FZ r fr. 1
Mo iet tS. rnis arakSt uusile
ORIGIN, PROGRESS, AND CONCLUSION
TO WHICH IS APPENDED
A RECORD OF OFFICERS, NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, MUSICIANS, AND
PRIVATES OF THE U. S. ARMY, NAVY, AND MARINE CORPS,
WHO WERE KILLED IN BATTLE OR DIED OF DISEASE.
AS ALSO THE NAMES OF
OFFICERS WHO WERE DISTINGUISHED BY BREVETS, AND
THE NAMES OF OTHERS RECOMMENDED.
TOGETHER WITH THE
ORDERS FOR COLLECTING THE REMAINS OF THE DEAD IN FLORIDA, AND THE
CEREMONY OF INTERMENT AT ST. AUGUSTINE, EAST FLORIDA,
ON THE FOURTEENTH DAY OF AUGUST, 1842.
JOHN T. SPRAGUE,
BREVET CAPTAIN, EIGHTH REGIMENT U. S. INFANTRY.
D. APPLETON & COMPANY, 200 BROADWAY.
GEO. S. APPLETON, 148 CHESNUT-STREET.
M DCCC XLVIII.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1847,
By D. APPLETON & COMPANY,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New-York.
ARMY, NAVY, AND MARINE CORPS
BY J. T. S.
IN presenting this volume to my comrades, and to the public, I am
aware that I have much to answer for, but I have the satisfaction of feel-
ing that my sins are those of omission, rather than commission.
Frequent interruptions in the preparation of the work have compelled
me to pass over incidents and events in too cursory a manner, involving
much that is due to a faithful history of the Florida War, as well as to
individual reputation and character.
The voluminous correspondence illustrative of the origin of the war,
appears at first sight to be a defence of the Seminole Agent, Colonel Gad
Humphreys. This is not designed, nor is it necessary. The letters to
and from the various parties connected with the General and Territorial
Government, as well as the Talks of the Indian chiefs, speak for them-
selves. They are official papers, records of the times, a part of a nation's
history, and if they exhibit a state of affairs discreditable and pernicious,
it is but right the facts should be known, that the remedy may be applied
to the borders of our country, where the evil is liable to exist, thereby
obviating bloodshed, sorrow and poverty. The causes of the difficulties
in Florida must be apparent to the minds of careful and intelligent
readers; causes not springing up in a day, but nourished for years,
aggravated as opportunities offered to enrich adventurers, who had the
temerity to hazard the scalping-knife and rifle, and were regardless of
individual rights or of law. It must be remembered that Florida, at the
period referred to, was an Indian border, the resort of a large number of
persons, more properly temporary inhabitants of the Territory than citi-
zens, who sought the outskirts of civilization to perpetrate deeds which
would have been promptly and severely punished if committed within
the limits of a well regulated community. This is the case on all fron-
tiers. It is unavoidable until well disposed citizens become so numerous
as to exert the supremacy of law, when the innocent but too often suffer
with the guilty. These temporary inhabitants of Florida, rather than its
citizens, have had an active participation in the events that have trans-
pired within her limits for twenty years past. They provoked the Indians
to aggressions, and upon the breaking out of the war ignominiously fled,
or sought employment in the service of the General Government, and
clandestinely contributed to its continuance. The Federal Government,
without a regular force to intimidate the savage, and meet with vigor the
emergency, was compelled to see her citizens basely plundered at noon-
day, and cruelly murdered upon their very thresholds.
Official reports and other papers illustrating the progress of the war
are given. The incidents connected therewith, have been obtained from
chiefs and sub-chiefs, who were among the principal actors. In the
reports of different commanders, some officers have been favorably no-
ticed. These do not comprise all, deserving the meed of praise. Those
who diligently and intelligently performed their duty, merit as high enco-
miums as others who were more fortunate in encountering the enemy.
Courage was a secondary consideration, as illustrated by the maxim of
Napoleon:-" That the first quality of a soldier is constancy in enduring
fatigue and hardship: courage is the second. Poverty, privation and
want, are the teachers and school of the good soldier."
To examine the details of this seven years' war, and to weigh justly
the merits and successes of various commanders, as well as the numerous
plans proposed and executed, would require a critical examination into
records not within my reach, and a maturity of judgment surpassing my
own, in order to discuss questions involving the characters of men long
in their country's service, and well tried in many a hard fought field."
On the concluding scenes of the contest, I have been more minute.
Inquiry, participation, and access to private and public papers, have
enabled me to attach some interest to the incidents that occurred between
the officers, the soldiers, and the Indians, not otherwise to be obtained.
I am well aware that the names of officers deserving well of their coun-
try, are not mentioned. So many having claims, it was impossible to do
justice to all. It is enough for both officers and privates to say-" I
served and did my duty in Florida."
Of those who have fallen, regulars, volunteers, and militia, their
memories remain, and are cherished by their countrymen. They are
beyond censure or praise. They fell in the excitement of battle, leaving
a brilliant example. Others wasted away by lingering disease, without
a voice to soothe and recall the wanderings of the feverish mind, or a
gentle hand to smooth the rugged pillow of a soldier's couch. Sleep
on! Never shall the polluted breath of slander blow upon your ashes;
we will watch with pious care the laurels that shall shade your urn, and
wear your names engraven upon our hearts."
J. T. S.
CHAPTER I.-FROM JULY 17, 1821, TO MARCH 21, 1830.
Cession of the Floridas to the United States.-Relation towards the Indians.-The
country occupied by them.-The Seminole nation.-Emigration of the Seminoles
from Georgia to Florida, in 1750, under the chief Secoffee.-His character and last
words to his sons, Payne and Bowlegs.-A second emigration of Seminoles, in
1808, under Micco Hadjo.-The Mickasukie tribe.-The appointment of Colonel
Gad Humphreys as agent of the Seminole Indians.-Governor William P. Duval,
superintendent.-The number of Indians occupying the country in 1821: number
of negroes.--The villages and location.-Treaty of Fort Moultrie.-Colonel James
Gadsden, William P. Duval, and Bernardo Segui, commissioners.-Opposition of
the Indians to a treaty.-Difficulties in accomplishing the object.-The policy 'of
the federal government towards the Indians.-Embarrassments in carrying out the
designs and securing justice.-The superintendent and agent enter into the execu-
tion of the treaty.--The Indians remove within the limits assigned.-Apprehended
distress for the want of food.-Serious difficulties in keeping the whites and Indians
within their limits.-The first blood shed between the whites and Indians: its effect
and consequences.-Letter of the agent to the Hon. J. L. Smith, judge U. S. Dis-
trict Court, upon the subject.-Agent's letter to the Acting Governor Walton in re-
gard to the intrusion of the whites, and sale of liquor.-Claims of whites upon the
Indians. for slaves.-Letter of Governor William P. Duval in reference to the ad-
justment of claims.-Letter of the agent to the commissioner of Indian affairs
respecting the acts of the territorial legislature in regard to Indians found without
the boundary.-Agent's letter to Governor Duval, detailing the state of Indian
affairs.-The application of the territorial legislature to remove the Indians from
the country.-Instructions of the commissioner of Indian affairs in relation to the
disposition of negroes in possession of Indians and claimed by whites.-Letter of
William P. Duval upon the same subject.-Critical state of affairs..-Agent's letter
to the U. S. district attorney.-Acting-Governor McCarty informs the agent that
the whites had killed an Indian near Tallahassee.-The agent's letter to the com-
missioner of Indian affairs.-The Indians complain of the non-payment of their
annuity granted under the treaty of Fort Moultrie.-The assistance of the military
force asked to arrest negroes in possession of the Indians, and refused by the war-
department.-The Indians murder a white man; steps taken by the chiefs to arrest
the offenders.-The talk of Micanopy and Jumper in regard to the demands made
by the yar department for negroes in their possession.-Letters from Colonel G. M.
Brooke, U. S. army, commanding at Tampa Bay, and from the Hon. J. L. Smith.-
Instructions from the commissioner of Indian affairs--The talk of the chief John
Hicks in reference to the demand for slaves.-Letters from Governor Duval and Colonel
Gad Humphreys.-Hostilities seem inevitable.-The Indians consent to send a de-
putation to Arkansas to examine the country.-The talk of the Seminole nation
through the chiefs to the president of the United States.-Embarrassing relations
between the whites and Indians.-Colonel Gad Humphreys informed by the com-
missioner of Indian affairs, that his services as agent to the Seminoles would be
dispensed with.-Colonel Humphreys, the manner in which he discharged his duties.
-Strong prejudices of the whites against him, and friendship of the Indians. 17
CHAPTER II.-FRoM MARCH 21, 1830, TO DECEMBER 31, 1835.
Major John Phagan appointed agent to the Seminoles.-He accompanies the delega-
tion of Seminoles to Arkansas.-Charges preferred against him.-Treaty of Payne's
Landing.-The Indians sent to Arkansas to explore the country.-Commissioner
appointed to meet them there: they sign the additional treaty putting in force the
treaty of Payne's Landing.-Dissatisfaction of the tribe on their return to Florida.-
Conduct and language of the chiefs and Indians in reference to a fulfillment.-First
appearance of Oseola or Powell.-The Indians positively refuse to emigrate.-
General Wiley Thompson, of Georgia, appointed agent in the place of Phagan.-
The general feeling and state of affairs within the nation.-Correspondence of J. H.
Eaton, governor of Florida.-Lewis Cass secretary of war.-B. F. Butler attorney-
general.-General Clinch.-Colonel Gadsden.-General Thompson agent.-Lieu-
tenant Harris, Captains Graham, and Russell, U. S. A.-The Indians assemble in
council at Fort King.-The conduct of Micanopy, Jumper, Alligator, and Oseola.-
The commanding influence of the negroes over the Indians.-The duplicity and
cunning of Oseola.-He placed in irons and under guard in the fort.-Murder of
the chief Charley-E-Mathla for favoring emigration.-The Indians prepared for the
conflict.-The massacre of General Thompson and Lieutenant Smith by Oseola
and party.-Massacre of Major Dade's command: Alligator's account of it.-
General Clinch attacked on the Withlacoochee by Oseola.-A fight: he retreats.-
Florida War commenced.-The character of the contest. 72
CHAPTER III.-FROM JANUARY 1, 1836, TO DECEMBER 31, 1840.
The number of Indian warriors in Florida, and tribes to which they belonged.-Num-
ber of negro warriors.-Names of the various Indian chiefs, and their importance
and characters, viz., Micanopy, Jumper, Little Cloud, Alligator, Holartooche, King
Philip, Coacoochee, Sam Jones, Tiger-Tail, Nethlockemathlar, Chekika, Hospe-
tarke, Octiarche.-The negro Abraham, his importance.-Oseola or Powell, his
birth, rank, character, and age.-Measures taken to subdue the Indians.-Cost of
the Florida war.-Relative cost of troops between regulars, volunteers, and militia.
-General Towson's letter on the subject.-The regular troops, and militia serving
in Florida in 1836, 37, 38, 39, 40, and 41.-Generals Clinch, Scott, Call, Jesup,
Taylor, Armistead, and Colonel Worth, commanding.-Depredations of the In-
dians.--Geueral Clinch authorized to call for militia.-General Eustis ordered to
Florida.-The movements of General Gaines.-The burial of the dead of Major
Dade's command.-Arrival at Fort King of General Gaines.-Returns to Fort
Brooke via the Withlacoochee river.-His arrival, and encounter with the enemy.-
Death of Lieutenant Izard.-The troops in a pen.-General Gaines's designs.-
The attack upon the pen.-The arrival of a messenger from the Indians.-Interview
of Adjutant Barrow of the Louisiana volunteers, and Captain Hitchcock, U. S. A.,
*with Oseola and others.-The conduct of Casar disapproved of by the Indians.-
The day when the troops in the pen were to be attacked.-The number of warriors
on the ground.-Final result.-General Gaines relinquishes the command to Gen-
eral Clinch.-General Scott ordered to take command in Florida.-His steps taken
to prosecute the war.-General Scott takes the field.-Success of his campaign.-
Ordered to conduct the war against the Creeks in Georgia.-Complaints of General
Scott's conduct in prosecuting the Florida war.-Difficulties in effecting his object.
-General Scott's defence before the court of inquiry, convened at Frederick, Mary-
land.-His acquittal.-General C. K. Call takes command of the Florida army.-
Attack upon Micanopy by Oseola or Powell.-Major Hieleman's official report.-
Colonel Pierce's expedition to Fort Drane.-His official report of the affair.-Gen-
eral Call's campaigns.-The Tennessee brigade and General Armstrong.-The U.
S. marine corps under Colonel Henderson.-Officers of the Creek volunteer regi-
ment.-General Call's second campaign.-Tennesseans attack the Indians.-The
result.-Colonel Pierce with the regulars joins General Call.-Battle of the Wahoo
Swamp.-Official report of Colonel Pierce of the affair.-The object gained.-
General Jesup's operations 12th January, 1837.-Battle of Fort Mellon.-Official
report of Colonel Fanning.-Battle of Hatch-Luste Creek.-General Jesup's report.
-Colonel Henderson's report.-Disposition of the Indians.-They ask for peace.-
The capitulation at Fort Dade.-The Indians agree to emigrate.-Large numbers
assemble at Tampa Bay.-Vessels in readiness to take them to New-Orleans.-The
surrender of Oseola with his family at Fort Mellon.-He desires peace.-The
Florida war supposed to be ended.-Volunteers and militia discharged.-The
marines tinder Colonel Henderson sent north.-Letter of Mr. Poinsett on the sub-
ject.-Citizens return to their homes.-The Indians break up their camp near Fort
Brooke, and take to the woods under the direction of Oseola and Coacoochee.-
The country alarmed.-General Jesup desires to be relieved from the command of
the army of Florida.-His letter to the adjutant-general on the subject, July 25th,
1837.-Another campaign in preparation.-Creek regiment of Indians discharged.
-The feeling of citizens towards the Indians.-Volunteers called for from Ken-
tucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.-The address of
General Jesup to the army, October 24th, 1837, at the commencement of the cam-
paign.-General Jesup's report of his campaign, July 6th, 1838.-General Jesup's
proposition to effect an arrangement with the enemy.-Mr. Poinsett's answer.-
Report of the fight on Jupiter river.-General Jesup's letters.-General Taylor's
report of the battle of Okechobee.-Indians commanding in the battle.-Their
arrangements for the battle.-Death of Colonel Thompson, Colonel Gentry, Captain
Van Suerengen, Lieutenants Center and Brooke.-Capture and death of Oseola.-The
manner of capture, and his conduct, &c.-General Jesup relinquishes the command
of the Florida army to General Z. Taylor.-General Taylor's report of operations.
-He districts the country.-Not carried out.-General Macomb arrives in the
territory.-His arrangement for peace.-His orders to citizens, and report to the
secretary of war.-Citizens again return to their plantations.-Confidence partially
restored.-The Indians murder express-men, and attack the settlements.-General
consternation throughout the interior.-Lieutenant-Colonel Harney's command
massacred on the Carloosahatchee river.-The report of the assistant adjutant-
general.-Lieutenant Hanson captures at Fort Mellon a band of Indians.-Prepa-
rations for another campaign.-Extract from the report of Mr. Poinsett in regard to
the war.-Governor Reid's message to the territorial legislature.-Blood-hounds
sent for to pursue the Indians.-Thirty-two obtained.-Their arrival, and cost.-
Manner of tracking the Indians.-The result.-Complaints of memorialists to con-
gress.-Correspondence of the Hon. H. A. Wise, secretary of war, and General
Taylor upon the subject.-Troops withdrawn from the field.-General Taylor re-
lieved from the command of the Florida army, by his own request.-Brevet Briga-
dier-General Armistead succeeds him.-The Spanish Indians participate in the
war.-Indian Key attacked by a band of Indians under the Spanish Indian chief,
Chekika.-The murder of Dr. Perrine, and the particulars of the escape of his
family .. .. 96
CHAPTER IV.-FRoM JUNE 1840, TO MAY 1841.
State of affairs in Florida.-General Z. Taylor relinquishes the command of the army
to General Armistead.-Strength of the army, regulars and militia.-Appropriations.
-Attack of the Indians upon a detachment of the 7th infantry between Fort Mi-
canopy and Watkahoota.-Murder of Mrs. Montgomery.-Death of Lieutenant W.
M. Sherwood, commanding the party, and Sergeant-Major Carroll.-Affair with
Halleck-Tustenuggee and band at Orange Creek.-Resolute conduct of Lieutenant
Alburtis, 2d infantry, and his men.-Troops take the field.-Colonel Worth's inter-
view with Coacoochee or Wild Cat, at Camp Cummings.-Consents to assemble
his band, and cease hostilities.-His appearance and that of his followers, in coming
into camp.-His talk.-He goes out again and returns.-Proceeds to Fort Brooke
to see General Armistead.-Entire failure of negotiations through friendly Indians.
-Coacoochee promises to assemble his band at Fort Pierce.-His supposed infi-
delity there.-Orders transmitted for his seizure.-General Armistead, in com-
pliance with orders from Washington, relinquishes the command of the army to
Colonel W. J. Worth, 8th regiment infantry. 247
CHAPTER V.-JUNE, 1841.
Instructions to Colonel Worth on taking command of the army of. Florida.-Embar-
rassments in prosecuting the war.-Strength of the army.-Sick Report.-Monthly
expenses of the army.-Civil employ6s.-Character of guides, interpreters, and
Spaniards.-Number and location of the enemy.-Their desperate character.-The
Creeks west of the Suwannee river.-A summer campaign determined upon.-
Night attack upon the camp of Halleek-Tustenuggee, and disappointment of the
troops.-Seizure of Coacoochee or Wild Cat, with fifteen warriors and three ne-
groes.-Sent to New-Orleans.-L. G. Capers, Esq., Indian agent, dispatched with
orders from Colonel Worth to intercept and bring them back to Florida.-Im-
portance of the step.-Much dissatisfaction expressed by the public.-Coacoochee
and warriors in irons.-Combined movements of the army to root out the enemy.-
Their dispersed condition.-General devastation of crops, camps, and wigwams.-
Character of the country through which operations were conducted.-Number of
fields, &c., destroyed.-Sick report, and sufferings of the troops from disease.-
Duties of officers.-Governor Call urges the necessity of a militia force to co-
operate with the army.-Major D. L. Wilcox, U. S. A., engaged in inducing
settlers to return to their homes, as authorized by the president of the United
States. .. ............ 266
CHAPTER VI.-JJUL AND AUGUST, 1841.
Coacoochee and warriors arrived at Tampa Bay in irons.-Interview between the com-
mander of the army and these warriors, on the 4th of July, on board the.transport in
the harbor.-Coacoochee's talk.-He directed to bring in his band or suffer'death.-
Five messengers appointed to proceed to the interior of the country, to communicate
with his band.-His last words to his followers.-Anxiety of Coacoochee for the
return of the messengers.-Forty days allowed them.-Arrival of the band, with
old Micco.-Irons taken off Coacoochee, and he permitted to go on shore to receive
his' warriors.--His reception.-His dress and conduct.-His speech to them.-A
messenger sent to Holatter Micco and Sam Jones.-Coacooche's last words to his
brother Otulka.-Departure of the messenger at midnight from the prison-ship.-
General operations of the army.-Embarkation of the 1st infantry for New-Orleans.
-The service of the regiment, its loss from disease, &c.-Death of Second-Lieu-
tenant Lancaster, 1st infantry.-Arrival of Otulka.-Coacoochee proceeds to Pease
Creek.-Colonel Worth at Camp Ogden.-Coacoochee proceeds to Hospetarke's
camp.-Returns with him and eighteen warriors.-Capture of Hospetarke and
warriors.-Taken to Fort Brooke, and confined to the prison-ship.-Their designs
when visiting the camp.-Coacoochee's tact and sagacity.-The warriors of Coa-
coochee in irons.-Liberated and put on shore.-Reports of scouts made by officers
of the army, during the months of July and August.-Sent to Washington.-
Strength of the army.-Sick, &c.-Retrenchment, &c., &c.-Negroes permitted to
accompany Indians to Arkansas.-The policy.-Florida, its position and impor-
CHAPTER V11.-SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER, 1841.
The state of affairs.-The contest drawing to a close.-The arrival at Fort Brooke of
an emissary from Tiger-Tail and Nethlhckemathlar, desiring peace and friendship.
-Capture of Indians belonging to the band of Halleck-Tustbnuggee.-The 'murder
of his sister who desired to surrender.--He crosses the river St. John's.-Negotia-
tions opened with Pascoffer, a Creek chief, on the Ocklockonne river, through two
white men.-Lieutenant Anderson, 2d infantry, surprises an, Indian camp and
captures the women and children.-Communication had with Arpeika or Sam
Jones in the Big Cypress Swamp.-Efforts made to obtain an interview with
Halleck-Tustenuggee through friendly Indians.-Partial suspension of military
operations.-Negotiations in progress through Coacoochce and the old chief from
Arkansas, Holartooche.-Coacoochec with six warriors, proceeds to the Annuttiliga
Hammock.-Interview on the margin of the hammock between Tiger-Tail with
his band and Coacoochee, at night.-Promise of Tiger-Tail to assemble his band.-
Wishes to see Alligator before surrendering.-Arrival of the remainder of Hospe-
tarke's band, and release from the prison-ship.-Escape of Sampson, a negro in-
terpreter, from the Big Cypress Swamp.-His narrative.-Harney's massacre on
the Carlosahatchee.-The government and councils of the Indians within the
swamp.-Authority of the Prophet, Sam Jones, and Billy Bowlegs.-Murder of
Messrs. Daniels, Harroll, and Jennings, by the Indians at Martin's Point.-Indians
in camp at Fort Brooke alarmed.-Critical state of affairs.-Coacoochee, with nine
warriors, proceeds again to obtain an interview with Tiger-Tail.-Friendly Indians
dispatched to all quarters, giving notice that negotiations would end in a few days.
-The chiefs attribute the murders to young warriors.-The return of Coacooche.
-Brings favorable reports from Tiger-Tail.-Coacoochee expresses his anxiety that
his band should embark for Arkansas.-Hospetarke concurs.-Preparations at Fort
Brooke to prevent the escape of Indians.-The day of embarkation determined
upon.-Captain W. Seawell, 7th infantry, ordered to conduct the Indians to Ar-
kahsas.-The feeling manifested by the women on their departure from Florida.-
The Mickasukie tribe, character, and feelings.-Coacoochee's farewell to Colonel
Worth and his staff.-His conduct and appearance on the occasion, and his last
talk to the officers present and to his band.-The birth, life, and character of Coa-
cooche, and the vicissitudes he had encountered.-His peculiarities, and participa-
tion in the attack upon Fort Mellon, and in the battle of Okechobee.-His capture,
imprisonment at St. Augustine, Florida, and escape.-His dreams and religious
opinions.-The origin of the white men; the first ever seen in Florida.-The
prevalent feeling in Arkansas among the Indians, demanding precaution and, vigil-
ance on the part of the federal government.-Arrival of Alligator from Arkansas.-
He proceeds to the camp of Tiger-Tail and Nethlockemathlar, and returns with
the latter chief-Arrival of Tiger-Tail and his band at Fort Brooke.-Arrival of
six companies of the 4th infantry, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel J. Garland,
U. S. A.-Lieutenant-Colonel Garland dispatched on special duty to subdue the
Creeks west of the Suwannee river.-Five companies 2d dragoons ordered out of
Florida.-3d artillery retained.-Contemplated movements in the Big Cypress
Swamp and Everglades.-Depots established at Punta Rossa.-Violent gale on the
coast and its disastrous effects.-It alarms the Indians and deters them from sur-
rendering.-Troops in readiness to take the field.-Report of Lieutenant J. T.
McLaughlin, U. S. N., commanding the Florida squadron, and the report of Cap-
tain Burke, 3d artillery, of their expeditions in the Everglades.-General character
and results of the operations during the months of September and October.-Sick
report of the army. 311
Extracts translated from the lVtanuscript of the Commandant of St. Augustine, East
Florida, Manuel de Montiano, deposited in the public archives of St. Augustine,
describing the bombardment of the fort in 1740, by General Oglethorpe, 337
CHAPTER IX.-NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER, 1841.
Lieutenant-Colonel Garland, 4th infantry, on special duty to expel the enemy east of
Tallahassee, to the Suwannee river.-Preparations for a combined movement in
the Big Cypress Swamp.-Major Belknap, 3d infantry, proceeds to the Carlosa-
hatchee river to take command.-Death of Midshipman Niles, U. S. N.-Yellow
fever in camp.-Depot and Camps established.-Instructions to the different com-
manders: plan of co-operation.-Troops take the field under Major Belknap.-
Major Childs and Lieutenant McLaughlin in canoes.-Colonel Worth meets the
different commanders at Waxe Hadjo's.-Landing on the edge of the Everglades.
-Operations of the troops in the Big Cypress Swamp and Everglades.-Major
Belknap's report.-Lieutenant McLaughlin's report.-Extracts from the journal of
an officer of the army, kept from day to day in the swamp.-Lieutenant McLaugh.
lin reports his passage up the Carlosahatchee river through Fish-eating Creek to
Lake Okechobee.-Captain M. Burke's, 3d artillery, expedition in the Everglades.
-Letters from Captain McClellan, topographical engineer, in reference to the
Carlosahatchee river, and its head-waters.-Lieutenant Marchand's report of an
expedition in the Everglades.-Head-quarters re-established at Fort Brooke.-
Success of Major Wade, 3d artillery.-Capture of sixty-three Indians.-His report.
-The Florida squadron commanded by Lieutenant McLaughlin.-Its depot.-
Strength and efficiency of officers and men.-Murder of two friendly messengers
by the Creeks near Fort Fanning.-Cowardly spirit of Tiger-Tail.-Declines acting
himself, and deters others.-Lieutenant-Colonel Garland's correspondence.-Meet-
ing of Nethlockemathlar and the Creek chief, Octiarche, at the mouth of the With-
lacoochee river.-The latter chief refuses to visit the steamboat.-He is unable to
assemble his band: appoints the ]2th of January for another meeting.-Embarrass-
ing state of affairs.-Attack made upon the settlement of Mandarin, by Halleck-
Tustenuggee.-His haunts found.-The breaking up of the confederacy in the Big
Cypress Swamp.-Surrender of the sub-chief Waxe Hadjo.-Reports that Bowlegs,
Sam Jones, and the Prophet, had fled for safety.-State of the army: number
taken sick, died, and discharged, during the months of November and December.-
Successful establishment of settlers at exposed points.--Citzens armed and pro-
Correspondence between the executive of the territory of Florida, and of the state of
Georgia, with the federal government, and with Colonel W. J. Worth, command-
ing the army of Florida, in regard to the mustering of militia to co-operate with
the army for the protection of the frontier.-Character of the applications made by
citizens for employment.-Remarks upon the expediency of calling out militia to
expel the Indians, or to prevent incursions.-Letters from officers of the army,
showing the state of the frontiers of Florida and Georgia ; the necessity of troops,
and the disposition among the border-settlers.-The firmness of the Hon. J. C.
Spencer and Major-General Scott added much to the successful progress of the
war, and to its termination. .... 403
CHAPTER XI.-JANUARY AND FEBRUARY, 1842.
The hiding-place of Halleck-Tustenuggee found ; strength and character of his band;
his own character.-Precautionary measures taken to prevent his surprising the
settlements.-Major Plympton ordered to take the field with three companies of the
2d infantry.-Fight with Halleck-Tustenuggee.-Band retreats.-Two Indians
taken prisoners.-Pursuit of Halleck by Captain Casey, 2d inhfntry, with one hun-
dred men.-Lieutenant Wessels ascends the Ocklawaha river to intercept him.-
He eludes them successfilly.--Capture of Powis Fixico or Short-Grass.-Nethlock-
emathlar repairs to the mouth of the Withlacoochee to meet the Creeks.-The
Creeks plotting to take his life, and rescue the Indians encamped at Fort Brooke.-
Indignation of the chief.-He organizes an armed party; takes the field to punish
the Creeks.-Thirty Indians, armed completely, proceed to Fort Clinch.-Conduct
of Tiger-Tail or Thlocklo-Tustenuggee in council.-Escape of Tiger-Tail from
Fort Brooke.-His schemes frustrated.--His wife and child recaptured.-His re-
peated interviews with Octiarche to concert means of releasing the Indians in
camp.-The Indian war-party supposed to be privy to his escape.-Orders sent to
Fort Clinch to disarm the party at once.-They sent to Cedar Key, thence to Fort
Brooke.-Indignation of the chief Nethlockemathlar.-Active measures of the
army.-Troops recalled from the south.-Campaign in the Big Cypress ended,
resulted as anticipated.-Major Belknap secures a sub-chief and sixty-seven fol-
lowers.-Supposed hiding-place of Bowlegs, the Prophet, and Sam Jones.-Much
praise due the troops, if the service was understood.-Ponce de Leon landing in
1522 on the margin of the Everglades.--Memorandum of reports of officers.-
Scouts.-Explorations sent to the adjutant-general.-Orders issued for the relief of
the 3d artillery.-Movements of the regiment, and their service in Florida.-Dispo-
sition of the troops from the south.-2d dragoons; 4th, 6th, and 8th infantry.-
Embarkation of two hundred and thirty Indians.-Creeks, Seminoles, Uches, and
Mickasukies, their character and feelings vicious and abandoned.-Detachment
8th infantry fired upon in the Wahoo Swamp.-Movement of troops to find the
Creeks.-Indians under Octiarche attack the settlement with arrows, killing
women and children.-They pursued.-Night attack upon their camp in the
Swamp.-Capture of the women.-Men escape.-Humanity of officers and soldiers.
-Embarrassments in closing the contest.-Colonel Worth's letter of February 14th,
urging upon the government certain measures to finish it.-Major Cooper, assistant
adjutant-general, dispatched to Washington.-The contents submitted by the
secretary of war to a council of officers.-Not acceded to.-General Jesup dissents
from the opinion expressed.-The measures prosecuted, though uninstructed by the
commander in Florida.-Orders issued for retrenchment.--6th infantry relieved,
and ordered to Jefferson Barracks; its service; its loss by disease and battle.-Sick
and deaths in the army in January, February, and March.-The total number in
the army taken sick, during nine months' active service.-An asylum for old
soldiers and invalids.-Condition of those discharged the service for disability. 428
CHAPTER XII.-MARCIt, APRIL, AND MAY, 1842.
