague. Despite the
limitations of inadequate source material and personal bias, Spra-
gue's Florida War has for almost a century and a quarter been the
standard history of the Seminole War. John K. Mahon, associate
professor of history at the University of Florida, is well qualified
to evaluate the work of Sprague. Dr. Mahon's own study of the
Seminole War will soon be published by the University of Florida
Press. In making the Index to Sprague's Florida War, Dr. Mahon
used and revised the typewritten index produced by the WPA
Writers Project in the 1930's. Stanley L. West, Director of Li-
braries at the University of Florida, allowed the University Press
to use the copy of Sprague in the P. K. Yonge Memorial Library
to produce this facsimile.
REMBERT W. PATRICK
University of Florida General Editor of the
April, 1964 FLORIDIANA SERIES
LAWRENCE SPRAGUE joined the army as an assistant surgeon in
1825.1 This action made him the progenitor of a military family
of several generations. His son, John Titcomb Sprague, the sub-
ject of this Introduction, was born at Newburyport, Massachusetts,
on July 3, 1810. What happened to John in his early years is not
known, except that in the late 1820's and early 1830's he was
with his father at Detroit. Duty soon drew the surgeon away to
another post, leaving the boy on his own. Fortunately no less a
person than Lewis Cass, veteran governor of Michigan Territory,
took an interest in him; and when President Jackson summoned
the governor to be Secretary of War in 1831, Cass took young
Sprague along and installed him in a minor job in the War Office.2
One way or another, Sprague received a commission as second
lieutenant in the Marine Corps on October 17, 1834. Straightway
he went off to fight against the Seminoles in Florida, in the regi-
ment of Marines led by Colonel Archibald Henderson himself, the
Commandant of the Corps. This regiment operated in Florida from
about June, 1836, to May, 1837. Presumably Sprague was with
the regiment the entire time; in fact he may have remained longer
to assist in the forcible transfer of a band of Indians to a reserva-
tion beyond the Mississippi River. At some stage of his tour in
the Southeast he came into contact with, and impressed, Major
General Thomas S. Jesup, Quartermaster General of the United
States Army, who was temporarily on leave from his supply duties
in order to campaign against the Creeks and Seminoles. It is likely
that Jesup encouraged him to resign from the Marines and enter
the army. In any case, Sprague did so and received a commission
as second lieutenant in the Fifth Infantry Regiment on July 3,
1837. Thus commenced his thirty-three years of service as a
The Second Seminole War caused an increase in the army and,
on July 5, 1838, a new regiment, the Eighth Infantry, was con-
stituted. Lieutenant Sprague transferred to it two days later. In
this manner the man who was to write the history 'of the war in
Florida was made part of a regiment which came into being be-
cause of the war.
Both the Eighth Infantry Regiment and the Territory of Flor-
ida were important in Sprague's life. He was in and out of Florida
during the following decade-and subsequent times as well-and
was a member of the Eighth for twenty-three years. His first army
service in Florida came during April and May, 1839, when he
acted as temporary aide-de-camp to Alexander Macomb, Com-
manding General of the army. The General went to the Territory
to try to negotiate peace with the Seminoles. Sprague kept a
journal of the expedition, which has great historical value.4 This
duty ended when Macomb left Florida, having secured what he
believed was a lasting peace with the Indians, but in reality hav-
ing failed. For Sprague, however, the mission was a success in
that he was promoted to first lieutenant on May 1, 1839.
His short tour with the Commanding General being over in
July, 1839, Sprague rejoined the Eighth Regiment in New York.
In May, 1840, it moved to Forts Winnebago and Crawford, Wis-
consin Territory; in July to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri; and
thence to Florida Territory. In all these changes of station Lieuten-
ant Sprague was present.5
The regiment reached Florida in November, 1840, and was at
once swept into rigorous military operations. Lieutenant Sprague
shared in these operations until March, 1841, when he was put in
charge of a body of Indians who were being moved westward.
Upon his return he resumed his duties as adjutant of the regi-
ment (a post he had held since December 12, 1839) and, in ad-
dition, became aide-de-camp to the new commanding officer in
Florida, William Jenkins Worth, the colonel of Sprague's own
The next four years were relatively prosperous times for John
T. Sprague. First, on March 15, 1842, he earned a brevet6 cap-
taincy, "for meritorious and successful conduct in the war against
the Florida Indians." Then, on September 1, 1842, he was tem-
porarily relieved of the position of regimental adjutant. At St.
Augustine, on June 15, 1843,7 he married Mary Worth, the oldest
daughter of his commander (who incidentally had recently be-
come a brigadier general as a reward for his conduct in the war
against the Seminoles). After five months' leave Sprague reported
once more for duty on October 31, 1843. At that time Sprague
resumed his assignment as regimental adjutant, and kept it until
September 1, 1845.
One might suppose that a family connection with such a fast
rising officer as William J. Worth would have assured Sprague
rapid advancement. This was not the case. When the Eighth Regi-
ment marched off to take part in the War with Mexico in 1846,
Sprague was left behind to police up after the Second Seminole
War. The title he received for the purpose was Officer in Charge
of Indian Affairs and Disbursing Agent, Florida, a duty which
could hardly be expected to generate very much glory!s However,
the grade of captain in the Eighth Infantry Regiment did come
to him on September 21, 1846, and the book for which he is still
known, The Origin, Progress, and Conclusion of the Florida War,
did evolve from his leisure time in 1846. Unfortunately for him,
the writing of books was not a route to the top in the army.
Rather, promotions were being given in Mexico where the Eighth
Infantry was earning eight battle streamers to attach to its colors,
and where his brother officers won at least brevets in active com-
bat.9 Nonetheless, Sprague eventually became a brevet major on
May 30, 1848.
Toward the end of the Mexican War, General Worth fell out
with the commander of the expeditionary force to Mexico, Gen-
eral Winfield Scott, who had been his mentor since the War of
1812. The bitterness which brewed between them continued until
Worth's death in 1849; indeed it may have continued to operate
afterwards through his relatives, for to run afoul of Winfield
Scott was a tragic event in any military career. Scott dominated
the army as Commanding General from 1841 to 1861 and may
have been one reason why Brevet Major Sprague had to wait
thirteen years, until May 14, 1861, to become major and to draw
the pay and emoluments of that grade. On the other hand, it is
only fair to state that promotions came slowly to almost all officers
in the interval between the close of the Mexican War and the out-
break of the Civil War.
The union of J. T. Sprague with Mary Worth truly established
the military family founded by Lawrence Sprague. Three daugh-
ters issued from it, all of whom married army officers, and there
was one son who became a doctor with military service in World
War I. Each succeeding generation has supplied additional officers
to the military services, even to the sixth generation, which is now
At last, on April 10, 1848, Sprague was given permission to
quit Florida and to take leave until the end of July. The remain-
ing five months of 1848 were spent in the recruiting service.
Then, in 1849, he was off to the branch of the Subsistence Depart-
ment in San Antonio, Texas. Completing this detached service the
same year, he rejoined his regiment in Texas, which was doing
its best to cope with the Indians. As of May 18, 1852, he was
ordered to serve two and one-quarter years of recruiting duty in
New York State. This duty passed swiftly, and on August 15,
1854, he once more rejoined the Eighth Infantry in Texas. It now
became his charge to lead expeditions through the heart of Indian
country, once to El Paso and once to Santa Fe. This, the last of
his duty in the West, ended in August, 1858. So satisfactory was
his performance in New Mexico Territory that the legislature
voted him thanks.1 The next two and three-quarters years of his
career are obscure. It is possible that he was on extended leave
beginning in August, 1858, but the surviving record is not
The coming of the Civil War upset Sprague's plans, whatever
they were, along with those of millions of other Americans. When
war threatened, he forfeited the unused balance of his leave in
order to report for duty. By chance, he found himself traveling to
Washington in the company of Abraham Lincoln, President-
elect.12 As the orders in his pocket were most disturbing to him,
he protested them to the Adjutant General,13 and also solicited Lin-
coln's aid to get them changed, but without success. Those orders
read that he was to report to the headquarters of his regiment at
San Antonio. As he pointed out to the Adjutant General, this
would require him to pass through the very heartland of the Con-
federacy where he was almost certain to be taken prisoner. How-
ever, because he could secure no modification of his orders, there
was no choice but to obey. The result was what he had expected:
harassment along the way culminating in arrest and imprison-
ment. Without any show of resistance, General David E. Twiggs,
who had Confederate leanings, surrendered his command to South-
ern officers on February 18, 1861. Sprague, en route to report for
duty, was included in the capitulation.14 He was understandably
bitter over orders which at the very start ended his chances for
service and distinction in the conflict lying ahead.
Fortunately, it was not his fate to remain in prison. Offered a
general's grade if he would join the Confederate Army, he indig-
nantly turned down the tempting star, a refusal which cost him
the confiscation of his property in Texas, which happened to be
all he owned.15 However, parole was allowed him in April, 1861,
and he started back northward. At last, in the middle of May,
came the promotion for which he had waited so long. His new
grade was major and his regiment the First Infantry. Although he
was never to do any actual duty with the First, this new assign-
ment marked the end of his association with the Eighth Infantry,
which had been his home in the army for twenty-three years.
Parole meant that he could return to Union territory, but it
also meant that he had given his word not to fight against the
Confederacy. Yet an assignment on January 1, 1862, to be fed-
eral recruiting and disbursing officer in New York State, did not
seem to violate his parole, and he settled into that duty at Albany.
In April he was officially exchanged and freed of his promise not
to war against the South; but being already established in a non-
combat position, he continued in it.
After exchange, his name appeared on a list of 200 officers
nominated by President Lincoln to be brigadiers. Congress was
not willing to promote so many, and he was passed over.16
The end of 1862 brought a new set of circumstances, but not in
the area of promotion. It happened that New York elected a
Democrat for governor, Horatio Seymour, whose opponents
charged him with Copperhead leanings. As a result, Seymour felt
an especial need for someone to serve as adjutant general of the
state who could maintain good relations in Washington. Accord-
ingly, on December 18, 1862, he offered the position to Sprague.17
Sprague accepted at once and thus became a key figure in New
York State's military establishment. Ten weeks later, March 13,
1863, the United States Army elevated him to the grade of lieuten-
ant colonel in the newly constituted Eleventh Infantry Regiment.
As adjutant general of the state of New York, Sprague plunged
diligently into the heavy duties of raising and supplying New
York troops for United States service. All in all, New York deliv-
ered about 448,000 soldiers and sailors-the largest number of
any state-and Adjutant General Sprague was involved with proc-
essing at least half of them.
Sprague's luck on promotions was no better now than it had
been. Rather early he incurred Governor Seymour's displeasure in
the following way. Riots broke out in New York City during the
summer of 1863 over the enforcement of the federal draft law.
This was the sort of situation in which Seymour had intended to
use Sprague, and he sent him off to Washington to plead with
Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton to suspend operation of
the draft in New York. Once at the capital city, Sprague reported
first to Provost Marshal James B. Fry, who was in charge of en-
forcing conscription. Fry gave him a positive order not to carry
the matter to Lincoln and Stanton. Conditioned by nearly thirty
years of military discipline, Sprague obeyed; he returned to Al-
bany without ever having seen Lincoln or Stanton. Nearly a week
passed before the governor found this out, but when he did his
anger flared up. Thereafter, all his communications with the
adjutant general of the state passed through a third party. Never-
theless, Sprague remained in office as long as Seymour continued
as governor, and left the office only on New Year's Day, 1865,
when the man who had defeated Seymour took over.18
Miscellaneous assignments filled Sprague's time during the next
nine months. For him the important events in that period were
his promotion at long last to colonel in May, 1865, and his desig-
nation as commander of the Seventh Infantry Regiment. At the
head of his unit he entered Florida in October, 1865, for his fourth
tour of duty there. At first his assignment was as commanding
officer of the District of East Florida, during which time he
pleaded with his superiors for a brevet as brigadier general. The
war had advanced his colleagues rapidly, and he knew of many
a general who had been his junior in rank for several decades.
Besides, as he wrote to General W. T. Sherman in 1866, "A
colonel is commonplace, his opinion is not much, but the opinion
of a General, though ass he may be, is calculated to give wisdom
to his acts in this part of rebeldom."19 Although state senators
wrote to help him, his promotion never came through; he re-
mained a colonel to the end of his days.20
Like most of his previous time in Florida, the fourth assign-
ment brought him few dull moments. On December 5, 1866, he
was made Assistant Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau for
Florida, which meant that he was in charge of the Bureau in that
state. Then after the passage of the Reconstruction Act of March
2, 1867, his duties were expanded to take in the military com-
mand of the District of Florida, including west as well as east
Florida. His immediate superior in the Freedmen's Bureau was
General Oliver Otis Howard, in the military command General
John Pope and, later, General George Gordon Meade.21 Wearing
his two hats, Colonel Sprague was the keystone of reconstruction
in Florida during the touchy period of military domination dic-
tated by the radical Republicans. This was delicate duty, and it is
to the colonel's credit that he seems to have done it well. Although
no devoted friend to the freedmen, he recognized that colored chil-
dren showed quick ability to learn, and he supported education
for them. His method, in his own words, was "to dot the state ..
with cheap log cabins in the vicinity of large plantations and per-
mit parents to send their children to nearby schools with little
expense."22 He also favored the vote for ex-slaves.
The crucial test of his regime came early in 1868 when con-
servatives and radicals reached an impasse over the preparation
of a constitution with which Florida could resume her place in
the Union. Two sets of delegates fought for seats in the constitu-
tional convention. The threat of violence brought General Meade
to Tallahassee, and he directed Sprague to favor the conservatives.
Such support forced the radicals out, and Colonel Sprague himself
served at the start as presiding officer when the convention of con-
servatives met. The result was the constitution which endured from
1868 to 1885. Soon Meade directed that the army and the Freed-
men's Bureau transfer many of their functions to elected civil
officials. Sprague, on whom the implementation of this order fell,
chose the Fourth of July, 1868, to make the transfer.
He continued his duty in Florida until April 1, 1869, and was
thereafter virtually unassigned while his long career as an officer
slowly closed out. On July 15, 1870, Congress enacted a law which
provided retirement for military officers under decent terms, and
on August 9, Sprague made application to take advantage of it.
His request was granted, effective December 15, 1870.
Retirement by no means opened up a life of ease and leisure
for Colonel Sprague. He still had to support a family. The sur-
viving record does not show just how he did it. Florida, however,
claimed him once again in 1874. On New Year's Day he wrote the
Adjutant General that his health was restored and that he was
ready to accept any assignment the government might make.23 As
none was forthcoming, he wrote the Secretary of War in April in
a different vein. Might he accept the presidency of a railroad line
which had been offered him, and was he permitted to become a
major general in the Florida militia? The reply was favorable to
both.24 Little railroad lines, most of them as short-lived as they
were short in distance, abounded at this time in Florida. If Spra-
gue assumed the presidency of one of these, only this can be
said about it for certain: the road and the position did not last
very long. As for the militia command, he became major general
of the Second Division and held that post at least until December
31, 1876, and probably longer. As of the latter date, there were
18,316 white men and 14,459 colored men enrolled in the Florida
Ill health, it is likely, forced Sprague to leave Florida in 1877
or 1878. At any rate, he was admitted to a hospital in New York
on September 3, 1878, and died there three days later of edema
of the lungs and chronic softening of the brain.26
One cannot know why John T. Sprague decided to write The
Origin, Progress, and Conclusion of the Florida War. If he had
literary aspirations, they never found expression beyond this one
book. But it has been a fine monument, standing on library
shelves ever since as the only history of the Second Seminole
War to be printed.
In an analysis of this book, we ought first to notice a few typo-
graphical errors and minor errors of fact.
Page 19: Payne and Bowlegs were not Secoffee's sons. Author-
ity descended among the Seminoles through women, not men;
thus it is likely that the two men were brothers, or perhaps neph-
ews, of the head chief. And that chief was probably not named
Secoffee at all, but was called "The Cowkeeper."27 Except for this
brief excursion into early Seminole history, Sprague wisely
brushed past it, a sensible thing to do since even now there is a
dearth of accurate information concerning it.
Page 20: The Treaty of Moultrie Creek is referred to as the
Treaty of Fort Moultrie. There was no fort at the council site after
which to name a treaty. The place was selected because it was
a crossing over Moultrie Creek familiar to both Indians and
Page 29: The year given for Gad Humphreys' letter here ought
to be 1825, not 1835.
Page 36: This Humphreys letter ought to be dated 1827, not
Pages 79, 80, 97: On pages 79 and 80 Sprague referred to
Micanopy as an old man; on page 97 he assumed him to have
been about fifty. But other observers consider Micanopy to have
been closer to forty.29
Page 92: R. K. .(Richard Keith), not C. K. Call.
Page 95: The Treaty of Moultrie Creek was signed in 1823, not
Pages 221, 227: Zachary Taylor is here referred to as colonel
of the Sixth Infantry, but was in fact colonel of the First.30
Such errors as the above are obviously minor and are men-
tioned only because the reader would wish to know of them. In
contrast, by far the most serious shortcoming of Sprague's good
book is its lack of proportion. The author compressed five crucial
years of the war, 1836-1840, into one chapter (Chapter III) of
150 pages. Then he devoted ten chapters, comprising 250 pages,
to the remaining year and one-half. Yet, in those five slighted
years large-scale Indian resistance was broken and two-thirds of
all Seminoles killed or shipped out were accounted for. Did the
author purposely tamper with time-proportion? Not at all. The
fact is, he knew the last year and one-half of the war far better
than the rest. Prior to his arrival with the Eighth Infantry Regi-
ment for his third tour in Florida in November, 1840, his ac-
quaintance with the conflict had been very perfunctory. But after
that date he was personally implicated in many of the principal
The difference between the first three chapters and the rest of
the book is pronounced. Much of the narrative in the first three
chapters is carried by reprinted documents, most of which are
also printed in the United States Congress Serial Set. But in the
latter chapters the prose is his own and is more vivid. After all,
as aide-de-camp to the commanding officer, Sprague had a ring-
xiiX INTRODU CTORY.
side seat, and when he became the general's son-in-law, his access
to inside information was more complete than before.
Despite his personal involvement, Sprague displayed no tend-
ency to distort the record in General Worth's favor. On the other
hand, neither did he offer criticism of that officer's methods. In-
deed, criticism of his superiors in the regular service is wholly
absent from this book. Insofar as he knew the details of the mili-
tary actions, he presented them with no criticism whatsoever. This
is not true of R. K. Call's campaign. Here is Sprague's only foray
into critical analysis. In dealing with Call, Sprague allowed him-
self some cautious criticism, but Call was not a regular; he was
governor of Florida Territory temporarily commanding a military
force fielded by the United States (166).
Toward the professionals it must be said that he was uniformly
charitable. His treatment of General D. L. Clinch's campaign in
the winter of 1835 (92-93), of General E. P. Gaines' excursion
into Florida early in 1836 (107-13), and of General Scott's ex-
cessively formal converging movement demonstrates this fact. To
present the Gaines and Scott campaigns-which produced a vitri-
olic controversy between the two generals-he contented himself
with reprinting verbatim forty-four pages of testimony drawn
from the record of the court of inquiry held to determine what
had gone wrong (114-58). Face to face with the most controversial
issue of all-General Jesup's order on October 22, 1837, to seize
Osceola when the latter had been induced to come to a council
and had done so carrying a white flag-Sprague gave the General
a clean bill: "The sacred obligations of a white flag were not
tendered to him [Osceola]; he came in bearing one, and was re-
ceived, as he had been promised, with kindness" (215). Though
this explanation seemed to satisfy the author, it does not amount
to enough to exonerate General Jesup from the charge of a breach
of honorable conduct. But since it did not lie in Sprague's power
to gather together all the evidence which has since had a chance
to accumulate, he was doubtless very sensible in being noncom-
mittal. Still, it is not being hypercritical to display the limitations
under which he worked, for they resulted in the slight shortcom-
ings in his book.
Chapter VIII, ten pages long, is a digression into the history of
the Castillo de San Marcos at St. Augustine. For the sake of narra-
tive flow it could well have been omitted. No other portion of the
text deserves such a criticism, but it can certainly be applied also
to the illustrations throughout the book. As art and as portraits
these fail, for the Indians all look alike.
Sprague's book is a repository of valuable documents. While
some of them are printed elsewhere (usually all but buried in the
United States Congress Serial Set), many are available only here.
Notable among the latter are letters to and from Gad Humphreys,
United States Indian Agent to the Seminoles from 1822 to 1830
(26-71). By means of these the author presents a brief for Hum-
phreys which shows him as a conscientious friend of the Indians.
Little is known about Humphreys, and in that little there is a
preponderance of criticism based on flimsy evidence; Sprague here
did justice to a man whom history may have generally wronged.
Other documents which the author preserved from oblivion are
statements by Indian leaders and by Negroes. There is, for ex-
ample, Alligator's account of Dade's Massacre, December 28, 1835
(90-91); accounts by Indian participants of the battle of Okee-
chobee, December 25, 1837 (214); addresses made by Coacoochee
when he was a prisoner in 1841 (290-91); and the Negro Samp-
son's narrative of Harney's Massacre, July 22, 1839 (316-19). Be-
cause the Indians left no written records, such glimpses as these
into their side of military events, otherwise told almost exclusively
from white sources, are rare and valuable.
In all, about half the book, approximately 250 of 520 pages of
text, is made up of documents of one sort or another. Indeed, from
one point of view everything from Chapter IV to the end may be
classified as one long contemporary document. After all, Sprague
was there, seeing and hearing what the principals did and said.
Sprague's writing is clear and forceful. It carries conviction,
especially from Chapter IV onward, for the reasons already stated.
Certain passages approach eloquence, for example that one which
states the military problem confronting the white forces: "Forty-
seven thousand square miles in the territory of Florida, was
occupied by an enemy by nature vindictive and revengeful, treach-
erous and subtle, striving for their rights, and for the soil made
sacred by those superstitious influences which become a part of
an Indian's nature, by his duty to the Great Spirit, and the in-
junctions of parents and prophets. Every hammock and swamp
was to them a citadel, to which and from which they could retreat
with wonderful facility. Regardless of food or the climate, time or
distance, they moved from one part of the country to the other,
in parties of five and ten; while the soldier, dependent upon sup-
plies, and sinking under a tropical sun, could only hear of his
foe by depredations committed in the section of country over
which he had scouted the day before" (273). Other good examples
center around the imprisonment of Coacoochee (287-93) and the
final departure of his band from Florida (321-24).
Of course, Sprague wrote under the influence of the Romantic
mood which permeated the culture of his era. Part of this mood
was a romantic image of war. Out of war arose heroes! The
author and other officers endured overwhelming hardships in this
particular conflict, partly because they believed their sufferings
were heroic. If so nasty a way of fighting finally erased the
romantic image of war from the minds of some officers, it never
succeeded in Sprague's case. The following extract attests to his
viewpoint: "Of those who have fallen, regulars, volunteers, and
militia, their memories remain, and are cherished by their coun-
trymen. They are beyond censure or praise. They fell in the
excitement of battle, leaving a brilliant example. Others wasted
away, by lingering disease, without a voice to soothe and recall
the wanderings of the feverish mind, or a gentle hand to smooth
the rugged pillow of a soldier's couch. 'Sleep on! Never shall the
polluted breath of slander blow upon your ashes; we will watch
with pious care the laurels that shall shade your urn, and wear
your names engraven upon our hearts' (6).
The last sentence would seem to be a promise not to write any-
thing likely to injure the reputations of those who had given their
lives, whether deserved or not. But comparison with other sources
proves that Sprague did not leave out any essentials to protect
reputations. It is true, however, that he did leave out the muck
and stench of war; but being a Romantic he perhaps never saw
and smelled them.
He made only a slight effort to set the war in the wider con-
text of United States history. Missing, for example, is any refer-
ence to the policy of Indian removal upon which the determina-
tion to remove the Seminoles from Florida rested in part. Missing
also is a vigorous attempt to highlight the close relationship be-
tween slavery and the coming of the Second Seminole War, though
Sprague saw the connection clearly enough. Slavery was, he said,
"an institution upon which hangs the destiny of our country," and
prophetically added, "the question must be met by Americans
whether from north or south, in the forum or in the field" (310).
Through the years, Negro fugitives had made their way from
white plantations to Seminole settlements. Sometimes they became
free allies, sometimes slaves, to the Indians, but if they were slaves
the bondage was much lighter than that enforced by white men.
