NOTICES OF FLORIDA
State of Florida
Carl Sandburg has said: "Books say Yes to life.
Or they say No." The twelve volumes commemo-
rating 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 his-
torical 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 pat-
tern 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 with you.
NOTICES OF FLORIDA
)iT^IE V &.fAir LT (Yi
BY M. M. COHEN,
(AN OFFICER OF THE LEFT WING.)
A FACSIMILE REPRODUCTION
of the 1836 EDITION
by 0. Z. TYLER, JR.
FLORIDIANA FACSIMILE & REPRINT SERIES
University of Florida Press
FLORIDIANA F LE 'REPRINT SERIES
of the 1836 EDITION
WITH PREFATORY MATERIAL, INTRODUCTION
&- INDEX ADDED
NEW MATERIAL COPYRIGHT 1964
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
STATE INSTITUTIONS OF FLORIDA
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 64-19153
LITHOPRINTED BY DOUGLAS PRINTING COMPANY, INC.
BOUND BY UNIVERSAL-DIXIE BINDERY, INC.
Secretary of State
RAY E. GREEN
DOYLE E. CONNER
JAMES W. KYNES
J. EDWIN LARSON
THOMAS D. BAILEY
of Public Instruction
THE BOARD OF CONTROL
BAYA M. HARRISON, JR.
CHARLES R. FORMAN, D.V.M.
WAYNE C. MCCALL, D.D.S.
JAMES LAWRENCE KING
GERT H. W. SCHMIDT
JOHN C. PACE
CHESTER E. WHITTLE
J. B. CULPEPPER
Executive Director, Tallahassee
THE QUADRICENTENNIAL EDITION
FLORIDIANA FACSIMILE & REPRINT SERIES
CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA by John Wallace. 1888.
Edited by Allan Nevins.
THE CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION IN FLOR-
IDA by William 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.
HISTORICAL MEMOIR OF THE WAR IN WEST FLOR-
IDA AND LOUISIANA IN 1814-15 by A. L. Latour.
1816. Edited by Jane Lucas de Grummond.
HISTORY OF JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, AND VICIN-
ITY, 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 0. 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 Soli's de
Meras. 1567. (The Florida State Historical Society edi-
tion, edited and translated by Jeannette Thurber Con-
nor.) 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 FLORIDAS by James Grant Forbes. 1821. Edited
by James W. Covington.
THE WHOLE & TRUE DISCOUERYE OF TERRA FLOR-
IDA by Jean Ribaut. 1563. (The Florida State Histori-
cal Society edition, including 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-of-Arms.
LORIDA enjoys a unique
position among the fifty
states of the Union. Her
city of St. Augustine ante-
dates Jamestown, the sec-
ond oldest European
settlement within the pres-
ent 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 dis-
tinction, 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 attained by Florida until the mid-1920's. At
the turn of the century Florida ranked thirty-
third in a nation of forty-six commonwealths;
viii Florida's Quadricentennial
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 organi-
zations have celebrated the quadricentennials
of several historic events. The attempt of Tris-
tan 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 explora-
tions 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 Laudonniere, 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 ob-
servance of the founding of St. Augustine.
There are many ways to celebrate quadricen-
tennials-parades, speeches, pageants, the re-
creation of villages and forts, and the restora-
tion 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 Quadricentennial
Commission gave priority to the reprinting of
rare and valuable books relating to Florida.
These reproductions will endure. They will en-
able many Americans to share in the state's
past, and will provide source material for the
Until recently few authors or publishers were
interested 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 twelve rare or semi-rare books.
The subject matter in these volumes covers a
period of more than three hundred years of
Florida's history-the French and Spanish set-
x Florida's Quadricentennial
tiements, the War of 1812, the purchase by
the United States, the Seminole War, the Civil
War and Reconstruction, and the modern
period. In addition to textual reproductions,
these facsimile editions contain introductions
by businessmen, journalists, and professors.
The Quadricentennial Commission hopes these
twelve books will stimulate the production of
other reprints and encourage students to write
original manuscripts which describe and inter-
pret Florida's past.
The Florida Quadricentennial Commission
FRED H. KENT, Chairman-Jacksonville
DOYLE E. CARLTON, SR.-Tampa
JEAN ANN CONE-Tampa
CLARENCE M. GAY-Orlahdo
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
E' During the twenty years of peace follow-
ing the War of 1812, military personnel of the United
States found an occasional skirmish with roving In-
dians the only relief from the boredom of frontier
duty. A parsimonious Congress appropriated little
money for the national military establishment: there
was no danger from distant European countries which
were also enjoying peace; and a small standing army
supplemented by state militia and volunteers was, in
the opinion of Congress, sufficient to maintain domes-
tic tranquility. As a consequence, regular army officers
chafed at the slowness of promotions and grumbled
about the low standing of their profession with their
Neither the ominous attitude of the Seminole In-
dians of Florida in 1834 and 1835 nor the requests
of Commander Duncan L. Clinch for more troops
convinced officials of the War Department that the
country was facing a major Indian war. During the
Christmas season of 1835, however, the Seminoles
struck hard, killing government officials at Fort King
and massacring a force under Major Francis L. Dade
which was enroute from Fort Brooke to Fort King.
On the last day of the year General Clinch was
checked in his attempt to defeat the Indians at the
Battle of the Withlacoochee.
xii EDITORIAL PREFACE.
These reverses forced the Secretary of War to move
regulars into Florida, to call on the Southern states
for militia and volunteers, and to appoint General
Winfield Scott to command the combined military
forces. Among the volunteers was Myer M. Cohen, a
lawyer and former schoolteacher of Charleston, South
Carolina. This well-educated individual anticipated ad-
venture in primitive Florida. His service was limited
to less than four months. As a staff officer of General
Abraham Eustis, Cohen was with the left wing of
General Scott's triple offensive against the Indians on
a round trip from St. Augustine to Fort Brooke
(present-day Tampa). The army regulars and the
volunteers found their main difficulty in cutting road-
ways, not in fighting the Indians. But Cohen recorded
his adventure in a journal, and questioned others who
had participated in or knew of previous military
actions in Florida.
Many regulars and volunteers in the war wrote let-
ters to their local newspapers and some of them
penned book-length manuscripts. Among the latter
was Myer M. Cohen's chronicle. After returning to
Charleston, he used his recollections for the core of
his manuscript, but also included a summary history
of Florida and accounts of other military actions in
the territory. He wrote in haste and made many errors.
Similar to other amateur soldiers, he criticized com-
manders of the regular army for their failures as
strategists and tacticians. Although he embellished his
account and was flamboyant in style, he gave his read-
ers an interesting report on the campaign of 1836.
0. Z. Tyler, Jr., of Jacksonville spent many years of
his professional life as an officer in the United States
army. He therefore has the background to evaluate
Cohen's work. Since his retirement from military
EDITORIAL PREFACE. xiii
service, Colonel Tyler has served as vice president of
a bank in Jacksonville. Both he and the general edi-
tor of this series are indebted to the P. K. Yonge
Memorial Library of the University of Florida and the
Jacksonville Public Library for allowing the University
of Florida Press to use copies of Cohen's book to pro-
duce this facsimile.
REMBERT W. PATRICK
University of Florida General Editor of the
April, 1964 FLORIDIANA SERIES
Background of the Florida Campaigns.
EF A brief orientation on the background of
Florida and the Seminole Wars would assist anyone
who reads Myer M. Cohen's small book. In 1836 Flor-
ida, with the exception of St. Augustine, Tallahassee,
Jacksonville, and a few even smaller towns, was sparse-
ly settled frontier territory. Roads as we know them
were nonexistent and travel from place to place was
extremely difficult. Such communication as existed
was made both dangerous and onerous by the nature
of the jungle-like swamps and hammocks and the
presence of Indians. Travel was safest and easiest
along the numerous waterways and the availability of
small steamboats1 was an especial boon to military
and supply movements.
There were numerous sugar plantations.2 These, in
general, were scattered along the east coast to take
advantage of favorable soil, good location, and water
transportation. They frequently employed large num-
bers of slaves as laborers and included mills for local-
ly grinding the sugar cane and processing the sugar.
Once hostilities commenced, these isolated planta-
tion communities fell easy prey to the Indians. Either
by a concerted plan or by coincidence, numerous bands
of ten or twelve red men attacked widely separated
plantations almost simultaneously.3 Armed with rifles,
scalping knives, and tomahawks, they would swoop
down with hideous yells on the lightly armed planters.
Showing little mercy to whites who had frequently be-
friended them, they butchered and burned. Many of
the slaves, not slaughtered in defending the planta-
tions, were taken away by the Indians and put to
work. Thus, the sugar plantations did not survive
the destruction wrought by the Seminole Wars,
and the sugar plantation economy did not persist as
did the economy supported by cotton a little farther
to the north.
There is much to say, however, in behalf of the
Indians in Florida. They had lived under at least
three different white jurisdictions with all of the varia-
tions of custom, motive, and religion which this im-
plies.4 Florida was a frontier country whose white
inhabitants, at least in part, were rough and in some
cases lawless, self-seeking men. Land speculation and
land-grabbing were commonplace occurrences. Selling
whiskey to the Indian and cheating him were routine
practices. Even the pressure of honest families seeking
homes in the new land was an encroachment on the
fields and woods which the Indian had come to re-
gard as his own.
Moreover, as the United States became more and
more interested in Florida, the pressure increased.
For some time before Spain was finally prevailed
upon to cede Florida in 1821, the United States had
supported and encouraged white men already in the
territory who would gain by United States acquisition.5
As increasing numbers of people moved into Florida,
there was more and more clamor for the dispossession
of the Indians to make way for white settlers.6 It was
inevitable that, when this pressure was coupled with
the unscrupulous acts of the lawless who thronged to
the frontier, serious trouble would be only a matter
of time. The agents of the United States government
appointed to manage Indian affairs, faced with an
unsolvable problem, were inadequate for the task
assigned. By and large these were good and conscien-
tious men, but the few rascals among them made mat-
Finally, the United States government yielded to
the demands of the land seekers and frontiersmen, and
decided to move the Indians first into certain restricted
areas of Florida and later to the open spaces of the
West. It is difficult to believe that such a solution was
fair and equitable or that it would have been accept-
able to the Indians. The Indian chiefs, under duress,
agreed to move and signed a succession of treaties,8
although the thought of removal went against almost
every natural inclination.
The situation in Florida was further complicated by
the presence of Negroes.9 Many of these were slaves
who had escaped and joined the Indians. Others the
Indians had purchased legally or captured, and had
frequently established in separate communities or
towns to work for them. The Negroes were better at
farming than the Indians, and were therefore valuable
assets in producing crops and food. Their knowledge
of the white man and of the English language was also
an advantage to the Indians. Indeed, some Negroes
became interpreters and wielded considerable influ-
ence among the tribes and in their councils. For ex-
ample, a Negro named Abraham was a slave belonging
to Seminole Chief Micanopy, who owned more than
100 slaves. So highly did Micanopy regard his chief
interpreter that he set the Negro free.10
One of the irritations which precipitated the Semi-
nole War was the demands made upon the Indians
for the return of runaway slaves. Many of the de-
mands, which were handled in formal fashion through
the Indian Agents, were quite legitimate. However,
some were undoubtedly made by unscrupulous indi-
viduals with spurious credentials in order to gain con-
trol of Negroes for their own purposes. The Negroes,
of course, had no desire to return to slavery, and
used their tremendous influence with the Indians to
avoid being taken. So important did their influence
and skill get to be that Major General T. S. Jesup,
who succeeded General Scott to the command in Flor-
ida, declared: "This, you may rest assured, is a
negro, not an Indian war, and if it be not speedily
put down, the south will feel the effects of it on their
slave population before the end of the next season."'11
Some of the Negroes took part in the Indian war
parties, emulating or outdoing their savage protectors
in fierceness and bloodthirstiness. "The Negroes from
the commencement of the Florida War, have, for their
numbers, been the most formidable foe, more blood-
thirsty, active and revengeful than the Indians. . .
To surrender would be servitude to the whites; but
to retain an open warfare secured them plunder,
liberty and importance."12
The situation was one of long standing. As early
as 1816 an operation was undertaken by United States
troops along the Apalachicola River against a fort
that was occupied by some 100 Negro men with their
wives and children, and about 20 Choctaw Indians.
The British had established the fort in order to con-
trol the river during the War of 1812. They had
stocked it with considerable amounts of arms and
ammunition, and then on leaving had turned it over
to the Negroes and Indians. Cohen gives a brief ac-
count of the very interesting combined operation by
General (then Colonel) Duncan L. Clinch, United
States Army, against this fort.13 Clinch gained a rather
large amount of acclaim for its elimination, and he
returned to Florida in 1821 to command United States
troops and to participate in the campaign against the
Seminoles in 1835 and 1836. But this problem of
Negro participation in the Seminole War was not so
easily nor so fortunately eliminated as the fort. In
fact, the war itself proved to be a long, costly, and
troublesome affair, immeasurably complicated by the
However, the Seminole War which M. M. Cohen
wrote about was of short duration. His designation
of the operations as the "Campaigns" is quite accu-
rate. The war really was made up of a number of
separate sallies against the Indians. But by any reckon-
ing the campaigns were brief. The Supreme Com-
mander of the American forces, Major General Win-
field Scott himself spent only a relatively brief period
on this important operation. General Scott first learned
of his assignment to command the United States
troops in Florida from the Secretary of War, Lewis
Cass, on January 20, 1836, and actually departed from
Tampa Bay, his mission presumably completed, on
April 25, 1836. Scott himself stated in his testimony
before the Court of Inquiry which examined the facts
surrounding his "failure" in the Seminole campaign
that "The columns of Clinch and Eustis were actually
in the field, beyond Fort Drane and Volusia, only
about twenty-two days."15
The sequence of events during the period of the
campaign was complex and difficult to follow. To com-
plicate the picture further, Major General Edmund
Pendleton Gaines, Commander of the Western Depart-
ment of the Army, arrived at Tampa Bay on February
9, 1836. General Scott, the commander designated to
be in overall charge in Florida, arrived at Picolata on
February 22, 1836.16 This meant that the commanders
of both the Eastern Department and the Western De-
partment were in Florida at the same time, and that
the one not directed by the War Department to be in
charge got there first. Had the two forces been co-
ordinated, the war against the Indians might have
been Waged with real success, but a lack of commu-
nications and the possible jealousy between the two
Department commanders produced an almost sterile
result.17 It is probable that General Gaines knew
nothing initially of the action of the Secretary of War
in designating General Scott as overall Commander
in Florida. No doubt Gaines responded promptly to
the emergency created late in 1835 by the massacre
of Major Dade's command.
General Gaines' campaign was also brief. He left
his headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee, arriving in
New Orleans about January 15, 1836. Here, it may
be supposed, he heard of the Dade Massacre. On
February 3 he embarked from New Orleans with a
brigade of eleven hundred men.18 "He reached Fort
Brooke on the 10th, and on the 13th the brigade took
the field." With but ten days' rations and destitute of
transportation, the command set out through the wil-
derness. It took the men eight days to reach the scene
of the Dade Massacre. Stopping just long enough to
bury the dead, they hurried on to Fort King, and
arrived there on February 22, the same day General
Scott got to Picolata. Expecting to meet General Clinch
at Fort King and to obtain rations, Gaines was dis-
appointed on both counts. His troops were able to get
only two days' rations at Fort King. Later he was able
to procure an additional seven days' rations at Fort
Drane, 30 miles distant, where General Clinch was
Failing to obtain the rations and supplies he need-
ed and having heard nothing from General Scott,
Gaines decided to return to Fort Brooke on Tampa
Bay. However, he directed his troops by a new route
to the east in order that his return could not be con-
strued by the Indians as a retreat.19 Arriving at the
Withlacoochee on February 27, General Gaines found
that the river was unfordable at the spot to which
his guides had led him. While he was searching for
the ford, the enemy opened fire. On the next day, while
searching farther down the river, the command was
again attacked. These attacks continued each day for
seven days. The men began to suffer from hunger;
horses were killed and the meat distributed and eaten.
Then, quite unexpectedly, the Indians called for a
parley on March 6. As they assembled under a white
flag of truce, General Clinch arrived in response to
a dispatch from Gaines. Not knowing what was taking
place, Clinch fired on the Indians, who fled. On March
7, General Gaines turned over the command to Gen-
eral Clinch, and proceeded to comply with orders
directing his attention to "higher and more important
General Scott's plan of campaign called for dividing
his army into three parts. His Left Wing, under Briga-
dier General Abraham Eustis, was to march from St.
Augustine via Volusia toward Pilaklakaha. His Right
Wing, which Scott and his staff proposed to accom-
pany and which was commanded by Clinch, would
march on the Withlacoochee and thence to Tampa.
Commanding the Center, Colonel William Lindsay
was to march north from Fort Brooke, located in the
Tampa Bay area.21 As General Scott himself put it,
"My general plan of operations was to move at the
same time, as nearly as practicable, from Fort Drane,
Volusia, and Tampa, upon the great body of the enemy
supposed to be about 'the Cove' of the Withlacoochee."
He again stated at the inquiry, although he did not
know the size of the enemy force at the time of launch-
ing his concentric movement, "I am more than ever
persuaded that the whole force of the enemy, includ-
ing negroes, does not exceed 1200 fighting men. It is
probably something less. Of that force, I am equally
confident that not more than 500 have, at any time
since the commencement of hostilities, been brought
within the same ten miles square."922 It is well to re-
member that Major General Winfield Scott was one
of the most experienced and respected officers in the
army, and that he had just finished a successful cam-
paign against the Creeks in Georgia and Alabama.
