Samuel Gardner Drake.

The aboriginal races of North America; comprising biographical sketches of eminent individuals, and an historical account of the different tribes, from the first discovery of the continent to the present period ... and a copious analytical index online

. (page 84 of 131)
Online LibrarySamuel Gardner DrakeThe aboriginal races of North America; comprising biographical sketches of eminent individuals, and an historical account of the different tribes, from the first discovery of the continent to the present period ... and a copious analytical index → online text (page 84 of 131)
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artillery under Maj. Gardner, Capts. Tompkins, Porter, and Lee, and Col.
Waire with his mounted men, coming successively into action, enabled Uj3


Creeks to maintain their ground. Still the fight was animated ; and it was
not until nearly all the force of the whites was brought to bear on this point,
that the Indians could be dislodged. Then it would seem they retired more
to give their adversary a chance to retreat, than because they were beaten
themselves. Thus ended the second battle of the Wahoo Swamp, in which
25 of Gen. Call's army were killed and wounded, nine being of the ibrmer
number. The Indians left 10 on the field ; but the whites said they lost " 50
at least."

The army having consumed all their provisions, and being very severely
handled, was glad to make the best of its way out of this hostile region ; it
accordingly returned to its late encampment at 10 o'clock at night, and the
next day marched for Volusia.

Where Gen. Jesup was, or what service he was rendering at this period,
and for some time previous, I am uninformed ; but, on the 24 November, he
arrived at Volusia, with 400 mounted Alabama volunteers. He came late
from Tampa, and on the way had taken 33 negroes, the former property of
Col. Rees, of Spring Garden, w T hence they had been carried off' by the Semi-
noles. Here Gen. Jesup received orders from the secretary of war, again to
resume the command of the army of Florida. Gov. Call had pretty confi-
dently asserted that, in the campaign now just concluded, he should be able
to finish the war ; but he had only showed the Seminoles that some of his
'men could fight as well as Indians, and that others could turn their backs
with equal dexterity. On the whole, if the Indians had been one to a thou-
sand against the Americans, it would be no very difficult question to settle,
which would be sent beyond the Mississippi. When, in October, the Creek
deputation visited them,* to persuade them to submit to terms, OSCEOLA as-
sured them with firmness, that " the Seminoles would never yield never, he
said ; the land is ours ; we will fight and die upon it." The Chief HARJO was
at the head of the peace deputation of Creeks, and he found Osceola in a great
swamp, on the Ouithlacoochee, having then with him about 3,500 people.

Notwithstanding the severe blow r s which Osceola had had in the Wahoo
Swamp, it yet remained the Narraganset of Florida ; and such were the ac-
counts from thence, that Gen. Jesup determined to proceed there with a
large force. Accordingly, with ten days' provision, he marched on the 12
of December for that point ; but, on reaching it, no Indians w^ere found. On
the 17th, he marched for Tampa, taking the course of the Ouithlacoochee in
his route ; and Col. Foster pursued a parallel course on the other side of the
same river ; a single Indian was the result of all this business ; yet no blame
can be attached to those who performed it, for what can men do where there
is nothing to be done ? Something like calculation can be made in marching
against men in a fort or city ; but where it is known that a people remove
then* cities and forts as easy as themselves, quite a different calculation is
required. Csesar never fought Indians, or he would have reversed his cele-
brated saying, " 'Tis easier to foil than find them."



Expedition to Ahapopka OSUCHEE killed Jesup parleys with the chiefs Col. Hen
derson's Expedition BATTLE OF LAKE MONROE Treaty of Fort Dade Unob-
served Osceola at Fort Mellon Numbers of the Seminoles Sudden abduction of
emigrants Jesup requests to be relieved from command Western Indians applied
to Gen. Hernandez's Expedition Captiire of King Philip Surprise of th&
Uchees Surrender of chiefs Mediation of Ross Capture of Osceola and others
View of the affair WILD CAT'S escape BATTLE OF OKECHOBEE.

WITH this chapter we begin the events of the year 1837. On the 22 of
January, Gen. Jesup put the main body of the army in motion, with the view


'of attacking: another strong-hold of the In<li;ins, which ho had learned was
upon the head -waters of the Oklawaha. The next day he detached Lieut.
( '<!. ( 'a\\ l!i-ld w ith his mounted hattalion of Alabama volunteers, ( 'a|>t. Har-
ris's company of marines, and Maj. Morris's Indian warriors, w ith his own aid,
Lieut. Chambers, to attack Osucm.i, commonly called the Chief Cooper,
whose rendezvous was then on the horders of Ahapopka Lake. Osuchee
was surprised, and, with 3 of his warriors, killed ; nine \\omen and children,
and s negroes taken. The whites lost one Indian, who was mortally wound-
ed. From the captured it was discovered that the main body of the Semi
noles had gone southward.