A crisis in the affairs of Florida -The army discouraged by the rejection of the pro-
posed means to end the war.-The course pursued: Retrenchment, reduction of
force, discharge of employes from the service.-The Prophet's and Sam Jones's in-
fluence destroyed.-Holatter Micco, or Billy Bowlegs, proclaimed chief-The
scattered condition of the enemy.-The influence and conduct of Tiger-Tail among
the Creeks.-The Indians assemble in the Wahoo Swamp to concert means of safe-
ty.-Tracks seen.-Negotiation at an end; capture or death.-Embarkation of
Indians for New-Orleans in charge of L. G. Capers, Esq., of the Indian depart-
ment.-Departure of the chief Nethlockemathlar; his character and influence ; his
life.-Indians at New-Orleans.-The army in the field, in pursuit of Halleck-
Tustenuggee; Peter, an Indian, sent to him; he never returned.-Combined
movement of the army on the Wahoo Swamp and surrounding country.-Detach-
ments of the 2d, 4th, and 8th infantry enter the swamp; disappointment.-Farther
preparations for pursuit.-The chief Holartooche baffled by the enemy ; he rides
around the country and discovers a single Indian track, leading to the Palackla-
kaha Hammock, supposed to be a spy upon the troops.-The troops take up the
line of march, and encamp at Abraham's old town.-Preparations made to attack
the enemy.-Holartooche visits the commander's tent at midnight, and pleads for
the life of women and children in the approaching conflict.-The troops on the
march for the hammock; conduct of guides and negro interpreters.-Sagacity of
Holartooche; a foot-print discovered and followed three miles to the hammock.-
Spirited attack upon the Indians in their camp, protected by logs and palmetto, led
on by Colonel Garland, 4th infantry.-Assailed by Colonel Worth, with a company
of dragoons, cutting off the enemy's retreat.-The Indians separate into small
parties, giving battle in all quarters.-Total defeat; troops in their camp.-Burial
of Private Wandell, 2d dragoons; killed and wounded.--Detachments follow up
trails leading from the hammock.-Capture of O-son-e-Micco (the Old Man of the
Lakes), son-in-law of Halleck-Tustenuggee, who desires to take a talk to the chief.
-He to return in five days and meet the command at Warm Spring.-The num-
ber of Indians engaged in the affair.--Embarrassments of the troops in advancing.
-The appearance of Halleck-Tustenuggee in the fight.-Indians painted red; in a
state of nudity.-Their last battle-ground.-Their fire concentrated upon the Indian
guides and interpreters.-Interpreters Gopher John and Morris in the fray.-The
appearance and valor of the chief Holartooche.-Indians' first discharge effectual;
manner of loading in battle.-The spirit, gallantry, and forbearance of officers and
men in the affair.-Colonel Worth's report.-The return of O-son-e-Micco to the
camp at Warm Spring.-He reports Halleck-Tustenuggee, with his band, six miles
off.-Halleck-Tustenuggee comes into camp with his two wives and children.-His
appearance and reception.-Officers assemble to meet him.-Colonel Worth's pri-
vate conversation with him.-He not inclined to leave the country.-His good
feelings secured.-Sends five messengers to Octiarche, the Creek chief.-Large
demands for provisions.-Insolent conduct and language of Halleck-Tustenuggee
and followers.-His fidelity much doubted.-Major Graham, Captain McCall, and
Lieutenant Sprague, visit his camp, to reconnoitre, to surprise and capture.-From
its position, deemed impracticable.-Other means resorted to.-The Indians be-
come shy and suspicious.-The chief and his wives accompany Colonel Worth to
Fort King; his object in going there to purchase powder and lead.-Orders left
with Colonel Garland to seize the entire band in the absence of Halleck-Tustenug-
gee.-Colonel Garland effects the object, ties the Indians, and sends them to Tampa
Bay.-The measures adopted to accomplish it, and the conduct of the Indians.-
Colonel Worth announces to Halleck-Tustenuggee, at Fort King, the capture of
his band, and that he now was a prisoner.-His anger and appearance on the occa-
sion.-Proceeds under guard to Fort Wacassassa.-Arrival there of the five mes-
sengers sent to Octiarche.-They taken prisoners.-A midnight scene between
Halleck-Tustenuggee and these five men, who upbraided the chief for selling his
followers and land.-His patriotism.-Meeting at Horse Key of both parties; their
haggard appearance arising from intemperance.-A sub-chief attempts suicide.-
East Florida relieved from apprehension.-Indians guarded by one hundred and
fifty men on Horse Key.-Halleck-Tustenuggee harmless.-The activity of the
army, 7th and 3d infantry, in pursuit of the Creeks in Middle Florida.-Two
months in the field ; results.-A party of eight Indians attack the settlements under
Halpatter-Tustenuggee ; commit murders, and defeat six soldiers.-Closely pursued,
overtaken, abandoning their plunder, and whipped.-They join Octiarche, who disap-
proves of their conduct, as peace was restored.-Citizens abandon their homes, and
flee for safety.-The army discouraged; no end to the war.-The approach of the
summer; prospects of another summer campaign.-Movements of troops unavailing;
calculated to exasperate the enemy, without capturing or defeating.-Usefulness of
Halleck-Tustenuggee, who takes the terms of peace to the Creeks.-His reception
and their promises.-The terms of peace.-The Creek Indians on the Ocklockonnee
river obtain an interview with Colonel Vose, through two white men.-The terms
of peace accepted.-Assembling for emigration.-Departure of the 2d regiment of
infantry for the north; its length of service in Florida, and efficiency.-Deaths of
officers.-N. C. officers and soldiers.-Death of Captain Samuel Russell by the
enemy.-Orders issued for the departure of the five remaining companies of the 2d
dragoons; character and length of their service in Florida.-Death of officers.-
N. C. officers and privates.-The sick report for March, April, and May.-The
Florida war approaching a close.-State of the army and prevailing feeling. 449
CHAPTER XIII.-JUNE, JULY, AND TO THE 17TH AUGUST, 1842.
Instructions received by Colonel Worth to bring the war to a close.-Message of the
President of the United States to Congress upon the subject.-Letter of instructions
from the secretary of war to Major-General Scott.-His views upon the subject.-
The measures for a time postponed.-Treachery of Halleck-Tustenuggee and dis-
satisfaction of Octiarche.-Their designs.-Holartooche proceeds to Octiarche's
camp with twenty armed Indians.-Their meeting, and the promises of the chief
to surrender.-Halleck-Tustenuggee, finding his plans unsuccessful, prepares for
emigration.-Wounded Indians brought in.-Runners dispatched to bring in the
plunder of the band.-A messenger sent to the southern Indians.-Holatter-Micco
or Billy Bowlegs made chief, who sends an emissary to the whites to obtain peace.
-The embarkation of Halleck-Tustenuggee and band for Arkansas.-Their ap-
pearance and feeling, and the anger of the chief.-Departure of Holartooche and
the Arkansas delegation for their homes.-Halleck-Tustenuggee; his age, charac-
ter, and qualities.-His first appearance in council.-The 7th infantry relieved
from duty in Florida.-Its service and loss.-Death of Lieutenant Sanderson.-
Lieutenant Sherwood's death.-His gallantry, and the conduct of Private L. Bur-
lington, in protecting the remains of Mrs. Montgomery.-Arrival of Bowlegs and
others at Fort Brooke, to make peace.-The influence and authority of Sam Jones
and the Prophet disregarded.-They accompany the commander of the army to
Cedar Key, and proceed to the camp of Octiarche.-Octiarche and Tiger-Tail
return with them.-Peace determined upon.-The appearance of Tiger-Tail.-
Orders promulgated announcing that hostilities with the Indians in Florida had
ceased.-Troops remaining in Florida concentrated.-Retrenchment and reduction
in all departments.-Stations and strength of the 3d infantry, of the 8th infantry,
and six companies of the 4th.-The loss and service of these regiments in officers
and men.-Death of Lieutenant J. H. Harvie, and Lieutenant J. A. Reill, 8th in-
fantry.-Colonel Worth ordered to proceed to Washington City.-He relinquishes
the command of the ninth military department to Colonel Vose, 4th infantry.-
Correspondence between Colonel Worth and Lieutenant J. T. McLaughlin, in
closing up the contest.-Lieutenant McLaughlin's instructions to Lieutenant Henry,
who succeeded in command of the Florida squadron. 475
CHAPTER XIV.-FROM AUGUST 17, TO OCTOBER 31, 1842.
Colonel Vose in command of the 9th military department.-The Indians annoyed
by encroachments and aggressions of the whites.-Southern Indians within the
boundary: none but Creeks without.-Apprehensions of Tiger-Tail and Octiarche
realized.-Attack upon settlements.-Citizens killed.-Pursued by Colonel Bailey,
and citizens.-Indians overtaken and punished.-Complaints among citizens.-
Facts not known or understood.-Arrival of Tiger-Tail and Octiarche.-Excite-
ment in the country.-Complaints of citizens to the governor of the territory, and
to the authorities at Washington City.-Orders received by Colonel Vose to take
the field.-Colonel Vose postpones the execution.-His reasons.-The Indians'
camps plundered.-Officers of the army sent to the camps.-The Indians doubt the
sincerity of the commander and his officers.-Delay and debauchery of the Indians.
-Large demands for liquor.-Embarkation of the six companies 4th infantry.-The
effect upon the Indians.-The gale at Cedar Key.-Indians refuse again to visit the
island.-Agree upon Fort Brooke as the future place of meeting.-Effects and con-
tinuance of the gale at Cedar Key.-Loss of public and private property.-A council
of Indians to be held at Fort Brooke, on the 1st of November 494
CHAPTER XV.-FROM NOVEMBER 1, 1842, TO DECEMBER 31, 1845.
Brevet Brigadier-General Worth resumes the command of the 9th military department.
-Colonel Vose, at Fort Brooke, to meet Octiarche and band.-Objects attained
during his temporary command.-Fears of Octiarche, and the threats of the Semi-
noles.-Major Seawell, 7th infantry, ordered to seize the band of Octiarche, at Fort
Brooke.-His success.-The reasons for such a step.-Tiger-Tail at Cedar Key.-
His conduct and infidelity.-:Officers sent to reconnoitre his camp.-Position of his
camp, and his condition.-Instructions to Captain J. M. Hill, to secure Tiger-Tail.
-His success.-Lieutenant Jordan, 3d infantry, dispatched to surprise the camp.-
Brings Tiger-Tail into Cedar Key on a litter.-He confined to Horse Key.-In-
structions to Lieutenant-Colonel Hitchcock, commanding 3d infantry, to take the
field.-His operations.-Surrender of Pascoffer and band.-The doubts and fears of
the Indians, and quiet of the country.-Embarkation of Octiarche and Tiger-Tail
with their followers, for New-Orleans, in charge of Lieutenant Britton, 7th infantry.
-Departure of Pascoffer and band, in command of Lieutenant W. S. Henry, 3d in-
fantry.-Creeks, Seminoles, Mickasukies, and Uchees, leave Fort Brooke for New-
Orleans.-The character, feeling, and condition of the Indians assembled at the
New-Orleans Barracks.-Death of Tiger-Tail at the Barracks, New Orleans -His
last words.-His birth, character, and intercourse with Colonel Gamble's family, in
Florida.-His intelligence, influence, and infidelity.-Octiarche.-His birth, and
character in battle and in council.-General Worth's report, in regard to the number
of Indians in Florida, of November 17th, 1843.-Captain Sprague's letter to the
citizens of Florida, in reference to the relation of the Indians towards the whites.-
The number of Indians in Florida, December 31st, 1845: their condition and feel-
ings.-The character of the chief and sub-chief, and future prospect of emigration
to Arkansas. 498
CHAPTER XVI.-QUARTERMIASTER'S DEPARTMENT-COIMMISSARY DEPART-
DIENT-SETTLEMENT OF THE TERRITORY.
The quartermaster's department of the army.-The efficiency of its officers, and their
importance in the discharge of duties in the-field.-The concurrence given by Gene-
ral Jesup in carrying out retrenchment in Florida.-Officers on duty there.-The
manner in which duty was discharged.-Report of retrenchment made by Lieu-
tenant-Colonel T. F. Hunt, deputy quartermaster-general of the army of Florida.-
The subsistence department.-The importance and good effect of the log-hut in de-
feating the Indians, and deterring them from aggressions.-Exertions made to in-
duce settlers to occupy the interior of the country.-The efforts for a time successful.
-The act of congress of February 1st, 1836, for the relief of distressed inhabitants.
-Instructions from the president of the United States under its provisions.-Major
D. S. Wilcox, 5th infantry, intrusted with the duty of settlements and issuing of
rations.--His instructions from the commander of the army.-Death of Major Wil-
cox.-Lieutenant Patrick, 2d infantry, ordered to assume the duty.-His instruc-
tions in reference to the discontinuance of government supplies.-The total failure
of establishing permanent settlements.-The conduct of those who professed to
occupy the country and draw rations.-Lieutenant Patrick's final report of settle-
ments, the number of persons, ages, &c.-Steps taken to cause citizens drawing
rations to re-occupy their plantations.-Success.-Abuse of the act of congress in
issuing supplies. .....514
Circular, Orders, &c., connected with the erection of a Monument in Florida, to the
memory of those who have fallen in the contest. ..... 521
Statement, exhibiting, by Regiments, the names of the "Officers, non-commissioned
Officers, Musicians, Artificers, and Privates, of the United States Army, who were
killed in action, or (lied of wounds received, or diseases contracted, during the late
hostilities with the Florida Indians, commencing August 11, 1835, (the day when
Private Dalton, the express-rider, was murdered by the Indians,) and ending in
List of Officers belonging to the Medical Staff of the United States Army, who died
from disease and other causes, from service in Florida 548
Table, exhibiting the names of Officers, Seamen and Marines, belonging to the United
States Navy, who died whilst employed in the Florida Squadron, operating against
the Indians of Florida. 549
A statement, exhibiting the names of Officers, non-commissioned Officers, Musicians,
and Privates of the United States Marine Corps, who were killed in action, or died
of wounds received, or disease contracted, during the Florida War.. 550
Table, showing the number and names of Marines on Sea Service, who died in Florida
between 1836 and 1842. .550
List of Officers, of the United States Army and Marine Corps, upon whom have been
conferred Brevets for services in Florida. 551
Names of Officers, of the United States Army recommended for Brevets by Brigadier-
General W. J. Worth, commanding the forces in Florida, April 25, 1842. Upon
some of the number, the distinction has been conferred. 554
LIST OF ENGRAVINGS.
MONUMENT AT ST. FRANCIS' BARRACKS, ST. AUGUSTINE Frontispiece.
COACOOCHEE (Wild Cat) page 98
THLOCKLO TUSTENUGGEE (Tiger-Tail) 99
NEGRO ABRAHAMI ... 100
OSEOLA, OR POWELL 101
DEArH OF WAXEHADJO 254
SCENE AT TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA .286
CASTLE OF ST. MARK, now called Fcrt Marion, St. Augustine 337
HALLECK TUSTENUGGEE ON THE ST. JOHN'S 429
GOPHER JOHN, SEMINOLE INTERPRETER 459
C. & 1. RGdl.waLuAc.A' )~r
-*. -* -I*
THE FLORIDA WAR.
FROM JULY 17, 1821, TO MARCH 21, 1830.
CESSION of the Floridas to the United States.-Relation towards the Indians.-The country occupied by
them.-The Seminole Nation.-Emigration of the Seminoles from Georgia to Florida, in1750, under
the Chief Secoffee.-His character and last words to his sons, Payne and Bowlegs.-A second emi-
gration of Seminoles, in 1808, under Micco Hadjo.-The Mickasukie tribe.-The appointment of
Colonel Gad Humphreys as agent of the Seminole Indians.-Governor William-P. Duval, super-
intendent.-The number of Indians occupying the country in 1821: number of negroes.-The villages
and location.-Treaty of Fort Moultrie.-Colonel James Gadsden, William P. Duval, and Bernardo
Segui, commissioners.-Opposition of the Indians to a treaty.-Difficulties in accomplishing the object,
-The policy of the federal government towards the Indians.-Embarrassments in carrying out the
designs and securing justice.-The superintendent and agent enter into the execution of the treaty.-
The Indians remove within the limits assigned.-Apprehended distress for the want of food.-Senous
difficulties in keeping the whites and Indians within their limits.-The first blood shed between the
whites a.:d Indians: its effect and copsequenbes.-Letter of the agent to Hon. J. S. Smith, Judge of the
U. S. District Court, upon the subject.-Agent's letter to the Acting Governor Walton in regard to the
intrusion of the whites, and sale of liquor.-Claims of whites upon the Indians for slaves.-Letter
of Governor William P. Duval in reference to the adjustment of claims.-Letter of the agent to the
commis ner of Indian affairs respecting the acts of the Territorial Legislature in regard to Indians
found without the boundary.-Agent's letter to Governor Duval, detailing the state of Indian affairs.-
The application of the Territorial Legislature to remove the Indians from the country.-Instructions ot
the commissioner of Indian affairs in relation to the disposition of negroes in possession of Indiana
and claimed by whites.-Le'ter of William P. Duval upon the same subject.-Critical state of affairs.
-Agent's letter to the U. S. district attorney.-Acting Governor McCarty informs the agent that
the whites had killed an Indian near Tallahassee.-The agent's letter to the commissioner of Indian
affairs.-The Indians complain of the non-payment of their annuity granted under the treaty of Fort
Moultrie.-The assistance of the military force asked to arrest negroes in possession of the Indians,
and refused by the war-department.-The Indians murder a white man; steps taken by the chiefs to
arrest the offenders.-The talk of Micanopy and Jumper in regard to the demands made by the war-
department for negroes in their possession.-Letters from Colonel G. M. Brooke, U. S. army, com-
manding at Tampa Bay, and from the Hon. J. L. Smith.-Instructions from the commissioner of
Indian affairs.-The talk of the chief John Hicks in reference to the demand for slaves.-Letters from
Governor Duval and Colonel Gad Humphreys.-Hostilities seem inevitable.-The Indians consent to
send a deputation to Arkansas to examine the country.-The talk of the Seminole nation through the
chiefs to the President of the United States.-Embarrassing relations between the whites and Indians.-
Colonel Gad Humphreys informed by the commissioner of Indian affairs, that his services as agent to
the Seminoles would be dispensed with.-Colonel Humphreys; the manner in which he discharged
his duties.-Strong prejudices of the whites against him, and friendship of the Indians.
To determine satisfactorily the cause of the Florida War,
requires a critical review of the events which transpired between
the citizens and Indians, for a period of fourteen years, as well as
an examination of the course pursued towards all parties by the
I federal government.
This must necessarily commence on the 17th day of July,
1821, when Spain ceded the Floridas to the United States.
The Indians, inhabiting the country, had roamed unmolested
throughout the peninsula, enjoying the confidence and association
of the inhabitants, mostly Spaniards, who participated in a lucra-
tive trade, while the authorities of Spain insured them protection,
and treated them with kindness and distinction. The United
States government, upon establishing its functions here, found the
Indians in possession of the most desirable portions of the country,
upon which were located villages, surrounded by cultivation, pro-
ducing enough to supply their wants. The acquisition of a new
country, so interesting from its. historical events, induced emi-
grants from adjoining states to explore, securing at the same time
good portions of land, which was guarantied under certain pro-
visions of law to the first discoverer. It was found, however,
much to their disappointment and embarrassment, that the most
eligible points were preoccupied by a race degraded, and for
which they entertained but little sympathy or charity. To re-
move this difficulty, and to give to the enterprise of the white
man full scope, the preliminary step was to hold a treaty with
the Seminoles, and by rewards induce them voluntarily to relin-
quish the soil, and thus commence the great work of civilization.
The liberty allowed them was to be circumscribed, and they
brought to know, and to feel too, that they were temporary occu-
pants of the soil; and while indulgently allowed to remain in any
part of the territory, law, good order, sobriety, and subserviency
to the whites must prevail.
The Seminole Nation, or those generally denominated the
Florida Indians, were originally Creeks. Their villages were
situated on the Chattahooche river, about tenor fifteen miles
north and west of Columbus, Georgia. From continued mis-
understanding among the head-men, which extended through
families, and in some instances resulted in bloodshed, a separa-
tion of the tribe took place.
In the year 1750, a noted Creek chief by the name of Se-
coffee, broke out from the nation, and with many followers
settled in the section of country called Alachua, about the centre
of the peninsula, and by far the most fertile part. He was a
man of noted courage, violent passions, and possessed a most
active and vindictive mind. Combined with an indomitable
will, his seductive oratory and subtle cunning secured him in-
fluence, and insured success to all his measures. To the Spa-
niards he was an inveterate foe. To the English, up to 1784,
he was a most valuable ally. Upon the recession of Florida to
Spain, he repaired to St. Augustine to ascertain the truth. Not
being received and treated with that distinction to which he had
been accustomed, he returned to his village, meditating revenge.
He embodied a large force and took the field; but the exposure.
and exertion incident to active operations in the summer season,
was too much for an enfeebled constitution. He died in the
year 1785, at the advanced age of seventy, and was buried near
the present site of Fort King. He was, in fact, the founder of
the Seminole nation. Finding himself fast approaching his end,
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
he called his two sons to his side, Payne and Bowlegs, and in a
most fervent and pathetic manner detailed his plans, enjoining
upon the former, who was to succeed him, the prosecution of
the expedition. He required him to put to death fourteen Spa-
niards, which number, added to eighty-six slain by his own hand,
aided by kindred, would make one hundred, which had been
revealed to him by the Great Spirit as requisite to secure the
peace and happiness of his soul in a future state.
Payne was of a different character, and not to be led astray
and blinded by absurd revelations and traditions. Though a
bold and intrepid warrior, he cared more for the happiness of his
people than the indulgence of vicious passions, or the influences
of superstitious feelings. By his example and counsels, he secured
the confidence of the Spanish government, and died at an. ad-
vanced age, honored and respected.
In the year 1808, another band came into Florida under
Micco Hadjo, and settled near the present site of the town of
Tallahassee. Ever after, that portion of the Creek nation settled
in Florida were called Seminoles, or runaways. Here both
these parties of emigrants encountered the Mickasukie tribe of
Indians, the legitimate owners of the soil. Much dissatisfaction
was manifested at this intrusion; but too weak to resist, they
soon became amalgamated, and joined in efforts to resist the com-
mon foe-the white man.
The privileges granted the Indians of Florida, alternately by
the English and Spanish governments, had caused them to over-
rate their own importance. The most violent passions were
excited when advised, or in any way or manner interfered with
by a white man, who, in other words, was only an American.
This could not be tamely submitted to, and the federal govern-
ment immediately commenced a system of supervision, or what
was termed "patronage and protection." On the 20th of May,
1822, Colonel Gad Humphreys was appointed agent to the Florida
Indians. William P. Duval, Esq., governor of the territory, was
ex-oficio superintendent of Indian affairs. The number of In-
dians occupying the country at this period, was fifteen hundred
and ninety-four men, thirteen hundred and fifty-seven women,
and nine hundred and ninety-three children-total, three thou-
sand eight hundred and ninety-nine; and one hundred and fifty
negro men (slaves), with six hundred and fifty women and chil-
dren. Their villages extended, dotting the country, from the
neighborhood of St. Augustine to the Appalachicola river. Most
of them consisted of log and palmetto huts, surrounded by cleared
fields of from two to twenty acres of land. The loud and un-
ceasing complaints of citizens, who were seeking homes in a
newly acquired country, made it imperative upon the general
government speedily to adopt measures to dispossess the Indians,
and confine them to certain limits, in the hope of avoiding blood-
shed, which seemed inevitable from the virulence of feeling to-
wards the Indians, who were considered as undeserving of
liberty, or kindness.
Accordingly, James Gadsden, William P. Duval, and Bernardo
Segui, of Florida, were appointed commissioners to negotiate a
treaty, having for its object the removal of the Indians to such
parts of the territory as would meet the wishes of citizens, and
thus open a wide field for speculation, at the same time satisfy
the public mind. The Indians were surprised at the proposition
thus early to make a treaty. They were in possession of their
homes; and though at times annoyed by whites, they looked with
confidence to their great father at Washington, to protect and
vindicate their rights.
As they resisted the efforts to assemble for the purpose of
making a treaty, innumerable difficulties accumulated from day
to day, which pressed heavily upon them; and surrounded as
they were by influences enforced by the arguments of those pro-
fessing to be friends, a majority of the nation reluctantly con-
sented to meet the commissioners at such a time as might be
most expedient. This was with the hope, that ever after they
would be permitted to remain unmolested. Fort Moultrie, five
miles south of St. Augustine, on the coast, was agreed upon as a
desirable position. A number assembled on the day appointed;
but the absence of the most influential chiefs, who looked suspi-
ciously upon all such steps, caused much delay. With the larger
portion, this council was considered but a prelude to farther de-
mands and encroachments. On the 18th of September, 1823,
the following treaty was signed.
TREATY OF FORT MOULTRIE.
Treaty of peace and friendship, made and concluded between William P. Dural,
James Gadsden, and Bernard Segui, commissioners on the part of the United
States, and certain chiefs and warriors of the Florida tribes of Indians.
ARTICLE 1. The undersigned chiefs and warriors, for themselves and their
tribes, have appealed to the humanity, and thrown themselves on, and have pro-
mised to continue under, the protection of the United States, and of no other
nation, power, or sovereignty; and in consideration of the promises, and stipu-
lations hereinafter made, do cede and relinquish all claim or title which they have
to the whole territory of Florida, with the exception of such district of country as
shall herein be allotted to them.
ARTICLE 2. The Florida tribes of Indians will hereafter be concentrated and
confined to the following meies and boundaries: commencing five miles north of
Okehumkee, running in a direct line to a point five miles west of Setarky's settle-
ment on the waters of Amazura (or Withlahuche river), leaving said settlement
two miles south of the line; from thence, in a direct line, to the south end of the
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
Big Hammock, to include Chickuchate; continuing, in the same direction, for
five miles beyond the said hammock: provided said point does not approach
nearer than fifteen miles the sea coast of the Gulf of Mexico; if it does, the said
line will terminate at that distance from the sea coast; thence south twelve miles;
thence in a south thirty degrees east direction, until the same strike within five
miles of the main branch of Charlotte river; thence in a due east direction, to
within twenty miles of the Atlantic coast; thence north, fifteen west, for fifty
miles, and from this last to the beginning point.
ARTICLE 3. The United States will take the Florida Indians under their care
and patronage, and will afford them protection against all persons whatsoever;
provided they conform to the laws of the United States, and refrain from making
war, or giving any insult to any foreign nation, without having first obtained the
permission and consent of the United States: And in consideration of the appeal
and cession made in the first article of this treaty, by the aforesaid chiefs and war-
riors, the United States promise to distribute among the tribes, as soon as concen-
trated, under the direction of their agent, implements of husbandry, and stock of
cattle and hogs, to the amount of six thousand dollars, and an annual sum of five
thousand dollars a year for twenty successive years, to be distributed as the pre-
sident of the United States shall direct through the secretary of war, or his super-
intendents and agents of Indian affairs.
ARTICLE 4. The United States promise to guaranty to the said tribes the
peaceable possession of the district of country herein assigned them, reserving the
right of opening through it such roads, as may, from time to time, be deemed
necessary; and to restrain and prevent all white persons from hunting, settling,
or otherwise intruding upon it. But any citizen of the United States, being law-
fully authorized for that purpose, shall be permitted to pass and re-pass through
the said district and to navigate the waters thereof without any hindrance, toll, or
exactions from said tribes.
ARTICLE 5. For tie purpose of facilitating the removal of the said tribes to the
district of country allotted them, and as a compensation for the losses sustained,
or the inconvenience to which they may be exposed by said removal, the United
States will furnish them with rations of corn, meat, and salt, for twelve months,
commencing on the first of February next; and they further agree to compensate
those individuals who have been compelled to abandon improvements on lands
not embraced within the limits allotted, to the amount of four thousand five hun-
dred dollars, to be distributed among the sufferers, in a ratio to each, proportional
to the value of the improvements abandoned. The United States further agree to
furnish a sum, not exceeding two thousand dollars, to be expended by their agent,
to facilitate the transportation of the different tribes to the point of concentration
ARTICLE 6. An agent, sub-agent, and interpreter shall be appointed, to reside
within the Indian boundary aforesaid, to watch over the interests of said tribes;
and the United States further stipulate, as an evidence of their humane policy to-
wards said tribes, who have appealed to their liberality, to allow for the establish-
ment of a school at the agency, one thousand dollars a yeai for twenty successive
years; and one thousand dollars a year for the same period, for the support of a
gun and blacksmith, with the expense incidental to his shop.
ARTICLE 7. The chiefs and warriors aforesaid, for themselves and tribes,
stipulate to be active and vigilant in the preventing the retreating to, or passing
through, the district of country assigned them, of any absconding slaves, or fugi-
tives from justice; and further agree, to use all necessary exertions to apprehend
and deliver the same to the agent, who shall receive orders to compensate them
agreeably to the trouble and expense incurred.
ARTICLE 8. A commissioner, or commissioners, with a surveyor, shall be ap-
pointed by the president of the United States, to run and mark (blazing fore and
aft the trees) the line as defined in the second article of this treaty, who shall be
THE FLORIDA WAR.
attended by a chief or warrior, to be designated by a council of their own tribes,
and who shall receive, while so employed, a daily compensation of three dollars.
ARTICLE 9. The undersigned chiefs and warriors, for themselves and tribes,
having objected to their concentration within the limits described in the second
article of this treaty, under the impression that the said limits did not contain a
sufficient quantity of good land to subsist, and for no other reason, it is, therefore,
expressly understood, between the United States and the aforesaid chiefs and
warriors, that should the country embraced in said limits, upon examination by
the agent and the commissioner, or commissioners, to be appointed under the eighth
article of this treaty, be by them considered insufficient for the support of the said
Indian tribes, then the north line, as defined in the second article of this treaty,
shall be removed so far north as to embrace a sufficient quantity of good tillable land.