Besides the fugitives, there were Negro slaves whom the Seminoles
had formally purchased, white style, from white owners. What-
ever the status of the Seminole Negroes, bond or free, they lived
in their own villages, carried arms, hunted, took part in the war,
and otherwise conducted themselves as if unbonded.31 However, it
was difficult for the Seminoles to establish ownership in the legal
way common to white society. They neither understood nor kept
legal records. Here was a splendid opportunity for white men,
greedy to acquire able-bodied slaves, to make extravagant claims.
Such claims were numerous, as were attempts to carry off Negroes
bodily, and the repetition of these efforts year after year finally
helped to bring on the Second Seminole War.
John Sprague knew this story full well, indeed stated it; but he
did not underline it as a major theme of his book. He did, how-
ever, make very clear the fact that the Negroes had much to lose
and little to gain if the Seminoles were expelled from Florida. His
narrative shows how they joined with the Indians, especially at
the start, to resist the forcible emigration. The narrative shows,
too, that the Negroes exerted decisive influence upon the Indians.
Not until the Negroes came around to the idea, or deserted to the
white side, would the Seminoles entertain the thought of leaving
Florida. His story also includes the fact that some Negroes aided
the white men, and did so for their own advantage. Numbers of
them drew high pay as scouts and interpreters. However, Sprague
did not point up as much as the facts merit how crucial was the
role of the Negro interpreters. Since few white men could speak
the Seminole tongues, Negroes were the principal interpreters.
Thus all communication had to flow through them, and could be
subtly directed if so desired. Some of them sought to prolong
the war in order to retain their favored position. That they did
so, and that interested white men did the same, is duly recorded
by Sprague in his volume (268-69).
First-hand knowledge of many of the Indian leaders would be
lost to us except for this book. It contains a brief sketch of the
appearance and characteristics of every one of the Indian princi-
pals. Sympathetic to the Seminoles in the main, the author here
represented the feelings of regular officers in general. It is true
he called the Seminoles "degraded," "by nature vindictive and
revengeful, treacherous and subtle." Moreover, he branded their
depredations which began the war-Dade's Massacre and the am-
bush of the Indian Agent, General Wiley Thompson-as "coward-
ly, revengeful and atrocious." To these derogations he added that
the Seminoles were "utterly regardless of integrity and honor"
(18, 88, 180). On the other hand, he recognized that those quali-
ties which he deplored in them sprang from their culture. His
understanding that the Indians were imbedded in that culture, as
he was in his, is advanced for his time. Influenced by this recogni-
tion of the power of culture, he wrote, "Their mode of warfare is
rational. The scalps of the white man are to them banners of vic-
tory and glory. Treachery and cunning take the place of organized
and disciplined troops." Osceola, he recognized, pushed out of the
bonds of tribal mores when he persistently insisted that white
women and children must be spared (101, 264).
Sprague laid the blame for the war largely upon white men.
But it was the temporary inhabitants, he took pains to point out,
not the citizens of Florida, whose greed and denial of rights to the
Semiroles finally incited the natives to war. The policy of the
federal government was lenient, but the "waywardness and de-
pravity of a border population in a new country" frustrated it (5,
25). In other words, Sprague recognized that the relationship of
the Indians and frontiersmen on the Florida borderland was
similar to that on every other outer rim of our expanding nation.
Still, he spoke with bitterness of those harpies who lured the In-
dians off their reservations with the promise of liquor and then
complained to the government that they had jumped their bounds.
The immediate causes of the war were the three critical trea-
ties made by the United States with the Seminoles: Moultrie
Creek, September 18, 1823; Payne's Landing, May 9, 1832; and
Fort Gibson, March 28, 1833. These, Sprague insisted, were a
result of the aggressive selfishness of the Florida frontiersmen.32
Obviously the author believed that the Seminoles were fighting for
what was theirs by right. "Who can but admire the stern dictates
of human nature--the love of home? And though generated in the
Indian bosom, and marked by cruelty and blood, in clinging to
and defending the associations clustering around the wigwam and
council fire, the candid and unprejudiced cannot but be charitable
for those traits of character, which among the enlightened are
eulogized and distinguished by the enchanting name of patriot-
ism" (264). This viewpoint runs throughout the book. Indeed,
some of the most effective writing describes the final separation
of certain of the Indian leaders from their land for the last time.
Of Coacoochee, Sprague wrote, "he defended [the land] with un-
wavering fidelity. He claimed no inheritance or rights but those
he was prepared to defend" (264). Even for Halleck-Tustenuggee,
presented as a barbarian with none but savage instincts, the fol-
lowing encomium appears: "Whatever sins may be laid to the
charge of this Indian chieftain or however diabolical the instinct
of his nature, his land was dearer to him than life. For it he had
fought boldly and unceasingly; and had adopted the alternative
of the feeble, treachery, against the strong, to maintain his in-
heritance. . If this trait in the savage be patriotism, Halleck-
Tustenuggee's name should stand eternally side by side with the
most distinguished of mankind" (468-69).
John Sprague's own fight against the Seminoles was tinged
with melancholy, and his viewpoint was that of most of the regular
officers. Obliged to do his duty, he yet regretted the fate of his
foes. That the fate was inevitable did not take away the melan-
choly. "Ignorance must give way to the restless, ungovernable,
and onward rush of civilization; yet a nation cannot, disguise it as
we may, shake off the responsibility and remorse which will, in
all future time, be identified with the fate of the red man" (264-
Just as Sprague reflected the sadness of the professional soldier
over the fate of a doomed people, so he represented the profes-
sionals in evaluating government policies. The soldier must obey,
but his duty does not require him to approve. The book contains
the reiterated assertion that a much larger force than the United
States was willing to maintain would have been necessary to pre-
vent the outbreak of the war in the first place. There was a time
when moral force could have been successfully applied, "but re-
peated aggressions, false promises, neglect, and abuse, had made
[the Seminoles] reckless. . The contest was inevitable."33 In
other words, the moment for peaceful settlement had come and
gone without being seized.
Concerning the professional soldiers, who endured in this war
about as much hardship as man can bear, Sprague's attitude is
unequivocal. They did their duty regardless of deficiencies in pol-
icy at the highest levels, and regardless of the brutal conditions
of climate and terrain. Indeed, the soldier's standing to his duty
is one of the most conspicuous themes in this book. A fine example
of it, not copied here, may be read in the facsimile on page 285,
the last paragraph. Related to this theme is an acute awareness,
which the author seeks to pass on to the reader, that the soldier's
standing to duty was not appreciated by the nation. His country-
men treated him as if he could be used up and then thrown away.
"Broken down by disease in performing his duty, or having grown
too old in his country's cause for further profitable use, he is dis-
charged, and thrown upon an uncharitable world, with no capital
but his repeated stories of hardfought battles and Indian scenes,
whereby to obtain his daily bread" (447). Considering that when
he wrote, the pay was five dollars per month for enlisted men, and
that there was no system for retirement with income, this point
seems to deserve all the weight the author gave it.
In 1848 John T. Sprague published Origin, Progress, and Con-
clusion of the Florida War, which, 115 years later, still stands as
the only book-length account of the Second Seminole War. Sprague
participated in the last four years of the conflict, and his book is
more truly a historical document than a history. Its documentary
quality is the primary reason why the book needs to be reprinted.
Scholars of Indian affairs have always had to use it, but have
found this use increasingly difficult because it has been out of
print for a century, and has become hard to find and expensive to
buy at second hand. Collectors of Floridiana will welcome the
reprint eagerly, and so will students of Indian wars and of our
If the question is raised whether or not there is any need to
study the remote Seminole War in the midst of the thermonuclear
twentieth century, the answer is that this was an important episode
in United States and Indian relations. It is an integral part of the
whole fabric of our history. Students need now, and will always
need, information concerning it.
JOHN K. MAHON
1. Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United
States Army (Washington, 1903), Vol. I.
2. "History of American Officers," printed item in A.C.P. File for John
T. Sprague, National Archives (hereafter cited as A.C.P. File) ; see also
Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia (New York, 1862-), IV, 221.
3. Adjutant General's Office Pension Form 3932, dated Aug. 16, 1888,
A.C.P. File; Appleton's, IV, 221.
4. Frank F. White, Jr., "Macomb's Mission to the Seminoles: John T.
Sprague's Journal Kept During April and May, 1839," Florida Historical
Quarterly, XXXV (Oct., 1956), 130-93; hereafter cited as FHQ.
5. AGO Pension Form 3932, A.C.P. File (hereafter changes of station
will be drawn from this source unless otherwise noted).
6. Brevet rank was a cheap system the government used to reward
officers without having to pay them more. A brevet was honorary only;
it did not bring with it the pay or station of the rank.
7. Marriage License Book, Clerk of Circuit Court, St. Johns County,
St. Augustine, Fla., p. 27; for data on General Worth's career see Edward
S. Wallace, General William Jenkins Worth: Monterey's Forgotten Hero
(Dallas, Texas, 1953).
8. John T. Sprague, The Origin, Progress, and Conclusion of the Florida
War (New York, 1848), 508-12 (hereafter citations to the facsimile will
be made in the text by page numbers within parentheses).
9. The Army Lineage Book, Vol. II: Infantry (Washington, 1953), 85-
10. Mrs. James A. Woodruff to John K. Mahon, May 23, 1963; Mrs.
Woodruff is J. T. Sprague's granddaughter, the daughter of Sarah Sprague
who was married the year before her father died.
11. "History of American Officers," A.C.P. File.
12. Sprague to Senator E. D. Morgan, May 16, 1864, A.C.P. File.
13. Sprague to Adjutant General, Feb. 12, 1861, A.C.P. File.
14. A.C.P. File; The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Of-
ficial Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, 1880-
1901), Series II, Vol. I, pp. 43-48.
15. War of the Rebellion, Series II, Vol. I, pp. 43, 53; Sprague to a
Board of Officers, March 16, 1866; Sprague to Senator E. D. Morgan, May
16, 1864, A.C.P. File.
16. Sprague to a Board of Officers, March 16, 1866, A.C.P. File.
17. Horatio Seymour to Sprague, Dec. 18, 1862, A.C.P. File.
18. Stewart Mitchell, Horatio Seymour of New York (Cambridge, Mass.,
1938), 257, 275, 329.
19. Sprague to W. T. Sherman, March 16, 1866, A.C.P. File.
20. Twenty-four New York State Senators to Secretary of War, Jan. 13,
1865, A.C.P. File.
21. Information on Sprague's fourth tour of duty in Florida was drawn
mainly from Joe M. Richardson, "The Freedmen's Bureau in Florida"
(Thesis, Florida State University, 1959); Richardson, "An Evaluation of
the Freedmen's Bureau in Florida," FHQ, XLI (Jan., 1963), 223-28; Jer-
rell H. Shofner, "The Constitution of 1868," FHQ, XLI (April, 1963),
356-74; William W. Davis, Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida (New
22. Richardson, "Evaluation," 236.
23. Sprague to Adjutant General, Jan. 1, 1874, A.C.P. File.
24. Sprague to Secretary of War, April 18, 1874, A.C.P. File.
25. State Adjutant General Reports, Dec. 31, 1874, Dec. 31, 1876, in
Journals of the Proceedings of the Senate and Assembly of the State of
Florida (Tallahassee, 1875, 1877), 77-85, 121-27.
26. General W. S. Hancock to Adjutant General, Oct. 5, 1878, A.C.P.
27. Kenneth W. Porter, "The Founder of the Seminole Nation, Secoffee
or Cowkeeper," FHQ, XXVII (April, 1949), 362-84; Porter, "The Cow-
keeper Dynasty of the Seminole Nation," FHQ, XXX (April, 1952), 341-49.
28. St. Augustine East Florida Herald, Sept. 6, 1823.
29. "General Childs, U.S.A.: Extracts from His Correspondence with
His Family," Historical Magazine, 3d Series, III (1874), 280.
30. Heitman, Historical Register, Vol. I.
31. Kenneth W. Porter, "Negroes and the Seminole War, 1817, 1818,"
Journal of Negro History, XXXVI (July, 1951), 249-80; George A. Mc-
Call, Letters from the Frontiers (Philadelphia, 1868), 160; William C.
Sturtevant, "Accomplishments and Opportunities in Florida Indian Eth-
nology," Florida Anthropology, Florida Anthropological Society, Pub. no.
4 (Tallahassee, 1958), 30.
32. John K. Mahon, "The Treaty of Moultrie Creek, 1823," FHQ, XL
(April, 1962), 350-72; Mahon, "Two Seminole Treaties: Payne's Landing,
1832; Ft. Gibson, 1833," FHQ, XLI (July, 1962), 1-21.
33. Military and Naval Magazine, I (1833), 98, 99.
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ORIGIN, PROGRESS, AND CONCLUSION
TO WHICH IS APPENDED
A RECORD OF OFFICERS, NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, MUSICIANS, AND
PRIVATES OF THE U. S. ARMY, NAVY, AND MARINE CORPS,
WHO WERE KILLED IN BATTLE OR DIED OF DISEASE.
AS ALSO THE NAMES OF
OFFICERS WHO WERE DISTINGUISHED BY BREVETS, AND
THE NAMES OF OTHERS RECOMMENDED.
TOGETHER WITH THE
ORDERS FOR COLLECTING THE REMAINS OF THE DEAD IN FLORIDA, AND THE
CEREMONY OF INTERMENT AT ST. AUGUSTINE, EAST FLORIDA,
ON THE FOURTEENTH DAY OF AUGUST, 1842.
JOHN T. SPRAGUE,
BREVET CAPTAIN, EIGHTH REGIMENT U. S. INFANTRY.
D. APPLETON & COMPANY, 200 BROADWAY.
GEO. S. APPLETON, 148 CHESNUT-STREET.
M DCCC XLVIII.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1847,
By D. APPLETON & COMPANY,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New-York.
ARMY, NAVY, AND MARINE CORPS
BY J. T. S.
IN presenting this volume to my comrades, and to the public, I am
aware that I have much to answer for, but I have the satisfaction of feel-
ing that my sins are those of omission, rather than commission.
Frequent interruptions in the preparation of the work have compelled
me to pass over incidents and events in too cursory a manner, involving
much that is due to a faithful history of the Florida War, as well as to
individual reputation and character.
The voluminous correspondence illustrative of the origin of the war,
appears at first sight to be a defence of the Seminole Agent, Colonel Gad
Humphreys. This is not designed, nor is it necessary. The letters to
and from the various parties connected with the General and Territorial
Government, as well as the Talks of the Indian chiefs, speak for them-
selves. They are official papers, records of the times, a part of a nation's
history, and if they exhibit a state of affairs discreditable and pernicious,
it is but right the facts should be known, that the remedy may be applied
to the borders of our country, where the evil is liable to exist, thereby
obviating bloodshed, sorrow and poverty. The causes of the difficulties
in Florida must be apparent to the minds of careful and intelligent
readers; causes not springing up in a day, but nourished for years,
aggravated as opportunities offered to enrich adventurers, who had the
temerity to hazard the scalping-knife and rifle, and were regardless of
individual rights or of law. It must be remembered that Florida, at the
period referred to, was an Indian border, the resort of a large number of
persons, more properly temporary inhabitants of the Territory than citi-
zens, who sought the outskirts of civilization to perpetrate deeds which
would have been promptly and severely punished if committed within
the limits of a well regulated community. This is the case on all fron-
tiers. It is unavoidable until well disposed citizens become so numerous
as to exert the supremacy of law, when the innocent but too often suffer
with the guilty. These temporary inhabitants of Florida, rather than its
citizens, have had an active participation in the events that have trans-
pired within her limits for twenty years past. They provoked the Indians
to aggressions, and upon the breaking out of the war ignominiously fled,
or sought employment in the service of the General Government, and
clandestinely contributed to its continuance. The Federal Government,
without a regular force to intimidate the savage, and meet with vigor the
emergency, was compelled to see her citizens basely plundered at noon-
day, and cruelly murdered upon their very thresholds.
Official reports and other papers illustrating the progress of the war
are given. The incidents connected therewith, have been obtained from
chiefs and sub-chiefs, who were among the principal actors. In the
reports of different commanders, some officers have been favorably no-
ticed. These do not comprise all, deserving the meed of praise. Those
who diligently and intelligently performed their duty, merit as high enco-
miums as others who were more fortunate in encountering the enemy.
Courage was a secondary consideration, as illustrated by the maxim of
Napoleon:-" That the first quality of a soldier is constancy in enduring
fatigue and hardship: courage is the second. Poverty, privation and
want, are the teachers and school of the good soldier."
To examine the details of this seven years' war, and to weigh justly
the merits and successes of various commanders, as well as the numerous
plans proposed and executed, would require a critical examination into
records not within my reach, and a maturity of judgment surpassing my
own, in order to discuss questions involving the characters of men long
in their country's service, and well tried in many a hard fought field."
On the concluding scenes of the contest, I have been more minute.
Inquiry, participation, and access to private and public papers, have
enabled me to attach some interest to the incidents that occurred between
the officers, the soldiers, and the Indians, not otherwise to be obtained.
I am well aware that the names of officers deserving well of their coun-
try, are not mentioned. So many having claims, it was impossible to do
justice to all. It is enough for both officers and privates to say-" I
served and did my duty in Florida."
Of those who have fallen, regulars, volunteers, and militia, their
memories remain, and are cherished by their countrymen. They are
beyond censure or praise. They fell in the excitement of battle, leaving
a brilliant example. Others wasted away by lingering disease, without
a voice to soothe and recall the wanderings of the feverish mind, or a
gentle hand to smooth the rugged pillow of a soldier's couch. Sleep
on! Never shall the polluted breath of slander blow upon your ashes;
we will watch with pious care the laurels that shall shade your urn, and
wear your names engraven upon our hearts."
J. T. S.
CHAPTER I.-FROM JULY 17, 1821, TO MARCH 21, 1830.
Cession of the Floridas to the United States.-Relation towards the Indians.-The
country occupied by them.-The Seminole nation.-Emigration of the Seminoles
from Georgia to Florida, in 1750, under the chief Secoffee.-His character and last
words to his sons, Payne and Bowlegs.-A second emigration of Seminoles, in
1808, under Micco Hadjo.-The Mickasukie tribe.-The appointment of Colonel
Gad Humphreys as agent of the Seminole Indians.-Governor William P. Duval,
superintendent.-The number of Indians occupying the country in 1821: number
of negroes.-'the villages and location.-Treaty of Fort Moultrie.-Colonel James
Gadsden, William P. Duval, and Bernardo Segui, commissioners.-Opposition of
the Indians to a treaty.-Difficulties in accomplishing the object.-The policy 'of
the federal government towards the Indians.-Embarrassments in carrying out the
designs and securing justice.-The superintendent and agent enter into the execu-
tion of the treaty.-The Indians remove within the limits assigned.-Apprehended
distress for the want of food.-Serious difficulties in keeping the whites and Indians
within their limits.-The first blood shed between the whites and Indians: its effect
and consequences.-Letter of the agent to the Hon. J. L. Smith, judge U. S. Dis-
trict Court, upon the subject.-Agent's letter to the Acting Governor Walton in re-
gard to the intrusion of the whites, and sale of liquor.-Claims of whites upon the
Indians. for slaves.-Letter of Governor William P. Duval in reference to the ad-
justment of claims.-Letter of the agent to the commissioner of Indian affairs
respecting the acts of the territorial legislature in regard to Indians found without
the boundary.-Agent's letter to Governor Dhival, detailing the state of Indian
affairs.-The application of the territorial legislature to remove the Indians from
the country.-Instructions of the commissioner of Indian affairs in relation to the
disposition of negroes in possession of Indians and claimed by whites.-Letter of
William P. Duval upon the same subject.-Critical state of affairs.-Agent's letter
to the U. S. district attorney.-Acting-Governor McCarty informs the agent that
the whites had killed an Indian near Tallahassee.-The agent's letter to the com-
missioner of Indian affairs.-The Indians complain of the non-payment of their
annuity granted under the treaty of Fort Moultrie.-The assistance of the military
force asked to arrest negroes in possession of the Indians, and refused by the war-
department.-The Indians murder a white man; steps taken by the chiefs to arrest
the offenders.-The talk of Micanopy and Jumper in regard to the demands made
by the war department for negroes in their possession.-Letters from Colonel G. M.
Brooke, U. S. army, commanding at Tampa Bay, and from the Hon. J. L. Smith.-
Instructions from the commissioner of Indian affairs--The talk of the chief John
Hicks in reference to the demand for slaves.-Letters from Governor Duval and Colonel
Gad Humphreys.-Hostilities seem inevitable.-The Indians consent to send a de-
putation to Arkansas to examine the country.-The talk of the Seminole nation
through the chiefs to the president of the United States.-Embarrassing relations
between the whites and Indians.-Colonel Gad Humphreys informed by the con-
missioner of Indian affairs, that his services as agent to the Seminoles would be
dispensed with.-Colonel Humphreys, the manner in which he discharged his duties.
-Strong prejudices of the whites against him, and friendship of the Indians. 17
CHAPTER II.-FROM MARCH 21, 1830, TO DECEMBER 31, 1835.
Major John Phagan appointed agent to the Seminoles.-He accompanies the delega-
tion of Seminoles to Arkansas.-Charges preferred against him.-Treaty of Payne's
Landing.-The Indians sent to Arkansas to explore the country.-Commissioner
appointed to meet them there: they sign the additional treaty putting in force the
treaty of Payne's Landing.-Dissatisfaction of the tribe on their return to Florida.-
Conduct and language of the chiefs and Indians in reference to a fulfillment.-First
appearance of Oseola or Powell.-The Indians positively refuse to emigrate.-
General Wiley Thompson, of Georgia, appointed agent in the place of Phagan.-
The general feeling and state of affairs within the nation.-Correspondence of J. H.
Eaton, governor of Florida.-Lewis Cass secretary of war.-B. F. Butler attorney-
general.-General Clinch.-Colonel Gadsden.-General Thompson agent.-Lieu-
tenant Harris, Captains Graham, and Russell, U. S. A.-The Indians assemble in
council at Fort King.-The conduct of Micanopy, Jumper, Alligator, and Oseola.-
The commanding influence of the negroes over the Indians.-The duplicity and
cunning of Oseola.-He placed in irons and under guard in the fort.-Murder of
the chief Charley-E-Mathla for favoring emigration.-The Indians prepared for the
conflict.-The massacre of General Thompson and Lieutenant Smith by Oseola
and party.-Massacre of Major Dade's command: Alligator's account of it.-
General Clinch attacked on the Withlacoochee by Oseola.-A fight: he retreats.-
Florida War commenced.-The character of the contest. 72
CHAPTER III.-FRoM JANUARY 1, 1836, TO DECEMBER 31, 1840.
The number of Indian warriors in Florida, and tribes to which they belonged.-Num-
ber of negro warriors.-Names of the various Indian chiefs, and their importance
and characters, viz., Micanopy, Jumper, Little Cloud, Alligator, Holartooche, King
Philip, Coacoochee, Sam Jones, Tiger-Tail, Nethlockemathlar, Chekika, Hospe-
tarke, Octiarche.-The negro Abraham, his importance.-Oseola or Powell, his
birth, rank, character, and age.-Measures taken to subdue the Indians.-Cost of
the Florida war.-Relative cost of troops between regulars, volunteers, and militia.
-General Towson's letter on the subject.-The regular troops, and militia serving
in Florida in 1836, 37, 38, 39, 40, and 41.-Generals Clinch, Scott, Call, Jesup,
Taylor, Armistead, and Colonel Worth, commanding.-Depredations of the In-
dians.--Geeral Clinch authorized to call for militia.-General Eustis ordered to
Florida.-The movements of General Gaines.-The burial of the dead of Major
Dade's command.-Arrival at Fort King of General Gaines.-Returns to Fort
Brooke via the Withlacoochee river.-His arrival, and encounter with the enemy.-
Death of Lieutenant Izard.-The troops in a pen.-General Gaines's designs.-
The attack upon the pen.-The arrival of a messenger from the Indians.-Interview
of Adjutant Barrow of the Louisiana volunteers, and Captain Hitchcock, U. S. A.,
*with Oseola and others.-The conduct of Casar disapproved of by the Indians.-
The day when the troops in the pen were to be attacked.-The number of warriors
on the ground.-Final result.-General Gaines relinquishes the command to Gen-
eral Clinch.-General Scott ordered to take command in Florida.-His steps taken
to prosecute the war.-General Scott takes the field.-Success of his campaign.-
Ordered to conduct the war against the Creeks in Georgia.-Complaints of General
Scott's conduct in prosecuting the Florida war.-Difficulties in effecting his object.
