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Trade and plunder networks in the second Seminole War in Florida, 1835-1842
h [electronic resource] /
by Toni Carrier.
[Tampa, Fla.] :
b University of South Florida,
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2005.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
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Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 207 pages.
ABSTRACT: The Second Seminole War in Florida, 1835-1842, was a time of disruption and upheaval for all of those unfortunate enough to occupy the territory of Florida during the seven years of this protracted battle over Seminole removal to the West. Illicit trade was a major factor which enabled the Seminoles to resist removal for such an extended period. Illicit trade requires outside assistance. Documentary evidence suggests that such assistance was rendered by Spanish fishermen, English and American wreckers, slaves, free blacks, Native Americans and white American settlers. This thesis examines the evidence for plunder and illicit trade, and the possible outlets for various classes of plunder. Evidence is examined within a political economy theoretical framework. An archaeological research design is also developed to aid in identifying and recognizing war camps and war caches in the archaeological record.
Adviser: Brent Weisman.
x Applied Anthropology
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Trade and Plunder Networks in the Second Seminole War in Florida, 1835-1842 by Toni Carrier A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Brent R. Weisman, Ph.D. Robert H. Tykot, Ph.D. Trevor R. Purcell, Ph.D. Date of Approval: April 14, 2005 Keywords: Social Capital, Political Economy, Black Seminoles, Illicit Trade, Slaves, Ranchos, Wreckers, Slave Resistance, Free Blacks, Indian Wars, Indian Negroes, Maroons Copyright 2005, Toni Carrier
Dedication To my baby sister Heather, 1987-2001. You were my heart, which now has wings.
Acknowledgments I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the many people who mentored, guided, supported and otherwise put up with me throughout the preparation of this manuscript. To Dr. Brent R. Weisman, Dr. Trevor R. Purcell and Dr. Robert H. Tykot: thank you so much for the support and mentoring you provided throughout my graduate studies, and for your guidance as members of my committee. Dr. Roger Landers has been a generous mentor and an enormous influence throughout my studies as well. No thanks are sufficient to acknowledge Dr. Joe KnetschÂ’s acessability, candor, guidance and generosity in sharing his hard won research so freely. I thank you so much, Joe. I am deeply grateful to Dr. James Cusick and to Paul Eugen Camp for scouring their archival holdings for materials that address this specific research, and for their technical guidance on citing the unpublished materials among their holdings. I thank Chris Bell and Dr. Deborah Plant for their unwavering friendship and many kind favors. And, most important, I thank my husband Melvin for his support, and all of the sacrifices that he made as I wrote this manuscript through four major hurricanes, and filled the house with stacks of books and papers. Thank you, Melvin, so much.
i Table of Contents List of Figures ii Abstract iii Chapter One: Introduction 1 Theoretical Framework 2 Research Focus 3 Methodology 5 Types of Evidence 5 Chapter Two: Historical Background: Economic Exploitation of Florida 9 Spanish Trade and Industry 10 English Trade and Industry 12 Creek and Seminole Trade and Industry 16 Black Seminole Trade and Industry 23 Slave Trade and Industry 26 Free Black Trade and Industry 28 1812: The Beginning of Troubled Times 29 Impending American Control 35 Chapter Three: The American Presence and the Prelude to War 41 American Control of English Enterprise 42 American Control of Spanish Enterprise 44 American Control of Slave Enterprise 48 American Control of Free Black Enterprise 49 American Control of Seminoles and Black Seminoles 49 The Treaty of Moultrie Creek 50 The Treaty of PayneÂ’s Landing 57 Incidents of Plunder During the Prelude to War 64 Preparations for War 67 Chapter Four: Trade, Plunder and Acquisition of Goods During the War 72 Attacks Below St. Augustine 73 Winfield ScottÂ’s Command 86 Evidence of Trade and Plunder During ScottÂ’s Command 88 Richard Keith CallÂ’s Command 91 Thomas Sidney JesupÂ’s Command 99 Zachary TaylorÂ’s Command 115
ii Walker K. ArmisteadÂ’s Command 119 William Jenkins WorthÂ’s Command 127 Chapter Five: Predictive Model: The Archaeology of War Camps 138 Patterns of Plunder 138 Targeted Procurement 142 Timing of Plundering Raids 144 Subsistence Goods 144 Clothing 148 Guns, Powder and Ammunition 152 Content of Recovered War Caches 155 The Eastern Seaboard Below St. Augustine 156 The Cove of the Withlacoochee 157 The Southern Peninsula 158 Implications of Regional Variation 159 Predictive Model: The Contents of War Caches 159 Archaeological Landscapes and Second Seminole War Camps 161 Archaeological Model: Location of War Camps and Trading Sites 161 Challenges to the Discovery of War Camps 163 The Cultural Significance of Seminole War Camps 164 Chapter Six: The Political Economy of the Second Seminole War 165 Discussion 165 Resistance Before the War 169 Resistance During the War 170 Outside Aid from Slaves and Free Blacks 171 Outside Aid from the Spanish 173 Outside Aid from English or American Wreckers 175 Outside Aid from Whites 176 Reports of Intensive Activity as Evidence of Outside Aid 177 Cattle Driving and Jerked Beef Manufacturing 177 Possible Market for Fresh and Dried Beef 181 Activity in the Southwestern Cape 182 Activity in the Southeastern Cape 184 The Strategic Importance of Human Capital 187 Conclusion 189 References 190
iii List of Figures Figure 1. Wreckers at Work 15 Figure 2. Post 1816 Black Seminole Villages 32 Figure 3. Pease Creek Settlements 1812-1819 35 Figure 4. Location of Black CaesarÂ’s Cut 38 Figure 5. Andros Island Locations Referred to in Text 40 Figure 6. Seminole Indian Reservation Boundaries, 1829 55 Figure 7. Kaskaskia Point 143 Figure 8. DunnÂ’s Lake/Haw Creek Area 157 Figure 9. DeadmanÂ’s Bay and Surrounding Lands 180 Figure 10. Area Below Old Town 180 Figure 11. Cape Romaine 184 Figure 12. Cape Sable 184
iv Trade and Plunder Networks During the Second Seminole War in Florida, 1835-1842 Toni Carrier ABSTRACT The Second Seminole War in Florida, 1835-1842, was a time of disruption and upheaval for all of those unfortunate enough to occupy the territory of Florida during the seven years of this protracted battle over Seminole removal to the West. Illicit trade was a major factor which enabled the Seminoles to resist removal for such an extended period. Illicit trade requires outside assistance. Documentary evidence suggests that such assistance was rendered by Spanish fishermen, English and American wreckers, slaves, free blacks, Native Americans and white American settlers. This thesis examines the evidence for plunder and illicit trade, and the possible outlets for various classes of plunder. Evidence is examined within a political economy theoretical framework. An archaeological research design is also developed to aid in identifying and recognizing war camps and war caches in the archaeological record. Because the events and stresses of the Second Seminole War may have contributed to Seminole ethnogenesis, it is important to recognize and preserve Seminole and Black Seminole war camps and war caches.
1 Chapter One Introduction The Second Seminole War in Florida was a time of turmoil and upheaval for all of those unfortunate enough to inhabit the Territory of Florida during its seven year tenure from 1835 to 1842. At issue were the valuable lands occupied by the Seminole Indians when the United States gained control over Florida, and the Black Seminoles and runaway slaves who found a haven among the Seminoles. The effort to remove the Seminoles was part of the national policy of Native American removal which began with the Indian Removal Act of 1830 (Mahon 1985:72). The United States found its stiffest resistance to that policy in the Florida Seminoles, who determined to die upon the soil, rather than remove to the West. The result of that determination was the Second Seminole War, the costliest American Indian war ever fought by the United States, both in money spent and lives lost. The United States government spent some thirty million dollars and lost 1,466 men in its attempt to remove the Seminoles, and it never quite succeeded, for the war simply wound down and ended with a cease-fire rather than a treaty. At warÂ’s end, between 200 and 300 Seminoles remained unconquered (Mahon 1985:325-326; Weisman 1999:1). The Seminole victory was not without a cost, however. By the end of the seven year war, 4,420 Seminoles and Black Seminoles had been deported to Indian Territory, and several hundreds had lost their lives (Weisman 1999:57). When the Seminoles and their allies resolved to fight rather than leave their Florida homeland, they became fugitives in their own homes; sought after by U.S. military troops whose duty it was to force their migration to the West. The United States military clearly underestimated the SeminolesÂ’ numbers and their ability to resist removal. The war dragged on for seven years as the United States government sent a succession of their best and brightest military commanders to Florida in hopes of securing the SeminolesÂ’ surrender and migration West (Knetsch 2003; Mahon 1985).
2 A variety of circumstances contributed to the SeminolesÂ’ ability to continue their resistance for the seven years that the war dragged on. Among these were the SeminolesÂ’ superior knowledge of the geography and terrain of Florida, the United StatesÂ’ inability to provide adequate troops and supplies for prosecuting the war, the necessity of withdrawing United States military troops each summer because of sickness among the troops, and an array of cultural factors (Knetsch 2003; Mahon 1985, Sprague 1848). The current discussion will focus on those cultural factors and their effect on the SeminolesÂ’ ability to continue to resist removal for seven years. Researchers such as Porter (1943, 1945 and 1996), Knetsch (2003), Mahon (1985) and Boyd (1951) have suggested that the synergy of collective resistance among the diverse groups who shared the Florida soil with the Seminoles played an important role in strengthening the SeminolesÂ’ access to resources, and their ability to continue their struggle to remain in Florida. Recent advances in the field of political economy (Bullen and Onyx 1998; Cavaye 2004; Coleman 1988 and 1990; Cobb 1993) allow us to examine that collective resistance within a theoretical framework. Theoretical Framework The theoretical framework which guides the present discussion is an anthropological view of political economy. The classic concept of political economy has focused upon mercantilism, capitalism, labor and production as driving forces of culture change and stability. The anthropological view of political economy utilized in the current discussion follows Cobb (1993:43). CobbÂ’s view expands the classic definition to include two concepts. First is the global perspective that communities are not closed systems, but are part of complex, multilayered networks that have local, regional and interregional dimensions. Second, an anthropological approach to political economy considers historical context. Within this context groups are viewed as Â“integrated systems at an anthropological moment in time,Â” in which actors work within the Â“historical constraints and opportunities leading to the ethnographic present.Â” Within such multilayered networks, social capital plays a vital role in the exchange of resources and accompanying obligations of reciprocity.
3 There are many definitions of social capital (Cavaye 2004:2). The definitions relied upon in the current discussion are those of Coleman (1988, 1990) and Bullen and Onyx (1998). ColemanÂ’s definition of social capital emphasizes obligations, expectations and trust among community members, information exchange, norms and sanctions (Coleman 1988, 1990). Bullen and Onyx (1998) view the defining elements of social capital as participation in a community, proactivity in a social context, neighborhood connections, family and friend connections, work connections, tolerance of diversity, feelings of trust and value of life. A definition that integrates the above concepts views social capital as the system of obligations, expectations, norms and values that governs reciprocity and exchange among groups who share connections within a multilayered and diverse community. A view of social capital within an anthropological framework of political economy sees a community as composed of individuals and groups acting upon rights and obligations which are governed by shared community values and norms. These values and norms resulted from particular historical circumstances. Within communities, there are large reserves of latent social capital. During times of crisis, community members react by mobilizing resources to restore equilibrium and quality of life. Unlike other forms of capital, however; social capital actually increases as it is used, and decreases if it is not used, because the networks and relationships that create social capital are strengthened with use. In other words, the more community members rely upon social capital, the greater the bonds and obligations of reciprocity grow among community members (Cavaye 2004:4). Cavaye (2004:6) contends that social capital exists within a mosaic of relationships between individuals and larger groups. Within this framework, the actors who use or provide resources may be individuals, subgroups or entire communities. Research Focus This thesis will examine the social, cultural and economic context in which the Second Seminole War emerged, and will investigate the role that social capital played in strengthening the Seminole resistance.
4 The current discussion focuses upon the colonial community that was in place in Florida when the United States took possession of the territory. This thesis will argue that the shared social, political and economic norms and values of this community grew out of the interactions of individuals, subgroups and entire groups in an atmosphere that was largely free of governmental oversight, and was tolerant of diversity. These shared norms and values led to latent reserves of social capital within the Pre-Territorial community in Florida. When their lifeways were threatened by the demands of the United States government, Seminoles and Black Seminoles made use of social capital to create and maintain a supply line via trade and plunder networks. This supply line greatly contributed to their ability to resist removal throughout the protracted struggle of the Second Seminole War ( American State Papers 7:841; Buker 1997:111, 115, 135; Mahon 1985:261; NA RG94: Reels 120 and 202; Porter 1943:18, 402; Sprague 1848:383, 454, 481-482; Sturtevant 1953:49; White 1956:151). Although social capital was utilized within this context as a means of gaining material capital, it also served to mobilize nonmaterial aid as well. The relationships and networks that the Seminoles and Black Seminoles shared with other groups in PreTerritorial Florida facilitated information and intelligence gathering, and allowed widely scattered bands of Seminoles and Black Seminoles to maintain lines of communication which were vital to the war effort (Carter 1960:328-329; Moore 1965:370; NA RG94: Reel 125; Sprague 1848:454, 472). These communication networks also allowed the Seminoles to manipulate cultural differences between themselves and the Americans, in order to halt offensive operations and gain supplies (Mahon 1985:203; Sprague 1848:255-256, 258-260, 299). The Seminoles, Black Seminoles and those who aided them shared a knowledge of FloridaÂ’s terrain and natural resources that the United States military forces did not have. This shared knowledge, termed human capital by Bullen and Onyx (1998:2) not only allowed the Seminoles to conceal their women and children after the war made fugitives of all, but also allowed others to aid the Seminoles without detection (Buker 1997:11; Mahon 1985:197, 200; Sprague 1848:393-394, 481-482; Sturtevant 1953:49).
5 Methodology In order to understand the existing relationships between the Seminoles, Black Seminoles and other segments of FloridaÂ’s pre-Territorial population, we must examine the social, political and economic history of each segment, as well as the interactions that tied each segment to the broader community. With such an understanding, we might then examine the documentary and archaeological records for evidence of collective resistance and the mobilization of social, material, financial and human capital. This study will examine the documentary and archaeological evidence for the existence of trade and plunder networks during the Second Seminole War in Florida (1835-1842), and w ill attempt to identify patterns within that evidence that allow us to make inferences concerning the SeminolesÂ’ economic strategy during the war. Where evidence for the mobilization of capital does exist, I will attempt to identify the actors in the exchange, and whether they are individuals, subgroups or entire political, economic or social communities. Because inferences concerning the SeminolesÂ’ economic strategy during the war may aid in the archaeological recognition and preservation of Seminole war camps and other activity areas, an archaeological predictive model will also be developed for the locations and contents of Seminole war camps. Given the aggressive rate of real estate development in Florida, such a model may enable investigators to recognize and preserve Seminole War period camps by excavating sites slated for development, or preserving sites within known and protected cultural properties. Types of Evidence Both the documentary and archaeological records provide information concerning exchange and reciprocity during the Second Seminole War. Within the documentary accounts presented here, evidence of trade and plunder takes several forms. Reports of plundering raids or illicit trade activities constitute one line of evidence. Accounts of military scouting expeditions provide evidence of goods captured from prisoners or abandoned by groups fleeing from surprise attacks. The goods recovered by the military represent items intended for future trade and items procured through trade and plunder.
6 Perhaps the most revealing evidence of trade and plunder during the war comes from statements given by the participants themselves. Several authors have noted the curious cultural trait or successful coercive measures that led war captives to provide detailed information about the locations of war camps and clandestine operations that furthered the war effort (Knetsch 2003; Mahon 1985; Weisman 1989). These statements were often verified in the course of subsequent events, and quite often came from the family members of those implicated. CoacoocheeÂ’s mother, the wife of war chief King Philip (who coordinated many of the earliest raids upon Florida plantations), war chief ChakaikaÂ’s sister, and ChakaikaÂ’s wife made statements to their captors that are important to our understanding of Seminole war strategies. It seems that the Seminoles, too, were cognizant of this curious trait. In the later years of the war when close pursuit forced the Seminoles and Black Seminoles to separate and travel in small groups, those who met to discuss future war efforts adopted a policy of not discussing the locations of war camps, in order to avoid the effects of such Â“talkativenessÂ” (Covington 1993:102). Because trade, plunder and resistance during the war were carried on clandestinely, we have not been left with a large body of direct documentary evidence of such activities. Unconfirmed reports of illicit trade, unusual activities, and movements of people and goods constitute less reliable evidence, but treated as a whole, they can provide indirect evidence important to the current discussion. Within this abundance of unconfirmed reports and vague remembrances, certain patterns do emerge that allow us to make inferences concerning Seminole behavior during the war. The archaeological record of the SeminolesÂ’ and Black SeminolesÂ’ occupation of Florida, albeit sparse, does contain vital information on material culture before, and during and after, the Second Seminole War. Weisman (1989 and 1999) and others (Mahon and Weisman 1996; Weik 2002) have demonstrated that the archaeological assemblage within Seminole and Black Seminole sites varies from the pre-war period to the war period, and have argued that this variance is an expression of underlying cultural change which contributed to Seminole ethnogenesis. The change in material goods at Seminole and Black Seminole sites through time provides information important to the current discussion.
7 Long before the United States gained control of Florida in 1821, a social, political and economic community had developed there which was governed largely by custom and common law. Seminoles, Black Seminoles, free blacks, maroons, Spanish fishermen and Bahamian wreckers staked their claims on Florida soil, at least in part because of the relative freedom and economic opportunities that pre-Territorial Florida offered. Each group exploited those advantages to enhance their comfort, security, status and access to goods and services. A thriving trade and barter economy developed and grew among the diverse segments of the Florida colonial community. The Seminoles, Black Seminoles and maroons who became combatants against the United States in the Second Seminole War played important roles in that economy and many prospered (Arnade 1955; Knetsch 2003; Weik 2002). The custom and common law which governed the economic community of preTerritorial Florida grew out of the consensus of shared values and norms. These diverse groups who comprised the pre-Territorial Florida community went about their lives with little oversight from any of the colonial governments who nominally controlled the territory in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Thus, personal freedom to pursue economic goals was one shared value among these groups. Tolerance of diversity, which was essential to harmonious interactions among groups, was another shared value. Ties of friendship, goodwill and kinship joined group members to the larger community. These connections or relationships also came with obligations and expectations. One of those obligations was to assist other groups within the social, economic and political community, especially when others fell upon hard times, or experienced oppression. Each of the groups mentioned above experienced some sort of economic hardship or loss of personal freedom to pursue economic goals, as a result of the advent of American colonial rule. When the Seminoles and Black Seminoles who attempted to make their lives upon the reservation experienced hardship and hunger, other groups within the colonial community were obliged to help those who were in need. When the outbreak of war made fugitives of all the Seminoles and Black Seminoles in Florida, those with whom they were connected were obliged to assist where they could. I will argue that the fact
8 that members of each of these groups felt oppressed by the United States in one way or another contributed to a synergy of collective resistance. The evidence presented here suggests that at least some members of each of these groups provided aid to the Seminoles and their allies before, and during, the war. It is this synergy of resistance that the United States neither expected, nor was equipped to deal with. In an examination of clandestine supply networks during the Second Seminole War, we might question whether aid to the Seminoles was the result of group action or individual action. The documentary evidence presented here suggests that individuals acting on personal decisions accounted for most of the aid rendered to the Seminoles and Black Seminoles during the war. The exception would be the evidence that points to the possibility of aid from the Spanish colonial government.
9 Chapter Two Historical Background: Economic Exploitation of Florida Long before the United StatesÂ’ acquisition of Florida as a territory, the Florida peninsula was intensively exploited by Spanish and English nationals, Native Americans, Black Seminoles, maroons, slaves and free blacks in what became a de facto free economy. This was particularly true in the lower peninsula, where geographic isolation meant limited economic regulation by any colonial power (Arnade 1955:4). Although each change of flags brought about limited exploration of the southern peninsula for purposes of identifying its economic potential, little was done to control activities there. Until, and well into, FloridaÂ’s Territorial days, the interior of the southern peninsula was known only to those who intensively exploited the natural resources and economic opportunity to be found there (Arnade 1955:4; Buker 1997:14; Hammond 1973:356; Knetsch 2003:45, 75, 83; Mahon 1985:129). Among the English and Spanish who frequented the South Florida coast in smallburden vessels, the primary pursuits were fishing, wrecking, turtling, and trading. Some of the vessel masters that operated in Territorial waters were based in the United States and Florida. Many others resided in Cuba or the Bahamas. Although some maintained seasonal camps upon the mainland, others were based entirely upon their vessels and thus enjoyed a mobility that allowed economic diversification. As both Cuba and the Bahamas were a mere twenty four hours from FloridaÂ’s coastal waters by boat, many simply made targeted trips to Florida and returned to their homes in these colonies (Arnade 1955:49; Covington 1959:120). In order to understand the political and economic context of the Seminole Wars in Florida, we must understand the history of the economic exploitation of FloridaÂ’s resources, especially in the southern cape.
10 Spanish Trade and Industry At least as early as 1761, fishermen from the island of Cuba were catching fish and turtle in the waters off the west coast of Florida for sale in the markets of Havana. CubaÂ’s own coastal waters had been depleted of fish from heavy exploitation, and the fishermen had turned to the nearby Florida coast and its seemingly endless supply of grouper, drum, mullet, redfish and the highly-prized pompano (Covington 1959:115). EnglandÂ’s capture of Cuba from the Spanish in 1761 lifted trade restrictions imposed by the Spanish crown, and set the stage for an unprecedented and rapid growth of the Cuban economy (Hammond 1973:356). During this period of economic expansion, Spanish fishermen began to establish Â“ranchosÂ” on the many keys and coastal inlets of San Carlos Bay, Charlotte Harbor and Tampa Bay, for the purpose of catching the abundant fish, which were dried and salted, and transported to Cuban markets. SharkÂ’s liver oil fetched a high price on the Cuban market, as did the roe of drum and mullet, which the fishermen smoked and cured for transport to Cuba (Covington 1959:118). Manatee fat, when salted, was also sold as a delicacy (Covington 1959:123). The first ranchos were seasonally occupied from September through March, but during the Second Spanish Period (1783-1819), some year-round settlements were established, and by 1770, there were as many as thirty fishing smacks employed in the waters off FloridaÂ’s coast (Covington 1959:118). The ranchos were generally operated by crews who shared in the profits of the voyage, with each crew member supplying his share of the expense of the expedition. Vessel owners received a one-third share, with the remaining two thirds divided among the captain and crew. In the seasonal camps, the opening of the season usually saw the hands busy at preparing the nets, racks and other necessary implements, and constructing or repairing the huts that would house the crew. The crews brought little with them in the way of food provisions; generally relying upon fish, wild game and occasionally a few crops for their subsistence (Hammond 1973:357). As it was not customary to bring white women to the fisheries, the Spanish fishermen frequently intermarried with the Seminoles and Spanish Indians who inhabited the lower peninsula. Children born to such unions were often baptized and educated in Cuba, where they were treated as full and legitimate Spanish subjects (Covington 1959:120-121).
11 During the off season some of those employed at the ranchos lived in semipermanent camps on the mainland or neighboring islands, where they cultivated crops, hunted and fished. Others, having ties of cosanguinity with the Spanish Indians, dwelt among them in the months when the ranchos were not in operation (Hammond 1973:366). Documentary evidence suggests that at least a few decided to make that arrangement more permanent. A celebrated subchief named Chico, captured in the Everglades by Lieutenant Colonel William S. Harney in 1841, Â“had been connected with the Spanish fishing-Indians. Before the war, he had become quite a favorite among the settlers and wreckers on the southern coast.Â” His interactions with the whites benefited both parties: Â“being of an enquiring and ingenious mind, and in return for his instructions in the manufacture of various little articles, which were useful in his way of life, he used to fish and hunt for themÂ” (Judson 1979:24). When the English acquired Florida in 1763, the fisheries came to the attention of the British Admiralty. Surveyor Charles Gauld was dispatched in 1765 to visit the southwest coast to assess the economic potential of the area and to report on the activities of any inhabitants. On his first visit to the region, Gauld found ranchos on the Mullet Keys at the mouth of Tampa Bay. On a later voyage to Charlotte Harbor, he found Spanish fishermen installed on the islands about Boca Grande as well. In his report to the Crown, he described how the fish were cured by being split and salted, and pressed under a heavy weight. The cured fish were then piled into huts until they were loaded and taken to Cuba and the Spanish colonies of the West Indies, for consumption during the Lenten season (Hammond 1973:357). Prior to the AmericansÂ’ occupation of the peninsula, the various changes of FloridaÂ’s flags had meant little change in the lives of those at the fisheries (Arnade 1955:50; Covington 1993:178; Hammond 1973:356). The relatively remote location of the ranchos meant that the inhabitants were little involved in the daily affairs of the colonies. Most of the Spanish fishermen did not range far from the fisheries, and would have been little known on the peninsula had visitors not come looking for them. Some of those born upon the ranchos, it was said, had never ventured even ten miles inland. Because of their nonparticipation in the activities of the Florida peninsula, they unfortunately left little in
12 the way of a documentary trail that would allow us to learn more about their identities and lifestyle (Fuller 1972:38). English Trade and Industry Even more lucrative than the fishing industry on FloridaÂ’s coast was the wrecking business. The Florida Straits, which separate Cuba from the peninsula of Florida, were the commercial waterway for goods shipped to and from destinations along the Gulf of Mexico. Inbound ships carried provisions, general merchandise, luxury goods and supplies to the Gulf Ports. Cotton and other plantation produce were also shipped to markets in New Orleans and other ports along the Gulf. Outbound ships carried the productions of locations along the Gulf coasts of North America and the Yucutan Peninsula, bound for ports in North America and Europe. Dodd has estimated the value of the goods passing through the Florida Straits to be between three and four million dollars per year (Dodd 1944:173). Of this amount, an estimated $200,000 to $500,000 worth of goods were wrecked annually upon FloridaÂ’s shores and salvaged by wreckers (Dodd 1944:247). The complex system of coral reefs and barrier islands around FloridaÂ’s southern cape made navigation treacherous, even for the experienced. The passage between reefs, particularly off FloridaÂ’s east coast, was circuitous, requiring utmost vigilance on the part of navigators. Even those who successfully navigated the channel could find their vessel commandeered by the strong and unpredictable current within the eddys of the Gulf Stream. The frequent gales along that coast were almost certain to drive vessels ashore along the Florida reef. These conditions made it essential for navigators to use the generally inadequate lights and maps to navigate the reef, or to take on an experienced pilot for passage through the reef (Dodd 1944:174). The most treacherous of FloridaÂ’s reefs was Carysfort Reef, located north of Key Tavernier. The crews of the military vessels operating in the waters off the east coast had to undergo intensive training in navigating the Florida Reef system (Buker 1997:118), and more than one vessel was grounded and/or lost on Carysfort Reef during the war (Buker 1997:29, 71, 78, 87).
13 Key Tavernier, situated just south of the treacherous Carysfort Reef, was a favored rendezvous and command station for wreckers. Its location offered ready access to the vessels wrecked upon Carysfort, while nearby Upper Matecumbe key offered anchorage, fresh water and abundant marine and terrestrial wildlife. Wreckers also frequented Key Biscayne, Key Vacas and Key West (Dodd 1944:176). Those wreckers who settled on the mainland often established themselves at New River, just north of the reef (Dodd 1944:177). As did the Spanish fishermen, wreckers brought few subsistence goods with them on the journey. Vignoles observed that wreckers traditionally brought only Â“a few barrels of pork and biscuit Â… the crews being supposed able to subsist themselves by fishing and huntingÂ” (Vignoles 1823:125). Wrecking, like fishing, was a speculative industry. Vessel owners, captains and crew members contributed their share to each wrecking expedition, and received a portion of the proceeds according to a predetermined agreement. When wrecking expeditions were combined with fishing, crews occasionally received wages for fishing, and shares for wrecking. Because of the speculative nature of the business, Â“A wreck was to these people like a heavy rain after a long drought, manna from heaven. It meant replenishment of home and larderÂ” (Cheetham 1958:3). The first skipper to reach a wreck was the Â“Wrecking Captain,Â” and had the right to designate which of the other boats would participate in refloating or salvaging the wrecked vessel. In the case of larger wrecks, one boat was seldom sufficient to salvage the cargo, and the cry of Â“wreck on the reefÂ” was known to cause every able bodied wrecker to scramble to the scene. Strobel speaks of pots left upon the fire; horses left standing at their carriages in the street (Hammond 1963:253). Owners and captains often formed partnerships of long or short term duration which were considered enforceable contracts (Dodd 1944:190). Salvage was taken to a WreckerÂ’s Court for adjudication, where the percentage of the salvage proceeds granted to the salvers was decided. Salvage awards generally ranged from fifty to seventy five percent of the value of goods after colonial fees were deducted, although higher awards were occasionally granted (Dodd 1944:176). The vessel owner usually received one half of the awarded proceeds, with the remainder divided among
14 captain and crew (Dodd 1944:176). In addition, owners frequently operated wharves, warehouses and mercantile establishments, which added fees and commissions to their proceeds (Dodd 1944:188). The majority of the wreckers who operated along the Florida Reef before Territorial days were based in the English Bahamas. These New Providence wreckers had enjoyed a near monopoly over the wrecking industry since at least 1763, when they were said to have taken possession of the empire left by FloridaÂ’s Calusa Indians, who migrated to Cuba when England acquired Florida from Spain. By the time Florida became a United States territory, some fifty or sixty Bahamian vessels, employing more than 500 Bahamian crew members, were engaged in the pursuit of wrecking salvage on FloridaÂ’s eastern, and to a lesser extent, western coasts (Dodd 1944:174-176; Ellicott 1978:74). Before the United States gained control over the Florida territory, goods salvaged from wrecked vessels were taken to Nassau for adjudication in the British admiralty court. The colonial revenue of wrecks adjudicated in Nassau amounted to some $15,000 annually (Dodd 1944:174-176; Ellicott 1978:74). So lucrative was the wrecking industry that it was said to have provided nearly the entire subsistence of Nassau before the United States interceded. Forbes (1964:134) noted the importance of wrecking to the Bahama islanders and speculated, Â“Such is their dependence, that the whole population of those islands, said to be 4,000 whites and 11,000 blacks, must revert to Florida, unless Cuba should fall into the possession of Great Britain.Â” One of the first reports of the exploitation of FloridaÂ’s cape by Bahama Islanders came in Andrew EllicottÂ’s report of his 1799 survey of FloridaÂ’s coast. Ellicott reported that Â“nearly the whole coast of East Florida, as far as maritime possession gives a right, is under the dominion of the Bahama islands.Â” This was a shame, Ellicott stated, because the keys, Â“instead of any advantage being derived, either to the United States or his Catholic Majesty Â… serve as dens and hiding places for the privateers and pickaroons of the Bahama islandsÂ” (Ellicott 1978:81-82).