Why then were there charges that the campaign was
a failure? To quote directly from Sprague: "The
campaign was called a failure-by none, however, who
participated, or were acquainted with the character
of the enemy, the country, and the climate. Much was
expected of Gen. Scott, from his long, well-tried and
faithful services; and confident in the belief that he
could surmount every obstacle, and punish the Semi-
noles, the public lost sight of the embarrassments in-
cident to operations against a foe occupying forty-seven
thousand square miles, as yet unnumbered, in a coun-
try unexplored, without roads, bridges, guides, or
transportation. The theater of operations was a wilder-
ness, and every hammock and swamp a citadel for
One final word which may avoid some confusion.
There were two battles fought along the Withlacoo-
chee. One was the battle fought by General Clinch on
the morning of December 31, 1835. The other was
the disastrous battle fought by General Gaines from
February 27 to March 6, 1836, which ended in a
truce followed by the fortuitous arrival of Clinch.
Since the swamps and the so-called "Cove" of the
Withlacoochee were an Indian stronghold, this failure
is not surprising. The Indians had assembled in
strength for the second battle. Sprague describes it:
"During the week in which they were assembling, the
greatest enthusiasm prevailed. Decrepit men and the
youngest boys took part in all the preparations. Pow-
der was brought in bags upon the ground, contained
in kegs and barrels, to which all had free access. The
women were cooking provisions and running bullets
in a hammock three miles distant. On the arrival of
General Clinch, the bands dispersed to their various
While these plans were being made, M. M. Cohen
was a staff officer and commander of Pioneers under
General Eustis' command. This so-called Left Wing
of the army departed from St. Augustine about Febru-
ary 19, 1836, and traveled by way of Volusia to Pi-
laklakaha and Tampa. The command, with General
Scott's headquarters attached, left Tampa for the re-
turn to St. Augustine on April 25, 1836.
Comments on the "Notices."
The brief Preface to Myer M. Cohen's Notices is
quite revealing. In his own words his book was under-
taken in the same spirit of adventure with which he
had entered upon the military operations. In other
words, the young lawyer had been to Florida and vol-
unteered to tell about it. His material, Cohen states,
"consisted in a few notes. . taken, sometimes on
horseback, and at others, supine on the earth. At one
moment I would write, reclining against a tree ...
at the next, I was scribbling under my rain-beaten
tent, my pine torch flaring. . ." His notes "were in-
tended ... as the basis of a contribution to 'the South-
Carolina Society for the Advancement of Learning,' or
... a paper to be read before 'the Literary and Philo-
sophical Society of Charleston.' Moreover, it appears
that the entire project was completed by June 20,
1836, i.e., in less than a month.25 The Preface also
prepares the reader for interspersed Latin phrases, the
author's puns, mythological and other literary refer-
ences, and impertinent comments in the main text.
Cohen next undertakes a historical sketch of Florida
from the beginning. After his Introduction, which
alludes to illustrious Julius Caesar's Commentaries, the
author discusses the explorations ("Florida was dis-
covered in 47 -by Sebastian Ctof;" li e says in the
opening line), the Spanish settlements, and the Eng-
lish incursions into Florida. He also treats of the his-
tory of St. Augustine and the capture of Pensacola
|by General Andrew Jackson, as well as the status of
St. Augustine and Florida in the spring of 1836. The
material and the time span covered (1497 to 1837)
made this quite a task.
C.& he also covers, tjhe,,,,early confusion in Florida
which preceded the War of 1812 (20). This was an
important period in setting the stage and background
for the Seminole War which broke out late in 1835.
Rembert Patrick describes the situation as instigated by
"land-hungry farmers who resented the foreigner on
their border, hated the Indian, and coveted all land
contiguous to their own."26 It will be remembered that,
at this time, the United States claimed West Florida
by virtue of the Louisiana Purchase, and had an-
nexed that part west of the Pearl River. East Florida
still belonged to Spain. However, there were expan-
sionist forces at work which involved the territory, the
Indians, and their confederates and allies, the Ne-
groes. "For more than a quarter-century the United
States used diplomacy, intrigue, chicanery, force and
war in its march upon Florida. Most interesting and
most indefensible of these was the revolution of 1812,
fomented by George Matthews and supported by the
administration."27 In addition, the British were active
in Florida in 1812, in their own right and in behalf
of their Spanish allies. Cohen reports, "The Indians
were abundantly furnished with arms and ammuni-^
tion, and commissioned to butcher the defenceless in-
habitants of the frontier States" (20).
General Andrew Jackson is discussed by Cohen in
connection with the capture of Pensacola. This event
took place, according to the author, on November 7,
J114, just about two months prior to Jackson ou' s .us
victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans.
Cohen also touches lightly on the delicate political
situation which prompted General Jackson to give up
his prize, Pensacola, after only two days of possession,
to the Spanish governor of Florida. Governor Man-
rique, interestingly enough, was proffered help in re-
building the forts at Pensacola by Colonel Edward
Nicholls, the British agent. According to Cohen, the
Spaniard replied coldly that "when he needed any
assistance, he would call on his friend, General Jack-
The names of General Edmund P. Gaines and
Colonel, later Brigadier General, Duncan L. Clinch
are also encountered in Cohen's narrative. These offi-
cers took part in the operations in Florida in 1816.
Both, of course, later figured prominently in the fight
against the Seminoles.
The attack which was ordered on this occasion was
that of a force commanded by Colonel Clinch against
the Negro fort along the Apalachicola River, as noted
previously. This expedition is one of the most fas-
cinating and interesting interludes in Florida history.
Cohen's description of the incident is graphic. One of
his most surprising statements with regard to a force
of friendly Indians under Chief Mad Tyger (sic) was
that "the Indians were on a long projected expedition
against the negroes, with an intention of restoring
them to their owners" (22).
The operation is even more unusual in the fact that
it was amphibious. The naval contingent involved at
least two gunboats designated as number 149 and
number 154, and the transport Similante. In the lan-
guage of the higher level military technician, it was
a "joint" operation, since it involved both land and
sea elements of United States forces. And it was a
"combined" operation in that both United States and
allied Indian forces participated. As Cohen describes
it, "At 6 in the morning, the two gunboats sailed up
in handsome style, and made fast near the battery. In
a few minutes after, they received a shot from a 32
pounder; it was immediately returned in a gallant
manner. On the 5th discharge, a hot shot from gun-
boat No. 154, entered the magazine and blew up the
fort. The explosion was awful, and the scene terrible
beyond description" C2-23) It would seem that
there were famous numbered United States naval
craft even before the PT-109.
The inclusion by M. M. Cohen of data on Florida,
up to date as of 1836, has been mentioned. Two of
the comments may be of particular interest. Under a
heading "Present and contemplated improvements in
this section," we find: "Two steamboat companies
have joined in order to transport passengers by a
speedy and cheap conveyance from New York to New
Orleans, via Jacksonville." And another: "A Rail Road
is to be cut from Jacksonville to a fort on the Gulph
[sic] near Vacassar Bay" (26). As we read later in
the book of the logistical problems encountered by the
three columns of General Scott's army in their move-
ments throughout Florida, we will appreciate how far-
sighted these contemplated improvements were. It is
worth noting, also, that of a territorial population of
34,723 in 1836, there were 15,510 slaves (28).
The-second chapter tells about the Florida Indians.
"The word Seminol signifies a wanderer or run-
awa-sa" s1 )Inen 3 They were originally part of
the Creek Nation,28 and were referred to occasionally
as Runaway Creeks. Cohen quotes William Bartram,
the explorer and scientist, as saying that the Semi-
noles were "a treacherous people, lying so far from
the eye and control of the nation with whom they are
confederate, that there had been depredations and
murders committed by them" (34). Cohen takes Bar-
tram to task for saying that the Yemasees, an early
tribe of the Carolina area, were exterminated by the
Creeks. It should have been "nearly exterminated,"
Cohen says, since some of the Yemasees turned up in
Florida as the Ocklewahaw tribe.
The growing unrest of the Indians necessitated ex-
peditions against them by General Andrew Jackson
and General Edmund Gaines in the fall of 1817. These
expeditions afford more background for the Indian
wars (42) .29 We hear of an operation by Major
Twiggs against Fowltown, in which he burned this
Indian village near the Florida line. Later we meet
Lieutenant Colonel David E. Twiggs as commander of
six companies of the Fourth Infantry, part of Gaines'
command in the Tampa Bay movement. Cohen also
adds the story of the rescue of Duncan McCrimmon by
Milly Francis, the daughter of Francis, "the Prophet,"
one of the Indian chiefs (40). The tale is remi-
niscent of Pocahontas and John Smith. The capture,
trial, and execution of the British agents Arbuthnot
and Ambrister, who were supplying and inciting the
Indians, are briefly covered. The author incidentally
states that the Prophet Francis was one of two Indian
chiefs also captured near St. Marks in Florida and
hanged by General Jackson's order (43).30
Facing page 45, Cohen has included an engraving
of Osceola, or Powell, the Seminole chief. In the pic-
ture, which appears to be excellent by comparison
with those included in Sprague's splendid book, Os-
ceola is wearing the ostrich plumes which designate
him as a chief. His name derived from the Indian
"black drink" or "asse," plus "ola," which means
"waterfall." There is reason to believe that there was
additional significance to the name because the In-
dians attached ceremonial and moral importance to
the word. The drink was supposed to purify both
physically and spiritually and was used in connection
with the corn-dance festival and when going into
council (234). His grandfather was a Scotchman, Wil-
liam Powell, his grandmother and mother full-blooded
Indians. Occasionally, therefore, Osceola was called
Powell. There were many spellings of the Indian name
because of efforts of the white man to represent pho-
netically the sounds of the Indian language. However,
there is general agreement that Osceola, the man, was
one of the most important of all the Seminole chiefs.
The names of other chiefs are also frequently men-
tioned as well as the names and locations of numerous
Indian villages. This information is probably of pass-
ing interest. Cohen does quote from a report of J. A.
Peniere, Indian Agent, to the Secretary of War about
1821, which states: "The Indian population amount
to more than five thousand souls, fifty or sixty ne-
groes, or mulattoes, who are maroons, or half slaves,
to the Indians.
"These Negroes appeared to me far more intelligent
than those who are in absolute slavery and have great
influence over the Indians.
"The Indians are very mistrustful, very poor, very
lazy and very great beggars.
"They love the English and Americans very little."
Speaking of the maroon Negroes, Peniere says fur-
ther, "their number is said to be upwards of three
hundred. They fear being again made slaves, under
the American Government; and will omit nothing to
increase or keep alive mistrust among the Indians,
whom they in fact govern" (45-46).
As early as February 22, 1819, when (Cohen says)
the treaty ceding Florida to the United States was
finally negotiated, the Indians "were reduced to great
extremities for the want of ordinary articles of sub-
sistence. They had nearly abandoned the chase, on
account of the scarcity of game; and their idle, vicious
habits presented an insuperable obstacle to the culti-
vation of the soil" (49). Cohen nonetheless agrees,
even as a lawyer, with the popular position in regard
to the rights of the Seminoles. A letter dated Septem-
ber, 1821, from Andrew Jackson, then governor of
the Territory of Florida, to the Committee on Indian
Affairs is quoted: "They [the Indian chiefs] acknowl-
edge that it is just, that those who rejected peace when
it was offered to them, and fled from their own coun-
try, continuing the war, ought to return to their own
nation" (49). The Treaty of Payne's Landing, May
9, 1832, elicited a commitment on the part of the
Seminole chiefs to move to lands west of the Missis-
sippi and rejoin the Creek Nation (which had already
been moved west (51).31 Cohen considered that the
Indians had made and broken, not one contract, but
three, "When, in violation of these promises and con-
ventions, they commenced open hostilities against the
unoffending inhabitants of Florida, laid waste and
desolated three counties, destroyed more than a mil-
lion of property, and massacred one hundred and nine
of our best officers and troops [Dade Massacre], be-
fore any adequate force could be called into the field
to resist them" (56).
The chapter entitled "Indian Outrages" touches
lightly several interesting and important subjects. The
causes of the Seminole War are stated. Various violent
incidents which preceded the actual outbreak of hos-
tilities are briefly described. The rise of Osceola to
power is intimated. Official reports on the Dade Mas-
sacre are included in considerable detail. The ex-
plosive events increased in frequency and importance
as the year 1836 drew near. In the description of these
different happenings the author displays a talent for
vivid portrayal of situations, with little waste of words.
While it is possible to suspect that inclusion of com-
plete letters and reports might be in the nature of
padding, it must be noted that Sprague's inclusion
of entire treaties and other documents serves only to
enhance the value of his work.
The last days of December, 1835, brought General
Duncan L. Clinch to the banks of the Withlacoochee.
Here with a force of 250 regulars and some 650 vol-
unteers he fought the first battle of that name.32 This
important action is covered in the chapter "Demon-
strations Against the Indians." Somewhat confusingly
the scene then shifts to the east coast for minor skir-
mishes at Dunlawton and Bulow plantations. The lo-
cation changing again to the Tampa area, we follow
General Edmund Gaines. As already described, Major
General Gaines, Commander of the Western Depart-
ment, moved to New Orleans, assembled a sizeable
force, and arrived in Tampa Bay by February 9,
1836 (97). It was this force, returning to Fort Brooke
after visiting Fort King, which fought the second
Battle of Withlacoochee.
The author then commences his journal. Despite oc-
casional italicized puns, snatches of florid prose, and
quotations of verse, the diary has difficulty escaping
the tedium of day-to-day life for the soldier. After the
"Left Wing" gets under way, about February 15, there
are some incidents which enliven the narrative. Inclu-
sion of the roster of General Abraham Eustis' com-
mand and the dates and places along the march are
items of specific factual value. "The never to be mis-
taken sound of the Indian rifle" is an interesting side-
note. Their encountering "burns," where the grass
had been set fire to provide forage for the cattle, may
come as a surprise to some (139). Most readers will
be interested in the description of the Seminole chief,
Euchee Billy (163). Also it is remarkable that soldier
"talk," including the names used in camp and field,
has changed so little since 1836.
The operations of the Right Wing are covered in
a much more readable fashion. General Clinch's com-
mand, accompanied by the Commander in Chief and
his staff, got off to a late start from Fort King on
March 26 (187). They moved south without a major
engagement and arrived in the Tampa Bay area on
April 6. Still dissatisfied because of his failure to meet
the enemy, Scott ordered an operation in the direction
of Peas Creek (Peace River) (193). This expedition
from April 14 to 28 met with little opposition. The
thrust of the Center, commanded by Colonel Lindsay,
northward from Fort Brooke commenced March 10
(191). This unit moved up to the Hillsborough River
and there established Fort Alabama. One further in-
cident is noteworthy. A blockhouse established on the
Withlacoochee, garrisoned only by a small detachment,
was inadvertently left on April 5 for six weeks in the
wilderness, surrounded by the enemy. Reports placed
the number of savages engaged at 1,000 (199). The
gallant detachment was rescued fortunately without
undue loss. Cohen attributes the material in this chap-
ter to Major Pemberton of the Augusta Chronicle.
The return march of the Left Wing from Fort
Brooke to St. Augustine was relatively uneventful.
General Scott was ordered to Columbus, Georgia, in
order to conduct the operations in that quarter against
the Creeks.33 He therefore left the column on May 1 at
Volusia, going by boat to Picolata (220).34 An inde-
pendent excursion by steamer made by the Commander
in Chief toward the south on the St. Johns shows
something of Scott's adventuresome nature. The Gen-
eral, among other things, was anxious to discover
whether the Indians had any settlements on the upper
part of the river. He was forced to abandon the project
because the steamer could not get over the four-foot
bar at the south end of Lake Monroe. That the trip
was not without hazard is indicated by the fact that
the intrepid General was ambushed by a group of
some fifteen Indians while exploring in a small boat
near the south end of the lake (217). The other mem-
bers of that scouting parting were "Col. [James]
Gadsden [Scott's Chief of Staff and later negotiator of
the Gadsden Purchase], Captain Canfield, and Lt.
[J. E.] Johnston," of Civil War fame.
It is typical of a soldier getting back from a cam-
paign to review its events. It is also normal that he
feels, by and large, that things could have been done
a lot better. All of us recognize this tendency to be a
Monday morning quarterback, to replay the game, to
criticize, to point out mistakes. Cohen was no excep-
tion in this respect, and took the first opportunity to
list in some detail the all too obvious errors of the
Florida campaign. In his behalf let it be said that he
did this with creditable professional accuracy, if not
with entire objectivity. Also he expressed himself with
democratic candor, even taking to task the highest
ranking officers in the field and officials of the national
government back in Washington. "The Departments
at Washington, and I here consider the Presidency as
one of them, were either wholly ignorant, erroneously
informed, or criminally apathetic, as to the affairs of
Cohen's description of the start of the campaign,
that "it went forth whizzing and shining like a rock-
et," sounds amusingly modern. But then he recounts
the reasons for its failure with considerable percep-
(1) The "face of the country, so well adapted to the
guerrilla warfare which the Indians carry on, afford-
ing ambushes and fastnesses to them, and retardation
to us" (222).
(2) The "climate, which did not permit active op-
erations after the three months had expired, even
though the volunteers had been mustered into service
for a longer term" (222). Scott stated that "the mass
of the volunteers, owing to the different periods of
arrival at the several places of rendezvous . had only
about sixty days to serve."35 Cohen appears to be in
error about the term of the volunteers.