-General Scott's defence before the court of inquiry, convened at Frederick, Mary-
land.-His acquittal.-General C. K. Call takes command of the Florida army.-
Attack upon Micanopy by Oseola or Powell.-Major Hieleman's official report.-
Colonel Pierce's expedition to Fort Drane.-His official report of the affair.-Gen-
eral Call's campaigns.-The Tennessee brigade and General Armstrong.-The U.
S. marine corps under Colonel Henderson.-Officers of the Creek volunteer regi-
ment.-General Call's second campaign.-Tennesseans attack the Indians.-The
result.-Colonel Pierce with the regulars joins General Call.-Battle of the Wahoo
Swamp.-Official report of Colonel Pierce of the affair.-The object gained.-
General Jesup's operations 12th January, 1837.-Battle of Fort Mellon.-Official
report of Colonel Fanning.-Battle of Hatch-Luste Creek.-General Jesup's report.
-Colonel Henderson's report.-Disposition of the Indians.-They ask for peace.-
The capitulation at Fort Dade.-The Indians agree to emigrate.-Large numbers
assemble at Tampa Bay.-Vessels in readiness to take them to New-Orleans.-The
surrender of Oseola with his family at Fort Mellon.-He desires peace.-The
Florida war supposed to be ended.-Volunteers and militia discharged.-The
marines tinder Colonel Henderson sent north.-Letter of Mr. Poinsett on the sub-
ject.-Citizens return to their homes.-The Indians break up their camp near Fort
Brooke, and take to the woods under the direction of Oseola and Coacoochee.-
The country alarmed.-General Jesup desires to be relieved from the command of
the army of Florida.-His letter to the adjutant-general on the subject, July 25th,
1837.-Another campaign in preparation.-Creek regiment of Indians discharged.
-The feeling of citizens towards the Indians.-Volunteers called for from Ken-
tucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.-The address of
General Jesup to the army, October 24th, 1837, at the commencement of the cam-
paign.-General Jesup's report of his campaign, July 6th, 1838.-General Jesup's
proposition to effect an arrangement with the enemy.-Mr. Poinsett's answer.-
Report of the fight on Jupiter river.-General Jesup's letters.-General Taylor's
report of the battle of Okechobee.-Indians commanding in the battle.-Their
arrangements for the battle.-Death of Colonel Thompson, Colonel Gentry, Captain
Van Suerengen, Lieutenants Center and Brooke.-Capture and death of Oseola.-The
manner of capture, and his conduct, &c.-General Jesup relinquishes the command
of the Florida army to General Z. Taylor.-General Taylor's report of operations.
-He districts the country.-Not carried out.-General Macomb arrives in the
territory.-His arrangement for peace.-His orders to citizens, and report to the
secretary of war.-Citizens again return to their plantations.-Confidence partially
restored.-The Indians murder express-men, and attack the settlements.-General
consternation throughout the interior.-Lieutenant-Colonel Harney's command
massacred on the Carloosahatchee river.-The report of the assistant adjutant-
general.-Lieutenant Hanson captures at Fort Mellon a band of Indians.-Prepa-
rations for another campaign.-Extract from the report of Mr. Poinsett in regard to
the war.-Governor Reid's message to the territorial legislature.-Blood-hounds
sent for to pursue the Indians.-Thirty-two obtained.-Their arrival, and cost.-
Manner of tracking the Indians.-The result.-Complaints of memorialists to con-
gress.-Correspondence of the Hon. H. A. Wise, secretary of war, and General
Taylor upon the subject.-Troops withdrawn from the field.-General Taylor re-
lieved from the command of the Florida army, by his own request.-Brevet Briga-
dier-General Armistead succeeds him.-The Spanish Indians participate in the
war.-Indian Key attacked by a band of Indians under the Spanish Indian chief,
Chekika.-The murder of Dr. Perrine, and the particulars of the escape of his
family .. 96
CHAPTER IV.-FROM JUNE 1840, TO MAY 1841.
State of affairs in Florida.-General Z. Taylor relinquishes the command of the army
to General Armistead.-Strength of the army, regulars and militia.-Appropriations.
-Attack of the Indians upon a detachment of the 7th infantry between Fort Mi-
canopy and Watkahoota.-Murder of Mrs. Montgomery.-Death of Lieutenant W.
M. Sherwood, commanding the party, and Sergeant-Major Carroll.-Affair with
Halleck-Tustenuggee and band at Orange Creek.-Resolute conduct of Lieutenant
Alburtis, 2d infantry, and his men.-Troops take the field.-Colonel Worth's inter-
view with Coacoochee or Wild Cat, at Camp Cummings.-Consents to assemble
his band, and cease hostilities.-His appearance and that of his followers, in coming
into camp.-His talk.-He goes out again and returns.-Proceeds to Fort Brooke
to see General Armistead.-Entire failure of negotiations through friendly Indians.
-Coacoochee promises to assemble his band at Fort Pierce.-His supposed infi-
delity there.--Orders transmitted for his seizure.-General Armistead, in com-
pliance with orders from Washington, relinquishes the command of the army to
Colonel W. J. Worth, 8th regiment infantry. 247
CHAPTER V.-JUNE, 1841.
Instructions to Colonel Worth on taking command of the army of. Florida.-Embar-
rassments in prosecuting the war.-Strength of the army.-Sick Report.-Monthly
expenses of the army.-Civil employ6s.-Character of guides, interpreters, and
Spaniards.-Number and location of the enemy.-Their desperate character.-The
Creeks west of the Suwainee river.-A summer campaign determined upon.-
Night attack upon the camp of Halleek-Tustenuggee, and disappointment of the
troops.-Seizure of Coacoochee or Wild Cat, with fifteen warriors and three ne-
groes.-Sent to New-Orleans.-L. G. Capers, Esq., Indian agent, dispatched with
orders from Colonel Worth to intercept and bring them back to Florida.-Im-
portance of the step.-Much dissatisfaction expressed by the public.-Coacoochee
and warriors in irons.-Combined movements of the army to root out the enemy.-
Their dispersed condition.-General devastation of crops, camps, and wigwams.-
Character of the country through which operations were conducted.-Number of
fields, &c., destroyed.-Sick report, and sufferings of the troops from disease.-
Duties of officers.-Governor Call urges the necessity of a militia force to co-
operate with the army.-Major D. L. Wilcox, U. S. A., engaged in inducing
settlers to return to their homes, as authorzed by the president of the United
States. ........ .... 266
CHAPTER VI.-JuLY AND AUGUST, 1841.
Coacoochee and warriors arrived at Tampa Bay in irons.-Interview between the com-
mander of the army and these warriors, on the 4th of July, on board the .transport in
the harbor.-Coacoochee's talk.-He directed to bring in his band or suffer'death.-
Five messengers appointed to proceed to the interior of the country, to communicate
with his band.-His last words to his followers.-Anxiety of Coacoochee for the
return of the messengers.-Forty days allowed them.-Arrival of the band, with
old Micco.-Irons taken off Coacoochee, and he permitted to go on shore to receive
his' warriors.--His reception.-His dress and conduct.-His speech to them.-A
messenger sent to Holatter Micco and Sam Jones.-Coacooche's last words to his
brother Otulka.-Departure of the messenger at midnight from the prison-ship.-
General operations of the army.-Embarkation of the 1st infantry for New-Orleans.
-The service of the regiment, its loss from disease, &c.-Death of Second-Lieu-
tenant Lancaster, 1st infantry.-Arrival of Otulka.-Coacoochee proceeds to Pease
Creek.-Colonel Worth at Camp Ogden.-Coacoochee proceeds to Hospetarke's
camp.-Returns with him and eighteen warriors.-Capture of Hospetarke and
warriors.-Taken to Fort Brooke, and confined to the prison-ship.-Their designs
when visiting the cimp.-Coacoochee's tact and sagacity.-The warriors of Coa-
coochee in irons.-Liberated and put onr shore.-Reports of scouts made by officers
of the army, during the months of July and August.-Sent to Washington.-
Strength of the army.-Sick, &c.-Retrenchment, &c., &c.-Negroes permitted to
accompany Indians to Arkansas.-The policy.-Florida, its position and impor-
CHAPTER VII.-SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER, 1841.
The state of affairs.-The contest drawing to a close.-The arrival at Fort Brooke of
an emissary from Tiger-Tail and Nethlhckemathlar, desiring peace and friendship.
-Capture of Indians belonging to the band of Halleck-Tustbnuggee.-The 'murder
of his sister who desired to surrender.,-He crosses the river St. John's.-Negotia-
tions opened with Pascoffer, a Creek chief, on the Ocklockonne river, through two
white men.-Lieutenant. Anderson, 2d infantry, surprises an, Indian camp and
captures the women and children.-Communication had with Arpeika or Sam
Jones in the Big Cypress Swamp.-Efforts made to obtain an interview with
Halleck-Tustenuggee through friendly Indians.-Partial suspension of military
operations.-Negotiations in progress through Coacoochce and the old chief from
Arkansas, Holartooche.-Coacoochec with six warriors, proceeds to the Annuttiliga
Hammock.-Interview on the margin of the hammock between Tiger-Tail with
his band and Coacoochee, at night.-Promise of Tiger-Tail to assemble his band.-
Wishes to see Alligator before surrendering.-Arrival of the remainder of Hospe-
tarke's band, and release from the prison-ship.-Escape of Sampson, a negro in-
terpreter, from the Big Cypress Swamp.-His narrative.-Harney's massacre on
the Carlosahatchee.-The government and councils of the Indians within the
swamp.-Authority of the Prophet, Sam Jones, and Billy Bowlegs.-Murder of
Messrs. Daniels, Harroll, and Jennings, by the Indians at Martin's Point.-Indians
in camp at Fort Brooke alarmed.-Critical state of affairs.-Coacoochee, with nine
warriors, proceeds again to obtain an interview with Tiger-Tail.-Friendly Indians
dispatched to all quarters, giving notice that negotiations would end in a few days.
-The chiefs attribute the murders to young warriors.-The return of Coacooche.
-Brings favorable reports from Tiger-Tail.-Coacoochee expresses his anxiety that
his band should embark for Arkansas.-Hospetarke concurs.-Preparations at Fort
Brooke to prevent the escape of Indians.-The day of embarkation determined
upon.-Captain W. Seawell, 7th infantry, ordered to conduct the Indians to Ar-
kahsas.-The feeling manifested by the women on their departure from Florida.-
The Mickasukie tribe, character, and feelings.-Coacoochee's farewell to Colonel
Worth and his staff.-His conduct and appearance on the occasion, and his last
talk to the officers present and to his band.-The birth, life, and character of Coa-
cooche, and the vicissitudes he had encountered.-His peculiarities, and participa-
tion in the attack upon Fort Mellon, and in the battle of Okechobee.-His capture,
imprisonment at St. Augustine, Florida, and escape.-His dreams and religious
opinions.-The origin of the white men; the first ever seen in Florida.-The
prevalent feeling in Arkansas among the Indians, demanding precaution and,vigil-
ance on the part of the federal government.-Arrival of Alligator from Arkansas.-
He proceeds to the camp of Tiger-Tail and Nethlockemathlar, and returns with
the latter chief-Arrival of Tiger-Tail and his band at Fort Brooke.-Arrival of
six companies of the 4th infantry, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel J. Garland,
U. S. A.-Lieutenant-Colonel Garland dispatched on special duty to subdue the
Creeks west of the Suwannee river.-Five companies 2d dragoons ordered out of
Florida.-3d artillery retained.-Contemplated movements in the Big Cypress
Swamp and Everglades.-Depots established at Punta Rossa.-Violent gale on the
coast and its disastrous effects.-It alarms the Indians and deters them from sur-
rendering.-Troops in readiness to take the field.-Report of Lieutenant J. T.
McLaughlin, U. S. N., commanding the Florida squadron, and the report of Cap-
tain Burke, 3d artillery, of their expeditions in the Everglades.-General character
and results of the operations during the months of September and October.-Sick
report of the army. 311
Extracts translated from the ltanuscript of the Commandant of St. Augustine, East
Florida, Manuel de Montiano, deposited in the public archives of St. Augustine,
describing the bombardment of the fort in 1740, by General Oglethorpe, 337
CHAPTER IX.-NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER, 1841.
Lieutenant-Colonel Garland, 4th infantry, on special duty to expel the enemy east of
Tallahassee, to the Suwannee river.-Preparations for a combined movement in
the Big Cypress Swamp.-Major Belknap, 3d infantry, proceeds to the Carlosa-
hatchee river to take command.-Death of Midshipman Niles, U. S. N.-Yellow
fever in camp.-Depot and Camps established.-Instructions to the different com-
manders: plan of co-operation.-Troops take the field under Major Belknap.-
Major Childs and Lieutenant McLaughlin in canoes.-Colonel Worth meets the
different commanders at Waxe Hadjo's.-Landing on the edge of the Everglades.
-Operations of the troops in the Big Cypress Swamp and Everglades.-Major
Belknap's report.-Lieutenant McLaughlin's report.-Extracts from the journal of
an officer of the army, kept from day to day in the swamp.-Lieutenant McLaugh.
lin reports his passage up the Carlosahatchee river through Fish-eating Creek to
Lake Okechobee.-Captain M. Burke's, 3d artillery, expedition in the Everglades.
-Letters from Captain McClellan, topographical engineer, in reference to the
Carlosahatchee river, and its head-waters.-Lieutenant Marchand's report of an
expedition in the Everglades.-Head-quarters re-established at Fort Brooke.-
Success of Major Wade, 3d artillery.-Capture of sixty-three Indians.-His report.
-The Florida squadron commanded by Lieutenant McLaughlin.-Its depot.-
Strength and efficiency of officers and men.-Murder of two friendly messengers
by the Creeks near Fort Fanning.-Cowardly spirit of Tiger-Tail.-Declines acting
himself, and deters others.-Lieutenant-Colonel Garland's correspondence.-Meet-
ing of Nethlockemathlar and the Creek chief, Octiarche, at the mouth of the With-
lacoochee river.-The latter chief refuses to visit the steamboat.-He is unable to
assemble his band: appoints the 12th of January for another meeting.-Embarrass-
ing state of affairs.-Attack made upon the settlement of Mandarin, by Halleck-
Tustenuggee.-His haunts found.-The breaking up of the confederacy in the Big
Cypress Swamp.-Surrender of the sub-chief Waxe Hadjo.-Reports that Bowlegs,
Sam Jones, and the Prophet, had fled for safety.-State of the army: number
taken sick, died, and discharged, during the months of November and December.-
Successful establishment of settlers at exposed points.--Citzens armed and pro-
Correspondence between the executive of the territory of Florida, and of the state of
Georgia, with the federal government, and with Colonel W. J. Worth, command-
ing the army of Florida, in regard to the mustering of militia to co-operate with
the army for the protection of the frontier.-Character of the applications made by
citizens for employment.-Remarks upon the expediency of calling out militia to
expel the Indians, or to prevent incursions.-Letters from officers of the army,
showing the state of the frontiers of Florida and Georgia ; the necessity of troops,
and the disposition among the border-settlers.-The firmness of tlhe Hon. J. C.
Spencer and Major-General Scott added much to the successful progress of the
war, and to its termination. 403
CHAPTER XI.-JANUARY AND FEBRUARY, 1842.
The hiding-place of Halleck-Tustenuggee found ; strength and character of his band;
his own character.-Precautionary measures taken to prevent his surprising the
settlements.-Major Plympton ordered to take the field with three companies of the
2d infantry.-Fight with Halleck-Tustenuggee.-Band retreats.-Two Indians
taken prisoners.-Pursuit of Ialleck by Captain Casey, 2d infantry, with one hun-
dred men.-Lieutenant Wessels ascends the Ocklawaha river to intercept him.-
He eludes them successfully.--Capture of Powis Fixico or Short-Grass.-Nethlock-
emathlar repairs to the mouth of the Withlacoochee to meet the Creeks.-The
Creeks plotting to take his life, and rescue the Indians encamped at Fort Brooke.-
Indignation of the chief.-He organizes an armed party; takes the field to punish
the Creeks.-Thirty Indians, armed completely, proceed to Fort Clinch.-Conduct
of Tiger-Tail or Thlocklo-Tustenuggee in council.-Escape of Tiger-Tail from
Fort Brooke.-His schemes frustrated.--His wife and child recaptured.-His re-
peated interviews with Octiarche to concert means of releasing the Indians in
camp.-The Indian war-party supposed to be privy to his escape.-Orders sent to
Fort Clinch to disarm the party at once.-They sent to Cedar Key, thence to Fort
Brooke.-Indignation of the chief Nethlockemathlar.-Active measures of the
army.-Troops recalled from the south.-Campaign in the Big Cypress ended,
resulted as anticipated.-Major Belknap secures a sub-chief and sixty-seven fol-
lowers.-Supposed hiding-place of Bowlegs, the Prophet, and Sam Jones.-Much
praise due the troops, if the service was understood.-Ponce de Leon landing in
1522 on the margin of the Everglades.--Memorandum of reports of officers.-
Scouts.-Explorations sent to the adjutant-general.-Orders issued for the relief of
the 3d artillery.-Movements of the regiment, and their service in Florida.-Dispo-
sition of the troops from the south.-2d dragoons; 4th, 6th, and 8th infantry.-
Embarkation of two hundred and thirty Indians.-Creeks, Seminoles, Uches, and
Mickasukies, their character and feelings vicious and abandoned.-Detachment
8th infantry fired upon in the Wahoo Swamp.-Movement of troops to find the
Creeks.-Indians under Octiarche attack the settlement with arrows, killing
women and children.-They pursued.-Night attack upon their camp in the
Swamp.-Capture of the women.-Men escape.-Humanity of officers and soldiers.
-Embarrassments in closing the contest.-Colonel Worth's letter of February 14th,
urging upon the government certain measures to finish it.-Major Cooper, assistant
adjutant-general, dispatched to Washington.-The contents submitted by the
secretary of war to a council of officers.-Not acceded to.-General Jesup dissents
from the opinion expressed.-The measures prosecuted, though uninstructed by the
commander in Florida.-Orders issued for retrenchment.--6th infantry relieved,
and ordered to Jefferson Barracks; its service; its loss by disease and battle.-Sick
and deaths in the army in January, February, and March.-The total number in
the army taken sick, during nine months' active service.-An asylum for old
soldiers and invalids.-Condition of those discharged the service for disability. 428
CHAPTER XII.-MARCIt, APRIL, AND MAY, 1842.
A crisis in the affairs of Florida -The army discouraged by the rejection of the pro-
posed means to end the war.-The course pursued: Retrenchment, reduction of
force, discharge of employes from the service.-The Prophet's and Sam Jones's in-
fluence destroyed.-Holatter Micco, or Billy Bowlegs, proclaimed chief.-The
scattered condition of the enemy.-The influence and conduct of Tiger-Tail among
the Creeks.-The Indians assemble in the Wahoo Swamp to concert means of safe-
ty.-Tracks seen.-Negotiation at an end; capture or death.-Embarkation of
Indians for New-Orleans in charge of L. G. Capers, Esq., of the Indian depart-
ment.-Departure of the chief Nethlockemathlar; his character and influence ; his
life.-Indians at New-Orleans.-The army in the field, in pursuit of Halleck-
Tustenuggee; Peter, an Indian, sent to him; he never returned.-Combined
movement of the army on the Wahoo Swamp and surrounding country.-Detach-
ments of the 2d, 4th, and 8th infantry enter the swamp; disappointment.-Farther
preparations for pursuit.-The chief Holartooche baffled by the enemy ; he rides
around the country and discovers a single Indian track, leading to the Palackla-
kaha Hammock, supposed to be a spy upon the troops.-The troops take up the
line of march, and encamp at Abraham's old town.-Preparations made to attack
the enemy.-Holartooche visits the commander's tent at midnight, and pleads for
the life of women and children in the approaching conflict.-The troops on the
march for the hammock; conduct of guides and negro interpreters.-Sagacity of
Holartooche; a foot-print discovered and followed three miles to the hammock.-
Spirited attack upon the Indians in their camp, protected by logs and palmetto, led
on by Colonel Garland, 4th infantry.-Assailed by Colonel Worth, with a company
of dragoons, cutting off the enemy's retreat.-The Indians separate into small
parties, giving battle in all quarters.-Total defeat; troops in their camp.-Burial
of Private Wandell, 2d dragoons; killed and wounded.--Detachments follow up
trails leading from the hammock.-Capture of O-son-e-Micco (the Old Man of the
Lakes), son-in-law of Halleck-Tustenuggee, who desires to take a talk to the chief.
-He to return in five days and meet the command at Warm Spring.-The num-
ber of Indians engaged in the affair.--Embarrassments of the troops in advancing.
-The appearance of Halleck-Tustenuggee in the fight.-Indians painted red; in a
state of nudity.-Their last battle-ground.-Their fire concentrated upon the Indian
guides and interpreters.-Interpreters Gopher John and Morris in the fray.-The
appearance and valor of the chief Holartooche.-Indians' first discharge effectual;
manner of loading in battle.-The spirit, gallantry, and forbearance of officers and
men in the affair.-Colonel Worth's report.-The return of O-son-e-Micco to the
camp at Warm Spring.-He reports Halleck-Tustenuggee, with his band, six miles
off.-Halleck-Tustenuggee comes into camp with his two wives and children.-His
appearance and reception.-Officers assemble to meet him.-Colonel Worth's pri-
vate conversation with him.-He not inclined to leave the country.-His good
feelings secured.-Sends five messengers to Octiarche, the Creek chief-Large
demands for provisions.-Insolent conduct and language of Halleck-Tustenuggee
and followers.-His fidelity much doubted.-Major Graham, Captain McCall, and
Lieutenant Sprague, visit his camp, to reconnoitre, to surprise and capture.-From
its position, deemed impracticable.-Other means resorted to.-The Indians be-
come shy and suspicious.-The chief and his wives accompany Colonel Worth to
Fort King; his object in going there to purchase powder and lead.-Orders left
with Colonel Garland to seize the entire band in the absence of Halleck-Tustenug-
gee.-Colonel Garland effects the object, ties the Indians, and sends them to Tampa
Bay.-The measures adopted to accomplish it, and the conduct of the Indians.-
Colonel Worth announces to Halleck-Tustenuggee, at Fort King, the capture of
his band, and that he now was a prisoner.-His anger and appearance on the occa-
sion.-Proceeds under guard to Fort Wacassassa.-Arrival there of the five mes-
sengers sent to Octiarche.-They taken prisoners.-A midnight scene between
Halleck-Tustenuggee and these five men, who upbraided the chief for selling his
followers and land.-His patriotism.-Meeting at Horse Key of both parties; their
haggard appearance arising from intemperance.-A sub-chief attempts suicide.-
East Florida relieved from apprehension.-Indians guarded by one hundred and
fifty men on Horse Key.-Halleck-Tustenuggee harmless.-The activity of the
army, 7th and 3d infantry, in pursuit of the Creeks in Middle Florida.-Two
months in the field ; results.-A party of eight Indians attack the settlements under
Halpatter-Tustenuggee ; commit murders, and defeat six soldiers.-Closely pursued,
overtaken, abandoning their plunder, and whipped.-They join Octiarche, who disap-
proves of their conduct, as peace was restored.-Citizens abandon their homes, and
flee for safety.-The army discouraged; no end to the war.-The approach of the
summer; prospects of another summer campaign.-Movements of troops unavailing;
calculated to exasperate the enemy, without capturing or defeating.-Usefulness of
Halleck-Tustenuggee, who takes the terms of peace to the Creeks.-His reception
and their promises.-The terms of peace.-The Creek Indians on the Ocklockonnee
river obtain an interview with Colonel Vose, through two white men.-The terms
of peace accepted.-Assembling for emigration.-Departure of the 2d regiment of
infantry for the north; its length of service in Florida, and efficiency.-Deaths of
officers.-N. C. officers and soldiers.-Death of Captain Samuel Russell by the
enemy.-Orders issued for the departure of the five remaining companies of the 2d
dragoons; character and length of their service in Florida.-Death of officers.-
N. C. officers and privates.-The sick report for March, April, and May.-The
Florida war approaching a close.-State of the army and prevailing feeling. 449
CHAPTER XIII.-JUNE, JULY, AND TO THE 17TH AUGUST, 1842.