15 Figure 1: Wreckers at Work Source: Historical Association of South Florida Wrecking was not the only industry that attracted the masters of coasting vessels from New Providence. Several observers writing in the mid 1770s noted that in times past, vessel masters from the Bahamas had intensively exploited the abundant hardwoods on FloridaÂ’s southern peninsula. Â“Beside the general character of these keys, or islands, for the purposes of privateering and turtleing (sic), to which they have been long subservient, they were formerly well timbered with fustic, mahogany, lignum vitae, and brazilletto. But they have been cut and carried off by the wreckers of the Bahamas; who, since the wars have ceased to yield them their usual harvests, have depended for their support, in great measure, upon this encroachment on the Spanish territoryÂ” (Forbes 1964:107). Vignoles, writing in 1823, noted that Â“Key West formerly abounded with mastic, lignum vitae and mahogany, but the most valuable has long been cut down, and there is none now but very young timberÂ” (Vignoles 1823:119). Turtling, although profitable, apparently was not sufficient to provide an exclusive economic niche, and so was often combined with wrecking (Vignoles 1823:125). When American vessels began to pursue turtling, they, too, supplemented their activities by
16 wrecking (Vignoles 1823:125). Both live turtles and their eggs were taken. Â“EggersÂ” would follow the migrations of the turtles during the laying season for sale in distant markets (Audubon 1946:62). Thus, while some of the group collectively referred to as Â“the wreckersÂ” specialized in only that industry, others were highly diversified and opportunistic in their economic pursuits. Especially as American vessels joined in these pursuits and competition increased, fishing, turtling, wrecking and trading were exploited in various combinations. The seasonal nature of the fishing industry allowed the captain and crew of the coasting vessels to pursue other industries for the remainder of the year (Holmes 1965:106). Business dealings were conducted at the individual level, thus what goods and services the wreckers could supply depended entirely upon whom you asked. At any given moment, one might find a Â“wreckerÂ” engaged in fishing, turtling, trading, or timber cutting (Arnade 1955; Dodd 1944; Ellicott 1978). When Folch visited the southern cape in 1793, he found Bahamian vessel masters fishing, cutting wood and trading with the Native Americans (Holmes 1965:106). Wreckers served as pilots to navigate boats and as guides for expeditions, and served the military in these capacities during the war (Knetsch 2003:73). The military also traded with this Â“useful class of menÂ” (Carter 1960:651). In 1838, Jesup wrote to Captain L. B. Webster, stationed at the new Fort Dallas, that in order to keep the soldiers there comfortable, the latter should Â“send to the Quartermaster at St. Augustine for mosquito bars unless you can purchase them from the wreckersÂ” (Shappee 1961:25). Creek and Seminole Trade and Industry The history of the Seminole as an ethnically distinct people begins with the Creek, Yuchi, Choctaw and related groups who inhabited present-day Georgia and Alabama in the early 1700s. Wright (1986) has referred to these groups as Muscogulges. The Muscogulges, who were linguistically diverse, had common cultural roots in prehistoric Mississippian societies of southeastern North America (Knetsch 2003:9-11; Mahon 1985:6; Swanton 1922:216). In Georgia and Alabama the Muscogulges were composed of Creek, Yuchi, Choctaw and other bands, but came to be collectively known to the Europeans as Creeks. The
17 whites further divided these populations into Upper and Lower Creeks. The Upper Creeks inhabited the valleys of the Alabama, Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers, while the Lower Creeks occupied the lower Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers (Knetsch 2003:11; Mahon 1985:8). The Creek IndiansÂ’ nearest colonial neighbors were the British, who colonized the Carolina coast, and, by 1670, the Georgia frontier. Here the Creeks would occupy a pivotal position in the growing frontier economy. Deerskins were in high demand in Europe, where they were used to manufacture clothing, saddles and other goods. The Creeks, who were skilled hunters, could trade deerskins for iron tools, cooking utensils, beads, cloth, guns, ammunition and other items of European manufacture. The Creeks were soon Â“dazzled by superfluities,Â” as one observer noted, and would become skilled capitalists as they grew ever more enmeshed in the expanding colonial economy (Bartram 1928:184; Mahon and Weisman 1996:185). Increased consumption of European trade goods and the extension of credit eventually transformed the Creeks into commercial hunters who spent many months away from home each year, and sometimes ranged as far as 600 miles in the quest for game. Whites, Native Americans and Africans all participated in the deerskin trade that encompassed thousands of miles of the North American frontier (Wright 1986:42). In colonial North America, trade and political alliance went hand in hand. Native American political alliance was often purchased with abundant and regularly distributed gifts, and promises of advantageous trade. In return, Native Americans were expected to provide military support and allegiance. The Southeast in particular was a contested area for Spain, England and France, all of whom hoped to control the strategic and lucrative shipping routes in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. All three of these colonial powers recognized the value of Native Americans as trading partners, political allies and military border guards (Knetsch 2003:16; Mahon and Weisman 1996:186). As diplomatic relationships between colonial powers grew ever more delicate, these powers also realized the value of Native Americans as operatives and pawns in the covert intrigue of colonial rivalry. This unfortunate circumstance would prove to be the undoing of many Native American groups, and would reduce others such as the Creeks to
18 factionalism and internal strife (Knetsch 2003:16; Weisman 1999:26). The Creeks, of course, were not simply the passive recipients of such culture change, as they have occasionally been portrayed. They were in fact active participants in, and occasionally the agents of, the course of events that determined colonial rule of the Florida territory. Southeastern Native Americans were shrewd negotiators who well understood the importance that colonial authorities placed upon Native American alliance. Such negotiations often involved playing one colonial rival against another in order to secure better trade terms (Mahon 1985:3; Riordan 1996:27-31; Weisman 1999:29). During the latter years of the First Spanish Period (before 1763) the Spanish Crown had a tenuous hold on her La Florida colony, and could never invest the population, monetary or military resources needed to establish and defend a viable colony. Instead, the Crown relied upon a system of mission settlements designed to Christianize the native inhabitants and create a population buffer along the borders of the Spanish frontier (Mahon 1985:3; Mahon and Weisman 1996:186). The arrival of European explorers and conquistadors in the mid sixteenth century marked the beginning of a drastic population decline that characterized European contact and colonialism in North America. FloridaÂ’s native populations, who came into extensive contact with early explorers and Spanish colonials, were severely impacted by the European presence and were nearly extinct by the year 1700. Interior groups such as the Creeks, who were subject to less European contact, were not as severely affected as FloridaÂ’s native populations. The drastic decline in FloridaÂ’s native populations weakened the Spanish Mission chain and led to its ultimate destruction (Mahon and Weisman 1996:184-186). The destruction of the missions greatly weakened the ability of the Spanish to defend their hold on the La Florida colony. In an effort to reestablish a Native American population in Florida, the Spanish government sent Lieutenant Diego Pena among the Creeks in the years 1716-18, to secure an alliance and urge relocation into the abandoned areas once occupied by the Spanish mission chain. In return, the Spanish would provide protection and a lucrative trade. Some of those who accepted the Spanish offer would later become known as the Florida Seminole (Covington 1993:10; Mahon and Weisman 1996:186). The Spanish government, however, was ill-equipped financially to encourage and support native migrations into Florida. This was apparent to Yuchi leader Chiscalachisle,
19 who visited the recently-established Fort San Marcos de Apalache near present-day St. Marks, at Spanish invitation. When he was offered no gifts and was poorly fed, Chiscalachisle wisely decided that his townspeople were better situated in southern Georgia. After the failure of this Spanish/Creek courtship, only a few bands of Yamassees and some Apalachee groups already in Pensacola located themselves near the fort. Other Yamassees filtered into central Florida in following years (Covington 1993:10). Despite these difficulties, a gradual repeopling of the Spanish mission frontier began to take place. The old Apalachee area around present-day Tallahassee and St. Marks, the rich agricultural and pastoral lands about the Alachua Savanna, and the upland hammocks of present-day Hernando County saw the establishment of permanent settlements during the mid 1700s (Mahon and Weisman 1996:186). Early migrations seem to reflect a purposeful resettling of Spanish Old Fields and mission sites where resources were abundant (Mahon 1985:6; Weisman 1999:12-13). Creek and Seminole groups, as had native inhabitants before them, hunted intensively in Florida, particularly in the lower peninsula. Early maps of Florida show a hunting path that extended from Tampa Bay to Jupiter Inlet. Bears could also be taken in the scrub lands below the St. Johns River, where they gathered seasonally to feed upon acorns. The Indians constructed trails, knowing that a bear, by habit, would Â“stop when he comes to a path, and reconnoiter it before he crossesÂ” (Brown 1991:4; Simmons 1822:34). BearÂ’s oil, made from rendering and clarifying bear fat, was a favored condiment for dipping meats, and fetched a high price in trade (Bartam 1928:194). The eastern coast of the southern cape made an especially vital contribution to Seminole subsistence and economy. Griffin (2003:166) notes that while on seasonal hunting trips, groups visited the abandoned Turnbull plantation at New Smyrna to harvest oranges, using wood from the house ruins to fuel their campfires. Huckleberries were seasonally abundant on the New River prairies (West 1985:7). Coontie grew wild in abundance about New River and Cape Florida and made a substantial contribution to the subsistence of the Seminoles and their allies (Mahon 1985:36). Green turtles could be taken in abundance near and south of Jupiter Inlet, across the southern cape from Cape Sable to Cape Florida, and around the Indian and Halifax rivers
20 (Audubon 1946:64; Vignoles 1823:127). In the late spring and early summer, loggerhead turtles came ashore in large numbers to lay their eggs. The eggs attracted bears that fed upon them and visited the laying grounds in their yearly subsistence cycle. The Native Americans harvested eggs, the bears who fed on them, and the turtles themselves (Audubon 1946:64; Forbes 1964:95). The wild turkey and other game animals that abounded in the southern cape, along with marine resources, subsisted the Seminoles and their allies on hunting trips to procure the peltry that formed the basis of their familiesÂ’ yearly income. Native groups also harvested the abundant manatee on both coasts of the lower peninsula, for their own consumption and for sale to the whites (Covington 1993:149). By the year 1770, three major Seminole villages: Talahasochte, Cuscow illa and Palatka (the latter located on the west bank of the St. Johns River), Â“whose foundings quite literally reflect Indian moves in the direction of enterprise,Â” were founded (Weisman 1989:65). During this period, Seminole society was experiencing a major reordering of its cultural base. The development of a more scattered settlement pattern and the pursuit of different financial aims meant that the Florida villages maintained less and less contact with each other, either political or ritual. According to Weisman (1996:187-189), British government officials were increasingly aware of the SeminoleÂ’s distancing themselves from the former Creek confederacy, and soon also realized that official dealings with the Seminoles meant dealing with villages on a one-to-one basis. It was during this period that the SeminolesÂ’ exploitation of the economic system reached its zenith. The cultural correlates of this economic shift were the growing importance of individual families as distinct from others of the broader community (Weisman 1989:59). The rapid Seminole radiation gave rise to settlements in the present-day Big Hammock as early as 1767, whose principal town was Chocachatti (variously rendered), settled by emigrants from the Creek town of Eufala. By 1774 Florida was home to nine important Seminole villages (Weisman 1989:68). By the time naturalist William Bartram visited the town of Talahasochte in 1773, the Seminoles at that settlement had firmly established trade relations with Cuba and, to a
21 lesser extent, the Bahamas. According to Bartram, this trade was carried out by means of large sea-going canoes; some of which could accommodate as many as thirty passengers (Bartram 1928:193). The Seminoles were also visited by trading vessels: Â“The Spaniards of Cuba likewise trade here or at St. MarkÂ’s, and other sea ports on the west coast of the isthmus, in small sloops Â…Â” (Bartram 1928:194). The English trader who accompanied Bartram on his visit informed him that when his supply of trade items ran low, he could replenish his stock from the Spanish trading vessels Â“on more advantageous terms than he could purchase at Indian stores either in Georgia or St. AugustineÂ” (Bartram 1928:194). The Suwannee River would certainly admit small burden schooners at its mouth, and as we shall see, reports of small burden schooners entering FloridaÂ’s rivers for purposes of illicit trade would surface during the Second Seminole War. Bartram indicates that the Seminoles at Talahasochte also traded with their coastal neighbors in Florida, both near and far: Â“In these canoes they descend the river on trading and hunting expeditions to the sea-coast, neighboring islands and keys, quite to the point of Florida, and sometimes cross the gulph, extending their navigations to the Bahama islands and even to Cuba Â…Â” (Bartram 1928:193). As a result of the Revolutionary War the English lost both Florida and the thirteen northeastern colonies and were forced to abandon Florida and central North America. Spain regained Florida in the political maneuverings that followed. Many of the English who left Florida at this time migrated to the Bahamas (Johnson 1989:33). When the English began removing colonists in Georgia and South Carolina in preparation to transfer those areas to Spain, Seminole leaders met with Governor Patrick Tonyn to ask the continued support of their friends the English. Because the Spanish could not supply the goods necessary to maintain satisfactory relations with the Seminoles, Panton, Leslie and Company were granted a license to continue their trade in Spanish Florida (Covington 1993:19; Mahon and Weisman 1996:189). As did the English and Spanish, FloridaÂ’s Seminole exploited a variety of resources available on its peninsula. Long before the Nassau wreckers laid claim to the reefs along the southern cape, FloridaÂ’s native inhabitants engaged in wrecking. Milanich (1995:41) has suggested that the native Calusa Indians may have extended their hegemony throughout the lower peninsula in part by gaining wealth through proceeds from
22 shipwrecks. That the later Creeks and Seminoles engaged in wrecking is implied by ForbesÂ’ statement that Â“It is confidently asserted that the Indians, in coming from the eastern coast to wreck, used to return by paths winding with the CapeÂ” (Forbes 1964:105). During the war, more than one fortuitous salvage would allow the Seminoles to replenish their stores and continue to resist removal (Buker 1997:72-79; Mahon 1985:205). In addition to extracting resources for their own use, Creeks and Seminoles traded FloridaÂ’s productions with the Spanish and English groups who frequented FloridaÂ’s coast, and the settlers who bartered for both goods and labor (Covington 1993:27; Williams 1962:242). The items which the Native Americans provided in trade included forest productions, coastal productions and items of their own manufacture. Forest productions such as bees wax, honey, skins and bearÂ’s oil were plentiful throughout the Florida peninsula. The coastal productions most valuable to the trade included ambergris and manatee and sea otter fat (highly prized by the Spaniards for greasing the bottoms of ships) and dried fish. The Seminoles also manufactured grass mats and captured and sold wild birds in willow cages. Some were self employed as hunters and catered to the small coasting vessels along the shores of the southern cape (Covington 1959:116; Covington 1993:27). The Seminoles were accustomed to trading with plantation owners as well. The plantations relied upon the Seminoles for fresh game meats, as well as forest productions such as honey and bearÂ’s oil, for which they traded plantation produce, powder, lead and other trade goods (Strickland 1963:212). Some plantation owners apparently maintained a stock of trade goods similar to those kept by the trading posts. Documentary evidence suggests that, rather than paying for items purchased of the Seminoles with specie that would then need to be exchanged at regional trading areas such as St. Augustine, many plantation owners paid the Native Americans in trade goods. At Damietta plantation, the Ormond family purchased wild turkeys, venison, coontie, honey and other items from the Seminoles, and paid with cloth, blankets, homespun, powder, ammunition and beads (Strickland 1963:212). The inclusion of beads in the items traded particularly suggests that plantation owners deliberately stocked goods that were intended for trade with the Seminoles.
23 Spanish fishermen were not the only Spanish nationals who traded on FloridaÂ’s west coast. Spanish trading vessels had been visiting coastal inlets along FloridaÂ’s western shore since at least the mid 1700s. Spanish trading vessels continued to visit the earliest Seminole settlements even after the British gained control of Florida in 1763. Bartram (1928:194) noted their presence in 1773, on a visit to Talahasochte: Â“The Spanish likewise trade here or at St. MarkÂ’s, and other seaports on the west coast of the isthmus.Â” Black Seminole Trade and Industry As early as 1687, the Spanish government had unofficially offered asylum to British slaves, in an attempt to break BritainÂ’s economic stronghold in the borderlands around Spanish Florida. In 1693 that asylum was made official when the Spanish crown offered limited freedom to any slave escaping to Spanish Florida who would accept Catholicism. When the English established the border colony of Georgia in 1733, the Spanish Crown made it known once again that runaways would find freedom in Spanish Florida, in return for Catholic conversion and a term of four years in service to the crown (Riordan 1996:25). Incoming freedom seekers were placed into service at the Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose military fort north of St. Augustine. Fort Mose remained a thriving military outpost until British colonists led by James Oglethorpe attacked and destroyed the fort, sending its inhabitants to the refuge of St. Augustine. Florida was ceded to the English in 1763 and most of the inhabitants migrated to Cuba with the evacuating Spanish (Riordan 1996:31-32; Garvin 1967:2-3). Some may also have chosen to remain and join the maroons who had already found shelter among FloridaÂ’s Native Americans. Governor John Moultrie wrote to the English Board of Trade in 1771 that Â“It has been a practice for a good while past, for negroes to run away from their Masters, and get into the Indian towns, from whence it proved very difficult to get them back.Â” When British government officials pressured the Seminoles to return the runaway slaves, they replied that they had merely given hungry people food, and invited the slaveholders to catch the runaways themselves (Schafer 2001:96). One frustration of whites who purchased slaves from the Seminoles was that those slaves often fled and returned to the Seminole nation, where they once again received protection (Klos 1989:64).
24 By the time of the Revolutionary War, Florida had been a haven for runaway slaves for over seventy years. The outbreak of hostilities of the Revolution afforded slaves yet another opportunity to give their masters the slip, and they did so in great numbers. Many of these freedom seekers found shelter among the Seminoles. Thus, the years after 1687 saw a steady influx of runaway blacks to Florida and the rise of established settlements. At the start of the Revolutionary War, there were already established maroon villages near major Seminole towns with an estimated 430 inhabitants. At the end of the Revolution, hundreds of East Florida plantation slaves were unaccounted for; some presumably having fled to the Seminoles (Riordan 1996:36-37). By 1821, Black Seminoles had established several more villages in the area between the Apalachicola River and Tampa Bay (Mahon and Weisman 1996:190). Porter (1996:5) states that during British rule, government officials had presented the Lower Creek leaders with Â“KingÂ’s giftsÂ” of slaves in return for service to the crown. Some Seminole chiefs also began to buy slaves at this time; noting the prestige that both the Spanish and English attached to slave ownership. They frequently paid in cattle for such purchases (Simmons 1822:75). By the 1790s, wealth was increasingly determined by slave ownership. By 1793, Alachua leader King Payne, nephew of the Alachua immigrant Cowkeeper, was reported to have owned twenty slaves (Weisman 2000:141). The SeminolesÂ’ concept of slavery differed from that of the whites. The Seminoles and their Creek forebears had indeed taken slaves before blacks came among them in appreciable numbers, but these were frequently Native American war captives, who were expected to fill the labor demands of warriors lost in battles. Some were eventually adopted into the tribe, especially if they intermarried with their new captors, which was often encouraged (Covington 1993:14). Even though early Seminole settlers in Florida are said to have owned Â“a considerable number of Yamassee slavesÂ” (Covington 1993:13), these were generally well treated, and children born to Seminole Indians and Yamassee captives were not considered slaves (Covington 1993:14). Thus, Seminole society had no cultural antecedent of chattel slavery to govern their relations with their new Â“possessions.Â” When the new wave of runaway slaves began to pour into Florida, the Seminoles provided them with tools for building houses and planting crops. Black Seminoles lived
25 apart from their masters in a sort of vassalage, enjoyed great personal freedom, owned property and livestock, and were indebted to their Â“mastersÂ” only for a share of their yearly productions, and for military allegiance. Inhabitants of each town were formally linked by obligations to the Seminole village of their master. These blacks, an Indian agent reported, also had Â“horses, cows and hogs, with which the Indian owner never presumed to meddleÂ” (Klos 1989:59). They were of course required to provide the Seminoles with a portion of the slaughter, but retained for themselves all of their surplus productions from animal husbandry (Porter 1996:5). The Seminoles clearly thought of their slaves as property, but here the resemblance to the peculiar institution ended (Sprague 1848:34, 50-51, 54-55; Weisman 1999:44). What did the Black Seminoles provide to their protectors and benefactors, aside from tribute? According to Porter, Â“It was a mutually beneficial relationship. The Â‘ownerÂ’ provided protection, and the Â‘slaveÂ’ paid a modest amount in return. This arrangement was, obviously, quite different from traditional plantation bondageÂ” (Porter 1996:5). In northeastern Florida, Black Seminoles traded with plantation settlers, and also traded in the city of St. Augustine (Porter 1943:390). The first Black Seminoles were a culturally diverse group of individuals who drew together for a common purpose; to pursue the relative freedom of life among Native Americans over enslavement to the whites. Some had been born in Africa and were first generation former slaves, while others were born into plantation slavery. Some were skilled craftpersons; having been sailors, carpenters, cooks, bakers, shoemakers and other technicians in servitude (Landers 1984:309). As time passed, others were born among the Seminole or other Indian nations, and followed their customs from birth. Wright describes their manner of dress: Â“They dressed like nativesÂ—in stroud cloth flaps, moccasins; leggings, linen or cotton shirts, kneelength coats, and cloth turbans often adorned with ostrich feathersÂ” (Wright 1986:74). Two such Black Seminoles attached to King Hijo acted as guides for Dr. W. H. Simmons in 1823, who stated, Â“These people, I was told, have never been far from their native settlement, and appeared as shy and ignorant as savagesÂ” (Simmons 1822:47). Thus diverse life experiences and cultural traditions contributed to the amalgam that was Black Seminole society.
26 Black Seminoles in Middle Florida hired their services as interpreters and guides, labored at trading posts, and sold and bartered agricultural produce, livestock and other goods with Black Seminole, Native American, white and black neighbors and travelers (Landers 1996:177; Simmons 1822:32, 41, 45, 48; Weik 2002). In the southern peninsula, where documentation is still sparse, Black Seminoles likely carried on the economic pursuits of their northern brethren, in addition to hiring their labor and interpreting skills to the Spanish fishermen and English and American wreckers (Brown 1991:8; Williams 1962:242, 298). Slave Trade and Industry The degree to which slaves participated in the frontier Florida economy varied regionally. Much of this variation can be attributed to the lasting effects of Spanish rule in St. Augustine and the Mosquitoes/Halifax plantation corridor to the south, as opposed to the primarily American-developed Middle Florida plantation belt. Brown (1995:289-292) has demonstrated that in the area east of the St. Johns River, FloridaÂ’s slave and free black policy, at least as it was carried out, was different from that of the Southern United States. Within this region, both policy and population were holdovers from Spanish colonial rule. Although racial prejudice existed in Spanish society, Spanish code and custom offered slaves protections that were not generally found in AmericaÂ’s Old South. Spanish slaves could purchase their freedom, testify in court, and could file complaints if treated cruelly by their masters (Brown 1995: 289292). On the plantations below St. Augustine, work was primarily organized on the task system, in which slaves were assigned daily work tasks. Once these tasks were completed, the slave was free to pursue personal tasks such as tending a garden plot, hunting or fishing. This is not to say that the task system created genuine and reliable leisure time, as assigned tasks could consume most of the day. The task system did allow for slaves to work together to complete tasks, or for one slave to work on behalf of another, which no doubt encouraged labor bartering among the slaves that resembled Â“shift tradingÂ” in current labor markets (Brown 1995: 289-292; Rivers 2000:21, 68-69). The task system also offered plantation slaves certain limited freedoms not found
27 elsewhere in the slaveholding south. Although slave codes prohibited slaves from owning property or engaging in commerce of any kind, slaves nonetheless did both, frequently with the knowledge and consent of slaveholders. Thompson (1993:331) states that Â“Sometimes masters allowed slaves to keep a horse, a few pigs, or even a boat, but only at the ownerÂ’s discretion.Â” Because slaves below St. Augustine were permitted to hunt and fish, they were allowed to carry firearms and keep small boats; practices that alarmed the incoming American government and citizenry (Brown 1995:301-304, 307; Rivers 2000:81-82). Laws denied slaves the right to hire out their labor, but such restrictions were often ignored by slaveholders in the area around St. Augustine. Some plantation slaves were skilled artisans whose services were in high demand, especially within the city itself. As evidence that slaves did hire out their labor, we need only look to documented complaints from free blacks seeking enforcements of slave labor restrictions, as plantation slaves undercut their prices (Thompson 1993:332). A Florida legislator agreed and argued that hiring out Â“gives them possession of money and affords them a means of debauchery and cannot but lead to the ultimate ruin of the slave, if not more disastrous consequences for the communityÂ” (Thompson 1993:332). Despite such objections and in defiance of existing slave codes, slaveholders in eastern Florida were known to grant Â“leaves of absenceÂ” for enslaved persons to pursue economic activities (Brown 1995:293). Certain other practices allowed Florida slaves a small degree of personal mobility and opportunities for social interaction. Sundays and holidays in particular offered such opportunities. Sundays were often made slack days on the plantations, to allow slaves to attend religious services, but, as Brown has demonstrated, slaves frequently took advantage of this free time to maximize economic pursuits. Holidays, especially the week between Christmas and the New Year, were particular times of leisure for slaves, as were the days immediately following the hectic sugar making season (Brown 1995:294-295; Griffin 2003:184). Slaves often had family ties to the Black Seminole and free black communities. Louis Pacheco, a slave attached to Fort Brooke, was married to a free black (Porter 1943:391). The Seminoles themselves intermarried with plantation slaves, although
28 plantation families were generally outside of the Seminole clan and inheritance structure (Wright 1986:96). Because of the family ties that Florida slaves had with those outside of the slave community, slaves were at least occasionally allowed to leave their farms, plantations or businesses (Brown 1995:294; Griffin 2003:184). Ties with Seminole, Black Seminole and free black society no doubt led to trade and barter with those communities as well. In contrast to the area east of the St. Johns River, most of the plantations that sprang up in Middle Florida during Territorial days were established by Americans from slaveholding states. Many brought slaves with them who had never known any other control except that of the Americans. Among slaveholders in the Old South, slave codes were more strictly enforced. Slave property ownership, economic participation and personal freedom were much more limited among Middle Florida plantations. Although some Middle Florida plantations practiced the task system, most utilized the gang labor system under the supervision of overseers and drivers (Rivers 2000:21). Free Black Trade and Industry Spanish FloridaÂ’s long history of treating runaway slaves as free individuals had swelled the ranks of free blacks within the colony. Once recognized as free by the Spanish authorities, escaped slaves could and did greatly improve their economic and social standing. Those who served as soldiers and sailors for the Spanish Crown were valued for their service, although they were still segregated and therefore limited in upward mobility (Garvin 1967:1-2; Landers 1996:168, 171 and 1984:303; Rivers 2000:3). Among the 600 to 800 free blacks who remained in East Florida after the cession, most were clustered in the urban communities of St. Augustine and Pensacola, where opportunities to market skilled and unskilled labor had been plentiful. Many were of mixed parentage. As Spanish society accepted racial intermarriage, free mulatto individuals were simply treated as legitimate members of the stratified Spanish society. Free blacks could own property, bear arms, testify in court, enter into business contracts and move about freely (Brown 1995:290-291; Garvin 1967:1-3). This was in marked contrast to the status of mixed blood children in American society, where a childÂ’s slave
29 or free status followed that of the mother. A child born of a free white father and an enslaved black or mulatto mother was considered a slave by American law (Siebert 1932:144). In Spanish Florida, free-born blacks or those who purchased their freedom worked as craftspeople, laborers and middlemen in trade. Skilled free blacks worked as carpenters, coopers, midwives, seamstresses, weavers, blacksmiths and other skilled practitioners (Garvin 1967:13; Landers 1996:178 and 1999:87; Siebert 1932:157). Those who were bilingual or multilingual often found employment as interpreters for trading houses, itinerant traders, and the owners of small coastal trading vessels (Landers 1996:177). Bilingual or multilingual free blacks also worked for the Spanish fishermen and English wreckers on FloridaÂ’s southern peninsula and carried on trade as well (Brown 1990:5-6; Landers 1996:167; Laumer 1995:60; Williams 1962:242, 298, 291-293). 1812: The Beginning of Troubled Times During what came to be known as the Patriot War of 1812, American settlers in Spanish Florida attempted to appropriate the already weakened Spanish governmentÂ’s claim to East Florida, in order to annex the territory to the United States. On September 27, 1812 volunteers from Georgia led by Colonel Daniel Newnan fought the Seminoles and Black Seminoles under King Payne near present-day Gainesville. The Seminoles and Black Seminoles stood their ground, but not without losses. The Black Seminole settlements attached to leaders Bowlegs and Payne were broken up. After the Patriot forces retreated, King Payne died from wounds received in the battle (Mahon and Weisman 1996:191). After the incursions of the Patriot War broke up Seminole and Black Seminole settlements in the Alachua area, some of the Black Seminoles separated from their brethren in Middle Florida and migrated south to the area around Pease Creek (presentday Peace River) and Charlotte Harbor. A good number of Creek and Seminole refugees accompanied them. Those who remained, associated with Bowlegs, relocated from Alachua to Suwannee Old Town, settling on the west side of the Suwannee River below Old Town (Brown 1991:11-14; Covington 1993:33, 47). The principal town on the Suwannee was NeroÂ’s Town. Covington (1993:45) describes Nero as a mulatto and a
30 powerful civil and military leader among the local Black Seminoles. Nearby were several related Black Seminole villages which brought the total population of area to between 300 and 400 Black Seminoles. The events that began in 1812 with the Patriot War no doubt strengthened the alliance of the Seminoles and Black Seminoles as they worked together to repel a common foe. Those Black Seminoles who remained in Middle Florida after the turbulent events of 1812 reestablished themselves in new and more remote locations; it being their custom not to remain in or even revisit areas which held melancholy remembrances (Simmons 1822:46-47). A series of interrelated though somewhat dispersed settlements sprang up in the Big Swamp, the Cove of the Withlacoochee River, and in the central peninsula in present-day Sumter County (Covington 1993:48; Simmons 1822:84). The Big Swamp and the Cove of the Withlacoochee offered seclusion to the Black Seminole groups who settled there. Both were situated in a series of cypress swamps and wetlands, interspersed with cypress islands and upland hammocks, near where the Withlacoocohee River empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The recesses of the Big Swamp and the Withlacoochee Cove were known only to the Seminoles, the Black Seminoles and their invited guests, such as allies and trading partners (Knetsch 2003:83-84; Simmons 1822:41). Within the Cove of the Withlacoochee, a Black Seminole village occupied by slaves of Seminole chief Sitarkey, of the Alachua band, established a thriving village by at least 1820. The area around SitarkeyÂ’s Village contained some of the richest soils in Florida. Here, on the banks of the Withlacoochee River, Black Seminoles cultivated corn, rice, sugarcane, beans, squash and other subsistence crops, and also raised cattle, hogs, horses and other livestock. The village consisted of board houses constructed around a square ground. Here was a thriving community of long duration. Because of its remoteness, SitarkeyÂ’s Village remained fairly unmolested throughout the Second Seminole War (Covington 1993:81; Weisman 1989:103). In the area of the Alachua savannah around King PayneÂ’s old community, a cluster of Black Seminole settlements sprang up after 1813 which were connected via a system of trails used by travelers of Middle FloridaÂ’s frontier. Here, the Black Seminole inhabitants came into contact with white settlers, free and enslaved blacks, Seminoles and
31 other Black Seminoles. The central location of these villages allowed the Black Seminoles to participate in the growing frontier economy by hiring their services as frontier guides and interpreters (Covington 1993:33; Garvin 1967:3; Weik 2002). The largest of these settlements was King HeijaÂ’s (Heijo, Hijo, Higo) Town, described as lying Â“south of Alachua, and late Payne fields in AlachuaÂ” (Carter 1956:464). Another central Florida Black Seminole village established after 1813 was the town of Pelaklakaha, also known as AbrahamÂ’s Old Town. Located in present-day Sumter County, the town was the home of Black Seminoles associated with Micanopy, a nephew of Cowkeeper and hereditary leader of the Seminole. MicanopyÂ’s main settlement was at the town of Okihumpky, six miles north of Pelaklakaha, but he apparently preferred to reside at Pelaklakaha, where he had additional wives (Covington 1993:33, 48; Weik 2002). Pelaklakaha was much less secluded than SitarkeyÂ’s Village; being situated at the crossroads of a network of much-used Indian trails leading from the upper peninsula to FloridaÂ’s lower cape (Brown 1991:4; Weik 2002). Their central location allowed PelaklakahaÂ’s inhabitants to trade and interact with Native American and black travelers enroute to South Florida hunting grounds as well as white frontier travelers. Dr. William H. Simmons visited these settlements in early 1822. SimmonsÂ’ narrative of his travels among the Black Seminole settlements in the Alachua Savannah and Big Swamp provides us with the most complete description we have of daily life in the Middle Florida Black Seminole Settlements. Although the Black SeminolesÂ’ lives had been severely disrupted since at least 1812, and their settlements repeatedly moved, they were clearly participating successfully in Middle FloridaÂ’s frontier economy. In SimmonsÂ’ account we see Black Seminoles selling and hiring out horses for frontier travelers, serving as hired frontier guides, and bartering abundant supplies of wild game with their neighbors on the Middle Florida frontier (Simmons 1822).
32 Figure 2: Post 1816 Black Seminole Villages Adapted from Williams 1962 During the War of 1812, the English recruited plantation slaves in Georgia and Alabama to quit their masters and enlist in the British military. Many accepted the invitation, and in 1814 Colonel Edward Nicolls of the Royal Marines established the new recruits at a fort on Prospect Bluff, about twenty-five miles inland on the Apalachicola River. Several hundred blacks were among the 1,100 soldiers who manned the fort. At their village behind the fort, the soldiers maintained extensive crops for subsistence. After the British were defeated at the Battle of New Orleans in January of 1815, England thought it impolitic to continue to support the garrison at the Negro Fort. Nicolls received orders to withdraw his troops from the fort (Covington 1993:34-37; Knetsch 2003:19). Upon his departure, Nicolls turned over the fort, its armaments and supplies to the black troops. The Fort hereafter became known to the Americans as the Negro Fort (Brown 1990:6). Captain George Woodbine, who had served with Colonel Nicolls, departed in 1815 with as many as eighty of the black inhabitants from the fort, and sailed for Tampa Bay. They soon established a plantation near the Oyster River at Sarazota Bay (present-day Sarasota).
33 This location offered access to the abundant marine resources such as fish, shellfish, turtle and manatee that abounded in the coastal estuaries, and also offered easy ingress and egress of small burden coastal schooners. From here Woodbine could keep his schooner Venus running to Nassau for supplies and provisions. Nassau merchant Alexander Arbuthnot also kept his schooner Chance running from Nassau to Sarazota Bay, and north to the Suwannee River. Arbuthnot also reportedly kept a trading establishment at Tampa Bay, which may have supplied the black settlement at Sarazota. (Brown 1990:7-8; Covington 1993:38, 46; Knetsch 2003:19-20). The Negro Fort became a magnet for runaway slaves from surrounding American lands. As the forces at the Negro Fort grew, the wary eyes of the United States government now turned to Apalachicola. The Georgians were establishing settlements nearby, and the presence of former English allies so close to these was cause for concern (Knetsch 2003:20; Mahon 1985:22-23). Andrew Jackson, commanding the United States Southern Military District, demanded that Spanish authorities intercede and drive these former English allies from the frontier. When the Spanish governor replied that he could not act unless on orders from the Spanish crown, General Jackson ordered General Edmond Pendleton Gaines to check this growing threat to the United StatesÂ’ border. Gaines ordered Colonel Duncan Clinch to erect a fort near the head of the Apalachicola River, above the Negro Fort. Navy gunboats transporting supplies to the new post had to pass the Negro Fort on their way up the Apalachicola from the Gulf (Knetsch 2003:21). Garcon, the black commander at the Negro Fort, had threatened to sink any American vessels attempting to pass the fort. When a party from the American gunboats went ashore near the fort to obtain drinking water, they were fired upon by the black troops, and all but one member of their party was killed. The United States responded with military force. In the ensuing battle on the morning of April 27, 1816 a hot shot from one of the American gun boats landed directly upon the powder magazine within the fort. The resulting explosion killed and maimed most of the 300 men, women and children who resided at the fort. Only forty of the fortÂ’s occupants survived and some died soon after. Those who had not been at the fort but in the nearby village made their way south. Some settled in Middle Florida while others fled farther south to settle around
34 Tampa Bay and at the Pease Creek villages (Brown 1991:8; Garvin 1967:4-5; Knetsch 2003:21-22). In their new locations, the Seminoles and Black Seminoles began to rebuild their lives. The peace was short-lived, however. Over the next year, more border disputes and skirmishes with the Americans placed the Seminoles in American sights once again. In January of 1818, Andrew Jackson was ordered to take command of the United States troops in the area, and to bring the Seminoles under control (Mahon 1985:24-25). The Nassau trader Arbuthnot learned of JacksonÂ’s impending attack and warned the Suwannee River inhabitants. In what became known as the First Seminole War, JacksonÂ’s troops marched upon and destroyed several Creek and Seminole villages with little resistance from the inhabitants. After Jackson destroyed the Creek and Seminole villages, he moved against NeroÂ’s Town. Nero had placed his men in the village while the women and children were evacuated to the east side, from where they could flee into the surrounding swamps and hammocks. NeroÂ’s 300 men fought a spirited rear-guard action to allow their women and children to flee. At length, they joined their families and escaped into the surrounding countryside (Brown 1990:5-6; Covington 1993:45; Mahon 1985:25-26). The First Seminole War sent a new wave of immigrants into the Pease Creek frontier. Among them was Oponay, an Upper Creek leader who had allied himself with Red Stick chief Peter McQueen. Oponay and McQueen brought with them more blacks who were allied with the Upper Creeks (Brown 1990:6 and 1991:10-14; Covington 1993:48). OponayÂ’s homestead was situated on a hill overlooking Lake HancockÂ’s southeastern shore and consisted of a two-story plank home with a dairy barn, corn house, stables and other outbuildings. The associated Black Indian village with its twenty inhabitants was located two miles from the formerÂ’s plantation house. Here Oponay and his black vassals cultivated an extensive peach orchard as well as fields of rice, corn and potatoes. McQueen also settled along Pease Creek, south of OponayÂ’s Town (Brown 1991:13; Covington 1993:48; Weisman 1989:69).
35 Figure 3: Pease Creek Settlements 1812-1819 Adapted from Brown 1991:15 Impending American Control In the years between 1812 and 1819 the Pease Creek frontier received a steady influx of refugees, both Native American and black, from the turbulent upper peninsula. Here they found relative security in an area of Spanish Florida little known to the Americans, and began to reconstruct their shattered lives. After Oponay and McQueenÂ’s settlement there, that security would vanish as Spain ceded Florida to the Americans on February 22, 1819 (Brown 1991:17) Although the actual change of flags was yet in the future, overnight the Pease Creek frontier became what Brown has described as Â“an American stalking groundÂ” for the pursuit of runaway slaves (Brown 1991:17). As Brown points out, news of the cession would have reached Charlotte Harbor and Sarazota Bay quickly, given the presence of Spanish fishermen and Nassau traders (Brown 1991:18). FloridaÂ’s Native American and black inhabitants were once again threatened. They turned to their old alliances with Spain and England for support and protection. During 1819 five parties of South Florida Native Americans visited Havana, while a delegation of fugitive Red Stick Creeks visited Nassau. The following year, at least six chiefs and 120 followers returned to Nassau. Apparently none of these diplomatic missions produced anything other than trade opportunities, or subsequent relief shipments (Brown 1991:18-19). By October 1818 an English trading vessel brought material aid via Tampa
36 Bay, and in November Â“ten pack-horse loads of ammunitionÂ” were sent from St. Augustine. Other military help was not forthcoming (Brown 1990:11). On January 24, 1821 Secretary of State John Quincy Adams conveyed the governorship of Florida to Andrew Jackson. One of his earliest communications with Washington, written on April 2, 1821, concerned the disposition of the Red Stick Creeks and blacks at and below Tampa Bay. Jackson inquired as to whether these groups should be ordered into Georgia to settle among the Creeks, or whether they were to be protected in their current location. He strongly urged the former course of action. While the American government pondered JacksonÂ’s question, events unfolded that would render it practically moot (Brown 1991:11-15). Even before the official announcement of the cession of Florida to the United States, former Georgia governor and now United States Indian Agent David Mitchell had convened a meeting at his Georgia home with Creek leaders, including Coweta chief William McIntosh. The parties met to discuss the possibility of forcibly removing the fugitive Red Stick Creeks from Florida. Part of the plan involved bringing away the blacks among the Red Sticks, and returning them to slavery. The participants parted with a determination to pursue such a course of action. In December of 1820 another gathering was held between commissioners of the state of Georgia and Creek leaders. The result of this meeting was the Treaty of Indian Springs (Brown 1990:12). The treaty was presented to the United States Senate on January 26, 1821, two days after Jackson had been granted the governorship of Florida. When President Adams received JacksonÂ’s April letter, he was reluctant to respond and redirected JacksonÂ’s letter to Secretary of War John C. Calhoun. On May 1, Calhoun directed Jackson to take no immediate action (Brown 1990:14-15). When word of this reached Georgia, Â“some men and influence and fortuneÂ” apparently contracted with McIntosh to affect the desired end. Chiefs Charles Miller, William Weatherford, Adam (also called Allamonchee) and mulatto Daniel Perimaus were to lead about two hundred Coweta warriors to capture all of the blacks they could encounter, and deliver them to an undisclosed point of rendezvous. They were also to attack the vessel of Colonel Nicolls that was reported to be anchored in Tampa Bay (Brown 1990:14-15).