(3) The "deficiency of the means of transporta-
(4) The "conduct of the General Government, and
of the Generals in the field." Cohen accuses the ad-
ministration of "chilling delay, cold apathy, and cruel
neglect." He discusses each of the major command-
ers, Scott, Eustis, and Clinch, in turn and clinically
(224-230). His conclusions will be discussed later.
(5) The "want of cooperation between the respec-
tive divisions of the Army" (229). While the writer
was correct in this criticism, he might have scored
more tellingly the lack of coordination and apparent
lack of cooperation between the two Department Com-
(6) The "false positions assumed as depots" (230).
Again it appears that Cohen has criticized soundly.
In the Florida of 1836 logistical problems were bound
to be of paramount importance. The military road (a
complimentary title because of its almost impassable
condition) between Fort King and Fort Brooke was
the only man-made route of communications in the
theater of operations which was dignified by the name
of road, and the three bridges on this route were rou-
tinely burned by the Indians. General Scott had de-
pended on getting 70 tons of supplies by barge up the
Ocklawaha.36 But the water was low in the river and
the barges which were to be used were destroyed by
the Indians. There was a constant shortage of supply
wagons.37 Requisitions, both for those initially re-
quired and for replacements, brought no results.
Horses were overworked because of the overloading of
existing wagons, they were sickened by bad water and
inadequate food, and many were lost. Distances were
great for the conditions prevailing between key points.
The real solution of supply by water to locations near-
er the troops occurred to Lieutenant Cohen, command-
ing the Pioneers of the Left Wing, but was not antici-
pated by those in authority (230).
(7) "Under-rating the enemy" (230) While the
United States has been guilty of both overrating and
underrating the enemy, Cohen's comment is valid in
this instance. Generally it is the province of leadership
to put in focus the capabilities of the enemy. Failure
to do this frequently leads to surprise and occasionally
defeat. It appears possible that General Scott, even as
he departed from Florida secure in his estimate of the
insignificant number of Indians present, was actually
guilty of underrating this enemy.
In that connection, it is safe to assume that General
Scott felt that his job was finished when he left Flor-
ida. From his estimate of the enemy forces opposing
him, he must have believed that only scattered Indian
groups remained to be subdued. He admitted that he
had failed to gather the Seminoles together for ship-
ment to the West.38 This he regretted. But he must
have considered that only a mopping-up phase re-
mained. That this "mopping up" lasted almost six
years (until about June, 1842) is fairly conclusive
evidence that this brave and experienced leader and
Indian fighter had underestimated his Seminole an-
Cohen was properly critical of many things about
the campaign. He felt that General Scott "erred in
laying down too artificial a plan of action, not appli-
cable to the particular occasion and peculiar enemy"
(224). The coordination of the Right and Left Wings
of the army by the "discharge of heavy artillery at
11 o'clock each day" was, in the opinion of Cohen,
cumbrous and ineffective. He wanted to know "Why
were poultry wagons and old broken down horses
sent into a country requiring the best appointed trains
and teams?" (224).
Of course, it is the province of the junior to be
critical of his seniors and to inveigh against "City
Hall." And many of these numerous recitations of
legitimate and grievous ills were, no doubt, the gist
of lengthy discussions around many a campfire. Nor
does Cohen fail to give credit where credit, in his
view, is due. The three generals singled out for special
comment, Scott, Eustis, and Clinch, all came off with
praise for their bravery, fortitude, and soldierly de-
meanor (224 ff). Cohen was a sentimentalist, it should
be remembered. Soldiers were supposed to be stead-
fast, from the volunteer to the commander in chief,
and consequently at every opportunity the soldierly
virtues were extolled.
Cohen is at his best in the passages where he has
something to say. His critiques and narratives of
action, such as the description of the destruction of
the Negro fort, are excellent. They are pithy, color-
ful, and graphic. It is to be regretted, however, that
in so short a book the author felt it necessary to dis-
cuss or interpolate frequently trivial, sentimental, and
It was deemed of little value to belabor the numer-
ous errors contained in Cohen's book. Several words
are misspelled. Frequent errors were committed in
printing, and some of the results are almost illegible.
No doubt, the shortness of time spent in preparation
had much to do with these deficiencies. Failure of the
author to use initials and titles for the numerous names
mentioned is a serious shortcoming which might have
been easily remedied with more care.
Nevertheless, the book has considerable value. It is
a veritable storehouse of names of plantations and
their owners, and of participants in the Florida cam-
paign during the early months of 1836. When it is
considered that this is an "on-the-spot" report, written
and published almost immediately (for that period),
it takes on the stature of authenticity. It probably
also, and for the same reason, contains errors.
The summary of the campaign as a failure is ex-
cellent from any point of view. It antedated by a con-
siderable length of time the haling of Major General
Scott before a Court of Inquiry for that same failure.
It does not appear especially material whether or not
the ideas are all those of the author. They certainly
are, without doubt, a reflection of the participants in
the campaigns. And, as such, this report tends to sub-
stantiate and to bring into focus reports and accounts
by others. Essential facts of the campaign appear to
stand up when checked against other accounts.
If the picture is not a pretty one, even if Cohen is
cast in the unpleasant role of troublemaker, the report
appears true. The events described in Florida and the
Campaigns in the spring and summer of 1836 con-
stitute an episode of our history as Americans and
Floridians which we might easily wish to forget.
About the Author.
"No one even slightly acquainted with the literature
of the Seminole War can fail to recognize the name
of M. M. Cohen, author of Notices of Florida, a rather
precious and plagiaristic book based partly on his
brief experiences as an officer of South Carolina mili-
tia in the left wing of General Scott's unsuccessful
'Summer Campaign' and partly on both acknowledged
and unacknowledged ransackings of publications on
Florida by others, which was one of the first of a
number of books purporting to present personal ob-
servations on the war."40 The above quotation sum-
marizes one historian's evaluation of Myer M. Cohen's
Another quotation sheds some light both on the
author and his work: "Two books appeared about the
same time in 1836, after the Seminole War had com-
menced. One was by M. M. Cohen, a lawyer of
Charleston, S. C., and afterward a representative in
the State Legislature from that district, entitled Notices
of Florida and the Campaigns; the other was by Wood-
bourne Potter, The War in Florida, published anony-
mously under the name 'Staff Officer.' Both had served
as officers in the opening campaigns against the Semi-
"Cohen apparently derived the greater part of his
information from David Levy of St. Augustine who
was present at the council and made extensive notes
of the proceedings on the spot."41
Myer M. Cohen was a young lawyer, thirty-two
years old, of Charleston, South Carolina, at the time
his book was published, there and in New York.42 He
was the son of Philip Cohen (1781-1866) and Eleanor
Moses Cohen,43 and his name appears in the List of
South Carolina Jews, 1800-1824. He was born in 1804,
probably in Charleston, one of a large family of six
brothers and three sisters.
In 1824 he established an English and Classical
Seminary which he operated successfully until his ad-
mission to the Bar in 1829. Young Cohen was active
in patriotic and political affairs in Charleston. In 1832
he was a member of the Washington's Birthday Com-
mittee. As an Independent Republican he was elected
to represent St. Philip's and St. Michael's Parish in
the state legislature of South Carolina at Columbia,
serving in 1835 and 1836. He was a Justice Q. V.,
Myer Cohen was a patriot. In keeping with the tra-
dition of the times he was a volunteer, a member of
the Washington Volunteers from Charleston. When
the call for volunteers to assist in "the defence of our
fellow-citizens in Augustine" came, Cohen's unit re-
sponded, along with the Hamburg Volunteers, the
Irish Volunteers, the Sumter Guards, and others.
Moreover, "after the expiration of his term of serv-
ice, Myer M. Cohen received an appointment as an
officer of the left wing and served out the campaign
in Florida."45 The service all told, however, was not
of long duration. Cohen with his unit departed Charles-
ton on the Steamboat Dolphin on or about January 28
and arrived back in Charleston on May 18, 1836
Whether because of the success of his book, some
possible lack of success, or for some other reason,
Cohen moved to New Orleans in 1837.46 He is listed
in Gibson's Guide and Directory of Louisiana, New
Orleans and Lafayette, 1838, as an "Attorney at Law
of the State of South Carolina located at 12 Banks
Arcade, New Orleans, Louisiana." We learn that he
became Professor of Commercial Law, Equity and
Admiralty at Straight University, New Orleans. That
he enjoyed some repute there is indicated by the fact
that he became Chairman of the Section on Jurispru-
dence in the New Orleans Academy of Sciences.47 His
book, Admiralty Jurisdiction, Law and Practice was
published in 1883. The Preface states that Cohen was
"extensively engaged in practice in the Admiralty
Courts and that he delivered courses of lectures, as
Professor of Commercial Law, Equity and Admiralty,
before one of the incorporated law schools at [sic] the
A perennial committee member, Attorney Cohen is
again heard of in the spring of 1851. On April 19 of
that year a committee of five members was desig-
nated to memorialize Judge Henry Adams Bullard,
eminent Louisiana legislator and educator who had
passed away. It was Myer Cohen who presented the
committee's resolutions two days later to a second
meeting of the Bar honoring Judge Bullard.48
Reminiscent of his earlier participation in the patri-
otic rallies in Charleston is another incident. From the
New Orleans Courier, July 24, 1851, we learn of
agitation over the Cuban question. The excitement
was so high that "toward evening without any pre-
concerted arrangement, a great mass meeting, presided
over by M. M. Cohen, was held in Lafayette Square.
The Daily Delta issued an extra which told of the for-
mation of a committee on Cuban Resolutions and the
election of honorary officers. News of a Cuban revo-
lution was discussed. A cannon was fired, the free
Cuban flag was waved and a parade was formed
marching down St. Charles Street to the tune of
Perhaps the most bizarre event, however, is report-
ed in the New Orleans Picayune on May 18, 1873.
Already sixty-nine years old, Cohen is involved in a
very serious legal charge, "conspiracy to assassinate"
the Occupation Governor, William Pitt Kellogg. As
told in the newspaper and related by John Edmond
Gonzalez: "On June 23d in the Parish Court House
of Jefferson, M. M. Cohen and C. R. Railey were
brought to trial on charges of a conspiracy to assassi-
nate Kellogg. The trial ended on June 27th with both
men declared not guilty. It was known that Railey
was the man who spoke to Kellogg; however, proof
was not available to convict Cohen as the man who
shot at the governor."'50
The final word in the story of M. M. Cohen is writ-
ten in an obituary notice which appeared in the New
Orleans Daily Picayune under the date February 24,
1887. The simple notice reads: "Cohen-On Wed.
February 23 at 10 A.M. M. M. Cohen aged 83 years,
a native of Charleston, S. C. and a resident of this
city for fifty years."
It is difficult to extricate or separate Cohen the
author and Cohen the man. Cohen the author was no
doubt the product of the man. Here was an educated,
a widely read, a scholarly man. That he, in all likeli-
hood, did not produce a scholarly book may be the
result of a combination of circumstances. First, he
was definitely a romanticist. He was under the spell,
perhaps, of his own English and Classical Seminary.
Then too, it would be well to bear in mind that Cohen
grew up in the romantic tradition of Charleston and
the Old South.
It appears also that Cohen tried to emulate the
celebrated and scientific William Bartram. It was his
avowed intention to bring back specimens or at least
to mention in his book, to quote from his Preface,
"themes connected with Topography, Philology, Geol-
ogy, Zoology, and other ologies." His flight into Phre-
nology and the chart on the Indian skulls is a case in
point (170). The brief 240 pages which he utilized
might have been better used had he not essayed the
difficult task of being all things to all people. With no
attempt to evaluate the content, Cohen was at once
general historian for all of Florida, commentator on
present-day (1836) Florida in general and St. Augus-
tine in particular, not to mention military strategist at
the lowest and highest level. Moreover, he saw him-
self as a military diarist, following in the footsteps but
avoiding some of the pitfalls of mighty Caesar (9).
It was a difficult task, and yet Cohen states somewhat
flamboyantly that the book was put together in about
one month's time.
Myer Cohen was obviously well educated. His book
is full of classical and literary allusions. He quotes
occasionally in Latin. Some of his high sounding
phrases would probably have sounded better in the
reading assignments of his seminary than as commen-
taries on Florida and the Campaigns. However, as
author, Cohen was merely playing one of the numer-
ous roles of his life. There were others: Cohen the
committeeman, the patriot, the barrister, the Admi-
ralty expert, the speaker at radical rallies, and, finally,
the man tried for deadly assault. Nonetheless, whether
from education, heritage, the Charleston tradition, or
whatever source, Myer M. Cohen always remembered
the role of gentleman.
It is well to bear in mind that Cohen was young.
This was a first book and one might look with a
modicum of charity on an initial effort. It was written
in an era when florid prose and ostentatious poetry
were in vogu, and the notes from which the book was
compiled were not originally assembled as material
for a book at all, but for an address or paper.
As for plagiarism, it appears that Cohen was rea-
sonably careful to recognize his sources. He credits
David Levy at some length with the substance of the
"talk" between Wiley Thompson, the Indian Agent,
and the Seminole chiefs, Osceola, Jumper, Micanopy,
and others (62). In another note he gives as his source
of information about the Dunlawton Plantation skir-
mish John C. Cleland, Adjutant, Second Brigade, Flor-
ida Militia (95). As for his citations to various refer-
ences on the early history of Florida, a valid com-
plaint would more than likely lie in the obscurity of
the author, or in Cohen's failure to use the initials of
the author or other useful means of identification.
One further characteristic is worthy of note. Cohen
dedicated both of his books to prominently placed
people. While this in itself is not unusual, the dedi-
cations were somewhat flowery. The Notices of Flor-
ida were dedicated to "John L. Wilson, Esq. (Ex-
Governor of South Carolina). As a [sic] humble
tribute to his distinguished public services, and emi-
nent worth as a legislator and jurist, this little book
is dedicated by, very respectfully. . ." The book Ad-
miralty Jurisdiction, an impressive tome, was "dedi-
cated to Paul Fourchey, Esq., President of the
Merchant's Insurance Company of New Orleans . .
whose knowledge of the theory and practice of in-
surance and maritime law is unsurpassed."
The naming of the various camp sites recorded in
the "Author's Journal" may also be further indication
that Cohen may not have been entirely unaware of
the subtle flattery of seeing one's name in print. That
it was not unusual at the time Cohen's book was writ-
ten to designate even temporary camps by name is
indicated by Jacob R. Motte.5- This author, a con-
temporary of Cohen's and a Charlestonian, also quoted
poetry frequently and enriched his narrative with
classical allusion and other relatively diversionary
Cohen frequently volunteered gratuitously his opin-
ions on all manner of subjects; i.e., slavery ("A vast
majority of our colored population are attached to
their owners from motives of gratitude and affection,
and neither ask nor seek for interference which can
do them no possible good" ), Indian motives
("With this promise, however, they [the Seminoles]
never complied. It was merely intended to delude the
whites with a show of friendly dispositions, when they
contemplated murder and rapine in their hearts"
), the disbanding of the St. Augustine militia
("The gentlemen of St. Augustine should feel no dis-
tinction between the Seminole who would destroy, and
the American who would disarm-and both should
be resisted unto death" ), and people ("I can
readily conceive the indignation that must have fired
the eye, flushed the cheek, and quivered on the lip of
the gentlemen of Florida, at the perusal of General
Scott's recent remarks in derogation of Floridian
valour" ). In his author's role he recorded "on
the impartial page" (224) what he observed. In typi-
cal soldier fashion he discussed and argued minor tac-
tics (219). And he praised throughout the "valour and
lofty honor" of the volunteers (219).
On the other hand, his outspoken critiques of the
high-ranking officers engaged in the campaign seem,
even if true, to be a bit presumptuous for a person of
extremely limited experience. Here again we see Cohen
the firebrand, Cohen the haranguer of rallies, Cohen
the violent disagree.
When all is said and done, M. M. Cohen was a re-
markable man. Should we be unduly critical if his
reach to some extent exceeded his grasp? This man
aspired to things. He probably deserves far better than
the paltry lines noting his death and the few extant
concerning his own eventful life.
I wish to express my sincere appreciation for the
helpfulness and consideration of Miss Audrey Brow-
ard, Reference Librarian, and the staff of the Jack-
sonville Public Library, who were of significant assist-
ance in this project. Mrs. Granville T. Prior, Secretary
of the South Carolina Historical Society, and Mar-
garet Ruckert, Head of the New Orleans Public Li-
brary, were also most helpful. The staff at the Library
of Congress, Washington, D. C., under the direction
of L. Quincy Munford, facilitated in every way my
With regard to information about the author,
Myer M. Cohen, my task would have been extremely
difficult without the support and assistance of Rabbi
Sidney Lefkowitz of Jacksonville. Through him I was
able to contact Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern, Genealogist
of the American Jewish Archives in Norfolk, and Dr.
Stanley F. Chyet, Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati.
To these gentlemen I am appreciative and indebted.
Special thanks are due John Ropp, artist of Jackson-
ville, for his map of the area. Finally, I wish to thank
Mrs. Peter Caribaltes, Jr., and Mrs. Eusebia Logue
for performing the tedious task of assembling the man-
uscript and index.
0. Z. TYLER, JR.
1. Jacob Rhett Motte, Journey into Wilderness, ed. James
F. Sunderman (Gainesville: University of Florida Press,
1953), p. 98, mentions the steamer Camden having on board
a detachment of troops.