Instructions received by Colonel Worth to bring the war to a close.-Message of the
President of the United States to Congress upon the subject.-Letter of instructions
from the secretary of war to Major-General Scott.-His views upon the subject.-
The measures for a time postponed.-Treachery of Halleck-Tustenuggee and dis-
satisfaction of Octiarche.-Their designs.-Holartooche proceeds to Octiarche's
camp with twenty armed Indians.-Their meeting, and the promises of the chief
to surrender.-Halleck-Tustenuggee, finding his plans unsuccessful, prepares for
emigration.-Wounded Indians brought in.-Runners dispatched to bring in the
plunder of the band.-A messenger sent to the southern Indians.-Holatter-Micco
or Billy Bowlegs made chief, who sends an emissary to the whites to obtain peace.
-The embarkation of Halleck-Tustenuggee and band for Arkansas.-Their ap-
pearance and feeling, and the anger of the chief.-Departure of Holartooche and
the Arkansas delegation for their homes.-Halleck-Tustenuggee; his age, charac-
ter, and qualities.-His first appearance in council.-The 7th infantry relieved
from duty in Florida.-Its service and loss.-Death of Lieutenant Sanderson.-
Lieutenant Sherwood's death.-His gallantry, and the conduct of Private L. Bur-
lington, in protecting the remains of Mrs. Montgomery.-Arrival of Bowlegs and
others at Fort Brooke, to make peace.-The influence and authority of Sam Jones
and the Prophet disregarded.-They accompany the commander of the army to
Cedar Key, and proceed to the camp of Octiarche.-Octiarche and Tiger-Tail
return with them.-Peace determined upon.-The appearance of Tiger-Tail.-
Orders promulgated announcing that hostilities with the Indians in Florida had
ceased.-Troops remaining in Florida concentrated.-Retrenchment and reduction
in all departments.-Stations and strength of the 3d infantry, of the 8th infantry,
and six companies of the 4th.-The loss and service of these regiments in officers
and men.-Death of Lieutenant J. H. Harvie, and Lieutenant J. A. Reill, 8th in-
fantry.-Colonel Worth ordered to proceed to Washington City.-He relinquishes
the command of the ninth military department to Colonel Vose, 4th infantry.-
Correspondence between Colonel Worth and Lieutenant J. T. McLaughlin, in
closing up the contest.-Lieutenant McLaughlin's instructions to Lieutenant Henry,
who succeeded in command of the Florida squadron. 475
CHAPTER XIV.-FROM AUGUST 17, TO OCTOBER 31, 1842.
Colonel Vose in command of the 9th military department.-The Indians annoyed
by encroachments and aggressions of the whites.-Southern Indians within the
boundary: none but Creeks without.-Apprehensions of Tiger-Tail and Octiarche
realized.-Attack upon settlements.-Citizens killed.-Pursued by Colonel Bailey,
and citizens.-Indians overtaken and punished.-Complaints among citizens.-
Facts not known or understood.-Arrival of Tiger-Tail and Octiarche.-Excite-
ment in the country.-Complaints of citizens to the governor of the territory, and
to the authorities at Washington City.-Orders received by Colonel Vose to take
the field.-Colonel Vose postpones the execution.-His reasons.-The Indians'
camps plundered.-Officers of the army sent to the camps.-The Indians doubt the
sincerity of the commander and his officers.-Delay and debauchery of the Indians.
-Large demands for liquor.-Embarkation of the six companies 4th infantry.-The
effect upon the Indians.-The gale at Cedar Key.-Indians refuse again to visit the
island.-Agree upon Fort Brooke as the future place of meeting.-Effects and con-
tinuance of the gale at Cedar Key.-Loss of public and private property.-A council
of Indians to be held at Fort Brooke, on the 1st of November. . 494
CHAPTER XV.-FROM NOVEMBER 1, 1842, TO DECEMBER 31, 1845.
Brevet Brigadier-General Worth resumes the command of the 9th military department.
-Colonel Vose, at Fort Brooke, to meet Octiarche and band.-Objects attained
during his temporary command.-Fears of Octiarche, and the threats of the Semi-
noles.-Major Seawell, 7th infantry, ordered to seize the band of Octiarche, at Fort
Brooke.-His success.-The reasons for such a step.-Tiger-Tail at Cedar Key.-
His conduct and infidelity.-:Officers sent to reconnoitre his camp.-Position of his
camp, and his condition.-Instructions to Captain J. M. Hill, to secure Tiger-Tail.
-His success.-Lieutenant Jordan, 3d infantry, dispatched to surprise the camp.-
Brings Tiger-Tail into Cedar Key on a litter.-He confined to Horse Key.-In-
structions to Lieutenant-Colonel Hitchcock, commanding 3d infantry, to take the
field.-His operations.-Surrender of Pascoffer and band.-The doubts and fears of
the Indians, and quiet of the country.-Embarkation of Octiarche and Tiger-Tail
with their followers, for New-Orleans, in charge of Lieutenant Britton, 7th infantry.
-Departure of Pascoffer and band, in command of Lieutenant W. S. Henry, 3d in-
fantry.-Creeks, Seminoles, Mickasukies, and Uchees, leave Fort Brooke for New-
Orleans.-The character, feeling, and condition of the Indians assembled at the
New-Orleans Barracks.-Death of Tiger-Tail at the Barracks, New Orleans -His
last words.-His birth, character, and intercourse with Colonel Gamble's family, in
Florida.-His intelligence, influence, and infidelity.-Octiarche.-His birth, and
character in battle and in council.-General Worth's report, in regard to the number
of Indians in Florida, of November 17th, 1843.-Captain Sprague's letter to the
citizens of Florida, in reference to the relation of the Indians towards the whites.-
The number of Indians in Florida, December 31st, 1845: their condition and feel-
ings.-The character of the chief and sub-chief, and future prospect of emigration
to Arkansas. 498
CHAPTER XVI.-QUARTERMIASTER'S DEPARTMENT-COIMMISSARY DEPART-
DIENT-SETTLEMENT OF THE TERRITORY.
The quartermaster's department of the army.-The efficiency of its officers, and their
importance in the discharge of duties in the-field.-The concurrence given by Gene-
ral Jesup in carrying out retrenchment in Florida.-Officers on duty there.-The
manner in which duty was discharged.-Report of retrenchment made by Lieu-
tenant-Colonel T. F. Hunt, deputy quartermaster-general of the army of Florida.-
The subsistence department.-The importance and good effect of the log-hut in de-
feating the Indians, and deterring them from aggressions.-Exertions made to in-
duce settlers to occupy the interior of the country.-The efforts for a time successful.
-The act of congress of February 1st, 1836, for the relief of distressed inhabitants.
-Instructions from the president of the United States under its provisions.-Major
D. S. Wilcox, 5th infantry, intrusted with the duty of settlements and issuing of
rations.--His instructions from the commander of the army.-Death of Major Wil-
cox.-Lieutenant Patrick, 2d infantry, ordered to assume the duty.-His instruc-
tions in reference to the discontinuance of government supplies.-The total failure
of establishing permanent settlements.-The conduct of those who professed to
occupy the country and draw rations.-Lieutenant Patrick's final report of settle-
ments, the number of persons, ages, &c.-Steps taken to cause citizens drawing
rations to re-occupy their plantations.-Success.-Abuse of the act of congress in
issuing supplies. 514
Circular, Orders, &c., connected with the erection of a Monument in Florida, to the
memory of those who have fallen in the contest. 521
Statement, exhibiting, by Regiments, the names of the officers non-commissioned
Officers, Musicians, Artificers, and Privates, of the United States Army, who were
killed in action, or (lied of wounds received, or diseases contracted, during the late
hostilities with the Florida Indians, commencing August 11, 1835, (the day when
Private Dalton, the express-rider, was murdered by the Indians,) and ending in
List of Officers belonging to the Medical Staff of the United States Army, who died
from disease and other causes, from service in Florida . 548
Table, exhibiting the names of Officers, Seamen and Marines, belonging to the United
States Navy, who died whilst employed in the Florida Squadron, operating against
the Indians of Florida. 549
A statement, exhibiting the names of Officers, non-commissioned Officers, Musicians,
and Privates of the United States Marine Corps, who were killed in action, or died
of wounds received, or disease contracted, during the Florida War. 550
Table, showing the number and names of Marines on Sea Service, who died in Florida
between 1836 and 1842. 550
List of Officers, of the United States Army and Marine Corps, upon whom have been
conferred Brevets for services in Florida .. 551
Names of Officers, of the United States Army recommended for Brevets by Brigadier-
General W. J. Worth, commanding the forces in Florida, April 25, 1842. Upon
some of the number, the distinction has been conferred. 554
LIST OF ENGRAVINGS.
MONUMENT AT ST. FRANCIS' BARRACKS, ST. AUGUSTINE Frontispiece.
COACOOCHEE (Wild Cat) . page 98
THLOCKLO TUSTENUGGEE (Tiger-Tail) . 99
NEGRO ABRAHAM 100
OSEOLA, OR POWELL 101
DEATH OF WAXEHADJO 254
SCENE AT TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA 286
CASTLE OF ST. MARK, now called Fcrt Marion, St. Augustine 337
HALLECK TUSTENUGGEE ON THE ST. JOHN'S 429
GOPHER JOHN, SEMINOLE INTERPRETER ...... 459
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THE FLORIDA WAR.
FROM JULY 17, 1821, TO MARCH 21, 1830.
CESSION of the Floridas to the United States.-Relation towards the Indians.-The country occupied by
them.-The Seminole Nation.-Emigration of the Seminoles from Georgia to Florida, in1750, under
the Chief Secoffee.-His character and last words to his sons, Payne and Bowlegs.-A second emi.
gration of Seminoles, in 1808, under Micco Hadjo.-The Mickasukie tribe.-The appointment of
Colonel Gad Humphreys as agent of the Seminole Indians.-Governor William-P. Duval, super-
intendent.-The number of Indians occupying the country in 1821: number of negroes.-The villages
and location.-Treaty of Fort Moultrie.-Colonel James Gadsden, William P. Duval, and Bernardo
Segui, commissioners.-Opposition of the Indians to a treaty.-Difficulties in accomplishing the object,
-The policy of the federal government towards the Indians.-Embarrassments in carrying out the
designs and securing justice.-The superintendent and agent enter into the execution of the treaty.-
The Indians remove within the limits assigned.-Apprehended distress for the want of food.-Senous
difficulties in keeping the whites and Indians within their limits.-The first blood shed between the
whites a.:d Indians: its effect and copsequenbes.-Letter of the agent to Hon. J. S. Smith, Judge of the
U. S. District Court, upon the subject.-Agent's letter to the Acting Governor Walton in regard to the
intrusion of the whites, and sale of liquor.-Claims of whites upon the Indians for slaves.-Letter
of Governor William P. Duval in reference to the adjustment of claims.-Letter of the agent to the
commit; ner of Indian affairs respecting the acts of the Territorial Legislature in regard to Indians
found without the boundary.-Agent's letter to Governor Duval, detailing the state of Indian affairs.-
The application of the Territorial Legislature to remove the Indians from the country.-Instructions ot
the commissioner of Indian affairs in relation to the disposition of negroes in possession of Indiana
and claimed by whites.-Le'ter of William P. Duval upon the same subject.-Critical state of affairs.
-Agent's letter to the U. S. district attorney.-Acting Governor McCarty informs the agent that
the whites had killed an Indian near Tallahassee.-The agent's letter to the commissioner of Indian
affairs.-The Indians complain of the non-payment of their annuity granted under the treaty of Fort
Moultrie.-The assistance of the military force asked to arrest negroes in possession of the Indians,
and refused by the war-department.-The Indians murder a white man; steps taken by the chiefs to
arrest the offenders.-The talk of Micanopy and Jumper in regard to the demands made by the war-
department for negroes in their possession.-Letters from Colonel G. M. Brooke, U. S. army, com-
manding at Tampa Bay, and from the Hon. J. L. Smith.-Instructions from the commissioner of
Indian affairs.-The talk of the chief John Hicks in reference to the demand for slaves.-Letters from
Governor Duval and Colonel Gad Humphreys.-Hostilities seem inevitable.-The Indians consent to
send a deputation to Arkansas to examine the country.-The talk of the Seminole nation through the
chiefs to the President of the United States.-Embarrassing relations between the whites and Indians.-
Colonel Gad Humphreys informed by the commissioner of Indian affairs, that his services as agent to
the Seminoles would be dispensed with.-Colonel Humphreys; the manner in which he discharged
his duties.-Strong prejudices of the whites against him, and friendship of the Indians.
To determine satisfactorily the cause of the Florida War,
requires a critical review of the events which transpired between
the citizens and Indians, for a period of fourteen years, as well as
an examination of the course pursued towards all parties by the
I federal government.
This must necessarily commence on the 17th day of July,
1821, when Spain ceded the Floridas to the United States.
The Indians, inhabiting the country, had roamed unmolested
throughout the peninsula, enjoying the confidence and association
of the inhabitants, mostly Spaniards, who participated in a lucra-
tive trade, while the authorities of Spain insured them protection,
and treated them with kindness and distinction. The United
18 THE FLORIDA WAR.
States government, upon establishing its functions here, found the
Indians in possession of the most desirable portions of the country,
upon which were located villages, surrounded by cultivation, pro-
ducing enough to supply their wants. The acquisition of a new
country, so interesting from its. historical events, induced emi-
grants from adjoining states to explore, securing at the same time
good portions of land, which was guarantied under certain pro-
visions of law to the first discoverer. It was found, however,
much to their disappointment and embarrassment, that the most
eligible points were preoccupied by a race degraded, and for
which they entertained but little sympathy or charity. To re-
move this difficulty, and to give to the enterprise of the white
man full scope, the preliminary step was to hold a treaty with
the Seminoles, and by rewards induce them voluntarily to relin-
quish the soil, and thus commence the great work of civilization.
The liberty allowed them was to be circumscribed, and they
brought to know, and to feel too, that they were temporary occu-
pants of the soil; and while indulgently allowed to remain in any
part of the territory, law, good order, sobriety, and subserviency
to the whites must prevail.
The Seminole Nation, or those generally denominated the
Florida Indians, were originally Creeks. Their villages were
situated on the Chattahooche river, about ten. or fifteen miles
north and west of Columbus, Georgia. From continued mis-
understanding among the head-men, which extended through
families, and in some instances resulted in bloodshed, a separa-
tion of the tribe took place.
In the year 1750, a noted Creek chief by the name of Se-
coffee, broke out from the nation, and with many followers
settled in the section of country called Alachua, about the centre
of the peninsula, and by far the most fertile part. He was a
man of noted courage, violent passions, and possessed a most
active and vindictive mind. Combined with an indomitable
will, his seductive oratory and subtle cunning secured him in-
fluence, and insured success to all his measures. To the Spa-
niards he was an inveterate foe. To the English, up to 1784,
he was a most valuable ally. Upon the recession of Florida to
Spain, he repaired to St. Augustine to ascertain the truth. Not
being received and treated with that distinction to which he had
been accustomed, he returned to his village, meditating revenge.
He embodied a large force and took the field; but the exposure.
and exertion incident to active operations in the summer season,
was too much for an enfeebled constitution. He died in the
year 1785, at the advanced age of seventy, and was buried near
the present site of Fort King. He was, in fact, the founder of
the Seminole nation. Finding himself fast approaching his end,
THE FLORIDA WAR. 19
he called his two sons to his side, Payne and Bowlegs, and in a
most fervent and pathetic manner detailed his plans, enjoining
upon the former, who was to succeed him, the prosecution of
the expedition. He required him to put to death fourteen Spa-
niards, which number, added to eighty-six slain by his own hand,
aided by kindred, would make one hundred, which had been
revealed to him by the Great Spirit as requisite to secure the
peace and happiness of his soul in a future state.
Payne was of a different character, and not to be led astray
and blinded by absurd revelations and traditions. Though a
bold and intrepid warrior, he cared more for the happiness of his
people than the indulgence of vicious passions, or the influences
of superstitious feelings. By his example and counsels, he secured
the confidence of the Spanish government, and died at an. ad-
vanced age, honored and respected.
In the year 1808, another band came into Florida under
Micco Hadjo, and settled near the present site of the town of
Tallahassee. Ever after, that portion of the Creek nation settled
in Florida were called Seminoles, or runaways. Here both
these parties of emigrants encountered the Mickasukie tribe of
Indians, the legitimate owners of the soil. Much dissatisfaction
was manifested at this intrusion; but too weak to resist, they
soon became amalgamated, and joined in efforts to resist the com-
mon foe-the white man.
The privileges granted the Indians of Florida, alternately by
the English and Spanish governments, had caused them to over-
rate their own importance. The most violent passions were
excited when advised, or in any way or manner interfered with
by a white man, who, in other words, was only an American.
This could not be tamely submitted to, and the federal govern-
ment immediately commenced a system of supervision, or what
was termed "patronage and protection." On the 20th of May,
1822, Colonel Gad Humphreys was appointed agent to the Florida
Indians. William P. Duval, Esq., governor of the territory, was
ex-oficio superintendent of Indian affairs. The number of In-
dians occupying the country at this period, was fifteen hundred
and ninety-four men, thirteen hundred and fifty-seven women,
and nine hundred and ninety-three children-total, three thou-
sand eight hundred and ninety-nine; and one hundred and fifty
negro men (slaves), with six hundred and fifty women and chil-
dren. Their villages extended, dotting the country, from the
neighborhood of St. Augustine to the Appalachicola river. Most
of them consisted of log and palmetto huts, surrounded by cleared
fields of from two to twenty acres of land. The loud and un-
ceasing complaints of citizens, who were seeking homes in a
newly acquired country, made it imperative upon the general
20 THE FLORIDA WAR.
government speedily to adopt measures to dispossess the Indians,
and confine them to certain limits, in the hope of avoiding blood-
shed, which seemed inevitable from the virulence of feeling to-
wards the Indians, who were considered as undeserving of
liberty, or kindness.
Accordingly, James Gadsden, William P. Duval, and Bernardo
Segui, of Florida, were appointed commissioners to negotiate a
treaty, having for its object the removal of the Indians to such
parts of the territory as would meet the wishes of citizens, and
thus open a wide field for speculation, at the same time satisfy
the public mind. The Indians were surprised at the proposition
thus early to make a treaty. They were in possession of their
homes; and though at times annoyed by whites, they looked with
confidence to their great father at Washington, to protect and
vindicate their rights.
As they resisted the efforts to assemble for the purpose of
making a treaty, innumerable difficulties accumulated from day
to day, which pressed heavily upon them; and surrounded as
they were by influences enforced by the arguments of those pro-
fessing to be friends, a majority of the nation reluctantly con-
sented to meet the commissioners at such a time as might be
most expedient. This was with the hope, that ever after they
would be permitted to remain unmolested. Fort Moultrie, five
miles south of St. Augustine, on the coast, was agreed upon as a
desirable position. A number assembled on the day appointed;
but the absence of the most influential chiefs, who looked suspi-
ciously upon all such steps, caused much delay. With the larger
portion, this council was considered but a prelude to farther de-
mands and encroachments. On the 18th of September, 1823,
the following treaty was signed.
TREATY OF FORT MOULTRIE.
Treaty of peace and friendship, made and concluded between William P. Dural,
James Gadsden, and Bernard Segui, commissioners on the part of the United
States, and certain chiefs and warriors of the Florida tribes of Indians.
ARTICLE 1. The undersigned chiefs and warriors, for themselves and their
tribes, have appealed to the humanity, and thrown themselves on, and have pro-
mised to continue under, the protection of the United States, and of no other
nation, power, or sovereignty; and in consideration of the promises, and stipu-
lations hereinafter made, do cede and relinquish all claim or title which they have
to the whole territory of Florida, with the exception of such district of country as
shall herein be allotted to them.
ARTICLE 2. The Florida tribes of Indians will hereafter be concentrated and
confined to the following metes and boundaries: commencing five miles north of
Okehumkee, running in a direct line to a point five miles west of Setarky's settle-
ment on the waters of Amazura (or Withlahuche river), leaving said settlement
two miles south of the line; from thence, in a direct line, to the south end of the
THE FLORIDA WAR. 21
Big Hammock, to include Chickuchate; continuing, in the same direction, for
five miles beyond the said hammock: provided said point does not approach
nearer than fifteen miles the sea coast of the Gulf of Mexico; if it does, the said
line will terminate at that distance from the sea coast; thence south twelve miles;
thence in a south thirty degrees east direction, until the same strike within five
miles of the main branch of Charlotte river; thence in a due east direction, to
within twenty miles of the Atlantic coast; thence north, fifteen west, for fifty
miles, and from this last to the beginning point.
ARTICLE 3. The United States will take the Florida Indians under their care
and patronage, and will afford them protection against all persons whatsoever;
provided they conform to the laws of the United States, and refrain from making
war, or giving any insult to any foreign nation, without having first obtained the
permission and consent of the United States: And in consideration of the appeal
and cession made in the first article of this treaty, by the aforesaid chiefs and war-
riors, the United States promise to distribute among the tribes, as soon as concen-
trated, under the direction of their agent, implements of husbandry, and stock of
cattle and hogs, to the amount of six thousand dollars, and an annual sum of five
thousand dollars a year for twenty successive years, to be distributed as the pre-
sident of the United States shall direct through the secretary of war, or his super-
intendents and agents of Indian affairs.
ARTICLE 4. The United States promise to guaranty to the said tribes the
peaceable possession of the district of country herein assigned them, reserving the
right of opening through it such roads, as may, from time to time, be deemed
necessary; and to restrain and prevent all white persons from hunting, settling,
or otherwise intruding upon it. But any citizen of the United States, being law-
fully authorized for that purpose, shall be permitted to pass and re-pass through
the said district and to navigate the waters thereof without any hindrance, toll, or
exactions from said tribes.
ARTICLE 5. For tie purpose of facilitating the removal of the said tribes to the
district of country allotted them, and as a compensation for the losses sustained,
or the inconvenience to which they may be exposed by said removal, the United
States will furnish them with rations of corn, meat, and salt, for twelve months,
commencing on the first of February next; and they further agree to compensate
those individuals who have been compelled to abandon improvements on lands
not embraced within the limits allotted, to the amount of four thousand five hun-
dred dollars, to be distributed among the sufferers, in a ratio to each, proportional
to the value of the improvements abandoned. The United States further agree to
furnish a sum, not exceeding two thousand dollars, to be expended by their agent,
to facilitate the transportation of the different tribes to the point of concentration
ARTICLE 6. An agent, sub-agent, and interpreter shall be appointed, to reside
within the Indian boundary aforesaid, to watch over the interests of said tribes;
and the United States further stipulate, as an evidence of their humane policy to-
wards said tribes, who have appealed to their liberality, to allow for the establish-
ment of a school at the agency, one thousand dollars a yeai for twenty successive
years; and one thousand dollars a year for the same period, for the support of a
gun and blacksmith, with the expense incidental to his shop.
ARTICLE 7. The chiefs and warriors aforesaid, for themselves and tribes,
stipulate to be active and vigilant in the preventing the retreating to, or passing
through, the district of country assigned them, of any absconding slaves, or fugi-
tives from justice; and further agree, to use all necessary exertions to apprehend
and deliver the same to the agent, who shall receive orders to compensate them
agreeably to the trouble and expense incurred.
ARTICLE 8. A commissioner, or commissioners, with a surveyor, shall be ap-
pointed by the president of the United States, to run and mark (blazing fore and
aft the trees) the line as defined in the second article of this treaty, who shall be
22 THE FLORIDA WAR.
attended by a chief or warrior, to be designated by a council of their own tribes,
and who shall receive, while so employed, a daily compensation of three dollars.
ARTICLE 9. The undersigned chiefs and warriors, for themselves and tribes,
having objected to their concentration within the limits described in the second
article of this treaty, under the impression that the said limits did not contain a
sufficient quantity of good land to subsist, and for no other reason, it is, therefore,
expressly understood, between the United States and the aforesaid chiefs and
warriors, that should the country embraced in said limits, upon examination by
the agent and the commissioner, or commissioners, to be appointed under the eighth
article of this treaty, be by them considered insufficient for the support of the said
Indian tribes, then the north line, as defined in the second article of this treaty,
shall be removed so far north as to embrace a sufficient quantity of good tillable land.