37 The expedition surprised and fell upon the inhabitants of the Pease Creek frontier. Arriving first at Sarazota, the attackers captured about 300 of the inhabitants, destroyed the plantation, and set fire to all of the houses. Proceeding southward, the party captured several others, and arrived at the Spanish ranchos around Pointerras Key in Charlotte Harbor on June 17. Not finding as many maroons as they had expected there, they Â“plundered the Spanish fishermen of more than 2,000 dollars worth of property,Â” and returned to their appointed rendezvous (Brown 1990:14). The raiders also visited the towns around Chocachatti and Annuteliga and caused their disruption. The settlement of Chocachatti, once flourishing, had reportedly been Â“broken upÂ” by the Cowetas, who were said to have Â“carried off or dispersed about 60 Negro Slaves and a large stock of cattle & horsesÂ” (Boyd 1958:89). In the wake of the Coweta incursion, Native Americans and blacks fled in all directions. Some escaped in their canoes around the point at Cape Sable and made their way to the area below New River (Cape Florida) on the east coast, where they made contact with the English wreckers at Key Tavernier. An agreement was reached between those parties, and the wreckers soon carried about 250 Black Seminoles to Nassau, where they were clandestinely landed. Word having reached those still concealed in the swamps and hammocks about the former Pease Creek settlements; such as could made their way to the new east coast refuge, and on October 7, 1821 about 40 more blacks were gathered there to depart for Nassau (Boyd 1958:89; Brown 1990:15). The circumstances of the refugeesÂ’ experience after their arrival at Cape Florida are unclear, although some documentary accounts provide small glimpses. West Indian coffee grower Peter Stephen Chazotte, on an expedition on behalf of a group of East Florida speculators, encountered black and Native American refugees at Cape Florida in late July or early August of 1821. A band of Choctaws were reported to have fled there temporarily from Charlotte Harbor. With them were Red Sticks and other fugitive Creeks (Brown 1990:15; Covington 1993:48). The documentary record is thus far mute on the lives of the scattered that regrouped in the area below New River, although it is reasonable to assume that those who did not have plans for immediate departure created a settlement there. WilliamsÂ’ inclusion of an inlet above Key Largo known as Â“Black CaesarÂ’s CutÂ” in the map that accompanied the
38 publication The Territory of Florida raises intriguing questions for further research, and points to the possible place of departure for the refugees (Williams 1962: map insert). Figure 4: Location of Black CaesarÂ’s Cut Adapted from Williams 1837: Map Insert The literature is fairly clear on some aspects of the refugeesÂ’ fates once they were transported from Key Tavernier to St. Andrews Island in New Providence (Bahamas). Goggin (1946), Kersey (1981) and Porter (1945) have conducted essential oral history groundwork in the Bahamas, where they located and interviewed descendants of the diaspora and recorded a vital descendant community memory of the events of 1821 and their aftermath. The groundwork of these scholars has left us with an extraordinary account of the lives of those who fled the Coweta raids. Porter (1945) first heard stories of Black Seminole immigrants to Andrews Island from Alan Lomax, who had traveled extensively in the 1930s, recording folk music in America and the Bahamas. The most common surname there, Lomax informed Porter, was Bowlegs. In his 1945 article, Porter summarized the evidence for a Black Seminole migration to the Bahamas, and of descendants to be found on Andros Island (St. Andrews Island); most at Nicolls Town. Porter related that the late Elsie Clews Parsons, who gathered oral histories from two schoolboys named Samuel L. and W.S. Bowlegs, was informed that Â“Billy Bowlegs was once the vernacular on Andros for the Seminole Indian
39 immigrantÂ” (Porter 1945:60). Clews had recorded funeral wake customs on Andros that Porter recognized as Black Seminole customs of the Texas-Mexico border. Goggin followed up PorterÂ’s work with investigations on Andros Island in the summer of 1937, among the Â“Indian Negroes at Mastic PointÂ” (Goggin 1946:202). GogginÂ’s groundwork among informants there revealed that there was a clear memory among descendants of the migration and the years following. GogginsÂ’ informant was 76 year old Felix MacNeil of Mastic Point, who stated that he was the grandson of the Scipio Bowlegs, the leader of the immigrant group. MacNeil related that Scipio was a Â“doctor,Â” and that the groups were Black Indians, not white Indians. They had come from Florida, where they had been pursued by slave hunters so relentlessly that they could only settle in one place for Â“three or four yearsÂ” (Goggin 1946:205). According to MacNeil, The Black Indians met many wreckers at Cape Florida; among them a Captain Simonds, who told them that the Â“rising sun was a land of freedom.Â” ScipioÂ’s group, which was said to number between 100 and 150, sailed to the Bahamas in large dugout canoes; landing at Red Bay on northwest Andros Island. In their new home, the Black Seminole encountered the Congo and Longa groups of the east coast of Andrews. The new immigrants remained aloof from these groups for Â“a long time,Â” but eventually intermarried. The largest group was still at Red Bay in 1937. MacNeilÂ’s cousin R. Bowlegs lived in Nicolls Town (Goggin 1946:205-206). KerseyÂ’s subsequent research produced documentary evidence that one Captain Pearce, a Bahamian wrecker, was among those who gave Black Seminoles passage to the Bahamas in the aftermath of the Coweta incursion (Kersey 1981:206-207). Despite a seemingly large degree of acculturation that had occurred since the 1820s, Goggin reported that even in 1937, these groups had been Â“much maligned simply because they were so isolatedÂ” (Goggin 1946:205-206). It seems that even as late as 1937, descendant groups were still coping with the effects of the Black Seminole diaspora set in motion more than one hundred years earlier in Middle Florida.
40 Figure 5: Andros Island Locations Referred to in Text Adapted from The West Indies and Central America, 1492-1525 Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com However prosperous the Pre-Territorial period was for the Seminoles, it was also a time of stress and uncertainty as the last years of Spanish rule played out. Although relationships between the Spanish and FloridaÂ’s Native Americans were good, Spain once again had only a tenuous hold on its East Florida colony and could not defend its inhabitants against the border disputes and raids that characterized the end of Spanish rule (Brown 1991:17-18; Covington 1993:34).
41 Chapter Three The American Presence and the Prelude to War After the Seminoles had established settlements in Florida and asserted their political and economic separation from the Creek Confederacy, they had skillfully negotiated trade agreements with both the English and the Spanish colonials, and settled into their economic niche among the diverse multilingual, multinational community that called Florida home. Its long history of cultural diversity had bred in FloridaÂ’s frontier occupants a tolerance for, and perhaps an appreciation of, the customs and lifeways of their neighbors. Especially in the lower peninsula, diversity was something the Florida community tolerated well. It was not something the Americans tolerated well, and that culture clash was about to assert itself upon Florida affairs. The incoming Americans quickly surmised that Florida was occupied by groups of foreigners who had no legitimate business there, but who had, through treaty loopholes, inattention or just plain apathy on the part of previous governments, been allowed to continue their drain upon FloridaÂ’s natural productions. In the days before the official change of flags, the United States government had sent various emissaries to survey the economic and political situation in Florida, and they did not like the reports they had received (Brown 1991:27-33; Knetsch 2003:50-53; Carter 1958:363-365; Covington 1959). In the AmericansÂ’ view, the new territory had at best been a free for all for foreign nationals who had extracted the natural productions of Florida to the benefit of themselves and their own colonial governments. The rich lignum, mahogany and other timber resources had long since been depleted by British nationals from the Bahamas who had hauled those resources away wholesale; leaving only saplings in what had been rich timber lands. When those resources were depleted, the Bahamians had continued their rapine of the economic proceeds of Florida via the lucrative wrecking industry along
42 the southern cape. Officials suspected that the Spanish Â“fishermenÂ” were probably involved in smuggling and a harmful trade with the Native Americans. Worse yet, these Spanish fishermen, foreigners at heart, encouraged and incited the Native Americans to resentment towards the United States by weaving tales about how the Americans would seize their land and their black allies (Knetsch 2003:51-52). The fishermen around Charlotte Harbor and Sarazota obviously not only employed, but armed and protected, runaway slaves from those who were the rightful owners of these fugitives. The United States had, for years, been concerned with the problem of runaway slaves flocking to Florida, where they not only found little interference from the English or Spanish governments, but also were protected by the Seminoles and the foreigners who were so entrenched on the peninsula. How could any incoming settlers feel that their slaves, their rightful property, would be safe from the interference of these groups who were no doubt eager to seduce them away? AmericaÂ’s acquisition of Florida had at least solved the problem of having to cross international boundaries to reclaim slave property, but how could the slave catchers, who could put a stop to all of this, be expected to face armed renegades prepared to resist their efforts to recapture slaves who had absconded from their masters? Something had to be done to get control of the situation in Florida. That something first came in the form of regulations to check the uncontrolled industry that was taking place in the lower cape. American Control of English Enterprise After the change of flags in 1821, American speculators became interested in the wrecking enterprise, and American vessels from northeastern ports soon arrived to compete with the Bahama Islanders for control of the Florida wrecking industry (Dodd 1944:249). The Legislative council, aware of the steady stream of wealth from FloridaÂ’s shores that continued to fall into the hands of Â“foreigners,Â” attempted to regulate the industry. An act passed in 1823 required wrecked property to be immediately reported to a justice of the peace or notary public. The justice or notary was required to summon a jury of five persons who would decide the amount of the award and whether payment would be in
43 goods or proceeds from the sale of the goods. The economic effects of this act were immediate. Gross duties on wrecked goods increased from $389 in 1823, to $14,108 in 1824. From December of 1824 to December of 1825, $293,353 worth of wrecked goods were sold in the city of Key West, outstripping duty revenues of only $100,000 collected at Key WestÂ’s port of entry (Diddle 1947:48; Dodd 1944:179-180). While the Territorial Legislature did not have the power to control access to the lucrative proceeds of wrecking in the cape, the many vessel captains from North Atlantic ports who established themselves upon the Florida reef exercised informal control over access; refusing to aid, provision or even associate with the Bahamian wreckers (Dodd 1944:181). The inclusion of free blacks among the Bahamian wrecking crews also became a concern for the Americans, who worried that the life of relative ease that free Bahamian blacks enjoyed would cause dissention among American slaves who came into contact with them (Buker 1997:108-109; Garvin 1967:10; Landers 1996:181; Prince 1998:102). In November of 1825, Territorial Governor William P. Duval wrote to the Secretary of State, to draw the governmentÂ’s attention to Â“the Wreckers on the Florida Keys, and the evils that have, for a long time, and yet continue, to distress the Commerce of the United States.Â” Duval estimated the value of goods wrecked annually upon FloridaÂ’s coast to be as much as $500,000. Even more disturbing, wrote Duval, Â“The wreckers on this coast are unlicensed and much of the property Wrecked (sic) is smuggled by them under the prestence (sic) of taking it for adjudication to different ports.Â” This, Duval reported, was not the only illicit commerce taking place in the lower peninsula: Â“There is also engaged in the fishing trade, from the Island of Cuba fifty or sixty vessels most of which belong to that Island. I believe many of them to be little more than Pirates and Smugglers and are now under the pretence of fishing, engaged in smuggling and Wrecking to the great injury of our CountryÂ” (Carter 1958:363-365). The East Florida Herald reported on June 6, 1826 that Captain Josiah Doane of the Revenue Cutter Marion had turned away Bahama wreckers, Â“so that this lucrative branch of business, is reserved exclusively for American enterprise,Â” and noted that the establishment of light ships had reduced the number of shipwrecks: Â“Employment for the wreckers diminishes daily, and some of them have left the wrecking ground.Â” On May
44 28, 1828, Congress established a Superior Court at Key West for the adjudication of wrecking claims (Hammond 1963:242). By this time, Congress had enacted a law requiring all salvage claims from FloridaÂ’s waters to be adjudicated in the United States (Diddle 1947:45). American Control of Spanish Enterprise The advent of American control brought about changes in the demographic of FloridaÂ’s fishing industry as well. Baltimore sea captain William Bunce (Bunch, Buner, Bruner) migrated to Key West in 1824, where he operated a mercantile business described as Â“the largest general merchandise emporium in South FloridaÂ” with partners Thomas Disney and William Saunders, until his bankruptcy in 1831. By 1832, Bunce was listed as a Customs Inspector in Key West. After his Key West fortunes changed, Bunce migrated up the west coast and established a fishery in 1832 at ShawÂ’s Point on the Manatee River, where he employed Â“about ten Spaniards and twenty IndiansÂ” (Fuller 1972:38). Saunders was also a partner in the fishery. By 1835, Bunce had established at least one more rancho, located on Palm Island at the mouth of the Manatee River, and employed more than one hundred Native Americans and thirty Spanish fishermen (Dodd 1947; Kirk 1977:35; Knetsch 2004). Long before BunceÂ’s arrival on the coastal islands, Spaniard Jose Caldez had established a permanent settlement on Â“JosefaÂ’s Island,Â” generally thought to be present day Useppa Island (Buker 1997:23 n ). John Lee Williams (1962:25) refers to CaldezÂ’ fishery as Toampa. Already elderly by the time of FloridaÂ’s cession to the United States, Caldez was sought out by travelers who received his hospitality and assistance. Caldez was described as Â“a stout, healthy, old, white-headed Spaniard, very industrious; carries on fishing to a great extent; keeps two small schooners running to Havana, with fish and turtleÂ” (Williams 1962:25). The Spanish fishermen were also merchants. Bartram states that Spanish fishermen traded with Native American hunters and land-based traders for skins and other items which they sold in Cuba (Bartram 1928:194). Â“Items of American manufactureÂ” were among those exports that the fisheries reported and paid duties on at Key West as late as 1831 (Covington 1959:124).
45 Several rancho proprietors apparently operated small trading posts from their establishments as well. BunceÂ’s comfortable dwelling at ShawÂ’s Point included Â“a sleeping apartment and a storeÂ” (Covington 1959:125). The Pacheco fishery operated a trading post, and after Antonio PachecoÂ’s death, his widow operated the trading post with the help of her slave Louis Pacheco (Hitchcock 1971:50). Caldez also operated a small trading establishment ( American State Papers 7:218-219). Captain Frederick Tresca operated a trading post at Sarazota, where the Seminoles and Spanish Indians exchanged alligator skins for trade articles (Covington 1957:108). After the establishment of Fort Brooke at Tampa Bay, the fishermen realized the opportunity and sold Cuban cigars, oranges and pineapples to the officers and men of the garrison (Covington 1959:124). Some of the fisheries which operated trading posts were under the larger umbrella of the Spanish mercantile house of Badia (Bardia, Bardias) as customs officials learned in 1835, when a Charlotte Harbor fisherman tangled with local customs officers. The suspect fisherman declared that the fishery he operated was not owned by him, but by Havana resident Juan Badia, who did business in the Havana market (Hammond 1973:358-359). Among the items the trading posts sold to the Indians were clothing, powder and ammunition (Williams 1962:26). In 1835, at least one such merchant was in operation on the west coast. Customs officials reported that Joseph Ximinez of Key West owned the sloop Mary Ann and made his living shipping turtle and fish from Charlotte Harbor to Cuba, and returning with goods from Havana which he sold in the Keys and at the fishing establishments of the lower gulf coast (Hammond 1973:359). One of the ranchos that Ximinez was associated with was that of Caldez. XiminezÂ’ operation is one example of a combined fishing and mercantile business, but there may have been others. Williams stated in 1837 that produce from plantations at Punta Rasa sold for a high price to Â“the fishing companiesÂ” (Williams 1962:26). Covington (1957:109) speaks of early Sarazota settler William Whitaker who, after 1842, sold dried mullet to Â“Cuban traders.Â” In 1823, James Gadsden recommended that a military post be established sufficiently near Charlotte Harbor to watch over affairs at the ranchos: Â“The Indians have long been in the habit of keeping up an intercourse, and active trade with the Cuba Fishermen, and this cause principally has been ascribed to the encouragement hitherto given to
46 absconding negroes & savage depredations committed on cattle Estates &cÂ” (Carter 1956:696). In September of 1823, Governor Duval complained to the Secretary of War about maroon settlements said to be on the coastal islands, which he had reason to believe were aided by the Spanish (Carter 1956:744). After the establishment of Fort Brooke at Tampa Bay in 1824, government scrutiny increased in the southwest peninsula. Disturbing reports began to filter in concerning activities at the ranchos. In 1825, Captain Isaac Clark of the quartermasterÂ’s office was sent to the southern peninsula to survey the route for a proposed road from Tampa Bay south to Cape Sable. At Charlotte Harbor, Clark encountered Seminole chief Jumper (sense bearer to Micanopy and a resident of Okihumpky in Middle Florida), who was waiting for a party of his men to return from Cuba, where they had gone to purchase a supply of rum (Carter 1958:202). After Clark returned, Indian Agent Gad Humphries reported to the Secretary of War that the Spaniards supplied the Seminoles with Â“spiritous liquors.Â” The Seminoles did not hesitate to say Â“that they can obtain it any time, by a visit to the Fisheries.Â” The fishing smacks, Humphries reported, were in the habit of transporting Seminoles to Cuba, where they were warmly received. HumphriesÂ’ last news was likely of the most concern to the Secretary: Â“It is well understood also, that Runaway Slaves are often Carried off in these Vessels, sometimes as free, & at others taken to Cuba and SoldÂ” (Carter 1958:202-203). ClarkÂ’s reconnaissance also prompted Colonel George M. Brooke to request permission to send parties from Fort Brooke to watch over activities at the fisheries (Mahon 1985:59). By 1829, reports were filtering into the customs houses at Key West and St. Marks that piracy and duty evasion were rampant at Charlotte Harbor (Hammond 1973:377). Jesse Willis, collector of customs at St. Marks, visited Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor in March of 1830 and reported that the Indian and Spanish population during the fishing season was 400 to 600 individuals. When Willis inquired as to the nature of their business, the proprietors assured him that all incoming cargoes were declared at Key West, and lawful duties paid. This, Willis stated, Â“I did not believe and have no doubt of their bringing more than half of their supplies from Havana without paying duties thereon.Â” Willis did not believe that all of
47 the duty violations at Charlotte Harbor were confined to the fisheries, Â“but are connected with the population of the Capes of Florida and Key West and HavanaÂ” (Hammond 1973:367). William A. Whitehead, Collector of Customs at Key West, visited the ranchos in May of 1831 and did not see much cause for concern. The fishermen, he said, did not interfere with the industry of the thirty or so American fishing vessels operating on FloridaÂ’s coast. Although there were at least thirty vessels with Connecticut masters operating on the southwest coast, these American fishing smacks procured and exported live or fresh fish and turtle, and the two groups sold their wares in different quarters in Havana (Covington 1959:123-124). Whitehead estimated that the Spanish fishermen exported between 600,000 and 800,000 pounds of dried fish annually (which attests to the richness of FloridaÂ’s marine resources on the west coast), and as far as he could determine, abided by customs regulations; having paid $4,717.53 in customs duties from 1829 to 1831 alone. As Knetsch (2004:27) has observed, this was a substantial contribution to FloridaÂ’s territorial coffers. Whitehead reported that the population at the four fisheries he found around Charlotte Harbor was about 130 men (half of them Native American), about 30 Native American women, and between fifty and one hundred children (Covington 1959:123). Others were not so trusting of the fishermen and their neighbors. Two years before Whitehead made his report, Treasury Secretary Samuel D. Ingham expressed concern that large-scale smuggling operations were being carried on, with the Spanish fisheries as a front. Ingham had been alerted by a New England resident, perhaps a seasonal fisherman, that several merchant sea captains, whom he claimed to know personally, Â“carried two sets of papers Â– one American, one Spanish Â– which they switched as occasion dictated,Â” and that this business netted $200,000 annually (Hammond 1973:368). Similar accusations of dual registration would surface during the war as well. Based upon these and other reports, Florida legislators acted to check uncontrolled activity at the ranchos. In 1832, the Territorial Legislature passed regulations to require all vessels fishing in Florida waters to be licensed at a fee of $500 per year. Each vessel master was required to post a bond of $2,000. Masters caught fishing without a license would face heavy penalties and those caught trading with the Native Americans would
48 forfeit their vessel and pay a $500 fine (Hammond 1973:369). That same year Congress acted to include Charlotte Harbor in the customs district of Key West (Hammond 1973:372). When tensions between the United States and the Seminoles increased in the 1830s, the government became concerned that the Spanish fishermen had a hand in stirring up discontent among the Native Americans. Visits from coast guard cutters and customs inspectors increased, and in 1833, Dr. Henry Crews was appointed to oversee Charlotte Harbor activities. He established himself on Josefa Island, where Caldez and Ximinez had their base of operations. What began as a relationship of distrust soon escalated to outright hostility, and Crews and his wife were treated as pariahs, making their existence on Josefa uncomfortable at best. In 1835, Crews refused Ximinez permission to land a cargo which, Crews said, contained a supply of hard liquor destined for the Native American trade (Hammond 1973:372). As we shall see, the tension at Josefa Island would turn to tragedy after the outbreak of hostilities. American Control of Slave Enterprise One of the first items of business for FloridaÂ’s Territorial Legislature was to enact slave codes that would curb the runaway problem and prevent a repetition of the slave raids that had characterized FloridaÂ’s turbulent colonial history. In the wake of the escape of many runaways to the Bahamas after the Coweta incursions, the legislature imposed the death penalty Â“for a master of a ship to conceal on board and carry away any slave, the property of the TerritoryÂ” and for Â“any person convicted of slave stealingÂ” (Brown 1995:299). In 1828 legislation was passed to establish punishments for crimes and misdemeanors committed by FloridaÂ’s enslaved populations. Seven of its 63 sections specifically prohibited slave participation in FloridaÂ’s economy (Thompson 1993:330). These restrictions, and the string of harsh slave codes that followed (see Brown 1995 and Thompson 1993), can be explained by the fact that, if Florida was going to attract new settlers, the authorities would have to bring Territorial slave codes in line with those of the slaveholding states of the Old South. This meant controlling slave mobility, prohibiting slave participation in economy of any sort, providing harsh penalties for crimes and other transgressions, and checking the movements of runaways into Florida.
49 American Control of Free Black Enterprise Many Americans in the slaveholding South viewed free blacks as a threat to plantation security and slave subservience. In an effort to freeze the number of free blacks residing in Florida, the Territorial Legislature outlawed in-migration of free blacks and mulattos in 1826, and outlawed manumission in 1829 (Brown 1995:304; Garvin 1967:10; Thompson 1993:328). Those free blacks who remained in Florida after the change of flags would continue to participate in FloridaÂ’s economy, but would come under stricter control as FloridaÂ’s Territorial Legislature tightened regulation of free black society (Garvin 1967:10-18). Most of those who did remain understandably clustered around St. Augustine and Pensacola, where custom overrode most of the new regulations (Brown 1995:290-291; Garvin 1967:9, 11). Although treaty stipulations called for the United States to honor the property rights and freedoms of Spanish free blacks who chose to remain after the change of flags (Brown 1995:291), the AmericansÂ’ concept of racial hierarchy and strict control of black participation in economy must have caused much anxiety among the free blacks who remained in Florida after Spanish withdrawal. American Control of Seminoles and Black Seminoles The United States Territorial governmentÂ’s increased regulation of the wrecking industry produced immediate results, and demonstrated just how much money had been filling the coffers of the Bahamian government. The uncontrolled economic liberty that slaves and freedpersons seemed to enjoy in Florida was coming under the control of the Territorial government. The Spanish fishermen were under increased scrutiny as well. The ranchos were still a problem to be dealt with, but the increased presence of Customs Inspectors brought about by the clampdown on wrecking would certainly help to curtail their activities. Beyond that, the problem of the Spanish fisheries would simply have to wait. There were more pressing matters at hand. Those Â“mattersÂ” were the Seminoles, the Black Seminoles, and the maroons that the Â“foreignersÂ” encouraged and supported. Bringing the Seminoles and their allies under American control was more complicated than regulating economic industry. Whereas the
50 Bahamian wreckers and Spanish fishermen had no claim to the land in Florida, the Seminoles did have such a claim. Cohen (1964:49) states that when the United States took possession of Florida, one of the first questions that had to be settled was, Â“What should we do with these Indians? Â… To have acquired a territory of such extent, embracing one thousand two hundred miles of sea-coast, to be left in the hands of these Indians, was too absurd to merit one momentÂ’s consideration.Â” The Territorial government set about formalizing a plan for dealing with the Seminoles. The Treaty of Moultrie Creek Although the United States government had already settled on removal to western lands as its formal policy for dealing with Native Americans, this did not seem prudent as an immediate course in Florida, for several reasons. First, the government was unsure of the number of Seminoles then living in Florida, or even where, exactly, they lived. Very little was known about the interior of Florida itself. True, early attempts to regulate the wrecking industry had given government representatives an idea of the geography of the keys and portions of FloridaÂ’s seacoast, and DexterÂ’s travels had located bands as far south as Charlotte Harbor, but the largest portion of the peninsula below the Alachua Savannah was simply unknown to the whites. Second, there was the problem of not knowing where the central authority among the Seminoles lay, and thus who to communicate with to effect a removal. It was decided that a head count and list of towns and leaders would need to be compiled as a first step (Knetsch 2003:44-45). This was accomplished by means of Indian agents who were appointed to represent the United States government. In a report made in 1822, Acting Indian Agent John R. Bell reported to Congressional Representative Thomas Metcalfe of Kentucky that he had identified 35 Indian settlements in Florida, whose population he estimated to be no less than 5,000 souls total (Carter 1956:463-464). As this information was being gathered, officials in Washington decided upon a course of action: they would gather the Florida Indians on a central reservation, under government oversight, until future removal could be decided upon. Later that year, Major Gad Humphries of New York was appointed Indian Agent for Florida (Knetsch 2003:45).
51 Chiefs or headmen were then identified and contacted. They were asked to assemble at Moultrie Creek, on the St. JohnÂ’s River, to hear the talk of the Americans. The lack of centralized authority among the Seminole bands in Florida created a problem for the government. This was partly due to the decentralizing of leadership that occurred as a result of the economic and political changes brought about by trade with the British. But these changes merely acted upon underlying notions about chiefly authority that were an important part of the clan structure of the early Creeks, who had now become Seminole. Although chiefs had the power to call councils, they did not have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the group, and were still held to the wishes of the town council. Regional leaders were likewise beholden to the consensus of the general membership of the bands they represented. For purposes of the upcoming council, the government cared little about the underlying Seminole political structure. The Seminoles would need a leader, and they were asked to select one to represent them at Moultrie Creek. An election was held in which Neamathla was chosen to fill this position (Covington 1993:52; Mahon 1985:43). Such insistence on dealing with representatives who would act on behalf of the nation would later cause problems for the Americans, but for the moment Neamathla would suffice. On September 6, 1823, more than 425 of FloridaÂ’s Native Americans gathered at Moultrie Creek for a meeting with James Gadsden, Governor William P. Duval, Bernardo Segui and other officials. The talk was straightforward. Here were none of the words of goodwill that English Governor James Grant had used 60 years earlier, nor did the council open with presents as had those of the Spanish Governor Zespedez. Instead, the assembled parties were treated firmly by James Gadsden, who reminded them that General Jackson had defeated them twice, and could have run them into the ocean had he so desired. Further, JacksonÂ’s actions had been just, as the Indians had brought the quarrel upon themselves (Mahon 1985:44-45). Nevertheless, Gadsden continued, their Great Father in Washington was willing to forget the past and grant them peace. In order to secure this peace, they must assemble their people and remove to a central reservation bounded by CharlotteÂ’s River on the south and the Big Swamp on the north; the exact boundaries to be determined later. The Indians would be protected from encroachment by the whites, receive an annuity of
52 $5,000 a year for twenty years, plus $1,000 a year for a school and another $1,000 per year for a blacksmith and gunsmith on the reservation. The government would assist in the cost of moving and would pay for improvements and crops that would be abandoned in Florida (Knetsch 2003:45-46). Rations of meat, salt and corn would be provided for one year. Additionally, the government would provide $6,000 for agricultural tools and other equipment. The clear aim of the treaty was to convert the Seminoles and their allies from a pastoral and hunting way of life to one based upon agriculture (Knetsch 2003:45-46; Mahon 1985:41-50). A day later, after additional negotiations, a stipulation was added that set aside a reservation for Neamathla and his followers, who did not wish to remove to the peninsular reservation from their location in the eastern panhandle. The reservation would allow them to remain on the lands they currently occupied (Knetsch 2003:45). The chosen leader received some benefit from his newly acquired role, but trouble soon followed. The removal of troops from Fort Marks left NeamathlaÂ’s young men free to prey upon the farmsteads and livestock of neighboring settlers, which they did with enthusiasm. DuVal acted quickly to stem the problem. He hastened to NeamathlaÂ’s village with an interpreter, where he found what Mahon has termed Â“three hundred warriors in an ugly moodÂ” (Mahon 1985:52). DuVal demanded that Neamathla meet with him at St. Marks on July 26, or face destruction from government troops (Mahon 1985:52). In a meeting of more than 600 of NeamathlaÂ’s followers held at St. Marks, DuVal informed the crowd that Neamathla was no longer to be considered their leader, and that Tuckose Emathla (known to the whites as John Hicks) had been selected to take his place. Neamathla abandoned his homestead and rejoined his brethren in Alabama. This quieted the armed buildup in NeamathlaÂ’s town, and thereafter DuVal dealt with the more compliant Hicks. To keep the peace there, Indian sub-agent John Phagan was stationed among the inhabitants on HicksÂ’ reservation (Knetsch 2003:47). The Treaty of Moultrie Creek also included two other stipulations of importance to the United States. First, the Seminoles were to do everything within their power to prevent runaway slaves from concentrating in their midst. Second, the boundaries of the reservation were nowhere to be closer to the coast than twenty miles, to cut off the trade
53 and other intercourse between the Seminoles and the fishermen and maroon communities known to inhabit the coast (Mahon 1985:47). The treaty was ratified by the Senate on December 23, 1823 and was thereafter declared in effect. The government settled upon two distribution points for government issued rations; these were the newly established Cantonment Brooke at the head of Tampa Bay, and HamblyÂ’s Old Store on the St. Johns River. This meant that those who wished to avail themselves of government rations generally had to travel quite some distance to do so, as neither of these locations was central to existing Seminole settlements (Knetsch 2003:48-49). Moving the Seminoles and their allies onto the reservation grounds was also not a simple task. Arrangements had to be made and contracts effected for the delivery of the goods the government was expected to provide. The Seminoles would need time to harvest the crops they had planted. To complicate matters, Congress appropriated less money for rations than would be needed. DuVal estimated that he would need $98,000 per year to feed the Seminoles. Congress approved $65,700. DuVal figured that a reasonable per-ration cost was eleven to fourteen cents per ration. The lowest of the initial bids came in at eighteen cents. DuVal estimated that he would need a minimum of 1,500 rations per month, and probably many more. Finally, Benjamin Chaires, the successful bidder, agreed to provide 1,000 rations per month at eleven and one half cents per ration. As DuVal suspected, this amount was not sufficient to feed the Seminoles who were already reporting to receive their rations. Even as he negotiated the necessary supplies to fulfill the governmentÂ’s promise, DuVal was accused by Washington of dragging his feet in getting the Seminoles onto the reservation (Knetsch 2003:48-49, 5354; Covington 1993:56-57; Mahon 1985:51). It soon became apparent to all concerned that the Seminoles simply did not want to move within the boundaries of the new reservation. Many in the northern peninsula flatly refused to leave their homes. As government rations continued to fall short of need, raids upon settlersÂ’ crops and cattle became more frequent. A band of Seminoles who moved onto the reservation found the land there poor and the rations insufficient, and removed west across the Suwannee. By 1825, it was becoming clear that an unknown number of Seminoles simply had not made the move to the new reservation, and probably would not
54 do so without a show of military strength. DuVal complained that he could only request the aid of the troops at Fort Brooke; he could not order such a move (Mahon 1985:5159). Just as the government was realizing that the move to the reservation was not proceeding, a severe drought rendered the SeminoleÂ’s harvest dismal. With a shortage of government rations and the poor harvest, conditions among the Seminoles became severe. Where less than five years earlier prosperity could be found, now hunger was the prevailing condition. The condition grew so desperate that when United States Deputy Surveyor Leroy May arrived near John HicksÂ’ reservation to run a boundary line, he found Hicks to be belligerent. Hicks warned May not to proceed farther on his mission, as he mistrusted the running of any lines and knew no respect for such things. His village was starving, Hicks stated; 23 had died there already for want of food. May informed the chief that he might, at that moment, be outside of the northern limits of his reservation. Hicks repeated that he cared little for such things as boundaries, and observed that MayÂ’s mules might look very appetizing to his starving followers. Hicks invited May to inspect the village and see for himself the condition of its inhabitants. He saw very little food and concluded that Hicks had accurately represented conditions upon his reservation (Knetsch 2003:53-54). It did not help matters that Agent Humphries was now being accused of delaying the SeminolesÂ’ compliance with the terms of the treaty. Humphries had, early on, begun to find fault with the governmentÂ’s handling of the treaty arrangements, and had emerged as an advocate for the Seminoles. In 1825, when DuVal made a trip north and left George Walton as acting Governor, Humphries ran afoul of the executive, and relations between the two became severely strained (Mahon 1985:59-60). By 1827, as the SeminolesÂ’ distress grew more extreme, DuVal permitted them to go to the sea coast to procure fish and other marine resources, contrary to the provisions of the treaty (Mahon 1985:59).