ARTICLE 10. The undersigned chiefs and warriors, for themselves and tribes,
have expressed to the commissioners their unlimited confidence in their agent,
Colonel Gad Humphreys, and their interpreter, Stephen Richards, and as an evi-
dence of their gratitude and humane treatment, and brotherly attention to their
wants, request that one mile square, embracing the improvements of Enehe
Mathla, at Tallahassee (said improvements to be considered as the centre), be con-
veyed, in fee simple, as a present to Colonel Gad Humphreys. And they further
request, that one mile square, at the Ochesee Bluffs, embracing Stephen Richards's
field on said bluffs, be conveyed, in fee simple, to said Stephen Richards.
The commissioners accord in sentiment with the undersigned chiefs and war-
riors, and recommend a compliance with their wishes to the president and senate
of the United States ; but the disapproval on the part of the said authorities of this
article, shall, in no wise, affect the other articles and stipulations concluded in this
In testimony whereof the commissioners, William P. Duval, James Gadsden, and
Bernard Segui, and the undersigned chiefs and warriors, have hereunto sub-
scribed their names, and affixed their seals. Done at camp, on Moultrie
Creek, in the Territory of Florida, this eighteenth day of September, one
thousand eight hundred and twenty-three; and of the independence of the
United States the forty-eighth.
WILLIAM P. DUVAL, L.S. WOKSE HOLATA, his X mark, L.S.
JAMES GADSDEN, L.S. AIATIHLA HAJO, his X mark, L.S.
BERNARD SEGUI, L.S. HOLATEFISCICO, his X mark, L.S.
NEA MATHLA, his X mark, L.S. CIIEFISCIco HAJO, his X mark, L.S.
ToKOSE MATHLA, his X mark, L.S. LATIILOA MATHLA, his X mark, L.S.
NINNEE HOMATATUSTENUKY, his X m'k, L.S. SENUFKY, his X mark, L.S.
MICONOPE, his X mark, L.S. ALAI HAilo, his X mark, L.S.
NocosEE AHOLA, his X mark, L.S. FAHELUSTED HAJO, his X mark, L.S.
JOHN BLUNT, his X mark, L.S. OCTAHAMICO, his X mark, L.S.
OTLEMATA, his X mark, L.S. TUSTENECK HAJO, his X mark, L.S.
TUSKANEHA, his X mark, L.S. OKIOSKEE AMATHA, his X mark, L.S.
TvsrI HAJo, his X mark, L S. OCHEENY TUSTENUKY, his X mark, L.S.
ECONCHATIMIco, his X mark, L.S. PHILIP, his X mark, L.S.
EMOTELEY, his X mark, L.S. CHARLEY AMATHLA, his X mark, L.S.
MULATTO KING, his X mark, L.S. JOHN IIOPONEY, his X mark, L.S.
CHOCHOLOHANs, his X mark, L.S. RAT HEAD, his X mark, L.S.
EMATHOLOCHEE, his X mark, L.S. HOLATA AMATHLA, his X mark, L.S.
FOSIIATCHIMICO, his X mark, L.S.
Signed, sealed, and delivered in the presence of
GEORGE MURRAY, Sec. to the Comm'r. HARVEY BROWN, Lieut. 4th Artillery.
G. HUMPHREYS, Indian Agenit. C. D'ESPINVILLE, Lieut. 4th Artillery.
STEPHEN RICHARDS, Interpreter. WILLIAM TRAVERS.
ISAAC N. Cox. HORATIO S. DEXTER.
J. EwING, Capt. 4th Artillery.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
Nea Mathla, John Blunt, Tuski Hajo, Mulatto King, Emath-
lochee, and Econchatimico, six of the -principal chiefs, for a long
time obstinately and stubbornly refused to negotiate in any man-
ner. It was feared the attempt to effect a treaty would be an
To subdue these feelings, large concessions were made to
these head men. The more humble were required to remove
within a stipulated boundary; while their chiefs, and a few friends,
were permitted to remain in their old towns, and participate
alike in the annuities and other benefits accruing under the treaty.
To effect the great object, the subjoined "ADDITIONAL ARTICLE"
was agreed upon, and with the treaty was ratified by the senate
of the United States on the 2d of January, 1824:
Whereas, Nea Mathla, John Blunt, Tuski Hajo, Mulatto King, Emathlo-
chee, and Econchatimico, six of the principal chiefs of the Florida Indians, and
parties to the treaty to which this article has been annexed, have warmly appealed
to the commissioners for permission to remain in the district of country now in-
habited by them; and, in consideration of their friendly disposition, and past ser-
vices to the United States and the aforesaid chiefs, that the following reservation
shall be surveyed and marked by the commissioner or commissioners to be appointed
under the eighth article of this treaty. For the use of Nea Mathla and his connex-
ions, two miles square, embracing the Tuphulga village, on the waters of Rocky
Comfort Creek. For Blunt and Tuski Hajo, a reservation commencing on the
Apalachicola, one mile below Tuski Hajo's improvements, running up said river
four miles; thence west two miles; thence southerly to a point two miles due
west of the beginning; thence east to the beginning point. For Mulatto King
and Emathlochee, a reservation commencing on the Apalachicola, at a point to
include Yellow Hair's improvements; thence up said river for four miles; thence
west one mile; thence southerly to a point one mile west of the beginning; and
thence east to the beginning. For Econchatimico, a reservation, commencing on
the Chatahoochie, one mile below Econchatimico's house; thence up said river
for four miles; thence one mile west; thence southerly toa point one mile west
of the beginning; thence east to the beginning point. The United States promise
to guaranty the peaceable possession of the said reservations, as defined, to the
aforesaid chiefs and their descendants only, so long as they shall continue to
occupy, improve, or cultivate the same; but in the event of the abandonment of
all or either of the reservations, by the chief or chiefs, to whom they have been
allotted, the reservation or reservations so abandoned shall revert to the United
States, as included in the cession made in the first article of this treaty. It is
further understood that the names of the individuals remaining on the reservations
aforesaid, shall be furnished by the chiefs in whose favor the reservations have
been made, to the superintendent or agent of Indian affairs, in the territory of
Florida; and that no other individual shall be received or permitted to remain
within said reservations, without the previous consent of the superintendent or
agent aforesaid. And, as the aforesaid chiefs are authorized to select the indi-
viduals remaining with them, so-they shall be separately held responsible for the
peaceable conduct of their towns, or the individuals residing on the reservations
allotted them. It is further understood between the parties, that this agreement
is not intended to prohibit the voluntary removal, at any future period, of all or
either of the aforesaid chiefs and their connexions to the district of country south,
allotted to the Florida Indians by the second article of this treaty, whenever either
or all may think proper to make such an election; the United States reserving the
right of ordering for any outrage or misconduct, the aforesaid chiefs, or either of
them, with their connexions, within the district of country south, aforesaid. It is
further stipulated by the United States, that of the six thousand dollars appropri-
ated for implements of husbandry, stock, &c., in the third article of this treaty,
eight hundred shall be distributed in the same manner, among the aforesaid chiefs
and their towns; and it is understood that, of the annual sum of five thousand
dollars, to be distributed by the president of the United States, they will receive
their proportion. It is further stipulated, that of the four thousand, five hundred
dollars and two thousand dollars, provided for by the fifth article of this treaty, for
the payment for improvements and transportation, five hundred dollars shall be
awarded to Nea Mathla, as a compensation for the improvements abandoned by
him, as well as to meet the expenses he will unavoidably be exposed to by his own
removal, and that of his connexions.
In testimony whereof, the commissioners, William P. Duval, James Gadsden, and
Bernard Segui, and the undersigned, chiefs and warriors, have hereunto sub-
scribed their names and affixed their seals. Done at camp on Moultrie Creek
in the Territory of Florida, this eighteenth day of September, one thousand
eight hundred and twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States,
WILLIAM P. Duval, L.S. TUSKI HAJO, his X mark. L.S.
JAMES GADSDEN, L.S. MULATTO KING, his X mark. L.S.
BERNARD SEQUI, L.S. EMATHLOCHEE, his X mark. L.S.
NEA MATHLA, his X mark. L.S. EcoNCHATIMICO, his X mark. L.S.
Join BLUNT, his X mark. L.S.
Signed, sealed, and delivered in the presence of
GEORGE MURRAY, Secretary to the Commission.
JA. W. RIPLEY.
G. HUMPHREYS, Indian Agent.
STEPHEN RICHARDS, Interpreter.
The following statement shows the number of men retained
by the chiefs who have reservations made them, at their respec-
Number of Men. Number of Men.
Blount, 34 Econchatimico, 38
Cochran, 45 Nea Mathla, 30
Mulatto King, 30 -
Emathlochee, 28 Total, 214
The foregoing treaty was ratified on the 2d day of Jan-
This treaty threw around the Florida Indians a net from which
there was no escape. Their destiny, their happiness, and pros-
perity were now in the hands of the people. Upon the cession
of Florida they claimed the entire country, and so far as Spain
interfered, they possessed it. Now, they were within limits, and
the United States could, under a fair pretext, control them, by de-
manding their prompt compliance with the stipulations of the
treaty, and if they persisted in disobeying, there was an instru-
ment in existence justifying their expulsion or destruction. They
could, as circumstances required, be considered as rebellious chil-
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
dren, or if other objects were to be attained, they assumed the
rights and prerogatives of a sovereign people, possessing the un-
doubted authority to negotiate treaties, so far as to dispose of
their lands. But wishing this privilege for self-government, or
other purposes, was considered a usurpation demanding punish-
ment. In this light they, as a nation, have ever been considered,
which has subjected them to a vacillating policy, causing the
utmost confusion and dissatisfaction. The federal government is
considerate and liberal in the execution of treaty stipulations with
this unfortunate race; but in opposition to this are arrayed the
prejudices of a multitude actuated by selfish motives, together
with the waywardness and depravity of a border population in a
new country. These present serious obstacles to the administra-
tion of justice, and defeat, in a great measure, all exertions to
ameliorate the condition of the savages, and causes an apparent
indifference to their repeated demands for protection. The agent
who is brought immediately in contact with the Indians, must be
possessed of resolution, tact, and intelligence, to maintain his
position in the midst of so many complicated difficulties. The
executive of the state or territory will listen to the complaints of
the citizens, and by repeated representations to the Indian agent,
endeavor to allay the excited feelings incident to real or imaginary
.wrongs. The agent, if faithful in the performance of his duties,
is obliged from his position to resist the encroachments of the
whites; if otherwise, he would soon be accountable for the lives
and property of all within the range of an Indian rifle. His
activity and resolution in maintaining their rights, deters them
from violent acts to gain them, in the hope that through him
justice may be awarded by the general government. But the
demands of the executive, through the representatives in con-
gress, are too potent to be disregarded, and the government is
compelled to acquiesce, and, through its agents, give instructions
actuated more by the disposition to gratify the populace than to
vindicate the rights of the savages. These conflicting influences
are constantly in operation, until the agent, if conscientious in
his duties, is discharged, when a more pliant instrument succeeds,
who in the hands of designing men soon perfects the object so
The Indian, discouraged in his endeavors to add to the happi-
ness of his people, revolts--desolates the frontier, murders the
unprotected-when the president of the United States is called
upon again by the state authorities, to quell the outbreak by
regular troops, and enforce treaty stipulations, which results, after
years of rapine and murder, in the expulsion of the Indians.
The agents of the general government, as well as the Indians,
entered at once into the execution of the treaty of Fort Moultrie.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
Colonel Humphreys, the agent, established himself at Camp King,
in the centre of the nation. The governor of the territory and
superintendent of Indian affairs, William P. Duval, resided at
Tallahassee. These duties were commenced with commendable
zeal, and, in the execution, a disposition was manifested to vindi-
cate, and if possible, to maintain the rights of the Indians. The
agent, living in their very midst, realized his peculiar and respon-
sible position. Though fully persuaded that in defence of those
whose guardian he was, he would be subjected to obloquy, yet,
he was determined to carry out the intentions and disposition of
his government in opposition to the selfish demands and interests
of those who were settling the country, and who were in large
numbers crowding around him.
The correspondence of Colonel Humphreys and that of
others, which is here given, together with the talks upon several
occasions of the important chiefs, go much farther to give a
correct understanding of the cause of the Florida war than the
expression of an opinion, which at this late period is too apt to
be influenced by popular prejudice and misrepresentation. The
year 1824 was occupied in locating the Indians within the pre-
scribed boundaries, which upon examination were.found to be
too limited for the convenience of those who were required to
remove. Accordingly, upon the representation of Col. Gadsden
and Governor Duval, twenty additional miles were granted, so as
to include a desirable section of country, called the BigSwamp.
In order to stimulate the Indians to agricultural pursuits, and
thus supply their own wants by cultivating the soil, the rations
allowed them under the fifth article of the treaty were ordered to
be reduced; which at this early period, and in their present con-
dition, was calculated to cause starvation and much discontent.
The agent was enabled to judge correctly of their condition. He
at once addressed the acting governor upon the subject, which
had the effect to postpone the order, and thus calm the excited
feelings of the chiefs who had been instrumental in bringing
upon those around them the prospects of immediate want, as
shown by the following letters:
Tampa Bay, June 14th, 1825.
"SIR-I reached this place on the 12th instant, after a four-
teen days' passage. It is with extreme regret I learn that since
my arrival the drought in this section of country, and indeed
through to the 'Big Swamp,' has been so severe that the crops
of the Indians are, in some instances, wholly destroyed. The
emigrants particularly, it is to be feared, will make little or no-
thing, owing to their having had to open new fields, and the
consequent lateness of their planting.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
I am greatly apprehensive, that this failure of crops will pro-
duce much distress among these people, unless arrangements are
adopted to continue to them issues of rations beyond the period
stipulated in the treaty. It may not, perhaps, and will not, I
trust, be necessary to make extensive and regular periodical
issues; but humanity seems to require, that some provision should
be made to meet the cases of actual want.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Superintendent of Indian G. HUMPHREYS,
affairs, Tallahassee. Agent Seminole Indians."
Tallahassee, 25th May, 1825.
"SIR-I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your
several letters of the 19th, 20th, and 22d instant, and deem it an
imperative duty to state, in reply to that of the 19th, which
directs a limitation of the number of rations hereafter to be issued
to the Indians to 1000 daily, that the effect of such an abridg-
ment of the stipulated supply of provisions, will be, at the least,
loud murmuring and discontent; and that suffering among the
Indians from hunger, which has hitherto scarcely existed except
in imagination, will shortly become a distressing reality. That
those people can have but scanty and indeed no certain means of
existence, independent of the sustenance provided by the United
States, until the opening of fields and growing of crops at their
new location, will be.readily supposed; and the entire inadequacy
of one thousand rations, to the support of something more than
1600 people, is too obvious to require comment: and I feel con-
strained to add my belief that the emigrant Indians, conceiving
themselves entitled by the treaty of the 18th of September, 1823,
to a punctual allowance of provisions for the specified time, at
the rate of one ration per day to each individual, will not quietly
submit to a non-performance (on the part of the government) of
the stipulations of the compact.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEORGE WALTON, Esq., Att'y Gen'l, G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
&c., of Florida, Tallahassee.
From their unsettled condition, a result of their removal from
old habitations to new ones within an imaginary line, the Indians
roamed throughout the country, causing dissatisfaction among
settlers, who were inclined to doubt their friendship, and im-
proved opportunities to seize their rifles, and threatened and mal-
treated them, to compel them to remain permanently within the
boundaries as defined by the treaty. The agent, on the 20th of
May, thus writes to the commissioner of Indian affairs:
THE FLORIDA WAR.
Florida Agency, 20th May, 1825.
"SIR-I have the honor to suggest that the running and
making of the northern boundary of the Indian territory, is highly
desirable, in order to enable me to show a line of demarcation to
the white settlers, who are already thronging to the vicinity of
the Indian settlements; and some, as I apprehend, have taken
positions near to, if not south of, where the line will necessarily
run; and will, I fear, if not expelled, become troublesome, and
create disturbance among the Indians,-they are squatters upon
the public lands, and, of course, liable to be removed at the in-
stance of the government, whenever it shall direct. I should be
glad of instructions upon this subject.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. THOSE. L. MCKINNEY, G. HUMPHREYS,
Indian Bureau. Agent Florida Indians."
The difficulties anticipated were soon realized. A planter,
a Mr. Salano, residing on the St. John's river, arrived at St. Au-
gustine, and reported to the commander of the United States
troops there, that six Indians had been at his house in pursuit of
three others, who, from long absence, they supposed were mur-
dered by the whites. Accompanied by threats and insolent con-
duct, they declared their determination to be revenged upon the
whites, if unsuccessful in finding their friends. On the 21st of
June, Lieut. Canfield, U. S. A., was, dispatched with a detach-
ment of twenty men to see this party, and to ascertain the facts.
The detachment, when emerging from Cabbage Swamp, on the
ensuing morning, about twenty-eight miles from St. Augustine,
discovered the Indian camp. Lieut. Canfield, Mr. Salano, and a
Mr. Dumnit, together with the interpreter, approached the
camp, in, advance; and as they proceeded, Mr. Salano directed
the interpreter not to explain their object to the Indians, as they
stood in the distance looking with astonishment. Upon discover-
ing the soldiers in the rear, they attempted to seize their rifles
and flee. In violation of the officer's orders, Mr. Salano dis-
charged a pistol, which drew from the detachment a volley, sup-
posing a fight had commenced. Two Indians were secured, one
slightly wounded, together with 'four rifles, and a large quantity
of skins. One of the prisoners was sent immediately into the
swamp, to inform his companions that the discharge upon them
was accidental. What aggravated this occurrence, and made it
still more unfortunate, was, that written passes from the agent
were found in the camp. These men, thus outraged, returned to
their tribes, causing a general sympathy, and exciting the most
bitter feelings of revenge. The agent was in a critical position.
Entirely within their power, they demanded redress in the most
THE FLORIDA WAR.
imperative manner, and commenced organizing war parties, to
retaliate upon the settlements from one extent of the country to
the other. Though the encounter with the troops was acci-
dental, and attributable to the imprudence of Mr. Salano, too
many wrongs and abuses had been inflicted, yet unatoned, and
for which they had received nothing in return but excuses and
regret. The country was in arms-an Indian war was pro-
claimed, and the citizens fled to the towns, and gathered in
numbers for safety. The regular troops at St. Augustine were
ordered into the field, and two companies of infantry under Capt.
Dade marched from Fort Brooke to Camp King, with such dis-
patch as to deter the Indians from acts of open hostility. Fortu-
nately, the three young Indians supposed to be murdered returned,
which, together with promises of pay to the outraged party at
Cabbage Swamp, induced the Indians once more to resume a
friendly intercourse. "I am fully sensible," says Col. Gadsden to
Col. Humphreys, in a communication, of August 15th, "of the
delicacy of your situation."
"Charleston, S. C., 15 August, 1855.
"MY DEAR SiR,-Your letter of the 25th ultimo was for-
warded to me to this place, and I am gratified at the happy ad-
justment of the Cabbage Swamp affair. I feel sensible of the
delicacy of your situation, and of the complicated difficulties
you must necessarily encounter in bringing the Florida Indians
into a state of subordination and discipline. They must be con-
trolled, but treated at the same time with due consideration and
great humanity. You know that you can command any aid I
can give in facilitating these desirable objects; and in volunteer-
ing an opinion which I hope will be well received, I cannot urge
too strongly upon you the great necessity of establishing the
agency, and of remaining for a time stationary at it.
You may make yourself comfortable; and your example in
cultivating the earth, attending to the increase of your stock,
&c., will have the happiest effect in improving the habits of the
The sooner they abandon, to a certain extent, the chase,
and are converted from hunters to herdsmen and agriculturists,
the sooner will they be reconciled to their change of location, &c.
They cannot live as hunters; the game is nearly destroyed,
and unless some efforts are made to impress strongly upon them
the great necessity of depending upon the soil for their subsist-
ence, I apprehend much distress and want the ensuing year.
I remain yours, &c.,
Col. G. HUMPHREYS, Agent of the JAMES GADSDEN."
Seminoles, Fort King, Florida.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
The agent's letter to the Hon. J. L. Smith, enters fully into
the character of the difficulties surrounding him:
Florida Agency, 8th July, 1825.
"SIR-Ere you are in possession of this, you will be advised
by my communication of yesterday, per return express, that the
difficulties which have for a short time existed between some of
the red and white people of the territory, are in progress to a
favorable and speedy termination.
The seasonable restoration to their friends of the lost young
men, has had great influence in producing this happy state of
things. The news of their safety, immediately followed by the
appearance of one of them, who arrived to-day, seems to have
almost entirely subdued every feeling of animosity; and I enter-
tain a confidence, that after I have visited the wounded man,
which I shall dodn the course of the day, and fixed (under a pro-
position which Col. Gadsden in behalf of some of the citizens of
Augustine has authorized me to make) upon the compensation
he is .to receive, the most perfect harmony will be restored, and
a renewal take place of the friendly feelings which have hereto-
fore prevailed. It is due, however, to candor and truth, and I
must be allowed to say it, that greatly as I desire the return of
order and tranquillity, and much as I have already exerted myself
to recall such a state of things, I should not deem it a duty to
urge the aggrieved individual to the acceptance of pecuniary
compensation for an injury like that in question, could I perceive
any other way in which the matter could be adjusted without
prejudicing the interest of the territory by delay. As it is,
acquiescence in the proposition from your city will be suitably
recommended. Another consideration influences me: the great
disadvantage under which the almost proscribed children of the
forest labor for want of credibility as witnesses in our courts of
law, destroys every thing like equality of rights; forbids the idea
of their success in legal controversy, in opposition to their white
neighbors, and thus virtually excludes them from our halls of
justice. To this must be mainly attributed their proneness to
take punishment into their own hands, despairing as they do of
obtaining redress for injuries by recourse to the laws of the
whites, which have in but few cases, when they have been ap-
pealed to by the Indians, afforded any remedy for evils com-
plained of. In the case before us, Mr. Salano, who is the author
of it, being permitted to depose, has enjoyed and exercised the
power to fix upon the Indians an imputation they could not merit,
and which for lack of admissible testimony, or the want of a
hearing, they could not repel. These remarks are drawn from
me, in a settled belief which I entertain, that the Indians do not
THE FLORIDA WAR.
deserve that censure in regard to the Cabbage Swamp affair,
which is attempted to be heaped upon them; and that, could a
full and fair investigation of their previous conduct, which is
cited as the leading cause to that affair, be had, it would be found
in a great degree, if not wholly, free from the impropriety which
is charged. Is it probable, let me ask, if they had meditated the
violence Mr. S. accuses them of threatening, that they would
thus publicly have declared their intentions? I answer no!
Reason and common sense forbid the idea, as being wholly irre-
concilable with the known character of the Indian, whose pro-
ceedings of a hostile kind are always covert and unadvertised. The
language then, here ascribed to them on this occasion, is impro-
bable and incredible. That Mr. Salano had any sinister or im-
proper motive in the representation he made at St. Augustine,
which produced the disaster under consideration, I do not wish
to say; or if he had dishonest views, I am unable to determine
precisely what they were. I cannot believe his whole object
was plunder; yet I am informed by the interpreter, who accom-
panied the party, that he, S., went loaded to his own house with
skins, meat, &c., taken from the pillaged camp of the unfortunate
fugitives. If this be true, it is clear that whatever motives led
him to move the assault, he did not omit to enrich himself with
the-spoils of the assailed.
"Why (it is right to inquire), if he were actuated by fair and
harmless intentions in visiting the camp of the Indians, did he
refuse explanation, though it was earnestly solicited by them as
they saw troops approaching, leaving them to form the worst
conjecture ? A few words, making known the object of the
visit, would have satisfied the Indians, and prevented their flight
and the outrage which followed it.
For reasons best known to himself, Mr. S. positively refused
the satisfaction sought, and even forbade the interpreter to speak
to the Indians. Was it to be expected that conduct so little indi-
cating an amicable purpose, would be well received by those peo-
ple, and that they would, without an effort, yield to a doom they
knew not how terrible ? Unquestionably not; nothing else ought,
under the circumstances, to have been anticipated than precipitate
retreat; and how that retreat could be construed, as I am in-
formed it was, into an evidence of guilt, and justification of
assault, I am, I confess, wholly unable to comprehend. They
were not even charged with, much less convicted of, any overt
act, and I am not acquainted with any law (owing probably to
my limited knowledge of the books upon that subject) which
could warrant orauthorize the proceeding to a forcible detention
and imprisonment (which appear to have been the object) of the
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persons of the inhabitants of our free country, either red or white,
in manner like that attempted in the case in question. On a
full review of the transaction, I cannot resist the opinion that it
is strongly characterized by illegality, to say the least; and 1
regret most truly that the troops of the United States should have
been drawn into it, as I am satisfied that it neither consists with
their will, or advances their reputation, however unexceptionable
their intentions on the occasion may have been; and I rejoice
sincerely on their account, and the welfare of the territory, as
well as the interest of the unhappy red skins, who are too weak to
enforce their rights against their white and more powerful neigh-
bors, that a fortunate issue of the affair is likely to be effected.
"Before closing, I am constrained to say, that an examination
of the part Salano has acted in the affair, forces upon me the
conclusion, that he has throughout been influenced by feelings of
hostility to the Indians; there is not, I believe, the shadow of a
doubt that he inflicted the wound given in the Cabbage Swamp
attack. He was heard, I understand, to boast of the accuracy
with which he sighted upon his victim, when he levelled his
rifle, and to express his astonishment that the Indian did not fall.
He was probably prompted to the act, to revenge some fancied
personal injury to himself. He has for a long time (if I am cor-
rectly informed) been on terms with them far from peaceful;
indeed, I am told that his animosity to them is almost proverbial;
and that he often, in a light manner, speaks of shooting them, and
has been heard to say that he would dispatch one with as little
scruple as he would a 'wolf;' thus estimating their lives to be of
as little value as those of the vilest beasts of the forest. If sen-
timents like these are extensively cherished by our inhabitants,
there is little hope of long preserving a good understanding be-
tween them and their red neighbors; but such cannot be the case;
and this, I trust, is a solitary instance of an entire disregard of
the established obligations of citizenship, and a total abandonment
of the common principles of humanity. Such a man should be
watched as being. (in disposition) dangerous to the peace and in-
terests of the territory-and his conduct in the late affair, how-
ever favorably that affair may terminate, ought, I must insist, to
be closely investigated and scrutinized; and if any ground pre-
sents itself justifying punishment, it should be promptly inflicted,
to prevent a like offence in future; and it is but proper to suggest,
of the. Indians, that notwithstanding the strength of their desire
to live in friendship with the whites generally, has induced them
to accept of the terms of adjustment offered, it would be difficult
for them to reconcile the entire escape of Salano, whom they look
upon as the sole cause of their recent trouble, from punishment,
THE FLORIDA WAR.
with the boasted justice of Americans. Something is therefore
necessary to be done in the matter, for the preservation of our
national character, even should the claims of justice be denied.
"To you, sir, as a conservator of the public peace, and an
impartial administrator of the laws, I submit the case, with a
perfect confidence that it will receive all the attention to which
its importance entitles it.
I am, with the highest respect,
Your obedient servant,
Hon. Jos. L. SMITH, Judge Sup. Court, G. HUMPHREYS."
E. Florida, St. Augustine.
Also that of August 4th, to Secretary and acting Governor
"Seminole Agency, Aug. 4th, 1829.
"SIR-I am compelled by a sense of duty, to address you upon
a subject, in which the welfare of this nation is deeply involved.
I am aware that the statement I have to make and the views
I shall present, will interfere, if entertained, with the projects of
certain white inhabitants of Florida, who, since the emigration of
the western tribes, have located upon the public lands in the im-
mediate vicinity of the Indian territorial boundary, for purposes
by no means equivocal or even undeclared.
"It is known to all, who are acquainted with the Indian char-
acter, that it has in its composition one besetting and fatal weak-
ness, a proneness for intoxicating drinks; and that spirituous
liquors (which are not allowed to be vended in the nation) will
command from these people almost any price that the exorbitance
of the vender may prompt him to ask. This fact furnishes en-
couragement, and the unsettled condition of the country affords
an inviting field, for the operations of those whose defectiveness
in morals or thirst for gain will lead them to seek the acquire-
ment of it without a suitable regard for the means to be employed.
The condition of the tribes hereabouts during the last two weeks,
and at the present moment, gives abundant evidence that such is
the general character of the individuals who have established
themselves upon the adjoining public lands, and creates the most
grievous and discouraging anticipations for the future well-being
of the nation.
"Drunkenness and riot have reigned triumphant. To detect
those who practice the nefarious traffic which produces such de-
plorable consequences is morally impossible ; they are sufficiently
shrewd, and on the alert to avoid committing themselves before
admissible witnesses, and may therefore, as long as they are suf-
fered to remain where they are, prosecute their illicit business in
comparative security. Some effective remedy should be applied
THE FLORIDA WAR.
without loss of time; and the only thing which suggests itself to
me as likely to succeed, is that of a rigid enforcement of the laws
against the unauthorized occupancy of the unsold government lands.
I earnestly invite your early attention to this subject; and shall
with great anxiety wait your instructions.
With much respect, your obedient servant,
GEo. WALTON, Esq., Sec'y and Dep'y G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
Gov. of Fla, Tallahassee.
Together with the application of the agent to the district attorney;
Sem. Agency, 1st July, 1825.
"DEAR SIR-A case of outrage (wholly unprovoked as is stated
here) committed upon a party of Indians, who were in search of
missing friends, on the east side of the St. John's river, by a
party of whites headed, the Indians say, by a Mr. Philip Salano,
has produced great excitement among the Indians in this quarter,
and unless speedy redress is obtained, serious consequences are
to be apprehended.
"I solicit your official attention to the subject, and refer you
for further information, to the bearer, Mr. Tingle.
In haste, respectfully yours,
EDGAR MACON, Esq., U. S. Dist. G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
Att'y, St. Augustine.