Pursuit was immediately made, and, on the 24th, the army passed a rugged
range of mountains, hitherto unknown to the whites, called, by the Indians,
Thiinthutkee, or White Mountains. On the 27th, the Indians were discovered
on the Hatchee-Lustee, in and about the "Great Cypress Swamp;" and a
successful charge was made upon them by Lieut. Chambers, with Price's
company of Alabama volunteers, by which 25 Indians and negroes, and their
horse? and baggage, were taken. The captured were chiefly women and
children. Col. Henderson pursued the fugitive warriors into a swamp, and
across the Hatchee-Lustee River, and thence into a more extensive swamp,
where they could not be pursued without great difficulty and more men.
Meanwhile, a messenger had been sent to the general, but he was killed in the
way ; and it was not till another had been sent, that he was informed how
matters were progressing with Col. Henderson.

Gen. Jesup sent a prisoner to JUMPER, on the morning of the 28th, endeav-
oring to get a parley, while he moved on and took a position at Lake Toho-
pikalega, within a few miles of where it is approached by the Cypress Swamp.
Heie he took some hundred head of cattle. The prisoner sent out to Jumper,
returned the next day, bringing favorable talks from Alligator and Abraham ;
and two days after, January 31st, Abraham visited the general in his camp ;
immediately after, he returned to the Indians, and on the 3 February, brought
along with him Jumper and Alligator, with two sub-chiefs, one a nephew of
Micanopy. These chiefs agreed to meet the general at Fort Dade, with other
chiefs, on the 18th following. Jumper and Alligator, it is said, are among
the last of the descendants of the Yamassees.

To return to Col. Henderson. On receipt of his message, Gen. Jesup or-
dered the disposable force of Gen. Armistead's brigade, Maj. Gorham's infan-
try, and Tustenugge Hajo's Indian warriors, to move on to his support. They
soon captured two Indian women, and several negroes, in a pine wood, over
a hundred ponies, some plunder, and several fire-arms. The main force of
the Indians had fled ; but not having much time in advance, were soon over-
taken by Maj. Morris on the border of a considerable stream, 20 or 25 yards
wide, in the midst of a swamp. The Indians were in possession of the oppo-
site side, and when the warriors came up, they were fired upon, and a con-
siderable skirmish ensued. The creek was difficult to lord, and the Indians
had passed it by two trees felled from the opposite banks. These afforded a
sure mark for the Indians' rifles, a very few of which could stand against
many ; but the whites and their Indian allies, being much the more numer-
ous, were able to extend themselves up and down the stream, by which dis-
play the Indians were exposed to a cross fire, and soon began to abandon
their position. The order being now given to cross the creek, Capt. Morris
(major of the 1st Indian battalion) w r as the first to advance on the log, fol-
lowed by Lieuts. Searle and Chambers, and Capt. Harris ; Lieut. Lee swim-
ming over at the same time. These officers led the van throughout this ex-
pedition, and are mentioned with high encomiums on their conduct. Having
all crossed the creek, the Indians made several stands against them, but were
forced to fly after a few fires. They were followed for a mile or two, and
then the pursuit was given up ; the detachments returning late at night to the
camp of the main army. The result of this affair was the capture of 28 ne-
groes, and Indian women and children. How many warriors were killed, no
certain information could be given ; but some two or three they saw, lying
dead, as they marched along. Of the whites, one was killed at the passage
of the creek in the swamp, and three wounded; and in the pursuit another
was killed. Thus ended the affairs of one day, namely, January the 27th.


The next affair of importance, which transpired in Florida, was the battle
of Lake Monroe. Brevet Col. A. C. W. Fanning had been stationed at that
place, and his camp there bore the name of the lake. Early on the morning
of the 8 February, 1837, about 300 Seminoles commenced firing upon Col.
Famiing's camp with great spirit. Their right rested on the lake above the
fort ; their left on the shore below, and another line extended around their
front. They were taken rather by surprise, many of whom, being new recruits,
scarcely knew what they were about ; but after wasting a good share of their
ammunition, being bent on making a noise by some means, they were got un-
der some sort of regular modus operand^ and the action became sharp. Mean-
while, Lieut. Thomas received orders to man a steamboat, lying in the lake
under cover of the fort, and to serve a six-pounder, which was on board of
her, upon the right of the Indians. This he was enabled to effect, and they
were immediately driven from that position ; but they hung upon the right
and front for near three hours, before they would give up the contest. The
brave Capt. Mellon was killed near the beginning of the fight, and 15 others
were wounded, some mortally. PADDY CARR w r as here with his Creeks, and
was among the foremost in all danger ; and Col. Fanning gives the names of
many of his officers who distinguished themselves.