55 Figure 6: Seminole Indian Reservation Boundaries, 1829 Adapted from Boyd 1951:28 About this time, Humphries reported to the Secretary of War concerning a communication he had received from Captain Isaac Clark, who had been sent to survey for a road from Charlotte Harbor to Cape Sable. Clark reported that the Spanish fishermen kept up a constant intercourse with the Seminoles and transported them to Cuba, where they were warmly received and sent home with presents. Even more
56 disturbing was ClarkÂ’s next statement. The Spaniards introduced liquor to the Indians. In fact, Humphries reported, Â“Jumper, one of the principle men of the Southern Indians told Capt. Clark, who saw him at Charlotte Harbor, that he was then waiting for the return of a party of his Men, who had gone to Havana, to procure him a supply of RumÂ” (Carter 1958:202). The steady escalation of tension between the Seminoles and the United States government, coupled with the border disputes so rife on the frontier, created an explosive atmosphere in which hostilities were inevitable. A wave of petitions from United States citizens poured into the Indian Agency, seeking the return of runaway slaves said to be among the Seminoles. Humphries attempted to sort through the cases to separate valid from invalid claims; but not quickly enough to suit his superiors, who were daily receiving petitions to remove Humphries from office and settle the matter of runaways among the Seminoles. Acting Governor Westcott ordered Humphries to Â“attend to the delivery of the negroes as instructedÂ” (Knetsch 2003:59-60). Sorting the claims and isolating the valid ones was not that simple. Many of the Seminoles lacked the appropriate papers to prove ownership of certain slaves which they claimed to have purchased (Buker 1997:8). White men were also known to sell slaves to the Indians, and then claim them as runaways. To make matters worse, slave catchers who ventured into Florida often captured any black person they encountered, regardless of that personÂ’s status as enslaved or free (Buker 1997:8; Garvin 1967:10, 16). Humphries was exasperated. The Seminoles had returned many slaves, and still the whites demanded more. Further, Indians and blacks could not testify in court, thus they could not defend their claims to slaves claimed by whites as runaways (Sprague 1848:40). When pressed, he informed the government that the Seminoles refused to recognize claims as valid unless they had been properly adjudicated in a court of law. If the government wanted Humphries to compel them to do so, they were told, they should send an appropriate number of troops to accomplish the task (Sprague 1848:46, 58-60). John Hicks, in a talk given to Humphries in August of 1828, complained, Â“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 nakedness and
57 poverty; the right to which will not be disputed with us.Â” Humphries characterized these disputes to be Â“productive of more ill feeling between the Indians and their neighbors than all other causes combinedÂ” (Sprague 1848:58). In February of 1830, another demand was made upon Humphries, by the Secretary of War, to cause the Seminoles to relinquish possession of the blacks in question. HumphriesÂ’ reply was a restatement of his position: the Seminoles refused to turn over the blacks unless the matter had been adjudicated by a court of law, and he had not the means to force them to do so, as the government had denied his request for troops to force the Seminoles to comply. The Secretary of War responded with action: Humphries was relieved of his duties as Indian Agent to the Seminoles (Sprague 1848:70). Major John Phagan, then the Indian Subagent, was promoted to replace Humphries. According to Sprague (1848:72), Phagan was poorly qualified to fill the position, but did have the support of both the president and the citizens of Florida. Whereas Humphries had listened closely to the complaints of the Seminoles, Phagan was more apt to side with the white citizenry in contentious matters. The Seminoles became more dissatisfied by the day with PhaganÂ’s perceived insensitivity to their needs and property rights. Among the Seminoles, resentments turned into desires for revenge as border and property disputes continued unabated. The Treaty of PayneÂ’s Landing The SeminolesÂ’ restlessness and murmurings did not escape the attention of the United States government, and in early 1832, Secretary of War Lewis Cass directed Col. James Gadsden to open negotiations with the Florida Indians, to effect an immediate removal to lands west of the Mississippi. After some difficulty, Gadsden succeeded in securing the attendance of several of the foremost leaders of the Seminole Nation at a meeting at PayneÂ’s Landing, near Fort King. The agreement entered into on May 9, 1832 called for the Seminoles to relinquish their Florida lands in return for new lands in Arkansas, where they were to rejoin the Creek Nation. The treaty called for the Seminoles to leave Florida within three years of ratification. In the West, they would receive a shirt and blanket each. The nation would receive $80,000 for improvements and goods left behind (Knetsch 2003:60). Observance of the treaty was clearly conditioned
58 upon acceptance of the new territory by a delegation of chiefs, who would travel to examine the new lands, and upon Â“the favorable disposition of the Creeks to re-unite with the SeminolesÂ” (Sprague 1848:74). A delegation was duly selected, and embarked for the journey west, accompanied by Agent Phagan, in September of 1832. Before embarking, the delegation voiced their reluctance to leave Florida, and expressed apprehension about being reunited with the Creeks, with whom they had been at war repeatedly, and for whom they possessed a deep and abiding dislike (Sprague 1848:76). The delegation spent January, February and March of 1833 examining the new lands. Before they returned to Florida, the president dispatched three commissioners to meet with the Seminoles at Fort Gibson, Arkansas to obtain their approval of the new territory. The commissioners succeeded, and returned to Washington with the Treaty of Fort Gibson, purportedly signed by all members of the Seminole delegation, that set out the boundaries of the new lands, and set into motion the provisions of the Treaty of PayneÂ’s Landing (Sprague 1848:76-77). Cultural differences immediately asserted themselves. To the Seminoles, the Treaty of PayneÂ’s landing was not valid until the nation had met in council and given its approval. The delegation that traveled to the West was not authorized by Seminole law to make decisions for the entire nation, yet the United States moved forward as though the treaty had been approved. Many among the nation were resentful of the way in which the treaty negotiations had been handled. They ridiculed and spat upon the delegates who had signed the Treaty of Fort Gibson, and called them fools. The body of the nation refused to recognize the treaties as valid and binding. This did not disturb the United States. Representatives started making plans for removal (Knetsch 2003:61). A council held in late October of 1834 seems to have been a turning point in relations between the government and the Seminoles. While the chiefs were assembled at the Agency to receive their annual annuity, Thompson convened a council to ask the chiefs specific questions about the upcoming emigration. The agent wished to know if the Seminoles preferred to make the voyage west by land or water; if they preferred to receive their next annuity in cash or goods; whether, once in the new land, they preferred to live among the Creeks or separately, and other specific questions which made it clear that the government was moving forward with concrete plans for the move west (Knetsch
59 2003:65-66; Carter 1960:58-63). The chiefs wished to hold their own council and promised to answer the agentÂ’s questions the next day. Thompson had spies in this meeting who reported to him that there was some contention concerning removal. A young chief named Osceola had spoken against emigration, and a majority of those at the council agreed with his views. The group chose Jumper, Â“sense bearerÂ” and right hand council of Micanopy, to present their views to Thompson (Mahon 1985:91-92). In the meeting with Thompson the following day, Jumper and others expressed their opposition to emigration. The Indians felt that the Treaty of Moultrie Creek had guaranteed their right to remain in Florida for twenty years. The chiefs pointed out to Thompson that several years yet remained of that twenty year term. They did not wish to live among the Creeks in the west (Knetsch 2003:66), or to have the Pawnee for neighbors (Mahon 1985:92). Neither the PayneÂ’s Landing nor Fort Gibson treaties were valid, Jumper said, unless the nation agreed to them, which they had not. Jumper summed up the feelings of the nation: Â“Your talk is a good one, but my people cannot say they will go. We are not willing to do so. If their tongues say yes, their hearts cry no, and call them liarsÂ” (Knetsch 2003:66). Thompson, after hearing their talk, replied that he must have a direct answer to his specific questions about emigration, and that this talk did not suffice. He stressed that his duty had been to give them the proper time to consider his questions in council, and that his talked was based on instructions from the government. The treaties would stand (Carter 1960:58-59). The following day another meeting was held. The SeminolesÂ’ talk had not changed. Thompson expressed regret that they would disregard a solemn treaty with the United States. He described the wretched conditions which had characterized their life within the reservation, and how those conditions would only worsen, were they allowed to remain a few more years. This, Thompson later reported to his superior Elbert Herring, seemed to have some effect, until young Osceola spoke passionately to Micanopy and, Thompson learned through the interpreter, urged him to remain firm (Carter 1960:59). In his subsequent report to Herring, Thompson relayed more troubling news: Fuche Luste Hajo and Holata Emathla, two chiefs who had been favorable to emigration, privately told Thompson that their lives had been threatened. They and their followers,
60 they said, comprised only about one third of the nation. They sought ThompsonÂ’s permission to live among the bands in Apalachicola, away from the Middle Florida bands, until it was time to embark for the west (Knetsch 2003:69; Mahon 1985:93). Of even greater concern to Thompson was the fact that after receiving the annuity payment, the Seminoles had purchased an unusual amount of powder and lead. Thompson saw one keg of powder carried off by one of the chiefs, and he was informed that several more whole kegs had been purchased. Thompson concluded his report to Herring by urging that a strong force be located at Tampa and the force at Fort King strongly reinforced (Carter 1960:61). If it was not yet clear to military and government officials that the Seminoles and their allies were preparing for war, it certainly seems that Thompson now understood this. After this tense and ominous council was closed, it appears that, as government disbursing agent Lt. Harris was busily making arrangements for supplies and transportation for their emigration, the Seminoles were busily preparing for war (Sprague 1848:87). Depredations upon livestock and crops of white settlers now increased dramatically (Knetsch 2003:69). In November of 1834, the inhabitants of Hillsborough County petitioned the Secretary of War for protection, as they had suffered Â“very serious lossesÂ” of cattle to Seminole raiding parties (Carter 1960:69-70). In the months that followed, the Seminole visits to Fort King were less and less frequent, and relations seemed strained when they did visit (Mahon 1985:98; Sprague 1848:80). It did not help matters that a hard freeze in February of 1835 destroyed the SeminolesÂ’ crops. This could have caused them to become more receptive to emigration, but it did not. They instead grew more obstinate (Mahon 1985:94). Given the limited means of the United States to provide a fighting force, the remainder of the burden of protecting the frontier fell to Militia, and to the individual families who had staked their claim on Florida soil. The East Florida Militia was commanded by Brigadier General Joseph N. Hernandez; a wealthy east coast planter and the first Delegate to Congress for the territory of Florida (Knetsch 2003:75-77; Gold 1927:52). Hernandez owned the plantations St. Joseph and Mala Compra; both of which were utilized as military posts after the outbreak of hostilities (Boyd 1951:61-62; Gold 1927:52, Knetsch 2003:77).
61 As the leader of all of the citizen soldiers on the Florida frontier, Hernandez took his responsibilities quite seriously. As suspicion mounted that the Seminoles were disposed to fight rather than to remove, Hernandez wrote to both General Clinch and the Secretary of War, asking permission to activate a portion of the militia, and hold them in readiness, should the Seminoles resist emigration. Hernandez, too, feared the influence of the Black Seminoles: Â“Much apprehension is already manifested by the community at large on this subject. And particularly as there are a large number of Negroes amongst the Indians, who may be under the influence of the Abolitionists of the North, whose machinations, are now endangering our safetyÂ” (Carter 1960:189-190). The Â“machinationsÂ” that Hernandez referred to were genuine, for at that time, it was later learned, Abraham, John Caesar and Yaha Hajo were visiting plantation slaves, offering them freedom, and urging them to be ready to rise up and join the Seminoles once hostilities between the Indians and whites commenced (Mahon 1985:128, Porter 1943:394). As uneasiness spread to the citizens of Florida, Clinch began to receive numerous petitions from various sections of the territory; requesting military protection, should the Seminoles resist emigration. General Clinch wrote to the Adjutant General on October 8th, requesting that 150 mounted volunteers be held in readiness, and that a revenue cutter be stationed in the waters off of the west coast of Florida. Clinch was fearful that the Seminoles would further strengthen their forces by recruiting the aid of plantation slaves: Â“some of the most respectable planters fear there is already a secret & improper communication carried on between the refractory Indians, Indian negroes, & some plantation negroesÂ” (Carter 1960:183). The request for additional troops was denied, but Secretary of War Lewis Cass did inform Clinch that two more regular companies had just been assigned to ClinchÂ’s command, and two more could be expected. Cass expressed confidence that these troops were sufficient to effect the removal (Carter 1960:188). The Secretary of the Navy did, however, request that an armed vessel be employed cruising the coast of Florida between Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor (Carter 1960:190). In response to the denial of additional troops, Hernandez petitioned the government for 500 muskets and ammunition, that the citizens might protect themselves (Carter 1960:198-199), a request to which the government acceded. Hernandez would not collect these arms, however. The ordnance master reported that the requisition could not be filled
62 for even 125 muskets, and that he was destitute of cartridges and powder (Potter 1966:99). As w ill be developed below, by the time muskets and ammunition were received, and the arms were in readiness at Picolata, conditions had deteriorated such, that no armed escort could be spared to convey the arms to St. Augustine (NA RG94: Reel 120). On January 21, 1835 Clinch wrote to the Adjutant General: Â“The more I see of this Tribe of Indians, the more fully I am convinced that they have not the least intention of fulfilling their treaty stipulations, unless compelled to do so by a stronger force than mere wordsÂ—Their minds have been so completely perverted, by a set of interested, & designing men, that no argument of reasoning will have the least influence, except the argument of forceÂ—& if a sufficient military force, to overawe them, is not sent into the Nation, they will not be removed, & the whole frontier may be laid waste by a combination of the Indians, Indian Negroes & the Negroes on the plantationsÂ” (Carter 1960:99-100). Clinch, who had recently been given the command of operations in Florida for a second time, felt a need to become more closely involved in talks with the Seminole chiefs. Unfortunately, his presence at councils seemed only to make matters worse. At a council convened in April of 1835, he and Thompson insisted that the chiefs sign a paper acknowledging the validity of the Treaty of PayneÂ’s Landing. Sixteen chiefs signed the paper; five flatly refused to do so, or were not present at the signing (Mahon 1985:95-98). Here Clinch and Thompson made a pivotal mistake in sovereign to sovereign relations (if, indeed the US government ever thought of Seminole/white relationships as such; which is doubtful). They angrily struck the names of those who did not sign from their list of chiefs. This presumption to override the Seminole nationÂ’s power to choose recognized leaders excited great wrath among the chiefs present. Some now spoke openly of warfare. Clinch declared that he would remove the Seminoles by force, if necessary. Things clearly were not going well between the Seminoles and the United States government in early 1835. Nonetheless, the government set a January 1, 1836 removal date for the Seminoles, and ordered them to be prepared to embark by that date. Sprague states that some among the Seminoles used the time between this council and the outbreak of full scale hostilities
63 to monitor the number of troops in Florida and store away Â“the requisite quantity of powder and leadÂ” (Knetsch 2003:67-68; Mahon 1985:95-96; Sprague 1848:84-85). In June of 1835, Wiley Thompson made a decision which would later have fatal consequences for him. During a discussion in ThompsonÂ’s office, Osceola had become enraged and reportedly insulted the agent, who had him placed in irons and confined to the stockade. Osceola is reported to have raged for several hours in confinement, and then used cunning means to cause his release. He agreed to sign the paper validating the Treaty of PayneÂ’s Landing, but Thompson replied that this was not enough. Osceola then offered to show his sincerity by bringing in a band of his followers, for embarkation to the west. He was then freed, but the damage to his honor had been done. Osceola waited to avenge his humiliation at the hands of Thompson (Knetsch 2003:67-68; Mahon 1985:97-98; Sprague 1848:86-87). Around this time an incident occurred in Alachua County that threatened the peace of the frontier. Seven white men came upon five Indians who were outside the reservation boundaries hunting. The men had slaughtered a cow that did not belong to them. The whites overpowered them, searched their packs and commenced whipping them with cowhide whips. Two other Indians who came upon the scene opened fire on the whites, wounding three. In the ensuing fire fight, one Indian was killed, and one wounded. Both parties left the field, but the white men retained the packs and guns of the Indians. The local militia was called out. Thompson demanded that the chiefs turn the warriors over to white authorities for punishment. They did so, but the court judge in Alachua County did not respond to ThompsonÂ’s communications concerning the prisoners, and they were remanded to the chiefs for punishment. Although tempers were quieted for the moment, both sides remained bitter (Mahon 1985:98-99; Sprague 1848:87). In August, mail carrier Private Kinsley H. Dalton, Third Artillery, was ambushed and killed upon the road from Fort Brooke to Fort King. There was some speculation that this was an act of revenge for the death of the Indian killed in the aforementioned quarrel (Mahon 1985:99). Conditions on the frontier deteriorated rapidly as the two parties careened towards full scale war. Charley Emathla, one of the chiefs disposed to emigration, was murdered on November 26, 1835 after selling his cattle at the Agency near Fort King to prepare for
64 emigration. On his way home, Emathla was intercepted by Osceola and a band of warriors who, after a heated argument, shot the chief dead and left him where he lay. Osceola threw the money that Charlie Emathla had received for his cattle on and around his lifeless body. EmathlaÂ’s remains and the money were said to have remained there untouched by other Seminoles for two years, as both were considered tainted (Knetsch 2003:69; Mahon 1985:99-101). Immediately following EmathlaÂ’s murder, the Seminoles abandoned their towns and retreated to Big Swamp and Long Swamp, and shortly thereafter disappeared from these retreats as well (Boyd 1951:278). Acting Governor G. K. Walker instructed Brigadier General Richard K. Call to raise a force of 500, who were placed under CallÂ’s command (Carter 1960:215). Conditions had deteriorated in the southern peninsula as well. Two white men, in a dispute with the Creek chief Alibama at New River, had killed the chief and burned his house. In his capacity as Justice of the Peace, William Cooley took the two men into custody and delivered them to Key West. At the next court session, however, the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. Tribesmen were infuriated and charged Cooley with withholding incriminating evidence against the men. When traveler Edwin T. Jenckes camped among them in the summer of 1835, he found them Â“sulky and dangerous.Â” Cooley noticed unusual movements: in late December of 1835, the Alabamas began moving their women and children by canoe to towns near Lake Okeechobee. The warriors returned to New River with additional warriors from Lake Okeechobee. Cooley noticed that the Alabamas numbered more than usual around Christmas of 1835, and he reported this to authorities (Kirk 1976:17). Incidents of Plunder During the Prelude to War Although the United States was not aware of it; for the Seminoles, the war began with Charley EmathlaÂ’s murder. The depredations upon livestock and crops that had started as early as November of 1834 now became a wave, as the Seminoles divided into small raiding parties and attacked the frontier farmsteads. A public surveyor named Kerr was fired upon while running lines near Lake George (Williams 1962:215). The first such attacks were sufficient to clear the frontier of most of the white inhabitants.
65 On December 9 Clinch reported that all along the frontier, Â“Many families that were comfortable and independent in their circumstances, are now reduced to want; their houses and their all having been plundered and burned by small bands of Indians, who have spread themselves over the Country, taking advantage of their knowledge of the swamps and hammocks to conceal their operationsÂ” (Carter 1960:209). SettlersÂ’ homes were not the only target of violence. On December 7, fourteen troops on a scout were ambushed in a hammock. Two of the men were wounded, and one had a horse shot from under him. About that same time, government employees cutting timber on DraytonÂ’s Island were attacked, but managed to escape (Potter 1966:100). In a letter to the Secretary of War dated December 8, acting Governor Walker reported having received Â“numerous applicationsÂ” for protection, from Â“the most respectable sources,Â” stating that danger to the frontier was imminent (Carter 1960:206). The Florida frontier was clearly in a state of crisis. General Clinch worried that a slave uprising would render the situation hopeless: Â“All the information I receive in relation to the movements of the Indians, represent them as being in considerable force, and manifesting a determination to engage in War, murder, and plunder. It appears also that they are joined by the negroes, and if they are not promptly put down, this spirit may extend to the plantationsÂ” (Carter 1960:210). By December 12, as many as 100 citizens were encamped nightly within the pickets of Fort Brooke (Knetsch 2003:69). About 30 of these had organized as mounted rangers, and assisted in nightly patrols (Carter 1960:211). To complicate matters at Fort Brooke, after the murder of Charley Emathla, bands of Indians disposed to emigration sought refuge at Fort Brooke (Mahon 1985:101). Between the friendly Indians and citizen refugees, the tiny outpost on Tampa Bay was groaning at the seams, yet there was an acute shortage of arms and ammunition. Captain Frances S. Belton, commanding the small garrison, must have felt like an easy target. He lived with the daily expectation of an attack (Carter 1960:211). In a report dated December 1, Belton stated that Fort Brooke was under the constant surveillance of the Peas Creek bands led by Black Seminole Harry. This superior force was successful in stealing horses and cattle from the outpost. Belton reported that on December 8, the warriors had taken six horses and an African American attached to the post (Boyd 1951:99). To make matters worse, communication
66 between Fort Brooke and Fort King had been broken up, as in several instances the Indians had Â“stopped the runners, taken and broken open the lettersÂ” (Carter 1960:214). In preparation for the anticipated hostilities, General Clinch fortified his Auld Lang Syne plantation 35 miles from the Cove of the Withlacoochee. A twelve foot high picket work was thrown up around the plantationÂ’s buildings, with a blockhouse mounting one cannon on the east end. Captain Augustus Drane supervised the work, and when the fortification was complete, Clinch gave it the name Fort Drane. The local settlers quickly sought the protection of the new stockade. Soon, 150 settlers were huddled there without adequate food or clothing; most having fled their homes in haste (Mahon 1985:107). On December 16, Walker wrote to the Commander of the U. S. Naval Yard at Pensacola seeking maritime aid, as the Seminoles were adept at Â“escaping from pursuit and transporting themselves from point to point on our coastÂ” (Carter 1960:294). On December 20, Walker wrote to the Secretary of War that he was apprehensive of an attack on white settlements near the coasts and along rivers. Walker asked for a detachment of boats of shallow draft, to cruise along the coast and ascend the rivers to protect the citizens and cut off points of possible retreat (Carter 1960:295-296). Seminole chief Alligator later told his captives that the Seminoles had built large canoes, with which they were transporting their women and children to places of concealment in the Everglades (Laumer 1995:239-240). When Governor Eaton returned to Florida in late December, he happened to meet US Navy Master Commandant Thomas T. Webb in Pensacola, when the latter brought his sloop-of-war Vandalia into the harbor. Eaton handed Webb a requisition for the men and supplies necessary to fulfill WalkerÂ’s request (Buker 1997:17-18). Webb ordered Lieutenant Edward T. Doughty to proceed in the Vandalia with 29 sailors and marines, to Tampa Bay, with orders to run along shore as close to land as possible, and to intercept any Indians traveling by canoe (Buker 1997:18). On December 18, a baggage train under Colonel John Warren was ambushed near PayneÂ’s Prairie, defeated, and their baggage taken. The Indians killed five horses, wounded six men, and set the wagon afire. The next day, all of the baggage was recovered except four kegs of powder (Carter 1960:291; Potter 1966:101). While at Micanopy during the last week of December, CallÂ’s volunteers pursued a party of 27
67 Seminoles who had just burned the nearby Hargan farmstead. The troops fought a brief but sharp action with a loss of four wounded. Four Seminoles were killed (Potter 1966:101). Preparations for War Documentary evidence suggests that the Seminoles and their allies laid careful plans in the days prior to the outbreak of hostilities. War chief Halpatter Tustenuggee ( Alligator ), in a statement given after his capture, claimed that the various bands planned the offensive in concert for at least a year, and were in close communication throughout the war (Laumer 1995:239-241). The plan was multifaceted, and well executed. The time between the signing of the treaty of Fort Gibson and the scheduled January 1836 emigrations seems to have been put to effective use by the Seminoles and their allies. Women and children were carried to places of concealment in the Withlacoochee Cove, the Everglades and the area around the headwaters of Pease Creek. Alligator stated that the Seminoles had used large canoes to transport their families down the west coast to the Everglades. They were apparently observed in this act on more than one occasion. On December 20, 1835 acting Governor George K. Walker informed Secretary of War Lewis Cass that Â“A large party of Indians are reported to have been between the Suwannee, and St. Marks Rivers, with a great number of Canoes in which they transport themselves along the coast, and up the creeks, rivers & inlets &c making into the sea with great facilityÂ” (Carter 1962:300). Walker had, four days earlier, requested the aid of a maritime patrol to check the movements of the Indians who were capable of Â“transporting themselves from point to point on our coastÂ” (Carter 1962:300) In January of 1836 south Florida settler C. Fitzpatrick wrote to General R. K. Call that the Indians maintained villages and agricultural fields in the Everglades and that Â“many canoes with women and children, and some men, have been sent there some time agoÂ” ( American State Papers 7:219). When friendly Indian spies from the Bunce rancho fell in with a group of hostiles in August of 1836, the warriors confirmed that Â“the great body of the Seminoles had built many Canoes & had actually gone over with their families to some of the Islands in the Everglades, south of Charlotte HarbourÂ” ( Mix Journal August 16, 1836). Even the press,
68 it seems, was aware of the SeminolesÂ’ movements. The December 24 edition of the Jacksonville Courrier reported that, the Seminoles, in the wake of Charley EmathlaÂ’s murder, Â“have retired in a body to a large swamp near their villages, and are carrying their wives and children to places of security.Â” Prewar reconnaissance missions were aimed at estimating the offensive power of US troops, and the defense capabilities of the citizens of FloridaÂ’s frontier settlements. In April of 1835, General Clinch reported to the Adjutant General that large numbers of Indians had been reported on the east coast from Mosquito Inlet to Indian River (Carter 1962:130). Captain Belton reported that Fort Brooke was under the constant surveillance of the Pease Creek bands (Brown 1991:99 and 1995:304; Laumer 1995:1). Cohen states that Osceola himself had visited some white settlements prior to the outbreak of hostilities Â“ostensibly with the intention of selling cattle and ponies, &c., and of laying in stores for his intended emigration to the West. His real motive was, no doubt, to ascertain their state of preparation, and the opinions which they entertainedÂ” (Cohen 1964:67). Perhaps most disturbing to the wealthy planters on the frontier, the prewar plan also seems to have included an organized system of recruiting visits aimed at plantation slaves. Black Seminole leaders Abraham and John Caesar, accompanied at times by Seminole chief Yaha Hadjo, visited the plantations of east Florida, promising freedom and plunder to those who would rise up in revolt when hostilities commenced (Mahon 1985:128; Porter 1943:18). It is possible that these recruiting missions extended as far south as Indian River and Cape Florida. Following the murder of the Cooley family in January of 1836, Miami River planter Richard FitzpatrickÂ’s overseer James Wright faced a near revolt while attempting to evacuate the plantationÂ’s slaves (Black 1981:40). The most extensive preparations for war involved procuring and stockpiling arms, ammunition, livestock, produce and other goods necessary for subsistence. There were several avenues by which the Seminoles could procure needed supplies for stockpiling. Despite mounting tensions in 1824 and 1835, legal trade at approved outposts, as well as informal trade with settlers, continued uninterrupted. It is also reasonable to assume that in the days before they made their hostile intentions known, the Seminoles and Black Seminoles planted additional crops for stockpiling.
69 Before the outbreak of hostilities put an end to legal trade with the Seminoles, they could, and did, purchase large quantities of arms, ammunition and powder in preparation for war (Carter 1960:61; Mahon 1985:89; Porter 1943:18). After the October 1834 council which was apparently a turning point in the SeminolesÂ’ decision to fight rather than negotiate, the chiefs had used a significant portion of their annuity payment to purchase as many as five whole kegs of powder (Carter 1960:61). We learn from Mahon (1985:135) that in the days prior to the war, the Seminoles had purchased almost all of the powder supply in St Augustine. After his capture in 1841, Halleck Tustenuggee revealed that he had buried many kegs of powder for use in the war. At the time of his capture, he claimed he still had five kegs in reserve (Sprague 1848:482). The Seminoles also exploited illegal trade opportunities to add to the weapons stockpile. The Spanish fishermen were an excellent source of arms procurement. Fitzpatrick reported to Call that a Spanish vessel had landed arms and ammunition at Charlotte Harbor, intended for the Seminoles ( American State Papers 7:218-219). Porter reports that Black Seminole Abraham built a reserve of ammunition and made arrangements for Â“a continued supply of powder and lead during the hostilities, whenever they should break outÂ” (Porter 1943:18). Plantation slaves and free blacks also undoubtedly contributed greatly to the SeminolesÂ’ prewar efforts. Porter states that even a year after the outbreak of war, Abraham was Â“still receiving consignments of powder, disguised as barrels of flour, from a free Negro in St. AugustineÂ” (Porter 1943:18). Free blacks and Black Seminoles provided more than just goods to the prewar effort. AlligatorÂ’s statement indicates that the blacks at Tampa Bay, presumably government paid interpreters, notified the hostile bands that DadeÂ’s command was commencing the march to Fort King (Laumer 1995:239). Ample evidence also suggests that in the days before the war, the Seminoles and Black Seminoles executed a series of plundering raids aimed at securing livestock and provisions. Knetsch (2003:69) has noted a dramatic increase in raids upon livestock and crops of the white settlers in the days before the war. In November of 1834, just one month after the tense council at Fort King, the inhabitants of Hillsborough County petitioned the Secretary of War for protection, as they had suffered Â“very serious lossesÂ”
70 of cattle to Seminole raiding parties (Carter 1960:69-70). On November 3, Clinch reported to the Adjutant General that, a few days earlier, a party of nine warriors had appeared on ClinchÂ’s property near Lake George, occupied by a Mr. Switzer, and plundered and burned the buildings. Apparently it was not their first visit to the Switzer farm, for Williams (1962:215) relates that in May of that same year, an Indian named Olapotha Hajo had taken deliberate aim and fired upon one of the laborers. On their later visit, Williams states, the Indians Â“robbed the house of such articles as they could carry away, and then burned the buildings to the ground, taking away with them a negro boy, who some time after escaped and returned to his master, Mr. Woodruff. About this time, Mr. Kerr, a public surveyor, while running lines west of Lake George, was fired on by the savages and driven offÂ” (Williams 1962:215). Boyd (1951:250) reports that after the murder of Charlie Emathla on November 26, Â“parties of roaming Indians were observed with increasing frequency across the entire frontier, and the alarmed Alachua settlers abandoned their homes and congregated for safety in or near emergency stockades.Â” In late November word reached Fort Drane that a party of Indians was committing depredations in the neighborhood. A scouting party that lay in wait for the group fired upon and killed one warrior. Two more escaped. When the soldiers examined the pack of the Indian they had killed, it was found to be Â“full of stolen propertyÂ” (Bemrose 1966:36). Around December 9, a party of about 30 warriors attacked the Simmons home about eight miles from Micanopy, where they Â“took a drove of fat hogs out of their pen and drove them offÂ” (Florida Historical Society 1925a:18). The country store of Captain Saunders was plundered around this same time (Carter 1960:211). The Priest plantation near Wacahouta was attacked on December 17, with Â“damage to property and loss of stockÂ” (Boyd 1951:58). A government baggage train was attacked and captured on December 18. The following day, the Seminoles plundered and burned the house of Mr. Hargan (Florida Historical Society 1925b:21). When Call arrived at Micanopy (Fort Defiance) in the last week of December, he found the frontier in a distressed state of affairs: the inhabitants huddled at the forts and stockades; having abandoned their homes for a distance of 50 miles around the Indian
71 boundaries, while the Seminoles were Â“traversing the Country at will burning & destroying where ever they appearÂ” (Carter 1960:216). Shortly thereafter Call received an express informing him that the Indians had begun to plunder and destroy in the area around Suwannee Old Town (Carter 1960:216-217). Perhaps the most telling statistic is that offered by Potter (1966:5), who states that, based upon reported losses, the agent of Indian Affairs in Tallahassee estimated that the Seminoles had driven off 25,000 head of cattle from the frontier by 1836. These numbers may have been somewhat exaggerated, however. Settlers were remunerated for lost cattle by the quarter master at Black Creek, which may have encouraged Â“overestimationÂ” of livestock losses. Potter (1966:24) quotes a Mr. Daniels as saying Â“IÂ’ve lost a good many things which the government wonÂ’t pay me for; I must make it up in cattle.Â” Even if we allow for exaggeration, though, it is clear that the Seminoles and their allies were systematically procuring an enormous number of cattle in the days before the war through raids upon settlements. The plan also involved preemptive destruction of the infrastructure. When Louis Pacheco was sent ahead of DadeÂ’s column to examine the road at the Hillsborough and Withlacoochee rivers, he found that both bridges had been burned (Laumer 1995:242). In February of 1836, Territorial Delegate Joseph M. White reported to the QuartermasterÂ’s office that the Indians had previously burned all of the bridges between Fort King and Tampa Bay (Carter 1962:235). Based upon these accounts, there can be little doubt that the Seminoles and Black Seminoles had formulated, and were pursuing, a systematic plan for the coming war.
72 Chapter Four Trade, Plunder and Acquisition of Goods During the War On December 28, 1835 events took a much more serious turn when, by means of a series of simultaneous, well orchestrated attacks, the Seminoles declared their intent to fight rather than emigrate. Two companies of regulars under Major Francis L. Dade, enroute from Fort Brooke to reinforce Fort King, were ambushed in a pine barren on the morning of December 28. By four in the afternoon, all but 3 of the 108 men lay dead. That same afternoon, at Fort King, a band of sixty warriors led by Osceola killed Indian Agent Wiley Thompson and his companion First Lieutenant Constantine Smith, as they strolled outside the pickets after dinner. Osceola later stated that his party had lain concealed in the surrounding hammock for two days; attempting to draw ThompsonÂ’s spirit out of the fort. About a mile away from the fort, sutler (storekeeper) Rogers, two of his clerks, a Mr. Hetzler and a boy were seated for dinner, when they were fired upon by another band of warriors who had been concealed nearby. The warriors shot and killed the entire party, mutilated their bodies, and took their scalps. After plundering the store, the raiders put it to the torch (Knetsch 2003:70-72; Mahon 1985:103-107; Sprague 1848:88-91). After the attacks were executed, the parties met at the predetermined rendezvous in the Wahoo Swamp, where there was much celebration. OsceolaÂ’s war party arrived Â“loaded with all kinds of goods,Â” the scalps taken at Fort King were placed upon a pole for display, and there was much celebration (Sprague 1848:91). The war had Â“officiallyÂ” begun. Before the events of December 28, 1835, some of the military leaders and government officials had held out hope that the Seminoles could be pacified, and the frontier quieted. After this series of attacks, the whites finally understood that they were in a state of war. This was apparently something that the Seminoles had known for quite some time.