Another difficulty, quite as embarrassing, increased from day
to day, and which ultimately led to an open rupture. The Indians
had in their possession a number of slaves, many who were born
among them, and others purchased from the whites. The Indians
possessing no rights in a court of justice or in law, and the ne-
groes having been purchased and paid for, efforts were made to
take possession by force.
The Indian, conscious of his rights, and knowing that he paid
the money, though incapable of showing the papers executed
under the forms of law, as he had received none, and relying
upon the honesty of the white man, protested most earnestly
against these demands, and resolutely expressed a determination
to resist all attempts thus to wrest from him his rightfully ac-
The superintendent, Governor Duval, writes to Col. Hum-
phreys on the 15th of January, as follows:
Tallahassee, January 5th, 1825.
"SIR-On the subject of the runaway slaves among the Indians,
within the control of your agency, it will be proper in all cases,
where you believe the owners can identify the slaves, to have
THE FLORIDA WAR.
them taken and delivered over to the marshal of East Florida,
at St. Augustine, so that the federal judge may inquire into the
claim of the party and determine the right of property. But in
all cases when the same slave is claimed by a white person and
an Indian, if you believe that the Indian has an equitable right to
the slave claimed, you are directed not to surrender the said
slave, unless by an order from the Honorable Jos. L. Smith, fed-
eral judge, residing in St. Augustine, and in that case you will
attend before him or at his court, and defend the right of the
Indian, if you believe he has right on his side. You will in your
discretion remove out of the Indian boundary, all free negroes, or
other persons, who may attempt to reside in the nation, without
permission from the Supt. or yourself. You will keep an exact
account of the number of days you shall be actually engaged in
attending to the business of the nation, and also your daily ex-
pense while so employed. Where any white person holds forci-
ble, or fraudulent possession of any slave or other property, be-
longing to an Indian, under your agency, it is your duty to have
justice rendered to the Indian, and you are directed to employ
counsel when it may be necessary, and take all legal measures to
obtain justice for the Indian. The licenses which have been
granted to Capt. Thornton and Capt. Pelham to trade with the
Indians at Tampa Bay, you will notify them or their agents, will
be withdrawn, from and after the 9th day of March next, and
that in future, no license will be granted, except where the indi-
vidual shall reside with the goods in the nation, and under the
control of the agent. All spirituous liquors must be kept out of
the nation, and if any individual shall sell or otherwise trade to
the Indians any intoxicating liquors, it is your duty to have him
prosecuted in the federal court. If any trader without license
should come into the nation for the purpose of traffic, the law
directs you to seize upon his goods. White men are not to visit
the Indian towns, or to quit the high road established by con-
gress, to examine the Indian lands, without your special permis-
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. G. HUMPHREYS, Agent fori WM. P. DUVAL."
the Florida Indians.
It was evident, from the causes of complaint both among the
Indians and citizens, increasing as the country settled, that mis-
understandings and collisions would ensue, and as neither party
could effect their design, bloodshed would follow.
The agent of the government resolutely vindicated the native,
and as promptly lent his aid to adjust all demands made by the
citizens. But he was alone, and while he stood firmly breasting
the popular current, and endeavoring to soothe the Indian chiefs,
the voice of the people became more potent at Tallahassee-
through the legislature, whence, in exaggerated and-exciting lan-
guage, it was transmitted to Washington City. The agent repre-
sented and protested, but his exertions availed but little; and on
the 9th of February, he addressed the subjoined letter to the
commissioner of Indian affairs, Thomas S. McKenney:
St. Augustine, Feb. 9th, 1825.
SR-Although I have not as yet had opportunity to investi-
gate sufficiently to make a full report, as promised in my letter
from Charleston, touching our Indian relations, I have learnt
enough since my arrival here to make me feel it to be an imper-
ative duty to address you without delay, for the information of
the department, in the hope that the interpositions of the compe-
tent power may be exercised in time to prevent the disastrous
consequences which must inevitably flow from a prosecution of
the system of severity recently adopted towards the Indians. I
allude particularly to a law of the last legislative council, which
is in the following words: An Act to prevent the Indians from
roaming at large, throughout the Territory. Be it enacted by
the Governor and Legislative Council of the Territory of Florida,
that from and after the passing of this act, if any Indian of the
years of discretion venture to roam or ramble beyond the boun-
dary lines of the reservations which have been assigned to the
tribe or nation to which said Indian belongs, it shall and may
be lawful for any person or persons, to apprehend, seize and take
said Indian and carry him before some justice of the peace, who
is hereby authorized, empowered and required, to direct [if said
Indian have not a written permission from the agent, to do some
specific act] that there shall be inflicted not exceeding thirty-
nine stripes, at the discretion of the justice, on the bare back of said
Indian, and moreover to cause the gun of said Indian, if he have
any, to be taken away from him, and deposited with the colonel
of the county, or captain of the district in which said Indian
may be taken, subject to the order of the superintendent of In-
dian affairs.' The want of good policy of this law, to say
nothing of its inhumanity and injustice, it appears to me (with all
due deference to the legislative council I say it) must be obvi-
ous to every reflecting mind, and I do not hesitate to predict,
that an enforcement of its provisions will produce an excitement
on the part of the Indians which must unavoidably lead to blood-
shed and distress in our frontier settlements. It is not to be ex-
pected, that this people, who though greatly and cruelly oppressed,
are by nature and every principle of right, if not of human law,
free, will tamely submit to the ignominy of stripes, and that for
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THE FLORIDA WAR.
no other offence, than the mere exercise of a privilege common
to all who are not slaves. No, sir! carry this law into effect and
war in reality may be expected sooner or later to follow as a
consequence: indeed, if I may take the word of a member of the
council, such consequence was calculated upon by that body,
when the bill was under consideration. 'For,' said he, in a cen-
versation I held with him in relation to this law, 'it is found im-
possible to bring them to negotiate for a removal from the terri-
tory, and the only course, therefore, which remains for us to rid
ourselves of them, is to adopt such a mode of treatment towards
them, as will induce them to acts that will justify their expulsion
by force.' This, sir, is the benevolent language of an enlightened
"However reasonable or rather natural the wish on the part
of the white inhabitants, as a matter of convenience to themselves,
that the unfortunate children of the forests should be removed
from Florida, justice and honor forbid that means so inhuman
as those proposed should be resorted to to effect that object; and
the character of our government and country demand that the
abomination should be prevented, and the foul blot of the law in
view wiped from the records of our legislation.
"From all I can learn here, there is little doubt that the dis-
turbances near Tallahassee, which have of late occasioned so
much clamor, were brought about by a course of unjustifiable
conduct on the part of the whites, similar to that which it appears
to be the object of the territorial legislature to legalize. In fact, it
is stated that one Indian had been so severely whipped by the
head of the family which was destroyed, in those disturbances, as
to cause his death; if such be the fact, the subsequent act of the
Indians, however lamentable, must be considered as one of retali-
ation, and I cannot but think it is to be deplored that they were
afterwards 'hunted' with so unrelenting a spirit of revenge. As
the agent of the United States, as a citizen of Florida desirous to
preserve harmony and prevent a further needless effusion of blood,
Make this communication, and am
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. THOMAs L. MCKENNY, Office of G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
Indian Affairs, Washington.
This was followed by another on the 6th of March, 1827:
Seminole Agency, March 6th, 1827.
SIR-I am sorry to be obliged to report to you that the con-
dition of the Indians of this nation is one of great suffering from
hunger. There is not at this moment, I will venture to say, in
the whole nation a bushel of corn, or any adequate substitute for
it. The coutee and brier root, which have hitherto been to them
a tolerable dernier dependence, are almost entirely consumed.
For nearly a year past they have been compelled t6 rely mainly
upon these, and the cabbage-tree, for sustenance, of the vegetable
kind. What they are to do another year I dare not imagine.
They have not corn for this year's seed, nor can I procure it for
them; I have sent to the St. John's, and inquired for it through
the Alachua settlements without the smallest success. The situ-
ation of some of these people is wretched, almost beyond descrip-
tion; those particularly who during the late alarm were robbed
of their guns, have been absolutely famishing. Their appearance
is sufficient to excite the commiseration of the hardest heart.
Towards a people like the Indians, whose chief dependence for a
subsistence is upon the chase, a greater cruelty could not be
practiced, than to deprive them of the implements so important
and indispensable in their mode of life. That offences have been
committed which deserved chastisement, whatever may have
been the causes on the part of the whites that led to them, is
quite probable, but I do not conceive that any thing, of which I
have as yet been informed, in relation to the recent disturbances,
can justify the indiscriminate and extreme severity which has
been inflicted; and in this I am certain you will agree with me,
when you are acquainted with all that has been done, and the
extent to which humanity has been outraged. There are facts
connected with the operations of this campaign (as I suppose it
will be called) at the recital of which every heart, not callous,
must shrink with horror.
"Tottering age, feeble childhood, and females, whose peculi-
arity and delicacy of condition awakens, even in the bosom of the
contemned savage, emotions of tenderness, were huddled together
and hurried forward with as little of compassion as is extended to
the brute when driven forth to meet the slaughterer's knife.
There is one attending incident which I would fain withhold, but
truth and candor demand that as naught should be set down in
malice, so should nothing be extenuated. The circumstance I
am required to record is this: On an occasion when a party was
sent to collect *stragglers, it gathered a number, among whom was
a female far advanced in pregnancy. When a return march to
head-quarters took place, this helpless and unpitied woman was
forced onward with such precipitancy as to produce a premature
delivery, which was near terminating her life. Truly, this is a
most extraordinary lesson in humanity for a civilized nation to
place before a people whose barbarism we so loudly and freely
condemn. It was well enough, I admit, to employ, if it became
necessary, force, to apprehend for trial those who perpetrated the
acts of violence near the Oscilla; but the necessity for the general
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
alarm which was created, and parading of military detachments
through the country in warlike fashion, in a time of peace, I am
not able to perceive; but the evils almost unavoidably consequent
upon the procedure, I can too plainly see. And any man who
reads the history of this inglorious war and its effects, will learn
and see much which, as an American, a member of a nation
calling itself Christian, he must blush at; and I find it a duty to
say to you, that upon the subject of this treatment of the Indians,
the chiefs exhibit great feeling. 'We cannot understand,' say
they, 'why unoffending men, and helpless women and children,
should be made to suffer for the faults of a few turbulent spirits,
whose bad deeds the nation does not justify, though done in
retaliation of injuries inflicted upon themselves, and as was the
case in the Oscilla murder, by the white man whose family fell
victims. We have been told by the whites, that those who com-
mit offences are the only ones who should be punished for them;
and although it was the custom among us for a man to take satis-
faction into his own hands, and if he could not find the individual
who had committed a murder in his family, punish the nearest
blood of his he could find, such is not our way now. Shortly
after our agent came among us, he convinced us that this was
wrong, and we altered our laws, which now stand like those of
the whites; though some of our hard-headed men, who have no
sense, will not as yet, we are sorry to say, listen to the new law,
but follow the old one, and when injured take revenge the shortest
way they can get it; they were such men that did the murder on
the Oscilla, because they had not patience to wait and let the
white people's laws give them satisfaction; and because, perhaps,
they did not believe those laws would do them justice.'
"Assuredly, there is something decidedly wrong-our system
of management in regard to those people is essentially faulty; and
until it is amended, and less characterized by overbearing and
severity, it will be difficult, nay, impossible, to convince them
that we mean to deal with them kindly or even justly.
Gov. WM. P. DUVAL, G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
The agent was so unfortunate, during a brief absence at
Washington City, on duty, to be presented by the grand jury
convened at St. Augustine. In a letter to Governor Duval, he
alludes to this in a proper spirit of indignation:
St. Augustine, Fa., February 8th, 1827.
"The grand jury of this district, through the influence of some
of my enemies, took occasion to notice my recent absence, in the
way of condemnation, in their general presentment, not knowing
that I had for my absence such authority as would scarce feel
itself bound, either by duty or courtesy, to ask even that august,
high-minded, and enlightened body's sanction for its acts. I scorn
and have a sovereign contempt for the breeders of such impotent
I shall, as I have ever made it a point to do, act honestly but
independently, regardless of the interested murmurings and cal-
umnies of the malevolent and discontented spirits of the land. I
am well aware, that in this country, filled, as it is at present, with
reckless adventurers from all quarters of the globe, such a course
is calculated to make me an object of vituperative assault; but
for these I care not, so long as I am sustained by a consciousness
of my own rectitude of purpose. When I entered upon the duties
of my present office, I chose for myself a line of conduct from
which I have never wittingly deviated-one, to be sure, that has
given me much difficulty, and subjected me to severe and illiberal
animadversions, but one which will nevertheless, I feel a comfort-
ing certainty, eventually bear me triumphantly through the trying
ordeal of public opinion.
I am your obedient servant,
Gov. WM. P. DUVAL, G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
The territorial legislature had memorialized congress, in the
mean time, in regard to the Indians, as will be seen by the follow-
ing extract from the paper transmitted:
"The tract of country assigned to the Florida Indians by the
treaty of 1823, has always been complained of by them as incom-
petent to their support, and the additional grant subsequently
made them, has been the occasion of much dissatisfaction among
many of our citizens, and probably not without cause. In addi-
tion to this, the present location is in the pathway of our settlers,
and has already seriously impeded the settlement of the fairest
part of Florida, and will now cloud all its prospects. The land
in this vicinity is excellent, and but for the obstruction by this
unfortunate though not less obnoxious tribe of beings, would, be-
fbre this, have borne on the current of the St. John's all the rich
and luxurious products of a tropical clime. Besides, they have
never gone within their boundary, but have scattered themselves
in different parts of the territory, to the great annoyance of
our citizens. They have stripped the corn from our fields be-
fore our eyes; they have burned our houses, and murdered our
citizens. All this they did, and have been doing for the last sea-
son, within twenty miles of the walls of St. Augustine, and with
impunity. But more recent outrages have been committed,
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
which have thrown a damper on the spirit of our agriculturists, and
present our country under a gloomy aspect. The most inhuman
butcheries have been committed by them; a whole family has
fallen a sacrifice to their vengeance, and individuals have been
murdered while on the highway, and engaged in that industry
which constitutes the soul and energy of our country. Our corn-
houses have been broken and plundered, our cattle killed, and our
settlers driven from their homes, and threatened with all the hor.
rors of Indian cruelty, within the space of the last two months,
and within forty miles of our capital. The vigilance of our gov-
ernor and the promptness of our militia have, for the present,
checked their outrages, and in some degree quieted the fears of
our citizens; but at what time and in what place the bent bow
will let slip its arrow, the blood of our citizens, we fear, will soon
proclaim. In this gloomy situation of affairs, your memorialists
beg the speedy removal of those people out of the territory. If
they are dissatisfied with their present situation, as appears; if
they have never complied with the stipulations of their treaty, as
is manifest; if they have been guilty of the most glaring and
unprovoked outrages, certainly they have forfeited their claim to
humanity, and are the subjects of our policy. We must earnestly
recommend, that they be forthwith called to their boundary, and
commissioners appointed to hold a new treaty with them, stipu-
lating their immediate removal from the territory to the new
country west of the Mississippi, and the commissioners be vested
with full power to carry the same into execution."
The demands for negroes said to be among the Indians, con-
tinued to agitate the country, threatening the most serious re-
sults. These applications were now made upon the president of
the United States, who, through the secretary of war and com-
missioner of Indian affairs, required them to be surrendered by
the Indian agent. I now, by direction of the secretary of war,"
says the commissioner, on the 8th of February, 1827, "call your
"Department of War, Office Indian Afairs, Feb. 8th, 1827."
"SIR-Frequent complaints have been made to the depart-
ment, respecting slaves claimed by citizens of Florida, which are
in possession of the Indians; all of which have been acted on
here, in issuing such orders to you as it was expected would be
promptly obeyed, and lead to such investigations as should issue
in fixing the right of the claimants or establishing the contrary;
and that these proceedings would be followed by the proper
reports to the department-nothing satisfactory has been received
I now, by direction of the secretary of war, call your atten-
tion to this subject, in a general way, and particularly in regard
to the claim of Margaret Cooke, and require it of you forthwith
to cause the negroes claimed by her to be surrendered to her,
upon her entering into a bond with sufficient security, of which
you will judge, to abide by the decision of such tribunal as it may
be esteemed proper by the secretary of war to establish, to decide
upon the claim.
You will, at the same time, satisfy the Indians of the pro-
priety and justice of this course. Tell them the claim is set up,
and that this act is merely to secure the property until the right is
decided, when, if it be in them, it will be restored, and if in the
claimant, they ought not to expect to hold them. It is expected
of you to report generally upon such other like claims as may
exist in regard to slaves.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. GAD HUMPHREYS, THOSE. L. McKENNEY."
Agent to the Florida Indians. t
Further instructions were received by the agent upon the
subject, from the superintendent. On the 20th of March he thus
Tallahassee, March 20th, 1827.
SIR-The superintendent or agent is not vested with judi-
cial power to decide on the right of property, who may and have
surrendered slaves to our citizens which were runaways; we
will, as heretofore, advise the Indians to surrender a slave where
in justice they ought not to retain the slave, but in any litigated
case the chiefs must decide the matter, the facts to be reported
as herein directed. Many of the slaves belonging to the Indians
are now in the possession of the white people; these slaves can-
not be obtained for their Indian owners without a law-suit, and
I see no reason why the Indians shall be compelled to surrender
all slaves claimed by our citizens when this surrender is not mu-
tual. By the treaty they were bound to deliver up all the slaves
that were at that time in the nation, who had absconded from
their owners, and to return such as might in future flee to the
nation; but where a citizen and an Indian set up title to the
same slave, and that slave is in the nation, the matter must be
decided by the chiefs, and from the decision no other step can
be taken on your part, but to refer the whole to the secretary of
war. The negroes, claimed by the Indian woman Nelly, may be
given up to her; or if you believe it just and proper, the same
can be retained under your orders until the case shall be deter-
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
To Col. G. HUMPHREYS, Agent, WILLIAM P. DUVAL."
Fort King, Florida.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
The agent, with such powers enjoined, was in an awkward
dilemma, as well as one of great responsibility. To adjust rights
in this vexed and complicated matter, which was to involve the
United States in an open rupture with a people whom they had
voluntarily bound themselves to protect, was a situation far from
being desirable. In the first instance, their claims were to be
submitted to the judge of the federal court-next, the agent was
to decide; but he, feeling the delicacy of his situation, submits
them to the superintendent, who avoids the responsibility, and
says, The superintendent or his agent is not vested with judicial
powers to decide on the right of property. The chiefs must de-
The chiefs were determined not to surrender their property
into the hands of any one for investigation. But they were ready
to give bonds to deliver the slave, when proved before a proper
tribunal to belong to the claimant. Deprived as they were of a
voice in the halls of justice, the surrender of the negro at once
dispossessed them, without the least prospect of ever getting him
returned. Discontent and the spirit of retaliation pervaded the
entire country. The settler had no confidence in the Indian,
which was most heartily reciprocated.
When favorable opportunities offered, the Indian suffered from
personal abuse, and when made beastly intoxicated was robbed
of his ornaments and rifle. In most instances, upon recovering
he would find that he had, as told, sold his horse for a drink, and
thrown away his money. This to him was incredible, but what
he had lost was far beyond the hope of recovery. In retaliation,
and to obtain that which he conceived, very justly too, had been
stolen from him when intoxicated, he improved the first opportu-
nity to secure cattle and hogs, by driving them within the Indian
boundary, and claiming and defending them as his own. Trav-
ellers complained of being intercepted on the highway, maltreated
and robbed. Houses were said to have been forcibly opened, in
the absence of the occupants, and provisions stolen. To put a
stop to these proceedings, a company of mounted militia was
ordered out on the 2d of April, to scour the country, and bring
the depredators to justice. The chiefs appealed to the agent for
protection, denying unequivocally that their warriors had been
guilty of overt acts. Those attributed to them they believed, as
many respectable persons did, had been committed by vagrant
whites, who under the cry of hostilities shielded themselves from
punishment. In the progress of this quasi war, two whites were
killed. The Indians had good cause to believe this to have been
the act of their own people. Nehemathlar, the chief, promptly
assembled his warriors, and after a pursuit of two months secured
the fugitives, and delivered them to the agent for'trial. Such
THE FLORIDA WAR.
alacrity was an evidence on their part of a desire to act justly
and decisively when complaints were made upon sufficient ground.
On the 9th of September, the agent writes to the district attorney
in reference to the Indian prisoners, who, after a fair trial, were
Seminole Agency, 9th September, 1827.
DEAR SIR-In consequence of a letter of disapproval received
from Gov. Duval, I, some weeks since, directed the two Indians
who were released from confinement at the time you were at
the agency, to be arrested and sent to Tallahassee for examina-
tion, &c.; which order, I am informed, has been obeyed. It has
this day been suggested to me, by a gentleman from Alachua
county, that there is a plan on foot, to have them sent into
Georgia for trial, in the belief that their chance for escape from
punishment and death will be weakened by such procedure, it
being easy, as the friends of the measure say, to show that the
crime, if committed by them, was perpetrated within the limits
of that state. The suggestion of corrupt trial is a calumny upon
the character of that commonwealth, and the measure indicated,
no man, not an ignoramus, can think of carrying out. That the
most unscrupulous efforts will be made to convict, need not be
questioned. Knowing your character, I am aware that there is
no necessity of making an appeal to your benevolence of feeling,
in behalf of those unfortunate men. I am satisfied that, in the
discharge of your duties of public prosecutor, you will not lose
sight of the principles of justice, or forget what is due to hu-
manity. I most confidently believe in the entire innocence of
the accused of the blood, the spilling of which is attempted to be
fastened upon them; and that, though they may have committed
depredations upon the property of the whites, their guilt wears
no deeper hue. Should the incipient judicial examination result
in further confinement and a trial, in season to enable me to reach
Tallahassee to attend it, it is my own wish, and that of the chiefs,
that I should be present. His excellency appeared by his letter
to be highly displeased, that I consulted you in relation to the
release; and says, that I ought not to have suffered myself to be
influenced by your opinion, as you are not authorized to decide
for the judge or jury.
Respectfully, your friend and obedient servant,
U. S. District Attorney, G. HUMPHREYS,
Tallahassee, Fla. Agent Seminole Indians."
In spite of the exertions ot the citizens and well-wishers of
the country, the disposition to trample upon the Indians, mani-
fested itself in all quarters. The secretary and acting governor
THE FLORIDA WAR.
McCarty, informed Col. Humphreys, on the 26th of November, of
a murder committed in the neighborhood of Tallahassee :
Indian Office, Tallahassee, Nov. 26th, 1827.
SIR-It gives me pain, to apprise you of a distressing event
which occurred in this vicinity on the 20th ult. An Indian (who
accompanied Billy and his wife, who had a pass from you to visit
their relations in the Creek nation) was shot, as appears from
the verdict of the jury of inquest. Two persons have been ap-
prehended, and I have issued a proclamation for a third, who is
also suspected of participating in this shocking outrage. You
will explain this circumstance to the nation, with such remarks
as may occur to you to be proper on the occasion. The Indian,
who was shot, had no pass; but he no doubt considered himself
as under the protection of that which you had granted to Billy
and wife. This melancholy occasion is much deplored by the
people in this neighborhood, who have manifested much zeal for
the apprehension of the offenders; and of this the nation should
be fully apprised. They should, moreover, be instructed to ad-
monish their people not to pass the boundary without permission
in writing from yourself.
I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. G. HUMPHREYS, Agent, ( WILLIAM M. McCARTY,
Fort King, Fla. S Sec. and Act. Gov. and Act. Sup't. Ind. Aff. in Fla."
The agent assembled the chiefs as directed, and thus answers
the acting governor:
"Seminole Agency, 19th Dec. 1827.
SSIR-On my return yesterday from an excursion into the
Indian nation, I was put in possession of your letter of the 26th
ultimo, communicating the unpleasant news of the murder of an
Indian, near Tallahassee.
It fortunately so happened, that I was visited on the day of
my return by Hicks, and several other chiefs, to whom I made
known the subject of your letter, adding such remarks of my
own as the occasion seemed to call for. The chiefs were, as
was to be expected, much annoyed by the intelligence; but they
nevertheless deported themselves with perfect temperance and
propriety, and assured me, that, believing exact justice would be
done in the matter, they would quietly await the result of the in-
vestigation, which I have informed them is to take place.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM MCCARTY, Esq., G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
Sec. and Act. Gov. of Florida.
These men, relying upon the sense of justice which had
actuated them in the arrest of fugitive Indians accused of a like
offence, awaited calmly the action of the white man's laws to
punish the offenders.
In the midst of these difficulties, the claims fof negroes in
possession of the Indians were pushed upon the war department,
through the delegate of the territory, Col. J. M. White, who per-
emptorily demanded redress for the grievances complained of by
his constituents. Col. Humphreys was ordered to deliver forth-
with the negroes claimed by Mrs. Margaret Cook. The refusal
of the Indian chief to comply caused some delay, when the order
was reiterated on the 6th of February, and further required that
the agent "should see that it was done."
The agent wrote the following letter to the commissioner of
Indian affairs, showing that the neglect was not attributable to
himself, but to the spirit of opposition manifested by the Indians:
Seminole Agency, March 1st, 1828.
SIR-Your letter of the 7th instant, communicating the order
of the secretary of war, in relation to the delivery of Mrs.
Cooke's negro Jack or John, was received here last mail, and in
reply thereto I have to request, that you will say to the secretary,
that at the time the order came to hand, the fourth party which
had been sent by me in pursuit of the negro in question, within
the last six months, was out. It has returned without success,
and the Indian men declare their inability to take the fugitive.
Under these circumstances, I have to ask of the Department,
what is to be done? and whether in this particular case I am
authorized to put in requisition the military force stationed near
the agency? and if so, to request that I may be placed in such
relation with regard to it, as will insure a compliance with such
calls as I may find it necessary to make. From one portion of
your letter under consideration, it is to be inferred that the de-
partment has been imposed upon, or at least, that it is in error in
relation to the situation of the property in question. You say
that the negro Jack or John must be delivered up to Mrs. Cook,
on the same condition as she received the other negro claimed by
her, viz., on her giving bonds, &c. Such conditions are not at
all required, so far as the interests of the Indians are concerned,
inasmuch as they do not pretend to dispute the title with Mrs. C.,
whom they admit and believe to be the legitimate owner of the
slave, and to whom they are willing (as their efforts in her behalf
in this case fully prove, however she may assert the contrary) to
give such aid as they can, and more than she has a right to ask,
towards the recovery of her property. But they will not, I appre-
hend, consent further to risk their lives in a service, which has
always been a thankless one; and has lately proved so to one of
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
the most respected and valuable chiefs in the nation, who was
killed in an attempt to arrest a runaway slave.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOSE. L. MCKENNEY, Esq., G. HUMPHREYS, Agent."
Com'r of Indian Affairs.
Connected with these causes of dissatisfaction, the Indians
complained that the annuity granted under the treaty was withheld.
This had been done in the belief that a suspension of payment
would impel the Indians to surrender the negroes, so long and
unwisely contended for. A letter from the agent to Governor
Duval, of March 8, 1828, makes known the dissatisfaction of the
"Seminole Agency, March 6,1828.
"SIR-Under the impression, from what has been stated to me,
that there remains a considerable unexpended balance of the ap-
propriation of $20,000 made by congress to furnish provisions for
the relief of the Florida Indians, I feel it a duty to state, that if
such balance exists, it might at this time afford great benefit to
the nation, if judiciously applied to the purchase of corn, &c.
The last year's crop of the Indians, which was scanty, is entirely
exhausted, and they are beginning to feel the pressure of want,
from which they receive only such precarious relief as is to be
found in the woods. They do not, however, even under these
circumstances, make any new calls upon the munificence of the
government; but if there is any portion of its former bounty, that
has not reached them, it would be exceedingly acceptable, and an
act of humanity to impart it to them, in this their time of need.
I yesterday received a formal visit from Hicks, and several other
chiefs, the object of which was to request me to address you on
"I shall be glad to be instructed what to say to them in reply.
I have of late been much importuned on this subject of the an-
nuity, which has been some time due.
The Indians are extremely anxious to have it, and desire that
it may be paid in specie. They are not content with the manner
in which it has been thus far given to them. They say, that
when paid, as heretofore, in goods or bank notes, it is impossible
for them to apportion and distribute it in such a way, as that each
individual shall get the exact amount to which he is entitled; and
this difficulty, which is the cause of dissatisfaction among the
members of the nation, can only be prevented by the mode of
payment now asked for.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Gov. WM. P. DUVAL, Superintendent G. HUMPHREYS,
of Indian Affairs, Tallahassee, Fa. Agent Sem. Indians."
The commissioner of Indian affairs, in answer to the commu-
nication of the agent, of March 27, says that the military cannot
be employed in arresting Indian negroes."
"Department of War, Ofice Indian Affairs, 1
March 27th, 1828.
SIR-I have received your two letters of the 7th instant. In
regard to the negro, the property of Mrs. Cooke, it was expected
that, if within your reach, or the means at your disposal, you
would comply with the order. The military will not be employed.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. G. HUMPHREYS, THOSE. L. MCKENNEY,
Agent Fa. Indians, Fort King, Fa. Com'r In. Affairs."
The military had already been put in requisition, through
the request of the agent, and voluntary offer of Major Glassell,
U. S. A., commanding at Fort King, but confined to the country
in their immediate neighborhood. It was thought the presence
of troops would intimidate the Indians, and cause an instant de-
livery. But the demand, under such circumstances, was ridiculed,
and while the commander was wasting his arguments, the negroes
were immediately taken to the swamps and hammocks, under
direction of experienced guides. These proceedings naturally
inflamed the passions of all, and while the chiefs were calmly
maintaining their rights, in the face of an authority capable of
crushing them as a nation, the younger class listened attentively,
anxiously awaiting the time when they could act as their feelings
dictated, and revenge their wrongs, accumulating from day to
day, and which seemed to become more aggravated as they at-
tempted to resist them, and defend themselves. The most influ-
ential chiefs endeavored to calm the feeling so rife, encouraged
as it was by white men lingering upon their border, demoralizing
them by the sale of whisky, and adding to their depraved condi-
tion by pernicious example and advice.