Thus, only ten days before the time assigned to treat with Gen. Jesup, did
the Seminoles give a demonstration of the value they set upon a peace with
the whites ; but, perhaps, the party which attacked Col. Fanning were unac
quainted with the arrangement. However, through the mediation of the
Creeks, the general got a hearing with HOLATOOCHEE, nephew of Micanopy,
JUMPER, ABRAHAM, LITTLE CLOUD, and several others, at Fort Bade, on the
5 March. Micanopy sent as excuse for his non-appearance, that he was old
and infirm. Jumper was inquired of respecting the time the Indians would
be ready to remove, and from his answer, all the world, if they had heard it.
might have known that all the Indians were after, was to gain time ; for he
replied, that they could not be ready till fall. The general as promptly re-
plied, that "that was out of the question," insinuating also, that if they wished
to gain time by such a manoeuvre, they were mistaken. Jumper showed
some indignation at being thus suspected, and after considerable other talk,
the council was adjourned to the next day.

Accordingly, they met again on the 6th, with augmented numbers on the
part of the Indians ; among whom were representatives of Alligator, Coa-
chochee or Wild Cat, (Philip's son,) his nephew, and Pease Creek John, and
a treaty was drawn up and signed. It purported, that hostilities should
from that time cease ; all the Seminoles to remove immediately beyond the
Mississippi ; to give hostages to secure its observance ; all the Indians to go
immediately south of the Hillsborough ; Micanopy to be one of the hostages ;
and, by the* 10 April, all were to be ready to remove. To these articles four
chiefs put their marks, with Gen. Jesup ; and we shall see how they were ob-

To keep up the deception, and make sure of the promised rations, the In
dians began to frequent the general's camp, as though in good earnest to
fulfil the treaty. By the 26 March, there were there, or had been there, the
chiefs, Yaholoochie, (Cloud,) Jumper, Abraham, and Tigertail; and tho
principal chiefs on the St. John's, Tuskinnia and Emathla, (Philip,) had sent
word that they would emigrate if Micanopy said so, and Abiaca (Sam Jones)
had been invited by Philip to go to Micanopy to arrange for a removal/ Abi
aca being chief of the Mikasaukies, his acquiescence was thought of no little
consequence. About this time, it was reported that Yaholoochie was com
mander-in-chief at the battle of the Wahoo Swamp, and that Osceola had
been deposed for cowardice in that action. On the 18 March, Micanopy
signed a written acknowledgment of, and acquiescence in, the treaty of the
6th ; and Gen. Jesup seemed quite sure the war was at an end. Neverthe-
less, about this time a circumstance occurred which much alarmed the In-
dians, and whether feigned or real, answered the same end. A report was
circulated among them, that as soon as Gen. Jesup had got a sufficient num-
ber into his power, he would handcuff and ship them for Arkansas. Thus
matters were retarded and moved slow. And, besides, Philip, chief of tho


Tohopkolikies, liad IM-^UM to sho\v r himself again, and remained in his strong-
hold with 400 men. This much lessened the confidence of the general, and
he began to make preparations for aggressions. Murders were also almost
daily committed in some direction.

However, by the 1 May, Osceola* had come in to Fort Mellon, Lake Mon-
roe ; and, by the 8th of that month, there were assembled then-, and in the
immediate neighborhood, not less than 3,500 men, women, and children, to
whom about 1,000 rations had been issued. Many, if not all the chiefs, had
liberty to come and go as they pleased, and this could not be objected to ; in
the first place, because they were to bring in their people, and horses and
cattle, to be ready to remove ; and, in the next place, had an attempt been
made to detain them, all that could would have run away, and it would have
been very difficult ever to have got them again. Hence, in this view of the
matter, and we can take no other of it, a different course would have led at
once to a ruin of what appeared to have been so well begun ; whereas, by
that adopted, there was some prospect of success. Therefore, it is plain that
those who condemn Gen. Jesup for his policy, speak unadvisedly.

While the Indians were at Fort Mellon, much information was gathered
from them, relative to their numbers and condition. Maj. Gardner said he
was assured there were 2,500 Seminoles then able to bear arms, and Col.
Harney's information confirmed that conclusion.