73 Within a few days of these occurrences, while nearly all of the regular and volunteer forces were engaged in protecting the middle and western frontier, the Indians commenced a full scale attack upon the eastern plantations south of St. Augustine, and the theater of war now encompassed virtually the entire northern peninsula (Gold 1927:52). Attacks Below St. Augustine General Hernandez was not completely caught by surprise by the attacks on the plantations. In early November, he had received intelligence that a group of Seminoles and Black Seminoles of King PhilipÂ’s band were concentrated near the David Dunham plantation and were Â“tampering with the negroes, particularly those on the plantation of Messrs. Cruger and Depeyster. After receiving this information, Hernandez had alerted his militia force to be on the ready. Battalions were raised, but due to a shortage of muskets, many were obliged to arm themselves with fowling pieces, or what other arms they could procure (Cohen 1964:88; Florida Historical Society 1925a:15). There was also a shortage of powder in St. Augustine, because the Indians had previously purchased almost all of the supply (Mahon 1985:135). Fearful of the threat posed by a Seminole/black alliance, Hernandez had on December 7 ordered Colonels John Warren of the Second Militia Brigade and J. W. Mills of the First, to muster the men assigned to them, and to march up to Jacksonville, Mandarin and Whitesville, where they were to establish posts. They were instructed to maintain a mounted guard at each location, and to Â“take into custody all slaves and free persons of color, except that they are in the actual service and presence of their owners, overseers and employers,Â” and to confine them, subject to civil authorities (Florida Historical Society 1925a:14). By December 17th, more troops were in motion, with orders to protect the plantations at Mosquito, Tomoka and Matanzas. Company G, Florida rangers, under the command of Captain George L. Philips, was stationed at Picolata. Mounted Companies B and C, and Lieutenant Mathew SolanaÂ’s detachment were ordered to patrol the area between the coast and the St. Johns River, from Matanzas to Mosquito, and as far west as Spring
74 Garden. Major Benjamin A. Putnam and Company A, St. Augustine Guards under the direction of Captain Kingsly B. Gibbs, proceeded to Rosetta plantation, and established headquarters there on December 21 (Boyd 1951:59-60; Cohen 1964:86-87). Hernandez also set up two supply depots south of St. Augustine; one at his Matanzas plantation known as St. JosephÂ’s, and another on the Mala Compra plantation (also owned by Hernandez), at the northern border of Mosquito County (Gold 1927:52). The troops, now in place, would not have to wait long to see action. The peace was first broken by a warning. The slaves on the Stamp and Hunter plantation had celebrated Christmas Eve with a dance. The following day a servant of Mrs. Sheldon, whose husband managed the Cruger and Depeyster plantation, reported that she had seen several Indians there with war paint on their faces, Â“which was a sign that they meant to cause troubleÂ” (Gold 1927:52). Mrs. Sheldon alerted other area families, and a general evacuation began. That very morning, Black Seminole John Caesar had attempted to lure Mr. Hunter from his plantation house by offering to trade for cattle. Mr. Hunter, having been apprised of the SeminolesÂ’ intentions, declined to step outside; a decision that no doubt saved his life (Boyd 1951:62). As this was taking place, the Sheldons and other families were making hasty retreats to safer ground: Â“We took our slaves and our families, crossed the H illsboro River, where we left the slaves, and took the women and children on board a schooner which happened to be anchored at the inlet. At daylight I returned to find the slaves had escaped to the Indians, of which I found later there were 150 warriorsÂ” (Gold 1927:52). Events moved at a lightning clip once the attacks commenced. Boyd (1951:63) states that on the first day, the Indians plundered the Stamp and Hunter plantation and the Cruger and Depeyster place, then plundered and burned the plantation of David R. Dunham. The next night the destruction was extended to all of the dwellings in New Smyrna. After daylight on the following day, the Indians set fire to the Stamp and Hunter and Cruger and Depeyster plantations, but spared the corn houses on both. It was later learned that the slaves of Cruger and Depeyster had secreted an advance party of Indians until the main body came up, and had supplied the raiders with a boat from the Cruger and Depeyster plantation (Potter 1966:118; Sheldon 1930:193), with which they crossed the
75 river and fired the Dummett dwelling and the Radcliff property (Boyd 1951:64). For some reason the Dummett house did not burn (Boyd 1951:63). The following day, the Indians plundered Dunlawton, owned by George and John Anderson, and then proceeded to the Williams and Heriot plantations. At the Williams estate, the house was burned, but the sugar house and the remainder of the estate were spared. At HeriotÂ’s, all of the buildings, including the sugar works, were burned. Here the Indians also carried off eighty slaves (Boyd 1951:64). On December 29, Lieutenant SolanoÂ’s detachment joined Putnam at his Rosetta headquarters. Putnam ordered Solano to proceed to Carrickfurgus. From there, Solano reported the next day that he had seen a considerable light in the sky in the direction of several plantations to the south. Around this time, Hunter received permission from Putnam to return to his plantation to remove such valuables and slaves as he could. When he returned to Rosetta, Hunter reported that he had narrowly escaped the raiding parties, and that his slaves had been fired upon. He also reported the destruction of properties between New Smyrna and Rosetta, and said that he had seen several of Cruger and DepeysterÂ’s slaves among the Indians, with painted faces (NA RG94: Reel 124). Upon hearing that the Indian force was strengthened by plantation slaves, Putnam became concerned that his small force at Rosetta would be overpowered in the event of an attack. The hammocks surrounding the property on the north and south afforded hiding places for hostile forces, and might allow attackers to surround PutnamÂ’s force and the citizens who had sought refuge at Rosetta. Putnam decided to move his headquarters to the Bulow plantation, and Rosetta was abandoned (NA RG94: Reel 124). Unfortunately, John von Bulow, Jr., the proprietor of the Bulowville plantation, did not appreciate the good sense in this arrangement. He had enjoyed a long standing and amicable relationship with the local Seminole and Yuchi bands, and he felt that the presence of troops on his homestead might enrage the Indians and invite an attack. Besides, he told Putnam, if he was the subject of an attack he and his more than three hundred slaves could fend for themselves. Bulow resisted the occupation and went so far as to load his cannon with a blank charge and fire it at PutnamÂ’s approaching troops. Putnam responded to BulowÂ’s resistance by placing him under arrest and confining him in one of his own outbuildings. He was not permitted to dine at his own table, nor was he
76 later permitted to remove any personal belongings when the troops loaded all of his wagons with supplies and abandoned the post (Boyd 1951:59-65; Knetsch 2003:80). On January 4, 1836, Captain John S. Williams, commanding Company C, was dispatched to Spring Garden on the St. Johns River to remove ForresterÂ’s slaves and such of his provisions and valuables as could be saved. WilliamsÂ’ men arrived that evening, and found that the slaves had joined or been taken by the Indians. He reported that the plantation had been destroyed: Â“Every building, all the forage and provision, and even part of the cane growing in the fields have been consumed. The negro houses, Mr. ForresterÂ’s dwelling, and out houses appeared to have been burnt Â– some days since, the sugar works were set on fire more recently, and the remains were still burning at the time of my arrivalÂ” (NA RG94: Reel 124). Williams felt that a large force must have assailed the plantation: Â“as the prints of footsteps were numerous, and it would necessarily require a considerable body of men to capture the whole of a gang of 150 NegroesÂ” (NA RG94: Reel 124). Potter reports that the war party destroyed enough sugar cane to produce ninety hogsheads (barrels) of sugar, as well as thirty hogsheads of sugar ready for market. They carried off one hundred and sixty two slaves, absconded with Â“a large number of mules and horses,Â” and killed a Mr. Woodruff and a slave (Potter 1966:117). In his January 7 report to the Adjutant General, Hernandez described the destruction resulting from the SeminolesÂ’ raids upon the plantations below St. Augustine: Â“The Mosquito settlements have all been visited by them, and those of them which have not been burned have been more or less pillagedÂ” (NA RG94: Reel 124). Hernandez had ascertained that the Indians had left the Mosquito plantations about a week prior, but he felt strongly that they would return: Â“Â… they have with the utmost care preserved the corn and other provisions of which the crop had been extremely ample, sparing the houses in which they were found: which course of conduct it is not believed would have been pursued but under a determination to return and take possession of them Â…Â” (NA RG94: Reel 124). Hernandez himself now took the field, leaving Colonel Joseph Sanchez in charge at St. Augustine. He established his headquarters at DarleyÂ’s plantation, where he encountered Putnam. Putnam had with him one of Cruger and DepeysterÂ’s slaves; a man named Castello, who had been captured by Lieutenant Douglas Dummett. Castello gave
77 Putnam the distressing information that John Caesar was indeed planning to return to gather the provisions that had been spared during the plantation raids. Hernandez and Putnam immediately determined to scour the river banks and hammocks in order to intercept the raiding party and prevent such an action. They were too late: the marauders had fled at least two days before (Cohen 1964:88-89). CohenÂ’s narrative suggests their destination: Â“With these negroes, amounting to more than 300, and all the plunder and provisions which they could collect, they moved off to their town at TohopkelekyÂ” (Cohen 1964:88). Upon his return to DarleyÂ’s, Hernandez learned of the murder of a Mr. Llenovar, who had gone with his younger brother to BayarÂ’s plantation to gather corn. As the two men were loading their wagon, the elder Llenovar was shot. The younger escaped into the bushes, where he heard the Indians say that they intended to visit WeedmanÂ’s plantation that night. The Indians moved off towards Deep Creek, whereupon young Llenovar escaped to warn the Weedman family, who wisely fled for St. Augustine. The news of LlenovarÂ’s murder caused panic in the city of St. Augustine. Hernandez returned to the city to calm the citizens there (Cohen 1964:91). On January 9, Hernandez received an express from Putnam in which the latter reported that two-thirds of his volunteer troops were near revolt, as they were impatient to return home to see to their own families and businesses. Twenty two men had drafted and signed a petition asking to leave the public service. Their concerns were well founded, for the situation in St. Augustine was critical. Of the seventy citizen soldiers who remained in St. Augustine, only half were said to have a serviceable firearm (Mahon 1985:135). The petition came to the attention of J. W. Drysdale, Assistant Adjutant General, who replied directly to Putnam that reinforcements were expected from Charleston, and that PutnamÂ’s men would be relieved at the first possible moment (NA RG94: Reel 124). In the meantime, Hernandez ordered Putnam to employ the men in removing provisions from the various plantations still untouched, in order to break the monotony of camp life brought on by the departure of the Seminoles (Knetsch 2003:80). Putnam dispatched Sergeant Cooper and five men to Dunlawton with two flat boats, and orders to bring away the corn there, to keep it from falling into the hands of the Indians. On the way, they anchored near Oak Forrest to await the incoming tide. Upon
78 going ashore, they found traces of very recent activity. The doors of all the buildings were thrown open, a quantity of new rope was strewn about the yard. Cooper felt certain that there were Indians present. He dispatched one of Mr. BulowÂ’s slaves in a canoe, to alert Putnam of the return of the Indians. Putnam manned all the boats he could get and proceeded south with his company and the Mosquito company; arriving at Oak Forrest about 8 p.m. There he found the remainder of a Pipe of rum, which had been tapped. At the boiling house he found that another Pipe of rum had been taken. Missing from the corn house was a quantity of new rope, and signs that boat sails had been cut up and carried off. Feather beds and ticking had been removed from the beds (NA RG94: Reel 124). Cohen (1964:92) states that Â“a quantity of lead had been cut from the sugar boilers, the household furniture had been broken up, and as much injury done to the premises as could be effected (sic) without fire.Â” From there, Putnam proceeded to DarleyÂ’s plantation, which he found intact. In the West Piazza, he found a dog that had apparently been shot. He then determined to proceed to Dunlawton. As he passed Colonel DummettÂ’s plantation, he saw a large smoke to the southwest. Proceeding to Dunlawton, he came alongside Sergeant Cooper, who informed him that the smoke arose from AndersonÂ’s dwelling house at Dunlawton. Sergeant Cooper related that the house had been set afire about sunset, and that he had seen the Indians moving about the flames (NA RG94: Reel 124). Putnam took Cooper and his men off of the flat they occupied and onto his own boat, then proceeded to Dunlawton, where they arrived about 3 a.m. Upon landing, they found the AndersonsÂ’ house and a number of slave houses engulfed in flames. The corn house and sugar house were as yet untouched, and the Indians had penned the cattle. Believing that the Seminoles would return to gather provisions and cattle, Putnam positioned his men about the plantation to await their arrival. Shortly after daylight, a sentinel reported the approach of two Indians. The troops waited until the men were within range, and then opened fire upon them. One fell dead immediately. The other made it only a short distance before he, too, fell (Knetsch 1998:3). The firing brought reinforcements of Indians from the sugar house, about a mile up the road. Because there was a thick scrub between PutnamÂ’s forces and their boats on the river bank, the troops fell back to a burned out building and continued to fight. The
79 Indian reinforcements kept arriving. The men were ordered to retreat to the boats. One participant described what happened next in a letter published in a local newspaper: Â“We went as far as the boats when they all rushed upon us, we ran back then, as we saw that if we did attempt to get into the boats we would certainly be massacred. We kept on fighting when a party of about fifty on horses compelled us to retreatÂ” (Knetsch 1998:3). The men withdrew in earnest this time, but matters turned desperate when the troops found that the tide had gone out, and the boats were mired in muck. The Indians, after the false retreat, did not rush the boats until the troops were shoving off. They now poured a galling fire in upon the retreating soldiers. In their haste to retreat, most of the men had not taken care to keep their flintlock muskets dry (Knetsch 2003:82). The troops found themselves inundated with a fire they could not return. Of the 38 men involved in the action, seventeen were wounded, and slave Will, who belonged to John Anderson, had been killed while attempting to push off the boats (Boyd 1951:64-65; Knetsch 2003:83; Strickland 1985:39). The SeminolesÂ’ loss was about ten killed, and many wounded (Cohen 1964:95-96). The number of Seminoles and Black Seminoles who fought at Dunlawton was estimated to be around 120 (Knetsch 1998:3). In their retreat, the troops were forced to leave behind the ammunition and provisions which they had placed upon flatboats before the battle. It was all they could do to escape with their lives (Knetsch 2003:83). The wounded were removed to Bulowville, where the house was used as a hospital. SolanoÂ’s force was ordered to join Putnam at Bulowville, but this did not strengthen the force by much. With the reinforcement of SolanoÂ’s troops, the number of men at BulowÂ’s was still only 55. Hernandez, realizing that his force was badly outnumbered, ordered the abandonment of the post. The troops returned to St. Augustine, where two of the injured later died from their wounds (Knetsch 2003:83). Colonel Sanchez brought his fifty men from St. Augustine to St. Josephs. From there, they were able to collect and bring away all of the slaves belonging to Bulow, Williams, Dupont and Hernandez, and such property as they could remove. The slaves were ordered to be taken to Anastasia Island (separated from the mainland by the Matanzas River), presumably to prevent them from aiding or joining the Seminoles. Twenty-five of DummettÂ’s slaves sickened and died there, many from tuberculosis (Strickland 1985:24).
80 Others died of exposure from an especially cold January (Griffin 2003:172). Once the slaves had been placed on Anastasia the troops withdrew to St. Augustine, and the country below was effectively abandoned by the small and battered militia force (Cohen 1964:96, Knetsch 2003:83). The withdrawal of the militia from Bulowville left the Indians free to plunder the remaining plantations at a leisurely pace, and apparently they did so. When regular troops returned to the area below St. Augustine in late February, some of the plantations were as yet undisturbed. In his February 24 journal entry, M. M. Cohen, an officer of the Left Wing, noted that as of that date, both the Mala Compra plantation of Joseph Hernandez and LongÂ’s plantation were still intact. Cohen states that on the same day, a scouting party visited Orange Grove plantation of Samuel Williams and found the sugar mill burned. The mill at St. Joseph had also been destroyed, Â“but the lead taken from neither, whence a conjecture that the Indians have never repeated their visit, after firing those buildingsÂ” (Cohen 1964:142). DupontÂ’s and LongÂ’s plantations were not destroyed until sometime in May, when Mr. Dupont appeared in the city of St. Augustine and reported that the Indians had destroyed his buildings, carried of his slaves, and killed Mr. Long (Cohen 1964:141 n ). At Spring Garden, which the left wing visited on March 19, the troops found fresh tracks. Following them, Cohen proceeded to a potato field, Â“where the soil is freshly turned up, and the potatos (sic) still strewing the field Â… Following it up, I find recent fires, and moss collected around, with traces of cattleÂ” (Cohen 1964:156). A trail led through the sugar cane field and to the waterÂ’s edge, where was found a dugout canoe with paddles still wet, fastened to a tree. Inside the boat were Â“two piles of potatos carefully packed, and by the side of the canoe, a parcel of sugar cane trimly clipt, as if ready to be put in by the IndiansÂ” (Cohen 1964:156-157). Two Indians were spotted on the opposite bank, and another was seen entering the hammock (Cohen 1964:156-157). A party sent into the hammock found a camp of six palmetto huts, hastily abandoned, with fires still burning: Â“The palmettos are still green, the cane freshly cut, and portions of garments scattered aroundÂ” (Cohen 1964:157). On the 26th of February, Cohen observed that the bridges along the road from BulowÂ’s, on the line of march, had been destroyed (Cohen 1964:143). At a watering
81 place where the left wing stopped that same day, the troops found and freed Â“a miserable ox, nearly starved to death, tied to a tree by the Indians, who have never returned either to save or slayÂ” (Cohen 1964:144). At McRaeÂ’s, the corn cribs were still burning, and upon falling back to DummettÂ’s, the troops found Â“a fine, fat bullock Â… which the savages had shot and partly skinnedÂ” (Cohen 1964:145). Scouting from McRaeÂ’s on February 27, the troops again encountered fresh signs of Indians and smoldering fires (Cohen 1964:147). On February 27, the Carolina Regiment of volunteers occupied Carrickfergus plantation, which had been almost completely destroyed in the first wave of plantation raids. The troops found that all of the buildings except a fowl house and a slave cabin had been destroyed. The barn was still burning, indicating the recency of the destruction (Cohen 1964:147). The volunteers occupied the camp until March, when they were ordered to Volusia (Strickland 1985:20-21). Upon their withdrawal, the troops had to abandon 23,000 rations for want of transportation. When at last a steam boat was sent to retrieve the rations, it was found that they had fallen into the hands of the Seminoles (Cohen 1964:223). Potter (1966:119) estimated the loss of the planters to be no less than two million dollars; noting that Â“nearly every other plantation from St. Augustine, down, has been laid waste, moveables carried off or destroyed, and the buildings burned.Â” After the war, many of the planters sought relief from Congress for their monetary losses, however; most of the claims languished there and died (Boyd 1951:66; Mahon 1985; Strickland 1985). During the week that the raiders were absent from St. Augustine, the war was carried farther south along the coastal strand. On January 6, local bands attacked William CooleyÂ’s plantation, killing his wife, three children and the childrenÂ’s tutor, who was conducting lessons when the attack took place (Kirk 1977:26; Potter 1966:117). After killing the family, the raiders carried off 21 gallons of Madeira wine, twelve barrels of provisions, 80 hogs, fowl, sheep, three horses, one keg of powder, prepared coontie, more than 200 pounds of lead, $700 worth of dry goods, $480 in specie, the cargo of sugar and cigars salvaged from the Gil Blas and two slaves (Kirk 1977:26; Potter 1966:117). Raiders also carried off a Spaniard named Emmanuel who was apparently working for Cooley at the time (Black 1981:39-40). When Cooley returned to his house the
82 following day, he found the coontie mill still standing, but his store burned. The house had been fired more recently and was still in low burning flames (Kirk 1976:18). News of the attack on CooleyÂ’s family spread rapidly. At New River, FitzpatrickÂ’s overseer James Wright was able to remove the slaves, but not without Â“a great deal of difficultyÂ” (Black 1981:40). Perhaps CooleyÂ’s and FitzpatrickÂ’s slaves had also been subject to the pre-war recruiting efforts of the Black Seminoles. Wright, FitzpatrickÂ’s slaves and the remainder of the white settlers first sought shelter at the Cape Florida lighthouse, where they were joined by regular lightkeeper John Dubose, but after the Indians made their appearance there (Buker 1997:17), the refugees fled to the larger settlements of Indian Key or Key West. Some also fled to Key Vaca. The area around Indian River and New River was thus abandoned (Black 1981:40). CooleyÂ’s slave Peter later appeared at the lighthouse and identified the attackers as members of the local Alabama band who maintained a camp at the head of New River (Kirk 1976:18). From signs about New River and from observing fires from the safety of the lighthouse, Cooley estimated that 200 to 300 Indians were encamped between New River and the Miami River (Kirk 1976:18). In the few days before the refugees arrived at Indian Key, several boatloads of Indians had arrived there to trade. When questioned, they denied any knowledge of the Cooley family murders, and said that they had come to purchase lead and powder. Their request was denied, and they were sent away empty handed (Kirk 1976:25). New River remained the source of activity after its abandonment. Numerous witnesses observed Indians in canoes moving about the river. Captain Robert Armstrong of the Motto reported that more than two hundred blacks had been carried off from New River Inlet in a large Spanish ship that had been seen standing off of New River for several days (Kirk 1977:29). In the days following the attack on the lighthouse at Cape Florida, a band of 70 Indians led by sub chief Chico launched plundering raids from Key Largo northward (Kirk 1977:31). Seminole war parties apparently made several attempts to destroy the lighthouse. Cooley was forced to abandon the light on January 16, 1836, choosing Indian Key as his place of refuge (Buker 1997:17). On January 24, he volunteered to lead Lieutenant George M. Bache and a small group of sailors in the chartered schooner
83 Bahama to the Cape Florida light, where the lower floorÂ’s entrance and windows were boarded up (Buker 1997:19). Dubose refused to return to his post at the Cape Florida lighthouse, on the grounds that his life would be endangered. William Whitehead, his superintendent in Key West, was distressed by DuboseÂ’s refusal, and began corresponding with Stephen Pleasanton, WhiteheadÂ’s superior and Fifth Auditor of the Treasury in Washington, concerning the matter. Cooley, who had moved to Key West, volunteered to man the light if he would have an armed guard. Whitehead, without seeking PleasantonÂ’s approval, offered Cooley DuboseÂ’s $50 per month salary and an additional $100 per month to maintain six armed guards. Cooley hired his guards and returned to the lighthouse in February (Shappee 1961:17). Pleasanton was not pleased with the additional expense which had been offered without his prior approval. He instructed Whitehead to reduce the $100 to $80. Cooley told Whitehead that he could not maintain an adequate guard for that amount, and he resigned his post at the lighthouse. Dubose then agreed to return to the light for the amount of pay Pleasanton had approved. On March 16, he returned to the lighthouse, accompanied by armed guards. As we shall see, these precautions would prove to be inadequate to defend the Cape Florida lighthouse (Shappee 1961:17). While the eastern Seminole bands ravaged the coastal strand, their western counterparts battled the United States regular troops. Under the direction of General Duncan Clinch and militia General Richard K. Call, a combined force of 250 regulars and 500 hundred volunteers marched from Fort Drane on December 29. The troops, encumbered by a heavy wagon train, made slow progress on the march and were easily tracked by Seminole scouts. The Seminoles, it was later learned, were lying in wait at the most likely ford of the Withlacoochee. Not knowing where this ford was, the whites did not go there, but came instead to a spot where they found an abandoned and leaking canoe on the opposite bank. Because the volunteers were due to leave the next day, Clinch did not take the time to build a bridge, but began ferrying troops across in the canoe. Once the entire force of regulars had crossed the river, the men on both sides paused for a rest. Sentinels were posted while the men rested and let their guards down (Knetsch 2003:83; Mahon 1985:108).
84 The Seminoles and their black allies suddenly poured a withering fire upon the unsuspecting troops. The situation was perilous for the 250 regulars who were cut off from their reinforcements on the opposite bank. A pitched battle ensued. Osceola, dressed in a US Army jacket, led the warriors. The regulars were able to hold their position only by three successive bayonet charges, during which one third of the troops fell before the SeminolesÂ’ fire (Mahon 1985:109). With the aid of 27 volunteers who crossed the river during the action, the regular forces were able to withdraw and recross the river. Of the 27 volunteers who crossed the river, fifteen were wounded. The estimated strength of the Seminole and Black Seminole force who had opposed them was at least 250 (Knetsch 2003:84). After ClinchÂ’s retreat, it seemed that the newspapers had nothing but bad news to report: the Dade battle, the destruction of the plantations, the taking, voluntarily or otherwise, of 300 slaves, the murder of the Cooley family and the Withlacoochee battle were reported nearly simultaneously (Knetsch 2003:85). As news of each these events spread to the rest of the peninsula, FloridaÂ’s inhabitants grew ever more fearful. The citizens had every reason to be alarmed. As Knetsch (2003:69) has observed, before this series of well planned and executed attacks, both the military and the settlers had underestimated the SeminolesÂ’ troop strength, and their ability to resist removal. In the days leading up to December 28, as the militaryÂ’s apprehensions had grown, they, perhaps wisely, did not share their apprehensions with the press or the public. Of course the news did finally leak to the press, but even then, the general perception was that among the Seminole nation, there were a handful that were militant, and these could be subdued by a punitive strike from the military. The events of December and January disabused the military and citizenry alike of this notion. At the Battle of Dunlawton Plantation, the Seminole combatants were estimated to be 120 warriors. Across the peninsula in the Battle of the Withlacoochee, more than 250 warriors had stood their ground against the regulars and volunteers under Clinch and Call. Clearly the majority of the Seminoles meant to resist emigration, and was willing to die in the process. The Â“punitive strikeÂ” in the heart of the Seminole stronghold was not punitive in any sense of the word. The troops had advanced into an ambush, fought to
85 extricate themselves, and then gone home, leaving the Seminoles in triumphant possession of the battlefield. To make matters worse, the hostilesÂ’ numbers had been strengthened considerably by the more than 300 slaves who had joined their ranks (Cohen 1964:88; Potter 1966:117-118). This last threat was perhaps the most alarming to the citizenry. Many Florida slaveholders could not imagine that their slaves would willingly revolt. Even when it became clear that many slaves had joined the resistance voluntarily, many chose not to believe the evidence. As we have seen, Seminole subchief Yaha Hadjo and Black Seminole Abraham had visited the plantations in advance of the outbreak of war, promising the plantation slaves freedom and plunder if they would join the Seminole cause. At the time of his writing, when more than 300 plantation slaves had apparently accepted this offer, Cohen preferred to think that most were taken off by force: Â“With but few, very few exceptions, they rejected the overtures, and voluntarily preferred the condition in which fate or providence had placed themÂ” (Cohen 1964:18) CohenÂ’s statement is typical of the thought of the time concerning the master-slave relationship: Â“A vast majority of our colored population, are attached to their owners from motives of gratitude and affection, and neither ask nor seek for an interference which can do them no possible good Â… the relation of owner and owned at the South, is that of the protector and the protectedÂ—the kind, the indulgent masterÂ—the fond, the faithful servantÂ” (Cohen 1964:81). After the Battle of the Withlacoochee, it became difficult to retain such notions. It was widely publicized that some of those who fought most fiercely in that battle were the Â“stolenÂ” plantation slaves (Mahon 1985:111; Sprague 1848:93-94). With this realization came a creeping anxiety. If these slaves had indeed joined the resistance voluntarily, then perhaps no slaveholder was safe. Edward T. Jenckes wrote to a friend of abandoning his Waterford Plantation near the St. Johns River: Â“I have been enabled to remove but little from home and fear I shall not be able much longer even to draw our supplies and provisions from home but leave all to its fate ... I can only employ a few of my most trusty hands and that with cautionÂ” (Tanner 1952:275).
86 The events of December 1835 and January 1836 awakened settlers to the danger about them. If the military and volunteers could not protect the settlers and their families, they would have to take steps to do so themselves. Most everyone living in remote situations now abandoned their homes and fled to the safety of the towns and stockades. Jenckes reported that Â“there is not now in all the country east of the River St. Johns a person attending to his usual avocationsÂ” (Tanner 1952:275). On January 12, Customs Collector Jesse H. Willis at St. Marks wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury of his intention to abandon the Collections station at Fort Marks and seek refuge in Tallahassee, fifteen miles away (Carter 1960:223). As the troops withdrew from the campaign, the depredations escalated. Moses LevyÂ’s plantation, located within three miles of the military fort at Micanopy, was raided and destroyed (Knetsch 2003:85). Florida, it seemed, was under siege. Winfield ScottÂ’s Command Major General Winfield Scott was one of the best and brightest the military had to send, to solve the Florida crisis. His calm and courageous actions in the War of 1812 had earned him his brevet rank. In addition to burning up the military ladder, Scott had authored a book on infantry tactics based on his travels to study the strategies of Napoleon and other European military leaders (Knetsch 2003:87-88; Mahon 1985:140). Not surprisingly, Scott had developed an elaborate plan to subdue the Florida Indians and secure their removal. Three columns would sweep the frontier as they converged upon the Seminole strongholds. The Seminoles, driven before the marching columns, would find themselves surrounded, and would choose surrender over defeat (Knetsch 2003:89). ScottÂ’s plan may have looked good on paper, but the United States military simply was not capable of executing such a complicated plan. During the seven year battle, the standing force of the entire U. S. Army never numbered above 10,000 (Knetsch 2003:5455), with only about 4,000 who were prepared for actual combat (Buker 1997:13). The limited number of regulars, which Knetsch (2003:55) attributes to governmentÂ’s basic distrust of a standing army, meant that the remainder of the burden of protecting the frontier fell to militia, and to the individual families who had staked their claim on
87 Florida soil. The military concerns of the United States were also many: defense of the borders of the nation, both on land and at sea; active Indian wars in Alabama and Georgia; and the responsibility to explore newly acquired lands within the Louisiana Purchase. In the eyes of the military, FloridaÂ’s dispute with the Seminoles was simply one military concern among many (Knetsch 2003:54-55). Even if there had been sufficient manpower to people ScottÂ’s grand campaign, there were other problems. The army lacked the means to provide the equipment, supplies and transportation necessary for the success of such a campaign. Funds were also in short supply, as the military had, prior to the outbreak of the war, been in a period of retrenchment. Fort King had been reopened after an extended closure, Fort Brooke had only recently been regarrisoned, and Congress had not the means to do more (Mahon 1985:94-95). Congress had voted only $80,000 for the conduct of the war. Lieutenant Henry Prince, US Army, remarked that this amount Â“wouldnÂ’t buy provisions enough to stay the stomachs of the musquitos that harrass (sic) the army nowÂ—little as it isÂ” (Prince 1998:6). ScottÂ’s plan called for the three wings to approach the Cove of the Withlacoochee simultaneously, driving before them any hostile bands they encountered. The right wing, commanded by Clinch, was to proceed from Fort Drane, cross into the Cove, and flush the Seminoles from their strongholds. The left wing, under the command of Brigadier General Abraham Eustis, would begin at St. Augustine and sweep westward to Pelaklakaha. The center, commanded by Colonel William Lindsay, would move from Fort Brooke to Chocochatti. Along their routes, the troops were to fire cannons to communicate their positions to one another (Mahon 1985:143). The plan fell apart as soon as the three wings took the field. Colonel LindsayÂ’s center column sallied forth from Fort Brooke, and after facing a near-mutiny among the men, arrived at the deserted village of Chocachatti. The troops waited three days at the village while scouts attempted to locate the other two columns. They finally destroyed the village and returned to Fort Brooke (Knetsch 2003:89). Scott accompanied ClinchÂ’s right column on their march. Going was slow over the difficult terrain and the column fell behind schedule. They did succeed in crossing the Withlacoochee, where they fought a couple of skirmishes. These did not have the desired effect of flushing the Seminoles out of the
88 Cove, but drove them deeper into its recesses. After a limited search of the swamps, the right column recrossed the river and returned to Fort Brooke (Knetsch 2003:89). The left wing, under General Eustis, found it impossible to traverse the entire breadth of the Florida peninsula in the time allotted them. There were no reliable maps, nor were there roads or bridges to facilitate the journey. The appointed rendezvous date Â“came and passed with the left wing still hacking its way through the wildernessÂ” (Mahon 1985:156). The column arrived at their destination of Pelaklakaha five days late for their rendezvous. The next day they burned the deserted village and turned south for Fort Brooke. By March 31, all of the wings had arrived at Fort Brooke (Mahon 1985:156157). Perhaps the most serious flaw in ScottÂ’s plan was that the Seminoles had not read his field tactics manual, nor were they in tune with his plan of operations. They simply did not behave as they should have. Rather than being driven before the march of the columns, the Seminoles had only to use their knowledge of the terrain to conceal themselves and avoid the troops completely; a tactic that had saved many lives during the Patriot War and Andrew JacksonÂ’s offensive (Covington 1993:43-45). Evidence of Trade and Plunder During ScottÂ’s Command In the wake of ScottÂ’s campaign, troops were clustered at Fort Brooke, with the exception of the small forces that had remained to man frontier outposts. Scott now found himself in possession of a large number of volunteer troops whose enlistment would soon expire. He decided to use the troops for scouting missions. During those missions, troops encountered evidence useful to the present discussion. When ClinchÂ’s center wing arrived at Fort Cooper around mid-April, they were greeted warmly by the men there, who Â“were entirely destitute of provisions in consequence of the Indians having intercepted the few beeves which were left by Gen. Clinch, and driven them offÂ” (Potter 1966:182). When the right wing of the army marched to Fort King in late April, they recovered Â“about two hundred head of cattle and several poniesÂ” on the march (Potter 1966:182). On April 17, Prince (1998:40) recorded recovering 20 head of cattle near Camp Chisolm. The troops encamped in a nearby Indian village and placed the recovered cattle in the livestock pen they found there.
89 During the spring and summer of 1836, military officials received numerous reports of a concentration of warriors in the area of Cape Sable on the southwest point of the peninsula. Master Commandant Webb ordered the revenue cutter Washington with Captain Ezekiel Jones, U.S. Revenue Marine commanding, to investigate a reported encampment of Seminoles, with cattle and horses, near the mouth of the Manatee River. Lieutenant William Smith, USN, Assistant Surgeon Charles Hassler, USN and fifteen seamen were dispatched to reinforce the cutterÂ’s crew. The augmented force departed March 16 for Captain William BunceÂ’s rancho at Charlotte Harbor, where they picked up Indian guides. At the Manatee, they did discover a recent encampment with many tracks. The following day, the crew marched ten miles inland without finding any hostiles. They reported that the Indians appeared to be heading south (Buker 1997:20). Webb also dispatched Lieutenant Levin M. Powell, USN, to examine the west coast. Powell departed March 17 in a boat from the sloop-of-war Vandalia with orders to Â“proceed to the examination of the river Manatee, the Mullet Keys and to cruise along the main coast North of Anclote Keys with a view to intercept the hostile Indians in their retreat coastwiseÂ” (Buker 1997:22). While enroute to the Manatee, Powell boarded the Washington to give Jones further orders to examine Charlotte Harbor. After an examination of the Manatee on the 18th uncovered no signs of the hostile force, Powell proceeded on the 19th to Anclote Keys. In the course of his five day examination of the coastline along Anclote, Powell observed many signs of Indians, but none recent. The crew then proceeded to Mullet Keys, where no hostile force was observed (Buker 1997:22). When the Washington returned from its scout of Charlotte Harbor, Captain Jones reported that Lieutenant Smith had, on the 28th and 29th, spotted and observed an Indian encampment at the mouth of the Myacca River, where he counted at least 22 hostiles, and saw many fires nearby. Seeing that his force was outnumbered, Lieutenant Smith sent two Indian guides from BunceÂ’s rancho ashore to fall in with the hostiles. The guides were met onshore by a party of warriors, and after a few tense moments, one of the war party recognized one of the guides. According to Buker, Â“After that the two parties talked. The hostiles said they would have shot white men, and they were very reluctant to pass on any information to Indians working for the Americans. The guides
90 could only report that the warriors were belligerent, determined, and more numerous than SmithÂ’s forceÂ” (Buker 1997:22-23). At ScottÂ’s request, Lieutenant Levin Powell was now dispatched to Charlotte Harbor with orders to blockade the rivers there, to prevent the hostile forces from fleeing to the Everglades while ScottÂ’s forces were in the field. Powell sailed to Charlotte Harbor with a launch, a cutter and 40 men. At the mouth of the bay, they encountered two pirogues of refugees from Josefa Island, where, the night before, a body of about 25 Indians headed by chief Wyhokee had attacked and plundered the settlement. When Powell arrived at Josefa Island, he learned that the attackers had fled to their encampment on a key a few miles away. Powell helped to restore the citizens to their homes. In the meantime, Passed Midshipman Stephen C. Rowan was dispatched, with guides from the Josefa rancho, to investigate the raidersÂ’ camp. They came up with the hostile force the next morning, and were able to approach the camp before they were detected. In the brief but sharp engagement that followed, two Indians were killed and two were captured (Buker 1997:23-24). Powell proceeded to the aid of the refugees. He was shortly joined by the crew of the revenue cutter Dallas commanded by Captain Farnifold Green. When Rowan returned to Josefa, his prisoners were placed aboard the Dallas (Buker 1997:23-24). The Dallas arrived at Fort Brooke with the news of CrewsÂ’ murder and PowellÂ’s skirmish with the hostiles. The prisoner, a mixed blood Indian, revealed that a large number of Seminoles had gathered at the headwaters of Pease Creek, and Â“had large supplies of ammunition at Charlotte HarborÂ” (Potter 1966:180). He further stated that he had been a runner for the Seminoles; procuring powder in Havana (Buker 1997:135). Scott directed Colonel Smith and the Louisiana volunteers to proceed to Charlotte Harbor by boat, where they were to cooperate with Lieutenant Powell. The combined force discovered and burned a large Indian village on the left bank of Pease Creek (Potter 1966:180; Buker 1997:25-26). On a subsequent scout of that area, troops encountered a hastily abandoned camp where they found Â“numerous articles which had doubtless been pillaged from the settlements on the lower part of the peninsulaÂ” (Potter 1966:180-181). On March 17 a Spaniard who arrived at Indian Key to trade acted suspiciously and was detained by a group of citizens. During questioning he revealed that two Indian
91 companions were hiding on a nearby island. A search party captured both Indians. The prisoners revealed that a large number of Seminoles were gathering near Cape Sable, only 28 miles away (Buker 1997:28). When news of this event spread, the citizens of Key West sent a petition to Navy Commodore Alexander Dallas, requesting a permanent establishment of a cutter vessels to cruise off the coast along the southern cape: Â“it is ascertained without a doubt, that a large body of Indians are collecting in the neighborhood of Cape Sable, but twenty miles from Indian Key. Their fires are seen from that island. Parties of straggling Indians are frequently seen between the chain of islands on this coast and the Main LandÂ” (Carter 1960:313). Scott departed for Alabama in mid April, and Clinch left soon after. Then the seemingly inexplicable happened: the United States effectively abandoned the frontier with no plan for a campaign until the fall. The volunteers were discharged following ScottÂ’s failed campaign; many before their terms of enlistment had expired. Only those posts near the settlements of Middle Florida were manned, and these so minimally that often the troops dared not venture outside of the pickets, for fear of being overwhelmed by superior forces of the hostiles. Obviously such small forces could do little to protect the settlements, when it was all they could do to protect themselves. The citizens were bewildered. Their bewilderment soon gave way to panic. There was little for them to do besides congregate near the meager garrisons or leave the state entirely (Carter 1960:281; Sprague 1848:158-159). The protection of FloridaÂ’s frontier now fell to recently appointed governor Richard Keith Call. Richard Keith CallÂ’s Command General Call received a distressing communication from Militia Colonel Francis R. Sanchez on April 25: Â“The Indians have within a few days past spread themselves over the country, committing depredations upon the property of Our Citizens Â– they shot a man at Micanopy Â– have carried off 17 or 18 horses from Fort Drane under the eyes of the garrison Â– have taken 4 of Col. Humphrey (sic); and 2 of Gen. Clinch (sic), Negroes, Fresh Indian Sign is seen daily in the neighborhood of Spring Grove; Micanopy and other parts of the frontiers which indicate a large body of Indians dispersed in various quartersÂ” (Carter 1960:281). In response, Call ordered Sanchez to call out his full regiment. Call
92 also activated the Duval County volunteers, and placed the whole of the militia under the command of Colonel John Warren (Boyd 1955:285-286). Although it seems absurd by todayÂ’s standards to engage a hostile enemy and then withdraw, leaving the enemy in possession of contested territory, there was in fact an explanation for the governmentÂ’s behavior. The military wisdom of the time dictated that combat operations in tropical climates should be minimized during the summer months ( American State Papers 7:859; Knetsch 2003:98; Bemrose 1966; Sprague 1848). It is well to remember that the medical science of the 1840s was not sufficiently advanced to know that mosquitoes and other biting insects were vectors of infectious disease. The escalated rate of diseases in tropical and subtropical climates was attributed to a variety of other conditions which coincided with the summer thunderstorm season and mosquito breeding time. Fevers and miasmas were thought to originate with the Â“effluvia,Â” or noxious vapors, emitted by standing swamp waters. Extended exposure to heat was also considered a contributor to the wave of sickness that accompanied operations in tropical climates (Knetsch 2003:98; Bemrose 1966). The mode of thought that dictated withdrawal in summer months was based on past experience in military campaigns. The summer months, known as the Â“sickly season,Â” were consistently accompanied by a marked increase in infectious disease. One has only to read SpragueÂ’s statistics for the year 1840 to see that illness was a major impediment to operations in Florida: of 4,093 troops in Florida in September of 1840, 1,811 were reported Â“taken sickÂ” in one month (Sprague 1848:336). It did little good to garrison forts at full strength if a significant portion of the men were unfit for duty because of illness. However well founded the governmentÂ’s decision to withdraw troops from the frontier may have been, the result was that Florida was dangerously exposed. And however stunned the Seminoles must have been when the government effectively abandoned the frontier after ScottÂ’s campaign, they were quick to realize the opportunities that lay before them. On April 20, a war party attacked Fort Drane, carrying off seventeen army horses (Carter 1960:281; Mahon 1985:159). By May 1, most of the regulars had withdrawn to summer quarters. Not coincidentally, by that date reports of fresh depredations were arriving almost daily, from across the peninsula. With no effective force to oppose their efforts, the Seminoles and their allies were able to recover
93 from their losses to ScottÂ’s army and gather more resources and allies. They carried off four slaves held by Colonel Humphries, two held by General Clinch and several held by Judge Randal, who resided within 20 miles of Tallahassee. On May 8, a large war party showed themselves around the fort at St. Marks (Carter 1962:231; Williams 1962:244). In early June, a party of about 200 warriors attacked Colonel McIntoshÂ’s Oakland plantation near Micanopy, where they burned the sugar house. Lieutenant Temple marched from Fort Drane to Oakland with eighteen men. There they found the dwelling house on fire, but the store houses, filled with corn, sugar and other goods had been spared. The troops burned the filled store houses to keep the provisions from falling into the hands of the Seminoles (Williams 1962:246). An anonymous writer in Alachua who witnessed this wave of unopposed attacks remarked acidly, Â“Is it not a pity the Indians will not go into summer quarters. They donÂ’t know what is good for their health Â” ( Tallahassee Floridian, May 14, 1836, italics original). The raids that followed abandonment of the frontier in the summer of 1836 were the beginning of a pattern that the Seminoles and their allies would follow with great success until the final days of the war. Simply stated, each year, the end of the government campaign was the beginning of the Seminole campaign. With the exception of the wave of plunder and destruction that took place below St. Augustine during the initial outbreak of hostilities, the majority of the raids upon homes and plantations occurred during the summer months, when troops were withdrawn because of the Â“sickly season.Â” The timing of raids to coincide with the sickly season had two effects. First, because troop strength was so limited, the Seminoles and their allies were free to remove goods from these homesteads at their leisure. Small groups of warriors often invested the forts for days at a time, firing upon all who dared to emerge, thus assuring that others of their party could remove plunder in the surrounding countryside, undisturbed by government troops (Mahon 1985:173, 278, 285; Sprague 1848:111, 253, 325). Those settlers who remained on the frontier or who returned to their homes after the several times when the war was declared at an end, planted crops during the Spring. When the war raged anew just as troops were withdrawn to summer quarters, settlers once again fled their homes, leaving crops standing in the field. Some who were bold
94 enough to return to their homes were fired upon by raiders who had designs of their own on the crops (Williams 1962:255). When the Dupont home was attacked in May of 1836 but apparently plundered at leisure, an editorial in the Tallahassee Floridian decried: Â“Thus you see the effect of summer quarters. The Indians come and go when they please, and burn and destroy with impunityÂ” ( Tallahassee Floridian, August 16, 1836). In late July, a fever outbreak forced the evacuation of Fort Drane. As soon as the troops had departed, the Mikasuki band led by Osceola promptly occupied that post and constructed as many as 150 proper houses, with accommodations for 500-1000 Indians. There they were quietly cultivated produce and enjoyed the 10,000 to 12,000 bushels of corn left standing in the fields there and at the nearby Oakland plantation of Colonel McIntosh (Boyd 1951:289; Williams 1962:247). Their settlement was broken up in August, when a detachment led by Major B. K. Pierce disturbed their repose and drove them into the nearby hammocks (Mahon 1985:177). On the morning of July 16, an attack was made on the small settlement of New Switzerland, located near St. Augustine. The raiders appeared first at the plantation of Colonel Hallowes, where they plundered and burned the house, and carried off one slave. From the Hallowes plantation, the raiding party proceeded to the Colt and the Simmons houses, plundered and burned both. Williams states: Â“The amount of plunder obtained at Col. HalloweÂ’s probably amounted to the value of two thousand dollars. How long they were collecting horses and carrying away their booty, no one can tell. The force at Picolata was barely sufficient to protect the place, and CurryÂ’s volunteers were on the way to Micanopy, escorting the wagon trainÂ” (Williams 1962:248-249). Within a few days, the steam sugar mill belonging to Mr. Ridgely was set afire. On the 28th of July, TraversÂ’ Plantation was destroyed in a similar fashion (Williams 1962:249). After settlers abandoned their homes around Newnansville in September of 1836, Charles Dell reported to troops that he had seen Seminoles in the woods near Colonel Francis SanchezÂ’ San Felasco plantation, and that they had collected cattle, penned them at San Felasco overnight, and driven them off the next day towards Hogtown Prairie (Yelton 1975:326).