ARTICLE 10. The undersigned chiefs and warriors, for themselves and tribes,
have expressed to the commissioners their unlimited confidence in their agent,
Colonel Gad Humphreys, and their interpreter, Stephen Richards, and as an evi-
dence of their gratitude and humane treatment, and brotherly attention to their
wants, request that one mile square, embracing the improvements of Enehe
Mathla, at Tallahassee (said improvements to be considered as the centre), be con-
veyed, in fee simple, as a present to Colonel Gad Humphreys. And they further
request, that one mile square, at the Ochesee Bluffs, embracing Stephen Richards's
field on said bluffs, be conveyed, in fee simple, to said Stephen Richards.
The commissioners accord in sentiment with the undersigned chiefs and war-
riors, and recommend a compliance with their wishes to the president and senate
of the United States ; but the disapproval on the part of the said authorities of this
article, shall, in no wise, affect the other articles and stipulations concluded in this
In testimony whereof the commissioners, William P. Duval, James Gadsden, and
Bernard Segui, and the undersigned chiefs and warriors, have hereunto sub-
scribed their names, and affixed their seals. Done at camp, on Moultrie
Creek, in the Territory of Florida, this eighteenth day of September, one
thousand eight hundred and twenty-three; and of the independence of the
United States the forty-eighth.
WILLIAM P. DUVAL, L.S. WOKSE HOLATA, his X mark, L.S.
JAMES GADSDEN, L.S. AMATIHLA HAJO, his X mark, L.S.
BERNARD SEGUI, L.S. HOLATEFISCICO, his X mark, L.S.
NEA MATHLA, his X mark, L.S. CItEFISCICO HAJO, his X mark, L.S.
TOKOSE MATHLA, his X mark, L.S. LATIILOA MATHLA, his X mark, L.S.
NINNEE HOMATATUSTENUKY, his X m'k, L.S. SENUFRY, his X mark, L.S.
MICONOPE, his X mark, L.S. ALAx HA"lo, his X mark, L.S.
NocosEE AHOLA, his X mark, L.S. FAHELUSTED HAJO, his X mark, L.S.
JOHN BLUNT, his X mark, L.S. OCTAHAMICO, his X mark, L.S.
OTLEMATA, his X mark, L.S. TUSTENECK HAJO, his X mark, L.S.
TUSKANEHA, his X mark, L.S. OKOSKEE AMATHA, his X mark, L.S.
TUSKI HAJO, his X mark, L S. OCHEENY TUSTENUKY, his X mark, L.S.
ECONCHATIMICO, his X mark, L.S. PHILIP, his X mark, L.S.
EMOTELEY, his X mark, L.S. CHARLEY AMATHLA, his X mark, L.S.
MULATTO KING, his X mark, L.S. JOHN HOPONEY, his X mark, L.S.
C HOCHOLOHANS, his X mark, L.S. RAT HEAD, his X mark, L.S.
EMATHOLOCHEE, his X mark, L.S. HOLATA AMATHLA, his X mark, L.S.
FOSIIATCHIMICO, is X mark, L.S.
Signed, sealed, and delivered in the presence of
GEORGE MURRAY, Sec. to the Comm'r. HARVEY BROWN, Lieut. 4th Artillery.
G. HUMPHREYS, Indian Agerit. C. D'ESPINVILLE, Lieut. 4th Artillery.
STEPHEN RICHARDS, Interpreter. WILLIAM TRAVERS.
ISAAC N. Cox. HORATIO S. DEXTER.
J. EWING, Capt. 4th Artillery.
THE FLORIDA WAR. 23
Nea Mathla, John Blunt, Tuski Hajo, Mulatto King, Emath-
lochee, and Econchatimico, six of the -principal chiefs, for a long
time obstinately and stubbornly refused to negotiate in any man-
ner. It was feared the attempt to effect a treaty would be an
To subdue these feelings, large concessions were made to
these head men. The more humble were required to remove
within a stipulated boundary; while their chiefs, and a few friends,
were permitted to remain in their old towns, and participate
alike in the annuities and other benefits accruing under the treaty.
To effect the great object, the subjoined "ADDITIONAL ARTICLE"
was agreed upon, and with the treaty was ratified by the senate
of the United States on the 2d of January, 1824:
Whereas, Nea Mathla, John Blunt, Tuski Hajo, Mulatto King, Emathlo-
chee, and Econchatimico, six of the principal chiefs of the Florida Indians, and
parties to the treaty to which this article has been annexed, have warmly appealed
to the commissioners for permission to remain in the district of country now in-
habited by them; and, in consideration of their friendly disposition, and past ser-
vices to the United States and the aforesaid chiefs, that the following reservation
shall be surveyed and marked by the commissioner or commissioners to be appointed
under the eighth article of this treaty. For the use of Nea Mathla and his connex-
ions, two miles square, embracing the Tuphulga village, on the waters of Rocky
Comfort Creek. For Blunt and Tuski Hajo, a reservation commencing on the
Apalachicola, one mile below Tuski Hajo's improvements, running up said river
four miles; thence west two miles; thence southerly to a point two miles due
west of the beginning; thence east to the beginning point. For Mulatto King
and Emathlochee, a reservation commencing on the Apalachicola, at a point to
include Yellow Hair's improvements; thence up said river for four miles; thence
west one mile; thence southerly to a point one mile west of the beginning; and
thence east to the beginning. For Econchatimico, a reservation, commencing on
the Chatahoochie, one mile below Econchatimico's house; thence up said river
for four miles; thence one mile west; thence southerly toa point one mile west
of the beginning; thence east to the beginning point. The United States promise
to guaranty the peaceable possession of the said reservations, as defined, to the
aforesaid chiefs and their descendants only, so long as they shall continue to
occupy, improve, or cultivate the same; but in the event of the abandonment of
all or either of the reservations, by the chief or chiefs, to whom they have been
allotted, the reservation or reservations so abandoned shall revert to the United
States, as included in the cession made in the first article of this treaty. It is
further understood that the names of the individuals remaining on the reservations
aforesaid, shall be furnished by the chiefs in whose favor the reservations have
been made, to the superintendent or agent of Indian affairs, in the territory of
Florida; and that no other individual shall be received or permitted to remain
within said reservations, without the previous consent of the superintendent or
agent aforesaid. And, as the aforesaid chiefs are authorized to select the indi-
viduals remaining with them, so-they shall be separately held responsible for the
peaceable conduct of their towns, or the individuals residing on the reservations
allotted them. It is further understood between the parties, that this agreement
is not intended to prohibit the voluntary removal, at any future period, of all or
either of the aforesaid chiefs and their connexions to the district of country south,
allotted to the Florida Indians by the second article of this treaty, whenever either
24 THE FLORIDA WAR.
or all may think proper to make such an election; the United States reserving the
right of ordering for any outrage or misconduct, the aforesaid chiefs, or either bf
them, with their connexions, within the district of country south, aforesaid. It is
further stipulated by the United States, that of the six thousand dollars appropri-
ated for implements of husbandry, stock, &c., in the third article of this treaty,
eight hundred shall be distributed in the same manner, among the aforesaid chiefs
and their towns; and it is understood that, of the annual sum of five thousand
dollars, to be distributed by the president of the United States, they will receive
their proportion. It is further stipulated, that of the four thousand, five hundred
dollars and two thousand dollars, provided for by the fifth article of this treaty, for
the payment for improvements and transportation, five hundred dollars shall be
awarded to Nea Mathla, as a compensation for the improvements abandoned by
him, as well as to meet the expenses he will unavoidably be exposed to by his own
removal, and that of his connexions.
In testimony whereof, the commissioners, William P. Duval, James Gadsden, and
Bernard Segui, and the undersigned, chiefs and warriors, have hereunto sub-
scribed their names and affixed their seals. Done at camp on Moultrie Creek
in the Territory of Florida, this eighteenth day of September, one thousand
eight hundred and twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States,
WILLIAM P. Duval, L.S. TUSKI HAJO, his X mark. L.S.
JAMES GADSDEN, L.S. MULATTO KING, his X mark. L.S.
BERNARD SEQUI, L.S. EMATHLOCHEE, his X mark. L.S.
NEA MATHLA, his X mark. L.S. EcoNHATIMICO, his X mark. L.S.
JoHN BLUNT, his X mark. L.S.
Signed, sealed, and delivered in the presence of
GEORGE MURRAY, Secretary to the Commission.
JA. W. RIPLEY.
G. HUMPHREYS, Indian Agent.
STEPHEN RICHARDS, Interpreter.
The following statement shows the number of men retained
by the chiefs who have reservations made them, at their respec-
Number of Men. Number of Men.
Blount, 34 Econchatimico, 38
Cochran, 45 Nea Mathla, 30
Mulatto King, 30
Emathlochee, 28 Total, 214
The foregoing treaty was ratified on the 2d day of Jan-
This treaty threw around the Florida Indians a net from which
there was no escape. Their destiny, their happiness, and pros-
perity were now in the hands of the people. Upon the cession
of Florida they claimed the entire country, and so far as Spain
interfered, they possessed it. Now, they were within limits, and
the United States could, under a fair pretext, control them, by de-
manding their prompt compliance with the stipulations of the
treaty, and if they persisted in disobeying, there was an instru-
ment in existence justifying their expulsion or destruction. They
could, ast circumstances required, be considered as rebellious chil-
THE FLORIDA WAR. 25
dren, or if other objects were to be attained, they assumed the
rights and prerogatives of a sovereign people, possessing the un-
doubted authority to negotiate treaties, so far as to dispose of
their lands. But wishing this privilege for self-government, or
other purposes, was considered a usurpation demanding punish-
ment. In this light they, as a nation, have ever been considered,
which has subjected them to a vacillating policy, causing the
utmost confusion and dissatisfaction. The federal government is
considerate and liberal in the execution of treaty stipulations with
this unfortunate race; but in opposition to this are arrayed the
prejudices of a multitude actuated by selfish motives, together
with the waywardness and depravity of a border population in a
new country. These present serious obstacles to the administra-
tion of justice, and defeat, in a great measure, all exertions to
ameliorate the condition of the savages, and causes an apparent
indifference to their repeated demands for protection. The agent
who is brought immediately in contact with the Indians, must be
possessed of resolution, tact, and intelligence, to maintain his
position in the midst of so many complicated difficulties. The
executive of the state or territory will listen to the complaints of
the citizens, and by repeated representations to the Indian agent,
endeavor to allay the excited feelings incident to real or imaginary
.wrongs. The agent, if faithful in the performance of his duties,
is obliged from his position to resist the encroachments of the
whites; if otherwise, he would soon be accountable for the lives
and property of all within the range of an Indian rifle. His
activity and resolution in maintaining their rights, deters them
from violent acts to gain them, in the hope that through him
justice may be awarded by the general government. But the
demands of the executive, through the representatives in con-
gress, are too potent to be disregarded, and the government is
compelled to acquiesce, and, through its agents, give instructions
actuated more by the disposition to gratify the populace than to
vindicate the rights of the savages. These conflicting influences
are constantly in operation, until the agent, if conscientious in
his duties, is discharged, when a more pliant instrument succeeds,
who in the hands of designing men soon perfects the object so
The Indian, discouraged in his endeavors to add to the happi-
ness of his people, revolts-desolates the frontier, murders the
unprotected-when the president of the United States is called
upon again by the state authorities, to quell the outbreak by
regular troops, and enforce treaty stipulations, which results, after
years of rapine and murder, in the expulsion of the Indians.
The agents of the general government, as well as the Indians,
entered at once into the execution of the treaty of Fort Moultrie.
26 THE FLORIDA WAR.
Colonel Humphreys, the agent, established himself at Camp King,
in the centre of the nation. The governor of the territory and
superintendent of Indian affairs, William P. Duval, resided at
Tallahassee. These duties were commenced with commendable
zeal, and, in the execution, a disposition was manifested to vindi-
cate, and if possible, to maintain the rights of the Indians. The
agent, living in their very midst, realized his peculiar and respon-
sible position. Though fully persuaded that in defence of those
whose guardian he was, he would be subjected to obloquy, yet,
he was determined to carry out the intentions and disposition of
his government in opposition to the selfish demands and interests
of those who were settling the country, and who were in large
numbers crowding around him.
The correspondence of Colonel Humphreys and that of
others, which is here given, together with the talks upon several
occasions of the important chiefs, go much farther to give a
correct understanding of the cause of the Florida war than the
expression of an opinion, which at this late period is too apt to
be influenced by popular prejudice and misrepresentation. The
year 1824 was occupied in locating the Indians within the pre-
scribed boundaries, which upon examination were.found to be
too limited for the convenience of those who were required to
remove. Accordingly, upon the representation of Col. Gadsden
and Governor Duval, twenty additional miles were granted, so as
to include a desirable section of country, called the BigSwamp.
In order to stimulate the Indians to agricultural pursuits, and
thus supply their own wants by cultivating the soil, the rations
allowed them under the fifth article of the treaty were ordered to
be reduced; which at this early period, and in their present con-
dition, was calculated to cause starvation and much discontent.
The agent was enabled to judge correctly of their condition. He
at once addressed the acting governor upon the subject, which
had the effect to postpone the order, and thus calm the excited
feelings of the chiefs who had been instrumental in bringing
upon those around them the prospects of immediate want, as
shown by the following letters:
Tampa Bay, June 14th, 1825.
"SIR-I reached this place on the 12th instant, after a four-
teen days' passage. It is with extreme regret I learn that since
my arrival the drought in this section of country, and indeed
through to the 'Big Swamp,' has been so severe that the crops
of the Indians are, in some instances, wholly destroyed. The
emigrants particularly, it is to be feared, will make little or no-
thing, owing to their having had to open new fields, and the
consequent lateness of their planting.
THE FLORIDA WAR. 27
I am greatly apprehensive, that this failure of crops will pro-
duce much distress among these people, unless arrangements are
adopted to continue to them issues of rations beyond the period
stipulated in the treaty. It may not, perhaps, and will not, I
trust, be necessary to make extensive and regular periodical
issues; but humanity seems to require, that some provision should
be made to meet the cases of actual want.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Superintendent of Indian G. HUMPHREYS,
affairs, Tallahassee. Agent Seminole Indians."
"Tallahassee, 25th May, 1825.
"SiR-I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your
several letters of the 19th, 20th, and 22d instant, and deem it an
imperative duty to state, in reply to that of the 19th, which
directs a limitation of the number of rations hereafter to be issued
to the Indians to 1000 daily, that the effect of such an abridg-
ment of the stipulated supply of provisions, will be, at the least,
loud murmuring and discontent; and that suffering among the
Indians from hunger, which has hitherto scarcely existed except
in imagination, will shortly become a distressing reality. That
those people can have but scanty and indeed no certain means of
existence, independent of the sustenance provided by the United
States, until the opening of fields and growing of crops at their
new location, will be.readily supposed; and the entire inadequacy
of one thousand rations, to the support of something more than
1600 people, is too obvious to require comment: and I feel con-
strained to add my belief that the emigrant Indians, conceiving
themselves entitled by the treaty of the 18th of September, 1823,
to a punctual allowance of provisions for the specified time, at
the rate of one ration per day to each individual, will not quietly
submit to a non-performance (on the part of the government) of
the stipulations of the compact.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEORGE WALTON, Esq., Att'y Gen'l, % G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
&c., of Florida, Tallahassee.
From their unsettled condition, a result of their removal from
old habitations to new ones within an imaginary line, the Indians
roamed throughout the country, causing dissatisfaction among
settlers, who were inclined to doubt their friendship, and im-
proved opportunities to seize their rifles, and threatened and mal-
treated them, to compel them to remain permanently within the
boundaries as defined by the treaty. The agent, on the 20th of
May, thus writes to the commissioner of Indian affairs:
28 THE FLORIDA WAR.
"Florida Agency, 20th May, 1825.
"SIR-I have the honor to suggest that the running and
making of the northern boundary of the Indian territory, is highly
desirable, in order to enable me to show a line of demarcation to
the white settlers, who are already thronging to the vicinity of
the Indian settlements; and some, as I apprehend, have taken
positions near to, if not south of, where the line will necessarily
run; and will, I fear, if not expelled, become troublesome, and
create disturbance among the Indians,-they are squatters upon
the public lands, and, of course, liable to be removed at the in-
stance of the government, whenever it shall direct. I should be
glad of instructions upon this subject.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. THos. L. MCKINNEY, G. HUMPHREYS,
Indian Bureau. Agent Florida Indians."
The difficulties anticipated were soon realized. A planter,
a Mr. Salano, residing on the St. John's river, arrived at St. Au-
gustine, and reported to the commander of the United States
troops there, that six Indians had been at his house in pursuit of
three others, who, from long absence, they supposed were mur-
dered by the whites. Accompanied by threats and insolent con-
duct, they declared their determination to be revenged upon the
whites, if unsuccessful in finding their friends. On the 21st of
June, Lieut. Canfield, U. S. A., was, dispatched with a detach-
ment of twenty men to see this party, and to ascertain the facts.
The detachment, when emerging from Cabbage Swamp, on the
ensuing morning, about twenty-eight miles from St. Augustine,
discovered the Indian camp. Lieut. Canfield, Mr. Salano, and a
Mr. Dumnit, together with the interpreter, approached the
camp, in, advance; and as they proceeded, Mr. Salano directed
the interpreter not to explain their object to the Indians, as they
stood in the distance looking with astonishment. Upon discover-
ing the soldiers in the rear, they attempted to seize their rifles
and flee. In violation of the officer's orders, Mr. Salano dis-
charged a pistol, which drew from the detachment a volley, sup-
posing a fight had commenced. Two Indians were secured, one
slightly wounded, together with four rifles, and a large quantity
of skins. One of the prisoners was sent immediately into the
swamp, to inform his companions that the discharge upon them
was accidental. What aggravated this occurrence, and made it
still more unfortunate, was, that written passes from the agent
were found in the camp. These men, thus outraged, returned to
their tribes, causing a general sympathy, and exciting the most
bitter feelings of revenge. The agent was in a critical position.
Entirely within their power, they demanded redress in the most
THE FLORIDA WAR. 29
imperative manner, and commenced organizing war parties, to
retaliate upon the settlements from one extent of the country to
the other. Though the encounter with the troops was acci-
dental, and attributable to the imprudence of Mr. Salano, too
many wrongs and abuses had been inflicted, yet unatoned, and
for which they had received nothing in return but excuses and
regret. The country was in arms-an Indian war was pro-
claimed, and the citizens fled to the towns, and gathered in
numbers for safety. The regular troops at St. Augustine were
ordered into the field, and two companies of infantry under Capt.
Dade marched from Fort Brooke to Camp King, with such dis-
patch as to deter the Indians from acts of open hostility. Fortu-
nately, the three young Indians supposed to be murdered returned,
which, together with promises of pay to the outraged party at
Cabbage Swamp, induced the Indians once more to resume a
friendly intercourse. "I am fully sensible," says Col. Gadsden to
Col. Humphreys, in a communication, of August 15th, "of the
delicacy of your situation."
"Charleston, S. C., 15 August, 18 5.
"MY DEAR SIR,-Your letter of the 25th ultimo was for-
warded to me to this place, and I am gratified at the happy ad-
justment of the Cabbage Swamp affair. I feel sensible of the
delicacy of your situation, and of the complicated difficulties
you must necessarily encounter in bringing the Florida Indians
into a state of subordination and discipline. They must be con-
trolled, but treated at the same time with due consideration and
great humanity. You know that you can command any aid I
can give in facilitating these desirable objects; and in volunteer-
ing an opinion which I hope will be well received, I cannot urge
too strongly upon you the great necessity of establishing the
agency, and of remaining for a time stationary at it.
You may make yourself comfortable; and your example in
cultivating the earth, attending to the increase of your stock,
&c., will have the happiest effect in improving the habits of the
The sooner they abandon, to a certain extent, the chase,
and are converted from hunters to herdsmen and agriculturists,
the sooner will they be reconciled to their change of location, &c.
They cannot live as hunters; the game is nearly destroyed,
and unless some efforts are made to impress strongly upon them
the great necessity of depending upon the soil for their subsist-
ence, I apprehend much distress and want the ensuing year.
I remain yours, &c.,
Col. G. HUMPHREYS, Agent of the JAMES GADSDEN."
Seminoles, Fort King, Florida.
80 THE FLORIDA WAR.
The agent's letter to the Hon. J. L. Smith, enters fully into
the character of the difficulties surrounding him:
Florida Agency, 8th July, 1825.
"SIR-Ere you are in possession of this, you will be advised
by my communication of yesterday, per return express, that the
difficulties which have for a short time existed between some of
the red and white people of the territory, are in progress to a
favorable and speedy termination.
The seasonable restoration to their friends of the lost young
men, has had great influence in producing this happy state of
things. The news of their safety, immediately followed by the
appearance of one of them, who arrived to-day, seems to have
almost entirely subdued every feeling of animosity; and I enter-
tain a confidence, that after I have visited the wounded man,
which I shall dodn the course of the day, and fixed (under a pro-
position which Col. Gadsden in behalf of some of the citizens of
Augustine has authorized me to make) upon the compensation
he is .to receive, the most perfect harmony will be restored, and
a renewal take place of the friendly feelings which have hereto-
fore prevailed. It is due, however, to candor and truth, and I
must be allowed to say it, that greatly as I desire the return of
order and tranquillity, and much as I have already exerted myself
to recall such a state of things, I should not deem it a duty to
urge the aggrieved individual to the acceptance of pecuniary
compensation for an injury like that in question, could I perceive
any other way in which the matter could be adjusted without
prejudicing the interest of the territory by delay. As it is,
acquiescence in the proposition from your city will be suitably
recommended. Another consideration influences me: the great
disadvantage under which the almost proscribed children of the
forest labor for want of credibility as witnesses in our courts of
law, destroys every thing like equality of rights; forbids the idea
of. their success in legal controversy, in opposition to their white
neighbors, and thus virtually excludes them from our halls of
justice. To this must be mainly attributed their proneness to
take punishment into their own hands, despairing as they do of
obtaining redress for injuries by recourse to the laws of the
whites, which have in but few cases, when they have been ap-
pealed to by the Indians, afforded any remedy for evils com-
plained of. In the case before us, Mr. Salano, who is the author
of it, being permitted to depose, has enjoyed and exercised the
power to fix upon the Indians an imputation they could not merit,
and which for lack of admissible testimony, or the want of a
hearing, they could not repel. These remarks are drawn from
me, in a settled belief which I entertain, that the Indians do not
THE FLORIDA WAR. 31
deserve that censure in regard to the Cabbage Swamp affair,
which is attempted to be heaped upon them; and that, could a
full and fair investigation of their previous conduct, which is
cited as the leading cause to that affair, be had, it would be found
in a great degree, if not wholly, free from the impropriety which
is charged. Is it probable, let me ask, if they had meditated the
violence Mr. S. accuses them of threatening, that they would
thus publicly have declared their intentions? I answer no!
Reason and common sense forbid the idea, as being wholly irre-
concilable with the known character of the Indian, whose pro-
ceedings of a hostile kind are always covert and unadvertised. The
language then, here ascribed to them on this occasion, is impro-
bable and incredible. That Mr. Salano had any sinister or im-
proper motive in the representation he made at St. Augustine,
which produced the disaster under consideration, I do not wish
to say; or if he had dishonest views, I am unable to determine
precisely what they were. I cannot believe his whole object
was plunder; yet I am informed by the interpreter, who accom-
panied the party, that he, S., went loaded to his own house with
skins, meat, &c., taken from the pillaged camp of the unfortunate
fugitives. If this be true, it is clear that whatever motives led
him to move the assault, he did not omit to enrich himself with
the-spoils of the assailed.
"Why (it is right to inquire), if he were actuated by fair and
harmless intentions in visiting the camp of the Indians, did he
refuse explanation, though it was earnestly solicited by them as
they saw troops approaching, leaving them to form the worst
conjecture? A few words, making known the object of the
visit, would have satisfied the Indians, and prevented their flight
and the outrage which followed it.