The agent reported to the superintendent, on the 6th of April,
1828, the murder of a white man by an Indian:
"Seminole Agency, April 6th, 1828.
"SIR-I have to report that a murder has recently been com-
mitted upon a white man in the neighborhood of Hamly's Old
Store,' by an Indian who lived near the Oklawaha river. The
cause which led to the outrage, or whether there was any provo-
cation, I have not learned; though there is reason to believe the
deed was altogether wanton. Upon being informed of the affair,
I sent for some of the principal chiefs, who promptly attended,
and declared their unqualified disapproval of the act: indeed, so
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
exasperated were they, particularly the emigrants settled on
'Big Swamp,' that some difficulty was experienced in restraining
and preventing them from proceeding at once in pursuit to inflict
summary justice; but as the offender is of the old Seminoles,
between whom and the tribes of the west there appears, unfortu-
nately, not to exist the most perfect cordiality, I deemed it ad-
visable, in order to harmonize and check, if possible, an increase
of unkindly feelings, to stop proceedings in the matter, until
measures could be entered into to bring the different tribes to act
"The occasion, though a melancholy one, seemed favorable
for entering on the first step towards a more perfect union between
them; which is so essential to their own happiness and the inte-
rests of the United States. I accordingly detained some of the
head-men from the west, and sent for Micanopy and Jumper, who
had just returned, as was understood, from the hunting grounds.
Jumper was found to be still out, and Micanopy, though at home,
was confined to his lodge by severe sickness; of course, neither
attended. Under these circumstances, I concluded to send Tus-
keneha to Micanopy, whose place is only about eight miles from
here, to ascertain his sentiments in relation to the murder, and
whether he was disposed to join in bringing the perpetrator to
justice. "His conduct on the occasion, as reported to me by Tus-
keneha, was entirely correct, and such as does him credit. He
said the man deserved death by their own laws, and although he
was unable to go to aid in carrying the law into effect, he should
give his voice in favor of immediate punishment, and would
fully sanction whatever the other chiefs might do. It was then
resolved by the council that the offender should expiate his offence
by death; and a party, led by Tuskeneha, proceeded to enforce
the sentence. At the request of the Indians, I sent a young man
named Brutan (who has been some time employed by me to herd
the public cattle), as a witness. This they desired, they said, in
order to satisfy the whites, some of whom might otherwise doubt
them, that they were faithful. I strongly urged that the murderer
should be given up to be tried by the laws of the white people;
but to this the Indians as strongly objected, as being contrary to
their custom. They never attempted to take a murderer alive, it
would be attended with danger, and might cause the death of one
or more of the party; for once notified of his detection he knew
his fate, and would doubtless fight till the last. "Twere better,'
they said,' that so bad a man should lose his forfeited life, than
jeopardize the safety of any good one by" unnecessary formality;'
and, on the whole, though I could have desired to see them pursue
a course more in consonance with the received notions of civili-
zation, I could not believe it to be a point of sufficient import-
50 THE FLORIDA WAR.
ance to authorize me to press it, at a risk of a total failure of
justice, and therefore told them to pursue their own method.
"The party went, but did not entirely succeed, though there
is reason to believe the object in view was essentially effected;-
the culprit was fired upon, as he was taking shelter in a swamp,
and fell, but recovered his feet, and got into the swamp. Blood
was found where he ran, after the shots.
I was informed yesterday, that all search of the friends of
the fugitive, which has been constant, has proved unavailing; and
the conjecture (a very probable one) is, that in attempting to
swim the Oklawaha, which is very high, in his wounded condi-
tion, he has been drowned.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Gov. W. P. DUVAL, ) G. HUMPHREYS,
Tallahassee, Florida. Agent Seminole Indians."
The determination of the chiefs to punish the murderer, again
evinced the kindest disposition towards the inhabitants, though so
long aggrieved by efforts to wrest from them their property.
The talk given by the principal men upon the subject, shows
a determination to award justice; showing at the same time a just
appreciation of their own rights, in opposition to the arguments
and threats which the agent had resorted to, in endeavoring to
fulfil the requirements of claimants, coming as they did from the
secretary of war, under instructions from the president of the
Minutes of a talk held at the Seminole Agency, the 17th April, 1828, at which
were present Tuskal Mathla, Head Chief: Mico Nopy, Jumper, Halata Emath-
la, Halata Mico, Fee-ke-lusta, Hajo, and Cooper. Witnesses, or white persons,
present: Capt. Saunders, Sutler at Tampa; Lieut. Eaton, 4th Infantry; Mr.
Ganes, and Mr. Lockwood.
Agent.-I understand you have come to have a talk with me: if so, proceed;
I am ready to hear you.
Mico Nopy.-We are told there is a white man come into our country after
certain negroes. I want to know what right he has to come after them; we have
been told that white people should not come into our country : besides, these ne-
groes are ours, and the whites have no right to them.
Agent.-This man has an order from the secretary of war to get the negroes,
and I am directed to give them up to him, on his giving bonds, in the same way
that Mrs. Cook got the negroes she claimed from Nelly Factor. Should the
white woman who calls for these negroes, not prove her claim, the negroes will be
returned to you. If you do not give them up, I shall have to send and take them
Jumper.-This negro woman, who is now wanted from us, belonged formerly
to a white man, who 'tis now said (by those who wish to get her and her children
away from us) gave her t9 his daughter. May-be this is true, may-be not; but
if he did give her to his daughter, for some reason, he took her away again and
brought her and sold her to the Indians, who honestly paid for her, and are therefore
-the fair owners of her. It seems that the white people will not rest, or suffer us
THE FLORIDA WAR.
to do so, till they have got all the property belonging to us, and made us poor.
The laws of the whites appear to be made altogether for their own benefit, and
against the Indians, who can never under them get back any of their property; if
it once gets, no matter how, into the white people's hands, we fear their laws will
leave to us nothing. If we could see them work so as to restore the property
that has been stolen, and otherwise unfairly taken from us, and not so as to rob us
of the little we have left, we should have more reason to believe them just, but as
it is, the benefit to be had from them goes all to the white people's side.
It is well known that a great deal of our property, negroes, horses, cattle, &c.
is now in the hands of the whites, and yet their laws give us no satisfaction, and
will not make them give this property up to us. The property which this white
man is after, we know to belong to our people, and we cannot therefore consent to
give it up. If you send and take it from us by force, as you say you must, we
cannot help ourselves, but shall think it very hard in the government to force
from us that which we have purchased and fairly paid for, when it will not use
the same means to make the whites return to us property of ours which they have
dishonestly got in their possession. We were promised justice, and we want to
see it! These negroes are ours, and we will not consent to surrender them, or
say we are willing to have them taken. If they are forced out of our hands,
we may not resist because we have not the power; but we must insist, that the
government does not show in this business that justice which has been so often
and liberally promised to us. We have submitted to one demand after another of
this kind, in the hope that they would cease, but it seems that there will be no end
to them, as long as we have any thing left that the white people may want, and
we have become tired and discouraged.
Agent.-You act wisely in not attempting to resist by force the orders of the
government, which, you may rest assured will, as far as practicable, do you jus-
tice in this and every other matter. You must not suppose, because you are
called upon to give up these negroes, that it is the wish or intention of the gov-
ernment to deprive you of any thing which of right belongs to you or your people.
This course is taken in order that the dispute between you and the white claim-
ant, which has been so long annoying both you and the government, may be
settled and for ever put at rest. And I repeat, that should the white woman fail
to prove her title to the property, it will be returned to you.
Jumper.-We heard the same talk about the negroes which were taken from
Nelly Factor, twelve moons since, but the negroes have not come back. We know
you tell us what you think, and wish and hope that your words may prove true,-
but it is discouraging, and makes our hearts sad, to have the white people coming,
every few days, to wrong us out of our honest property, when we can never get
out of their .hands that whicht*hey stole from us many years ago. The negroes
this man is after are ours, and the white people know it is so; and if you take it.
from us, we shall think hard of it, and feel that the justice of the government is
for the whites and not for us.
I have nothing more to say.
Col. George M. Brooke, U. S. A., commanding at Tampa Bay,
had been induced, through the solicitations of Col. Humphreys, to
assist him in the execution of his orders. He succeeded, with
the aid of his troops, in arresting four negroes, claimed as the
property of Mrs. Hannay, of St. Mary's, Ga.
Col. Brooke thus writes to the agent on the 2d and 6th of
THE FLORIDA WAR.
Canton Brooke, May 2d, 1828.
"DEAR SIR-I received by the hands of Mr. Mickler, a few
days since, your letter of the 22d April, with Col. McKenney's of
the 8th March. On inquiry, I have ascertained that the negroes
claimed by a person'in Georgia are not at Peas Creek, but prob-
ably on the Withlacoochee, or in the neighborhood of Pilackli-
chaha, and it would be useless for me to send a command after
them, because they would be hid by the Indians from the most
careful search. My command is, besides, so small, having only
twenty-eight men for duty, that I could not well dispatch any
part, which must be so weak as not to command any respect
from the Indians, and in producing probable resistance, would result
in an immediate state of hostilities. I have, however, seen the
Indian who claims them, and who will deliver them to you or
Major Glossell, but not to Mr. Mickler, who they are afraid will
take them out of the nation, without their ever being able to get
back the negroes, or the money which they have paid for them.
It appears the old woman has been in the country for twenty
years, and, at their own expense, the increase has been raised and
supported. I am not to say any thing as it regards the proper
title, but only state what the Indians have told me. Young
Micanopy will be here on Monday next, and will proceed imme-
diately in the direction of the negroes, and carry them to the
agency. I do not believe that, without the consent of the Indians
themselves, the negroes would have been had, without a consid-
erable force and fatigue, and then with a risk of considerable
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. G. HUMPHREYS, GEO. M. BROOKE, Col. U. S. A. commanding."
Canton Brooke, May 6th, 1828.
DEAR SIR-Sestaskee and young Micanopy will leave this
to-day, for the agency, with a part of the negroes, and the re-
mainder they will get at what is called their old place.
"I really pity those Indians, and although negroes are of little
value to the Indians, being rather masters than slaves, still they
view them as their property. So many claims are now made on
-them, that they begin to believe that it is the determination of the
United States to take them all. This idea is strengthened by the
conversations of many of the whites, and which they have heard.
I would assume the responsibility of not delivering the ne-
groes, unless the claim was perfectly satisfactory, and inform the
government; and in any or all events, I would be perfectly satis-
fied as to the perfect ability of the persons who have signed the
bond. It is a delicate matter, after having received a positive
order; but there is, and must be always, discretion, unless the
person giving the order is on the spot.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. G. HUMPHREYS, GEO. M. BROOKE, Colonel U. S. A."
Agent, Fort King, Fa.
Though every means had been adopted to meet the demands
of the highest authority, in regard to slaves, Col. Humphreys was
determined to be satisfied as to the responsibility of his own acts,
done in obedience to orders received, while he was enjoined, at
the same time, to give protection to the Indians, as agreed upon
in the treaty of Fort Moultrie.
The letter from the Hon. Jos. L. Smith, judge of the supreme
court of Florida, goes far to bear the Indian out in resisting the
delivery of his property:
St. Augustine, May 10th, 1828.
"SIR-Your letter of the 9th instant reached me yesterday,
and I reply to the inquiries contained in it by remarking, that
property belonging to Indians, or in their possession, under bond
fide claim of title, cannot legally be taken from them, but by
treaty, by their consent, or by decision of a competent court of
justice. General principles would forbid, and I know of no special
statute conferring such a power on superintendents or agents.
"In extreme cases, from necessity, as where there exists
reasonable apprehension of hostilities, it would be right to take
from them their arms and other means of aggression; but this,
after all, would be an act of war in self-defence.
"I can perceive no equity in withholding from the Indians
their annuity, because they do not give up to white claimants
property which they allege is their own. The act of 1802,
when they have committed depredations, and injured the prop-
erty of the whites, authorizes compensation (on proof) to be
made by stoppages from their annuity; and this under the direc-
tion, if I recollect the law correctly, of the president.
"In regard to runaway negroes, who have sought refuge in
the nation of which you are agent, I understand from the depart-
ment, that the question, in all cases of adverse claims, was to be
investigated and decided by me, under the authority of which
you have had notice. During the continuance of this arrange-
ment, (decided and urged by the white claimants, and, as I have
been informed, by the Indians also,) whichtwould give opportu-
nity for thorough investigation of proofs, on both sides, it was not
to be expected that a summary order would have been issued by
any functionary in the territory, that a negro in possession of the
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
Indians, with a claim of title, should be delivered to the white
claimant, on his ex parte statement.
"A step like this, taken in a case actually undergoing investi-
gation before me, would place me in an unpleasant position,
rendering future proceedings uncertain, and, in fact, terminate
the benefit, to white claimants and to the Indians, of the authority
given to me by the department.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. GAD HUMPHREYS, JOSEPH L. SMITH."
Agent, &c. 5
The department of war, finding itself, as well as its agents,
so deeply involved in difficulties in the recovery of slaves, the
course of adjudication as transmitted in the instructions given to
the agent by the superintendent on the 5th of January, 1825, was
"Department of War, Office Indian Afairs, May 5th, 1828.
"SIR'-You will direct Col. Humphreys, in order to a speedy
decision in all cases which may be submitted for the recovery of
runaway slaves, to refer them to the judge of the district; and if
his decision be favorable to the claimants, you will order the
slaves to be delivered, in pursuance of that decision, the claimant
giving bonds to abide by such other legal proceedings as the
parties holding the slaves may think proper to adopt.
"You will address the judge a line requesting him to decide,
and report the cases to you, to be forwarded by you to the de-
partment, for its information. Let the report of the judge be on
the basis of a judicial decision.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
His Excellency, WIaLIAM P. DruvA, THOS. L. McKENNEY."
In one instance, the slaves demanded were in possession.
Bonds were accordingly required, before surrendering them, to re-
deliver the negroes to the Indian, if declared by a competent tribunal
to be his property. Those offered were refused by the agent, as the
persons tendered as security were irresponsible in all respects.
The agent vindicates his course in a letter to the superintendent
on the 14th of August:
Seminole Agency, 14th August, 1828.
"SIR-Your two letters, of the 31st July and Ist August,
were this day received. The order relative to the slaves claimed
by Mrs. Hannay, shall be attended to, but I must confess my ap-
THE FLORIDA WAR.
prehension, that I shall find some difficulty in determining upon
the competency of the security she may offer (which it is pre-
sumable will be from among her friends and acquaintances in
Georgia), as I am totally ignorant of the pecuniary circumstances
of every individual in that state.
My situation, it may be readily imagined, would be awk-
ward and embarrassing in the extreme, and I should be liable to
the charge of being untrue to my duty, were I (by mistake or
otherwise) to accept security-which should, in the end, prove in-
sufficient, and the Indian who is the opposing claimant of Mrs.
Hannay suffer in consequence the loss of her property. I take
the liberty, therefore, to request that I may be furnished with spe-
cific instructions for my government on this subject.
"As the principal chiefs happened to be assembled at the
agency in council, when your communication on the subject of
the claim set up by Mrs. Cook was received, it was read and in-
terpreted to them at once.
The accompanying is a talk delivered in meeting, this
morning, by Hicks in reply, which I have the honor to transmit
to you, with a request from the chiefs, that it may be forwarded
to Washington. They appear much hurt at the idea of M---
being allowed to wrest from them, as pay for a slave, a portion
of the poor pittance which they are entitled to from the govern-
ment, without their having had a shadow of value for it, and that
too upon her own ex parte and interested statement, which, I
think I hazard little in saying, will be found, on investigation, to
be grossly erroneous; for I cannot suppose the department would,
for a moment, think of giving sanction to a claim so unjust and
extravagant as that preferred by Mrs. had it not been
imposed upon by an uncandid representation of the facts existing
in the case. I am naturally led to infer from the tenor of your
language upon the subject, as well as of that which you commu-
nicate as coming from the department, that an impression has been
created there, ascribing to the Indians a wilful withholding from
Mrs. Cook of the negro she claims. If such an impression exists, it
is a libel on the nation; and those who have been instrumental in
producing it are guilty of egregious if not deliberate misrepresenta-
tion. To Mrs. and her son-in-law have I repeat-
edly, verbally and by letter, explained the difficulties in the case,
and at the same time apprised them of the earnest desire of the
chiefs that the matter should be settled, and of the efforts they were
making to bring the negro in question in-efforts they were induced
to make by my assuring them that Mr. was willing (for to
that effect he had made professions to me) to pay a considerable
balance which is yet due to the Indian of the original purchase-
money (none of which purchase-money, it is just for me to state
here, went, as their chiefs allege, to the actual Indian owner of
the negro, he utterly refusing, when sober, to accept the goods-
a small packhorse-load only-which had been palmed upon
him, during a period of intoxication, in exchange for his slave).
He left them, and returned to his home. They were subse-
quently put into the possession of other Indians, (not at all inter-
ested in the trade about the negro,) by whom they were, it may
be taken for granted, consumed. The negro never was delivered
up, nor has there ever been exhibited to me evidence, if such
exists, of any written title, upon which Mrs. claims.
"It was upon the oral representations of her son-in-law, Mr.
made at an early period of my acquaintance with him,
as a business man, that I was induced to give to the Indians the
advice, on the subject of this claim, alluded to in their talk here-
with sent. That advice was given, not because I had seen any
proof of the legality of Mr. 's title, but because I was led
to believe a valuable and sufficient consideration had been paid
for the negro in question to the proper owner by Ferrard, who
seems to have been the agent of the husband of Mrs. in
the transaction of purchase; and that, on this account, she had
something like at least an equitable claim, which could be more
easily adjusted by obtaining the consent of the nation to surren-
der the negro, and leaving them to settle the business among
themselves by levying contributions upon those who had been
the actual recipients of the articles given for the slave to indem-
nify his owner, or in any way they might prefer.
"A proposition, therefore, was made to that effect, and as-
sented to by the chiefs, but solely upon the ground that the goods
had, as it appeared, been consumed by members of their nation,
and with the express understanding that the arrangement was to
be considered one of entire gratuity on their part.
"Ever since this period, exertions have been made by the
Indians to apprehend and give the negro up. Once, they suc-
ceeded in taking and delivering him here, during a short absence
of mine on business in the nation. He was put in irons, but be-
fore my return effected his escape. The Indians are now in
pursuit; and I have good reason to hope the fellow will, ere long,
be re-surrendered. It is manifest from the foregoing facts, that,
so far from the nation's attempting to practice any unfairness
towards Mrs. Cook in this matter, it is acting with a liberality
that might possibly be looked for in vain, if the positions of the
parties were reversed.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
His Excellency, Wx. P. DuvAL., G. HUMPHREYS,
Governor of Florida. Agent Seminole Indians."
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
The talk of the chiefs is marked by good sense, and manifests
a disposition to act justly in the matter. The peremptory.demand
made upon them, to which this talk is an answer, was accom-
panied by a threat to deduct from their annuity, in-case of refusal,
the value of the negroes, to be paid to the claimants:
Minutes of a talk given by the head-chief, John Hicks, in council at the Seminole
agency, the 15th of August, 1828, made to the government through the agent,
Col. G. Humphreys.
Brother, We have thought upon what you said last night, about the claim
Mrs. has set up against our nation on account of her negro. We don't like
the talk sent from the Big House at Washington, because we think it unjust, and
we cannot consent to have the money promised us for our annuity-which is at
best a little sum to be divided among so many people-taken from us in the way
threatened, when our nation has received nothing for it. We find that some of
the whites are determined not to let us rest, as long as we have any thing that they
want; and if every one who asks is allowed to take, we should soon be without
money or any thing else worth possessing, and have nothing left but our naked-
ness and poverty; the right to which will not be disputed with us. We appeal to
our Great Father, who has so often promised us protection and friendship, to shield
us from the wrongs his white children seem determined to inflict upon us.
We know that the talk you gave us yesterday from him, which the govern-
ment sent, was sent because of lies which have been told to him about us. We
have been a long time trying to catch the negro that the talk is about: once we
took him, and delivered him at the agency; this you know, and we wish you to
speak for us. We did not bring this negro in because we thought ourselves
bound to do it, but because you advised us to do it. He is not a runaway, but
was raised in the nation, out of which he has never been. He was bought from
the brother of the Indian with whom he was living at the time our people caught
him. We know that Ferrard pretended to purchase him, but we also know that
the trade was not a fair one, and that the negro was never properly paid for; but
you told us that Mrs. was willing to pay what was due, if she could get
the negro; and advised us to take him, if we could, and give him up; and it was
this advice which made us strive as we did to catch him. We think it very strange,
after all this, that we should be told that we must pay Mrs. when it is clear
she owes money to us; and we will not agree that she shall be permitted to wrong
us out of the money which is our due from our Great Father; and which he has
said should be punctually paid to us; and if it is taken from us for her benefit, or
to satisfy any claim like hers, the thing must be done without our consent. We
cannot believe our Great Father, when he hears the truth, will permit our rights
to be thus taken from us.
We are sensible his power is great, and that he can do with us as he chooses;
but we hope that his justice is as great as his power; and believe he will place
it between us and those who wish to do us wrong; and we will endeavor,
therefore, to keep our minds easy until we hear again from him. If we can take
the negro we will do it. Some of our people have been in search for him ever
since his escape. We beg our Great Father not to condemn us unheard, or open
his ears too readily to the talks of his white children; some of whom we know,
speak from a lying heart and with a forked tongue.
JOHN HICKS, Chief, his X mark.
Witnesses: G. HUMPHREYS, Agent.
Major GLOSSELL, U. S. Army.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
In continuation of the subject, Col. Humphreys addresses a
communication to the superintendent on the 23d of September:
Seminole Agency, 23d September, 1828.
SIR-I have to state, in reply to an order from the depart-
ment of war which was a few days since handed to me by the
agent of a Mrs. Hannay, of Georgia, requiring the delivery of
certain slaves claimed by her, which are now, and have been for
many years, in possession of members of this nation, in virtue of
a purchase from the father of Mrs. Hannay, that it is not in my
power to make the delivery directed; the chiefs positively, but
respectfully, object to the procedure. They are perfectly will-
ing, they say, to abide the issue of a judicial investigation, and
will cheerfully submit to such decision as a competent tribunal
may make in the case; but they wholly refuse their assent to a
relinquishment of possession of the disputed property, before the
matter has been adjudicated upon, and an award given adverse
to their title.
If force is resorted to, to compel their compliance, they will
not, they cannot offer any other opposition to it than that of ap-
peal to the justice and good faith of the government, whose pro-
mises of protection and kindness they bear constantly in mind,
and are inclined to set a high value upon. I think it is, much to
be regretted that the order of the 5th of May, directing the re-
ference of claims to negroes in dispute between the whites and
Indians to the judge of the district, is not adhered to; the mea-
sure is calculated to have a very happy effect, as it judiciously
provides for at once carrying these troublesome controversies
(which are productive of more ill feeling between the Indians
and their neighbors than all other causes combined) before a
tribunal adequate to decide them; and to which, whatever pre-
vious steps may be taken in relation to them, falling short of final
settlement, they will in all probability have to be eventually sub-
I deem it proper to send this by express, that the depart-
ment may be seasonably apprised of facts ; and to prevent, also,
the effect and influence of any uncandid and erroneous state-
ments that may be made by those who are interested against
the Indians in this case.
Respectfully, I am your obedient servant,
His Excellency, G. HUMPHREYS,
Gov. DUVAL. Agent Seminole Indians."
The exasperated state of the public mind, ever so tenacious on
the question of slave property, had arrived to such a crisis, that
THE FLORIDA WAR.
the governor of the territory had become discouraged at the fail.
ure of his efforts to adjust the difficulties among the inhabitants,
which became more complicated, and increased in magnitude, as
the country filled up with settlers and adventurers. His position
required him to lend a ready ear to the grievances of all. These
were represented in the most aggravated form. No rights were
conceded to the Indians, and every act which interfered with
the designs of individuals crowding within the Indian limits in all
quarters, was regarded as the commencement of hostilities. Per-
sonal abuse was heaped upon them, their property and persons
disregarded; no law shielded them, and no protection was given,
other than that which was sought by the untiring exertions
of the agent. He, residing in the midst of the tribe, immedi-
ately in contact with them, heard their complaints with forbear-
ance, and endeavored by all means within his power to allay
their feelings, often highly exasperated, and assured them of that
protection designed to be given by the federal government.
This he owed to himself, to the Indian nation, and to his country.
The calls of humanity-of the feeble, of the ignorant, of the op-
pressed-he could not disregard, nor did he; but with zeal,
activity, and intelligence, stood firmly; thwarted on one side by
the exasperated multitude, who threatened his life, and on the
other, appealed to by every impulse which actuates the human
heart in the protection of the defenceless.
To fully explain the state of affairs at this crisis, the following
letters are subjoined:
Tallahassee, Indian Offce, Sept. 22d, 1828.7
"SIR-I have received your several communications from the
15th ultimo up to the date of the 12th instant, with the talk of
the chiefs in relation to the claim of Mrs. and Hannay.
Copies of the whole will be forwarded to the department of war,
with my remarks.
"I shall state to the department, it is my opinion that you
have not impressed the Indians with the necessity of complying
with orders relating to the delivery of slaves in the nation; and
that, if you had performed your duty, no difficulty would have
occurred. I also apprise you, that William Everitt has filed in
my office an affidavit to a claim he sets up to certain slaves
in the nation, which will also be transmitted to the secretary
As the first officer of this territory, it is due to the country
and my official character, to have the orders of the government
promptly executed; and to accomplish this, every proper measure
on my part shall be adopted.
SI shall give no further orders in Indian affairs, until I hear
from the war department. That part of the annuity claimed by
the chiefs under your immediate control, and which they request
may be forwarded to them, cannot be remztted until the orders
already given are complied with.
You will inform the chiefs they will not be called on to
attend at this place, as I desire not to have their hunting season
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. G. HUMPHREYS, ( WILLIAM P. DUVAL."
Agent of the Seminole Indians.
Seminole Agency, 8th October, 1828.
SIR-Your letter of the 22d ultimo was received per last
mail, and read with no little surprise. It is to me matter of very
great regret, that I am not able to obtain your approbation of the
manner in which I have discharged my official duty in relation
to the delivery of slaves claimed from the nation; and I cannot
but feel aggrieved, [aware as I know you must be] of the many
difficulties I have to contend with, and the lack of means at my
command to enforce the orders I receive, being forbidden to
employ the troops on such occasions. You attribute to me a
disregard of duty no wise warranted by any circumstances that
have occurred, and therefore inconsistent with that liberality
and justice I had a right to expect at your hands. That delays
have taken place in some cases when the delivery of slaves has
been called for, I readily admit; but I must, in justice to myself,
at the same time, protest against the ascription of such delays to
any want of exertion on my part. Had the government placed
at my disposal a competent military force, there would have been
far less difficulty in enforcing obedience to the instructions of the
department. The negro claimed by Mrs. has been twice
brought here since the receipt of your letter next preceding the
last, in relation to him, and escaped, owing to the want of suffi-
cient facilities for securing him. And in relation to those
claimed by Mrs. Hannay, you will have learnt ere this by my
letter of the 23d of the last month, sent per express, that the In-
dians have, for reasons explained in that communication, refused
to make the delivery required.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
His Excellency, WM. P. DuvAL, G. HUMPHREYS,
Governor of Florida. Agent Seminole Indians."
Seminole Agency, Oct. 10th, 1828.
"SIR-A letter from his Excellency Gov. Duval, (a copy of
which I herewith transmit,) received by last mail, virtually de-
clining, for the present, to have any thing further to do in the
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
Indian affairs of the territory, having closed against me the ordi-
nary and prescribed channel of communication with the depart-
ment, I shall, I trust, be excused in addressing you direct, on
subjects appertaining to my office. By the letter alluded to, it
will be perceived that I am so unfortunate as not to obtain his
excellency's approbation of the manner in which I have dis-
charged some of my public duties, and that, on this account, he
had determined to report me as a delinquent. Of this course,
which is predicated upon the ex parte statements of irresponsible
and interested persons, and is wholly unwarranted by existing
facts, 1 have good right to complain. Aware, as Governor Duval
must be, of the difficulties I have to encounter upon the subject
of litigated negro claims, and sensible as he is of the lack of
means at my disposal to enforce obedience from the Indians, I
cannot esteem his complaint against me as liberal, or even fair.
I have the honor to refer you to the accompanying document,*
being a talk given by some of the principal chiefs of the nation.
"From this talk (which was listened to by several white
gentlemen, among them one or more officers of the garrison at
Fort King) may be known their feelings in regard to the delivery
required from them of certain negroes, and how far I am ob-
noxious to censure for the failure of the Indians to comply with
the orders directing said delivery. If all the obstacles I have
met with in the course of my duties touching litigated slave claims
(which have been sufficiently explained to Governor Duval)
have been by him made known to his official superiors, I have no
fear of reproach from them.
"That I have questioned the policy, and even doubted the
justice, of some of the measures directed in the property contro-
versies between the whites and Indians, I am free to admit.
Perhaps this was presumptuous, but if so, it was honest; and in
all such cases I have been scrupulously careful not to impart my
views publicly, and if ever I gave utterance to them it was done
in such a way as that the Indians should by no possibility come
to a knowledge of them, so that from me they can have taken no
bias against the orders of the government to induce their opposi-
tion to them; and therefore, whatever they have done in that
respect they have done of their own accord, in the exercise of an
undeniable right, and I am in no wise accountable, and must
solemnly protest against the attachment to me of any censure in
relation to it. The good opinion of my government must ever
be valuable to me, and its favor desirable, and it will therefore be
a source of gratification if my conduct receives its sanction. I
feel bound to add, that it is to be feared the course threatened by
* Talk given by the chief Hicks. See p. 57.
Governor Duval, in relation to the annuity, if persisted in, will
be considered by the Indians an infraction of the treaty, and
serve to impair their confidence in the kindness and justice of the
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Hon. P. B. PORTER, G. HUMPHREYS,
Secretary of War. Agent Seminole Indians."
Governor Duval, in another letter on the 2d of October, re-
iterates his determination to abstain from interference in Indian
Tallahassee, Indian Office, October 2d, 1828.