95 When three white men and two slaves left Newnansville on September 10 to gather corn in a field about a mile away, they were fired upon by a party of Seminoles who were presumably at the field for the same purpose. All five men escaped, but the cart was left in the hands of the Seminoles. Troops who investigated found that a group of 300 had gathered at San Felasco hammock (Williams 1962:255). On Sept. 15th, a party of nine warriors attacked the Higgenbotham house, seven miles from Jacksonville. The occupants returned fire from the house and the raiders left, carrying off a saddle and bridle from an outbuilding. Their next stop was at the McCormick house, occupied by the Johns family. There they plundered and burned the house, and carried away nine horses Â“a portmanteau that contained one hundred dollars, and other valuable articlesÂ” (Williams 1962:253-254). Seminole activity in the southern peninsula remained heavy during the remainder of 1836. Captain Mervine P. Mix recorded in his journal of June 28 that a friendly Indian who was out hunting fell in with a member of the hostile Mikasuki band, who informed him that the largest part of the Seminoles were gathered in the Everglades near Cape Florida ( Mix Journal June 28, 1836). At Indian Key, Inspector Howe informed Armstrong that a large American schooner had arrived in the Keys to obtain provisions. Howe had approached the boat to board her, but the crew refused to let him come along side. The pilot who brought the ship from Cape Florida reported that the ship was full of blacks who were not shackled. Armstrong noted that Â“her having new sails and copper she could not have been from the coast of Africa, and they must have been Indian negroes taken from New River as she had been seen off New River several days, but as there was no cutter in the vicinity they were unable to detain her or board herÂ” (NA RG94: Reel 120). When Call learned of this incident he wrote to the Secretary of War requesting a naval patrol between New River and Indian Key (NA RG94: Reel 120). On July 17, Captain Armstrong of the Motto was told by a Captain Appling at Knight Key, that a large Spanish sloop had passed through the Cape Nacis Channel from Cape Sable, which was out of the route for such vessels. He believed that the sloop had been to Cape Sable to deliver supplies to the hostiles. On July 20, Lieutenant Stephen Johnston, USN, reported to Commodore Dallas that a report had reached him at St. Marks that a
96 party of Indians was on the Ochlockonee River, and that he had received reports of Â“a small Spanish Schooner that is in the habit of visiting the Ocklockny (sic) for the purpose no doubt of trading with these IndiansÂ” (NA RG94: Reel 120). A few days earlier, Johnston reported to the Dallas that the Seminoles in Baker County had with them Â“a large amount of plunder and many negroesÂ” (NA RG94: Reel 120) On July 23, 1836 the Cape Florida lighthouse was plundered and destroyed (Buker 1997:29-31). The destruction and abandonment of the Cape Florida light not only removed white presence from this harbor, but also virtually assured that both wreckers and hostile Indians would be supplied with a lucrative influx of goods from shipwrecked vessels. The time of the lightÂ’s destruction coincided with the withdrawal of troops from Florida during the Â‘sickly season,Â’ thus there would not be sufficient military force to protect the Cape Florida area until the fall. On August 7, some fishermen from the Bunch rancho told the troops at Fort Brooke that a party of hostile Indians had been at the rancho and stated that an attack was planned on Fort Brooke for that night. The anticipated attack did not materialize, but in late September, it was BunceÂ’s turn to be concerned: he had learned that a war party of 150 was planning to attack his fishing establishment, with Â“the assistance of boats from Charlotte Harbour.Â” Lieutenant Commander Cassin, stationed off of Passage Key in the Grampus, did not name those who would assist the Seminoles in the planned attack, but noted that Â“boats were provided for the purposeÂ” (Dallas to Dickerson, September 18, 1836, Office of Naval Records). Cassin helped Bunce and the 162 residents of his rancho to relocate to Mullet Key, just outside the mouth of Tampa Bay (Carter 1960:332-333). It probably did not escape CallÂ’s notice that Captain Bunce seemed to be awfully well informed of the SeminolesÂ’ plans and movements. On September 14, Call wrote to Commodore Dallas, indicating that he had received a report of two or three hundred hostiles gathered at New River and on the keys along the coast (Carter 1960:331-332). In response, the Vandalia and revenue cutter Washington sortied from Pensacola, bound for Key West, to investigate (Buker 1997:49-50). On October 2, 1836, Lieutenant Powell was dispatched to the area of Cape Florida and New River, where it was reported that more than 200 Indian men, women and children were gathered (Dallas to Dickerson, October 2, 1836, Office of Naval Records).
97 Lieutenant Powell left Key West for Cape Florida on October 3, 1836 and touched at Indian Key three days later to replenish his water supply. Here he learned that, the day before, a war party estimated to be 70 in number had attacked Key Largo, destroying the garden and outbuildings of Captain John Whalton, keeper of the Carysfort Reef Lighthouse. A few days later the Indians attacked the coastal schooner Mary as she was riding at anchor at Key Tavernier. The crew escaped, but the schooner was plundered and burned. After plundering the Mary the war party remained in the area for several days (Buker 1997:51). Call sought permission to conduct a summer campaign. President Andrew Jackson granted his permission for an Â“informalÂ” campaign: he did not offer Call official command of the Florida war. Jackson further qualified his approval of CallÂ’s leadership by stating that Â“If General Jessup, in the course of the campaign, shall move into Florida, and General Scott shall be absent, he will of course, be entitled to, and will assume the commandÂ” (Mahon 1985:162-163). Call nonetheless proceeded upon this conditional authorization. His plan was to feign an attack on the north and east of the Cove, while men and supplies were ferried up the river from below. Once troops and provisions were in place, a major assault on the enemy stronghold would force a surrender (Knetsch 2003:91). As Knetsch has noted, CallÂ’s plan, as had ScottÂ’s, depended upon much too complicated a critical path (Knetsch 2003:91). In order for the campaign to succeed, the needed supplies and troops would have to arrive on time, transportation would have to be adequate and reliable, and weather and travel conditions would have to be favorable. Any one of these contingencies could derail the campaign if conditions were not met. Once again, the government had approved a campaign plan that required ideal circumstances. Not surprisingly, those ideal circumstances did not materialize. Call was forced to wait for the arrival of volunteer forces from several states before he could commence a campaign. While Call waited for troops, disease began to take its toll on the small number of regular and militia troops still in Florida. An outbreak of dengue fever forced the abandonment of Fort Drane. Fort King was soon abandoned due to unhealthiness as well.
98 When, in August, Fort Micanopy was judged too exposed and unhealthy, it too was abandoned. Only forts Brooke and Volusia were now garrisoned to any extent (Knetsch 2003:93). Supply and transportation problems asserted themselves once again, and CallÂ’s planned summer campaign now became a fall campaign. When the contemplated campaign was finally launched on September 29, 1836 Call commenced his march to the Cove. On their march from Montgomery, Alabama to Fort Drane to join CallÂ’s forces, the Tennessee Volunteer brigade Â“discovered a party of Indians collecting cattle; twenty of which they had pennedÂ” (Williams 1962:256). On October 14, Colonel Lane and a regiment of friendly Creeks began the march to the Cove. Enroute, the troops had spotted and followed a Seminole warrior to the Ochlockonee, where they discovered a fresh trail. Following the trail, the troops discovered two abandoned villages, extensive corn fields, cattle and ponies. Farther south they found an extensive village, apparently abandoned in haste. Here they found Â“cattle, hogs, domestic utensils, and several white menÂ’s scalps.Â” About a half mile west, they found another large village Â“with similar improvementsÂ” (Williams 1962:259). The regiment then marched to join General CallÂ’s troops. CallÂ’s men had driven 200 head of cattle to the base camp, Â“and killed probably one hundred, and as many hogs.Â” The Creeks brought the recovered cattle heard to 400 head. Continuing the march, the troops discovered Â“a plain trail that led to a ford where a raft was tied; it had lately been used for ferrying over cattle.Â” Over the course of CallÂ’s campaign, the Creek warriors recovered a total of 700 cattle (Williams 1962:260-262). Leigh Read was ordered to proceed with the Florida volunteers and a few regulars in the steamboat Izard to the mouth of the Withlacoochee, where he was to tow special barges 20 miles upstream and establish a depot. Both vessels were manned by naval forces. Before this could be accomplished, the Izard ran aground and broke up. Read somehow salvaged the operation and at last established the depot on October 22 (Knetsch 2003:94-95; Mahon 1985:180-182). While Read and his men struggled to establish the depot, CallÂ’s troops faced problems of their own. Only one of the several boats needed had arrived to ferry the troops across the Suwannee River. After a lengthy and difficult crossing, the troops
99 arrived at Fort Drane, only to find that the needed troops and provisions had not arrived there. Call and his men waited nine or ten days before the provisions and troops arrived. CallÂ’s force now turned toward its objective of the Wahoo Swamp. On the way, the troops fought two skirmishes with casualties on both sides. The Seminoles had posted themselves to take a stand at the Wahoo Swamp, and a running battle ensued as the troops advanced and the Seminoles retreated (Mahon 1985:179-187). CallÂ’s forces reached a stream that separated his force from the body of the Seminole warriors. Major David Moniac, a full blooded Creek and the first Native American to graduate West Point, boldly entered the dark water to ascertain its depth. He was felled by a single shot. No other attempt was made to cross. A heavy gun battle was carried on across the waters until late afternoon, when the officers decided to disengage, and ordered a retreat. It was later learned that the water at the battle ground was only three feet deep, and had the troops determined to cross the stream, they would have intruded upon the spot where 420 Seminoles, 200 Black Seminoles and their families had lived since the beginning of the war (Knetsch 2003:93-95; Mahon 1985:180-185). CallÂ’s troops fell back on Fort Drane, and from there completed an arduous five day march to Volusia. 600 horses had died on the campaign. The men had been on less than full rations for nearly a month. The only real battle of the campaign had been fought to a draw, and the troops had withdrawn. Upon his arrival at Volusia in late November, Call learned that he had been relieved and the command tendered to Major General Jesup (Mahon 1985:186). Thomas Sidney JesupÂ’s Command Brevet Major General Thomas Sidney Jesup had been conducting a successful campaign against the Creek nation in Alabama when he was called away to Florida. JesupÂ’s experience as quartermaster had acquainted him with the inner workings of the military supply beaurocracy and the difficulties of acquiring and transporting large stores of goods to central points on a fixed schedule. This was especially difficult to achieve in Florida. Knetsch (2003:96-97) has observed that because the war had disrupted industry on the peninsula, supplies destined for the Florida campaigns had to be acquired and shipped from northern ports.
100 The paralysis of FloridaÂ’s production and economy that resulted from the majority of settlers abandoning their homes and business pursuits meant that Florida was not able to produce any appreciable amount of goods for the war effort. FloridaÂ’s immediate neighbors, Alabama and Georgia, were unable to help, as they were currently engaged in fighting the Creek Indians on their own frontiers. Supplies for the Florida war originated from Charleston, New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. Transportation from these ports was costly and complicated, but Jesup knew how to overcome these difficulties (Knetsch 2003:96-97). JesupÂ’s experience with fighting the Creek War had taught him to be flexible in his plan of operations and to let conditions on the ground inform his immediate plan. He was thus the first commander sent to Florida who operated with a fluid strategy. JesupÂ’s orders were to attack the Seminole and Black Seminole strongholds and drive these forces from the area between Tampa Bay and the Withlacoochee River. His immediate plan was to assess the state of operations in Florida, but to do so while continuing offensive operations. There would be no lull in prosecuting the war while Jesup planned his campaign and procured the necessary troops and equipment. Because he was entering Florida in the midst of what the government considered the prime operating season, Jesup preferred to hit the ground in motion (Knetsch 2003:97-98). As Jesup and his forces marched to Volusia where he would assume command, they surprised and overran a Black Seminole village at the head of the Ocklawaha River, where they took into custody 33 slaves who had been taken from Colonel ReesÂ’ Spring Garden plantation, and an Indian who was placed as a guard over them. The slaves stated that they had Â“generally been kept on acorns and such roots as they could dig in the woodsÂ” (Williams 1962:264). In January of 1837 King PhilipÂ’s band again appeared and commenced a new wave of plundering raids in the area below St. Augustine. On the 17th the militia battled a raiding party at HansonÂ’s plantation, where they killed Black Seminole leader John Caesar. Much to the alarm of the whites, most of the raiding party was composed of absconded slaves who had returned to their former plantations to remove goods. Even more alarming, when their camp was routed by troops the next day, the raiders left
101 behind Â“calico, needles, thread, and such articles, which could be identified as having been purchased in St. Augustine shops only a few days earlierÂ” (Porter 1943:402). This new intelligence caused a near panic in St. Augustine. The citizens there were already in a state of anxiety because of an incident which had occurred during the past summer. In August, East Florida District Marshal Samuel Blair had written to the Acting Secretary of State: Â“the present condition of the Country is such as to require unusual vigilance in relation to its slave population, especially in St. Augustine, in the neighborhood of which place the Indians have been constantly lurking Â– Notwithstanding this watchfulness some Negroes did escape and it is generally believed held communication with the Indians; they subsequently returned, and were found secreted in the house of Mr. RodmanÂ’s Negro Woman Rebecca, she with the others was arrested and taken before the MayorÂ” (Carter 1960:328-329). HansonÂ’s plantation, the scene of this latest incident, was located less than two miles below St. A ugustine. Citizens were now more afraid than ever of a joint uprising of blacks both outside, and within, the city (Mahon 1985:197). An incident that occurred in February increased the apprehensions of St. AugustineÂ’s already wary citizenry. Captain James Keogh was approached at his residence on Amelia Island, where the blacks Â“rescuedÂ” from the plantations below St. Augustine were housed. From the manner in which they approached him, Keogh suspected that Allick and Stephen, both servants of General Hernandez, were actually seeking, rather than volunteering, information (Moore 1965:370). In June, Jesup wrote to the Secretary of War that Â“The two races, the negro and the Indian, are rapidly approximating; they are identified in interests and feelings; and I have ascertained that at the battle of the Wahoo, a negro, the property of a Florida planter, was one of the most distinguished leadersÂ” ( American State Papers 7:876). The citizens of Florida had much cause for concern. The numerous scouts around the Withlacoochee succeeded in bringing some parties of Seminoles to battle, while others fled before the advancing troops. These excursions also attest to the success of the SeminolesÂ’ summer plundering raids, as everywhere the troops encountered war camps, they also found large herds of cattle. Traveling with Colonel FosterÂ’s regiment, Lieutenant Prince recorded in his journal that on January 11,
102 troops found a week old trail of Indian and cattle going into the Wahoo Swamp (Prince 1998:69). The following day PrinceÂ’s regiment met some of the friendly Creeks who had in their possession a Seminole prisoner. The prisoner related that his camp, less than a dayÂ’s march away, contained many women and children and Â“250 men who have nothing to eat but Koonta & beef without salt. They have but little powder which they bought of Capt. Bunce last winter (since they bought it the cold weather has come & gone). The powder which this individual had in his horn was a mixture of fine rifle & musket. His bullets were of his own manufacture Â… his only garment was a shirt made of corn bags, probably picked up on our camp grounds last yearÂ” (Prince 1998:69-70). On January 12, the patrol gathered Â“at least a hundred head of cattleÂ” around General ScottÂ’s land opposite Camp Izard. A company of horsemen sent to the river ford reported fresh tracks of Indians, made that day, in the hammock between General ScottÂ’s land and the ford 1 and miles down the river (Prince 1998:70). The evening was spent examining the prisoner with the help of a Creek interpreter. Â“His tribe bought their powder of Captain Bunce last winter for which they gave him Deer-skins. The camp to which he belongs is on Clear-water creek. It is composed of three villages inhabited by the Choceochutties, Euchees & Tallassees (250 men Â– heap of squaw & pickaninny). No negroes there Â– all gone towards the Wahoo swamp. These tribes have but very little powder (almost none). He says he has a wife & one infant Â– that Powel has plenty of powder, that he had taken six kegs from white men in a fight this winter Â– the whitemen fought & then went back & were so scared that they left these kegs in the bushes Â– threw them away. He has caught fish for Capt. Bunce he says. When taken he was picking up corn in an encampment where horses had been fed Â– he beckoned to the Creeks firstÂ”. On the 14th, 27 cattle were taken. On January 16 and 17, the troops encamped 16 miles south of Fort Clinch, where they again questioned their prisoner. He stated that the main camp to which he belonged was Â“three miles from the sea in a SW directionÂ” from there (Prince 1998:70-72). The following day, a party of horsemen sent to reconnoiter a swamp on the way to the Indian camp came upon two Indians One was mounted on a pony, and the other was leading a pack pony with a load of jerked beef. Both Indians resisted capture and were killed. The troops reached the Indian camp and took 20 prisoners (three black men and
103 seventeen women and children). One of the women stated that the women and children had been concealed in the Wahoo Swamp since the start of the war. Prince relates Â“At that place after the battle, AlligatorÂ’s band was very selfish in getting plunder (which could not have been anything of consequence I think) and drove all the cattle, some of which belonged to the other tribes, down towards Pease creek where they live Â– and on this account the other indians (sic) have fallen out with themÂ” (Prince 1998:73-75). Jesup began acting upon the intelligence that was available to him. Troops were sent to scout the headwaters of the Ocklawaha, where a large body of Seminoles and Black Seminoles were said to be concentrated. A combined force dispatched to Ahapopka Lake surprised the camp of Osuchee (also known as Cooper), an important Seminole chief. Osuchee and three warriors were killed, and seventeen noncombatants were captured. One of the prisoners stated that the Seminole and Black Seminole warriors were no longer gathered at the Ocklawaha, but had proceeded southeast toward the headwaters of the Caloosahatchee River (Sprague 1848:170-171). Troops were sent in pursuit, guided by the track of ponies and cattle (Sprague 1848:171). On the morning of January 27, the troops arrived at the Thlacpachatchee and discovered herds of cattle grazing on a prairie where there were numerous trails leading in all directions. The army was halted while scouts were sent to reconnoiter. Colonel Archibald HendersonÂ’s troops found and attacked the Seminoles on the Hatchelustee Creek, and succeeded in capturing Â“two Indian women and three children, and twentythree negroes, young and old Â– over a hundred ponies, with packs on about fifty of them. All of their clothes, blankets, and other baggage, were abandoned by the enemy, and either taken or destroyed by us.Â” Several stands of arms were also taken in the attack (Sprague 1848:176). Another body of hostiles was reported about two miles away. The advancing troops discovered a large encampment where fires were burning and food cooking. The occupants had fled into the swamp. Hoping that the Seminoles had been weakened by pursuit and the loss of more than 1,000 head of cattle, Jesup dispatched a prisoner to Jumper and other hostile chiefs, offering peace upon a strict fulfillment of the treaty. The prisoner returned the following day with Â“pacific wordsÂ” from Abraham and Alligator. Abraham visited Jesup two days later, and visited again on the 3rd, accompanied by Jumper and Alligator. The chiefs
104 agreed to meet Jesup at Fort Dade on the 18th, and to bring the other chiefs of the nation with them. Satisfied that he had struck a punishing blow to the Seminoles and had forced their capitulation, Jesup withdrew his troops and made for Fort Dade, where he would ready the fort for the big day (Sprague 1848:172). By the time he made his report, Jesup had been operating in Florida for more than a month. He had apparently received enough of an orientation to appreciate the difficulties his predecessors had to contend with, for he ended his report with the comment, Â“If I have, at any time, said aught in disparagement of the operations of others in Florida, either verbally or in writing, officially or unofficially, knowing the country as I now know it, I consider myself bound, as a man of honor, solemnly to retract itÂ” (Sprague 1848:172). JesupÂ’s troops returned to Fort Armstrong in Â“good health and fine spiritsÂ” (Sprague 1848:172). His satisfaction in apparently bringing the Seminole nation to its knees was short-lived, however; when February 18 came and passed, with no sign of the Seminole chiefs. Finally, on March 6, Â“after much delay and various understandings and stipulations among all partiesÂ” the Seminole chiefs gathered at Fort Dade, where they signed a stipulation later known as the Articles of Capitulation (Sprague 1848:177). The agreement called for the Seminoles to withdraw to south of the Hillsborough River, and to present themselves for passage west no later than April 10. They were required to leave hostages in the hands of the military as a show of good faith. The articles also contained the important stipulation that their negro allies would accompany the Seminoles on the migration west (Mahon 1985:200-201). Not surprisingly, the last stipulation brought immediate protest from slave hunters and other citizens: Â“The regaining of our slaves constitutes an object of scarcely less moment than that of the peace of the countryÂ” (Mahon 1985:201). The ensuing controversy caused Jesup to reconsider this last article. He then proposed to separate those slaves known to belong to the whites from those who belonged to Seminoles, which, of course, was practically impossible. He at length made a secret agreement with certain chiefs to have the Seminoles deliver up those negroes captured during the war (Mahon 1985:200-201).
105 In the days that followed, it seemed as though the chiefs were acting in good faith. Large numbers of Seminoles began to come in, and were issued clothing and rations upon their arrival. The week to week postponement of emigration at the request of the chiefs aroused little suspicion, as they explained that it would take time to gather all of the family and friends that they wished to migrate with them (Sprague 1848:178). Believing the war to be at an end, Jesup discharged the volunteers and militia, consented to the withdrawal of the marines, and posted the remaining regular forces Â“at eligible points for health and comfortÂ” (Sprague 1848:178). The citizens, believing that hostilities were terminated, began to return to their homes. Not everyone was certain that the Seminole leaders were sincere. Across the peninsula at Fort Mellon, Osceola, Coa Hadjo, Sam Jones, King Philip and Coacoochee were gathering, supposedly in preparation for immigration. After six weeks, however, the total number gathered was not more than 300. The bands at Fort Mellon had indicated that they would start for Tampa by March 20, but by April 18 they had not moved. There was another cause for concern: among the 300 gathered there, few were women and children. Many officers believed that the Seminoles were stalling, enjoying the free food and liquor given them in whatever quantities they requested, and waiting for the approach of the sickly season, when troops would withdraw and they would once again take to the swamps and hammocks (Mahon 1985:203). On the morning of June 3, the nearly 700 men, women and children gathered at Fort Brooke for emigration fled during the night. Micanopy would later state that Coacoochee and Osceola had confronted him in his camp at midnight, and demanded that he and his followers flee the camp, or lose their lives (Sprague 1848:179-180). Various other reasons would later be offered by the Seminole for their precipitous flight. Whether or not the Seminoles had planned to deceive Jesup, the outcome was the same: Â“Now well clothed for the approaching season, their crops far advanced, and the sickness throughout the country precluding the possibility of military movements, they asked nothing more of the whites, and were determined to enjoy their homes, until another emergency should compel them to capitulateÂ” (Sprague 1848:180). JesupÂ’s humiliation at so bold a treachery sent him into a rage. It was discovered that during the period when the hostile bands were to be preparing for emigration, they had
106 planted extensive crops, and had kept up the fences around the abandoned corn fields of the settlers ( Tallahassee Floridian, July 1, 1837; Williams 1962:270). The public outcry was tremendous; the press coverage scathing. Jesup asked to be relieved of the command in Florida. When he was once again skewered in the press (this time for purportedly running from his embarrassment), Jesup retracted his request and asked to retain the command (Mahon 1985:205). In mid August, Jesup received word from the commander at Fort King that the chiefs in that area wished to communicate with him. He proceeded to that station, where he informed the chiefs that he would not confer with them on any subject other than their immediate emigration (Sprague 1848:185-186). Coe-Hajo, the highest ranking chief present, stated that some of the nation were disposed to emigrate, and that a council was to be held in a few days to discuss the matter. The chief promised to return in 20 days, and asked that the hostilities be halted until his return. Twenty days then came and passed with no sign of Coe-Hajo, and Jesup later learned that few chiefs had attended the council, and those had decided not to submit to emigration (Sprague 1848:185-186). The SeminolesÂ’ ruse was also sufficient to cause a considerable amount of confusion among various of the fort commanders as to whether or not a state of war was still in effect. As Williams (1962:274) described: Â“About the 4th of June, three Indians were taken near Palatka, and a chief called Bowlegs, near camp Foster, and all detained as prisoners,Â” while Â“other Seminoles that visited Fort King, about the first of July, were fed and permitted to go at largeÂ” (Williams 1962:274). The events of the spring of 1837 represent the first widespread use of a parley ruse on the part of the Seminoles. So effective was the parley ruse that it would be employed repeatedly throughout the remainder of the war. Here the Seminoles proved themselves to be superior tacticians, by recognizing and utilizing the cultural differences that existed between themselves and the whites. The Anglo American concept of war was based to a great extent upon European standards. Ethical war conduct called for combat to take place on an agreed upon field, where each party presented himself for battle. A parley called for an immediate cessation of hostilities as the two groups negotiated terms of peace (Knetsch 2003:104; Mahon 1985:152).
107 The Seminole political structure did not call for a cessation of hostilities during parleys, nor could it provide for such. Because individual warriors were free to follow the war chief of their choice, and because large scale decisions had to be approved by the entire nation, even in times of war parleys, some Seminole bands continued hostile operations. The whites, knowing this to be the case, nevertheless held themselves to their own cultural standard, and ceased hostile operations during parleys. As we shall see, it would be several years before the government altered its policy concerning peace talks, and the parley ruse would be used with great effect until then. The Seminoles had effectively stalled until their crops matured and the sickly season arrived to shut down offensive operations. In early June Volusia was abandoned, as a great many of the troops were sick. Fort Mellon was also evacuated, due to an outbreak of cholera. Coacoochee, still maintaining the ruse of a willingness to emigrate, was in fact at Fort Mellon when it was abandoned, and Colonel Harney left the fort in his hands. Before they left, the officers made him promise not to burn the fort. Notwithstanding; the buildings at Volusia and Fort Mellon were burned in August or September (Franke 1977; Williams 1962:271). Â“Directly after the evacuation of the post, the Seminoles spread themselves over the whole country, and the planters generally, abandoned their crops and retired to the vicinity of the posts for safetyÂ” (Williams 1962:271). By the middle of June, Indian activity was once again heavy on the southern cape. Captain John Whalton of the Carysfort Reef Lightship and four unarmed crewmen were fired upon as they left their vessel at Key Largo. Whalton and another man were killed. The remaining three relaunched the boat and were pursued by a war party of Seminoles. A small party hunting turtles in the same area were pursued by warriors in canoes (Buker 1997:70-71). The citizens of Indian Key petitioned the Secretary of the Treasury in June, seeking a cutter to patrol the area between the Keys and the mainland, as Â“innumerable firesÂ” were visible on the mainland nightly. Williams also notes a strong war party presence on the cape, noting Â“the fires of the IndiansÂ” that were Â“seen along the whole coast, from Cape Sable to Jupiter InletÂ” (Williams 1962:273-274). The inhabitants of Indian Key were especially apprehensive because the Indians knew about, and had traded at the IslandÂ’s store, which was Â“at all times filled with provisions and munitions of war for the use of the inhabitants and wreckers engaged on the coastÂ” (Carter 1960:405-406).