"1 For reasons best known to himself, Mr. S. positively refused
the satisfaction sought, and even forbade the interpreter to speak
to the Indians. Was it to be expected that conduct so little indi-
cating an amicable purpose, would be well received by those peo-
ple, and that they would, without an effort, yield to a doom they
knew not how terrible ? Unquestionably not; nothing else ought,
under the circumstances, to have been anticipated than precipitate
retreat; and how that retreat could be construed, as I am in-
formed it was, into an evidence of guilt, and justification of
assault, I am, I confess, wholly unable to comprehend. They
were not even charged with, much less convicted of, any overt
act, and I am not acquainted with any law (owing probably to
my limited knowledge of the books upon that subject) which
could warrant or,authorize the proceeding to a forcible detention
and imprisonment (which appear to have been the object) of the
32 THE FLORIDA WAR.
persons of the inhabitants of our free country, either red or white,
in manner like that attempted in the case in question. On a
full review of the transaction, I cannot resist the opinion that it
is strongly characterized by illegality, to say the least; and 1
regret most truly that the troops of the United States should have
been drawn into it, as I am satisfied that it neither consists with
their will, or advances their reputation, however unexceptionable
their intentions on the occasion may have been; and I rejoice
sincerely on their account, and the welfare of the territory, as
well as the interest of the unhappy red skins, who are too weak to
enforce their rights against their white and more powerful neigh-
bors, that a fortunate issue of the affair is likely to be effected.
"Before closing, I am constrained to say, that an examination
of the part Salano has acted in the affair, forces upon me the
conclusion, that he has throughout been influenced by feelings of
hostility to the Indians; there is not, I believe, the shadow of a
doubt that he inflicted the wound given in the Cabbage Swamp
attack. He was heard, I understand, to boast of the accuracy
with which he sighted upon his victim, when he levelled his
rifle, and to express his astonishment that the Indian did not fall.
He was probably prompted to the act, to revenge some fancied
personal injury to himself. He has for a long time (if I am cor-
rectly informed) been on terms with them far from peaceful;
indeed, I am told that his animosity to them is almost proverbial;
and that he often, in a light manner, speaks of shooting them, and
has been heard to say that he would dispatch one with as little
scruple as he would a 'wolf;' thus estimating their lives to be of
as little value as those of the vilest beasts of the forest. If sen-
timents like these are extensively cherished by our inhabitants,
there is little hope of long preserving a good understanding be-
tween them and their red neighbors; but such cannot be the case;
and this, I trust, is a solitary instance of an entire disregard of
the established obligations of citizenship, and a total abandonment
of the common principles of humanity. Such a man should be
watched as being. (in disposition) dangerous to the peace and in-
terests of the territory-and his conduct in the late affair, how-
ever favorably that affair may terminate, ought, I must insist, to
be closely investigated and scrutinized; and if any ground pre-
sents itself justifying punishment, it should be promptly inflicted,
to prevent a like offence in future; and it is but proper to suggest,
of the. Indians, that notwithstanding the strength of their desire
to live in friendship with the whites generally, has induced them
to accept of the terms of adjustment offered, it would be difficult
for them to reconcile the entire escape of Salano, whom they look
upon as the sole causeof their recent trouble, from punishment,
THE FLORIDA WAR. 33
with the boasted justice of Americans. Something is therefore
necessary to be done in the matter, for the preservation of our
national character, even should the claims of justice be denied.
"To you, sir, as a conservator of the public peace, and an
impartial administrator of the laws, I submit the case, with a
perfect confidence that it will receive all the attention to which
its importance entitles it.
I am, with the highest respect,
Your obedient servant,
Hon. Jos. L. SMITH, Judge Sup. Court, G. HUMPHREYS."
E. Florida, St. Augustine.
Also that of August 4th, to Secretary and acting Governor
"Seminole Agency, Aug. 4th, 1829.
SIR-I am compelled by a sense of duty, to address you upon
a subject, in which the welfare of this nation is deeply involved.
I am aware that the statement I have to make and the views
I shall present, will interfere, if entertained, with the projects of
certain white inhabitants of Florida, who, since the emigration of
the western tribes, have located upon the public lands in the im-
mediate vicinity of the Indian territorial boundary, for purposes
by no means equivocal or even undeclared.
"It is known to all, who are acquainted with the Indian char-
acter, that it has in its composition one besetting and fatal weak-
ness, a proneness for intoxicating drinks; and that spirituous
liquors (which are not allowed to be vended in the nation) will
command from these people almost any price that the exorbitance
of the vender may prompt him to ask. This fact furnishes en-
couragement, and the unsettled condition of the country affords
an inviting field, for the operations of those whose defectiveness
in morals or thirst for gain will lead them to seek the acquire-
ment of it without a suitable regard for the means to be employed.
The condition of the tribes hereabouts during the last two weeks,
and at the present moment, gives abundant evidence that such is
the general character of the individuals who have established
themselves upon the adjoining public lands, and creates the most
grievous and discouraging anticipations for the future well-being
of the nation.
"Drunkenness and riot have reigned triumphant. To detect
those who practice the nefarious traffic which produces such de-
plorable consequences is morally impossible ; they are sufficiently
shrewd, and on the alert to avoid committing themselves before
admissible witnesses, and may therefore, as long as they are suf-
fered to remain where they are, prosecute their illicit business in
comparative security. Some effective remedy should be applied
34 THE FLORIDA WAR.
without loss of time; and the only thing which suggests itself to
me as likely to succeed, is that of a rigid enforcement of the laws
against the unauthorized occupancy of the unsold government lands.
I earnestly invite your early attention to this subject; and shall
with great anxiety wait your instructions.
With much respect, your obedient servant,
GEo. WALTON, Esq., Sec'y and Dep'y G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
Gov. of Fla, Tallahassee.
Together with the application of the agent to the district attorney.
Sem. Agency, 1st July, 1825.
"DEAR SIR-A case of outrage (wholly unprovoked as is stated
here) committed upon a party of Indians, who were in search of
missing friends, on the east side of the St. John's river, by a
party of whites headed, the Indians say, by a Mr. Philip Salano,
has produced great excitement among the Indians in this quarter,
and unless speedy redress is obtained, serious consequences are
to be apprehended.
"I solicit your official attention to the subject, and refer you
for further information, to the bearer, Mr. Tingle.
In haste, respectfully yours,
EDGAR MACON, Esq., U. S. Dist. G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
Att'y, St. Augustine.
Another difficulty, quite as embarrassing, increased from day
to day, and which ultimately led to an open rupture. The Indians
had in their possession a number of slaves, many who were born
among them, and others purchased from the whites. The Indians
possessing no rights in a court of justice or in law, and the ne-
groes having been purchased and paid for, efforts were made to
take possession by force.
The Indian, conscious of his rights, and knowing that he paid
the money, though incapable of showing the papers executed
under the forms of law, as he had received none, and relying
upon the honesty of the white man, protested most earnestly
against these demands, and resolutely expressed a determination
to resist all attempts thus to wrest from him his rightfully ac-
The superintendent, Governor Duval, writes to Col. Hum-
phreys on the 15th of January, as follows:
Tallahassee, January 5th, 1825.
"SIR-On the subject of the runaway slaves among the Indians,
within the control of your agency, it will be proper in all cases,
where you believe the owners can identify the slaves, to have
THE FLORIDA WAR. 35
them taken and delivered over to the marshal of East Florida,
at St. Augustine, so that the federal judge may inquire into the
claim of the party and determine the right of property. But in
all cases when the same slave is claimed by a white person and
an Indian, if you believe that the Indian has an equitable right to
the slave claimed, you are directed not to surrender the said
slave, unless by an order from the Honorable Jos. L. Smith, fed-
eral judge, residing in St. Augustine, and in that case you will
attend before him or at his court, and defend the right of the
Indian, if you believe he has right on his side. You will in your
discretion remove out of the Indian boundary, all free negroes, or
other persons, who may attempt to reside in the nation, without
permission from the Supt. or yourself. You will keep an exact
account of the number of days you shall be actually engaged in
attending to the business of the nation, and also your daily ex-
pense while so employed. Where any white person holds forci-
ble, or fraudulent possession of any slave or other property, be-
longing to an Indian, under your agency, it is your duty to have
justice rendered to the Indian, and you are directed to employ
counsel when it may be necessary, and take all legal measures to
obtain justice for the Indian. The licenses which have been
granted to Capt. Thornton and Capt. Pelham to trade with the
Indians at Tampa Bay, you will notify them or their agents, will
be withdrawn, from and after the 9th day of March next, and
that in future, no license will be granted, except where the indi-
vidual shall reside with the goods in the nation, and under the
control of the agent. All spirituous liquors must be kept out of
the nation, and if any individual shall sell or otherwise trade to
the Indians any intoxicating liquors, it is your duty to have him
prosecuted in the federal court. If any trader without license
should come into the nation for the purpose of traffic, the law
directs you to seize upon his goods. White men are not to visit
the Indian towns, or to quit the high road established by con-
gress, to examine the Indian lands, without your special permis-
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. G. HUMPHREYS, Agent for WM. P. DUVAL."
the Florida Indians.
It was evident, from the causes of complaint both among the
Indians and citizens, increasing as the country settled, that mis-
understandings and collisions would ensue, and as neither party
could effect their design, bloodshed would follow.
The agent of the government resolutely vindicated the native,
and as promptly lent his aid to adjust all demands made by the
citizens. But he was alone, and while he stood firmly breasting
36 THE FLORIDA WAR.
the popular current, and endeavoring to soothe the Indian chiefs,
the voice of the people became more potent at Tallahassee-
through the legislature, whence, in exaggerated and'exciting lan-
guage, it was transmitted to Washington City. The agent repre-
sented and protested, but his exertions availed but little; and on
the 9th of February, he addressed the subjoined letter to the
commissioner of Indian affairs, Thomas S. McKenney:
"St. Augustine, Feb. 9th, 1825.
"SIR-Although I have not as yet had opportunity to investi-
gate sufficiently to make a full report, as promised in my letter
from Charleston, touching our Indian relations, I have learnt
enough since my arrival here to make me feel it to be an imper-
ative duty to address you without delay, for the information of
the department, in the hope that the interpositions of the compe-
tent power may be exercised in time to prevent the disastrous
consequences which must inevitably flow from a prosecution of
the system of severity recently adopted towards the Indians. I
allude particularly to a law of the last legislative council, which
is in the following words: An Act to prevent the Indians from
roaming at large, throughout the Territory. Be it enacted by
the Governor and Legislative Council of the Territory of Florida,
that from and after the passing of this act, if any Indian of the
years of discretion venture to roam or ramble beyond the boun-
dary lines of the reservations which have been assigned to the
tribe or nation to which said Indian belongs, it shall and may
be lawful for any person or persons, to apprehend, seize and take
said Indian and carry him before some justice of the peace, who
is hereby authorized, empowered and required, to direct [if said
Indian have not a written permission from the agent, to do some
specific act] that there shall be inflicted not exceeding thirty-
nine stripes, at the discretion of the justice, on the bare back of said
Indian, and moreover to cause the gun of said Indian, if he have
any, to be taken away from him, and deposited with the colonel
of the county, or captain of the district in which said Indian
may be taken, subject to the order of the superintendent of In-
dian affairs.' The want of good policy of this law, to say
nothing of its inhumanity and injustice, it appears to me (with all
due deference to the legislative council I say it) must be obvi-
ous to every reflecting mind, and I do not hesitate to predict,
that an enforcement of its provisions will produce an excitement
on the part of the Indians which must unavoidably lead to blood-
shed and distress in our frontier settlements. It is not to be ex-
pected, that this people, who though greatly and cruelly oppressed,
are by nature and every principle of right, if not of human law,
free, will tamely submit to the ignominy of stripes, and that for
THE FLORIDA WAR. 37
no other offence, than the mere exercise of a privilege common
to all who are not slaves. No, sir! carry this law into effect and
war in reality may be expected sooner or later to follow as a
consequence: indeed, if I may take the word of a member of the
council, such consequence was calculated upon by that body,
when the bill was under consideration. 'For,' said he, in a cen-
versation I held with him in relation to this law,' it is found im-
possible to bring them to negotiate for a removal from the terri-
tory, and the only course, therefore, which remains for us to rid
ourselves of them, is to adopt such a mode of treatment towards
them, as will induce them to acts that will justify their expulsion
by force.' This, sir, is the benevolent language of an enlightened
"However reasonable or rather natural the wish on the part
of the white inhabitants, as a matter of convenience to themselves,
that the unfortunate children of the forests should be removed
from Florida, justice and honor forbid that means so inhuman
as those proposed should be resorted to to effect that object; and
the character of our government and country demand that the
abomination should be prevented, and the foul blot of the law in
view wiped from the records of our legislation.
"From all I can learn here, there is little doubt that the dis-
turbances near Tallahassee, which have of late occasioned so
much clamor, were brought about by a course of unjustifiable
conduct on the part of the whites, similar to that which it appears
to be the object of the territorial legislature to legalize. In fact, it
is stated that one Indian had been so severely whipped by the
head of the family which was destroyed, in those disturbances, as
to cause his death; if such be the fact, the subsequent act of the
Indians, however lamentable, must be considered as one of retali-
ation, and I cannot but think it is to be deplored that they were
afterwards 'hunted' with so unrelenting a spirit of revenge. As
the agent of the United States, as a citizen of Florida desirous to
preserve harmony and prevent a further needless effusion of blood,
Make this communication, and am
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. THOMAs L. MCKENNY, Office of G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
Indian Affairs, Washington.
This was followed by another on the 6th of March, 1827:
Seminole Agency, March 6th, 1827.
"( SIR-I am sorry to be obliged to report to you that the con-
dition of the Indians of this nation is one of great suffering from
hunger. There is not at this moment, I will venture to say, in
the whole nation a bushel of corn, or any adequate substitute for
38 THE FLORIDA WAR.
it. The coutee and brier root, which have hitherto been to them
a tolerable dernier dependence, are almost entirely consumed.
For nearly a year past they have been compelled t6 rely mainly
upon these, and the cabbage-tree, for sustenance, of the vegetable
kind. What they are to do another year I dare not imagine.
They have not corn for this year's seed, nor can I procure it for
them; I have sent to the St. John's, and inquired for it through
the Alachua settlements without the smallest success. The situ-
ation of some of these people is wretched, almost beyond descrip-
tion; those particularly who during the late alarm were robbed
of their guns, have been absolutely famishing. Their appearance
is sufficient to excite the commiseration of the hardest heart.
Towards a people like the Indians, whose chief dependence for a
subsistence is upon the chase, a greater cruelty could not be
practiced, than to deprive them of the implements so important
and indispensable in their mode of life. That offences have been
committed which deserved chastisement, whatever may have
been the causes on the part of the whites that led to them, is
quite probable, but I do not conceive that any thing, of which I
have as yet been informed, in relation to the recent disturbances,
can justify the indiscriminate and extreme severity which has
been inflicted; and in this I am certain you will agree with me,
when you are acquainted with all that has been done, and the
extent to which humanity has been outraged. There are facts
connected with the operations of this campaign (as I suppose it
will be called) at the recital of which every heart, not callous,
must shrink with horror.
"Tottering age, feeble childhood, and females, whose peculi-
arity and delicacy of condition awakens, even in the bosom of the
contemned savage, emotions of tenderness, were huddled together
and hurried forward with as little of compassion as is extended to
the brute when driven forth to meet the slaughterer's knife.
There is one attending incident which I would fain withhold, but
truth and candor demand that as naught should be set down in
malice, so should nothing be extenuated. The circumstance I
am required to record is this: On an occasion when a party was
sent to collect *stragglers, it gathered a number, among whom was
a female far advanced in pregnancy. When a return march to
head-quarters took place, this helpless and unpitied woman was
forced onward with such precipitancy as to produce a premature
delivery, which was near terminating her life. Truly, this is a
most extraordinary lesson in humanity for a civilized nation to
place before a people whose barbarism we so loudly and freely
condemn. It was well enough, I admit, to employ, if it became
necessary, force, to apprehend for trial those who perpetrated the
acts of violence near the Oscilla; but the necessity for the general
THE FLORIDA WAR. 39
alarm which was created, and parading of military detachments
through the country in warlike fashion, in a time of peace, I am
not able to perceive; but the evils almost unavoidably consequent
upon the procedure, I can too plainly see. And any man who
reads the history of this inglorious war and its effects, will learn
and see much which, as an American, a member of a nation
calling itself Christian, he must blush at; and I find it a duty to
say to you, that upon the subject of this treatment of the Indians,
the chiefs exhibit great feeling. 'We cannot understand,' say
they, 'why unoffending men, and helpless women and children,
should be made to suffer for the faults of a few turbulent spirits,
whose bad deeds the nation does not justify, though done in
retaliation of injuries inflicted upon themselves, and as was the
case in the Oscilla murder, by the white man whose family fell
victims. We have been told by the whites, that those who com-
mit offences are the only ones who should be punished for them;
and although it was the custom among us for a man to take satis-
faction into his own hands, and if he could not find the individual
who had committed a murder in his family, punish the nearest
blood of his he could find, such is not our way now. Shortly
after our agent came among us, he convinced us that this was
wrong, and we altered our laws, which now stand like those of
the whites; though some of our hard-headed men, who have no
sense, will not as yet, we are sorry to say, listen to the new law,
but follow the old one, and when injured take revenge the shortest
way they can get it; they were such men that did the murder on
the Oscilla, because they had not patience to wait and let the
white people's laws give them satisfaction; and because, perhaps,
they did not believe those laws would do them justice.'
"Assuredly, there is something decidedly wrong-our system
of management in regard to those people is essentially faulty; and
until it is amended, and less characterized by overbearing and
severity, it will be difficult, nay, impossible, to convince them
that we mean to deal with them kindly or even justly.
Gov. WM. P. DUVAL, G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
The agent was so unfortunate, during a brief absence at
Washington City, on duty, to be presented by the grand jury
convened at St. Augustine. In a letter to Governor Duval, he
alludes to this in a proper spirit of indignation:
St. Augustine, Fa., February 8th, 1827.
"The grand jury of this district, through the influence of some
of my enemies, took occasion to notice my recent absence, in the
way of condemnation, in their general presentment, not knowing
40 THE FLORIDA WAR.
that I had for my absence such authority as would scarce feel
itself bound, either by duty or courtesy, to ask even that august,
high-minded, and enlightened body's sanction for its acts. I scorn
and have a sovereign contempt for the breeders of such impotent
I shall, as I have ever made it a point to do, act honestly but
independently, regardless of the interested murmurings and cal-
umnies of the malevolent and discontented spirits of the land. I
am well aware, that in this country, filled, as it is at present, with
reckless adventurers from all quarters of the globe, such a course
is calculated to make me an object of vituperative assault; but
for these I care not, so long as I am sustained by a consciousness
of my own rectitude of purpose. When I entered upon the duties
of my present office, I chose for myself a line of conduct from
which I have never wittingly deviated-one, to be sure, that has
given me much difficulty, and subjected me to severe and illiberal
animadversions, but one which will nevertheless, I feel a comfort-
ing certainty, eventually bear me triumphantly through the trying
ordeal of public opinion.
I am your obedient servant,
Gov. WM. P. DUVAL, G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
The territorial legislature had memorialized congress, in the
mean time, in regard to the Indians, as will be seen by the follow-
ing extract from the paper transmitted:
"The tract of country assigned to the Florida Indians by the
treaty of 1823, has always been complained of by them as incom-
petent to their support, and the additional grant subsequently
made them, has been the occasion of much dissatisfaction among
many of our citizens, and probably not without cause. In addi-
tion to this, the present location is in the pathway of our settlers,
and has already seriously impeded the settlement of the fairest
part of Florida, and will now cloud all its prospects. The land
in this vicinity is excellent, and but for the obstruction by this
unfortunate though not less obnoxious tribe of beings, would, be-
fbre this, have borne on the current of the St. John's all the rich
and luxurious products of a tropical clime. Besides, they have
never gone within their boundary, but have scattered themselves
in different parts of the territory, to the great annoyance of
our citizens. They have stripped the corn from our fields be-
fore our eyes; they have burned our houses, and murdered our
citizens. All this they did, and have been doing for the last sea-
son, within twenty miles of the walls of St. Augustine, and with
impunity. But more recent outrages have been committed,
THE FLORIDA WAR. 41
which have thrown a damper on the spirit of our agriculturists, and
present our country under a gloomy aspect. The most inhuman
butcheries have been committed by them; a whole family has
fallen a sacrifice to their vengeance, and individuals have been
murdered while on the highway, and engaged in that industry
which constitutes the soul and energy of our country. Our corn-
houses have been broken and plundered, our cattle killed, and our
settlers driven from their homes, and threatened with all the hor.
rors of Indian cruelty, within the space of the last two months,
and within forty miles of our capital. The vigilance of our gov-
ernor and the promptness of our militia have, for the present,
checked their outrages, and in some degree quieted the fears of
our citizens; but at what time and in what place the bent bow
will let slip its arrow, the blood of our citizens, we fear, will soon
proclaim. In this gloomy situation of affairs, your memorialists
beg the speedy removal of those people out of the territory. If
they are dissatisfied with their present situation, as appears; if
they have never complied with the stipulations of their treaty, as
is manifest; if they have been guilty of the most glaring and
unprovoked outrages, certainly they have forfeited their claim to
humanity, and are the subjects of our policy. We must earnestly
recommend, that they be forthwith called to their boundary, and
commissioners appointed to hold a new treaty with them, stipu-
lating their immediate removal from the territory to the new
country west of the Mississippi, and the commissioners be vested
with full power to carry the same into execution."
The demands for negroes said to be among the Indians, con-
tinued to agitate the country, threatening the most serious re-
sults. These applications were now made upon the president of
the United States, who, through the secretary of war and com-
missioner of Indian affairs, required them to be surrendered by
the Indian agent. I now, by direction of the secretary of war,"
says the commissioner, on the 8th of February, 1827, "call your
Department of War, Office Indian Affairs, Feb. 8th, 1827."
"SIR-Frequent complaints have been made to the depart-
ment, respecting slaves claimed by citizens of Florida, which are
in possession of the Indians; all of which have been acted on
here, in issuing such orders to you as it was expected would be
promptly obeyed, and lead to such investigations as should issue
in fixing the right of the claimants or establishing the contrary;
and that these proceedings would be followed by the proper
reports to the department-nothing satisfactory has been received
42 THE FLORIDA WAR.
"I now, by direction of the secretary of war, call your atten-
tion to this subject, in a general way, and particularly in regard
to the claim of Margaret Cooke, and require it of you forthwith
to cause the negroes claimed by her to be surrendered to her,
upon her entering into a bond with sufficient security, of which
you will judge, to abide by the decision of such tribunal as it may
be esteemed proper by the secretary of war to establish, to decide
upon the claim.
You will, at the same time, satisfy the Indians of the pro-
priety and justice of this course. Tell them the claim is set up,
and that this act is merely to secure the property until the right is
decided, when, if it be in them, it will be restored, and if in the
claimant, they ought not to expect to hold them. It is expected
of you to report generally upon such other like claims as may
exist in regard to slaves.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. GAD HUMPHREYS, THOSE. L. McKENNEY."
Agent to the Florida Indians.
Further instructions were received by the agent upon the
subject, from the superintendent. On the 20th of March he thus
Tallahassee, March 20th, 1827.
SIR-The superintendent or agent is not vested with judi-
cial power to decide on the right of property, who may and have
surrendered slaves to our citizens which were runaways; we
will, as heretofore, advise the Indians to surrender a slave where
in justice they ought not to retain the slave, but in any litigated
case the chiefs must decide the matter, the facts to be reported
as herein directed. Many of the slaves belonging to the Indians
are now in the possession of the white people; these slaves can-
not be obtained for their Indian owners without a law-suit, and
I see no reason why the Indians shall be compelled to surrender
all slaves claimed by our citizens when this surrender is not mu-
tual. By the treaty they were bound to deliver up all the slaves
that were at that time in the nation, who had absconded from
their owners, and to return such as might in future flee to the
nation; but where a citizen and an Indian set up title to the
same slave, and that slave is in the nation, the matter must be
decided by the chiefs, and from the decision no other step can
be taken on your part, but to refer the whole to the secretary of
war. The negroes, claimed by the Indian woman Nelly, may be
given up to her; or if you believe it just and proper, the same
can be retained under your orders until the case shall be deter-
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
To Col. G. HUMPHREYS, Agent, ) WILLIAM P. DUVAL."