"Sinr-Your letter of the 23d ultimo was received from your
express to-day. By the last mail, my reasons and opinions in
relation to this and other orders, and the manner of their execu-
tion, were communicated to you.
A copy of your letter will be transmitted to the war depart-
ment, by the next mail, with my remarks. There can be but one
course that the department can take, consistent with the policy
they have unavoidably exercised in Indian affairs. I shall give
no order or take any step, in the management of the Indians.
"The department must decide on the whole matters in con-
troversy, and either approve your conduct-and thus surrender
all direction of Indian affairs-or enforce their orders.
"I cannot see that any necessity requires that a special
messenger should be sent with your communication to me, as the
mail regularly goes to the agency.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. GAD HumPHREYS, WM. P. DUVAL."
Agent for the Seminole Indians.
Affairs had now assumed such an aspect, that an open rupture
with the Indians seemed inevitable. The inhabitants had become
reckless, looking anxiously for the time when by bloodshed they
could punish the Indians, and secure their property. The Indians
stood ready to retaliate at any moment, determined to resist to
the last extremity. The executive, as might have been expected,
was inclined to defend and vindicate the whites.
To avert, if possible, the commencement of hostilities, Col.
Humphreys assembled the head men, and with an earnestness
and sincerity which impressed them with the truth, besought
them as they valued their lives to abstain from hostilities; and, as
an alternative, urged them to appoint a delegation to visit Arkan-
sas. This, he assured them, was the only hope of avoiding a
collision, which must end in the total extinction of their nation.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
This, long before, had been suggested, but they refused to listen in
any manner to the proposition. After much persuasion, and con-
trasting the present difficulties, and those apprehended, with the
quiet and independence in Arkansas, they consented to the mea-
sure. This was communicated to Governor Duval immediately,
and to the Indian department, on the 20th of October:
Seminole Agency, Oct. 24th, 1828.
"SIR-As a matter interesting to the territory, and one which
will therefore, no doubt, be gratifying to you as the executive,
I have the pleasure to state, that several of the chiefs of this
nation, among whom is John Hicks, or Tukose Mlathla, have
recently consented to make a visit to the country proposed to the
Indians, west of the Mississippi, for the purpose of examining it,
with a view to the final removal of their nation. Should it be
determined to send a deputation, it is the wish of the chiefs, that
it may start early the ensuing spring. I, by the last mail, advised
the department of the unexpected change in the minds of the In-
dians on this important subject.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
His Excellency Gov. DuvAL. Agent Seminole Indians."
"Seminole Agency, Oct. 20th, 1828.
"SIR-I have the satisfaction to state, for the information of
the department of war, that at a meeting of chiefs and others of
the Seminole nation, held yesterday, at McKenzie's Pond, near
the agency, pursuant to appointment made by me, for the purpose
of procuring the nation to send a deputation to examine the coun-
try west of the Mississippi, it was determined that the measure
should be adopted, if still called for by the government, and a
deputation sent at the opening of the ensuing spring. The chiefs
in council were Hicks, (head-chief,) Holata Emathla, Holata
Mico, Tukeheste Hajo, Hitchitee Mico, Tuskenehaw, and the
sub-chief Mad Lizard. The four first-named will doubtless be
recollected by you, as part of the delegation which visited the
seat of government in 1826. Their tribes, with two or three
others not represented in the meeting, but which may be safely
relied upon to join, should the wished-for emigration take place,
comprise at least two-thirds of the numerical strength of the
I have good reason to suppose that this unexpected determi-
nation, on the part of the chiefs above named, has been induced
(among other reasons) by my volunteering to accompany them
on the proposed excursion, which I was led to do, from a belief
that the step as primary to a final removal of the nation, is desired
THE FLORIDA WAR.
by the government, and a conviction I have long felt, that such
removal, under suitable and fair circumstances, would tend to the
benefit and happiness of the Indians themselves, distressed as I
know those people are, by irremovable evils within the present
limits of their national territory, and harassed by the persecutions
of their neighbors without. Judging from the reputed character
of the new country offered to them, I think it may be confidently
calculated, that a visit to it will result in a general and entire
removal of the nation. If I have understood the views of the
government aright on the subject, and the measure proposed
receives its approval, little desirable to any one, in point of per-
sonal convenience and comfort, as the duty of executing it must
necessarily be, it will nevertheless afford me gratification to be
instrumental in carrying it into effect, especially as my engaging
in it seems to be considered a point of so much importance by
"In conferring as I have with the chiefs, in relation to the
suggested journey, I have acted, it is true, without any formally
delegated authority, but I have, at the same time, been influenced
by a wish to promote the objects of the department; and should
the step I have taken be sanctioned, it will be to me a source of
gratification, thus to be instrumental in benefiting the territory
and Indians, at the same time meeting the policy of the govern-
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
CoL THos. McKENNY, Commissioner ofJ G. HUMPHREYS,
Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. Agent Seminole Indians."
Several officers of the army were present, who bear testimony
to what transpired.
We the undersigned have to state, that we were present at a talk, held by
Col. G. Humphreys, agent Seminole Indians, at McKenzie's Pond, on the 19th
October, 1828, for the purpose of prevailing on the chiefs of said nation to send
a deputation from the nation to examine the country west of the Mississippi river,
which it is proposed by the government to give to the Indians. On this occasion,
there were present in council, Hicks, head chief of the nation; Holata Ematha,
or Blue Warrior, chief of the Ocheeny band; Holata Mico, chief of the Talsy band;
Tukehuskee Hajo, chief of the Red Stick band; I itchitee Mico, chief of the
Hitchitee band; Tuskaneha, chief of the Mickasuky, or Muscogee band; and
Mad Lizzard, sub-chief of the Talsy band, and a number of Tustenuggees and
warriors for the different tribes. It was determined by the above named chiefs,
Tustenuggees, &c., in reply to a talk from the agent, Col. Humphreys, recom-
mending to them to make an examination of the country proposed to them.beyond
the Mississippi, [it was agreed by said chiefs, &c.] that they would organize a
deputation from the nation for that purpose, to start early the ensuing spring:
Provided, the agent himself would accompany the said deputation on its tour of
exploration; and provided, the expenses of said deputation are to be defrayed by
the government of the United States; and provided, also, that nothing is to be in.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
ferred from the journey of said deputation, in the character of an obligation on the
nation (or any part of it) to remove to the country visited by said deputation; and
such removal is not to be expected from them unless of their own free will and
accord, after making the proposed examination.
It was agreed by the chiefs aforesaid, that the agent, Col. Humphreys, should
forthwith apprise the government of their assent to his proposition; and that they
would hold themselves in readiness, to act in accordance with it, at the time before
specified. It being distinctly understood and made a condition, that he, the agent,
shall fulfill his promise to accompany the party, without which nothing pro-
vided by said chiefs, as hereinbefore stated, to be considered binding upon them.
Given under our hands at Fort King (Florida), this 20th day of October, 1828.
H. S. HAWKINS,
Assistant Surgeon, U. S. A.
L. D. NEWCOMB,
Lieutenant, U. S. A.
No decided action was had on the subject. Procrastination
discouraged the Indians, who soon after declared their determi-
nation to remain upon the land. They reluctantly visited the
Indian agency upon any business whatever. Heretofore, when
summoned for a talk, it resulted in a demand for negroes, which
they repeatedly declared they never would surrender. If this
was not urged, complaints of citizens were thrust upon them.
Many had lost cattle, horses, and hogs, which was attributed to
the Indians, who were considered common plunderers. Demands
for payment were accompanied by denunciations and threats.
The chiefs and those of the better class could exercise but little
control, or even have a knowledge of the conduct of the dissi-
pated and reckless, who, when intoxicated by liquor sold them by
the whites, became insolent and vindictive. But the good were
alike condemned with the abandoned. The chiefs, who were
distinguished for intelligence and sobriety, were unwilling to sub-
mit to these humiliations, and therefore remained quietly at home
to avoid discord and collisions. On the 14th of January a council
was held by desire of the head men, when they came prepared to
make a final talk to the president of the United States, in hopes
that the protection which had been promised would be granted
them, and they relieved from the embarrassments which threat-
ened to involve them in an open warfare. This failing, nothing
remained but to act in self-defence.
Minutes of a talk held at the Seminole agency, on the 14th of January, 1829, by
some of the principal chiefs and warriors of the Seminole nation. Coahajo,
one of the principal Seminole chiefs, spoke as follows:
This house was built for us, so that when we had any difficulty, we might
come here and settle it. Many of our people have gone out a hunting, so that
we could not bring them all to this talk, but what we could get in, are here.
We have come now for the purpose of settling business by sening a talk to our
big father. We understand that* all the words of the Seminoles have been re-
ceived by our father as they ought to be-as no jests. This is what we al-
ways expect. We wish that the head-chief should give our big father the talk
John Hicks, the principal chief, then spoke as follows:
Our great Father at Washington is our friend-he is our brother. I wish to
send a few words to him from my people. At Washington I shook hands with
him, and eat and drank with him. What he there told me I have not crooked from,
and I expect that he will be straight-forward with me. I took the trouble to per-
form a long and tedious journey to see him, and what he told me I do not forget,
nor have I departed from it. After having the big talk with him, I thought that
all our troubles were at an end; but it seems as if the white people would never
let us rest, and therefore have we come to this council house to have our words
written down, that our big father may see them. When I left Washington, the
vessel I was in sprung a leak, and we were three days up to our middle in water.
We are all Seminoles here together. We want no long talk ; we wish to have it
short and good. We are Indians, and the, whites think we have no sense; but
what our minds are, we wish to have our big father know. When I returned
from Washington, all my warriors were scattered. Say to my father and brother
at Washington, that I believe he is my friend, and knows my feelings. When I
returned from Washington, in attempting to gather my people, I had to spill blood
midway in my path. I had supposed that the Micanopy people had done all the
mischief, and I went with my warriors to meet the governor with two. When I
met the governor at Suwamea, he seemed to be afraid; I shook hands with him.
I gathered all my people and found that none was missing, and that the mischief
had been done by others. The governor had them put in prison. I was told that
if one man kills another, we must not kill any other man in his place, but find the
person who committed the murder and kill him. I wish my big father to give me
an answer when he sees this paper-they are my words. One of my people was
killed, and his bones are now white at Tallahassee.
Another one that had done us mischief was killed at Alpaha. A black man
living among the whites has killed one of my people, and I wish to know who is
to give me redress: will my big father answer ? When our own law is allowed
to operate, we are quick; but they say the black man is subject to the laws of the
white people: now I want to see if the white people do as they say!
When I returned home, I told all my people what our great father had said, to
which they agreed, and scattered. We wish our big father to say whether he will
have the black man tried for the murder of one of our people. If he will give
him up to us, the sun shall not move before he has justice done to him: we work
for justice as well as the white people do. I wish my friend and father to answer.
In answer, we may receive a story, for men going backwards and forwards have
not carried straight talks. I agreed to send away all the black people who had
no masters, and I have done it; but still they are sending to me for negroes.
When I had the big talk, I thought that nothing was left behind. When an In-
dian has bought a black man, they come and take him away again, so that we
have no money and negroes too. A white man sells us a negro, and then turns
around and claims him again, and our big father orders us to give him up. My
big father is living, and has not forgotten the talk we had, but I have to make the
talk over again.
There is a negro girl at Charleston, that belongs to my daughter-her name
is Patience. I want her restored to me. She has a husband here: she has a
child about a year old, and I suppose that by this time she has two children. I
want my big father to cause them to be sent to me, to do as he compels me to do,
when I have just claims. If my father is a true friend, he will send me my pro-
perty by our agent, who has gone to Washington. The mistress of the black
girl is Sincothka. I have been told by the governor that all runaway negroes
must be given up, but that all those taken in war, were good property to us; but
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
they have taken away those taken in war, and those we have raised from children.
My father told me that he had heard of my name a long time; that now he saw
me. He told me that if ever I sent a talk to him, he would listen to it. Will he
listen now to the voice of his children ? He told me that we were to receive two
thousand dollars' worth of corn-where is it? We have received scarcely any,
not even half, according to our judgment, of what was intended for us. If the
governor and the white people have done justly in this, we wish our big father to
let us know. We were promised presents for twenty-one years ; we have received
nothing but a few promises. It seems that they have disappeared before they
reached us-or that our big father did not intend to give them to us. We were
promised money, but we have not received a cent for this year. What has become
of it ? We wish our big father to ask the governor. The white people say that
we owe them, which is not true. We did take some goods of an Indian trader,
Mr. Marsh, to whom the governor had promised part of our money. We took
the goods because we were afraid we should never get what was ours, in any
other way; they amounted to $1,500.
We understand Mr. Bellamy has received from the governor $1,600; what
is it for? the Indians do not owe him any thing,-he has lost no property by
us,-we have taken none of his cattle. If a tiger has killed one, it is charged to
the Indians. If they stray away, and are lost for a time, it is charged to the In-
dians. He has lost nothing by us; but my people have suffered loss from him.
He has taken all the Indians' hogs that he could lay his hands on. Some of the
people from who he has taken hogs, are present now. He has taken hogs-one
hundred head-from one man. We cannot think of giving away $1,600 for
nothing. According to the white people's laws, if a man takes that which does
not belong to him, he has to return it, and pay for the damages. Will our great
father see that this man restores to him what he has unjustly taken from us ? for
we look to our big father to fulfill his promises; and give to us the presents and
money that is due to us. We understand that Col. Piles has received some
of the money that is due to us; he is a good man; when we were perishing with
hunger, he gave us to eat and drink. He is entitled to what he has received. It
appears that the Seminoles, who have done no mischief, have to suffer, as well as
the few that have bt en guilty-this does not appear to be right to us. By stop-
ping our money, the governor has prevented our paying just debts, the debts we
owe to the licensed Indian traders, who have trusted us, under the expectation that
we would pay them when we received our money.
Our father has put two agents to look over us; our agent, Col. Humphreys,
has not seen any of the money or presents that belong to us. It seems that the
two agents have differences; we know not the cause, we are sorry for it, but can-
not help it. We look to our agent to do his duty by us, and to see that we have
our just rights.
I am getting to be very old, and I wish my bones to be here. I do not wish
to remove to any other land, according to what I told my great father. When
great men say any thing to each other, they should have good minorities. Why
does Col. White plague me so much about going over the Mississippi ? We hurt
nothing on this land. I have told him so before.
JOHN HICKS, his X mark.
CoAHro, his X mark.
Taken in the presence of TUSKENAHA, his X mark.
J. M. GLASSELL, Capt. 4th Infantry.
H. S. HAWKINS, Assistant Surgeon.
L. D. NEWCOMB, Lieut. 4th Regt., U. S.
The citizens and Indians, as they met in the woods and on
the highway, hardly knew whether to recognize each other as
friends or foes. Both were smarting under excited feelings, and
the opportunity was only wanting to inflict the most summary
punishment. The settlers upon the border saw the" defenceless-
ness of their position, so soon as the Indians acted in concert;
but deluded by the promises of others, were led to believe that
the general government would promptly render adequate protec-
tion. The Indian, exasperated by repeated wrongs, was reckless
of the future-indeed, cared but little for results. Revenge, ever
sweet to him, whatever may be the consequences, was all he
sought. He saw his destiny before him, which he could not
avert, whether he adopted the terms of friendship or acted in
Urgent demands followed repeated applications for regular
troops, to overawe and punish the enemy. The commanders at
St. Augustine, Fort King, and Fort Brooke, declined acqui-
escence, satisfied that those who were alarmed had brought these
troubles upon themselves, and that so soon as a body of troops
was known to be in pursuit of Indians, the country would be
desolated from one extent to the other.
The deposition of Assistant-Surgeon Hawkins and the letter
of Col. Humphreys are here given, showing clearly the relation
now existing between all parties:
Territory of Florida,
Alachua County, ss.
This day personally appeared before me, George Downs, one of the justices of
the peace of the county aforesaid, H. S. Hawkins, Esq., assistant surgeon in the
United States army, who being duly sworn, deposes and says:
That about ten or twelve days since, to wit, on the 26th day of February,
1829, in consequence of a communication or communications received by the
commanding officer of Fort King, from a citizen of Alachua, complaining that
the Indians of the Seminole tribe were roaming at large among the whites, de-
stroying their property, he, the deponent, went out with a detachment of United
States troops from Fort King, for the purpose of bringing the straggling Indians
within their boundary; that he proceeded as far as the Santa-f6 settlement, to
wit, Col. James Dell's, without being able to find any Indians in the whole route,
with the exception of one man and his wife, who were staying at Col. Piles', nor
could he gain satisfactory knowledge or information where he might find any
stragglers, notwithstanding he made particular and diligent inquiry on the subject
in all the white settlements through which he passed. Deponent verily believes
from what he has seen and heard, that most, if not all, the inconvenience expe-
rienced by the white inhabitants of the neighboring settlements from the occa-
sional presence of the Indians in those settlements, is to be attributed to the strong
inducement which traffic in spirituous liquors, and other articles, carried on by
many of these inhabitants with the Indians, offers to said Indians to roam beyond
the limits of their own territory, and not to a want of desire, or lack of exertion,
on the part of the proper authorities to retain and keep said Indians within their
limits; and deponent is decidedly of opinion, that so long as the traffic above
mentioned is continued, it will be wholly impossible for any authority, not backed
by a military force equal to the guarding of the entire frontier between the
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
whites and Indians, to prevent the Indians from wandering beyond the territorial
boundaries. And further the deponent saith not.
H. S. HAWKINS,
Assistant Surgeon, U. S. A.
- Sworn and subscribed to at Fort King, Florida, this 9th of March, 1829, before
GEORGED DowN, J. P.
of Alachua county, Fla.
Seminole Agency, 4th April, 1830.
"SIR-I have to state that the best investigation I have been
able to make relative to the Indian depredations complained of by
persons residing near Istec-Hatchie, as set forth in the affidavits
which accompanied your letter of the 18th ultimo, has brought
forth no testimony going to sustain the said complaints. The
Indians deny, in toto, the charge made against them, in the affi-
davits of Johnson and others; and say that he, Johnson, is largely
indebted to them for skins and other articles, which he has pur-
chased from them, and not paid for. It is much to be regretted
that a stop is not put to the traffic carried on between the Indians
and the whites residing outside of the Indian territory; it is the
only or principal motive the Indians have to go abroad; and they
would almost, if not altogether, at once discontinue their wan-
derings, and thus put an end to the most fruitful cause of murmur
against them on the part of the whites. But it is idle, I must
repeat, to think of restraining and confining them at home by the
mere power of words, while they are tempted, as they now are,
by the strong inducement of trade in whisky, (to them the most
resistless and pernicious kind,) to go beyond their limits.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES D. WESTCOTT, Jr., Esq., Sec. and G. HUMPHREYS,
Acting Governor of Florida, Tallahassee. Agent Seminole Indians."
Through the years of 1829 and 1830 this critical state of
affairs existed. No one knew at what moment open hostilities
might commence, and the country be laid waste by fire and blood.
In the face of this, demands for negroes were still authoritatively
made, and most criminally persisted in; though the most ane-
quivocal evidences had been given, that a further prosecution of
the subject would, ere long, involve the country in an Indian
warfare. Enough had been done to place the matter upon equi-
table grounds, and, if necessary to urge it, the evils complained
of by the Indians should have been removed, and their rights pro-
tected by some competent tribunal.
But to relinquish property in order to establish a right, is un-
precedented in any court of justice, and with the Indian was a
virtual abandonment, as experience had taught of all title, how-
ever justly obtained.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
The following letter was the last written by the agent upon
Seminole Agency, 16th February, 1830.
"SIR-Your letter of the 20th September last, containing in-
quiries directed by the secretary of war, relative to certain
slaves in the Indian nation, claimed by a Mrs. Hannay, of Geor-
gia, came to me on the 12th inst., by Major Phagan, the sub-agent.
To the first inquiry, 'Why has not the order for the delivery of
said slaves been complied with ?' I have to state, that the reasons
were promptly communicated to the superintendent, in a letter
written to him upon the subject, after the order was delivered,
and read to the chiefs. The ground assumed by them was, that
the property demanded of them belongs to members of the nation
by purchase from the father of Mrs. Hannay, and that they could
not consent to surrender it until the whole should be adjudicated
upon by a competent judicial tribunal, and a decision adverse to
their claim given by such tribunal; pledging themselves, at the
same time, to make a surrender so soon as the question of owner-
ship should be settled against them.
To the second inquiry of the secretary, I answer, that the
negroes in dispute have been, and I believe now are,-in Florida,
and in the Indian nation; but they are not within the control of
the agent, denied as he is by the department, in a letter received
from you some months since, the use of the means requisite to
enable him to effect a compliance with its orders upon such sub-
jects. A meeting of the chiefs of the nation is to take place here
to-morrow, at which the order alluded to will be again read and
explained to them, and a compliance with it urged upon them. I
shall, at the same time, communicate to them the substance of a
letter upon the same subject, received by Major Phagan, from the
acting governor, to whom the result will, without delay, be made
I am your obedient servant,
THOSE. L. MCKENNEY, Esq., G. HUMPHREYS,
Com'r Ind. Affairs, Washington. Agent Seminole Indians."
By a letter from the secretary of war, of March 21st, 1830,
Col. Humphreys was informed, that he would no longer perform
the duties of agent to the Florida Indians. Eight years he had
devoted to the interests of the government, his country, and the
It is not contended that, in the exercise of these functions,
pressed on all sides by conflicting interests and motives, he was
infallible. But his correspondence shows conclusively, a disposi-
tion to carry out fully the policy and designs of the government
towards the natives, and which they had a right to demand. And
THE FLORIDA WAR.
though discouraged, and ultimately defeated, he, throughout, was
a sincere and uncompromising friend of the red man. They
relied implicitly on his fidelity and zeal in their behalf, which,
with such men, though rude and uncultivated, is not attained
without years of repeated trials.
He foresaw, when entering upon the duties, at so early a
period, the complicated difficulties. These, instead of diminish-
ing as he became accustomed to the Indians and the country,
increased from year to year, by the enterprise and cupidity of
those seeking fortunes in a new land.
In the relative proportion as his activity and intelligence pro-
tected and vindicated the savage, so did the acrimony of the
populace increase, until, by loud complaints to high authority, and
constant murmurings among the people, he was ejected from
This was doubtless anticipated; and, had he any designs be-
yond the conscientious discharge of his duties, he could have
pandered to the public appetite, and thus secured his position, and
received a due proportion of the plunder generally accruing in
the expulsion of the Indian. But he relinquished his office in the
midst of discord and threatened hostilities, bearing with him the
best evidence of fidelity and integrity, in the condemnation and
derision of the whites, and receiving.from the red man the unaf-
fected testimony of his confidence and regard.
The events which transpired between the 17th of July, 1821,
and the 21st of March, 1830, as shown by the accompanying
correspondence, talks, &c., give a partial insight into the origin
of the Florida war.
FROM MARCH 21, 1830, TO DECEMBER 31, 1835.
Major John Phagan appointed agent to the Seminoles.- He accompanies the delegation of Seminoles
to Arkansas.-Charges preferred against him.-Treaty of Payne's Landing.-The Indians sent to
Arlansas to explore the country.-Commissioner appointed to meet them there: they sign the addi-
tional treaty putting in force the treaty of Payne's Landing.-Dissatisfaction of the tribe on their
return to Florida.-Conduct and language of the chiefs and Indians in reference to a fulfillment.-First
appearance of Oseola or Powell.-The Indians positively refuse to emigrate.-Gen. Wiley Thompson,
of Georgia, appointed agent in the place of Phagan.-The general feeling and state of affairs within the
nation.-Correspondence of J. H. Eaton, governor of Florida; Lewis Cass, secretary of war; B. F.
Butler, attorney general; Gen. Clinch; Col. Gadsden; Gen. Thompson, agent; Lieut. Harris, Capt.
Graham, and Capt. Russell, U. S. A.-The Indians assemble in council at Fort King.-The conduct
of Micanopy, Jumper, Alligator, and Oseola.-The commanding influence of the negroes over the
Indians.-The duplicity and cunning of Oseola.-He placed in irons and under guard in the fort.-
Murder of the chief Charley-E-Mathla for favoring emigration.-The Indians prepared for the con-
flict.-The massacre of Gen. Thompson and Lieut. Smith by Oseola and party.-Massacre of Major
Dade's command: Alligator's account of it.-Gen. Clinch attacked on the Withlacoochie by Oseola;
a fight; he retreats.-Florida War commenced.-The character of the contest.
THE treaty of Payne's Landing forms another and important
era in the history of the Florida Indians. Major John Phagan
was the successor of Col. Gad Humphreys in the duties of Indian
agent. Without the requisite qualifications for the office, he
brought with him the patronage of the executive, as well as the
partialities of the people. The condition of the Indians during
his administration was far from being improved. They became
more restless and dissatisfied, from day to day, on finding that their
agent, instead of being a bold and independent vindicator of their
rights, was an active instrument in perfecting the designs of those
by whom they were surrounded. Though totally unqualified,
both by education and morals, as an example and an adviser, he
nevertheless bore an important part in the measures adopted
during his period of office to expel the Indians, and thus inflict upon
the country a protracted and sanguinary war. He conducted
the delegation of chiefs sent to Arkansas to explore the country,
under the stipulations of the treaty of Payne's Landing, and re-
turned with them in the spring of 1833, and continued in the
discharge of the duties of his office until the last of November,
1833. Complaints had been frequently made by the chiefs of his
brutal treatment of their people, and his total disregard to their
demands for justice and protection. James D. Westcott, Jr.,
then secretary and acting governor of the territory, investigated
the matter, though at rather a late period, and addressed a com-
munication to the commissioner of Indian affairs, on the 5th of
November, 1833, from which the following is an extract:
"SIR-On my visit to the agency, I regret to state, that I dis-
covered evidences of fraud and improper conduct on the part of
THE FLORIDA WAR.
Major Phagan, which I will communicate to the department with
my accounts, with which, in fact, they will be necessary as ex-
planations. I discovered that in regard to the employes of the
agency, he had sub-contracts with them for much less than the
amount they receipted for to the government, and that even for
the amount of these sub-contracts he was in default to them. I
found also that he was in debt to several Indians, and to Abra-
ham, one of the Seminole interpreters; to the contractor, for beef
at the agency, for provisions at the payment of the annuity in
1832; and Col. Blunt, an Indian chief, has a claim of fifty dollars
for arrears of his annuity receipted for to him. I have promised
Abraham and the Indians to report this to the department."
Such conduct exasperated the Indians. They were surround-
ed by crafty and designing men, and subjected to the advice and
control of an agent, who, not content with wronging them and
the government, was carrying on ingenious schemes to defraud
the humble mechanic dependent upon the public expenditures for
support. Difficulties of a similar character, trifling in themselves,
accumulated at every step as the better portion of the com-
munity labored to avert them, and thereby pacify the Indians.
Occurrences which could not be foreseen awakened the worst
passions among a people who looked with prejudice and suspicion
upon every transaction. No act, however well intended, was
considered indicative of friendship. Results, too often unfortu-
nate, from various influences and prejudices at work, was the
standard by which the agent, the executive of the state, and the
general government were judged. With such a race, however
zealous and devoted may have been the exertions of those to
whom this responsibility was confided, little could be done. All
confidence was lost, and they looked anxiously for the time when
they could indulge the waywardness and cruelty of their natures.
Restraint had caused them to be restless, and wrongs had made
them revengeful. It was clearly manifest that the Florida In-
dians, in justice to all parties, should be removed from the terri-
tory. They must be made to surrender the land, and thus avoid
the inevitable effusion of blood. Such a state of affairs could not
exist. The white man or the savage must succumb. Col. James
Gadsden, of Florida, was directed by the secretary of war, Gen.
Lewis Cass, early in 1832, to enter into a negotiation with the
Indians for a relinquishment of their lands in Florida, and
receive in exchange others, better suited to their habits and
wants, in the Creek Nation, west of the Mississippi River. The
authority vested in him was discretional, so that nothing could
be interposed to defeat a successful result. Col. Gadsden found
great opposition to his proposals to treat. The scattered condi-
tion of the Indians, and their natural aversion to formal councils
with the whites, made' them indifferent and dilatory in their
movements. He however succeeded in assembling the nation at
Payne's Landing, seventeen miles from Fort King by land,
twpnty-five miles down the Ocklawaha River. The mischievous
influences of the whites, through the black interpreters, operating
upon the malignity and suspicions of the younger class of Indians,
nearly defeated the object. These, after much vexatious delay,
were overcome, and on the 9th of May, 1832, the chiefs and
head men signed the following treaty:
TREATY OF PAYNE'S LANDING, MAY 9, 1832.
WHEREAS, a treaty between the United States and the Seminole nation of
Indians, was made and concluded at Payne's Landing, on the Ocklawaha river, on
the 9th day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two, by James Gads-
den, commissioner on the part of the United States, and the chiefs and head-men
of said Seminole nation of Indians, on the part of said nation; which treaty is in
the words following, to wit:
The Seminole Indians, regarding with just respect the solicitude manifested by
the president of the United States for the improvement of their condition, by re-
commending a removal to the country more suitable to their habits and wants than
the one they at present occupy in the territory of Florida, are willing that their
confidential chiefs, Jumper, Fuch-a-lus-to-had-jo, Charley Emathla, Coi-had-jo,
Holati-Emathla, Ya-ha-had-jo, Sam Jones, accompanied by their agent, Major John
Phagan, and their faithful interpreter, Abraham, should be sent, at the expense of
the United States, as early as convenient, to examine the country assigned to the
Creeks, west of theMississippi river, and should they be satisfied with the charac-
ter of that country, and of the favorable disposition of the Creeks to re-unite with
the Seminoles as one people; the articles of the compact and agreement herein
stipulated, at Payne's Landing, on the Ocklawaha river, this ninth day of May,
one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two, between James Gadsden, for and in
behalf of the government of the United States, and the undersigned chiefs and
head-men, for and in behalf of the Seminole Indians, shall be binding on the re-
ARTICLE I. The Seminole Indians relinquish to the United States all claim to
the land they at present occupy in the territory of Florida, and agree to emigrate
to the country assigned to the Creeks, west of the Mississippi river, it being under-
stood that an additional extent of country, proportioned to their numbers, will be
added to the Creek territory, and that the Seminoles will be received as a con-
stituent part of the Creek nation, and be re-admitted to all the privileges as a mem-
ber of the same.