108 With little land force to monitor conditions on the extreme southern cape, Jesup requested naval assistance: Â“I am apprehensive of the Indians obtaining powder from Havanna on the one side, and New Providence on the other; and if a small naval force or even the cutters which were under the direction of the Navy last winter, could be spared, much advantage would result to the serviceÂ” (Carter 1960:416). On May 24, Colonel Leavin Brown received information that a raiding party had been to the house of Mr. J. J. Harrilson on the Alachua River, and had taken cooking utensils and a quantity of meal and meat. Brown and his troops surprised the party in the house and took four warriors and thirteen women and children prisoner ( Tallahassee Floridian, July 1, 1837). By July, the Seminoles and their allies had recommenced the cattle drives of the previous summer. On a scout from San Pedro to Suwannee Old Town, Captain Bradley and his men, sent to investigate numerous campfires and Indian signs reported in that area, discovered signs of Â“a large quantity of cattle having been driven from this neighborhood southerly, and very recently, by the Indians.Â” Scouting from Old Town, troops followed fresh trails leading west from Suwannee Old Town. Nine miles into the march, they encountered a warrior with a pack. He was pursued, fired upon and wounded, yet managed to escape into a swamp, leaving his pack, which was found to be filled with beef. Farther along the trail, the troops overtook four others, killed one and wounded another, Â“who was well-dressed and mounted on a mule; he made his escape by abandoning his mule and pack, leaving much blood on said mule.Â” The report continued: Â“The whole number of warriors was ten; and, from the number of packs, and a large quantity of beef, (about 200 pounds,) dried and fresh, captured, and these preparations for drying beef, Captain Bradley is of the opinion that there is a considerable number about 15 or 20 miles west of Oldtown. There were women and childrens (sic) signs seen, as well as some of their apparel taken, together with a large quantity of cooking utensils and some jewelry. Captured from the Indians, in addition, three mules, three ponies, and one horse, all with good saddles and bridles on, and three Indian riflesÂ” ( American State Papers 7:841). The Tallahassee Floridian reported of this incident, Â“Captain Bradley writes that there appears to be Â‘considerable signs of Indians on the Suwanee, and trails where they had been driving cattle recently towards the upper part of the Suwanee Hammock and
109 DeadmanÂ’s BayÂ’ The express states that all the powder horns taken from the Indians, and there were several, were full of the finest fresh glazed powder.Â” That same issue also reported the distressing news that Â“the whole force now on the frontier this side of the Suwannee, is but eighty men. The settlers expect constant attacks all this summer and fall from predatory bandsÂ” ( Tallahassee Floridian, July 8, 1837). On July 8, Colonel BrownÂ’s men discovered and followed a fresh trail near Shoal River. At the edge of a hammock, they encountered a force of about 125 warriors. A vigorous battle was waged, during which a rapid charge dislodged the Seminoles, who fled, abandoning their packs, which were found to contain Â“goods of various descriptions, amongst which was a fine gold watch, and $263 in specieÂ” ( Tallahassee Floridian, July 15, 1837). Early in September, several former plantation slaves surrendered. Among them was Black Seminole leader John Philip, who stated that he had chosen to surrender because his wife was exhausted from the hardship of life on the run. John Philip revealed that King PhilipÂ’s band was once again operating in the Mosquito/Halifax plantation district. He agreed, voluntarily or under duress, to guide the forces to a PhilipÂ’s temporary camp. Such activity was unusual for Philip, who rarely ventured forward from his Lake Tohopekaliga village. Apparently the loss of Black Seminole John Caesar had forced Philip to take the field himself (Mahon 1985:211-216). Guided by John Philip, Hernandez and 170 troops crept up upon PhilipÂ’s camp near Dunlawton plantation. There the troops lay silently through the night, waiting to surprise the group at dawn. The stealth mission was successful. So surprised were the occupants of the camp, that not a single shot was fired. After the party was rounded up, one of the prisoners, Tomoka John, volunteered to lead the troops to the camp of Uchee Billy, who was distant only five or six miles. Hernandez followed a similar plan of attack and surprised the camp at daylight. In the brief skirmish that followed, one white and one Indian were killed, and one Indian wounded. Uchee Billy and his brother Jack were taken prisoner (Mahon 1985:211-216). King Philip and Uchee Billy had been on a mission to extract more goods from the plantations. Army surgeon Samuel Forry noted that troops found 100 pounds of lead in Uchee BillyÂ’s camp (Forry 1928a:93-94). Troops apparently recovered other plunder as
110 well. Lieutenant John W. Phelps, US Army, reported in a letter to a family member that Â“Gen. Hernandez returned to town with his prisoners. Handbills minutely detailing the affair were immediately posted up, balls and fetes were given, the Gen. got drunk, the captured property was disposed of at a high rate, the officers concerned were astonished at their own chivalry, and there was such rejoicing as was perhaps never surpassedÂ” (Phelps 1927:83). The captures of King Philip and Uchee Billy were turning points for JesupÂ’s prosecution of the war. King Philip was an important Seminole chief, and was responsible for the attacks on the east coast plantations, as well as the taking, voluntarily or otherwise, of more than 300 slaves from those plantations. Perhaps more important, he was the father of Coacoochee (Wild Cat), one of the most daring and influential leaders of the Seminole resistance. When Jesup learned from John Philip that some of the blacks among the Seminole were becoming disillusioned, he made an offer which significantly impacted the Seminole resistance. In early 1838, Jesup began to make it known that any negroes who split from the Seminole and turned themselves in, would be given protection and freedom. A brief and disastrous interlude that worked at cross-purposes was JesupÂ’s later offer of plunder rights to those who apprehended blacks, as few were able to make it in to surrender themselves without being Â“captured.Â” This was rescinded, and blacks were henceforth shipped west. So effective was this strategy that, Mahon contends, that Â“by the spring of 1838 they had ceased to be an important factor in Seminole resistanceÂ” (Mahon 1985:206). On September 20, Black Seminole sub-chief John Cavallo appeared in St. Augustine, stating that Osceola and Coe-Hajo were camped nearby, and wished to see General Hernandez. From several former slaves who surrendered that same day, Jesup learned that the Seminoles had recently killed a white man, and that Osceola and Coe-Hajo had no intention of emigrating, but had come in to obtain powder and clothing, and that a party from their camp had gone to the Alachua savannah Â“to steal horses and drive off cattleÂ” (Sprague 1848:187). Jesup had been deceived enough. He ordered General Hernandez to seize the negotiating party, if they did not show a disposition to emigrate immediately (Sprague
111 1848:187-188). During the talk with the two warriors, Hernandez asked specific questions amide at determining whether the chiefs intended to surrender for emigration. Sprague states that Osceola was evasive and talked only Â“of friendship, clothing and provisionsÂ” (Sprague 1848:215). Hernandez gave the signal, the troops surrounded the parley participants, and all were taken prisoner. Besides Osceola and Coa Hadjo, those captured were 71 Seminole warriors, four Black Seminoles and six women (Mahon 1985:216). After his capture, Osceola sent runners to bring his family in. His band returned with the messenger, numbering about 50: about 40 Black Seminoles, two wives of Osceola, two children and three warriors (Mahon 1985:217). With a number of the important resistance leaders secured, Jesup now turned his attention to his upcoming offensive campaign. His plan was to place a large number of columns in the field to encircle the majority of the nation in the interior, and drive the remainder into the Everglades. Jesup now commenced his campaign with the help of more than 9,000 troops consisting of regulars, volunteers, marines and navy personnel. Colonel Zachary Taylor and his First Infantry would operate in the interior between the Kissimmee River and Pease Creek, Colonel Persifor Smith and the Louisiana Volunteers would march inland from the Caloosahatchee River, and Lieutenant Levin Powell would penetrate the Everglades. The main wing of regulars, with Jesup in command, would advance to the headwaters of the St. Johns from widely scattered starting points (Knetsch 2003:108-111; Mahon 1985:219-222). On December 19 Taylor and his men commenced a march from the Kissimmee River toward Lake Okeechobee with a force of 1,032 men. Two days later he reached AlligatorÂ’s new encampment near a large prairie, Â“from the appearance of which, and other encampments in the vicinity, and the many evidences of slaughtered cattle, there must have been several hundred individualsÂ” (Sprague 1848:205). Nearby, the spies surprised a camp where the occupants Â“had just slaughtered a number of cattle, and were employed in drying and jerking the beefÂ” (Mahon 1985:226). Taylor continued the march with the main body of troops. They soon fell in with two Seminole spies, one of whom was mounted. The troops succeeded in capturing the one on foot, who was found to be Â“armed with an excellent rifle, fifty balls in his pouch, and an
112 adequate proportion of powderÂ” (Sprague 1848:206). A few miles on, they captured another warrior, Â“armed and equipped as the formerÂ” (Sprague 1848:206). On December 25, 1837, TaylorÂ’s men engaged more than 400 Seminoles, Miccosukees and blacks in a daylong battle on the north shore of Lake Okeechobee. The Seminoles had carefully chosen and prepared the battlefield and were prepared to make a stand (Mahon 1985:297). In the fierce fighting that ensued, 26 soldiers were killed and 112 wounded. The Seminoles suffered eleven killed and fourteen wounded. For the return march, litters to ferry the wounded were constructed of poles and Â“dry hides, the latter being found in great abundance at the encampment of the hostilesÂ” (Sprague 1848:209). On the return march, Taylor brought 100 horses he had captured, many of them saddled, and more than 600 head of cattle (Sprague 1848:209, 212). Meanwhile, JesupÂ’s St. Johns River wing was advancing into the interior, cutting new roads and establishing supply depots as it progressed. In mid November, Lt. Col. Bankhead was ordered to proceed by steamboat to the highest accessible point of Lake Harney and to establish a fort on its west bank. On a scout for a suitable location for the fort, the soldiers found Â“the remains of several Indians lodges, but which did not appear to have been occupied for some time past, pieces of cloth and soldiers['] uniforms were found at the lodges and several hominy pounders used by the Indians.Â” Near the abandoned village the troops discovered a well worn trail which ran parallel to the shore (White 1959:153). The freshest tracks, about a day old, were heading east, and Â“the ground had every indication of having been much trodden by horses and cattle probably a week or ten days since.Â” In that same area, the troops discovered a canoe, a flat boat, and several planks along the shore (White 1959:153). On January 10 or 11, 1838, while exploring the St. Lucie River, Lieutenant Levin PowellÂ’s forces fought a sharp battle in which the fire was so withering that he was obliged to retreat. Night had fallen by the time the sailors gained their boats. In the darkness, the fleeing troops inadvertently left one of the boats, containing powder, rum and whiskey on the bank (Buker 1997:59-63). Jesup and his forces halted at newly established Fort Jupiter on Jupiter Inlet to await a shipment of shoes for his men. The saw grass of the southern peninsula had destroyed
113 the shoes of more than 400 troops. While the army waited at Fort Jupiter, a ship loaded with rice was wrecked at New River. With no force to oppose them, the Seminoles salvaged the cargo (Mahon 1985:235). Around that same time, the crew of the cutter Campbell went ashore at the Lewis plantation on New River, where they found signs that a store of fruit had been carried off and the outbuildings recently burned. On the 25th, the crew reported seeing large fires upon Cape Sable, supposed to be made by the Indians (NA RG26: Log of the Cutter Campbell, February 10-25, 1838). Once his troops were resupplied, Jesup moved south, encamped, and summoned the Seminole chiefs for a parley. Tuskegee and Halleck Hadjo attended. Jesup informed the chiefs that if they would cease hostilities and make camp near the army, he would send an express to Washington to seek permission to allow them to remain in southern Florida. The chiefs agreed, Jesup composed the letter, and all settled down to await the reply. In his address to the Secretary of War, Jesup argued that the United States had made an error in attempting to remove the Seminoles before they were pressured by white settlers and their lands needed for agriculture; especially at a time Â“when the greater portion of their country was an unexplored wilderness.Â” The military, Jesup claimed, was as ignorant of the interior of Florida as they were the interior of China, and this conflict was the first instance in history Â“of a nation employing an army to explore a countryÂ” (Sprague 1848:200). Jesup argued further that if the Seminoles were allowed to plant a single crop, while trade in arms and ammunition were prohibited, they would soon demand removal. Jesup concluded by informing the Secretary of War that unless he received other instructions, he would assign the Seminoles an area where they could reside, unless they committed further hostilities (Carter 1960:494-495). While both parties awaited an answer from Washington, the friendliest of relations prevailed. A great full-dress council was held, the calumet (peace pipe) was smoked, dances were given, and liquor was served. The much awaited answer finally arrived. Jesup was rebuked by Secretary Poinsett, who tersely and categorically denied the request. Jesup scheduled a council to announce SecretaryÂ’s decision. Apparently the word had reached the Seminole chiefs, as none of them attended the council (Mahon 1985:236237).
114 Not willing to allow the assembled Seminoles to dive back into the scrub, Jesup ordered them seized. More than 500 were taken into custody (Mahon 1985:237). At New River, Bankhead received the word of the failed truce and learned too late that many of the Seminoles who had camped nearby had taken flight. Bankhead and his men plunged into the Everglades in pursuit. At a pine island where the troops had seen a rising smoke, pursuing forces were engaged in a sharp battle. The Seminole force was routed by means of a flanking maneuver. Pursuit was abandoned with the approach of darkness. Within the deserted camps, BankheadÂ’s force found and destroyed many provisions including coontie processing equipment, cooking utensils, packs of clothing and cowhides, a quantity of lead and several pounds of gunpowder in canisters (Hughes 1988:43). Faced with the prospect of another campaign, Jesup grew apprehensive. 9,000 troops had not been sufficient to pursue the Seminoles, as their superior knowledge of FloridaÂ’s terrain allowed them to dissolve into the countryside when threatened. Even the most vigorous scouts resulted in few successes as the Seminoles doubled back upon ground that had been scouted the previous day (Carter 1962:231; Sprague 1848:273). Jesup asked to be relieved of the Florida command. On April 10, Jesup received word from Washington that as soon as Florida affairs would allow, he might leave to resume his duties as Quartermaster General. Jesup happily brought his affairs to a close, and departed Florida on May 15, 1838, turning the command over to Zachary Taylor (Mahon 1985:239-240). One of JesupÂ’s last official acts was to order the Indians on Captain BunceÂ’s rancho to be taken into custody and shipped west. Bunce at once prepared a petition and dispatched it to Washington. Judge Augustus Steele also wrote to vouch for Bunce. A letter dated May 14 from the Secretary of War informed Taylor that the petition had been reviewed and JesupÂ’s order would stand. The rancho Indians must go west: Â“the return of the families in question may become a subject of future consideration, but, until the final pacification of the territory, they must remain away.Â” In fact, Taylor was also informed, Â“it would be better for the peace of the country, if the petitioners would accompany themÂ” (Carter 1960:505). BunceÂ’s rancho Indians were shipped out in April (Forry 1928b:103). This was the end of BunceÂ’s rancho. Bunce died soon after the departure of
115 his crew. In 1840 the abandoned rancho was burned by order of Colonel Worth when it reportedly became the resort of some unsavory squatters (Dodd 1947:253). Zachary TaylorÂ’s Command Taylor pursued a plan that he had been refining even before he was given the command of the Florida War. Taylor was convinced that the SeminolesÂ’ strategy was to avoid contact with the regular troops, while taking every opportunity to attack isolated homesteads or small militia detachments. His plan involved policing at the local level by dividing the frontier into manageable 20 mile squares with a fortification in the center of the square. Each of the squares would be staffed by 20 men. Ten of those men would remain on constant patrol. Each detachment would be responsible for thoroughly mapping the area within their square, and would scout the area at least once per week, paying particular attention to hammocks and other areas that offered concealment to marauding bands (Knetsch 2003:113-114; Mahon 1985:249). TaylorÂ’s plan did help to calm the frontier and contributed greatly to the militaryÂ’s knowledge of FloridaÂ’s terrain, but there was a problem with its coverage. The squares would encompass only the settled frontier of north and central Florida; in TaylorÂ’s opinion, Â“every portion of Florida worth protecting.Â” FloridaÂ’s governor and citizenry disagreed with Taylor on this last point (Mahon 1985:247). He did, however, provide for naval patrols along FloridaÂ’s southern cape. If the Seminoles and their allies could be driven south and then cut off from foreign trade or other outside aid, they would soon desire to join their brethren in the west. Taylor accordingly requested naval patrols of both the east and west coasts of FloridaÂ’s cape, with a rendezvous point at Cape Sable. The revenue cutters Madison and Campbell were ordered to report to General Taylor for such duty (Buker 1997:71-72). TaylorÂ’s plan was attractive to those in Washington, as it did not involve complicated campaign sweeps by large forces that would have to be supplied and provisioned. He was given permission to proceed. TaylorÂ’s forces commenced the laying out and mapping of squares, while Taylor saw to the embarkation of the Seminoles and Black Seminoles now in his possession (Knetsch 2003:116, Mahon 1985:251-253).
116 The Seminoles would soon benefit from TaylorÂ’s concentrating his troops on the settled frontier. A gale that developed and intensified during the first week of September in 1838 forced several ships ashore along the southeast coast of Florida in the neighborhood of Cape Florida. In all, eight vessels were wrecked and driven ashore by the gale. Ten men perished on the various ships during the storm, and 20 more were killed by Seminole warriors after their ships were cast ashore. A crew of seven Frenchmen of the brig Courrier de Tampico was offered aid by the Indians, who stated that the Seminole nation was at war only with the United States. These disasters placed an abundant supply of fresh goods in the hands of the Seminoles (Buker 1997:72-79). After the September gale, the maritime patrols on the tip of Florida were stepped up, but emboldened by the abandoning of forts and their success during the September gale, the Seminoles continued their wrecking operations. There was little the sailors could do to curtail the larger hostile forces. In mid November, First Lieutenant Coste of the cutter Campbell spotted a large group of Indians near the Miami River, but did not attack because his force was outnumbered. That same month, Shubrick spotted a large war party near Boca Raton, but his force, too, was outnumbered. Rescue operations to save the passengers of two shipwrecks were also monitored by a large war party on shore. In the final months of 1838, despite the surveillance which now included oared barges on bays and inlets, schooners and a cutter along the reef, and two sloops-of-war offshore, little was done except to note the presence of war parties on the coast (Buker 1997:78-79). In December of 1838, Taylor ordered the posts at Fort Pierce on Indian River Inlet, Fort Lauderdale on New River and Fort Dallas on the Miami River reopened Â“to harass the enemy, and to give protection to such unfortunate persons as should be shipwrecked along the coastÂ” (Sprague 1848:223-224). Perhaps the press coverage of the September gale or pressure from his superiors caused Taylor to believe that the southern Florida peninsula was indeed worth protecting. Taylor was making good progress at implementing his plan of operations when a new personality was interposed upon the Florida theater. General Alexander Macomb, Commanding General of the US Army, had been ordered by the Secretary of War on March 18, 1839 to proceed to Florida and take whatever steps were necessary to end the conflict, with the qualification that he was not to interfere with TaylorÂ’s operation of the
117 squares. Macomb declined any oversight of the military operations and chose instead to open negotiations with the Seminole chiefs (Mahon 1985:255). On April 25, Macomb set out for Fort King. From there he reported to the Secretary of War that as it was Â“worse than uselessÂ” to attempt to communicate with the Indians himself, he had sent out Indian prisoners to communicate with chiefs. While Macomb was waiting for messengers to relay the message of his presence to the chiefs, word reached Fort King on April 12 of a skirmish near Fort Harlee in which three Indians were killed and their baggage and horses captured. A Black Seminole captured in the skirmish revealed that, although they had no ammunition, Â“they could get a supply from a white man down the countryÂ” (White 1956:151). A Council was at last convened at Fort King, where Halleck-Tustenuggee, appointed chief speaker for the Seminole nation, expressed his desire for peace, and his willingness to enter into any terms that did not require him to remove to Arkansas. Chitto Tustenuggee, representing Sam Jones, also attended the council (Sprague 1848:232). A temporary reservation was sketched out below Pease Creek. Macomb made presents to the Indians, Â“for they were in a most destitute condition, as to clothing and other necessities,Â” pronounced the war to be at an end, and returned to Washington (Sprague 1848:231). On May 20, the general order was issued to cease hostilities. Taylor was ordered to assist the Seminoles and their allies in removing to the reservation, which the president declared Indian Territory as defined in the Indian Intercourse Act of 1834. Navy Commander Isaac Mayo was ordered the cruise the Atlantic coast to aid distressed vessels and to aid in the prosecution of the war, should it be renewed (Carter 1960:614). At this time, four hostile bands remained. None of these bands had accepted McCombÂ’s invitations to treat, although all resided within the new reservation boundary. These were led by Sam Jones, Hospetarke, Otulke Thlocco or the Prophet, and Chakaika. Other hostile bands remained in the upper peninsula; among them CoacoocheeÂ’s band (Mahon 1985:258). As word of the council spread, small bands of Seminoles gathered near local military posts to prepare to move below the lines of the new reservation. It did not escape the notice of the commandant at Fort Andrews in Middle Florida that the band camped near him Â“went off every few days and returned with powder, lead, tobacco, and
118 clothes. Where and from whom these were procured, he could not sayÂ” (Mahon 1985:261). In late July, Lieutenant Colonel Harney proceeded to Charlotte Harbor to open a trading post for the Indians moving into the new temporary reservation. He was accompanied by 26 dragoons and sutlers James B. Dalham and Mr. Morgan, who brought a large quantity of trade goods for the establishment of the store. The soldiers were armed with Colt rifles, but did not post a guard, believing that peace had been restored. In the early morning hours of July 23, 160 Indians led by Chakaika and Hospetarke attacked the camp as the soldiers slept. The raiders divided themselves into two parties. HospetarkeÂ’s party plundered the store while ChakaikaÂ’s party attacked the sleeping soldiers. Eighteen men were killed or captured and thirteen escaped. Harney escaped by swimming to the fishing smacks anchored in the harbor (Mahon 1985:261-262; Sprague 1848:233). The haul from the raid was considerable. The sutler had brought goods worth $2,000 to $3,000, and $1,000 in specie. The soldiers had had with them Â“fourteen patent rifles, six carbines, one keg of powder, a number of percussion-caps, and a great quantity of private property belonging to Colonel Harney and his soldiers. The only items reported recovered at the scene were Â“three kegs of pickles, a bag of corn, and some coffeeÂ” (Sprague 1848:236). The survivors later reported that, Â“They had placed every confidence in the Indians. They would come into camp every day and talk with the men, and when asked if they were satisfied with the treaty, answered they wereÂ” (Sprague 1848:236). Enroute to Tampa to meet with Taylor, Naval Commander Mayo examined the scene of the attack and found the buildings standing, but all of the contents plundered (Buker 1997:88). After receiving word of the attack, military officers began rounding up Seminoles who had been living peacefully near the forts, for shipment to the west. One of the more than 50 prisoners taken into custody by Lieutenant W. K. Hanson at Fort Mellon, had with him Â“a new Colt rifle and currency from the Bank of New OrleansÂ” (Knetsch 2003:120). A new wave of attacks upon settlers ensued in the wake of the failed peace. It seemed to observers to be carried out with a heightened vengeance. Macomb commented that the war now seemed to be between the Seminoles and the white settlers, Â“the latter bearing great hatred to the former and attributing to them the cause of the war and the
119 desire to expell (sic) their raceÂ” (Carter 1960:609). Governor Reid, in a memorial to the Legislative Council, stated that the raids of the hostile bands Indians were growing Â“more and more audacious, their deeds of horror are rather accumulating than diminishing; they venture to assail houses, and appear in our public roads in the open dayÂ” (Carter 1962:110). On the afternoon of January 29, 1840 a war party attacked the Harlan home near Apalachicola, murdered the family, and burned the homestead. On the grounds about the house were many moccasin tracks of ingress and egress. The attackers left a trail of Â“articles of clothing, potatoes and papers droppedÂ” (Carter 1962:112). On October 17, 1839 Macomb ordered Taylor to withdraw the majority of the regular forces under his command to the north of a line drawn from Palatka to the mouth of the Withlacoochee River, to protect the settled frontier of Middle Florida. He was to retain the posts at Tampa Bay and Key Biscayne, but the protection of the southern peninsula was expressly left to the marine forces now operating there (Carter 1960:643644). In the southern cape, McLaughlin was planning an expedition into the Everglades in April of 1840. His plan was to surprise the hostiles by entering the Everglades from the west coast at Cape Sable, rather than at New River Inlet. A rendezvous was set for April 10. The first to arrive were the crew of the Otsego The captain sent a group ashore to explore the coast. The group was immediately fired upon by a group of between 50 and 80 warriors. A skirmish developed that lasted two and one half hours. The Seminoles withdrew when forces from other vessels arriving at the rendezvous reinforced those on shore. Shortly thereafter a fever swept the crews. Even McLaughlin fell ill, and was forced to withdraw the sick crewmen to Pensacola and postpone the mission (Buker 1997:103-104). On April 21, General Taylor asked to be relieved of the Florida command. His request was granted, and he was replaced by Walker K. Armistead on May 1, 1840 (Sprague 1848:243). Walker K. ArmisteadÂ’s Command Shortly after Armistead assumed command, the traditional wave of summer attacks commenced. On May 19, Coacoochee and as many as 100 warriors attacked a
120 detachment led by Lieutenant James Sanderson, killing the Lieutenant and five of the men. About this time, the band also attacked an unprotected wagon train of a traveling theatrical group, killing several actors and capturing the groupÂ’s baggage, which consisted of eighteen trunks of theatrical costumes (Mahon 1985:276). On his return to camp from the attack, Coacoochee stopped at the Jenckes plantation and boasted to the slaves that he had led the attack (Strickland 1965:110). ArmisteadÂ’s plan for the defense of Florida was to launch strikes upon Seminole strongholds before the worst of the summer heat arrived. His operations would continue throughout the summer; with troops concentrated in Middle Florida for protection of the settled frontier. The groundwork that Taylor had laid by increasing the number of defensive posts, mapping the country and building roads and bridges certainly increased both the militaryÂ’s knowledge of the terrain and their ability to use that knowledge defensively. TaylorÂ’s approach had also laid the groundwork for local empowerment based upon feedback from constant scouts, rather than from a preset plan of campaign. Some of ArmisteadÂ’s troops proved to be stealthy partisan fighters, and he encouraged their talents. During that summer, scouts succeeded in destroying a total of 500 acres of cornfields along the Ocklawaha, in the Wahoo Swamp and at Chocochatti, Â“where it had been supposed the Indians would no longer dare to live.Â” These stealth units also discovered a stronghold in a dense hammock only fifteen miles from Fort King, where the occupants had hidden safely throughout the entire war. When the camp was surprised, the more than 100 occupants were in the midst of celebrating the Green Corn Dance ritual (Mahon 1985:278). In late June, Lieutenant Colonel Harney captured CoacoocheeÂ’s mother, who made important disclosures concerning the Seminole resistance. She guided Harney to a village near the St. Johns River where a trading establishment had been kept up, Â“supplied by the fishing boats along the keys.Â” In his report to the adjutant general, Armistead complained that Â“The naval command which is understood to have been ordered to Florida for the purpose of intercepting such supplies has so far, rendered no serviceÂ” (Buker 1997:115). CoacoocheeÂ’s mother also disclosed that the Seminoles had received aid from Colonel HansonÂ’s slaves. The district attorney requested that Harney deliver the black
121 interpreter Sam and several officers who had been present when the disclosure was made, to give depositions for the investigation. Sam had long since been allowed to go north and was not expected to return. A statement of the evidence derived from CoacoocheeÂ’s mother was delivered to Judge Bronson on July 15 (NA RG94: Reel 202). On the southern cape, Lieutenant McLaughlin was determined to launch his postponed expedition to enter the Everglades from the west coast. He ordered Lieutenant John Rodgers to proceed in the schooner Wave to the naval hospital at Tea Table Key, gather all the men there fit for duty, and proceed to Cape Romano. Rodgers complied with his orders and removed nearly the entire force at Tea Table Key for the anticipated expedition (Buker 1997:106). The Seminoles were aware of the departure. That very night, a war party estimated at 130 persons led by Chakaika carried out one of the most daring plunder raids of the war (Dodd 1949:15). In the predawn hours of August 7, 1840 ChakaikaÂ’s war party crossed 30 miles of water in 28 canoes to attack Indian Key, where they knew a rich supply of goods and ammunition were stored. The raiders slipped undetected onto the back shore of the key, away from the docks and houses, and were positioning themselves around the houses when they were detected, and the alarm sounded. Dr. Henry Perrine, a famed horticulturist who had established a residence on Indian Key, was among the thirteen killed in the attack. The raiding party, knowing that no appreciable force was near to oppose them, remained on the Key for twelve hours, plundering then destroying the warehouse, store and homes. In all, 38 buildings were burned. Only the houses of Charles Howe and William English were left standing (Dodd 1949:16). The raiders did not depart until they saw that wrecking vessels were coming to the aid of the inhabitants (Walker 1926:32). Dr. PerrineÂ’s family escaped by hiding in a turtle crawl beneath the house. From their hiding place, they watched as raiders filled a boat drawn up close to the house. Mrs. Perrine later stated that she heard one person speaking English and giving directions to others. The family watched silently as trunks of clothing and barrels of provisions were loaded into the boat. As the house burned down around them, the family was compelled to flee their hiding spot. They ran to the wharf, where they leapt into a shipÂ’s launch moored at the wharf. The family was able to row to the safety of a schooner at anchor
122 some three miles away. Not until they were underway, did they realize that the boat had been loaded with Â“a barrel of flour, a keg of molasses, a jug of brandy, a box of soap, a box of tobacco & a mosquito bar.Â” Another Indian Key resident later told Mrs. Perrine how narrow her escape had been. From atop a tree, he had watched as raiders loaded the launch, then returned to the warehouse for more plunder (Walker 1926:19-43; Sprague 1848:243-246) A letter written by Charles Howe, Inspector of Customs at Indian Key, to a friend in New York provides more details of the attack: Â“My house and kitchen, negro houses and carpenterÂ’s shop were not set on fire, but plundered of everything of any value to them, such as clothing, bedding, provisions, silver, jewelry, spy-glasses, cooking utensils, sails, awnings, water-kegs, tools, boats, &c. Â… We fortunately found one window curtain which fell outside of the window as the Indians took it down and was left, that Mrs. H. cut into slips for the younger children. They carried off three of my negroes, one of whom was an invaluable woman, whose loss we much lament. The remains of another, a girl, have since been found in the Bay Â… They could have injured me much more. My books, papers, glass-ware, crockery &c. were all saved. Our clock, looking glasses, and sideboard were not disturbed, only divested of their gauze covering which appears to have been done with great care.Â” When Mr. Howe returned to the Key, he found in his garden some dresses and shoes that had been scattered (Peters 1979:22-23). A concerned Governor Reid appealed to the Secretary of War for assistance, and offered any cooperation necessary for the defense of the territory. Reid related that he had heard reports of several white persons among the Indian Key attackers. He also reported that he had called out six companies of volunteers and was contemplating calling out a seventh (Carter 1962:202-203). The Secretary responded to Reid by blaming the Navy: Â“It is in vain for the Departments at Washington to provide the means of defence, if the utmost vigilance is not exercised by the Officers who are opposed to so active and enterprising an enemy.Â” Poinsett also informed Reid that the troops he had seen fit to call out would be mustered into the service, and that two fresh regiments were being dispatched to duty in Florida (Carter 1962:214). Armistead persevered. The in-depth, local scouting that began under TaylorÂ’s command was continued and did produce a few breaks in the war, despite the dismal state
123 of affairs on the peninsula as a whole. In September, Territorial Secretary J. McCants reported to the Secretary of War that two citizens of Madison County had captured Â“a man, who says he is a half breed, his mother being an Indian and his father a negro, and that he belonged originally to the Creek Tribe,Â” who upon questioning revealed that Â“he had been sent as a spy by a party of 20 Indians then in the neighborhood to reconnoiter the little town called Madison.Â” The rest of the party had gone to scout a small town on the St. Marks River, and had set a rendezvous for the place where the man was captured. Their plan was to attack both towns if it proved feasible (NA RG94: Reel 125). The following day the captive led the citizens to the place where he had left his companions. Although they saw no one, Â“it was evident that a party of Indians had been there a few hours before and that it consisted of about 20.Â” The party, he said, Â“had two white men with themÂ—one from Alabama, the other from Tampa Bay.Â” There was more disturbing news: Â“This man also told me that the Indians sent West are returningÂ—that he knew of 15 and had heard of some othersÂ—upon my asking him what what (sic) way they came. He said down Ridge River and by New Orleans ... Further this man informed that the Indians had not destroyed all HaneyÂ’s men, but they had some of them now in possessionÂ—Upon being asked how manyÂ—He said he did not know exactly how many he had not seen them, but had heard some of his party speak of them.Â” The prisonerÂ’s statement remained consistent through repeated interviews. He told McCants that Â“the Indians had intercourse with negroes and whites in Florida from whom they obtained supplies and informationÂ” (NA RG94: Reel 125). On October 31, Lieutenant H. H. Sibley, Second Dragoons, reported another success. Sibley related that about five miles below the crossing of Lake Harney, Â“I met a party of twelve Indians headed by Coa Cooche, each with a pack as big as a flour barrel.Â” The troops pursued, causing the party to drop their packs in order to escape. Sibley related that Â“On examination the packs were found to contain quantities of clothing, male, and female, forty or fifty blankets, some of them brand new Â– pieces of new cotton & linen &c &cÂ– From the appearance of many of the articles particularly some new, black Indian blankets, I am firmly convinced that some individual or individuals, are in communication with the IndiansÂ” (NA RG94: Reel 202). A subsequent inventory of the recovered articles included Â“70 blankets, 100 yards of calico, a black frock coat and other
124 menÂ’s clothing, womenÂ’s dresses, chemises, fancy aprons, and handkerchiefs,Â” all with new labels (Waterbury 1994:73). Some of the articles were sent to St. Augustine, where an investigation by a grand jury resulted in the arrest of Moses, a free black man, and the release of two free blacks who were earlier suspects (Waterbury 1994:74-75). Despite the increased scouts in Middle Florida, the Seminoles and Black Seminoles did succeed in carrying out small scale plunder raids. In late October, two slaves from the Gamble plantation were taken, or joined the resistance (Carter 1962:226-227). The increased defensive presence in Middle Florida called for a change in the SeminolesÂ’ strategy. They now began operating in small bands to avoid detection. The bands kept up a constant communication by meeting under cover of darkness at designated rendezvous points. Groups would occasionally join forces to strike the frontier, then retreat to their respective hiding places. Although the increase in military posts in Middle Florida tended to make them more cautious, Â“they frequently passed at night within the sight of camp-fires and postsÂ” (Sprague 1848:252). In October of 1840 Colonel Harney, using a black guide captured some months earlier, leads a punitive expedition against ChakaikaÂ’s band. Dressed as Indians, HarneyÂ’s men were able to take the band by surprise. Chakaika was killed, and every warrior captured was hung with the exception of one who was retained as a guide (Buker 1997:110). Taken in the raid on ChakaikaÂ’s camp were four kegs of powder and some $2,000 worth of ready made clothing, cloth, linens, calicoes and tools. The goods were auctioned off among the troops present and reportedly brought a hefty $200. Troops also recovered a barge and a large quantity of coontie (Preble 1945:63; Sturtevant 1953:49). ChakaikaÂ’s wife and sister were captured in the raid upon his camp. After witnessing HarneyÂ’s summary executions of every warrior captured, the prisoners were more than willing to supply information when questioned. Through them, Harney learned that Â“small Spanish turtle-hunting boats frequently brought supplies to the SeminolesÂ” (Buker 1997:111). ChakaikaÂ’s sister, when questioned about the attack on Indian Key, disclosed that Â“there were three Spaniards in the Everglades, who supplied the Indians with salt and ammunition; one of them, Domingo, advised them to attack Indian Key, and insured their successÂ” (Sturtevant 1953:49).
125 Based upon this intelligence, McLaughlin ordered his forces to arrest all individuals encountered on uninhabited shores, under suspicion of engaging in illegal arms trade with the Seminoles (Sturtevant 1953:49). In December of 1840, an expedition of combined Army and Navy troops under the guidance of Harney and McLaughlin entered the Everglades. The combined force of 90 sailors, 60 marines and 70 army troops from the 3d Artillery remained in the Everglades for more than a month. McLaughlin and his men emerged from the expedition on January 19, 1841 on FloridaÂ’s west coast. They were the first group of white men known to have traversed the Everglades from coast to coast (Buker 1997:114). During this expedition they captured a warrior by the name of Chai, who was a renowned guide in the Everglades. He would serve the Mosquito Fleet for the remainder of the war (Buker 1997:111-113). The incursion of government troops into previously secure retreats called for action. In order to buy time to secure their families and divert offensive operations in the Everglades, Â“the Indians hastened to Sarasota, eagerly proffering peace, friendship, and emigrationÂ” (Sprague 1848:255). Eager to end the protracted conflict, the officers at that post received the visitors with friendship, provided food and clothing, and allowed them to come and go at liberty. The ruse was maintained until April, when the sickly season approached. On April 20, the militia troops serving under General Leigh Read were dismissed. Probably not coincidentally, on April 26, the peace negotiations at Sarasota ceased as the entire band suddenly departed (Sprague 1848:255-262). The band at Sarasota was not the only one to practice this deception. In March, Tiger Tail and a few of his band emerged from the Annuteliga hammock professing a willingness to emigrate, while giving artful excuses about why it would take some time for their entire band to assemble. The troops provided subsistence and supplies to any amount requested. As the sickly season approached, Tiger Tail broke off further contact with the whites (Sprague 1848:255-262). The parley ruse had once again been employed with great effect. In February of 1841, Armistead tried his hand at bribing the chiefs to bring their bands in for emigration. He offered to each chief $5,000; each subchief $200; and each warrior $30 and a rifle (Mahon 1985:285). The Secretary of War approved these
126 measures, with the qualification that the warriors were not to receive their rifles until they had arrived in the West (Carter 1962:274-275). Cosa Tustenuggee, one of the leaders in the attack on the military escort near Wacahoota, accepted the offer and brought in his band of 60 followers (Mahon 1985:285). Attempts to negotiate removal with local chiefs prolonged the period of ambiguity. In every area where peaceful negotiation was deemed possible, hostile military operations ceased. This, of course, was not lost upon the Seminoles. On March 5, 1841 Coacoochee himself came in for a talk. Since his attack upon the theatrical group, he had been secluded at his fatherÂ’s former camp on Lake Tohopekaliga. His reemergence from seclusion was at the invitation of ArmisteadÂ’s peace emissaries. An old man named Micco, who had been captured in the Everglades by Major Childs, was dispatched to CoacoocheeÂ’s camp with a white flag, upon which was drawn clasped hands, a bottle of whiskey, pipes and tobacco, indicating ArmisteadÂ’s willingness to receive him in a friendly manner (Sprague 1848:258). The invitation was accepted, and on the appointed day, Coacoochee and his party appeared at Fort Cummings for a talk. The theatrical costumes had been put to full use: Coacoochee was dressed as Hamlet; another of his warriors was dressed as Horatio. King Richard III followed in close order, while others of CoacoocheeÂ’s party were adorned with Â“spangles, crimson vests, and feathers, according to fancyÂ” (Sprague 1848:259). CoacoocheeÂ’s daughter, a girl of about twelve, had been captured some time earlier on a scouting mission, and was held in the camp, awaiting her fatherÂ’s arrival. Upon seeing him, she broke from her captors and ran to him, holding in her outstretched hand ammunition and powder that she had secreted while in camp. Coacoochee wept openly at the sight of her. He had presumed her dead (Sprague 1848:259). The whites considered Coacoochee to be a very powerful influence among those of his nation. No longer operating in the shadow of the charismatic Osceola, Coacoochee had emerged as one of the leading influences among the recalcitrant bands. The US military leaders were fully aware of his influence and hoped that seeing the kindness with which they had treated his daughter would soften CoacoocheeÂ’s bitterness for the whites (Sprague 1848:258-259).
127 Coacoochee remained about the camp for four days. Promising to gather his band, but stipulating that nothing could be done until the Green Corn Dance ritual in June, he departed with his daughter (Sprague 1848:260). At a later interview at Fort Brooke, Coacoochee reaffirmed his intention to bring his band in for emigration. Following this interview, he Â“appeared first at one fort and then at another to be resupplied, becoming increasingly demanding as time wore onÂ” (Mahon 1985:286). At Fort Pierce, he requested large amounts of whiskey and provisions for an upcoming council near Lake Okeechobee, where Billy Bowlegs, Sam Jones and Hospetarke would be present. This raised the suspicions of Major Childs, who dispatched a message to Armistead seeking permission to take Coacoochee into custody on his next visit to the fort. Armistead granted permission, and Childs awaited the chiefÂ’s return (Sprague 1848:263). Armistead would not be in command to witness CoacoocheeÂ’s capture, however. Having had his fill of operations in Florida, the General requested that he be relieved. His request was honored. He was replaced in command by William Jenkins Worth on May 31, 1841 (Mahon 1985:287). William Jenkins WorthÂ’s Command Worth was the first Colonel to command the Florida War. This was possible because of the earlier release of all of FloridaÂ’s citizen soldiers, and the increase in the regular force to an all time high of 5,076. With high ranking citizen soldiers no longer operating in Florida, the Colonel would not be outranked by volunteer leaders (Mahon 1985:293294). Worth had seen Florida commanders come and go, and he had studied his predecessorsÂ’ mistakes. His plan for the continued prosecution of the war combined negotiation with aggressive offensive operations. There would be no reduction in troops during the sickly season, come what may. Troops would remain in the field and in constant motion. All safe guards and passports given to the Seminoles were revoked. Native Americans who appeared at the forts were to be seized. This policy would effectively end the SeminolesÂ’ use of the parley ruse to win time to plant their crops (Knetsch 2003:129-130; Sprague 1848:273-276 ).