Fort King, Florida. 5
THE FLORIDA WAR. 43
The agent, with such powers enjoined, was in an awkward
dilemma, as well as one of great responsibility. To adjust rights
in this vexed and complicated matter, which was to involve the
United States in an open rupture with a people whom they had
voluntarily bound themselves to protect, was a situation far from
being desirable. In the first instance, their claims were to be
submitted to the judge of the federal court-next, the agent was
to decide; but he, feeling the delicacy of his situation, submits
them to the superintendent, who avoids the responsibility, and
says, The superintendent or his agent is not vested with judicial
powers to decide on the right of property. The chiefs must de-
The chiefs were determined not to surrender their property
into the hands of any one for investigation. But they were ready
to give bonds to deliver the slave, when proved before a proper
tribunal to belong to the claimant. Deprived as they were of a
voice in the halls of justice, the surrender of the negro at once
dispossessed them, without the least prospect of ever getting him
returned. Discontent and the spirit of retaliation pervaded the
entire country. The settler had no confidence in the Indian,
which was most heartily reciprocated.
When favorable opportunities offered, the Indian suffered from
personal abuse, and when made beastly intoxicated was robbed
of his ornaments and rifle. In most instances, upon recovering
he would find that he had, as told, sold his horse for a drink, and
thrown away his money. This to him was incredible, but what
he had lost was far beyond the hope of recovery. In retaliation,
and to obtain that which he conceived, very justly too, had been
stolen from him when intoxicated, he improved the first opportu-
nity to secure cattle and hogs, by driving them within the Indian
boundary, and claiming and defending them as his own. Trav-
ellers complained of being intercepted on the highway, maltreated
and robbed. Houses were said to have been forcibly opened, in
the absence of the occupants, and provisions stolen. To put a
stop to these proceedings, a company of mounted militia was
ordered out on the 2d of April, to scour the country, and bring
the depredators to justice. The chiefs appealed to the agent for
protection, denying unequivocally that their warriors had been
guilty of overt acts. Those attributed to them they believed, as
many respectable persons did, had been committed by vagrant
whites, who under the cry of hostilities shielded themselves from
punishment. In the progress of this quasi war, two whites were
killed. The Indians had good cause to believe this to have been
the act of their own people. Nehemathlar, the chief, promptly
assembled his warriors, and after a pursuit of two months secured
the fugitives, and delivered them to the agent for'trial. Such
44 THE FLORIDA WAR.
alacrity was an evidence on their part of a desire to act justly
and decisively when complaints were made upon sufficient ground.
On the 9th of September, the agent writes to the district attorney
in reference to the Indian prisoners, who, after a fair trial, were
Seminole Agency, 9th September, 1827.
DEAR SIR-In consequence of a letter of disapproval received
from Gov. Duval, I, some weeks since, directed the two Indians
who were released from confinement at the time you were at
the agency, to be arrested and sent to Tallahassee for examina-
tion, &c.; which order, I am informed, has been obeyed. It has
this day been suggested to me, by a gentleman from Alachua
county, that there is a plan on foot, to have them sent into
Georgia for trial, in the belief that their chance for escape from
punishment and death will be weakened by such procedure, it
being easy, as the friends of the measure say, to show that the
crime, if committed by them, was perpetrated within the limits
of that state. The suggestion of corrupt trial is a calumny upon
the character of that commonwealth, and the measure indicated,
no man, not an ignoramus, can think of carrying out. That the
most unscrupulous efforts will be made to convict, need not be
questioned. Knowing your character, I am aware that there is
no necessity of making an appeal to your benevolence of feeling,
in behalf of those unfortunate men. I am satisfied that, in the
discharge of your duties of public prosecutor, you will not lose
sight of the principles of justice, or forget what is due to hu-
manity. I most confidently believe in the entire innocence of
"the accused of the blood, the spilling of which is attempted to be
fastened upon them; and that, though they may have committed
depredations upon the property of the whites, their guilt wears
no deeper hue. Should the incipient judicial examination result
in further confinement and a trial, in season to enable me to reach
Tallahassee to attend it, it is my own wish, and that of the chiefs,
that I should be present. His excellency appeared by his letter
to be highly displeased, that I consulted you in relation to the
release; and says, that I ought not to have suffered myself to be
influenced by your opinion, as you are not authorized to decide
for the judge or jury.
Respectfully, your friend and obedient servant,
U. S. District Attorney, G. HUMPHREYS,
Tallahassee, Fla. Agent Seminole Indians."
In spite of the exertions ot the citizens and well-wishers of
the country, the disposition to trample upon the Indians, mani-
fested itself in all quarters. The secretary and acting governor
THE FLORIDA WAR. 45
McCarty, informed Col. Humphreys, on the 26th of November, of
a murder committed in the neighborhood of Tallahassee :
Indian Office, Tallahassee, Nov. 26th, 1827.
SR--It gives me pain, to apprise you of a distressing event
which occurred in this vicinity on the 20th ult. An Indian (who
accompanied Billy and his wife, who had a pass from you to visit
their relations in the Creek nation) was shot, as appears from
the verdict of the jury of inquest. Two persons have been ap-
prehended, and I have issued a proclamation for a third, who is
also suspected of participating in this shocking outrage. You
will explain this circumstance to the nation, with such remarks
as may occur to you to be proper on the occasion. The Indian,
who was shot, had no pass; but he no doubt considered himself
as under the protection of that which you had granted to Billy
and wife. This melancholy occasion is much deplored by the
people in this neighborhood, who have manifested much zeal for
the apprehension of the offenders; and of this the nation should
be fully apprised. They should, moreover, be instructed to ad-
monish their people not to pass the boundary without permission
in writing from yourself.
I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. G. HUMPHREYS, Agent, ( WILLIAM M. McCARTY,
Fort King, Fla. S Sec. and Act. Gov. and Act. Sup't. Ind. Aff. in Fla."
The agent assembled the chiefs as directed, and thus answers
the acting governor:
"Seminole Agency, 19th Dec. 1827.
SIR-On my return yesterday from an excursion into the
Indian nation, I was put in possession of your letter of the 26th
ultimo, communicating the unpleasant news of the murder of an
Indian, near Tallahassee.
It fortunately so happened, that I was visited on the day of
my return by Hicks, and several other chiefs, to whom I made
known the subject of your letter, adding such remarks of my
own as the occasion seemed to call for. The chiefs were, as
was to be expected, much annoyed by the intelligence; but they
nevertheless deported themselves with perfect temperance and
propriety, and assured me, that, believing exact justice would be
done in the matter, they would quietly await the result of the in-
vestigation, which I have informed them is to take place.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM MCCARTY, Esq., G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
Sec. and Act. Gov. of Florida.
These men, relying upon the sense of justice which had
actuated them in the arrest of fugitive Indians accused of a like
46 THE FLORIDA WAR.
offence, awaited calmly the action of the white man's laws to
punish the offenders.
In the midst of these difficulties, the claims fof negroes in
possession of the Indians were pushed upon the war department,
through the delegate of the territory, Col. J. M. White, who per-
emptorily demanded redress for the grievances complained of by
his constituents. Col. Humphreys was ordered to deliver forth-
with the negroes claimed by Mrs. Margaret Cook. The refusal
of the Indian chief to comply caused some delay, when the order
was reiterated on the 6th of February, and further required that
the agent "should see that it was done."
The agent wrote the following letter to the commissioner of
Indian affairs, showing that the neglect was not attributable to
himself, but to the spirit of opposition manifested by the Indians:
Seminole Agency, March 1st, 1828.
SIR-Your letter of the 7th instant, communicating the order
of the secretary of war, in relation to the delivery of Mrs.
Cooke's negro Jack or John, was received here last mail, and in
reply thereto I have to request, that you will say to the secretary,
that at the time the order came to hand, the fourth party which
had been sent by me in pursuit of the negro in question, within
the last six months, was out. It has returned without success,
and the Indian men declare their inability to take the fugitive.
Under these circumstances, I have to ask of the Department,
what is to be done? and whether in this particular case I am
authorized to put in requisition the military force stationed near
the agency? and if so, to request that I may be placed in such
relation with regard to it, as will insure a compliance with such
calls as I may find it necessary to make. From one portion of
your letter under consideration, it is to be inferred that the de-
partment has been imposed upon, or at least, that it is in error in
relation to the situation of the property in question. You say
that the negro Jack or John must be delivered up to Mrs. Cook,
on the same condition as she received the other negro claimed by
her, viz., on her giving bonds, &c. Such conditions are not at
all required, so far as the interests of the Indians are concerned,
inasmuch as they do not pretend to dispute the title with Mrs. C.,
whom they admit and believe to be the legitimate owner of the
slave, and to whom they are willing (as their efforts in her behalf
in this case fully prove, however she may assert the contrary) to
give such aid as they can, and more than she has a right to ask,
towards the recovery of her property. But they will not, I appre-
hend, consent further to risk their lives in a service, which has
always been a thankless one; and has lately proved so to one of
THE FLORIDA WAR. 47
the most respected and valuable chiefs in the nation, who was
killed in an attempt to arrest a runaway slave.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOSE. L. MCKENNEY, Esq., G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
Com'r of Indian Affairs.
Connected with these causes of dissatisfaction, the Indians
complained that the annuity granted under the treaty was withheld.
This had been done in the belief that a suspension of payment
would impel the Indians to surrender the negroes, so long and
unwisely contended for. A letter from the agent to Governor
Duval, of March 8, 1828, makes known the dissatisfaction of the
"Seminole Agency, March 6, 1828.
"SIR-Under the impression, from what has been stated to me,
that there remains a considerable unexpended balance of the ap-
propriation of $20,000 made by congress to furnish provisions for
the relief of the Florida Indians, I feel it a duty to state, that if
such balance exists, it might at this time afford great benefit to
the nation, if judiciously applied to the purchase of corn, &c.
The last year's crop of the Indians, which was scanty, is entirely
exhausted, and they are beginning to feel the pressure of want,
from which they receive only such precarious relief as is to be
found in the woods. They do not, however, even under these
circumstances, make any new calls upon the munificence of the
government; but if there is any portion of its former bounty, that
has not reached them, it would be exceedingly acceptable, and an
act of humanity to impart it to them, in this their time of need.
I yesterday received a formal visit from Hicks, and several other
chiefs, the object of which was to request me to address you on
"I shall be glad to be instructed what to say to them in reply.
I have of late been much importuned on this subject of the an-
nuity, which has been some time due.
The Indians are extremely anxious to have it, and desire that
it may be paid in specie. They are not content with the manner
in which it has been thus far given to them. They say, that
when paid, as heretofore, in goods or bank notes, it is impossible
for them to apportion and distribute it in such a way, as that each
individual shall get the exact amount to which he is entitled; and
this difficulty, which is the cause of dissatisfaction among the
members of the nation, can only be prevented by the mode of
payment now asked for.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Gov. Wx. P. DUVAL, Superintendent G. HUMPHREYS,
of Indian Affairs, Tallahassee, Fa. Agent Sem. Indians."
48 THE FLORIDA WAR.
The commissioner of Indian affairs, in answer to the commu-
nication of the agent, of March 27, says that the military cannot
be employed in arresting Indian negroes."
"Department of War, Ofice Indian Affairs, 1
March 27th, 1828.
SIR-I have received your two letters of the 7th instant. In
regard to the negro, the property of Mrs. Cooke, it was expected
that, if within your reach, or the means at your disposal, you
would comply with the order. The military will not be employed.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. G. HUMPHREYS, THOSE. L. McKENNEY,
Agent Fa. Indians, Fort King, Fa. Com'r In. Affairs."
The military had already been put in requisition, through
the request of the agent, and voluntary offer of Major Glassell,
U. S. A., commanding at Fort King, but confined to the country
in their immediate neighborhood. It was thought the presence
of troops would intimidate the Indians, and cause an instant de-
livery. But the demand, under such circumstances, was ridiculed,
and while the commander was wasting his arguments, the negroes
were immediately taken to the swamps and hammocks, under
direction of experienced guides. These proceedings naturally
inflamed the passions of all, and while the chiefs were calmly
maintaining their rights, in the face of an authority capable of
crushing them as a nation, the younger class listened attentively,
anxiously awaiting the time when they could act as their feelings
dictated, and revenge their wrongs, accumulating from day to
day, and which seemed to become more aggravated as they at-
tempted to resist them, and defend themselves. The most influ-
ential chiefs endeavored to calm the feeling so rife, encouraged
as it was by white men lingering upon their border, demoralizing
them by the sale of whisky, and adding to their depraved condi-
tion by pernicious example and advice.
The agent reported to the superintendent, on the 6th of April,
1828, the murder of a white man by an Indian:
"Seminole Agency, April 6th, 1828.
SIR-I have to report that a murder has recently been com-
mitted upon a white man in the neighborhood of 'Hamly's Old
Store,' by an Indian who lived near the Oklawaha river. The
cause which led to the outrage, or whether there was any provo-
cation, I have not learned; though there is reason to believe the
deed was altogether wanton. Upon being informed of the affair,
I sent for some of the principal chiefs, who promptly attended,
and declared their unqualified disapproval of the act: indeed, so
THE FLORIDA WAR. 49
exasperated were they, particularly the emigrants settled on
'Big Swamp,' that some difficulty was experienced in restraining
and preventing them from proceeding at once in pursuit to inflict
summary justice; but as the offender is of the old Seminoles,
between whom and the tribesof the west there appears, unfortu-
nately, not to exist the most perfect cordiality, I deemed it ad-
visable, in order to harmonize and check, if possible, an increase
of unkindly feelings, to stop proceedings in the matter, until
measures could be entered into to bring the different tribes to act
"The occasion, though a melancholy one, seemed favorable
for entering on the first step towards a more perfect union between
them; which is so essential to their own happiness and the inte-
rests of the United States. I accordingly detained some of the
head-men from the west, and sent for Micanopy and Jumper, who
had just returned, as was understood, from the hunting grounds.
Jumper was found to be still out, and Micanopy, though at home,
was confined to his lodge by severe sickness; of course, neither
attended. Under these circumstances, I concluded to send Tus-
keneha to Micanopy, whose place is only about eight miles from
here, to ascertain his sentiments in relation to the murder, and
whether he was disposed to join in bringing the perpetrator to
justice. 'His conduct on the occasion, as reported to me by Tus-
keneha, was entirely correct, and such as does him credit. He
said the man deserved death by their own laws, and although he
was unable to go to aid in carrying the law into effect, he should
give his voice in favor of immediate punishment, and would
fully sanction whatever the other chiefs might do. It was then
resolved by the council that the offender should expiate his offence
by death; and a party, led by Tuskeneha, proceeded to enforce
the sentence. At the request of the Indians, I sent a young man
named Brutan (who has been some time employed by me to herd
the public cattle), as a witness. This they desired, they said, in
order to satisfy the whites, some of whom might otherwise doubt
them, that they were faithful. I strongly urged that the murderer
should be given up to be tried by the laws of the white people;
but to this the Indians as strongly objected, as being contrary to
their custom. They never attempted to take a murderer alive, it
would be attended with danger, and might cause the death of one
or more of the party; for once notified of his detection he knew
his fate, and would doubtless fight till the last. 'Twere better,'
they said,' that so bad a man should lose his forfeited life, than
jeopardize the safety of any good one by" unnecessary formality;'
and, on the whole, though I could have desired to see them pursue
a course more in consonance with the received notions of civili-
zation, I could not believe it to be a point of sufficient import-
50 THE FLORIDA WAR.
ance to authorize me to press it, at a risk of a total failure of
justice, and therefore told them to pursue their own method.
The party went, but did not entirely succeed, though there
is reason to believe the object in view was essentially effected;-
the culprit was fired upon, as he was taking shelter in a swamp,
and fell, but recovered his feet, and got into the swamp. Blood
was found where he ran, after the shots.
I was informed yesterday, that all search of the friends of
the fugitive, which has been constant, has proved unavailing; and
the conjecture (a very probable one) is, that in attempting to
swim the Oklawaha, which is very high, in his wounded condi-
tion, he has been drowned.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Gov. W. P. DUVAL, G. HUMPHREYS,
Tallahassee, Florida. Agent Seminole Indians."
The determination of the chiefs to punish the murderer, again
evinced the kindest disposition towards the inhabitants, though so
long aggrieved by efforts to wrest from them their property.
The talk given by the principal men upon the subject, shows
a determination to award justice; showing at the same time a just
appreciation of their own rights, in opposition to the arguments
and threats which the agent had resorted to, in endeavoring to
fulfil the requirements of claimants, coming as they did from the
secretary of war, under instructions from the president of the
Minutes of a talk held at the Seminole Agency, the 17th April, 1828, at which
were present Tuskal Mathla, Head Chief: Mico Nopy, Jumper, Halata Emath-
la, Halata Mico, Fee-ke-lusta, Hajo, and Cooper. Witnesses, or white persons,
present: Capt. Saunders, Sutler at Tampa; Lieut. Eaton, 4th Infantry; Mr.
Ganes, and Mr. Lockwood.
Agent.-I understand you have come to have a talk with me: if so, proceed;
I am ready to hear you.
Mico Nopy.-We are told there is a white man come into our country after
certain negroes. I want to know what right he has to come after them; we have
been told that white people should not come into our country : besides, these ne-
groes are ours, and the whites have no right to them.
Agent.-This man has an order from the secretary of war to get the negroes,
and I am directed to give them up to him, on his giving bonds, in the same way
that Mrs. Cook got the negroes she claimed from Nelly Factor. Should the
white woman who calls for these negroes, not prove her claim, the negroes will be
returned to you. If you do not give them up, I shall have to send and take them
Jumper.-This negro woman, who is now wanted from us, belonged formerly
to a white man, who 'tis now said (by those who wish to get her and her children
away from us) gave her t9 his daughter. May-be this is true, may-be not; but
if he did give her to his daughter, for some reason, he took her away again and
brought her and sold her to the Indians, who honestly paid for her, and are therefore
;the fair owners of her. It seems that the white people will not rest, or suffer us
THE FLORIDA WAR. 51
to do so, till they have got all the property belonging to us, and made us poor.
The laws of the whites appear to be made altogether for their own benefit, and
against the Indians, who can never under them get back any of their property; if
it once gets, no matter how, into the white people's hands, we fear their laws will
leave to us nothing. If we could see them work so as to restore the property
that has been stolen, and otherwise unfairly taken from us, and not so as to rob us
of the little we have left, we should have more reason to believe them just, but as
it is, the benefit to be had from them goes all to the white people's side.
It is well known that a great deal of our property, negroes, horses, cattle, &c.
is now in the hands of the whites, and yet their laws give us no satisfaction, and
will not make them give this property up to us. The property which this white
man is after, we know to belong to our people, and we cannot therefore consent to
give it up. If you send and take it from us by force, as you say you must, we
cannot help ourselves, but shall think it very hard in the government to force
from us that which we have purchased and fairly paid for, when it will not use
the same means to make the whites return to us property of ours which they have
dishonestly got in their possession. We were promised justice, and we want to
see it! These negroes are ours, and we will not consent to surrender them, or
say we are willing to have them taken. If they are forced out of our hands,
we may not resist because we have not the power; but we must insist, that the
government does not show in this business that justice which has been so often
and liberally promised to us. We have submitted to one demand after another of
this kind, in the hope that they would cease, but it seems that there will be no end
to them, as long as we have any thing left that the white people may want, and
we have become tired and discouraged.
Agent.-You act wisely in not attempting to resist by force the orders of the
government, which, you may rest assured will, as far as practicable, do you jus-
tice in this and every other matter. You must not suppose, because you are
called upon to give up these negroes, that it is the wish or intention of the gov-
ernment to deprive you of any thing which of right belongs to you or your people.
This course is taken in order that the dispute between you and the white claim-
ant, which has been so long annoying both you and the government, may be
settled and for ever put at rest. And I repeat, that should the white woman fail
to prove her title to the property, it will be returned to you.
Jumper.-We heard the same talk about the negroes which were taken from
Nelly Factor, twelve moons since, but the negroes have not come back. We know
you tell us what you think, and wish and hope that your words may prove true,-
but it is discouraging, and makes our hearts sad, to have the white people coming,
every few days, to wrong us out of our honest property, when we can never get
out of their .hands that which*they stole from us many years ago. The negroes
this man is after are ours, and the white people know it is so; and if you take it.
from us, we shall think hard of it, and feel that the justice of the government is
for the whites and not for us.
I have nothing more to say.
Col. George M. Brooke, U. S. A., commanding at Tampa Bay,
had been induced, through the solicitations of Col. Humphreys, to
assist him in the execution of his orders. He succeeded, with
the aid of his troops, in arresting four negroes, claimed as the
property of Mrs. Hannay, of St. Mary's, Ga.
Col. Brooke thus writes to the agent on the 2d and 6th of
52 THE FLORIDA WAR.
Canton Brooke, May 2d, 1828.
"DEAR SIR-I received by the hands of Mr. Mickler, a few
days since, your letter of the 22d April, with Col. McKenney's of
the 8th March. On inquiry, I have ascertained that the negroes
claimed by a person'in Georgia are not at Peas Creek, but prob-
ably on the Withlacoochee, or in the neighborhood of Pilackli-
chaha, and it would be useless for me to send a command after
them, because they would be hid by the Indians from the most
careful search. My command is, besides, so small, having only
twenty-eight men for duty, that I could not well dispatch any
part, which must be so weak as not to command any respect
from the Indians, and in producing probable resistance, would result
in an immediate state of hostilities. I have, however, seen the
Indian who claims them, and who will deliver them to you or
Major Glossell, but not to Mr. Mickler, who they are afraid will
take them out of the nation, without their ever being able to get
back the negroes, or the money which they have paid for them.
It appears the old woman has been in the country for twenty
years, and, at their own expense, the increase has been raised and
supported. I am not to say any thing as it regards the proper
title, but only state what the Indians have told me. Young
Micanopy will be here on Monday next, and will proceed imme-
diately in the direction of the negroes, and carry them to the
agency. I do not believe that, without the consent of the Indians
themselves, the negroes would have been had, without a consid-
erable force and fatigue, and then with a risk of considerable
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. G. HUMPHREYS, GEO. M. BROOKE, Col. U. S. A. commanding."
Canton Brooke, May 6th, 1828.
DEAR SIR-Sestaskee and young Micanopy will leave this
to-day, for the agency, with a part of the negroes, and the re-
mainder they will get at what is called their old place.
"I really pity those Indians, and although negroes are of little
value to the Indians, being rather masters than slaves, still they
view them as their property. So many claims are now made on
'them, that they begin to believe that it is the determination of the
United States to take them all. This idea is strengthened by the
conversations of many of the whites, and which they have heard.
"I would assume the responsibility of not delivering the ne-
groes, unless the claim was perfectly satisfactory, and inform the
government; and in any or all events, I would be perfectly satis-
fied as to the perfect ability of the persons who have signed the
THE FLORIDA WAR. 53
bond. It is a delicate matter, after having received a positive
order; but there is, and must be always, discretion, unless the
person giving the order is on the spot.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. G. HUMPHREYS, GEO. M. BROOKE, Colonel U. S. A."
Agent, Fort King, Fa.
Though every means had been adopted to meet the demands
of the highest authority, in regard to slaves, Col. Humphreys was
determined to be satisfied as to the responsibility of his own acts,
done in obedience to orders received, while he was enjoined, at
the same time, to give protection to the Indians, as agreed upon
in the treaty of Fort Moultrie.
The letter from the Hon. Jos. L. Smith, judge of the supreme
court of Florida, goes far to bear the Indian out in resisting the
delivery of his property:
St. Augustine, May 10th, 1828.
"SIR-Your letter of the 9th instant reached me yesterday,
and I reply to the inquiries contained in it by remarking, that
property belonging to Indians, or in their possession, under bond
fide claim of title, cannot legally be taken from them, but by
treaty, by their consent, or by decision of a competent court of
justice. General principles would forbid, and I know of no special
statute conferring such a power on superintendents or agents.
"In extreme cases, from necessity, as where there exists
reasonable apprehension of hostilities, it would be right to take
from them their arms and other means of aggression; but this,
after all, would be an act of war in self-defence.
"I can perceive no equity in withholding from the Indians
their annuity, because they do not give up to white claimants
property which they allege is their own. The act of 1802,
when they have committed depredations, and injured the prop-
erty of the whites, authorizes compensation (on proof) to be
made by stoppages from their annuity; and this under the direc-
tion, if I recollect the law correctly, of the president.
"In regard to runaway negroes, who have sought refuge in
the nation of which you are agent, I understand from the depart-
ment, that the question, in all cases of adverse claims, was to be
investigated and decided by me, under the authority of which
you have had notice. During the continuance of this arrange-
ment, (decided and urged by the white claimants, and, as I have
been informed, by the Indians also,) whichkwould give opportu-
nity for thorough investigation of proofs, on both sides, it was not
to be expected that a summary order would have been issued by
any functionary in the territory, that a negro in possession of the
4 THE FLORIDA WAR.
Indians, with a claim of title, should be delivered to the white
claimant, on his ex parte statement.