2. Motte, pp. 278, 279, 288, names "Bulow," "Dunlawton,"
and "Spring Garden" (Bulow is now one of the Florida His-
torical Landmarks, just off Highway A1A near Flagler Beach).
"Ormond," "Darley," and "Dummett" are mentioned in Spra-
gue, p. 145.
3. John T. Sprague, The Origin, Progress, and Conclusion
of the Florida War (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1848),
p. 106: "Sixteen plantations in East Florida upon each of
which were employed from one to one hundred and fifty
negroes, with sugar mills, cotton gins, storehouses, and
dwellings, were completely destroyed within the month of
4. Sprague, p. 19n: "The privileges granted the Indians of
Florida, alternately by the English and Spanish governments,
had caused them to overrate their own importance. The most
violent passions were excited when advised, or in any way
interfered with by a white man, who in other words was
only an American."
5. Rembert W. Patrick, Florida Fiasco (Athens: University
of Georgia Press, 1954), passim.
6. Sprague, p. 19: "The loud and unceasing complaints of
citizens who were seeking homes in a newly acquired coun-
try, made it imperative upon the general government speed-
ily to adopt measures to dispossess the Indians, and confine
them to certain limits, in the hope of avoiding bloodshed,
which seemed inevitable from the virulence of feeling toward
the Indians, who were considered as undeserving of liberty,
7. Sprague, p. 72, reports of James D. Westcott, Jr., secre-
tary and acting governor of the territory, concerning Major
John Phagan (successor to Colonel Gad Humphries, agent) :
"Sir-On my visit to the agency, I regret to state, that I
discovered evidence of fraud and improper conduct on the
part of Major Phagan .... Phagan had paid subcontractors
less than the contracts specified and were receipted for, was
in default to some contractors, and was in debt to several
Indians and to Abraham, one of the interpreters.
8. Sprague, p. 20; the Treaty of Fort Moultrie (really
Moultrie Creek, five miles south of St. Augustine), Septem-
ber 18, 1823, moved the Indians within a certain territory in
Florida. See Cohen's map; also Sprague, p. 74. In the Treaty
of Payne's Landing, May 9, 1832, Indians agreed to removal
to lands west of the Mississippi. Later the Treaty of Fort
Gibson, March 28, 1833, obtained the agreement of certain
chiefs to the western lands. Sprague says, p. 95, "Upon a
careful examination, it will be found that the Treaty of Fort
Moultrie in 1821 [should be 1823] was the first act originat-
ing the Florida War. The Treaty of Payne's Landing in
1832, was the second, and the 'additional treaty' signed by the
delegation at Fort Gibson, was the immediate cause of the
9. Rembert W. Patrick, Aristocrat in Uniform (Gainesville:
University of Florida Press, 1964), p. 68: "Realizing the im-
portance that ownership of slaves gave to Georgians, Semi-
nole chiefs had also acquired Negroes for themselves."
10. Motte, notes 3 and 4, pp. 302-3.
11. Quoted in Motte, note 4, p. 304.
12. Quoted in Motte, note 4, p. 303.
13. Cohen, pp. 22-23; for another account see Patrick,
Aristocrat, pp. 27-36.
14. Sprague, p. 101: "As unimportant as the conflict was
believed to be, it cost the nation nineteen million four hun-
dred and eighty thousand dollars, exclusive of the expendi-
tures pertaining to the regular army." The Seminole War
lasted approximately from December 28, 1835, to August 14,
15. Sprague, pp. 115, 143, quoting Scott's testimony before
a Court of Inquiry convened at Frederick, Md., by the Presi-
dent of the United States, Andrew Jackson.
16. Sprague, p. 116.
17. Patrick, Aristocrat, p. 119.
18. Sprague, pp. 107 ff: Gaines had "six companies of the
4th U. S. Infantry under Lieutenant Colonel [David E.]
Twiggs and a regiment of Louisiana Volunteers commanded
by General P. F. Smith" (107).
19. Sprague, pp. 110 ff.
20. Sprague, p. 113; Patrick, Aristocrat, pp. 124. ff. This
was a somewhat odd procedure since Gaines and his troops
accompanied Clinch back to Fort Drane and did not depart
from there until the arrival of Scott on March 13. Gaines was
a major general, Clinch a brigadier. Patrick gives the date
of the turnover as March 9, the date of Gaines' order relin-
quishing command, which Cohen quotes in toto, p. 101.
21. Patrick, Aristocrat, p. 128.
22. Sprague, pp. 131, 138.
23. Sprague, p. 114.
24. Sprague, p. 112; 800 Indians and 170 Negroes were
25. Cohen, Preface; hereafter citations to the facsimile will
be by page number within parentheses in the text.
26. Patrick, Florida Fiasco, p. 2.
27. Ibid., p. 313.
28. Motte, note 18, p. 257: "The term Seminole ... was de-
rived from the Creek 'Isty-Semole,' which meant 'wild men,'
and was given to those groups of Indians who detached them-
selves from the Creek Confederacy ...."
29. See also Patrick, Aristocrat, p. 40.
30. Patrick does not mention Francis by name.
31. It is ironic that Andrew Jackson, old Indian fighter
against the Creeks and former governor of Florida, had in
1829 become President and was therefore in position to in-
fluence drastically the Indian policy.
32. Sprague, p. 92, gives the number as 200 regulars and
460 volunteers, and says that the "volunteers, under Gen.
C. K. [really Richard K.] Call, were spectators to this con-
flict across the river, excepting twenty-seven, who under
Col. Warren and Lieut. Col. Mills, dashed over in spite of
every obstacle, and by their firmness and activity rendered
33. Sprague, p. 114.
34. Sprague appears to be in error when he says, p. 113,
that Scott took the field on February 22 and continued opera-
tions until May 30, although operations did go on after his
35. Sprague, p. 137.
36. Sprague, p. 139.
37. Sprague, p. 137.
38. Sprague, pp. 114-15.
39. Sprague, pp. 136-43. For the reader's comparison with
Cohen's list, Scott gave as his reasons for failure: (1) the
"lateness of my order... and the short term of service of
the great body of troops"; (2) the "unexpected intrusion of
General Gaines"; (3) the "insufficient means of transporta-
tion"; (4) the "insufficient supply of hard bread and bacon
for marches"; (5) the "heat of the climate-badness of
water-sickness"; (6) the "forage and grazing"; (7) the
"roads [and] bridges"; (8) the "want of an auxiliary Indian
force"; (9) the "want of guides"; and (10) the "limited
time for active operations." Many of these-the lateness of
the order, Gaines' interference, lack of time, guides, and
supplies-Cohen blamed on the general government; others
he attributed to the "face of the country." It was natural
that Scott omitted some of the failures of command, such as
lack of coordination, positioning of depots, and underrating
the enemy, which were his responsibilities.
40. Kenneth W. Porter, "The Episode of Osceola's Wife,
Fact or Fiction?" Florida Historical Quarterly, XXVI (July,
41. T. Frederick Davis, "The Seminole Council, October
23-25, 1834," FHQ, VII (April, 1929), 334.
42. Barnett A. Elzas, The Jews of Charleston from the
Earliest Times to the Present Day (Philadelphia: J. B. Lip-
pincott Co., 1905), p. 205.
43. Malcolm H. Stern, Americans of Jewish Descent (Cin-
cinnati, 1960), p. 32. Both his grandfathers, Gershom Cohen
(1748-1802) and Myer Moses (1735-1787), are established
Revolutionary ancestors in the records of the Daughters of
the American Revolution.
44. Elzas, pp. 134, 189; see also List of Charleston South
Carolina Jews, 1824-1860, p. 168.
45. Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina), June
46. Elzas, p. 189.
47. M. M. Cohen, Admiralty Jurisdiction, Law and Prac-
tice (Boston: Soule and Bugbee, 1883).
48. "The Career of Henry Adams Bullard," Louisiana His-
torical Quarterly, XXII, 1143.
49. Chester Stanley Urban, "New Orleans and the Cuban
Question, 1849-1851," LHQ, XXIX (1946), 422.
50. John Edmond Gonzalez, "William Pitt Kellogg, Recon-
struction Governor of Louisiana," LHQ, XXIII, 1095.
51. Motte, note 1, p. 260.
Cie I tOa I
2 at c Et
Fubhishectby-D iJRGES &U
10 20 30 40 so
CwtvrdeAd llAvezlm/m c mda~b~ta wixhV
E nanzd- IV4-Kewsat (Yaaexton.S Wa.
- Ir- -------------1 ---
arsh rrGat athll R. B si
w,, esbo,. SIM c
ariark Z31Ei F
San pala RI
% .an ..1~l
ade Bat pka.
NOTICES OF FLORIDA
^ITIEIE V C& f3IF R(a M D
BY M. M. COHEN,
(AN OFFICER OF THE LEFT WING.)
"All may have, if they dare try,
A glorious life or grave."
CHARLESTON, S. C.
BURGES & HONOUR, 18 BROAD-STREET.
B. B. HUSSEY, 378 PEARL-STREET.
ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1836, by
BURGES & HONOUR, and M. M. COHEN, in the Clerk's Office of the
District Court of South-Carolina.
JOHN L. WILSON, Esq,
(Ex-Governor of South-Carolina,)
AS A HUMBLE TRIBUTE TO HIS DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC
SERVICES, AND EMINENT WORTH AS A LEGISLATOR
AND JURIST, THIS LITTLE BOOK IS DEDICATED
BY, VERY RESPECTFULLY,
O~r A FEw days after my arrival in Charleston from
Florida, (which was on the 18th of last month), a proposal
was made me for a work on that country, and the recent
campaign therein. To this I acceded, and commenced lit-
erary labours almost in the spirit with which I had entered
upon military operations, namely, a wild wish for adven-
ture, and a humble hope to be useful! All my written mate-
riel consisted in a few notes (mainly in pencil) which I had
taken, sometimes on horseback, and at others, supine on the
earth. At one moment I would write, reclining against a
tree, my desk being a cartridge-box or knapsack, borrowed
from one of the soldiers under my command: at the next, I
was scribbling under my rain-beaten tent, my pine torch
flaring in the wind, and my table a saddle, which served my
triple purposes as a rider, a writer, and a sleeper: sometimes
not writing for a week, at others, a week's writing lost on
the road, or wadded into a rifle, or wet with water higher
than my saddle bags. These hints were intended, not for
publication in a book, but merely as the basis of a contribu-
tion to "the South-Carolina Society for the Advancement of
Hlarning," or as hints towards a paper to be read before
"the Literary and Philosophical Society of Charleston." My
notes, therefore, were on themes connected with Topogra.
phy, Philology, Geology, Zoology, and other ologies, which
are the portions of the volume that (together with additions
and corrections of the Map) have cost me most time and
trouble. 'Twas only a few days before publishing, that I
discovered I would have to omit (fortunately for the readers,
"O! fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint") all, or nearly
all, I had worked out on these dull, yet difficult topics: for
we found that the "Historic Sketches," and the account of
the Campaign, would occupy as many pages as we had pro.
posed to print.
It will be seen that our book has been put to press in less
than thirty days from its being undertaken, and composed du-
ring frequent interruptions by varied and pressing affairs ;
for I had been called to Columbia in November by legisla-
tive duties, as a Representative of the good people of Charles-
ton. (I like to be civil when speaking of my constituents, es-
pecially as the period of re-election is approaching.) At
the seat of our State Government, I remained till late in
December, and crossed over, as is my wont, to eat my Christ-
mas turkey and drink my New.Year's draught with the
charming society of Augusta. A few days after my return
from Georgia, I embarked for Florida, and thus I have been
absent some six or seven months from my law office, and all
the other offices which home imposes. It will readily be con.
ceded then, as vraisemblable, that I had many avocations from
literary pursuits on my arrival. And beside business, the
warm-hearted hospitality of Charleston, to a returned son
of hers, is apt to unfit him (especially after dinner) for any
composition except the composing himself to sleep. And
this the more, if he be just from an Indian campaign, and
exchanges gopher for turtle, crocodile for drum-steaks,
(of drum-head I had in the army quantum suf. parched corn
for plum pudding, and pond-water for port-wine!
All the foregoing is by way of apology for the manifold
and manifest imperfections of the work, obvious even to the
purblind partiality of an author for his own book. For I
flatter, not myself that I am freer from the pride of paternity
than other parents, and fancy I shall be as much gratified
as they, if folks call my rickety bantling--"fine," "stout,"
"really pretty," and "very like the father!" I hope, at least,
that the reader will take my excuse for what it is worth-
though I don't know that it is worth much. He may say,
that Minerva sprang ready-armed from the brain of Jupi-
ter-yet this is a vastly different affair : for we do not read
that any book ever sprang ready-written from Minerva's
brain. And even if it were the same thing, or any book
had been so born, yet there are other differences between
that lady and myself, beside sex, (as must, by this time, be
evident to the reader.) Or he may ask, if I had not time
to carve or chisel a grace, why I did not snatch one; and
remind me that the Cartoons of Rafaelle, by their thought,
composition, expression and drawing, are as immortal as
the exquisitely finished elaborations of Corregio, with the
divine colouring and morbidezza of his flesh, his angelic
grace, and joyous airs of his figures and clair-obscure. The
remark may be very true, but 'tis not a case in point, seeing
that I am neither Rafa6lle or Corregio, but only, their ar-
dent admirer, and the public's obedient servant,
M. M. COHEN.
June 20th, 1836.
N. B.-The above is my Preface ; I'd have told you so
before, but fancied you'd find it out at last, and feared, had
you discovered it at first, you would pretermit the perusal
thereof, (prefaces being dull to a proverb) and thus have
lost the knowledge of many interesting and instructive facts,
such as where I eat my mince-pies, &c. Oh! what a dear
delightful valve for letting off egotism is a Preface! Yet the
reader hath this solace-that by how much the more I
"prate of my whereabouts" here, by so much the less shall
I play the egotist elsewhere.
CAESAR begins his celebrated Commentaries with the pas-
sage so familiar to the reader, that "all Gaul is divided into
three parts;" and we might, as truly, commence our historic
notices by declaring, that all Florida is divided into four
parts, Eastern, Middle, Western and Southern. But as, on
the one hand, we lay claim to no such soldiership as Ce-
sar's (modest fellow that we are!) so, on the other, we can-
not pretend to the stilted dignity which the Commentaries
contain. We scarce could find a title humble enough to ex-
press our estimate of our unpretending little book, and our
chapter on Bridges shall contain no such bug-bear to fu.
ture school boys as Caesar's was to us. Fair reader! (all
readers of one's own book are fair) if you have read our
Preface (which we greatly doubt, and do not strongly ad-
vise) you will deem it difficult for us to be serious enough
for History. "To prove the contrary," let the following
"be submitted to a candid world." (We like, you see, to
compare little things to great.)
HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA.
[Its Discovery-Exploration-interior penetrated by De Soto-its first Co-
lony-its occupation by different powers of Europe-Revolution-Gen.
Jackson and Captain Laval in 1814-Col. Clinch in 1816-Cession by
Spain to U. S.-Gen. Jackson and its succeeding Governors-present
condition of its Government-Religious Denominations-Judiciary--
Florida was discovered in 1497, by Sebastian Cabot, un-
der the English flag.
HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA.
Discovery and Exploration-Ponce de Leon.
Cabot, though the son of a Venetian, was born at Bristol.
He was engaged, with his father, by Henry VII. for the
discovery of a north-west passage to India, and after touch-
ing at Prima Vista and St. John's Island, they sailed as far
as Cape Florida before their return home. Succeeding voy-
ages completed the discoveries thus began, a settlement was
made on the coast of Newfoundland, and Sebastian, by be-
ing the first among Europeans who touched the new conti-
nent, established a claim to give his name to those unknown
regions as well as Americus Vespucius, or Columbus him.
self. Tho' Cabot was the discoverer of Florida, he did not
explore the country.
Ponce de Leon, a Spanish adventurer, was led by the fic-
tions of a Carib girl a few years after, to explore the country
in search of a fountain famed for renovating old age. (He
was not the first, nor will he be the last old gentleman to be
led up and down a bootless dance by the fascinations of the
fair.) Theodore Irving (on whom the elegant mantle of
his uncle has fallen, and by whom it is so gracefully worn)
observes, in his finished style, that those who are conver-
sant with the history of the Spanish discoveries will remem-
ber the chimerical cruise of the brave- old Governor of Porto
Rico. Ponce de Leon, in search of the fountain of youth.
This fabled fountain, according to Indian tradition, existed
in one of the Bahama Islands. Ponce de Leon sought after
it in vain, but in the course of his cruising discovered a coun-
try of vast and unknown extent, to which, from the abun-
dance cf flowers, and from its being first seen on Palm Sun-
day (Pasche Florida) he gave the name of Florida.
Obtaining permission from the Spanish government to
subjugate and govern this country, he made a second voy-
age to its shores, but was mortally wounded in a conflict
with the natives. Such was the fate of the first adventurer
into the wild regions of Florida, and he really seems to have
bequeathed his ill fortune to his successors. A few years
after his defeat, a captain of a carnaval, named Diego Mu-
richo, was driven to the coast of Florida by stress of wea-
ther, where he had obtained a small quantity of silver and
gold in traffic from the natives. With this ho returned, well
pleased to San Domingo, spreading the fame of the coun.