ARTICLE II. For and in consideration of the relinquishment of claim in the
first article of this agreement, and in full compensation for all the improvements
which may have been made on the lands thereby ceded, the United States stipulate
to pay to the Seminole Indians fifteen thousand four hundred (15,400) dollars, to
be divided among the chiefs and warriors of the several towns, in a ratio propor-
tioned to their population, the respective proportions of each to be paid on their
arrival in the country they consent to remove to; it being understood that their
faithful interpreters, Abraham and Cudjo, shall receive two hundred dollars each,
of the above sum, in full remuneration for the improvements to be abandoned on,
the lands now cultivated by them.
ARTICLE III. The United States agree to distribute, as they arrive at their
new homes in the Creek territory, west of the Mississippi river, a blanket and a
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
homespun frock to each of the warriors, women, and children, of the Seminole
tribe of Indians.
ARTICLE IV. The United States agree to extend the annuity for the support
of a blacksmith, provided for in the sixth article of the treaty at Camp Moultrie,
for ten (10) years beyond the period therein stipulated, and in addition to the other
annuities secured under that treaty, the United States agree to pay the sum of
three thousand (3000) dollars a year, for fifteen (15) years, commencing after the
removal of the whole tribe; these sums to be added to the Creek annuities, and
the whole amount to be so divided, that the chiefs and warriors of the Seminole
Indians may receive their equitable proportion of the same, as members of the
ARTICLE V. The United States will take the cattle belonging to the Semi-
noles, at the valuation of some discreet person, to be appointed by the president,
and the same shall be paid for in money to the respective owners, after their arri-
val at their new homes; or other cattle, such as may be desired, will be furnished
them; notice being given through their agent, of their wishes upon this subject,
before their removal, that time may be afforded to supply the demand.
ARTICLE VI. The Seminoles being anxious to be relieved from the repeated
vexatious demands for slaves, and other property, alleged to have been stolen and
destroyed by them, so that they may remove unembarrassed to their new homes,
the United States stipulate to have the same property [properly] investigated, and
to liquidate such as may be satisfactorily established, provided the amount does not
exceed seven thousand (7000) dollars.
ARTICLE VII. The Seminole Indians will remove within three (3) years after
the ratification of this agreement and the expenses of their removal shall be de-
frayed by the United States, and such subsistence shall also be furnished them,
for a term not exceeding twelve (12) months after their arrival at their new resi-
dence, as in the opinion of the president their numbers and circumstances may
require; the emigration to commence as early as practicable in the year eighteen
hundred and thirty-three, (1833,) and with those Indians at present occupying the
Big Swamp, and other parts of the country beyond the limits, as defined in the
second article of the treaty concluded at Camp Moultrie Creek, so that the whole
of that proportion of the Seminoles may be removed within the year aforesaid, and
the remainder of the tribe, in about equal proportions, during the subsequent years
of eighteen hundred and thirty-four and five, (1834 and 1835.)
In testimony whereof, the commissioner, James Gadsden, and the undersigned
chiefs and head-men of the Seminole Indians, have hereunto subscribed their
names and affixed their seals.
Done at camp, at Payne's Landing, on the Ocklawaha river, in the territory of
Florida, on this ninth day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two,
and of the independence of the United States of America, the fifty-sixth.
(Signed,) JAMES GADSDEN. L. S.
HOLATI EMATHLAR, his X mark.
JUMPER, his X mark.
Witnesses. FUCH-TA-LUS-TA-HADJO, his X mark.
DOUGLAS VASS, Sec. to Comm. CHARLEY EMATHLA, his X mark.
JOHN PHAGAN, Agent. Coi HADJO, his X mark.
STEPHEN RICHARDS, Interpreter. AR-PI-UCK-I, or SAM JONES, his X mark.
ABRAHAM, Interpreter, his X mark. YA-HA-HADJO, his X mark.
CUDJO, Interpreter, his X mark. MIco-NOHA, his X mark.
ERASTUS RODGERS. TOKOSE EMATHLA, or JOHN HICKS, his X
B. JOSCAN. mark.
CAT-SHA-TUSTENUGGEE, his X mark.
HOLAT-A-MICCO, his X mark.
HITCH-IT-I-MICO, his X mark.
E-NE-HAH, his X mark.
YA-HA-EMATHLA-CHOPCO, his X mark.
MOKI-HIS-SHE-LAR-NI. his X mafk.
Now, therefore, be it known that I, Andrew Jackson, President of the United
States of America, having seen and considered said treaty, do, by and with the
advice and consent of the senate, as expressed by their resolution of the eighth
day of April, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four, accept, ratify, and con-
firm the same, and every clause and article thereof.
In witness whereof, I have caused the seal of the United States to be hereunto
affixed, having signed the same with my hand.
Done at the city of Washington, this twelfth day of April, in the year of our Lord
one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four, and of the independence of the
United States of America, the fifty-eighth.
(Signed,) ANDREW JACKSON.
By the President,
Louis McLANE, Secretary of State.
The fulfillment of the treaty was clearly conditional. If the
Indians, that is, the nation, were satisfied with the country, as
represented by those sent to explore it, a voluntary emigration
would take place. Holate Emathla, Jumper, Black Dirt, Charley
Emathlar, Arpeika or Sam Jones, Halpatter-Tustenuggee or Al-
ligator, and Mad Wolf, were appointed a delegation to examine
the country, and renew a friendly intercourse with the Creeks.
These men, before starting, expressed their aversion to leaving
Florida, under any circumstances, and their deep and lasting dis-
like to the Creeks, with whom, for years past, they had been in
open hostility. In September following the party started, under
the direction of the agent, Major Phagan. The months of Janu-
ary, February, and March, 1833, were occupied in examining the
country, which, at this period of the year, was barren and dreary,
from the inclemency of the season. Montfort Stokes, H. L.
Ellsworth, and J. F. Schermerhorn, were appointed by the presi-
dent of the United States, commissioners, to meet this delegation
at Fort Gibson, Arkansas, and there obtain their opinions as to
the suitability of the country for a future home, which was
thought, as a matter of course, would be favorable, thereby put-
ting in full force, indirectly, without reserve, the treaty of Payne's
Landing. The object was accomplished. The delegation signed the
subjoined "Additional Treaty," in which they express themselves
satisfied with the country, and stipulate, "that the nation shall
commence the removal to their new homes, as soon as the gov-
ernment will make arrangements for their emigration satisfactory
MADE AT FORT GIBSON, ARKANSAS, WITH THE SEMINOLE DELEGATION OF
To all and singular to whom these presents shall come, Greeting:
Whereas, a treaty between the United States and the Seminole nation of In-
dians, was made and concluded at Fort Gibson, on the twenty-eighth day of March,
one thousand eight hundred and thirty-three, by Montfort Stokes, Henry L. Ells-
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
worth, and John F. Schermerhorn, commissioners on the part of the United States,
and the delegates of the Seminole nation of Indians, on the part of said nation;
which treaty is in the words following, to wit:
Whereas, the Seminole Indians of Florida entered into certain articles of
agreement with James Gadsden, commissioner, on behalf of the United States,
at Payne's Landing, on the ninth day of May, one thousand eight hundred and
thirty-two, the first article of which treaty or agreement provides as follows: The
Seminole Indians relinquish to the United States all claim to the land they at pre-
sent occupy in the territory of Florida, and agree to emigrate to the country as-
signed to the Creeks west of the Mississippi river; it being understood that an
additional extent of territory, proportioned to their number, will be added to the
Creek country, and that the Seminoles will be received as a constituent part of
the Creek nation, and be re-admitted to all the privileges as members of the same.
And whereas, the said agreement also stipulates and provides that a delegation of
Seminoles should be sent, at the expense of the United States, to examine the
country to be allotted them among the Creeks, and should this delegation be satis-
fied with the character of the country, and of the favorable disposition of the
Creeks to unite with them as one people, then the aforementioned treaty would be
considered binding and obligatory upon the parties. And whereas, a treaty was
made between the United States and the Creek Indians west of the Mississippi, at
Fort Gibson, on the fourteenth day of February, one thousand eight hundred and
thirty-three, by which a country was provided for the Seminoles in pursuance of
the existing arrangements between the United States and that tribe. And whereas,
the special delegation appointed by the Seminoles on the ninth of May, one thou-
sand eight hundred and thirty-two, have since examined the land designated for
them by the undersigned commissioners, on behalf of the United States, and have
expressed themselves satisfied with the same, in and by their letter dated March,
one thousand eight hundred and thirty-three, addressed to the undersigned com-
Now, therefore, the commissioners aforesaid, by virtue of the power and au-
thority vested in them by the treaty made with the Creek Indians, on the four-
teenth day of February, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-three, as above
stated, hereby designate and assign to the Seminole tribe of Indians, for their
separate future residence forever, a tract of country lying between the Canadian
river and the north fork thereof, and extending west to where a line running north
and south between the main Canadian and north branch will strike the forks of
Little river; provided said west line does not extend more than twenty-five miles
west from the mouth of said Little river. And the undersigned Seminole chiefs,
delegated as aforesaid, on behalf of their nation, hereby declare themselves well
satisfied with the location provided for them by the commissioners, and agree that
their nation shall commence the removal to their new home as soon as the govern-
ment will make arrangements for their emigration, satisfactory to the Seminole
And whereas, the said Seminoles have expressed high confidence in the friend-
ship and ability of their present agent, Major Phagan, and desire that he may be
permitted to remove them to their new homes west of the Mississippi; the com-
missioners have considered their request, and cheerfully recommend Major Pha-
gan as a suitable person to be employed to remove the Seminoles as aforesaid, and
trust his appointment will be made, not only to gratify the wishes of the Indians,
but as conducive to the public welfare.
In testimony whereof, the commissioners, on behalf of the United States, and
the delegates of the Seminole nation, have hereunto signed their names, this 28th
day of March, A. D. 1833, at Fort Gibson.
(Signed,) MONTFORT STOKES,
HENRY L. ELLSWORTH,
JoHN F. SCHERMERHORN.
JOHN HICKS, (representing Sam Jones,) his X mark.
HOLATA EMATHLA, his X mark.
JUMPER, his X mark.
Coi HADJO, his X mark.
CHARLY EMATHLAR, his X mark.
YA-HA-HADJO, his X'mark.
NE-HA-THO-CLO, (representing Fuch-ta-luste-Hadjo,) his X mark.
Read and signed in our presence:
S. C. STAMBAUGH, Secretary to Comm.
JOHN PHAGAN, Agent.
P. L. CHOUTEAU, U. S. Agent for Osages.
A. P. CHOUTEAU.
ABRAHAM, Seminole Interpreter.
Now, therefore, be it known, that I, Andrew Jackson, President of the United
States of America, having seen and considered said treaty, do, by and with the
advice and consent of the senate, as expressed by their resolution of the eighth
day of April, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four, accept, ratify, and con-
firm the same.
In testimony whereof, I have caused the seal of the United States to be here-
unto affixed, having signed the same with my hand.
Done, at the city of Washington, this twelfth day of April, in the year
L.S. of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four, and of the In-
dependence of the United States of America the fifty-eighth.
By thPreent, (Signed,) ANDREW JACKSON.
By the President,
Louis McLANE, Secretary of State.
They returned to Florida in the ensuing month of April.
A general dissatisfaction was expressed by the nation at the
powers assumed by these men, as explained by the agent who
accompanied them. What they had done gave a new aspect to
the matter, when detailed to the nation in council. They denied
their own acts, and asserted, most positively, that they had not
signed any paper relinquishing their land, or which required them
to remove from the country. They had now returned, as was
expected, and were prepared to give their opinion of Arkansas,
and desired that the different bands be assembled, that they might
make known their opinions. The assurances of the agent that
this would be of no avail, superseded all action on the part of
those who had confided their interests and welfare to a delegation
of their own selection. They were sold, heritage and home,
without reserve; and all that now remained was for the govern-
ment to demand the execution of the stipulations of the treaty of
Payne's Landing. The oldest and most influential chiefs, who
had governed the nation for years, were unheard in this relin-
quishment of their possessions, and they resolved to resist by
force the first attempt to dispossess them. The additional treaty
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
had gone to Washington, and only awaited the ratification of the
senate of the United States, when the work would commence.
Micanopy was the principal chief of the nation. To him the
aggrieved looked for redress. Though old and indolent, the
younger warriors incited him to action. Among these was a
young, intelligent, and daring warrior, by the name of Oseola or
Powell. The stupidity of the delegation, more than their as-
sumption, was calculated to stir up among them a continual dis-
cord. They were ridiculed and upbraided by all classes, male
and female, for being circumvented by the whites, and the only
way they avoided chastisement, was to deny the assertions of
the agent, and express their readiness to co-operate in opposing
the fulfillment of the treaty. Had the delegation been permitted
to return to Florida unbiassed, without any extraneous influences,
and they allowed to submit the question of emigration, accom-
panied by their opinions of Arkansas, not an Indian would have
consented to the relinquishment of their country. Arpeika or
Sam Jones, Halpatter-Tustenuggee or Alligator, Jumper, and
Black Dirt, openly and unreservedly declared their dissatisfaction
with Arkansas-with the land, climate, and means of subsistence.
They gave currency to the most absurd reasons why the Semi-
noles and Creeks should not again be united; and thus, by their
declarations, advice, and example, induced those who heretofore
had wished to avoid discord and collision, to urge the chieftains
to open resistance. After the lapse of two years from the date
of its being signed, the treaty of Payne's Landing was ratified, on
the 9th of April, 1834, together with the additional treaty. Vig-
orous measures were at once adopted to put in force its demands.
General Wiley Thompson, of Georgia, was appointed agent, and
superintendent of emigration, in the place of Major Phagan, and
received instructions to carry out the terms of the treaty. Gen.
Duncan L. Clinch, of the United States army, an officer of expe-
rience and merit, was ordered to take command of the regular
troops in the territory, preparatory to the exercise of force, which
it was apprehended would be inevitable, in bringing the Indians
to terms, and to prevent their inroads upon the frontier. Capt.
J. B. F. Russell, and Capt. Wm. M. Graham, U. S. A., stationed at
Fort King, informed the agent, as early as October, 1834, "of the
settled determination of the majority of the influential chiefs, to
disregard the obligations imposed by the treaty of Payne's Land-
ing, and that the most malignant feelings were indulged in to-
wards Charley-E-Marthlar, who had expressed himself in favor
of emigration. His life," continues this communication, "is in
danger, and that of his family. Some step should be taken for
General Thompson, when communicating to the chiefs in
THE FLORIDA WAR.
council the determination of the president to enforce the treaty,
was repeatedly interrupted by groans, violent gestures, and lan-
guage of the most abusive kind, expressed in an under tone.
This was responded to by Oseola, who sat beside Micanopy,
whispering in his ear what to say in reply to the agent. The old
chief, almost overcome by age, was pushed onward far beyond
the dictates of his own policy and good judgment. He was in
the hands of those who, flushed with the vigor of youth, disre-
garded the scruples and comforts of their aged chief. Oseola,
though the principal actor in these measures, was not permitted
to speak in council. He was not a chief, (which confers this
privilege,) but, with his characteristic impudence and cunning,
he communicated his views through the instrumentality of others.
Holatter Emathlar, Jumper, and Alligator, three of the delegation,
persisted in their denial of having signed a treaty requiring the
nation to remove, and contended that the treaty of Fort Moul-
trie, in 1821, was, as they supposed, to continue twenty years,
which precluded the possibility of another being made until that
time had expired. Micanopy said he did not sign the treaty of
Payne's Landing. When shown his signature, he declared that
he did not touch the pen, though he extended his hand to do it.
"The treaty," he said, "was to examine the country; and he
felt satisfied, that when the delegation returned, they would re-
port unfavorably." Jumper said the treaty was made to keep
the white men quiet, and to obtain whisky and provisions.
Arguments of this kind were adduced, and concurred in by the
assemblage, followed by high words and violent gestures, when
the agent, partaking of the general excitement, informed them
that hereafter no annuity would be paid to the nation. Oseola,
unable to refrain from talking any longer, arose, and with great
indignation, tauntingly assured the agent, "that he, nor his war-
riors, did not care if they never received another dollar from their
great father."' The council adjourned in the utmost confusion.
Colonel Gadsden informed the secretary of war on the 1st of
November, 1833, "that the Indians had positively refused to re-
move west under the stipulations of the treaty of Payne's Land-
ing; and had assigned as a reason 'that it was a white man's
treaty which they did not understand, as the interpretation of
the negotiation was false.'" The Indians, in their intercourse
with the officers of the army at Fort King, were impudent and
presumptuous; and when spoken to of emigration, avoided an-
swering by laughter and ridicule. At this early period, secret
preparations were in progress for the crisis which was fast ap-
"The only treaty I will execute," said he, drawing his knife in anger, and
driving it into the table, is with this!"
THE FLORIDA WAR.
preaching. The chiefs were old and irresolute, timid and politic;
but the energy and indignation of Oseola compelled them to
speak the voice of the majority of the nation, though it was done
with reluctance and hesitation. The strong arm of the white
man was upon one side, and the wronged and indignant savage
upon the other. Self-preservation inclined them to give way to
more prudent counsels, and thus avoid a rupture; yet the impor-
tunities and threats of the ambitious warriors, caused them to act
contrary to the dictates of their own good judgments. Charley-
E-Mathlar was confirmed in his determination to emigrate, and
frequently represented to his people the consequences of a war-
fare, which after years of suffering, would end in defeat. These
opinions cost him his life.
The negroes exercised a wonderful control. They openly
refused to follow their masters, if they removed to Arkansas.
Many of them would have been reclaimed by the Creeks, to
whom some belonged. Others would have been taken posses-
sion of by the whites, who for years had been urging their claims
through the government and its agents. In Arkansas, hard labor
was necessary for the means of support, while Florida assured
them of every means to indulge in idleness, and enjoy an inde-
pendence corresponding with their masters. In preparing for
hostilities they were active, and in the prosecution blood-thirsty
and cruel. It was not until the negroes capitulated, that the
Seminoles ever thought of emigrating.
"It has not escaped me," says General Thompson, when ad-
dressing the commissioner of Indian affairs on the 28th of Octo-
ber, 1834, "that the Indians, after they had received their an-
nuity, purchased an unusually large quantity of powder and lead.
I saw one keg of powder carried off by the chiefs, and I am in-
formed that several whole kegs were purchased. I did not forbid
the sale of these articles to the Indians, because such a course
would have been a declaration of my apprehensions. It may be
proper to add that the chiefs and negroes have a deposit of forty
or fifty kegs of powder, which I did not credit at the time." On
the 24th of November, evening, the agent again addresses the de-
partment. The Indians," says he, "appear peaceable and friendly.
I have drawn the reins of government close about them. They
will not, however, remove but as forced to do so. 1 am more
confirmed every day in the opinion, that they have been tampered
with by designing, unprincipled white men; and they have come
to the conclusion, that by obstinately persisting in their right to
remain here until the expiration of twenty years from the date
of the treaty at Camp Moultrie, and abstaining from any out-
rage, their claim will finally be acquiesced in by the government.
And I have been informed by confidential persons among them,
THE FLORIDA WAR.
that they laugh at the idea of the little handful of men at this
post (Fort King) being able to compel them to remove."
It was evident the treaty at Payne's Landing could only be
executed by force. Those acquainted with the swamps and
hammocks of the country, saw a fearful crisis approaching, and
realized the difficulty, the impossibility, of gathering these people
and transporting them to Arkansas. The war once opened, it
would be continued so long as a hostile Indian remained in the
country. As the time approached, the good citizen looked with
fear and regret upon the probable destruction of human life, and
the utter annihilation of all industry, property, and safety. Deso-
lation and want would be at every threshold, and the object far
from being attained. J. H. Eaton, now governor of the terri-
tory, saw the conflict approaching. The Indians, from obstinacy,
were hastening their destruction, or expulsion. To avoid the
reproaches which might be heaped upon the general govern-
ment for persisting in a course involving such a result, and
fraught with so much evil to the settlements, Governor Eaton
addressed the secretary of war, on the 8th of March, 1835, from
Tallahassee, as follows:
I have received your letter relative to the removal of the
Seminole Indians under the provisions of the treaty of 1832, but
which was not ratified until 1834. I pray you, does not this cir-
cumstance raise a doubt whether, by strict rule, the treaty can be
considered to be valid and binding ? Our Indian compacts must be
construed and be controlled by the rules which civilized people
practice; because in all our actions with them we have put the
treaty-making machinery in operation precisely in the same way,
and to the same extent, that is employed with the civilized
powers of Europe. Were these people willing voluntarily to re-
move (though such seems not to be the case), the whole difficulty
would be removed and no evil could arise. But as military force
is about to be resorted to, it is material that the government,
before making such appeal, be satisfied that right and justice is
on their side; and that they are not engaged in the execution of
a treaty which, if void, is no part of the law of the land. The
employing a military force is an act of war, and the Indians will
embody and fight in their defence. The Indian question of re-
moval, is one that should be managed with great caution and
care, that the enemies in congress, ever ready to find fault, may
have no just and tenable ground on which to rest their murmurs.
Tread then cautiously! The people here want their lands on
which they reside, and they will urge a removal fas aut nefas;
and the Big Swamp, which in the treaty is declared to be the
first of their country to be vacated, is of. high repute, and is that
on, which the eyes of speculators are fixed. On the whole, and
THE FLORIDA WAR.
to conclude, I offer this advice: avoid the exercise of force as
long as possible, and let it be only the last sad alternative; and
then let not, by any means, the militia be appealed to-they will
The secretary of war, upon the receipt of this letter, sub-
mitted the question to the attorney general, B. F. Butler, who
gave it as his opinion, that in the present case, as no time was
limited for the ratification of the treaty, and as the supplemental
articles signed at Fort Gibson by the delegation treated it as yet
in existence, although not ratified by the president and senate;
and as no material change of circumstances is suggested, I think
it must be deemed a valid treaty." The treaty meditated the
removal of the nation in three separate parties, one in the year
of 1834, another in 1835, and the last in 1836. But as delays
not anticipated had occurred, the removal could with propriety
be made in the three years following the ratification. This was
designed by the secretary of war. But upon representations
made and urged by General Clinch, and the agent, General Thomp-
son, it was determined to move the entire nation at once, and
thus avoid the embarrassments incident to the departure of a
people, who, under the most favorable circumstances, would leave
their country with reluctance. Delays having occurred in set-
tling the validity of the treaty, every thing was, now combined
to draw closely around the Indians those measures and influences
causing them to realize that the government was in earnest, and
that emigration to Arkansas was unavoidable. Ten companies
of regular troops were placed at the disposal of General Clinch to
co-operate with the civil agents of the government.
On the 16th of February, 1835, the secretary of war informs
General Clinch, "that it is impossible to yield to any wishes
they may express on the subject of emigration. I fully appre-
ciate the consequences which you predict as likely to happen
from a forcible attempt on their part to remain, and the safety
of that portion of the territory imperatively reqfiires that the
treaty stipulations should be carried into effect. It is the ulti-
mate decision therefore of the president, that they shall be re-
moved. But it is very desirable that they should go peaceably
and voluntarily. The subject therefore should be fully explained
to them, and every proper inducement held out for their com-
pliance with the treaties. Let them be reasoned with, and if
possible convinced. Let every measure short of actual force be
first used. Let them be made fully aware of the consequences,
and then, if necessary, let actual force be employed, and their re-
Accompanying this was a talk from the president of the United
States, General Jackson, to the chiefs and warriors, expostulating
with them upon their conduct, and urging them to acquiesce, and
evade certain destruction, which was unavoidable if they obsti-
nately persisted in opposing the execution of the treaty. De-
tailed instructions were communicated at the same time to make
preparations for transportation and subsistence. Lieutenant J.
W. Harris, 2d artillery, U. S. A., disbursing agent, arrived with
ample funds to command the most convenient and expeditious
mode of moving so large a body. General Clinch gave a hearty
co-operation, and was in readiness with his force to act when
the proper time arrived. Transports were prepared at Tampa
Bay, to convey the emigrants to New-Orleans; and Captain
Jacob Brown, U. S. A., had made arrangements to receive them
at the mouth of the Arkansas river, thence to be transported in
wagons to Fort Gibson. As these measures became known to
the Seminoles, they saw plainly that the government was in
earnest in what had been told them. This created renewed
activity in the nation, gradually strengthening their resolution to
On the 24th of April, 1835, another council was convened at
Fort King. The Indians came with fear and suspicion. The
meeting was one of intense interest. Before the departure of the
warriors from the village of Micanopy, a consultation was had
among themselves, when it was agreed to refrain from any hos-
tile expression, and endeavor to obtain sufficient time to gather
their crops and remove their families, when the season would be
far enough advanced to enable them to act successfully on the
defensive. Jumper, a shrewd and sagacious warrior, was put
forward as the speaker of the nation. They were to adhere in
council in their opposition to the treaty, and renew their decla-
rations never to execute it. When these were thus solemnly
made in the presence of the agents of the government, accom-
panied by tones and gestures which could not be mistaken, Gen,
Thompson upbraided them in a most earnest manner for their
infidelity, and total disregard to truth and honor. This caused
harsh language in return from the chiefs, reiterated by the agent,
until the council was in a perfect uproar. General Clinch inter-
posed his authority and advice, and by arguments and appeals
to their good sense, urged a fulfilment of the treaty; at the same
time assuring them, that if they persisted in this reckless course,
he should put in use the troops at his command. This had the
desired effect to calm their passions; when, after a consultation
between Jumper, Oseola, and many others, eight chiefs came for-
ward, and consented to abide by the treaty. Five obstinately
refused. These were Micanopy, Jumper, Alligator, Arpeika or
Sam Jones, and Black Dirt. In consequence of this, General
Thompson at once struck their names from the roll of chiefs,
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
and declared them no longer to be counsellors of the nation.
This was a most injudicious step, and calculated to defeat the
good effects resulting from the concurrence of the majority.
Their chiefs and counsellors derive their authority from inherit-
ance, which is generally attained from valor in the field; and
thus to be deprived of it in so summary a manner, setting at
nought long-settled habits and customs, was destined, as was
subsequently experienced, to arouse the most submissive of their
warriors to retaliation. The president of the United States, and
the secretary of war, disapproved of this step'in the most pointed
manner, and apprehended the worst results. Through the earnest
solicitation of the eight friendly chiefs, the nation were allowed
until the 1st of January ensuing (1836) to prepare for emigra-
tion; at which time they promised most faithfully to assemble at
Fort Brooke, Tampa Bay, where transports were already pre-
pared for their reception. To carry this out, which was de-
manded by every consideration of humanity, and thus avert the
calamity so long impending, a communication explanatory of the
measure, and urging.it as the alternative to avoid bloodshed, was
transmitted to the secretary of war, signed by General Clinch,
General Thompson, and Lieutenant Harris. This was approved
by General Cass, who on the 14th of April, 1835, thus writes to
Your views seem to me to be equally judicious and humane.
Certainly there is not the slightest wish to oppress the unhappy
Seminoles who have stipulated for removal; but their continu-
ance where they now are is absolutely impossible, and the sooner
they are satisfied of this fact the better it will be for them. Still,
however, I should much prefer a voluntary and peaceful removal
to one effected by force. It would be only in the last resort that
the government would be willing to compel them to comply with
their own engagements; and it would be better to suffer a tem-
porary inconvenience, if thereby their feelings could be quieted,
than to require them to remove without their consent. The
matter therefore is referred entirely to your discretion, and that
of General Thompson."
This permission to delay the emigration, quieted the nation
for a time. The more reflecting among the Indians hoped, in-
deed believed, that something would occur before the arrival of
the period fixed, and thus defer, perhaps defeat, a task so repug-
nant to their deep-seated habits and feelings. They lived be-
tween hope and fear, irresolute and timid. None were so bold
as to strike the first and decisive blow. There were, however,
a few active spirits in, their midst who availed themselves of this
postponement, and numbered with accuracy those who would
take the field at the proper time, and in conjunction stored away
the requisite quantity of powder and lead. The older ones who
were timid, rendered the most perfect obedience to these men
and their measures, fearful that if they wavered in their opposi-
tion to the treaty, they would be found the first among those who
were to be punished and slaughtered in the approaching conflict.
The sale of arms, powder, and lead, though forbidden by the
agent, still continued; and enough was already in store, for the
contemplated object. General Thompson, in the month of April,
informs the secretary of war, that for reducing the refractory
Indians to a sense' of their dependence, and to withhold from
them the means of doing mischief, I have prohibited the sale of
arms, powder, and lead to them." This prohibition was at too
late a period to gain the desired end. The observation of the
agent must have satisfied him months before, that the purchase
of ammunition was the main object of the Indians; for, says he
as early as October, 1834, the Indians have purchased an un-
usually large quantity of powder and lead: I saw one keg carried
off by the chiefs." The privation now was only calculated to
arouse their indignation, and cause an immediate rupture, as
their designs, so covertly matured, were suspected. It was a
hostile act towards the nation, virtually declaring war. With
an Indian, the best test of a white man's friendship, is the per-
mission to obtain arms, powder, and lead. The passions of the
friendly Indians, as well as others, were now aroused; indeed it
was difficult to discriminate between friend and foe. Am I a
negro ?" said Oseola, when refused the privilege of purchasing
powder, "a slave? My skin is dark, but not black. I am an
Indian-a Seminole. The white man shall not make me black.
I will make the white man red with blood; and then blacken
him in the sun and rain, where the wolf shall smell of his bones,
and the buzzard live upon his flesh."
During the month of June, Oseola was frequently at Fort
King, with a number of Indians. His manner towards those
who had been his intimate friends, was cold and reserved. To-
wards the agent he was particularly so, and upon several occa-
sions indulged in the most abusive language. Gen. Thompson
reproved him with mildness, when he most insultingly defied the
power of the government and its troops. The agent immediately
confined him in irons, under guard, within the fort. In this con-
dition he remained six days, when he became penitent, and through
his own voluntary promises to abide by the treaty, and the inter-
position of chiefs, he was liberated. As an evidence of his sincer-
ity, and to renew his former intercourse with the agent and officers
of the army, he brought in seventy warriors, who, with himself,
promised to be in readiness for emigration at the appointed time.