All things seemed to promise success to Gen. Jesup's efforts, and he
became by the end of May quite confident that the war w r as at an end.
Osceola had slept in the tent of Col. Harney, and great confidence seems to
have taken the place of mutual distrust. The general felt quite assured that
Osceola would be of great service in bringing in his countrymen, and before
the middle of May he had lying at Tampa 24 transports to take off the
Indians ; but to his great astonishment, on the morning of the 2d of June,
he found that nearly all of them had fled into their own wilds and fastnesses.
And thus the edifice that had been so long in building had been sw r ept away
in one night. Osceola had been some time absent, and had returned with
200 Mikasaukies, and compelled such as were not willing to leave, to go off
with him. Micanopy said he had agreed to emigrate, and would do so, and
being told that he might choose between compliance and death, he said, " Kill
me here then kill me quickly," but he was forced upon his horse and driven
off. Jumper had sold all of his horses, and was forced to march on foot.

Thus stood the affairs of Florida in the beginning of June, 1837. The
Indians were sure of a truce till fall, when they would be again in a condition
to fight with a better prospect of success than ever. Many of the forces of
the whites had gone home, and many were quite as inefficient as though they
were there also ; as sickness had begun to prevail, and terror and dismay
were fast spreading in every direction of that ill-fated land. The general had
done every thing he could do, or that any other man in like circumstances
could have done, but that did not save him from slanderous tongues ; and on
the 5th of the same month he wrote to the secretary of war, requesting to be
relieved from the command in Florida ; but his request was not granted.

An account of the state of affairs in Florida having reached Washington,
the secretary of war, on the 22d of July, issued orders for enlisting the western
Indians to fight the Seminoles ; namely, 400 Shawanese, 200 Delawares and
100 Kikapoos, which were soon after carried into effect ; and in September
following, there had arrived in Florida upwards of 1,000 southern and western
Indians, prepared to act in conjunction with their white allies against the

The first affair of importance in the fall campaign of 1837, was the expe-
dition to Donlawton, Tomoka, and the lichees, under Gen. Hernandez. That
officer was at Fort Peyton, seven miles south of St. Augustine, on the 4th of
September, when four negroes, which had belonged to Major Heriot, came
in and delivered themselves up, and informed that many Indians were en-
gaged south of Tomoka, and east of the St. John's, preparing coonti, (zamia.)
Preparations were immediately made for an expedition in that direction, and

* Some wrote Os-sin-yah-holo, others Assinyohola. but Osceola has obtained.


a force marched from thence on the 7th, under Lieut. Peyton, who volun-
teered to take the lead on this occasion. Jt consisted of 170 men, and the
same evening they reached Billow's, 33 miles from Fort Peyton. Here, on
the 8th, at daylight, four other negroes gave themselves up, who had belonged
to the same master, and at the same time there came along with them an
Indian negro, named John, a slave of King Philip, who had run away, on
account of an attachment to his master's squaw. He was made to act as a
guide. Spies were sent out, who soon returned with the information that
there was an encampment of Indians at Dunlawton. This it was determined
to beat up, and Lieuts. Peyton and Whitchenst were detached for the pur-
pose, and at midnight they fell upon them with complete success; capturing
the whole party, except a son of Philip, a lad of 18, who made his escape.
None were killed or wounded on either side. The whites were much elated
at this capture, having found that they had taken the arch King Philip, who
had laid waste this part of the country in the beginning of the war, Tomoka
John, and several others, women and children.

On examining Tomoka John, the general learned that at about 10 inile~
from thence was a company of some 8 or 10 Uchees, under Uchee Billy, and
Philip confirmed his statement. It was resolved, without loss of time, to sur-
prise this encampment also. Accordingly, 40 men marched out, with John
tor a guide, and here also the surprise was complete, with the exception of
one man, who escaped under cover of night. But they did not find the
Uchees entirely unprepared, and in their resistance they mortally wounded
Lieut. JM'Neill, a promising young officer. Two Indians were killed, three
wounded, and 16 captured. Among the latter was Uchee Billy, whose cap-
ture was viewed of no small consequence. In all 5 chiefs were captured
during the expedition, making a total of 94 Indians and negroes.