Discovery and Exploration-Pamphila de Narvaes.
try he had visited. About the same time a company of
seven wealthy men of San Domingo concerned in gold
mines, at the head of which was Licentiate Lucus Vasques de
Aylloa, auditor and judge of appeals of that Island, fitted
out two vessels to cruise among the islands to entrap In-
dians to work in the mines. In the course of this righteous
cruise the vessels were driven by stress of weather to a
cape on the east coast, to which they gave the name of
St. Helena. The country in the neighbourhood was called
Chicorea, and is the same now called South Carolina. Here
they anchored at the mouth of a river which they called the
Jordan, after the name of the sea captain, who discovered
it. It is the same now known by its Indian appellation, the
[We follow the general opinion, strengthened by the cir-
cumstance that the neighboring Sound and Island are still
called by the name of St. Helena. Herrera places Cape
St. Helena and the river Jordan in the thirty second degree
of latitude, which is that of Savannah river, vide Herrera,
D. V. 1 lib, x, c. 6.]
The natives hastened to the shores at sight of the ships,
which they mistook for huge sea-monsters; but when they
beheld men issue from them, with white complexions and
beards, and clad in raiment and shining armors, they fled in
terror. The poor Indians were kind and hospitable, brought
provisions to the ship, and made the strangers presents of
martin skins, pearls, and a small quantity of gold and silver.
The Spaniards gave them trinkets in return, and having com.
pleted their supplies of wood and water, and provisions, in-
vited their savage friends on board of the ships. The In-
dians eagerly accepted the invitation.
Florida was visited a few years after by Pamphila de
Narvaes-who was born at Valladolid, and came early to
America which was then just discovered-sailed in 1528
with 400 men intending to establish a colony in Florida, dis-
covered the bay of Pensacola, and having marched into the
country was never heard of more. Mr. Williams however
states that he landed without opposition in Appalachee bay;
and suffered himself to be decoyed into the heart of the coun-
try in search of gold. On a sudden he found himself en-
HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA.
Discovery and Exploration-Hernando de Soto.
compassed by hostile enemies, who making a desperate at-
tack, soon routed his forces with great slaughter. De Nar-
vaez died fighting, few of the Spaniards made good their
retreat to the vessels, and those were reduced to the neces-
sity of eating their companions, for want of other food.
His progress and cruelty were however traced by subse-
quent adventurers, especially by Ferdinand de Soto, who in
1539 disembarked an army in Spirito Santo Bay.
The talented writer to whom I have before alluded, (T.
Irving,) observes that never was the spirit of wild adven-
ture more universally diffused than at the dawn of the six-
teenth century. Of all the enterprises undertaken in this
spirit of daring adventure, none has surpassed for hardi-
hood and variety of incident, that of the renowned Hernan-
do de Soto and his band of cavaliers. It was poetry put in
action; it was the knight errantry of the old world carried
into the depths of the American wilderness; indeed the per-
sonal adventures, the feats of individual prowess, the pic-
turesque descriptions of steel clad cavaliers, with lance and
helm and prancing steed, glittering through the wilderness
of Florida, Georgia, and the prairies of the far west, would
seem to us mere fictions of romance, did they not come to
us recorded in matter of fact narratives of contemporaries,
and corroborated by minute and daily memoranda of eye
Hernando de Soto was of the old Spanish hidalguia, or
gentry, for we we are assured by one of his biographers
that "he was a gentleman by all four descents;" that is to
say, the parents both of his father and mother were of gen-
tle blood; a pedigree which, according to the rules of Span.
ish heraldry, entitled him to admission into the noble order of
Santiago. Whatever might be the dignity of his descent,
however, he began his career a mere soldier of fortune. All
his estate, says his Portuguese historian, was but a sword
and buckler. He accompanied Pedrarias Davila, when he
went to America to assume the command of Terra Firma.
The merits of De Soto soon gained him command of a
troop of horse; with these he followed Pizarro in his con-
querring expedition into Peru. Here he soon signalized
himself by a rare combination of prudence and valor, he
HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA.
CH. 1.] HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA. 13
De Soto's interview with Atahualpa, and return to Spain.
was excellent in council, yet foremost in every perilous ex-
ploit, not recklessly seeking danger for danger's sake, or
thro' a vain thirst for notoriety, but bravely putting every
thing at hazard where any important point was to be gained
by intrepidity. He was sent by Pizarro on the first embas-
sy to the renowned and ill fated Inca Atahualpa, whose
subjects, we are told, were filled with surprise and admira-
tion on beholding his wonderful feats of horsemanship. He
afterwards commanded one of the squadrons of horse that
captured this unfortunate Inca and routed his army of war-
Herrera, (Hist. Ind. Decad. v. 1. 3. c. 10,) says Her-
nanda de Soto sprang upon his horse, and aware that the
eyes of the Inca were upon him, he made his steed caracole,
and striking in his spurs, dashed up so near to the savage
prince, that he felt the very breath of the snorting animal.
The haughty Inca was as serene and unmoved as if he had
been accustomed all his life to the charge of a horse. Many
of the Indians, however, fled in terror. Atahualpa imme-
diately ordered the fugitives to appear before him, and
sternly reprehending them with their cowardice, ordered
them all to be put to death for having behaved so dastardly
in his royal presence.
Hernando de Soto returned to Spain enriched by the
spoils of the new world; his shares of the treasures of Ata-
hualpa, having amounted, it is said, to the enormous sum of
a hundred and eighty thousand crowns of gold. He now
assumed great state and equipage, and appeared at the
court of the Emperor Charles V. at Valladolid, in magnifi-
cent style, having his steward, his major domo, his master
of the horse, his pages, lacqueys, and all the other household
officers that in those ostentatious days, swelled the retinue
of a Spanish tnobleman. He was accompanied by a knot
of brave cavaliers, all evidently bent on pushing their for-
tunes at court. Some of them had been his brothers in
arms in the conquest of Peru, and had returned with their
purses well filled with Peruvian gold, which they expended
in soldierlike style, on horses, arms, and "rich array." In
the magnificent spirit of a Spanish cavalier, he asked per.
mission of the Emperor to undertake the conquest of Flo.
De Soto sails from Havana, and lands at Tampa Bay.
rida at his own expense and risk. This prayer was readily
granted. The Emperor conferred on him in advance, the
title of Adelantado, which combines military and civil com-
mand, and a Marquesite, with an estate thirty leagues in
length and fifteen in breadth, in any part of the country he
might discover. He moreover created him Governor and
Captain General for life of Florida, as well as of the Island
On the 12th May, 1539, Hernando de Soto sailed from
Havana, on his great enterprise. His squadron consist-
ed of eight large vessels, a caravel and two brigantines, all
freighted with ample means of conquest and colonization.
In addition to the forces brought from Spain, he had been
joined by many volunteers and recruits in Cuba, (volunteer-
ing being then, as now, the order of the day,)'so that his ar-
mament, besides the ships' crews, amounted to a thousand
men, and there were three hundred and fifty horses. It was
altogether the most splendid expedition that had yet set out
for the new world. On Wlitsunday, the twenty fifth day of
May, they arrived at the mouth of a deep bay, to which in
honor of the day, De Soto gave the name of Espiritu San-
to, which it still retains in some measure, and on some maps,
altho' it is only spoken of by our fellow-campaigners as
Tampa Bay, its more modern and frequent appellation.
A boat was sent on shore to procure grass for the horses.
The sailors brought off also, a quantity of green grapes, re-
sembling those of Spain, which had been found growing
wild in the woods. They were of a kind different from any
that the Spaniards had seen, either in Mexico or Peru, and
they regarded them with exultation as proofs of a fruitful
and pleasant country.
At length, on the last day of the month, a detachment of
three hundred soldiers were landed, and took formal posses-
sion of the country, in the name of Charles V. Not a single
Indian was to be seen, and the troops remained all night on
shore, in a state of careless security. Towards the dawn
of day, however, an immense number of savages broke sud.
denly upon them with deafening yells; several of the Span.
iards were wounded with arrows, and many were seized
HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA.
Marches through the interior-dies-succeeded by Moscoso.
De Soto marched through the interior, warred against by
the Indians, and himself and many of his troop wasted by
difficulty and disease, and, after turning his steps towards
the Mississippi, died at the end of three years, near the
mouth of the Red River. Mr. Irving, whom I have already
cited, remarks, that thus died Hernando de Soto; one of the
boldest, and the bravest of the many brave leaders who fig-
ured in the first discoveries, and distinguished themselves
in the wild warfare of the Western world. How proud and
promising had been the commencement of his career! how
humble and hapless its close! cut off in the very vigor and
manhood of his days, for he was but forty-two years old
when he expired; perishing in a strange and savage land,
amid the din and tumult of a camp, and with merely a few
rough soldiers to attend him; for nearly all were engaged in
the preparations making for their escape in this perilous
Of the Spaniards who survived him, we will only add,
that, under Louis de Moscoso, whom de Soto had nominal.
ted to succeed him in authority, they commenced their march
to the westward-there received vague tidings of Euro-
peans-wandered in a wilderness and found themselves in
the hunting ground of the far West-commenced building
brigantines and embarked on the Mississippi-continued
the voyage down the river-foind themselves in the territo-
ry of Mexico, and were joyfully received at the town of Pa.
nuco. There the Corregidor took Moscoso into his house,
as a guest; and his followers were quartered among the in-
habitants, who were touched with pity at beholding this for-
lorn remnant of the gallant armament that had created such
a noise on its outset from Cuba, The survivors in fact were
blackened, haggard, shrivelled and half naked-being clad
only with the skins of deer, buffidoes, bears and other ani.
rnals, so that (says the Spanish historian) they looked more
like wild beasts than human beings. They then proceeded
to the city of Mexico where some accepted appointments
under the viceroy for a future visit to Florida, but most of
them shrunk from revisiting a country where they had suffer.
ed such hardships, which reluctance prevails in 1836. Some
returned to Spain; others entered into the Priesthood-4
HISTORIC SEETCH OF FLORIDA.
First Colony planted-St. Augustine built.
few remained in New Spain, but the greatest number went
to seek their fortunes in Peru.
Mr. Williams, however, states that the Spaniards, with-
out a leader, could not long sustain a warlike attitude; they
retired to the coast of the Appalachee bay; where they,
for some time, sustained themselves by hunting and fishing;
at length they were, by necessity, reduced to manual la-
bour. The country was fertile, self preservation obliged
them to treat the natives with respect, and they, of course,
became friendly. The impression made on them by Soto,
paved the way for conciliatory feelings: success and pros-
perity were the consequence; the Spanish population soon
spread over the fine country betwixt the Oclockney and Su-
wannee rivers; and by intermarriages, and good example,
they induced many of the natives to adopt the arts of civil-
ized life. Wholly lost to, or neglected by the mother coun.
try, they grew up in the wilderness of Florida, planted
towns, extended highways, and built fortifications, whose
ruins still cover the country. Becoming effiminate, they at
length fell a prey to the Seminoles, Moscogees, and other
northern tribes, perhaps one hundred and thirty years ago.
The first colony in Florida was planted by Ribault, a
Frenchman, in 1562, near the mouth of the river St. John,
but these Protestants of France, who had fled from persecu-
tions in Europe, were exterminated by Menendez in 1564.
Dominique de Gorgues, in 1568, revenged the Protestants
and hung the murderers on the same branches from which
depended the bleached skeletons of his copatriots.
In 1565, St. Augustine was built, and is the oldest town
on the continent of North America, except the Mexican set.
elements. Sir Francis Drake in 1586 pillaged the town, as
did the Indians in 1611, and Capt. Davis, in the piratical
spirit of the times, once more desolated the place. In the
year 1702, Gov. Moore, of South-Carolina, as is stated by Dr.
Ramsay, (one of the first and best of American Histo-
rians) conducted an expedition against St. Augustine, the
capital of Florida. This consisted of six hundred militia
men, and an equal number of Indians. The enterprise be-
ing without any proper naval support, was abandoned, on
the appearance of a small Spanish marine force, in the
HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA.
Occupation by different powers-Gen. Oglethorpe's Expedition.
vicinity of St. Augustine. Though it was abortive, and
of short duration, it cost the infant colony six thousand
pounds sterling. From this period till the peace of Paris,
1763, the Spaniards planned sundry expeditions, for the re-
covery of South Carolina and Georgia, both of which they
claimed as belonging to Florida. These were thrice retort.
ed against St. Augustine and Florida; but in every instance,
and on both sides, proved abortive as to conquest, or settle-
ment of boundary. They produced an immensity of indi-
vidual distress, without any national benefit.
From Lawson's Voyage to Carolina, printed in the early
part of the 18th century, the following is extracted.
"They have a well disciplined militia; their horse are
most gentlemen, and well mounted, and the best in Ameri.
ca, and may equalize any in other parts: their officers,
both infantry and cavalry, generally appear in scarlet
mountings, and as rich as in most regiments belonging to the
crown, which shows the richness and grandeur of this colo-
ny. They are a frontier, and prove such troublesome
neighbours to the Spaniards, that they have once laid their
town of St. Augustine in ashes, and drove away their cattle,
besides many engagements, in which they have defeated
them, too tedious to relate here."
It may not be uninteresting to the reader to be reminded
that Lawson died by the hands of the savages, of whom
he entertained a too favorable opinion, and who, in revenge
for pretended injuries, roasted him alive, as is narrated in
Catesby's Natural History.
In 1740, Gen. Oglethorpe, with a large force from Sa-
vannah, was repulsed. Gen. 0. (at once a hero, states-
man, orator, the patron of letters, the chosen friend of Pe.
terborough, Marlboro', Eugene and Argyle, and the theme
of praise for Johnson, Pope and Thomson) found his
plans of improvement for his colony of Georgia (one of
which was the introduction of the Olive) frustrated by the
alarm of Spanish and Indian wars. The benign legislator
and magistrate, who had rivalled Penn in the arts of peace
and in acts of mercy, then resumed at once the habits of
his youth, and approved himself the hardy, daring and ad-
venturous soldier. By his unwearied activity, and the ex-
HISTORIC SKETCH OF-FLORIPAO
Act of Assembly of South-Carolina in 1742.
ample of his personal courage, not less than by his military
skill and enterprise, in the laborious Southern campaign of
1740 and 1742, he repelled the inroads of a far superior
enemy, who threatened the subjugation of Georgia, and the
devastation of the Carolinas.
In the month of June (1742) the new colony of Georgia
was invaded by an armament from St. Augustine, com-
manded by Don Manuel de Monteano, Governor of that
fortress. It consisted of thirty-six ships, from which 4000
men were landed at St. Simons', and began their march to
Frederica. Gen. Oglethorpe, with a handful of men, took
such wise precautions for opposing their progress, and har-
assing them; they met with such activity and resolution,
that after two of their detachments had been defeated, they
retired to their ships, and totally abandoned their enter
On the 10th day of July, 1742, an Act of Assembly was
passed in South-Carolina, "for the immediate relief of the
Colony of Georgia, and for the defence of this Province."
The preamble recites, that Whereas a considerable body
of Spanish troops are already actually landed in the Colony
of Georgia, and a large fleet of Spanish ships and vessels
are hovering upon these coasts, so that there is an absolute
necessity, with all possible expedition, to fit out ships and
raise a number of forces sufficient (with the divine assis-
tance) to repel his Majesty's enemies, and to contribute the
utmost of our power to the defence of the Colony of Geor.
gia and this Province. And whereas, it is impracticable in
the time of immediate danger, to levy a sufficient sum by
taxes on the inhabitants, to answer the purposes aforesaid.
And whereas, nothing but the apparent and inevitable ruin
Smollet's England, reign of George 2d.
The history of this campaign, and that of the preceding one, is given in
a much more detailed manner in M'Call's History of Georgia, and in Dr.
Trumbull's History of the United States. For a very flattering and elo-
quent sketch of Gen. Oglethorpe, see a discourse before the N. Y Historic
Society, by the polished and learned Mr. Verplanck, a chief of that ele-
gant and enlightened literary coterie, which has accomplished more tow-
ards conferring on New-York the enduring renown of being "the great
city," than all her wealth, population, industry and enterprise, great as
these undoubtedly are. Mr. Verplanck is but one of the many Roscoes of
this American Liverpool.
HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA.
CH. 1.] HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA.
St. Augustine Evacuated-Pensacola Founded.
with which these Colonies are immediately threatened,
could have induced us to engage in measures which have
met with his Majesty's approbation. We humbly hope for
and implore his Majesty's royal favour and indulgence in
this great exigency, and therefore pray his most sacred
Majesty, that it may be enacted: And be it enacted by the
Hon. William Bull, Esq., Lieutenant Governor and Com-
mander-in-chief, in and over this Province, by and with the
advice and consent of his Majesty's Honorable Council,
and the Commons House of Assembly of this Province,
and by the authority of the same." The act then proceeds
to direct Commissioners hereinafter named, to procure two
sets of orders to be stamped equal to the sum of 63,000
current money of the Province: these orders to be delivered
to the public Treasurer, to be paid to the Commissary-
General, Captains, and other officers employed in the ser-
vice aforesaid. The act further directs muster rolls to be
kept of the men to be employed in the service, and that the
orders should be applied solely to defray the charges of the
assistance intended to be given to the Colony of Georgia,
and for the defence of this Province.*
St. Augustine was evacuated by the Spaniards in 1763,
and the peace of Paris, of that year, gave the Floridas to
Great Britain, and it greatly improved ?till 1784, when it
again reverted to Spain. During its occupancy by the
Spaniards, neglect and consequent decay attended it, and at
the period of the cession to the United States, its appearance
was ruinous and unprepossessing.
Pensacola was founded previous to 1696; was in that
year taken from the French by Riola, and in 1699 Mon.