The deep subtlety of this step will be clearly understood by events.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
It had the effect, however, to restore confidence, and the citizens
were elated when it was known that Oseola had voluntarily ceased
his opposition and consented to emigrate. It was generally be-
lieved that his adherence to the treaty would be-the means of
relieving the country of Indians, without the long apprehended
rupture. The first of January, 1836, was looked forward to with
intense interest. Crowds of emigrants and explorers stood ready
to rush in as soon as the Indians should abandon their grounds.
As had heretofore been the case, something occurred to interrupt
the harmony and defeat the main object at a critical moment.
Six Indians were proceeding to Deadman's Pond, or Hickory
Hole, Alachua, near the Suwanna river, and on their way had
slaughtered a cow. The ensuing day, when in camp cooking
their beef, a party of white men came up and assaulted them in
a most brutal manner, took possession of their rifles, examined
their packs, and commenced whipping them severely. While
thus engaged, four Indians in search of their friends came upon
them, when they at once commenced firing upon the whites.
They returned it with effect, killing one Indian and wounding
another. A mutual withdrawal from the field followed, the white
men carrying off the baggage and rifles. To punish this act,
which was called an encroachment of the Indians, a company of
militia was soon in the field to chastise these marauders, and to
protect the citizens. Such acts, it was generally believed, would
hasten the Indians in their movements. They did, but not as
anticipated. It kept alive the thirst for revenge, which was to be
satiated only by shedding the blood of innocent women and
Lieutenant Harris, disbursing agent, was actively engaged in
making preparations for supplies and transportation. After con-
sulting with General Thompson, upon the necessary means, and
both having made diligent inquiry, aided by the intimate know-
ledge of officers of the army at the post, he reported to the war
department, that the entire nation, including negroes, did not ex-
ceed three thousand souls. Of this number he estimated that
sixteen hundred were females, and that the various bands, com-
prising the Florida Indians, could bring into the field four hundred
and fifty or five hundred efficient warriors. This estimate was
doubtless far below the real strength, as has been subsequently
ascertained by the number who emigrated, and those still remain-
ing within the limits of the state. Seven hundred regular troops
were at the disposal of General Clinch to keep in check this
force, punish if necessary, which, from the peculiar character of
the country, their intimate knowledge of the swamps and ham-
mocks, and total ignorance on the part of the whites, was ren-
dered a formidable array.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
The Indians during the months of July, August, and Septem-
ber, refrained from visiting Fort King, excepting in small parties.
Those who came were cautious and reserved in their deportment
towards those who heretofore had been familiar friends. In Oc-
tober but little intercourse existed. The first intimation of a
movement within the nation, was the reported arrival of a friendly
chief at Fort Brooke, who with four hundred followers, mostly
women and children, had hastened there for protection, as a war
party, determined on putting them to death, was in close pursuit.
Charley-E-Mathlar, the most consistent and sensible chief, favor-
able to emigration, had been murdered by this party, headed by
Oseola. They met him on the trail to his village, and cruelly
put him to death, leaving his body to be devoured by the wolves.
His bones were buried in 1837, by a detachment of United States
On the 7th of December, General Thompson informs the sec-
retary of war, "that the Indians in this section of the nation
(Fort King), immediately succeeding the murder of Charley-E-
Mathlar, assembled at the towns of Big and Long Swamp. Yes-
terday morning I received information that they had dispersed;
their destination is a subject of various conjectures here. There
are only thirteen Indians who have come in to this post. We
can obtain no runners, as the Indians here are afraid to venture
out of sight of the post. We have therefore not yet ascertained
what direction they have taken. I have no doubt that the object
of the whole body of the disaffected is to retire to the wild region
of the peninsula of Florida, in the neighborhood of what is called
the Everglades. Holate-e-Mathler, with his four chiefs and his
people, are still at Tampa. These, with other circumstances,
induce me to consider the Indians as decidedly in a state of hos-
The purposes long entertained by Oseola, and which he had
perfected by the most active, artful, and insidious means, were
now divulged by cowardly, revengeful, and atrocious acts. He
had acted as the voluntary agent of the nation, or of the hostile
chiefs, in the attack on, and murder of, Charley-E-Mathlar. They
had in council decreed that the first Indian who commenced the
sale or disposal of his property, preparatory to removal, should
fall or be put to death. Oseola carried out this decree in the case
of Charley-E-Mathlar, who had commenced driving in and dis-
posing of his cattle. In furtherance of his diabolical schemes, he,
Upon the first fire of the Indians in ambush, he fell prostrate upon his face, and
covering his face with his hands, received the death blows of his enemies without
uttering a word. He had in his handkerchief a sum of gold and silver received from
the agent for his cattle. This Oseola said was made of the red man's blood, and for-
bid any one touching it, but with his own. hands threw it in every direction.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
with sixty warriors, lay concealed in a hammock in sight of Fort
King, two days, for the purpose of murdering the agent, General
Thompson. Failing in this, it was. designed to attack the post,
when most of the command were absent on fatigue duty. The
27th of December was quietly passed by the party closely concealed
by dense foliage and palmettos. On the afternoon of the 28th,
Gen. Thompson, accompanied by Lieut. Constantine Smith, 2d
artillery, was taking his accustomed walk, smoking a cigar, and
participating in conversation. The afternoon being pleasant,
their walk was extended towards the sutler's store, about one mile
from the post. Just as they reached the crest of the hill, in full
view of the fort, they received the fire of the enemy, secreted
within thirty feet of the road. Both expired instantly upon the
spot. The Indians rushed out amid fiendish whoops and yells,
their knives glistening in the air, when a desperate struggle ensued
for the first trophy in the contest so long anticipated, and now so
deplorably commenced. The scalps of these victims to their re-
venge were cut into small pieces, to satisfy the craving appetites of
all, and to make known among their comrades their participation
in an event which, as they believed, would intimidate the whites,
and deter them from further encroachments upon their soil. Gen.
Thompson was perforated with twenty-four balls, Lieut. Smith
with thirteen, and their bodies left upon the ground horribly muti-
lated. The Indians proceeded at once to the sutler's store, where
they found Mr. Rogers (the sutler), two clerks, a Mr. Hetzler, and
a boy at dinner. Surrounding the house, they fired upon the
inmates through the open doors and windows, and finished their
work by cutting in pieces their bodies, taking their scalps, rifling
the store, and setting fire to the building.
The report of the rifles, the long shrill war-whoop, alarmed the
fort, where preparations were hastily made for a vigorous defence.
The effective strength of the command was forty-six men. The
enemy, it was supposed, were in full force. An immediate attack
was anticipated, as the yell was thought to be preparatory to an
assault. The murder of Gen. Thompson and Lieut. Smith was
not known until some hours after, but the fate of Rogers was an-
nounced by the smoke and flames of his dwelling, which now
arose far above the dense hammock which surrounded it. At the
post, though limited in numbers, provisions, and ammunition, there
was a spirit pervading the officers and men which defied the
efforts of the enemy, and increased from day to day, as their situ-
ation became more critical. Relief was soon expected by the
arrival of two companies of troops ordered from Fort Brooke.
The first blow was now struck, and the Florida war had
fairly commenced. The two companies of United States troops
ordered and expected at Fort King from Fort Brooke, were at-
THE FLORIDA WAR.
tacked by a body of Indians commanded by Micanopy, Jumper,
and Halpatter-Tustenuggee or Alligator, on the 28th of Decem-
ber, on the road leading to Fort King, five miles east of the Wa-
hoo Swamp. Brevet Major F. L. Dade, 4th infantry; Capt. S.
W. Gardner; 2d Lieut. W. E. Bassinger; Brevet 2d Lieut. R.
Henderson, 2d artillery; Capt. U. S. Frazer; 2d Lieut. R. R.
Mudge; Brevet 2d Lieut. J. L. Keais, 3d artillery; and Assistant-
Surgeon J. S. Gatlin, V. S. A., together with one hundred men,
detachments from the above-named regiments, were massacred on
the spot. Two privates escaped, severely wounded, and brought
the first intelligence of the event to Fort Brooke.
The narrative, as received from Halpatter-Tustenuggee or
Alligator, of this melancholy occurrence, forms an interesting
detail of the movements and designs of the Indians:
"We had," says he, "been preparing for this more than a
year. Though promises had been made to assemble on the 1st
of January, it was not to leave the country, but to fight for it.
In council, it was determined to strike a decided blow about this
time. Our agent at Fort King had put irons on our men, and
said we must go. Oseola said he was his friend, he would see
to him. It was determined that he should attack Fort King, in
order to reach General Thompson, then return to the Wahoo
Swamp, and participate in the assault meditated upon the soldiers
coming from Fort Brooke, as the negroes there had reported that
two companies were preparing to march. He was detained
longer than we anticipated. The troops were three days on
their march, and approaching the Swamp. Here we thought it
best to assail them; and should we be defeated the Swamp would
be a safe place of retreat. Our scouts were out from the time
the soldiers left the post, and reported each night their place of
encampment. It was our intention to attack them on the third
night, but the absence of Oseola and Micanopy prevented it.
On the arrival of the latter it was agreed not to wait for Oseola,
as the favorable moment would pass. Micanopy was timid, and
urged delay. Jumper earnestly opposed it, and reproached the
old chief for his indecision. He addressed the Indians, and re-
quested those who had faint hearts to remain behind; he was
going, when Micanopy said he was ready. Just as day was
breaking we moved out of the swamp into the pine-barren. I
counted, by direction of Jumper, one hundred and eighty war-
riors. Upon approaching the road, each man chose his position
on the west side; opposite, on the east side, there was a pond.
Every warrior was protected by a tree, or secreted in the high
palmettoes. About nine o'clock in the morning the command
approached. In advance, some distance, was an officer on a
horse, who, Micanopy said, was the captain; he knew him per-
THE FLORIDA WAR.
sonally; had been his friend at Tampa. So soon as all the soldiers
were opposite, between us and the pond, perhaps twenty yards
off, Jumper gave the whoop, Micanopy fired the first rifle, the
signal agreed upon, when every Indian arose and fired, which
laid upon the ground, dead, more than half the white men. The
cannon was discharged several times, but the men who loaded it
were shot down as soon as the smoke cleared away; the balls
passed far over our heads. The soldiers shouted and whooped,
and the officers shook their swords and swore. There was a
little man, a great brave, who shook his sword at the soldiers and
said, 'God-dam!' no rifle-ball could hit him. As we were re-
turning to the swamp, supposing all were dead, an Indian came
up and said the white men were building a fort of logs. Jumper
and myself, with ten warriors, returned. As we approached, we
saw six men behind two logs placed one above another, with the
cannon a short distance off. This they discharged at us several
times, but we avoided it by dodging behind the trees just as they
applied the fire. We soon came near, as the balls went over us.
They had guns, but no powder; we looked in the boxes after-
wards and found they were empty. When I got inside the log-
pen, there were three white men alive, whom the negroes put to
death, after a conversation in English. There was a brave man
in the pen; he would not give up; he seized an Indian, Jumper's
cousin, took away his rifle, and with one blow with it beat out
his brains, then ran some distance up the road; but two Indians
on horseback overtook him, who, afraid to approach, stood at a
distance and shot him down. The firing had ceased, and all was
quiet when we returned to the swamp about noon. We left
many negroes upon the ground looking at the dead men. Three
warriors were killed and five wounded."
Oseola returned on the night of the 28th of December to the
Wahoo Swamp. His party were loaded with all kinds of goods,
and their bodies decorated with some trophy, to make known
their atrocious acts. Scalps were suspended from their girdles,
the warm blood still dripping; others hung them on their heads
and necks, besmearing their persons with blood, which, aided by
their distorted and haggard countenances, gave to the entire
group a most hideous aspect. The night was spent in a boister-
ous and joyful manner. The scalps were given up to the great
medicine-chief, Illis-higher-Hadjo, who arranged them upon a
pole ten feet in height, around which they exultingly danced till
daylight, accompanying their frantic mirth by songs, ridiculing
and defying the white men. Liquors of all kinds had been ob-
tained, and many were beastly intoxicated. Speeches were
addressed by the most humorous of the company to the scalp of
General Thompson, imitating his gestures and manner of talking
to them in council.
On the ensuing day, the 29th, information was brought by the
scouts, that the troops were approaching the Withlacoochie river
in pursuit of the Indians. Two hundred and fifty warriors, thirty
of whom were blacks, started, under Oseola and Halpatter
Tustenuggee (Alligator), to intercept them when crossing the
river. Here they lay in ambush at the ford, two and a half miles
above the ferry, as the most practicable, in fact, the only place of
crossing without the aid of boats. Much to their surprise, they
discovered on the day following the troops had come over, when
they moved down to attack them. General Clinch had ferried
over his command in a frail canoe, found on the bank, which
with difficulty transported from six to eight men. At twelve
o'clock, M., on the 31st of December, he encountered the enemy,
strongly posted in the scrub and hammock, on the south side of
His force consisted of two hundred regulars, detachments
from the 1st, 2d, and 3d regiments of U. S. artillery. A spirited
contest commenced. The command steadily advanced upon the
Indians, who, headed by Oseola, and urged onward by his frantic
gestures and shrill voice, poured in upon the troops a shower of
bullets. They were at once vigorously charged, and compelled
to relinquish the ground and flee to the hammock, and beyond it,
for safety, after an action of one hour and fifteen minutes. Four
hundred and sixty volunteers, under Gen. C. K. Call, were spec-
tators of this conflict 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 ren-
dered efficient service.
For a time the result was doubtful. But the example of the
commander, who, on foot, passed up and down the line, cheering
his brave companions, seconded by the unflinching resolution and
intrepidity of his officers, satisfied the enemy, that in the contest
which they had commenced, they were to encounter men as
resolutely determined upon expelling them from the soil, as they
were prepared to defend it.
General Clinch had a ball through his cap, and another in the
sleeve of his coat; Capt. Wm. M. Graham, 4th infantry, was
badly wounded in the leg and shoulder; Lieut. C. Graham, 3d
artillery, and Lieut. T. P. Ridgley, 2d artillery, were severely
wounded; Major Lytle, paymaster U. S. A., acting as aid-de-
camp, had his horse shot under him, as also assistant-surgeon
Clark. Col. Warren was hit in the breast, and his horse killed in
the first discharge. Of the regular troops, four were killed and
twenty-five wounded. The volunteers had fifteen wounded.
The Indians hastily retired, without again showing them-
selves. General Clinch took up his line of march, and returned
to Fort Drane.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
THE FLORIDA WAR.
Alligator says that Oseola was hit in the arm, which disabled
him, and was the cause of the Indians retreating. Three of their
number were killed, and five were wounded. Two negroes were
killed belonging to Micanopy; of which he made great complaint,
and ever after forbade his negroes participating in any hazardous
enterprise. This caused many to disregard his authority as chief,
or pond-governor, as he. was called, subjecting him to reproach
and suspicion. His disposition to procrastinate, and his indirect
measures to deter Oseola and others in their proposed war-
parties, at an early period satisfied those most eager for the.con-
test, that he could not be relied upon as an adviser or prosecutor
of the war. He was the acknowledged chief by hereditary right,
and none were bold enough by open rebellion to subvert him, but
his opinions and advice were generally unheeded.
No doubt now existed in the mind of any one as to the hos-
tile intentions of the Florida Indians. The passions of a people,
which had been smothered for fifteen years, descending from sire
to son, were let loose, and the savage massacres which had
appalled the stoutest heart, gave undisputed evidence of the char-
acter of the contest. Florida, from this time forward, was a
scene of devastation, murder, sorrow, and distress. Plantations
were abandoned, and the villages were crowded with citizens
without occupation, and destitute of the means of obtaining their
daily bread. All that had been anticipated and represented by
intelligent citizens was fully realized. The postponement of this,
through the zealous exertions of the government agents, for six-
teen years, had tended to aggravate instead of allaying the feel-
ings of the Indians. The natural propensities of the savage were
in full play, and to gratify the strongest and most enduring im-
pulse of their natures, revenge, they had within their reach those
who had been instrumental in bringing about this state of things,
and upon whom they could indulge, secretly and savagely, the
instinct of their natures. It has been thought that a formidable
array of troops would have averted this catastrophe. The period
was past. It might have procrastinated, but it could not have
defeated a design so long in contemplation, and for which, in the
way of supplies and ammunition, every thing had been prepared.
It was inevitable from the very nature of things. Combinations
and influences were at work which could not be checked or de-
feated, requiring the removal of the Indians from the territory.
The Seminoles disregarded the consequences of an overt act on
their part, and disdained authority or control. Reckless of the
future, and confident of being able to wage-a successful warfare,
from the character of the country and their intimate knowledge
of the strong-holds, they lost sight of the power of the whites, in
their long-cherished wish to gratify their vengeance in the de-
THE FLORIDA WAR.
struction of those who had scattered discord through the land,
and meditated their destruction as a nation, and their expulsion
from the country. With these feelings deeply seated and cher-
ishe.d, exasperated by constant and unprovoked aggressions, all
that was wanting was a heart bold enough to strike the first
blow. In Oseola, or Powell, was combined a nerve, activity,
and intelligence, which seemed to diffuse itself among all classes.
The women gave a most hearty co-operation, and though obliged
to abandon their homes, they cheerfully encountered fatigue, and
congregated in places of safety, where they supplied provisions
indiscriminately to the warriors, as they went to and from the
field of battle. Boys hardly able to shoulder a rifle, were daily
practiced in the use of that arm. Had a large body of troops
been in the field, the Indians doubtless would have acted more
covertly, and in smaller numbers. The exposed settlers upon the
frontier would have been the first victims, almost within sight of
the camp-fires of the army. Soldiers would have invaded the
peninsula in columns, as was subsequently done, and not an
Indian have been seen. The Florida war was closed by the
movements of fifty and one hundred men, in detachments, acting
in concert, giving to the contest a partisan character. This was
hazardous, as they might be overcome by numbers, but it was
the only means of bringing the enemy from their ambush, and
involving them in an engagement. In every instance where a
conflict has occurred, the regular troops were successful, if not
in killing, wounding, and making prisoners, they remained in
quiet possession of the field. The small number of troops in
Florida on the 31st of December, induced the Indians to assem-
ble in the belief of being successful, which necessarily caused a
postponement of the attacks upon citizens, giving them time, with
their families and property, to seek a place of safety. As lament-
able as events were, the regular force ordered to the scene of
warfare, as reported by the adjutant-general of the army to the
secretary of war, was thought adequate to the emergency. From
four to five hundred warriors was the computed strength of the
nation, an estimate derived from what was deemed unquestioned
authority. The army of the United States is too limited in num-
bers to quell in season such outbreaks, or to put in force, under
such circumstances, the demands of the government. Scattered
as it is along an extensive seaboard and on an inland frontier,
small detachments reach the field just in time to provoke attacks,
and to fill the breach by leading the forlorn hope. Blood is
spilt, millions are squandered, the country ravaged, when the
means upon which the only hope was based, to avert the calam-
ity, are put in requisition, and the army, amid vindictive abuse
and unreserved condemnation, accomplishes the desired end.
THE FLORIDA WAR. 95
To control, or to effectually crush, the spirit which nerved
the Seminoles in defence of their homes, required a force of
which the country could not boast. The display of arms they
ridiculed; consequences were disregarded, and life-itself was un-
cared for. Moral force at one time could have been applied with
success. But repeated aggressions, false promises, neglect, and
abuse, had made them reckless, and the assurances of the whites,
however sincere or well intended, were considered as false. The
contest was inevitable. A war of seven years ensued, and many
of those who instigated and participated in it, have to lament the
day of its commencement.
Upon a careful examination, it will be found that the treaty
of Fort Moultrie in 1821, was the first act in originating 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 Florida war.
FROM JANUARY 1, 1836, TO DECEMBER 31, 1840.
The number of Indian warriors in FloridA, and tribes to which they belonged.-Number of negro war-
riors.-Names of the various Indian chiefs, and their importance and characters, viz., Micanopy,
Jumper, Little Cloud, Alligator, Holartooche. King Philip, Coacoochee, Sam Jones, Tigertail, Neth-
lockemathlar, Chekika, Hospetarke, Octiache.-The negro Abraham, his importance.-Oseola or
Powell, his birth, rank, character, and age.-Measures taken to subdue the Indians.-Cost of the Flo-
rida war.-Relative cost of troops between regulars, volunteers, and militia.-General Towson's letter
on the subject.-The regular troops, and militia serving in Florida in 1836, 37, 38, 39, 40, and 41.-
Generals Clinch, Scott, Call, Jesup, Taylor, Armistead, and Colonel Worth, commanding.-Depreda-
tions of the Indians.-General Clinch authorized to call for militia.-General Eustis ordered to Florida.
-The movements of General Gaines.-The burial of the dead of Major Dade's comihand.-Arrival
at Fort King of General Gaines-Returns to Fort Brooke via the Withlacooche river-His arrival, and
encounter with the enemy.-Death of Lieutenat Izard.-The troops in a pen.-General Gaines's de-
signs.-The attack upon the pen.-The arrival of a messenger from the Indians.-Interview of Adju-
tant Barrow of the Louisiana volunteers, and Captain Hitchcock, U. S. A., with Oseola and others.-
The conduct of Ceesar disapproved of by the Indians.-The day when the troops in the pen were to
be attacked.-The number of warriors on the ground.-Final result.-General Gaines relinquishes
the command to General Clinch.-General Scott ordered to take command in Florida-His steps taken
to prosecute the war.-General Scott takes the field-Success of his campaign-Ordered to conduct
the war against the Creeks in Georgia.-Complaints of General Scott's conduct in prosecuting the
Florida war-Difficulties in effecting his object.-General Scott's defence before the court of inquiry
convened at Frederick, Maryland-His acquittal.-General C. K. Call takes command of the Florida
army.-Attack upon Micanopy by Oseola or Powell.-Major Hieleman's official report.-Colonel
Pierce's expedition to Fort Drane-His official report of the affair.-General Call's campaigns.-The
Tennessee brigade and General Armstrong.-The U. S. marine corps under Colonel Henderson.-
Officers of the Creek volunteer regiment.-General Call's second campaign.-Tennesseans attack the
Indians-The result.-Colonel Pierce with the regulars joins General Call.-Battle of the Wahoo-
Swamp.-Official report of Colonel Pierce of the affair.-The object gained.-General Jesup's opera-
tions 12th January, 1837.-Battle of Fort Mellon.-Official report of Colonel Fanning.-Battle of
Hatch-Luste creek.-General Jesup's report.-Colonel Henderson's report.-Disposition of the Indians
-They ask for peace.-The capitulation at Fort Dade.-The Indians agree to emigrate-Large num-
bers assemble at Tampa Bay-Vessels in readiness to take them to New-Orleans.-The surrender of
Oseola with his family at Fort Mellon.-He desires peace.-The Florida war supposed to be ended.-
Volunteers and militia discharged.-The marines under Colonel Henderson sent north.-Letter of Mr.
Poinsett on the subject.-Citizens return to their homes.-The Indians break up their camp near Fort
Brooke, and take to the woods under the direction of Oseola and Coacoochee.-The country alarmed.
-General Jesup desires to be relieved from the command of the army of Florida-His letter to the adju-
tant-general on the subject, July 25th, 1837.-Another campaign in preparation.-Creek regiment of In-
dians discharged.-The feeling of citizens towards the Indians.-Volunteers called for from Kentucky,
Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.-The address of General Jesup to the army,
October 24th, 1837, at the commencement of the campaign.-General Jesup's report of his campaign,
July 6th, 1838.-General Jesup's proposition to effect an arrangement with the enemy.-Mr. Poin-
sett's answer.-Report of the fight on Jupiter river.-General Jesup's letters.-General Taylor's report
of the battle of Okechobee.-Indians commanding in the battle-Their arrangements for the battle.-
Death of Colonel Thompson, Colonel Gentry, Captain Van Suerengen, Lieutenants Center and
Brooke.-Capture and death of Oseola-The manner of capture, and his conduct, &c.-General Jesup
relinquishes the command of the Florida army to General Z. Taylor.-General Taylor's report of
operations-He districts the country-Not carried out.-General Macomb arrives in the territory-His
arrangement for peace-His orders to citizens, and report to the secretary of war.-Citizens again
return to their plantations.-Confidence partially restored.-The Indians murder express-men, and
attack the settlements.-General consternation throughout the interior.-Lieutenant-Colonel Harney's
command massacred on the Carlo shatchee river.-The report of the assistant adjutant-general.-Lieu-
tenant Hanson captures at Fort Mellon a band of Indians.-Preparations for another campaign.-Ex-
tract from the report of Mr. Poinsett in regard to the war.-Governor Reid's message to the territorial
legislature.-Blood-hounds sent for to pursue the Indians-Thirty-two obtained-Their arrival, and
cost.-Manner of tracking the Indians.-The result.-Complaints of memorialists to congress.-Corre-
spondence of the Hon. H. A. Wise, secretary of war, and General Taylor upon the subject.-Troops
withdrawn from the field.-General Taylor relieved from the command of the Florida army, by his
own request-Brevet Brigadier-General Armistead succeeds him.-The Spanish Indians participate in
the war.-Indian Key attacked by a band of Indians under the Spanish Indian chief, Chekika.-Tho
murder of Doctor Perrine, and the particulars of the escape of his family.
THE progress of the Florida war from the 1st of January,
1836, was attended with large expenditures of money, and serious
embarrassments. The climate, ignorance of the swamps and
hammocks, and the treachery and activity of the enemy, baffled
THE FLORIDA WAR.
the skill of the most zealous and intelligent officers. The Indians,
far more numerous than had been anticipated, availed themselves
of the offers of peace and friendship often tendered, or when in-
clined to gratify their malignity, assembled in force to strike a
fatal blow, and then scattered into small parties to their hiding
places, without leaving a track behind. The number of warriors
in the field at this time, as has been subsequently ascertained, was
sixteen hundred and sixty, to which may be added two hundred
and fifty negroes capable of bearing arms.
This force was divided into various bands, comprising Semi-
noles, Mickasukies, Tallahassees, and Creeks, and led by youthful
and sagacious chieftains. In resisting the encroachment of the
whites, and the treaty of Payne's Landing, the most perfect har-
Micanopy, or the Pond Governor, was the legitimate head of
the Seminole nation, and the acknowledged chief of the Indians
in Florida. He was about fifty years of age, very fat, and exces-
sively lazy, which unfitted him for the active duties that devolved
on him in an open warfare. Of this he was fully sensible, which
inclined him to advocate peace, as far as policy and his personal
safety would permit. This was so manifest, that the young men
forced him into hostile acts, and by main strength in two instan-
ces, (at Dade's Massacre, and at Camp Izard,) carried him by
main force to the scene of action. Otee-Emathlar, or Jumper,
was his lawyer and sense-bearer. He was a cunning, intelligent,
and deceitful Indian. Fond of hearing himself talk, and naturally
endowed with great fluency of speech, and with a voice peculiarly
musical and attractive, he attained an ascendency over all classes,
and became the most important man in councils and consultations.
He was about forty years old; active and brave.
Ta-ho-loo-chee, or Little Cloud, was remarkable for his bold
achievements as a hunter and warrior, and for his bitter animosi-
ty to the whites. He was never known to express the least
regard or kindness for them even when receiving clothing and
food from their hands, and always looked upon them with con-
tempt and distrust. His cold, dignified deportment was often re-
marked. His age was thirty-six. In council he was generally
silent, but acted with promptness and decision.
Halpatter-Tustenugge, or Alligator, was the most shrewd,
crafty, politic, and intelligent chief of the Seminole nation. He
was upwards of forty years of age, but an active and successful
hunter. With the citizens of the country he was upon intimate
terms, and enjoyed their hospitality to a great extent. His
manners were bland and attractive, and speaking English, he
made himself an agreeable companion. But his artful tricks to
obtain food, clothing, powder, and lead, while expressing friend-
ship and affection, led the citizens to suspect and watch him con-
tinually. His knowledge of the country, and tactics in the field
of battle, as displayed in advancing and retreating, in diverting
the enemy and outflanking their extended lines, gave him an as-
cendency, and made him a dangerous foe.
Holartoochee was a- remarkable man, and in all respects
superior to his associates. He was fifty-five years of age. Good
judgment, prudence, and integrity marked all his acts, both among
his own people and with the citizens. He was acknowledged a
brave warrior and a great hunter. In council, he spoke with
energy and boldness; and led his companions at all times with
the same spirit. He was banished from his tribe four years for
adultery, during which time he lived with the Spanish Indians
inhabiting the Everglades, who treated him with great distinction.
At the breaking out of hostilities, he rejoined his band, and became
an active leader. After resisting three years, he surrendered for
emigration, and became useful in inducing others to follow his
King Phillip, the father of Coacoochee or Wild Cat, was a
good-natured, sensible Indian; his age, which was about sixty,
and his royal blood, attached to him some importance. In the
peaceful affairs of the nation, his views and advice were often
adopted. He was inclined to peace, but opposed to the execution
of the treaty, and expressed a determination to die upon the soil.
He wished to avoid the whites, rather than to resist them, and
thus be subjected to much discomfort and annoyance.
Coacoochee, or Wild Cat, partook of none of his father's in-
firmities. He was by far the most dangerous chieftain in the
field. War to him was a pastime. He became merry by the
excitement, and more vindictive and active by its barbarities,
and the inefficiency of the enemy. When being pursued through
deep swamps, he has stood at a distance, and laughed at and
ridiculed the soldiers floundering with their arms and accoutre-
ments in mud and water. With a few followers, who adhered to
him for his bold achievements and success in plundering, he
ranged throughout the country, going from one part to the other
with a fleetness defying pursuit. When hostilities commenced,
he assembled his warriors, and in a fearless manner dictated the
mode in which the war was to be conducted. He held commu-
nication with other chieftains, but the customary councils with the
agents of the government, and among themselves, he disregarded,
and acted according to the dictates of his own judgment. He
was twenty-eight years of age, in person slight, with the activity
of a deer, and with a countenance bright, playful, and attractive.
THE FLORIDA WAR.