Before the month expired, a son of Philip (probably he who escaped at
Dunlawton) came with four others to St. Augustine, with a flag; but they
were no sooner come than Gen. Hernandez ordered them into confinement.
We have no other particulars, and whether the general had good reasons for
such a step, take not upon us to say. It appears that the whites in general
were determined to have the Indians, some how or other, and this seems to
have been an earnest of what was afterwards enacted. John Hix, or Hext,
(Tuckebatche Hajo,) who was supposed to have been killed in an encounter
near a year agoj came into Fort King on the 3d of August, and on the 7th
there arrived at Black Creek, Coahajo, Yahajo, (brother-in-law of Osceola,)
and Honese Tustunnuggee. These captures and surrenders gave great en-
couragement to the people, and they again counted on a total emigration in
a short time.

On the 20th of October, as Lieut. T. B. Adams was escorting an express
from Tampa to Fort Foster, he fell in with and took three Indians. One was
a prominent chief of Pease Creek, named Holachta-Mico-chee, Hac-te-hal-
chee, a sub-chief, and one warrior.

At the same time was prepared at Washington a very sensible talk, by the
chief of the Cherokees, JOHN Ross, which was to be sent to the Semino es ;
in which he ardently expressed himself for their welfare, and strongly urged
upon them the necessity of coming to a settlement with the whites, and the
utter impracticability of continuing in war, with the least prospect of success.
This Mr. Ross undertook, by the consent and with the advice of President
Jackson, and four trusty Cherokees were soon after despatched with it to
Florida. It was addressed to Micanopy, Philip, Coacoocfiee, (Wild Cat,)
Osceola, and other chiefs and warriors, and signed KOOWESKOOWE,
alias JOHN Ross, and a commendatory article, by seven of his head men.

This deputation met the Seminoles in their country, and held a talk with
Sam Jones, at the head of 300 Mikasatikies. Nothing seems to have been
finally settled, but Abiaca (Jones) said he would treat with the whites if they
would not use him ill. However, before this negotiation began, the Semi-
noles had met with the saddest blow of any, before or since ; eight more of
their principal men had fallen into the hands of Gen. Jesup, among whom
was Osceola himself This came about as follows:

About the 18 October, Osceola sent a message to Fort Peyton, that he '
41 2F


wished to have a talk with Gen. Hernandez, and stated tliat lie was but a few
miles 1'roin tlierc. He had not even ventured ilms lar, had not the snare been
laid by tin: eoinmander-in-ehiet' of the \\hites, who, it must ever hereafter
be allowed, displayed as much of the Indian in the matter, as Coacoochee had
done belbre, in the abduction of old .Micanopy and others, when the general
had them nearly ready lor Arkansas. For this act of Coacoochee, the gen-
eral had determined to be revenged; and he declared, "if he (Coacoochee]
had been a white man, he would have executed him the moment he came
into his hands." Now we have seen that he did, some time belbre this, liill
into his, or Gen. Hernande/'s hands, lie was the one sent out, or, as the
general sa; s, allowed to go out. at the request of old Philip, his lather. He it
was that brought about this overture of Osceola, which proved so 1'atal to him,
a in the sequel will be seen.

The Indians, having come as near Fort Peyton as they dared, sent word for
Gen. Jesup to come out and talk with them ; he returned them no answer,
but ordered Lieut. Peyton to get them into the fort if lie could, and then to
seize them. But hi this he could not succeed, and Gen. Hernandez was sent
out with 200 men, and commenced a parley with them. Gen. Jesup re-
mained in the vicinity of Fort Pevtou, and ordered the lieutenant of the fort

/ j

to proceed to the treaty-ground, to learn whether the Indians "answered Gen.
Hernandez's questions satisfactorily or not." He soon returned, and reported
that the answers were "evasive and unsatisfactory;" whereupon he ordered
Maj. Ashby to capture them, which, with the aid of Hernandez, was done,
without the discharge of a gun on either side. Seventy-five Indians were, by
this manoeuvre, taken with loaded rifles in their hands, disarmed, and con-
fined in the fort; and thus ended this "brilliant" affair, which took place on
the 21 October, 1837.

The names of the principal chiefs "grabbed" in this "haul," were, as the
interpreters gave them, YOSO-TA-HOLA (Osceola,) COAHAJO (Alligator,) Pow-
AS-HAJO, JOHN CAVALLO, who had been a hostage with Gen. Jesup, No-co-

Severe animadversions have been indulged in, upon the conduct of Gen.
Jesup, in thus seizing Osceola and his companions. We have not time nor
space for an examination of what has and may be urged for and against the

Online LibrarySamuel Gardner DrakeThe aboriginal races of North America; comprising biographical sketches of eminent individuals, and an historical account of the different tribes, from the first discovery of the continent to the present period ... and a copious analytical index → online text (page 84 of 131)