See also the report of the committee of both Houses of Assembly of
South-Carolina, on the disappointment of the expedition to St. Augustine,
under the command of Gen. Oglethorpe, 1 vol. folio. Charleston, 1742.
We regret that our limits do not permit us to extract from this and
other articles, in connection with this volume; but our regret is greatly
diminished by perceiving, as we do with pleasure, that B. R. Carroll,
Esq. (the highly intelligent and able Editor of the Southern Agricul-
turist) is preparing for publication an edition of rare and valua-
ble works, embracing a full and authentic account of the early history of
South-Carolina. Mr. Carroll intends prefacing the edition with an Intro-
ductory Discourse from his own pen, embracing an exact account of the
early Spanish, French, and English voyages to Florida. In such hands,
such a work will be truly interesting,
Revolution-Col. Nichol's Expedition-
sieur D'Iberville failed in his attempt to retake it. In 1719,
it was three times captured and recaptured, and at length
retained by France, but in 1722, was restored to Spain.
In consequence of the revolution which had broken out
in the northern district of Florida, an Act of Congress was
passed in the year 1810, under which Gen. Mathewes was
authorized by the Executive to proceed to the frontiers of
Georgia, to accept possession of East Vlorida from the lo-
cal authorities, or to take it against the attempt of a foreign
power to occupy it; holding it, in either case, subject to fu-
ture and friendly negotiation. The government of St. Au-
gustine becoming alarmed, appealed to the British Ministry
at WVshington, who expostulated with Mr. Monroe, then
Secretary of State. Gen. Mathewes, taking possession of
Amelia and other parts of East Florida, was officially
blamed, and his commission revoked in 1812, and the Gov-
ernor of Georgia was commissioned in his place, in conse-
qnence of Gen. Mathewes having employed the troops of
the United States to dispossess the Spanish authority by
The revolution commenced in March, 1812, and spread
desolation over the Province; and on the 6th March, 1813,
the assailants were withdrawn, and Fernandina restored to
the Spanish authorities. In August of the same year, hos-
tilitiesrecommenced, and the insurgents captured and retain-
ed the territory lying to the West and North of St. John's
In the month of August, 1814, Col. Nichols brought into
th.e Bay of Perisacola, a British fleet, from which he manned
the forts of Banrancas and St. Michael with troops, and
hoisted the British flag. On the 31st, he published a pro.
clamation, dated at Head Quarters, Pensacola, in which he
calls on the people of Louisiana and Kentucky to join his
standard, and release themselves from the slavish yoke of
the United States. The Indians were abundantly furnished
with arms and ammunition, and commissioned to butcher
the defenceless inhabitants of the frontier States. Ten dol-
lars a piece were offered for the scalps of men, women, or
On the 6th of November, General Jackson, with five
HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA*
CH. 1.] HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA.
Gen. Jackson storms forts St. Bernard and St. Michael.
thousand Tennessee militia, and a considerable Indian
force, arrived in the neighbourhood of Pensacola, and sent
Major Pierre with a flag, to inform Governor Marequez of
the object of his visit. On approaching one of the fortifi-
cations, the flag was fired on by the cannon of the fort, on
which the Major returned. General Jackson, with the Ad.
jutant General and a small escort, immediately reconnoi-
tred the fort, and found it manned with British and Spanish
soldiers. He returned, encamped for the night, and
prepared to carry the town by storm. On the morn-
ing of the 7th, he marched with the regulars of the
third, thirty-ninth, and forty-fourth infantry, part of General
Coffee's brigade, the Mississippi dragoons, part of the West
Tennessee regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel
Hammond, and part of the Choctaws, commanded by Major
Blue, of the thirty-ninth, and Major Kennedy, of the Missis-
Jackson had encamped on the north side of the town, on
the Blakely road, which passed by the forts St. Bernard
and St. Michael. The British naturally supposed, that the
attack would be made from that quarter, and were prepared
to rake the road with their batteries. To cherish this idea,
a part of the mounted men were ordered to shew themselves
in that direction, while the army marched past the rear
of the forts, to the east of the town, undiscovered, 'till within
a mile of the streets. They were now fully exposed to Fort
St. Michael on the right, and seven armed vessels on the
left; several block houses and batteries of cannon defended
the streets. They, however, marched into the town with
perfect firmness, and with trifling loss. As the centre col-
umn, composed of the regulars, entered, a battery of two
cannon was opened on it, with ball and grape, and a show-
er of musketry from the houses and fences. They had
made but three fires, when the battery was stormed by Capt.
Mr. Williams, in his excellent views of West Florida, says: "This
promising officer was killed in the act of storming the battery." We state
with great gratification, and we are quite sure Mr W. will learn with no
less pleasure, that the gallant Laval is at this present writing, perfectly
alive. He has this day told us so himself, and being a high and honorable
gentleman, it would be cruel to doubt him. After having filled many im-
22 HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA. [CH. 1.
Gen. Gaines and Col. Clinch in 1816.
The ffte of the regulars soon silenced the musketry.
The principal fortifications of the harbour being destroyed at
Pensacola, Gen. Jackson evacuated the town, after holding
possession only two days.
The Spaniards immediately commenced rebuilding the
fortifications at Barrancas, in which Nicholls proffered his
assistance, but the Governor answered him, that when he
needed any assistance, he would call on his friend Gen.
Jackson. The whole conduct of the General, says Wil-
liams, appears to have been satisfactory to the Spaniards.
At parting, he notified them, if any injury had been done to
private property, to draw on him for payment: no demands
About the 1st of August, Col. Clinch received advice from
Gen. Gaines, that he had ordered a supply of provisions,
two eighteen pounders, a five inch howitzer, and a quantity
of ordnance stores, to ascend the Apalachicola river to
Camp Crawford; and in case any opposition should be made
by the negro fort, he was instructed to reduce it. He im.
mediately despatched Laborka, an Indian Chief, to the bay,
for intelligence. He returned on the 15th, with news of the
arrival of Lieutenant Loomis in the bay, with two gun ves-
sels, and two transports, laden with provisions, ordnance,
stores, &c. On the 17th, the Colonel ascended the river
with one hundred and sixteen chosen men, in two compa,
nies, the one commanded by Major Muhlenburg, and the
other by Captain Taylor. On the same evening, he was
joined by Major M'Intosh, with onerhundred and fifty In-
dians; and the next day, by Captain Isaacs and Mad Tyger,
with a large body of Indians badly armed. The meeting
was accidental; the Ind.Jan wre on a long projected ex.
pedaition against the negroes, with an intention of restoring
them to their owners.? A council was held, and an agree-
ment entered into respecting the campaign. The Indians
were ordered to keep parties in advance, and secure every
negro that could be found. The Indians demanded a sur-
portant appointments by the United States and this State, he is now Comp-
troller General of South-Carolina; and we trust he will live to a green old
age, to gladden his many friends with his presence, and to benefit his coun-
try, as he has already often done, by his very valuable services.
CH. 1.] HISTORIC SKETCH OF PLORIDA.
Indian and Negro Disturbances.
render of the forts, but were treated with great contempt by
the negroes, who hoisted a red flag, with the English jack
over it. On the 26th, they arrived within four miles of the
fort, and the Colonel (Clinch) went on board the gun boat
149. After reconnoitering the river in company with the
commander of the boat, he ordered Major Muhlenberg and
Captain Taylor to cross over to the west side of the river
with their companies, to erect a battery; while Lieutenant
M. Garrick, with a party of men, and the main body of In-
dians, were left to secure the rear. The battery was imme-
diately commenced; the vessels were ordered up, and the
transport Similante was directed to be in readiness to land
the artillery under cover of the night. At 6 in the morn-
ing, the two gun boats sailed up in handsome style, and
made fast near the battery. In a few minutes after, they
received a shot from a 32 pounder; it was immediately
returned in a gallant manner. On the 5th discharge, a hot
shot from gun boat No. 154, entered the magazine, and
blew up the fort. The explosion was awful, and the scene
horrible beyond description. The fort contained about one
hundred men, and two hundred women and children: not
more than one sixth part were saved. The cries of the
wounded, and the yells of the Indians, rendered the confusion
The property taken and destroyed, amounted to two
hundred thousand dollars. Three thousand stand of arms,
and six hundred barrels of powder, were destroyed: one
magazine, containing one hundred and sixty-three barrels
of powder, was saved. The negro force had been rapidly
increasing from runaways; their fields extended fifty miles
up the river. The Choctaw Chief, and the negro comman-
dant, named Garcon, were put to death by the Indians.
On the 30th, the ordnance and stores were sent to Camp
Crawford,in small boats. On the 1st of September, Col.
Clinch received notice that a large Seminole force was de-
scending the river to attack him. He immediately placed
himself in a position to receive them, but they dispersed
without making an attack, or even showing themselves.
The republic of Florida, as it was called, fell into a state
of anarchy, and so remained till August, 1816. At that
Clarke and Bell's complimentary notices of the Floridians.
period, preparations were making on the Maine for a de-
scent on Fernandina. Governor Coppinger, who had late-
ly received the command of the province, authorized a plan
of reconciliation and restoration to order, which plan was
proposed by George I. F. Clarke, Esq., Surveyor General
of East Florida, and Lieutenant Governor of the Northern
district of that province, while under the dominion of Spain.
Mr. Clarke tendered the people a distribution of all the ter-
ritory lying between St. John's river and St. Mary's, into
three districts, to be called Nassau, Upper and Lower St.
Mary's.. A Magistrate's Court, and a company of militia
in each; elections of officers from the mass of the people of
each, &c.; and oblivion of the past.
These proposals were received with general satisfaction,
and in a few hours, a territory, containing, as it is said, about
one-half of the then population of East Florida, was brought
I can readily conceive the indignation that must have
fired the eye, flushed the cheek, and quivered on the lip, of
the gentlemen of Florida, at the perusal of Gen. Scott's re-
cent remarks in derogation of Floridian valour. And as an
act of justice to the citizens of that territory, as well as in
continuation of our historic sketch, we here cite the re-
marks of Mr. Clarke, (to whom we heretofore referred)
which stand out in bright contrast to those of Gen. Scott.
"Where but in this meritorious division can it be said, that
any part of, or the whole physical force, of three districts,
have never failed to meet, at the earliest notice, and that
cheerfully, to execute any orders given, armed, mounted,
and victualled, each at his own expense, and without any
pay? A people, 27 of whom sought for, gave battle to, and
drove from the field above 100 of M'Gregor's men, in a
body, commanded by Irvin, in sight of their own quarters,
without losing one drop of blood."
Capt. Peter Bell, Secretary of the province in 1821, in a
letter from St. Augustine, calls the Floridians a virtuous
and industrious people, and adds, that "the time is not far
distant, when, under the favoring influence of the American
Constitution, the virtues of the ancient inhabitants and pro.
prietors of Florida will be duly appreciated."
HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA.
CH. 1.] HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA. 25
Cession of Florida to the U. S.-Gen. Jackson appointed Governor.
A treaty of amity, settlement, and limits, was at length
concluded between his Catholic Majesty and the United
States, by which the two Floridas and the adjacent Islands
were ceded to the latter. West Florida then extended
westwardly to the Apalachicola river. The exchange of
flags under this treaty, took place on the 17th of June, 1821,
when Gen. Jackson was appointed Governor of the Flori.
das, with very ample legislative, judicial, and executive
Governor Jackson removed the dividing line between East
and West Florida, from the Apalachicola to the Suwanee
river, thus rendering them more equal in size, and esta-
blished in each, courts with civil and criminal jurisdiction.
At the same time, he published several ordinances for their
direction in the distribution of public justice. We extract
the -following from a pamphlet, published by W. Riley,
Charleston, 1822; and attributed to my esteemed acquaint-
ance, Col. James Gadsden, who is distinguished, not only
for the possession of much valuable knowledge, but also by
the kind alacrity wherewith he communicates it.
"On the reduction of the army in 1821, General Jackson
was gratified with the opportunity of retiring from it; but the
President again demanded his services in the capacity of
Governor of Florida, then recently ceded to the United
States. General Jackson accepted the appointment, with
the understanding that he might retire as soon as the Gov.
ernment was organized. Aware that he had a most ar-
duous duty to perform; invested by an act of Congress, with
all the powers of the Spanish Governor, and Captain Gene-
ral of Cuba; he exercised his prerogatives in behalf of the
best interests of the new acquired territory, and uniformly
in protection of the rights of our adopted citizens. By the
stipulations of the treaty, all papers relating to the sover-
eignty, and the property of the Province, were to be deliv-
ered up to the American authorities. Some of the most
important, however, relating to property, were withheld (for
what motives it is unimportant to inquire) by the former
Governor, who, fortunately for the United States and her
citizens, had not yet removed from the territory. On the
knowledge of the facts, Governor Jackson demanded their
26 HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA. [cH. 1.
Retirement of Gen. Jackson-His Successors.
surrender, and being positively refused, resorted to such
measures as the case seemed imperiously to demand. The
papers were taken possession of both at Pensacola and St.
Augustine, and filed among the public archives of the
territory; while the former Governor, Calava, of West Flo-
rida, who had been summoned before General Jackson, then
acting in capacity of Supreme Judge, displayed so much
indecorum in his presence, as to compel the General in
support of his public authority, to remand him to gaol for
contempt of Court. After a few hours confinement, during
which he was treated with becoming respect by the police
officer of the day, Calava was dismissed, and by this arrest,
respect for public authority was supported, and the rights
of the citizens and territory maintained.
"Since the commissioners for adjusting land claims in Flo-
rida have met, it has been discovered that the papers seized
by General Jackson were of the most essential value. With-
out them the grantees of land would have been deprived of
all evidence of their claims, and the United States defraud-
ed, in some cases, of immense districts of country, and left
with little more under the cession from Spain, than the sov-
ereignty of Florida. Having organized the government of
Florida, General Jackson again sought on his farm the re-
tirement of private life."
On the 30th of March, 1822, Congress passed an act,
creating into a territory the two Floridas, and his Excel-
lency Wm. P. Duval was appointed Governor. He, was
succeeded by John H. Eaton, in 1834, who, in 1836 being
made minister to Spain, was succeeded by Gov. Call.
Present and contemplated improvements in this section.-
First, is the Rail Road between Tallahassee and St. Marks
actually commenced. Second, two steam boat companies
have joined in order to transport passengers by a speedy
and cheap conveyance from New-York to New Orleans via
Jacksoaille, for the contemplation of which object, a Rail
Road is to be cut from Jacksonville to a fort on the Gulph,
near Vacassar Bay. A third is a contemplated Rail Road
trom Pensacola to Columbus, in Georgia. A more feasible
one although distant, is a Rail Road from Jacksonville, 270
miles, through Tallahassee westward, to the Choctawhochie-
CH. 1.] HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA.
Condition and Government of Florida.
river. It is also contl mpla..1 to clear the shoals in the
Chattahouchie river, which impede the navigation in sum-
mer to Columbus, and lastly, a canal from the Chipola, to
connect the Apalachicola river with St. Andrews Bay, is
still spoken of, alt'iou h for the present suspended until a
more favorable romeiit.
PRESENT CONDITION OF FLORIDA.
Government.-The present Governor of Florida is J. K.
Call-Salary 2 5t0. Secretary, G0o. K. Walker-1,500.
The Governors of Florida are appointed by the Presi-
dent of the United States, with the consent of the Senate--
for three years.
Religious Denominations.-The Episcopalans have four
ministers; the Presbyterians 2; the Methodists 2; the Ro-
man Catholics, 2;
Newspapers.-There are 7 newspapers published in Flo-
rida-1 at Augustine, I at Jacksonville, 2 at Tallahassee,
1 at Pensacola, 1 at Appalachicola, and 1 at Key-West.*
Judges. Salary Attorneys. Marshalls.
W. F. J. A. Cameron, $1800 Geo. A Walker. J. W. Evans.
M. F. Th. Randall, J. D. Westcott, T. E. Randolph.
E. F. Robt. Reid, Th. Douglass, S. Blair.
S. F. Is. Webb, I 2,300 | Wm. Marvin, T. IH. Eastin.
The territory now comprises 19 counties; and the coun-
ty courts consist of the Judges of the respective counties;
and they have a limited civil jurisdiction in all matters re-'
*Another paper is about to b sleali.,h 1 at St. Augustine, by one of the
gallant Volunt' -rs to Florida, of whom the talented editor of the Columbia
Telescope, (a most judicious jodge on most subjects) expresses the follow-
ing opinion, in which we cordi ily concur:
The Florida ftlelligencer.-In giving a place in our columns to the pros-
poemtus of the paper, which Mr. Cocke is about to establish in St. Augustine,
we are bound to add our testimony in fivor of the zeal and fidelity with
which the fo.nmer ediio.ial career of that gentleman, assures us he will
perform the duty which h- u idertakes, both as to the immediate communi-
ty of which ha be,.om's a member, and as to that part of the public else-
where who may d-Air, the earliest and most authentic information of what
passes in the existing se-at of war. Mr. Cocke, let him fix himself where
1p may, is sure to be, as a citizen, the zealous and loval defender of the
community in which he cats his lot-a friend every where, of the people
against power-a guardian of th public rights, equally vigilant, indep:n-
dent and fearl,-ss.
HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA.
lating to estates, testate and intestate, and to guardians,
wards, and orphans and their estates.
The stated sessions of the District Superior Court are Leld
on the first Monday in May and November; in the Western
District, at Pensacola; and in the Southern at Key West.
A court of Appeals composed of the Judges of the Superior
Courts holds one session annually at Tallahassee, commenc-
ing on the first Monday in January; the decision of which is
final when the amount in controversy does not exceed $1000.