"A step like this, taken in a case actually undergoing investi-
gation before me, would place me in an unpleasant position,
rendering future proceedings uncertain, and, in fact, terminate
the benefit, to white claimants and to the Indians, of the authority
given to me by the department.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. GAD HUMPHREYS, JOSEPH L. SMITH."
Agent, &c. 5
The department of war, finding itself, as well as its agents,
so deeply involved in difficulties in the recovery of slaves, the
course of adjudication as transmitted in the instructions given to
the agent by the superintendent on the 5th of January, 1825, was
"Department of War, Office Indian Afairs, May 5th, 1828.
"SI SR-You will direct Col. Humphreys, in order to a speedy
decision in all cases which may be submitted for the recovery of
runaway slaves, to refer them to the judge of the district; and if
his decision be favorable to the claimants, you will order the
slaves to be delivered, in pursuance of that decision, the claimant
giving bonds to abide by such other legal proceedings as the
parties holding the slaves may think proper to adopt.
You will address the judge a line requesting him to decide,
and report the cases to you, to be forwarded by you to the de-
partment, for its information. Let the report of the judge be on
the basis of a judicial decision.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
His Excellency, WLLIAM P. DTvAL, H THOSE. L. McKENNEY."
In one instance, the slaves demanded were in possession.
Bonds were accordingly required, before surrendering them, to re-
deliver the negroes to the Indian, if declared by a competent tribunal
to be his property. Those offered were refused by the agent, as the
persons tendered as security were irresponsible in all respects.
The agent vindicates his course in a letter to the superintendent
on the 14th of August:
Seminole Agency, 14th August, 1828.
"SIR-Your two letters, of the 31st July and Ist August,
were this day received. The order relative to the slaves claimed
by Mrs. Hannay, shall be attended to, but I must confess my ap-
THE FLORIDA WAR. 55
prehension, that I shall find some difficulty in determining upon
the competency of the security she may offer (which it is pre-
sumable will be from among her friends and acquaintances in
Georgia), as I am totally ignorant of the pecuniary circumstances
of every individual in that state.
"My situation, it may be readily imagined, would be awk-
ward and embarrassing in the extreme, and I should be liable to
the charge of being untrue to my duty, were I (by mistake or
otherwise) to accept security-which should, in the end, prove in-
sufficient, and the Indian who is the opposing claimant of Mrs.
Hannay suffer in consequence the loss of her property. I take
the liberty, therefore, to request that I may be furnished with spe-
cific instructions for my government on this subject.
"As the principal chiefs happened to be assembled at the
agency in council, when your communication on the subject of
the claim set up by Mrs. Cook was received, it was read and in-
terpreted to them at once.
"The accompanying is a talk delivered in meeting, this
morning, by Hicks in reply, which I have the honor to transmit
to you, with a request from the chiefs, that it may be forwarded
to Washington. They appear much hurt at the idea of M----
being allowed to wrest from them, as pay for a slave, a portion
of the poor pittance which they are entitled to from the govern-
ment, without their having had a shadow of value for it, and that
too upon her own ex parte and interested statement, which, I
think I hazard little in saying, will be found, on investigation, to
be grossly erroneous; for I cannot suppose the department would,
for a moment, think of giving sanction to a claim so unjust and
extravagant as that preferred by Mrs. -- had it not been
imposed upon by an uncandid representation of the facts existing
in the case. I am naturally led to infer from the tenor of your
language upon the subject, as well as of that which you commu-
nicate as coming from the department, that an impression has been
created there, ascribing to the Indians a wilful withholding from
Mrs. Cook of the negro she claims. If such an impression exists, it
is a libel on the nation; and those who have been instrumental in
producing it are guilty of egregious if not deliberate misrepresenta-
tion. To Mrs. and her son-in-law have I repeat-
edly, verbally and by letter, explained the difficulties in the case,
and at the same time apprised them of the earnest desire of the
chiefs that the matter should be settled, and of the efforts they were
making to bring the negro in question in-efforts they were induced
to make by my assuring them that Mr. was willing (for to
that effect he had made professions to me) to pay a considerable
balance which is yet due to the Indian of the original purchase-
56 THE FLORIDA WAR.
money (none of which purchase-money, it is just for me to state
here, went, as their chiefs allege, to the actual Indian owner of
the negro, he utterly refusing, when sober, to accept the goods-
a small packhorse-load only-which had been palmed upon
him, during a period of intoxication, in exchange for his slave).
He left them, and returned to his home. They were subse-
quently put into the possession of other Indians, (not at all inter-
ested in the trade about the negro,) by whom they were, it may
be taken for granted, consumed. The negro never was delivered
up, nor has there ever been exhibited to me evidence, if such
exists, of any written title, upon which Mrs. claims.
"It was upon the oral representations of her son-in-law, Mr.
,made at an early period of my acquaintance with him,
as a business man, that I was induced to give to the Indians the
advice, on the subject of this claim, alluded to in their talk here-
with sent. That advice was given, not because I had seen any
proof of the legality of Mr. --- 's title, but because I was led
to believe a valuable and sufficient consideration had been paid
for the negro in question to the proper owner by Ferrard, who
seems to have been the agent of the husband of Mrs. in
the transaction of purchase; and that, on this account, she had
something like at least an equitable claim, which could be more
easily adjusted by obtaining the consent of the nation to surren-
der the negro, and leaving them to settle the business among
themselves by levying contributions upon those who had been
the actual recipients of the articles given for the slave to indem-
nify his owner, or in any way they might prefer.
"A proposition, therefore, was made to that effect, and as-
sented to by the chiefs, but solely upon the ground that the goods
had, as it appeared, been consumed by members of their nation,
and with the express understanding that the arrangement was to
be considered one of entire gratuity on their part.
"Ever since this period, exertions have been made by the
Indians to apprehend and give the negro up. Once, they suc-
ceeded in taking and delivering him here, during a short absence
of mine on business in the nation. He was put in irons, but be-
fore my return effected his escape. The Indians are now in
pursuit; and I have good reason to hope the fellow will, ere long,
be re-surrendered. It is manifest from the foregoing facts, that,
so far from the nation's attempting to practice any unfairness
towards Mrs. Cook in this matter, it is acting with a liberality
that might possibly be looked for in vain, if the positions of the
parties were reversed.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
His Excellency, Wx. P. DuvA., G. HUMPHREYS,
Governor of Florida. I Agent Seminole Indians."
THE FLORIDA WAR. 57
The talk of the chiefs is marked by good sense, and manifests
a disposition to act justly in the matter. The peremptory.demand
made upon them, to which this talk is an answer, was accom-
panied by a threat to deduct from their annuity, in-case of refusal,
the value of the negroes, to be paid to the claimants:
Minutes of a talk given by the head-chief, John Hicks, in council at the Seminole
agency, the 15th of August, 1828, made to the government through the agent,
Col. G. Humphreys.
Brother, We have thought upon what you said last night, about the claim
Mrs. has set up against our nation on account of her negro. We don't like
the talk sent from the Big House at Washington, because we think it unjust, and
we cannot consent to have the money promised us for our annuity-which is at
best a little sum to be divided among so many people-taken from us in the way
threatened, when our nation has received nothing for it. We find that some of
the whites are determined not to let us rest, as long as we have any thing that they
want; and if every one who asks is allowed to take, we should soon be without
money or any thing else worth possessing, and have nothing left but our naked-
ness and poverty; the right to which will not be disputed with us. We appeal to
our Great Father, who has so often promised us protection and friendship, to shield
us from the wrongs his white children seem determined to inflict upon us.
We know that the talk you gave us yesterday from him, which the govern-
ment sent, was sent because of lies which have been told to him about us. We
have been a long time trying to catch the negro that the talk is about: once we
took him, and delivered him at the agency; this you know, and we wish you to
speak for us. We did not bring this negro in because we thought ourselves
bound to do it, but because you advised us to do it. He is not a runaway, but
was raised in the nation, out of which he has never been. He was bought from
the brother of the Indian with whom he was living at the time our people caught
him. We know that Ferrard pretended to purchase him, but we also know that
the trade was not a fair one, and that the negro was never properly paid for; but
you told us that Mrs. -- was willing to pay what was due, if she could get
the negro; and advised us to take him, if we could, and give him up; and it was
this advice which made us strive as we did to catch him. We think it very strange,
after all this, that we should be told that we must pay Mrs. when it is clear
she owes money to us; and we will not agree that she shall be permitted to wrong
us out of the money which is our due from our Great Father; and which he has
said should be punctually paid to us; and if it is taken from us for her benefit, or
to satisfy any claim like hers, the thing must be done without our consent. We
cannot believe our Great Father, when he hears the truth, will permit our rights
to be thus taken from us.
We are sensible his power is great, and that he can do with us as he chooses;
but we hope that his justice is as great as his power; and believe he will place
it between us and those who wish to do us wrong; and we will endeavor,
therefore, to keep our minds easy until we hear again from him. If we can take
the negro we will do it. Some of our people have been in search for him ever
since his escape. We beg our Great Father not to condemn us unheard, or open
his ears too readily to the talks of his white children; some of whom we know,
speak from a lying heart and with a forked tongue.
JOHN HICKS, Chief, hiU X mark.
Witnesses: G. HUMPHREYS, Agent.
Major GLOSSELL, U. S. Army.
58 THE FLORIDA WAR.
In continuation of the subject, Col. Humphreys addresses a
communication to the superintendent on the 23d of September:
Seminole Agency, 23d September, 1828.
SIR-I have to state, in reply to an order from the depart-
ment of war which was a few days since handed to me by the
agent of a Mrs. Hannay, of Georgia, requiring the delivery of
certain slaves claimed by her, which are now, and have been for
many years, in possession of members of this nation, in virtue of
a purchase from the father of Mrs. Hannay, that it is not in my
power to make the delivery directed; the chiefs positively, but
respectfully, object to the procedure. They are perfectly will-
ing, they say, to abide the issue of a judicial investigation, and
will cheerfully submit to such decision as a competent tribunal
may make in the case; but they wholly refuse their assent to a
relinquishment of possession of the disputed property, before the
matter has been adjudicated upon, and an award given adverse
to their title.
If force is resorted to, to compel their compliance, they will
not, they cannot offer any other opposition to it than that of ap-
peal to the justice and good faith of the government, whose pro-
mises of protection and kindness they bear constantly in mind,
and are inclined to set a high value upon. I think it is, much to
be regretted that the order of the 5th of May, directing the re-
ference of claims to negroes in dispute between the whites and
Indians to the judge of the district, is not adhered to; the mea-
sure is calculated to have a very happy effect, as it judiciously
provides for at once carrying these troublesome controversies
(which are productive of more ill feeling between the Indians
and their neighbors than all other causes combined) before a
tribunal adequate to decide them; and to which, whatever pre-
vious steps may be taken in relation to them, falling short of final
settlement, they will in all probability have to be eventually sub-
I deem it proper to send this by express, that the depart-
ment may be seasonably apprised of facts ; and to prevent, also,
the effect and influence of any uncandid and erroneous state-
ments that may be made by those who are interested against
the Indians in this case.
Respectfully, I am your obedient servant,
His Excellency, G. HUMPHREYS,
Gov. DUVAL. Agent Seminole Indians."
The exasperated state of the public mind, ever so tenacious on
the question of slave property, had arrived to such a crisis, that
THE FLORIDA WAR. 59
the governor of the territory had become discouraged at the fail.
ure of his efforts to adjust the difficulties among the inhabitants,
which became more complicated, and increased in magnitude, as
the country filled up with settlers and adventurers. His position
required him to lend a ready ear to the grievances of all. These
were represented in the most aggravated form. No rights were
conceded to the Indians, and every act which interfered, with
the designs of individuals crowding within the Indian limits in all
quarters, was regarded as the commencement of hostilities. Per-
sonal abuse was heaped upon them, their property and persons
disregarded; no law shielded them, and no protection was given,
other than that which was sought by the untiring exertions
of the agent. He, residing in the midst of the tribe, immedi-
ately in contact with them, heard their complaints with forbear-
ance, and endeavored by all means within his power to allay
their feelings, often highly exasperated, and assured them of that
protection designed to be given by the federal government.
This he owed to himself, to the Indian nation, and to his country.
The calls of humanity-of the feeble, of the ignorant, of the op-
pressed-he could not disregard, nor did he; but with zeal,
activity, and intelligence, stood firmly; thwarted on one side by
the exasperated multitude, who threatened his life, and on the
other, appealed to by every impulse which actuates the human
heart in the protection of the defenceless.
To fully explain the state of affairs at this crisis, the following
letters are subjoined:
Tallahassee, Indian Offce, Sept. 22d, 1828.7
"SIR-I have received your several communications from the
15th ultimo up to the date of the 12th instant, with the talk of
the chiefs in relation to the claim of Mrs. and Hannay.
Copies of the whole will be forwarded to the department of war,
with my remarks.
"I shall state to the department, it is my opinion that you
have not impressed the Indians with the necessity of complying
with orders relating to the delivery of slaves in the nation; and
that, if you had performed your duty, no difficulty would have
occurred. I also apprise you, that William Everitt has filed in
my office an affidavit to a claim he sets up to certain slaves
in the nation, which will also be transmitted to the secretary
As the first officer of this territory, it is due to the country
and my official character, to have the orders of the government
promptly executed; and to accomplish this, every proper measure
on my part shall be adopted.
"I shall give no further orders in Indian affairs, until I hear
60 THE FLORIDA WAR.
from the war department. That part of the annuity claimed by
the chiefs under your immediate control, and which they request
may be forwarded to them, cannot be remztted until the orders
already given are complied with.
You will inform the chiefs they will not be called on to
attend at this place, as I desire not to have their hunting season
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. G. HUMPHREYs, ( WILLIAM P. DUVAL."
Agent of the Seminole Indians.
Seminole Agency, 8th October, 1828.
"SIR-Your letter of the 22d ultimo was received per last
mail, and read with no little surprise. It is to me matter of very
great regret, that I am not able to obtain your approbation of the
manner in which I have discharged my official duty in relation
to the delivery of slaves claimed from the nation; and I cannot
but feel aggrieved, [aware as I know you must be] of the many
difficulties I have to contend with, and the lack of means at my
command to enforce the orders I receive, being forbidden to
employ the troops on such occasions. You attribute to me a
disregard of duty no wise warranted by any circumstances that
have occurred, and therefore inconsistent with that liberality
and justice I had a right to expect at your hands. That delays
have taken place in some cases when the delivery of slaves has
been called for, I readily admit; but I must, in justice to myself,
at the same time, protest against the ascription of such delays to
any want of exertion on my part. Had the government placed
at my disposal a competent military force, there would have been
far less difficulty in enforcing obedience to the instructions of the
department. The negro claimed by Mrs. has been twice
brought here since the receipt of your letter next preceding the
last, in relation to him, and escaped, owing to the want of suffi-
cient facilities for securing him. And in relation to those
claimed by Mrs. Hannay, you will have learnt ere this by my
letter of the 23d of the last month, sent per express, that the In-
dians have, for reasons explained in that communication, refused
to make the delivery required.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
His Excellency, WM. P. DUVAL, G. HUMPHREYS,
Governor of Florida. Agent Seminole Indians."
Seminole Agency, Oct. 10th, 1828.
"SIR-A letter from his Excellency Gov. Duval, (a copy of
which I herewith transmit,) received by last mail, virtually de-
clining, for the present, to have any thing further to do in the
THE FLORIDA WAR. 61
Indian affairs of the territory, having closed against me the ordi-
nary and prescribed channel of communication with the depart-
ment, I shall, I trust, be excused in addressing you direct, on
subjects appertaining to my office. By the letter alluded to, it
will be perceived that I am so unfortunate as not to obtain his
excellency's approbation of the manner in which I have dis-
charged some of my public duties, and that, on this account, he
had determined to report me as a delinquent. Of this course,
which is predicated upon the ex parte statements of irresponsible
and interested persons, and is wholly unwarranted by existing
facts, 1 have good right to complain. Aware, as Governor Duval
must be, of the difficulties I have to encounter upon the subject
of litigated negro claims, and sensible as he is of the lack of
means at my disposal to enforce obedience from the Indians, I
cannot esteem his complaint against me as liberal, or even fair.
I have the honor to refer you to the accompanying document,*
being a talk given by some of the principal chiefs of the nation.
"From this talk (which was listened to by several white
gentlemen, among them one or more officers of the garrison at
Fort King) may be known their feelings in regard to the delivery
required from them of certain negroes, and how far I am ob-
noxious to censure for the failure of the Indians to comply with
the orders directing said delivery. If all the obstacles I have
met with in the course of my duties touching litigated slave claims
(which have been sufficiently explained to Governor Duval)
have been by him made known to his official superiors, I have no
fear of reproach from them.
"That I have questioned the policy, and even doubted the
justice, of some of the measures directed in the property contro-
versies between the whites and Indians, I am free to admit.
Perhaps this was presumptuous, but if so, it was honest; and in
all such cases I have been scrupulously careful not to impart my
views publicly, and if ever I gave utterance to them it was done
in such a way as that the Indians should by no possibility come
to a knowledge of them, so that from me they can have taken no
bias against the orders of the government to induce their opposi-
tion to them; and therefore, whatever they have done in that
respect they have done of their own accord, in the exercise of an
undeniable right, and I am in no wise accountable, and must
solemnly protest against the attachment to me of any censure in
relation to it. The good opinion of my government must ever
be valuable to me, and its favor desirable, and it will therefore be
a source of gratification if my conduct receives its sanction. I
feel bound to add, that it is to be feared the course threatened by
Talk given by the chief Hicks. See p. 57.
62 THE FLORIDA WAR.
Governor Duval, in relation to the annuity, if persisted in, will
be considered by the Indians an infraction of the treaty, and
serve to impair their confidence in the kindness and justice of the
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Hon. P. B. PORTER, G. HUMPHREYS,
Secretary of War. Agent Seminole Indians."
Governor Duval, in another letter on the 2d of October, re-
iterates his determination to abstain from interference in Indian
Tallahassee, Indian Office, October 2d, 1828.
"Sin-Your letter of the 23d ultimo was received from your
express to-day. By the last mail, my reasons and opinions in
relation to this and other orders, and the manner of their execu-
tion, were communicated to you.
A copy of your letter will be transmitted to the war depart-
ment, by the next mail, with my remarks. There can be but one
course that the department can take, consistent with the policy
they have unavoidably exercised in Indian affairs. I shall give
no order or take any step, in the management of the Indians.
"The department must decide on the whole matters in con-
troversy, and either approve your conduct-and thus surrender
all direction of Indian affairs-or enforce their orders.
"I cannot see that any necessity requires that a special
messenger should be sent with your communication to me, as the
mail regularly goes to the agency.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. GAD HUMPHREiYS, WM. P. DUVAL."
Agent for the Seminole Indians.
Affairs had now assumed such an aspect, that an open rupture
with the Indians seemed inevitable. The inhabitants had become
reckless, looking anxiously for the time when by bloodshed they
could punish the Indians, and secure their property. The Indians
stood ready to retaliate at any moment, determined to resist to
the last extremity. The executive, as might have been expected,
was inclined to defend and vindicate the whites.
To avert, if possible, the commencement of hostilities, Col.
Humphreys assembled the head men, and with an earnestness
and sincerity which impressed them with the truth, besought
them as they valued their lives to abstain from hostilities; and, as
an alternative, urged them to appoint a delegation to visit Arkan-
sas. This, he assured them, was the only hope of avoiding a
collision, which must end in the total extinction of their nation.
THE FLORIDA WAR. 63
This, long before, had been suggested, but they refused to listen in
any manner to the proposition. After much persuasion, and con-
trasting the present difficulties, and those apprehended, with the
quiet and independence in Arkansas, they consented to the mea-
sure. This was communicated to Governor Duval immediately,
and to the Indian department, on the 20th of October:
Seminole Agency, Oct. 24th, 1828.
"SIR-As a matter interesting to the territory, and one which
will therefore, no doubt, be gratifying to you as the executive,
I have the pleasure to state, that several of the chiefs of this
nation, among whom is John Hicks, or Tukose Mlathla, have
recently consented to make a visit to the country proposed to the
Indians, west of the Mississippi, for the purpose of examining it,
with a view to the final removal of their nation. Should it be
determined to send a deputation, it is the wish of the chiefs, that
it may start early the ensuing spring. I, by the last mail, advised
the department of the unexpected change in the minds of the In-
dians on this important subject.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
His Excellency Gov. DuvAL. Agent Seminole Indians."
"Seminole Agency, Oct. 20th, 1828.
"SIR-I have the satisfaction to state, for the information of
the department of war, that at a meeting of chiefs and others of
the Seminole nation, held yesterday, at McKenzie's Pond, near
the agency, pursuant to appointment made by me, for the purpose
of procuring the nation to send a deputation to examine the coun-
try west of the Mississippi, it was determined that the measure
should be adopted, if still called for by the government, and a
deputation sent at the opening of the ensuing spring. The chiefs
in council were Hicks, (head-chief,) Holata Emathla, Holata
Mico, Tukeheste Hajo, Hitchitee Mico, Tuskenehaw, and the
sub-chief Mad Lizard. The four first-named will doubtless be
recollected by you, as part of the delegation which visited the
seat of government in 1826. Their tribes, with two or three
others not represented in the meeting, but which may be safely
relied upon to join, should the wished-for emigration take place,
comprise at least two-thirds of the numerical strength of the
"I have good reason to suppose that this unexpected determi-
nation, on the part of the chiefs above named, has been induced
(among other reasons) by my volunteering to accompany them
on the proposed excursion, which I was led to do, from a belief
that the step as primary to a final removal of the nation, is desired
64 THE FLORIDA WAR.
by the government, and a conviction I have long felt, that such
removal, under suitable and fair circumstances, would tend to the
benefit and happiness of the Indians themselves, distressed as I
know those people are, by irremovable evils within the present
limits of their national territory, and harassed by the persecutions
of their neighbors without. Judging from the reputed character
of the new country offered to them, I think it may be confidently
calculated, that a visit to it will result in a general and entire
removal of the nation. If I have understood the views of the
government aright on the subject, and the measure proposed
receives its approval, little desirable to any one, in point of per-
sonal convenience and comfort, as the duty of executing it must
necessarily be, it will nevertheless afford me gratification to be
instrumental in carrying it into effect, especially as my engaging
in it seems to be considered a point of so much importance by
"In conferring as I have with the chiefs, in relation to the
suggested journey, I have acted, it is true, without any formally
delegated authority, but I have, at the same time, been influenced
by a wish to promote the objects of the department; and should
the step I have taken be sanctioned, it will be to me a source of
gratification, thus to be instrumental in benefiting the territory
and Indians, at the same time meeting the policy of the govern-
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
CoL THos. McKEmNY, Commissioner of G. HUMPHREYS,
Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. Agent Seminole Indians."
Several officers of the army were present, who bear testimony
to what transpired.
We the undersigned have to state, that we were present at a talk, held by
Col. G. Humphreys, agent Seminole Indians, at McKenzie's Pond, on the 19th
October, 1828, for the purpose of prevailing on the chiefs of said nation to send
a deputation from the nation to examine the country west of the Mississippi river,
which it is proposed by the government to give to the Indians. On this occasion,
there were present in council, Hicks, head chief of the nation; Holata Ematha,
or Blue Warrior, chief of the Ocheeny band; Holata Mico, chief of the Talsy band;
Tukehuskee Hajo, chief of the Red Stick band; !fitchitee Mico, chief of the
Hitchitee band; Tuskaneha, chief of the Mickasuky, or Muscogee band; and
Mad Lizzard, sub-chief of the Talsy band, and a number of Tustenuggees and
warriors for the different tribes. It was determined by the above named chiefs,
Tustenuggees, &c., in reply to a talk from the agent, Col. Humphreys, recom-
mending to them to make an examination of the country proposed to them.beyond
the Mississippi, [it was agreed by said chiefs, &c.] that they would organize a
deputation from the nation for that purpose, to start early the ensuing spring:
Proded, the agent himself would accompany the said deputation on its tour of
explration; and provided, the expenses of said deputation are to be defrayed by
the government of the United States; and provided, also, that nothing is to be in