Education.-No system of education is yet matured and
no funds are realized for the use of common schools. Two
townships of land, consisting of 46,080 acres have been re-
served by Congress for the Territory, which are as yet un-
available, but it is expected they will eventually produce a
sufficient fund for founding a College. Besides these lands,
each county is entitled by act of Congress to the 16th sec-
tion, or 640 acres in every township of 23,040 acres for the
use of common schools.
Table of the Counties-their location-their population-their Towns, and
the distances of those Towns from Tallahassee and Washington.
Counties and their locations. Pop'n. C'y. Towns. fm Distance.
Escambia, N. W. 3386 IPensacola. I 242 1050
West Jackson, Mariana. 77 927
West Walton, W 6092 lAlaqua. 161 1011
Florida. Washington. Holmes' valley 121 971
Franklin, J Fort Gadsden.
Gadsden, N. W. 4894 Quincy. 23 873
Hamilton, N. W. 553" Miccotown. 70 995
Middle Columbia. Tolosa.
Florida. Jefferson, N. W. 3312 Monticello. 29 925
Leon, N. W. 6493 TALLAHASSEE. 896
Madison, 525 Hickstown. 45 941
t I Duvall, N. E. 1970 Jacksonville. 252 801
East Mosquito, 733 Tomoka.
Florida. Nassau, N. E. 1511 Fernandina. 313 776
(St. John's, E. 2535 St. Augustine. 292 841
South Monroe, S. W. 517 Key West. 455
Florida. Dade, S. E. Indian Key.
Total, 34723-of whom 15,510 are slaves.
Banks.-Central Bank of Florida. at Tallahassee; Com-
mercial Bank, at Apalachicola; Florida Bank, at Talla-
CH. 1.] HISTORIC SKETCH OF FLORIDA.
hassee, Merchants Bank, at Magnolia; Pensacola Bank, at
Pensacola; Apalachicola Bank, at A palachicola.
The Union Bank of Florida was chartered in 1833-
commenced operations January 15th, 1835, with a capital
of one million, and with the privilege of increasing it to
$3,000,000-which capital shall be raised by means of a loan
on the faith of the Territory, by the Directors of the Bank.
Stockholders are to be owners of real estate in the Territo-
ry, and bonds and mortgages given upon their real estate,
to ensure their subscriptions. Holders are entitled to dam-
ages at the rate of 10 per cent. per annum, should the Bank
The charter of the Southern Life Insurance and Trust
Company of St. Augustine, (E. F.) was confirmed by the
Territorial Government in the winter of 1835. The books
for subscription to the capital stock, were opened last No.
vember, and the stock was readily taken, leaving an over
subscription to a large amount. Its capital is two millions,
with liberty to increase it to 4,000,000. The stock is re.
quired to be paid in, within three years. Only one instal-
ment of ten per cent. has yet been called in. It has the
power to make insurance on lives, to grant and purchase
annuities, to receive monies in trust, and to loan upon real
and personal estate-with a banking power to buy, discount
and sell bills and notes, to issue bills and to establish branch-
es. By one of the charters, we see, they first loan upon
real and personal security, which they will commence doing
as soon as the state of affairs in Florida will permit. As
yet they have done little except to cash short drafts and
exchange. They will loan upon bond and mortgage for a
length of time-several years-thus giving the Planter time
to pay, from the produce of the soil, for facilities, the use of
which, he has been enabled to anticipate. The beneficial
results of this course to the country, are very evident, and
they will be doubly so, (when the Indian disturbances
cease) as the country has been impoverished, Planters driv.
en from their plantations, and their houses destroyed. Ma.
ny will, through this means, be able to raise funds to carry
on their operations, who otherwise must have been obliged
to abandon them. Mr. Clark, a gentleman well known for
Life Insurance and Trust Company.
his worth and respectability of character, is the President of
this insitution-in whose financial reputation the public have
a sufficient guaranty for its safe and judicious management.
Its Cashier, Mr. A. M. Reed, is a highly intelligent gentle.
man, familiarly conversant with the practice and principles
of banking, and distinguished, no less by the elegance of his
manners, than by the amiableness of his disposition.
They have a board of thirteen Directors, three of whom are
to be appointed by the Territorial Government. Among
its stockholders, it ranks many gentlemen of the first res-
pectability and wealth in most of the Northern cities, in
Charleston, and in Augusta. Arrangements have been
made by which its bills are current in New York, Baltimore,
Charleston; Augusta, Savannah; and we doubt not they will
be made redeemable at some few other points, and their
currency throughout the country completely effectuated.
A Trust Company of this character appears to be parti-
cularly adapted to the wants of a new country like Flor-
ida, where there is much rich and productive land yet un-
reclaimed or uncultivated, and where capital, aided by en-
terprize, is required to bring forth its hidden treasures. When
once this Institution, and others, and all contemplated im-
provements, get into full blast, the facilities which will
be afforded the industrious and enterprizing to carry on
their operations, will, we doubt not, give an impetus and life
to business, which will be felt throughout the entire Territory.
That no rifle but that of the sportsman may ring through
her thick foliaged forests, that their magnificent laurels may
crown. not hammocks but heroes, that the olive may flour-
ish o'er her fertile fields, as an appropriate emblem that the
blood-stained tomahawk of war may be soon and forever
"in the deep bosom of the" woodlands "buried"-and the
calumet of peace long send up its gracefully curling and
azure smoke to blend harmoniously with the blue, the beau-
tiful, and serene skies of Florida, is the ardent hope of the
author of this Historic Sketch, who, knowing from personal
observation, that country and its occupants, must needs
highly appreciate the former, and sincerely admire and
esteem the latter.
HISTORIC SKETCH OV PLORIDA.
HISTORY OF THE FLORIDA INDIANS.
[Ancient possessors of Florida, Seminole, meaning of the word-origin of
that People-Yemasees-connection of their history with that of South
Carolina and Georgia-the Spanish and British Systems-first disorga-
nization of Florida Indians-Hostilities in the South-Tecumseh-he
enlists the Creeks-Gen. Jackson-Col. Coffee-Border Warfare-Dun-
can McKrimmon captured by the Prophet Francis-saved by Milly,
(Francis' daughter)-Gen. Jackson's Seminole Campaign.]
The Palarches, Eamuses a:nd Kaloosas, were the ancient
possessors of Florida, and are all extinct. The present
Florida Indians are the remains of that ancient and warlike
tribe on the Mississippi, which being almost extirpated by
the French, retreated along the Northern coast of the Gulf
of Mexico, and united with broken bands of Biloxies, Red
Sticks, and runaway Creeks, called Seminoles. The largest
portion of these Indians are Lower Creeks, and are of the
most dissolute, daring, and abandoned of that tribe.
The word Seminole signifies a wanderer or runaway, or
it means a wild people or outsettlers, the ancestors of the
tribe having detached themselves from the main body of
the Creeks, and dwelt remotely, wherever the inducements
of more game, or greater scope for freedom of action, might
casually lead them. They settled in Florida about 115
That this is the period of their becoming a separate com-
munity, is confirmed by the connection of their history
with that of the Yemasees, of whom there occur frequent
notices in the account of the early settlement of Georgia
and South Carolina.
In a talk, which the Seminoles about the year 1820,
transmitted to the American government, they say, alluding
to their ancient independence: "An hundred summers have
seen the Seminole warrior reposing undisturbed under the
shade of his live oak, and the suns of an hundred winters
have risen on his ardent pursuit of the buck and the bear,
with none to question his bounds, or dispute his range."
The greater part of East Florida appears to have been
HISTORY OF THE FLORIDA INDIANS.
The Yemasees and Seminoles.
originally in possession of the Yemasees-a powerful peo-
ple, who not only occupied this province, but spread them.
selves over Georgia, and into the limits of South Carolina,
which on its first demarcation was bounded on the South
by the Altamaha. Some of the tribes resided within the
present limits of that State, in and about Beaufort and Sa.
vannah River, and also the Sea Islands. Bartram relates
that these people, after a hardy contest, and many bloody
defeats, were *entirely exterminated by their ancient ene-
mies the Creeks, who had a tradition, that a beautiful race
of Indians, whose women they called Daughters of the Sun,
resided amidst the recesses of the great Oakefanokee wil-
derness, where they enjoyed perpetual felicity, in ever
blooming islands, inaccessible to human approach.
Bartram with probability supposes, that this fable took its
rise from a fugitive remnant of the Yemasees, who found a
refuge in this swamp, and were perhaps, after a lapse of
years, accidentally seen by some of the hunters of the
There is frequent mention, in the early colonial history
of South Carolina, of wars between the first settlers and
the Yemasees, the latter having been excited to attack the
Colony by the Spanish authorities in St. Augustine. The
curious may find in the Charleston Library, some early
acts of the colony in MS. relating to this topic.
A formidable war was kindled by these people, which
would have proved destructive to the infant settlement of
Carolina, had not timely intimation of the danger been ob-
tained by means of one of the outsettlers to whom Sanute,
a chief of the hostile Indians, from a feeling of friendship,
gave notice of the impending attack. On this occasion the
Indians were defeated by Gov. Grant, and driven out of the
province. Dr. Ramsay mentions that the Yemasees retired
into Florida, to which country they seem to have been sub.
sequently restricted by the increasing power of the whites,
and by the Creeks. No further mention of them occurs,
until the Seminoles came into notice, by whom they were
*Bartram should have said nearly "exterminated," or almost, instead of
Cii. 2.] HISTORY OF THE FLORIDA INDIANS. 33
Spanish and English systems of dealing with the Indians.
conquered, and nearly exterminated, in 1721, in the man.
ner mentioned by Bartram. When in the year 1715, the
Yemasees were driven within the limits of Florida, they
became slaves to the Seminoles. Another account states,
that the Yemasees left St. Augustine in a body in 1722;
or rather were expelled by the Spaniards, who essayed in
vain to compel them to labors which were regarded as de-
grading drudgeries by the warriors of Yemasee.
The Yemasees were remarkably black people, and the
Ocklewahaw tribe, who are of a deeper shade than the Se-
minoles, are descendants of the conquered race. The chief
of the Ocklewahaws, Yaha Hadgo, who was killed by
General Shelton in the campaign of '36, was very dark;
but generally, the Seminole's complexion is like that of the
Under King Payne, grandfather of Micconope, (the pre-
sent Chief) the Seminoles invaded and achieved the con-
quest of the territories they now occupied. He lived to
near 100 years of age, and married a Yemasee woman,
his slave, by whom he had the late chief Payne, who bore,
in the darkness of his complexion, a proof of his 'Yemasee
The Indians were formerly very numerous in Florida,
perhaps as much so as in Mexico. They are now redu.
ced comparatively to small bands, in few villages.
The *Spanish system of dealing with them, was by trea- 4
ties of incorporation:
The British principle was that of demarcation, when they
obtained possession of Florida, at the peace of 1763.
A treaty was made with the Indians in 1769, pointing
out the lands of the red and white inhabitants respectively.
Bartram (in 1777) says, I prepared to set off again to
Augusta, in Georgia, through the Creek Nation, the only
"I love," said Dr. Johnson, "the University of Salamanca, for their de-
cision on the lawfulness of the Spanish conquests in America."
This decision, the reader may remember, was against the right and duty
of making war upon pagans and heretics to propagate the true faith, and
was made on the public disputation held at Valladolid in 1550, between
"the good" Las Casas and Zepuelveda. The reader's recollection of the
mild and benevolent Las Casas, will assure him that his thesis maintained
the most liberal principles of universal toleration.
34 HISTORY OF T'HE FiLORIDA INDIANS. [cH. 2.
Incorporation of the Indians into the Spanish Monarchy.
practicable way of returning by l;nd, being frustrated of
pursuing my intended route which I had meditated, through
the territories of the Seminiols or Lower Creeks, they be-
ing a treacherous people, lying so far from the eye and
control of threnAtion with whom they are confederate, that
there had lately been depredations and murders committed
by them at the b.y of Apalache, on some families of white
people who wn- re'grtg, from Georgia, with an intention
of settling on the Mobile."
In 1784, the Spanish Government of East and West
Florida, met the Tallahassee and Seminole Indians in a
body, who h ld those districts, with their celebrated war-
rior McGi lvray at their head, and formed and executed
a treaty of !.to-por; tion. By this treaty they were incor-
porated into the Spanish monarchy, with certain reserved
rights, dp' ..!i: chiefly on the will of that government.
The follow ig is .xtrct.1 from Travels in Louisiana and
the Floridas, in the year 1802, by John Davis.
An American named Bowles, at the head of a handful
of Tallahassee Indians, attacked and carried, about two
years ag6, the fort of Apalachus, fortified with cannon,
supplied with ammunition and provisions, and garrisoned by
a captain and c, inpay of Spanish troops, who like base
cowards h' I,;. ;, I their posts without making resistance;
but getting into their gallies moored at the foot of the fort,
escaped to Pensacola.
"Had the captain extiibited but the smallest portion of the
spirit of a Smith, he would have heard unmoved the war-
whoop, and smiled at the arrows of a host of Indians. But
let me not profane the tomb of the dead, by associating the
memory of the great father of Virginia, with such a miser-
able poltr'o i,
"And what was the object of Bowles, in getting possession
of this fort ? solely that of carrying on with less restraint,
and more extent, the trade in fur skins, with the Indians of
the surrounding country. It is true, that about three months
after, the fort was retaken, without striking a blow, by the
Spaniards ; but the troops they collected, and the pomp of
artillery, &c. showed how formidable they considered an
CH. 2.] HISTORY OF THE FLORIDA INDIANS. 35
First disorganization of the Florida Indians-Tecumseh.
American, at the head even of a few timid, raw, and undis4
"Bowles, in his turn, deserted the fort at their approach,
and decamped without beat of drum, or sound of trumpet."
The first disorganization of the Florida Indians, arose on
the retirement of the trading house of Panton, Leslie & Co.;
then came the irruption of the Georgia borderers in 1812,
when the Alachua settlements were destroyed, and their
King and Chief, Payne, received his death in the field.
His brother Bowlegs (whose Indian name was Islapacpaya,
which means Faraway,) died soon after of a broken heart,
as it is said. But certain it is, that his country was laid
waste by the Tennesseeans in 1814, and he mortally wound-
ed in a subsequent rencontre with the *Americans.
To the pamphlet (which we have referred to in our first
chapter as) attributed to Col. Gadsden, we are indebted for
the following account of the Indian hostilities which mani-
fested themselves in the South about this period. An art-
ful impostor, tTecumseh of the Shawnees, a man of most
extraordinary abilities and consummate address, conceived
the bold design of an union of the red against the white po-
pulation of America, under a hope that by a general and
continued assault along the whole line of our frontiers, the
future extension of settlements might be checked, if the pre-
sent inhabitants could not be driven into the ocean. Assu-
ming the attributes of a prophet, and, among other things,
assisted by the fortuitous occurrence of an earthquake, of
which he had hazarded a prediction, a confidence began to
be reposed in the sacredness of his character and mission.
A majority of the Creek nation were enlisted in his cause,
and the storm of an exterminating savage war hung over
the West. Its first explosion was on Fort Mims; a rude
*We have found it impossible to separate completely the history of the
Indians from that of Florida in our first chapter, to which therefore we
must refer the reader, as throwing some light on this, our second chapter,
and vice versa.
tThis is the Tecumseh who was (or was not) killed by Col. Johnson.
The word Shawnee, or more properly Shawaneu, signifies south, that tribe
having come originally from the south, where they dwelt near Savannah
and in the Floridas. The Creeks, Choctaws, Cherokees and Yemasees,
formed a league to expel them, and thereupon the Shawnees migrated north-
36 HISTORY OF THE FLORIDA INDIANS. [cH. 2.
Gen. Jackson's Campaign-Battle of Talledega.
stockade defence, into which the Southern inhabitants of
Alabama had lately retreated for security. More than 300
persons, including women and children, fell victims to sa-
vage barbarity. "The slaughter was indiscriminate; mer-
cy was extended to none, and the tomahawk often transfixed
mother and child at the same stroke. But seventeen of the
whole number in the fort, escaped to give intelligence of the
dreadful catastrophe." In the midst of an alarm which such
an inhuman outrage was calculated to excite, the eyes of
Tennessee were turned on Jackson. Though confined at
this period to his house by a fractured arm, his characteris-
tic firmness did not desert him, and he cheerfully yielded to
a second call for his services in the cause of his country.
Two thousand militia were ordered to assemble at Fayette.
ville in Tennessee, in addition to five hundred cavalry pre-
viously raised under the command of Gen. Coffee.
The alarming accounts of the concentration of the forces
of the enemy, with a view of deluging the frontier in blood,
compelled Gen. Jackson (though individually in a most dis-
abled state of body) to take the field before the ranks of his
army had been filled, or his troops organized.
With this undisciplined force, he prepared for active ope-
rations; but the wisest dispositions were counteracted, and
all his movements embarrassed, by the failure of unfeel-
ing and speculating contractors.
The enemy were gathering strength, and on the advance;
theyliad already threatened a fort of Indian allies. In this
situation, to retreat was to abandon our frontier citizens to
the mercy of savages; to advance, was with the certainty
of exposure to every privation.
Jackson hesitated not on the alternative, and with but
six days rations of meat, and less than two of meal, he mo-
ved with his army upon the Coosa; and, with Coffle's com-
mand, gave a most decisive blow to the enemy at Tallus-
hatchee, in less than twenty-five days after he had marched
from the rendezvous at Fayetteville. The loss of the
Creeks in this engagement, was 186 killed, and 84 prisoners.
Though cor.pelled by the want of supplies to return to
his depots on the frontier, we find him in less than six
cii. 2.] HISTORY OF THE FLORIDA INDIANS. 87
General Jackson's Campaign.
weeks in the field, at the well fought battle of *Talledega,
and in the subsequent conflicts at Emuckfau, Enotichopcqo
and Tohopka, annihilating the hopes and expectations of
the Creeks, and crushing the hydra of savage hostility in
The combination of difficulties which embarrassed the
operations of his campaigns, called forth all the resources
of his genius, and the energies of his character.
He penetrated the wilderness with an undisciplined corps
of militia and volunteers; the different departments of his
staff unorganized, his most zealous officers untutored in the
art of war, and his movements controlled by a most defect-
ive system of supply, leaving an army and its efforts to the
mercy of speculating contractors.
Most of his operations were paralyzed, while his men
were alike exposed to the inclemency of weather, and the
sufferings of starvation; marching whole days without a
single article of subsistence in camp; then subsisting on
acorns and esculent roots of the forest, and at length redu-
ced to the extremity of resorting to the putrid offals of a
In all these hardships and privations did General Jack-
son participate, his own private stores were turned over to
the hospital for the comfort of the sick; and he exhibited an
example of fortitude and zeal, which should have encou-
raged the timid, and buoyed up despondency.
To add to these trials, discontent manifested itself among
his troops; the mutiny of his militia was one day suppressed
by the volunteers; while to the defection of the volunteers,
on the next, was opposed the militia. Finally, the militia
and volunteers united in the same objects, and deserted by
squads, companies and corps.
He appealed ineffectually to their affections, their past
services, their good conduct, and their patriotism; and at
one crisis was seen alone with a musket arresting the de.
sertion of a column, and forcing it back to its duty. His
troops, however, (with the exception of a few determined
volunteers) deserted, and in the midst of these embarrass.
*A touching Poem "Aldana of Taledega," by S. L. Fairfield, may be
found in his N. A. Quarterly Magazine for April.
38 HISTORY OF THE FLORIDA INDIANS.
Treaty of Fort Jackson.
ments, the General was strenuously advised by the Gover-
nor of Tennessee, to yield to the difficulties which had ac-
cumulated, and abandon the campaign until more favorable
circumstances should enable him to prosecute it with suc-.
cess. No difficulties, however, could daunt him; no obsta-
cles shake his determination, and no disappointments divert
him from his object; with a few resolute men he maintained
the ground he had conquered, and the posts he had estab-
lished, until reinforcements from Tennessee enabled him
subsequently to triumph over the enemy, and give security
to an agitated frontier. By the efforts of his genius he
wrested from fanaticism the spells and incantations of de-
ception, and left to a deluded tribe nothing to hope, but from
the clemency of a magnanimous Republic. The spirit of
the Creek nation was intimidated by his victories, and the
survivors of the sanguinary conflicts of Talledega, Tallus-
hatchee, Emuckfau and Tohepka, readily embraced the
terms of peace proffered, and guaranteed by the treaty of
Fort Jackson. In the provisions of that compact, indemni-
ty for the past, and security for the future, were obtained;
the sales of the lands ceded have more than quadrupled the
expenses of the war; while such a demarcation has been
given to the Creek limits, as to separate them from the
neighboring tribes by an interposing white population (sup.
posed at that time) sufficiently numerous to overcome sa-
vage hostility, and give security to a hitherto exposed fron-
A few of the most hostile of the disaffected Creeks (who
had not accepted the terms of peace under the treaty of
Fort Jackson) had fled to Pensacola; and the information
received of their constant intercourse with a British force,
then in possession of the Spanish forts, directed the attention
of the American General to that quarter. Having concen-
trated his army, about 3000 strong, at Mobile, and the cut-
off near the junction of the Tombeckbee and Alabama ri-
vers, he addressed the Spanish Governor, Maurequier of
Florida, on the apparent violation of the neutrality of his
territory by the enemies of the United States, demanding at
the same time the surrender of the hostile Indians, who had
sought his protection, and the dismissal of the British, gar-
CH. 2.] HISTORY OF THE FLORIDA INDIANS. 39
Entry of Gen. Jackson into Pensacola-Termination of the Creek War.
risoning his forts. To this letter he received an evasive an-
swer, acknowledging the facts of which Gen. Jackson corn.
plained; but refusing a compliance with his wishes, as con.
trary to that hospitality which had uniformly characterized
the conduct of his Catholic Majesty towards his allies.
The apprehension, therefore, of a new Indian War by
British instigation, on the left flank of a frontier entrusted to
the defence of Gen. Jackson, at a moment when New Or-
leans was menaced by a powerful armament, hourly expec-
ted on the coast; connected with the fact of a very recent
attack on Fort Bowyer, at the mouth of Mobile Bay, by a
combined land and naval force, which had been prepared
for the enterprise, and had embarked from Pensacola; left
the American General the only alternative of carrying his
arms where he found his enemies. Having resolved on the
movement, he entered Pensacola on the 7th of November,
1814, expelled the hostile Indians, and forced the British to
retreat for protection to their shipping.
This object accomplished, he withdrew from the Terri-
tory of Florida, and, after informing the Spanish Governor
of the motives for his entering, he concludes his letter with
stating, "that as the enemy had retreated, and the hostile
Creeks had fled for safety to the forest, he now retired from
the town, leaving the Spaniards to re-occupy their forts.and
protect their rights."
Trumbull says-"The Creek war happily terminating in
the spring of 1814, and a treaty of peace having been mu-
tually concluded upon between the surviving chiefs of that
nation, and commissioners appointed on the part of the Uni-
ted States, but little opposition was then apprehended from
the fugitives who had fled towards Pensacola, and who re-
mained hostile to the interest of the Americans. But, con-
trary to the expectations of our government, it was soon
after discovered that these Indians had sought refuge among
the different savage tribes living within and on the borders
of the Floridas, denominated Seminole Indians, who it was
suspected cherished feelings of hostility to the United States.
This fact having been ascertained, the executive depart-
ment of the government deemed it necessary, for the secur-
ity of the frontier, to establish a line of forts near the South.
40 HISTORY OF THE FLORIDA INDIANS. [CH. 2.
Border War between the Georgia and Seminole Indians.
ern boundary of the United States, and to occupy those
fortifications with portions of the regular forces, and by this
means peace was maintained with the Indians until the
spring or summer of 1817, when the regular forces were
withdrawn from the posts on the Georgia frontier, and con-
centrated at fort Montgomery, on the Alabama river, a con-
siderable distance west of the Georgia line."
But it seems that about this time, a border warfare was
commenced between the Seminole Indians, and the frontier
inhabitants of Georgia. Duncan M'Krimmon, (a resident
of Milledgeville, a Georgia militia man, stationed at fort
Gadsden) being out one morning on a fishing excursion, in
attempting to return, missed his way, and was several days
lost in the surrounding wilderness. After wandering about
in various directions, he was espied and captured by a party
of hostile Indians, headed by the well known prophet Fran-
cis. The Indians having obtained the satisfaction they
wanted respecting the determination of government, the po-
sition of the American army, &c., they began to prepare
for the intended sacrifice. M'Krimmon was bound to a
stake, and the ruthless savages having shaved his head and
reduced his body to a state of nudity, formed themselves
into a circle, and danced round him some hours, yelling
most horribly. The youngest daughter of the prophet,
about fifteen years of age, remained sad and silent the
whole time. She participated not in the general joy, but
was evidently, even to the affrighted prisoner, much pained
at the savage scene she was compelled to witness. When
the burning torches were about to be applied to the faggots,
which encompassed the prisoner, and the fatal tomahawk
was raised to terminate forever his mortal existence, Milly
Francis, (for that was her name) like an angel of mercy,
placed herself between it and death, resolutely bidding the
astonished executioner, if he thirsted for human blood, to
shed hers;, being determined, she said, not to survive the
prisoner's death. A momentary pause was produced by
this unexpected occurrence, and she took advantage of the
circumstance to implore upon her knees, the pity of her
ferocious father, who finally yielded to her wishes; with the
intention, however, it is suspected, of murdering them both,
CH. 2.] HISTORY OF THE FLORIDA INDIANS. 41
Major Twiggs attacks Fowl Town.
if he could not sell M'Krimmon to the Spaniards; which was
luckily effected a few days after at St. Marks, for seven
gallons and a half of rum. As long as M'Krimmon re-
mained a prisoner, his benefactress continued to shew him
acts of kindness. The fortune of war afterwards placed her
in the power of the white people, being compelled, with a
number of others of her tribe, who were in a starving con.
edition, to surrender themselves prisoners. As soon as this
fact was known to M'Krimmon, in manifestation of a due
sense of the obligation which he owed to the woman who
saved his life, at the hazard of her own, he sought her to
alleviate her misfortune, and to offer her marriage; but
Milly would not consent to become his wife as a consider-
ation of having saved his life, declaring that she did no
more than her duty, and that her intercessions were the
same as they would ever have been on similar occasions.
In these frequent outrages committed upon the frontiers, it
was somewhat difficult to determine on whom the greatest
injuries were inflicted. Gen. Gaines, however, demanded
a surrender of the Indians, who had committed depredations
on the frontiers of Georgia. With this demand they re-
fused to comply, alleging that the first and greatest aggres.
sions had been made by the white men. In consequence of
this refusal, Gen. Gaines was authorized by the Secretary
of War, at his discretion, to remove the Indians still re-
maining on the lands ceded to the United States by the
treaty made with the Creeks. In so doing, he was told
that it might be proper to retain some of them as hostages,
until reparation was made for depredations committed by
the Indians. In pursuance of this discretionary authority,
Gen. Gaines ordered a detachment of near 300 men, under
the command of Major Twiggs, to surround and take an
Indian Village called Fowl Town, about 14 miles from fort
Scott, and near the Florida line. This detachment arrived
at Fowl Town in the night, and the Indians taking the alarm,
and flying to an adjacent swamp, were fired upon by the
detachment, when one man and one woman were killed,
and two Indians made prisoners. The detachment return.
ed to fort Scott.
A day or two afterwards, as stated by Capt. M'Intosh,
42 HISTORY OF THE FLORIDA INDIANS.
Gen. Jackson and Gaines take the field.
who was of the party, about the same number of troops paid
a second visit to the same village, for the purpose of ob-
taining property. While loading their wagons with corn,
and collecting horses and cattle, they were fired on by the
Indians, and a skirmish ensued, in which a small loss was
sustained on both sides. It was stated by Capt. Young,
the topographical engineer, that this town contained forty-
five Indian warriors, besides women and children. From
this time the war became more serious. The Indians, in
considerable numbers, were embodied, and an open attack
was made on fort Scott. Gen. Gaines, with about 600 reg-
ular soldiers, was confined to the garrison. In this state of
things, information having been communicated to the War
Department, Gen. Jackson was ordered to take the field.
He was put in command ot the regular and military force,
amounting to 1800 men, provided for that service; and di-
rected, if he should consider the force provided insufficient
to beat the enemy, (whose force was estimated by Gen.
Gaines at 2800 strong) to call on the Governors of the ad-
joining States for such portions of the militia, as he might
On the receipt of this order, Gen. Jackson appealed (to
use his own expressions) to the patriotism of the West Ten-
nesseeans, who had served under him in the last war. One
thousand mounted gun-men, and two companies of what
were called life-guards, with the utmost alacrity, volunteer.
ed their services from the States of Tennessee and Ken-
tucky, and repaired to his standard. Officers were ap-
pointed to command this corps by the General himself, or
by other persons acting under his authority. Thus organ.
ized, they were mustered into the service of the United
About the time Gen. Jackson was organizing this de.
tachment of volunteers in the State of Tennessee, or pre-
vious thereto, Gen. Gaines was likewise employed in rais-
ing forces among the Creek Indians. Gen. Gaines raised
an army of at least 1600 Creek Indians, appointing their
officers, with a Brigadier General at their head, and like-
wise mustered this force into the service of the United States.
It appears that Gen, Jackson advanced into Florida, with a
CH. 2.] HISTORY OF THE FLORIDA INDIANS.
Francis, Arbuthnot and Ambrister executed.
force of 1800 men, composed of regulars, volunteers, and
the Georgia militia; and afterwards, on the first day of
April, was joined by Gen. M'Intosh and his brigade of 1600
Indians, who had been previously organized by Gen.
Gaines. Opposed to whom, it appears from the report of
Capt. Young, topographical engineer, and other evidence,
the whole forces of the fugitive Seminole Indians and runa-
way negroes, had they all been embodied, could not have
exceeded 900 or 1000 men,* and at no time did half that
number present themselves to oppose his march. Of course
little or no resistance was made.
The Miskasuky towns were first taken and destroyed.
The army marched upon St. Marks, a feeble Spanish gar-
rison, which surrendered without firing a gun, and was then
occupied as an American post; the Spanish Commandant
having first, by humble entreaties, and then by a timid pro-
test, endeavored to avert the measure. Here Alexander
Arbuthnot was found, taken prisoner, and put in confine-
ment for the purpose, as it was stated by Gen. Jackson, "of
collecting evidence to establish his guilt:" and here also
were taken two Indian chiefs, one of whom presented to pos-
sess the spirit of prophecy. They were hung without trial
and without ceremony. Francis, who by the entreaties of
his daughter, was persuaded to spare the life of M'Krim-
mon, a captive, was the prophet above alluded to. This
being done, and St. Marks garrisoned with American troops,
the army pursued their march eastward to Suwanee river,
on which they found a large Indian village, which was con-
sumed, and the Indians and negroes were dispersed; after
which, the army returned to St. Marks, bringing with them
Robert C. Ambrister, who had been taken prisoner on their
march to Suwanee. During the halt of the army for a few
days at St. Marks, a general court-martial was called, Ar-
buthnot was arraigned, found guilty, sentenced to suffer
death, and hung. Ambrister was tried in like manner,
found guilty, and shot.
Gen. Gaines, in a letter to the Secretary of War, dated in
1817, says-"The Seminole Indians, however strange and
*Another estimate makes the number of warriors 2,700.
44 HISTORY OF THE FLORIDA INDIANS.
Fort Gadsden erected-
absurd it may appear to those who understand little of their
real character and extreme ignorance, entertain a notion
that they cannot be beaten by our troops. They confident-
ly assert, that we have never beaten them, or any of their
people, except when we have been assisted by the 'red
people.' And he adds, "I feel warranted, from all I know of
the savages, in saying, they do not believe we can beat
them. This error of theirs has led them, from time to
time, for many years past, to massacre our frontier citizens
--often the unoffending and helpless mother and babes."
As a well earned tribute to a most meritorious officer, we
make the following extracts:
Gen. Jackson to Secretary of War, March 20, 1818.-
"I immediately directed my Aid-de-camp, Lieut. Gadsden,
of the Engineer Corps, to furnish a plan for, and superintend
the erection of, a fortification. His talents and indefatiga.
ble zeal displayed in the execution of this order, induced
me to name it fort Gadsden; to which he is justly entitled."
Extract of a letter from Adjutant General Butler, in 1818,
to the Secretary of War.-"On the same morning, Lieut.
James Gadsden, Aid-de-camp to the Commanding General,
descended the Suwanee river to its mouth, with Capt. Dun.
lap's and a few of Capt. Crittenden's companies of the life-
guards, and a small detachment of the regulars, and cap.
tured, without difficulty, the schooner of A. Arbuthnot,
which had brought supplies of powder and lead to the In.
dians and negroes."*
*In Niles' Register-in the U. S. Senate documents-and in the Journals
and Debates of both Houses-may be found many interesting papers touch-
ing the Seminole war.
I ,,, .... . I',' I I I .. .
HISTORY OF THE FLORIDA INDIANS.
[Indian population described by Peniere, U. S. Agent-Indian Villages
enumerated by Bell, U. S. Agent-Treaty of 1819 between Spain and
United States-Treaty at Moultrie between United States and the Indi-
ans-Col. Gadsden's letter in 1833-Treaty at Payne's Land'ng between
U. States and Seminoles-Treaty at Fort Gibson, 1833-Seminole Agree-
ment in 1835-Talk of Seminoles with Gen. Thompson, U. S. Agent.]
The following description of the Indian population, is
from manuscript communications of the intelligent J. A.
Peniere, Esq. then Indian Agent, stationed in this Territory,
to General Jackson, and the Secretary of War, about the
The population of the Indian tribes, known under the
collective name of Creeks, composed of six others, desig-
nated by the names of Miccassauky, Souhoine, Santafee,
Redstick, and Echitos, in time past furnished one thousand
two hundred warriors, which, at the rate of five to each
warrior, would give. a population of six thousand souls.
The nation, known by the name of Seminoles, is compo-
sed of seven tribes, which bear the names of Latchioue,
Okleouaha, Chokehaitta, Pyaclekaha, Fatehouyaha, Top-
kelake, and one other.
There are, besides, some remains of ancient tribes,
known by the names of Outchis, Chias, Canaake, but they
consist of only a few straggling families.
There is also on the frontiers of Georgia, another tribe
called Cahouita, which raised one hundred or one hundred,
and fifty warriors, under Mackintosh. Seven years ago,
they waged a barbarous warfare against the whites and Se.
minoles, who detest them. We must add to this enumera-
tion, which will make the Indian population amount to more
than five thousand souls, fifty or sixty negroes, or mulattoes,
who are maroons, or half slaves, to the Indians.
These negroes appeared to me far more intelligent thOn