128 Field operating orders were straightforward and unambiguous: Â“Find the enemy, capture, or exterminate.Â” Officers were empowered to take whatever steps were necessary to carry out these orders (Sprague 1848:274-275). WorthÂ’s campaign strategy produced instant results. Scouts penetrated swamps and hammocks, destroying many fields, huts and entire villages. At one hastily abandoned camp in the Cove of the Withlacoochee, troops destroyed 12,000 pounds of jerked beef (Weisman 1999:57). Troops scoured the Homosassa, Withlacoochee, Crystal and Ocklawaha rivers, around Lakes Panasoffke and Apopka, and within the Wahoo Swamp. Nearly all of the northern bands were now forced to retreat southward. WorthÂ’s campaign was going well (Knetsch 2003:130-131). The opportunity for CoacoocheeÂ’s capture finally arose on June 15 when he made an appearance at For Pierce. Major Childs seized Coacoochee, King PhilipÂ’s brother, three negroes and thirteen warriors. The party was immediately embarked for New Orleans. This last action was contrary to WorthÂ’s wishes, as he planned to use Coacoochee to negotiate with the hostile chiefs who remained out. The prisoners were returned to Tampa (Sprague 1848:277). Worth conferred with Coacoochee on board the transport where he and his men were kept in irons. The Colonel was very clear about his expectations: the war must end, and Coacoochee must end it. He was told that he may select three to five warriors to carry a talk to the nation. If, on the appointed day, his band had not surrendered for emigration, Coacoochee and his warriors would be hanged from the yardarms in chains (Sprague 1848:286-288). Coacoochee sent a messenger to ask his brother, who was among the bands in the Big Cypress, to surrender. The messenger returned after ten days, accompanied by CoacoocheeÂ’s brother Otulke and his family. They also brought word that Hospetarke would visit Coacoochee as soon as possible (Sprague 1848:299). The next day a boy arrived with a white flag and reported that the aged chief was encamped one dayÂ’s march away, but that he required whiskey and tobacco to gain the strength to proceed to the post. The following night another boy arrived with a request for even larger quantities of whiskey and tobacco. Â“In this manner he, for five days, continued a communication with the camp, his young men going and coming unmolested, obtaining all they wished to eat and drink. The old man was solicited and tempted by
129 every art to come within the chain of sentinels, but he just as artfully sent excuses; each time adding liberally to demands for Â“corn, flour, pork, beef, whiskey, and tobaccoÂ” (Sprague 1848:299). Worth sent Coacoochee to HospetarkeÂ’s camp to persuade the chief to come in for talks. He was successful and returned to the post with the chief and eighteen warriors. Worth treated the chief and his men kindly. All agreed that a council would be held the following day. Worth doubted the chiefÂ’s sincerity, however, as his band had brought a large quantity of deer-skins which Â“they sold with great avidity, more anxious to obtain powder in exchange than moneyÂ” (Sprague 1848:300). After an unsuccessful council the following day, Hospetarke and his eighteen warriors were made prisoners. Only after they were secured, did the prisoner reveal their true motives: Â“These Indians declared openly, after capture, that it was not their intention to emigrate or surrender; they had come for powder, whiskey and bread Â… the chief was to name the time when they should, in a body, return to the Cypress Swamp.Â” The party was embarked for Fort Brooke to await transportation west (Sprague 1848:303). On the southeast coast, troops were preparing for a new wave of offensive operations. Brevet Major Thomas Childs and the core of the Third Artillery were stationed at Fort Pierce in preparation for the fall campaign. In September of 1841, the captain of the steamboat Gaston reported to Childs that he had witnessed a vessel delivering Â“two barrels of beefÂ” to a waiting force of 20 Indians posted on the beach. Childs determined to capture these warriors, and set out from Fort Pierce with 85 men, entering the Atlantic at Jupiter Inlet and exploring the coastline for 20 miles. On this expedition, Childs discovered a large lake, which he named Lake Worth. On the sea coast side of this lake ChildÂ’s force discovered and destroyed extensive fields of pumpkins, corn, peas, potatoes, melons, tobacco, rice and sugar cane. The plantings were so extensive that it took 80 men two days to destroy the crops. Childs estimated that the fields would have yielded more than 2,000 bushels of potatoes and several hundred bushels of corn (Knetsch 2000:28). About this same time, Captain Martin Burke at Fort Lauderdale carried an expedition of three officers and 119 men into the Everglades at New River. Not far from the inlet the command spotted a new boat trail in the saw grass. Following the trail towards one of the many small islands there, Burke found a hastily
130 abandoned camp where he recovered a rifle, a small skiff, two canoes, numerous blankets, camp utensils and coontie processing tools (Knetsch 2000:28). Back at Fort Lauderdale, a local wrecker reported to Captain Richard D. A. Wade that he had seen two men who looked like Indians on the beach south of New River. Troops sent to investigate arrived too late to encounter the men, but did find a fresh trail, which they followed for several miles (Knetsch 2000:28). The required forces were now assembled in preparation for an assault on the Everglades. On October 10, 1841, 200 navy and marine troops penetrated the Everglades from Shark River, in search of Sam JonesÂ’ band. McLaughlinÂ’s and ChildsÂ’ troops, despite a large sick roll from the rigors of duty in the Everglades, were able to exert strong pressure upon the Seminoles in their strongholds. Troops found and destroyed large amounts of stockpiled goods, razed entire settlements and interrupted subsistence activities. On one foray, McLaughlinÂ’s men found, concealed in the underbrush, a canoe and a larger boat that had been taken during the attack on Colonel HarneyÂ’s troops two years earlier (Buker 1997:123-133). Preble reported finding Â“several old houses, some pumpkins, and parts of half a dozen saddlesÂ” at an island on Fish Eating Creek. On March 15, Preble came upon a live oak hammock where the Indians had been dressing deerskins (Preble 1945:39-42). This expedition was the first to scout Lake Tohopekaliga, where Philip had remained unmolested until his capture with Uchee Billy near St. Augustine. On the lake shore, troops found Â“an old saddle (probably the saddle of some express-rider) and the remains of two oxenÂ” (Preble 1945:45). In response to the American presence within their strongholds, the Seminoles broke up into family groups to escape detection; often relying upon simple food gathering for subsistence. Those fields that were planted were located well away from settlements and were tended by single individuals rather than work parties. Fleeing groups burned the ground in their wake to obliterate tracks that could be followed (Buker 1997:134; Covington 1993:102; Sprague 1848:470). The Everglades expedition placed pressure upon those who found themselves assailed in formerly secure retreats. An important war council was conducted in April of 1841. At this council, war chiefs discussed strategies for dealing with increased troop
131 presence. Some of those among the nation were weakening in their resolve to resist. Council leaders decreed that anyone, man or woman, who held communications with the whites would be killed. Only five kegs of powder remained; four of these taken at Indian Key, therefore hunting was to be done with bow and arrow only. The new resistance strategy would be to ambush, fire and flee. It seems that WorthÂ’s strategy of keeping pressure on the fugitive bands was having the desired effect (Buker 1997:134; Sprague 1848:280-281). In November of 1841 Captain Cooper of the schooner Francis reported to officers at Fort Lauderdale that he had spotted two Indians on the beach near the mouth of Hillsboro Inlet, who were apparently gesturing for his vessel to come ashore. Lieutenant William H. ChurchillÂ’s troops marched the twelve to fourteen miles to the site Captain Cooper had described. The troops found tracks of three individuals, possibly two adults and a child (Knetsch 2000:31). Captain WadeÂ’s patrols from Fort Lauderdale proved highly effective. In November of 1841, Wade captured 63 Indians and destroyed numerous large crops and several villages in the area around the fort (Sprague 1848:392-394). Wade reported that over the course of the entire expedition, he had destroyed 20 canoes and captured Â“13 rifles, 12 powder-horns (well filled), a quantity of ball and buck-shot, with other munitions for defensive operationsÂ” (Sprague 1848:393-394). On March 23, 1842 Lieutenant Commander J. B. Marchand entered the Everglades from Fort Dallas and searched the various small islands for signs of settlements. Â“Upon a small key remote from observation,Â” Marchand reported finding and destroying a large cache of goods consisting of Â“a large quantity of prepared coontie, deer-skins, articles of clothing, and cooking utensils, carefully preserved, and two cabins, which had been erected about a week previousÂ” (Sprague 1848:383). Around mid April of 1842, McLaughlinÂ’s men investigated a report of a large schooner from New York, loaded with flour, aground on the reef. Upon their arrival, they learned that a party of about 30 Indians had been at the wreck a week before. McLaughlin was certain that they intended to return; they had Â“repacked several barrels and a bag of flour, and secreted them in the bushes some distance from the beachÂ” (Sprague 1848:388). McLaughlinÂ’s men waited in ambush for ten days, but to no avail. When the Seminole party did not return, they destroyed 167 barrels of flour that remained at the
132 scene. Two days later this scouting party discovered and destroyed extensive fields on an island in the Everglades near Snake Creek. There he found Â“bananas, cane, corn and vegetables of every descriptionÂ” but no settlement (Sprague 1848:389). Operations in the Everglades were winding down by the spring of 1842. Although most of the hostiles had managed to flee ahead of advancing troops, their material loss was great. Most important, this expedition made it clear that troops could penetrate even the most remote hiding places where it was thought the white man could not go (Buker 1997:134-137). In a letter to General Scott written in February of 1842, Worth reported the suspected whereabouts of the remaining bands. Sam Jones was said to be at the headwaters of the Locha Hatchee; The Prophet and Bowlegs at the mangrove lake south of Key Biscayne; Chitto Tustenugee on or about the Kissimmee River; Halleck Tustenuggee in the area of Haw Creek or DunnÂ’s Lake; Oze-re-sa in the hammocks of the Ocklawaha, and Halpatter Tustenuggee in the hammocks of the Esteen Hatchee River. Worth estimated their aggregate strength to be about 300 persons; 112 of these warriors (Sprague 1848:444). In December, Halleck TustenuggeeÂ’s band commenced a series of plundering raids along the St. Johns River. On December 21, 1842 Halleck and fifteen warriors attacked the small village of Mandarin 30 miles northwest of St. Augustine while most of the townÂ’s men were away on a hunting expedition. The raiders killed inhabitants, burned buildings, and gathered Â“a great haul of lootÂ” (Mahon 1985:305). The marauders, who had come from their camp in the DunnÂ’s Lake/Haw Creek area, were in no particular hurry and stayed in the settlement for more than sixteen hours (Sheldon 1930:194; Sprague 1848:400). In the wake of the Mandarin attack, troops launched a major offensive aimed at capturing Halleck, but he managed to escape their dragnet and continued to harrass the settlements along the St. Johns. On April 19, 1842 troops finally succeeded in bringing HalleckÂ’s band to battle in a hammock near Pelaklakaha (Sprague 1848:458). After a sharp gunfight the Seminoles and their a llies yielded and scattered, leaving behind Â“large quantities of dried deermeat, dressed deer-skins, half-finished moccasins, axes, hoes, kettles, and articles of clothing Â… The women and children had left, the night before, in such haste as to leave behind thimbles, needles, thread, and several highly-
133 ornamented dressesÂ” (Sprague 1848:458). An old Seminole man captured in the battle was sent out as a runner to Halleck. Although the battle had routed and dispersed the band, the prisoner was successful in making contact, and returned with word that Halleck would be in the following day for a discussion. Worth was determined to capture the chief and his followers in order to restore peace to the frontier. After scouts reported that a surprise assault on the SeminolesÂ’ camp was not possible, Worth decided to take the band by ruse. His plan was to entertain Halleck, gain his confidence, then close in upon the chief and his warriors. On the 29th, Halleck appeared in the camp with two of his wives and two children. Worth treated the partly kindly, held a talk with the chief, and then permitted all to go free. Halleck assured Worth that he would send runners to Ochtiarche, to persuade him to come in with his band (Sprague 1848:465). For the next few days members of HalleckÂ’s band visited the camp, where they were greeted warmly, fed, entertained, and then permitted to leave. According to Sprague, Â“The demands for fresh beef, corn, flour, and whiskey increased, and became exorbitantly large; much more than the number of Indians could possibly consume. These were made by the chief in a most haughty, insolent, and overbearing manner; and if not complied with instantly, his language was imperative and insulting. This was endured, as the day of retribution was fast approachingÂ” (Sprague 1848:465). The ruse was continued. After gaining the chiefÂ’s confidence, Worth invited Halleck and his wives to accompany him to Fort King. The invitation was accepted. Halleck, employing a ruse of his own, agreed to go to Fort King because Â“there a supply of powder and lead could be purchased, which together with the provisions, would enable him again to take the field with a fair prospect of successÂ” (Sprague 1848:465-466). According to Sprague, Â“These reflections were indulged in, as subsequently known, by himself and those around him, to such a degree as to cause merriment; at the same time ridiculing the credulity of the officers and soldiers. The young and the old contributed their last pence for the purchase of powder and lead. This game had heretofore been played with success, but the last throw of the dice was in hands too skilled to be thus deluded and disgracedÂ” (Sprague 1848:466).
134 Worth left with HalleckÂ’s party for Fort King, leaving careful instructions with his officers for the bandÂ’s capture. A feast was arranged, ostensibly as a reception to celebrate HalleckÂ’s return from Fort King. His entire band assembled for the celebration. At a prearranged signal, they were surrounded and informed that they were prisoners. An express carried the news of their capture to Worth at Fort King, who immediately informed Halleck that he and his wives were prisoners as well. Halleck was said to have raged for many hours after the ruse was revealed (Sprague 1848:466). Once the captives resigned themselves to their new condition, they asked to take their belongings with them to the West: Â“Each hiding-place was minutely described; as holes in the earth, hollow trees, small palmetto sheds in the midst of the swamps, &c. Large quantities of cloth, cottons, blankets, and calico were brought in; as also five canisters of powder, which the chief said he buried two years previous to the war. He saw the contest approaching, and from that time forward improved the opportunity to obtain powder and leadÂ” (Sprague 1848:481-482). As the war wound to a close, scouting forays against the remaining hostile bands continued. The ferrets found and destroyed palmetto huts and numerous fields. In surprise attacks, two Indians were killed and two squaws and three children captured (Sprague 1848:470). Those hostiles who were driven from the area of DeadmanÂ’s Bay sought to unite with OchtiarcheÂ’s band, but to their surprise, found him to be strongly opposed to hostile action of any kind. Ochtiarche doubtless appreciated that hostile action would bring the destruction of newly-planted crops, as it had the year before. The group convened a council where they decided to remain quiet and refrain from hostilities (Sprague 1848:472). The success of WorthÂ’s relentless scouts is illustrated in the statement made by chief Nethlockemathlar as he prepared to travel west: Â“Our crops last summer were entirely destroyed, which never occurred before, and the approach of troops from all quarters scattered our people, separating husbands and wives, parents and children, for safety. From moon to moon we thought the soldiers would retire, but they continuing their destruction as fast as we could plant, there was no alternative left but to improve the first opportunity to surrenderÂ” (Sprague 1848:454). The summer months, once a time of
135 regrouping, planning and making crops, were no longer the fruitful times they had been. WorthÂ’s strategy was working. The war was at last coming to an end. NethlockemathlarÂ’s band was among those who had escaped from Fort Brooke during the summer of 1838. The chief told the whites that he had been sincere in his attempt to surrender, Â“but through the means of the negroes, interpreters, and Spaniards, who supplied powder, dissatisfaction was created among the young men, who concerting with the Creeks, caused them to enter the camp at night, removing forceably our baggage, women, and children, and threatening us with instant death if we declined following them, or gave the alarm. This placed us again in a hostile attitude, and as the young men had obtained sufficient powder and lead, they disregarded my solicitations for peaceÂ” (Sprague 1848:454). Worth now earnestly appealed to his superiors to end offensive operations: Â“Every exertion of force, while it tends to make the enemy more wild in his habits and savage in his nature, places the object in view, his total expulsion, more remote Â… The first step, in my judgement, towards closing the contest, if not finishing it, is to reduce the force.Â” Worth notified Scott that as each portion of the current campaign was brought to a close, he would position troops for the defense of the frontier only, unless ordered to do otherwise (Sprague 1848:442). On May 10 1842, President John Tyler acceded to WorthÂ’s request to cease offensive operations. He informed the Secretary of War that he wished for hostilities to end. At this time there were an estimated 240 Seminoles remaining in Florida. The expense of pursuing the remainder, Tyler said, was not justifiable. The Secretary of War accordingly advised Winfield Scott that Worth might end hostile operations at the time and place he thought best (Sprague 1848:477-478). Worth lost no time in offering terms of peace. He sent emissaries to OchtiarcheÂ’s band with a talk from Halleck Tustenuggee, outlining the terms: hostility towards the whites must cease; those who wished to emigrate would be kindly received; and the remainder must withdraw below Pease Creek. HalleckÂ’s talk was deemed credible, and taken seriously (Sprague 1848:472). Finding themselves relentlessly pursued, PascofferÂ’s band on the Ochlockonee River sought an interview with Colonel Vose through two citizens who had long been
136 suspected of holding constant communication with the band. Sprague notes that Â“The influence of these men, when properly directed, was of great importance. The terms of peace were accepted, and the two white men were brought to participate with the military in restoring quiet to the settlersÂ” (Sprague 1848:472). As word of the offer of peace circulated, other bands still out began migrating south. Seven years and some $30,000,000 after it had started, the war was officially declared at an end (Sprague 1848:490). The outcome of the Second Seminole War was that fewer than 300 Seminoles remained in Florida, which had once been home to more than 5,000. Those remaining were the cultural Â“founding fathersÂ” of the Seminole groups who now inhabit Florida (Weisman 1989:10, 12,123). The government had spent seven years and millions of dollars to accomplish the removal of more than 4,000 Seminoles and Black Seminoles. The war ended with a cease fire. The small remnant who remained had been successful in their resistance; however high the cost.
137 Chapter Five Predictive Model: The Archaeology of War Camps Patterns of Plunder An examination of the incidents presented in chapter six reveals certain patterns in the SeminolesÂ’ and Black SeminolesÂ’ behavior during plundering raids, about which inferences may be drawn. Recognition of traces of patterned behavior may aid in the archaeological interpretation of Seminole War period sites in Florida, and may allow us to predict what items might be contained within caches of material goods that consitute a portion of the archaeological record of the Second Seminole War. Accounts of the attacks on the plantations below St. Augustine suggest that plunder taking was not haphazard, but was carried out according to a plan. Evidence also suggests that certain items were more highly valued as plunder, while others items were consistently left or destroyed. Some plantations appear to have been primary targets, while others were untouched or only partially plundered. It appears that the first target was the Hunter plantation. On Christmas morning, Black Seminole John Caesar had attempted to lure Mr. Hunter from his plantation house by offering to trade for cattle. Hunter had been warned of impending trouble with the Seminoles and declined to step outside. From there, the raiders proceeded to and plundered both the Stamp and Hunter plantation and the Cruger and Depeyster place, but burned neither. They then plundered and burned the plantation of David R. Dunham. The following night the raiders targeted New Smyrna. The next morning found the raiders back at the Stamp and Hunter and Cruger and Depeyster estates (Boyd 1951:62-63). That the plantations were not completely plundered and destroyed before raiders moved on to another, suggests that the most desirable goods were removed across plantations on a first pass, then revisited for the taking of Â“second tierÂ” goods. If this assumption is valid, we would expect to see that plantations were plundered in stages
138 over repeat visits. We do indeed see evidence of this in the documentary accounts. In his January 7 report to the Adjutant General, Hernandez described the destruction resulting from the SeminolesÂ’ raids upon the plantations below St. Augustine: Â“The Mosquito settlements have all been visited by them, and those of them which have not been burned have been more or less pillagedÂ” (NA RG94: Reel 124). At the Stamp and Hunter and Cruger and Depeyster plantations, property was taken on the first day, the dwelling houses destroyed on the second day, but the corn houses left standing at both (Boyd 1951:63). At the Dummett plantation, the house and grounds were plundered on the first visit, but the buildings were left intact (Cohen 1964:92). Not until the second visit was the house fired, but the fire only burned a hole in the floor. The dwelling was finally destroyed on a third visit (NA RG94: Reel 124). William CooleyÂ’s house at New River was plundered in at least three visits. In the first raid, the Seminoles and their allies killed the inhabitants, took $7,000 worth of goods Cooley had salvaged from the Gil Blas wreck, and carried off or recruited CooleyÂ’s two slaves Patsy and Peter. A Spanish man named Emmanuel, presumably a hired hand, also disappeared during the attack (Black 1981:39-40). When Cooley returned to his homestead the day after the initial attack, the coontie mill was still standing, but the house had been fired recently, as evidenced by the low burning flames he witnessed in the ruins of his dwelling (Kirk 1977:18). By the time Cooley once again visited his land in the Fall of 1836, he found that the coontie mill had been destroyed (Knetsch 1989:42). The Dupont dwelling was not destroyed until days after the initial plundering raid ( Tallahassee Floridian, August 16, 1836). Given this pattern, we might look at the plunder taken on first visits, to determine which items were considered most desirable. Slaves, when they were present, were generally taken or recruited on the first visit. Lead was often cut from sugar boilers on initial visits (Cohen 1964:142). Horses were generally taken on a first visit (Cohen 1964:79; Kirk 1977; Potter 1966, Sprague 1848). Among the items taken on a first pass at Oak Forest plantation were rum, bed linens, sails and new rope (AGLR: Reel 124). At CooleyÂ’s plantation, barrels of provisions, casks of Madeira wine, livestock, powder, lead and slaves were taken on the first visit (Kirk 1977:26; Potter 1966:117).
139 Certain items were also consistently destroyed, rather than taken as plunder. Ceramics and glass appear to have been especial targets for destruction. This is perhaps an expression of the Nativism movement, which shunned European and American goods as symbols of oppression. Anna Dummett related that Â“every item of china and cut glass was brokenÂ” at her familyÂ’s plantation (Payne and Griffin 2001:66). Archaeological investigations at the Dummett plantation produced scattered ceramic fragments near the building remains. The pieces could be articulated, and it appeared to investigators that the plates, dishes and etc. had been thrown Â“frisbee styleÂ” and scattered where they hit the ground (Payne and Griffin 2001:67). The Perrine family at Indian Key could hear ceramics being shattered above their heads as they lay hidden in the turtle crawl (Walker 1926:19-43). Other goods that were consistently destroyed were those that contributed to plantation ownersÂ’ wealth. These were presumably destroyed to inflict a punishing economic blow upon the whites. Sugar processing facilities and cash crops were particular targets. At ForresterÂ’s, the war party also destroyed enough sugar cane to produce 90 hogsheads (barrels) of sugar, as well as 30 hogsheads of sugar ready for market (Potter 1966:117). In some cases buildings were destroyed as soon as plunder had been removed, particularly when only one raid was made on a particular site. The Dunham and Heriot plantations were completely destroyed in a single pass (NA RG94: Reel 124; Boyd 1951:63). Most often, when buildings were destroyed, outbuildings such as corn houses, barns and store houses were left standing for later retrieval of stored goods and provisions. The Williams house was burned on the first visit, but the corn house left standing, as were those at the Cruger and Depeyster and Stamp and Hunter plantations (Boyd 1951:63). Troops arriving at McIntoshÂ’s Oakland plantation near Micanopy found the dwelling house on fire but Â“the store houses, filled with corn, sugar, &c., were still standingÂ” (Williams 1962:246). At Dunlawton, troops found the slave quarters st ill standing and the cattle penned (Knetsch 1998:1). HernandezÂ’ January 7 report to the Adjutant General Â“they have with the utmost care preserved the corn and other provisions of which the crop had been extremely ample,
140 sparing the houses in which they were found: which course of conduct it is not believed would have been pursued but under a determination to return and take possession of themÂ” (NA RG94: Reel 124). Sugar works were differentially spared the first round of destruction. At DummettÂ’s plantation, arriving troops found the sugar house still standing, but noted that lead had been cut from the sugar boiler (Cohen 1964:92). At ForresterÂ’s plantation at Spring Garden, the sugar mill was spared, while the remainder of the plantation, including store houses and slave quarters, had been destroyed (NA RG94: Reel 124). At the Williams estate, the sugar house was spared; at HeriotÂ’s the sugar works were burned (Boyd 1951:64). Slave quarters were also differentially preserved. At Dunlawton, some of the slave quarters were spared, while some were destroyed (Knetsch 1998:3). At Carrickfergus plantation, slave quarters were still standing when troops arrived (NA RG94: Reel 124), while at ForresterÂ’s Spring Garden plantation and HeriotÂ’s plantation, the slave quarters were destroyed (NA RG94: Reel 124; Boyd 1951:63). If their movements were discovered or if troops were approaching, raiders often set fire to remaining buildings, perhaps to prevent troops from taking up strongholds there or procuring provisions. On January 4, 1836, Captain John S. Williams was dispatched to ForresterÂ’s plantation at Spring Garden to remove slaves and such provisions and valuables as could be saved. Williams reported that the slaves had joined or been taken by the raiders. The plantation buildings, including the dwelling house, outbuildings and slave quarters, had been burned Â“Some days since,Â” but Â“the sugar works were set on fire more recently, and the remains were still burning at the time of my arrivalÂ” (NA RG94: Reel 124). The numerous reports of buildings still burning or smoldering upon the arrival of troops suggest that spies closely monitored the military presence in the areas where plunder raids were carried out. As troops approached McRaeÂ’s plantation, the corn cribs were fired, and were still burning upon their arrival (Cohen 1964:145). The troops set up headquarters and scouted from there. On a February 27 scout, troops once again found fresh signs of Indians and smoldering fires (Cohen 1964:147). That same day, as the Carolina volunteers occupied Carrickfergus plantation, they found the barn in flames
141 (Cohen 1964:147). This pattern was repeated in Middle Florida at Colonel McIntoshÂ’s Oakland plantation near Micanopy, where troops found the dwelling house smoldering but the store houses intact (Williams 1962:246). Some plantations were untouched during the initial wave of attacks. Nearly two weeks after the start of the plundering raids below St. Augustine, DarleyÂ’s plantation remained untouched (Cohen 1964:87-88). When regular troops returned to the area below St. Augustine in late February, some of the plantations were as yet undisturbed. In his February 24 journal entry, Cohen noted that as of that date, both the Mala Compra plantation of Joseph Hernandez and LongÂ’s plantation were still intact (Cohen 1964:142). The Mala Compra plantation was occupied by troops during the initial raids but was abandoned by the first week of February (Cohen 1964:96, Knetsch 2003:83). DupontÂ’s and LongÂ’s plantations were not destroyed until sometime in May, when Mr. Dupont appeared in the city of St. Augustine and reported that the Indians had destroyed his buildings, carried off his negros, and killed his neighbor Mr. Long (Cohen 1964:141 n ; Strickland 1985:63). In some cases, raiders continued to visit plantations after the properties had been plundered and burned. Such was the case at the Travers plantations, where Lieutenant Alfred Herbert found hostiles Â“in forceÂ” among the ruins (Mahon 1985:177). The pattern of plunder at the plantations below St. Augustine was different from that followed in Middle Florida. This might be explained by the fact that the plantations below St. Augustine were effectively abandoned, except for sporadic passes through the area as part of organized military campaigns. At no time during the war were there sufficient troops to protect the city of St. Augustine, which meant that the plantations below St. Augustine were left to their fortunes (Knetsch 2003:81-83; Mahon 1985:112113). Raids in Middle Florida, where military troops were generally present, were more hurried and were generally visited once and destroyed. This was the case at the Hallowes, Colt and Simmons houses near St. Augustine on the St. Johns River. All three were destroyed by the same raiding party, in quick succession (Williams 1962:248-249). Moses LevyÂ’s plantation, located within three miles of the military fort at Micanopy, was raided and destroyed in a single attack (Knetsch 2003:85).
142 Targeted Procurement In many instances, targeted plunder raids were carried out, where only certain classes of plunder were taken. These raids most often were aimed at procuring slaves, horses, cattle and lead. We have seen that many pre-war plundering raids targeted cattle and other livestock (Knetsch 2003:69). The evidence for targeted raids upon cattle is discussed at length below. In April of 1836, raiding parties carried off four slaves held by Colonel Humphries, two held by General Clinch and several held by Judge Randal (Carter 1962:231; Williams 1962:244). In the fall of 1840, two slaves were taken from the Gamble plantation (Carter 1962:226-227). In December of 1835, warriors under the leadership of Black Seminole Harry of the Pease Creek band carried off six horses and an African American attached to Fort Brooke (Boyd 1951:99). Seventeen horses were taken from Fort Drane during that same time period (Carter 1960:281). The raids upon the Higgenbotham and McCormick houses in September of 1836 seem to have been targeted toward acquisition of horses. Here nine warriors took nine horses (Williams 1962:254). Troops pursuing a raiding party after the attack on the Coker and Vagel plantations recovered a mare and colt that had been taken in the raid ( Tallahassee Floridian, August 16, 1836). In the wave of depredations that followed JesupÂ’s failed peace negotiation in the Everglades region in 1838, two horses were stolen from Fort Drane (Prince 1998:114-115) and a number of horses were taken from Fort Crane (Forry 1928a:104). In other instances, sugar works were the particular targets; likely for the extraction of lead. Lead was used to line the wooden troughs that fed crushed cane juice to the first boiling tank. Sometimes these troughs were more than 100 feet in length (Cleland 1836:23). Receiving tanks within the boiling house were often lined with lead as well. Those that were not lined with lead were lined with copper (Sitterson 1953:140). Molasses cisterns were also lined with lead (Sitterson 1953:144). In early June of 1836, a party of about 200 warriors destroyed the sugar house at Colonel ClinchÂ’s plantation (Wiliams 1962:245). A scouting party that visited the Orange Grove plantation of Samuel Williams in late February found the sugar mill burnt. The mill at St. Joseph had also been destroyed, Â“but the lead taken from neither, whence a conjecture that the Indians have
143 never repeated their visit, after firing those buildingsÂ” (Cohen 1964:142). The steam sugar mill on the Ridgely plantation was destroyed in late July of 1836, but no other damage to the property was noted (Williams 1962:249). Repeat visits to the plantations below St. Augustine may be viewed as instances of targeted procurement as well. Army surgeon Samuel Forry noted the presence of 100 pounds of lead that had been cut from a sugar boiler in Uchee BillyÂ’s camp in September of 1837 (Forry 1928a:93-94). Another intriguing possibility is that brass sugar processing kettles on the Halifax plantations may have been targeted on this excursion. Dunbar (1981:166) reported that the type specimens for Florida Seminole Kaskaskia point, recovered at the DeLeon Springs site (8Vo30) were made of Â“sheet or kettle brass.Â” The DeLeon Springs site represents the archaeological expression of the Spring Garden plantation. The Kaskaskia point is a rolled, conical metal point used to tip wooden shafts. At DeLeon Springs, two heart pine shafts tipped with Kaskaskia points were recovered. Kaskaskia points have been identified among specimens from Seminole sites in Oklahoma and are found at much earlier Creek Indian sites in the Southeast (Dunbar 1981:166). Dunbar also recovered three diagnostic Seminole points at the De Leon site. Perhaps as powder and ammunition became more difficult to acquire, the Seminoles rekindled earlier skills that had gone by the wayside. We learn from Strickland (1985:46) that Spring Garden was originally the home of Uchee Billy, and that when Joseph Woodruff purchased the land in 1825, he gave Uchee Billy three days to vacate the property. The Kaskaskia points found at Spring Garden may represent a rare opportunity to view an individualÂ’s presence in the archaeological record. Figure 7: Kaskaskia Point Source: Dunbar 1981:167
144 Timing of Plundering Raids After the initial wave of plundering that accompanied the outbreak of the war, the taking of plunder seems to have occurred in waves that coincided with the withdrawal of troops during the supposed Â“sickly season.Â” Although isolated plunder incidents occurred throughout the war, the vast majority of plundering raids occurred from April to November, when regular troops retired to Â“summer quarters.Â” It was the stated policy of the Department of War not to pursue active campaigns in Florida during these months and to minimally staff military outposts. When Jesup sent a series of letters to the Secretary of War during the summer of 1837, asking that troops arrive in Florida before the scheduled first week of November, he was informed that the Secretary of War deemed a concentration of troops in Florida before then Â“extremely hazardousÂ” ( American State Papers 7:859). The first such wave, in 1836, occurred in the days following ScottÂ’s failed campaign and after the withdrawal of volunteers from other states. During this period, the Seminoles and their allies resumed the taking of cattle and other livestock. Raids were also timed to coincide with times when attackers would encounter little resistance. The attack upon Mandarin was timed to coincide with a hunting trip that took most of the communityÂ’s men into the countryside (Mahon 1985:305). The attack on Indian Key occurred hours after the departure of most of the able-bodied military forces from the adjacent Tea Table Key (Buker 1997:106). Such precision was most likely achieved by means of surveillance prior to raids. The prisoner captured in Madison County in 1840 had been a participant in such surveillance (NA RG94: Roll 125). Subsistence Goods We have seen that before the war, the Seminole exploited a variety of FloridaÂ’s productions for subsistence. Corn, melons, pumpkins, beans, potatoes and squash were planted in the hammock lands. Cattle, hogs, and fowl were raised for both subsistence and profit. Wild game; plentiful throughout Florida, provided a major source of food, as did fish and shellfish taken from wetlands. Acorns, nuts and coontie were among the wild plant foods gathered by the Seminole.
145 Subsistence became a major concern for the Seminoles and their allies after the outbreak of hostilities. The need for concealment limited the possible ways in which subsistence needs could be met. Planting large fields or pasturing large herds of cattle brought the risk of detection. Hunting ranges were drastically reduced as organized hunting parties could no longer range far from camp, as they had before the war. The presence of marine patrols meant that fishing and gathering shellfish came with a risk of detection and capture (Buker 1997; Knetsch 2003; Weisman 1999). The Seminoles and their allies nonetheless managed to obtain subsistence goods from a variety of sources during the war. It is reasonable to assume that during the thirteen months that the Seminoles stockpiled weapons and ammunition, they also planted crops and stockpiled subsistence goods. Wild foods such as acorns and coontie and domestic crops such as corn could be processed and stored without spoilage, and venison, beef and fish could be salted and stored. We have seen that, before the outbreak of hostilities, plundering raids focused on livestock procurement. As many as 25,000 head of cattle were taken during the months before the outbreak of war (Potter 1966:5). A drove of hogs were driven away from the Simmons home in December of 1835 (Florida Historical Society 1925b:18). Subsistence goods may have been among the goods taken from Captain SaundersÂ’ country store in December of 1835 (Carter 1960:211). Well before the actual outbreak of war, many citizens fled their homes as fear of impending attacks spread across the frontier. Those who abandoned their homes generally took little with them except their arms, ammunition and a few articles of clothing, and thus left many provisions in their homes and crops standing in the field. The small number of troops then stationed in Florida could do little to stop the Seminoles from carrying off provisions from abandoned farmsteads (Sprague 1848:180; Williams 1962:244;) Subsistence goods were among the items taken as plunder during the initial wave of attacks in December of 1835 and the early months of 1836. At William CooleyÂ’s plantation, raiders carried off twelve barrels of provisions, a large quantity of prepared coontie, 80 hogs, fowl and sheep (Kirk 1977:26; Potter 1966:117). The plantations below St. Augustine were undoubtedly a rich source of subsistence goods, as most of the planters in the region below St. Augustine kept livestock and grew subsistence as well as
146 cash crops (Griffin 1999:18, 20, Williams 1962). We have seen that on many of those plantations, store houses filled with provisions were spared destruction for later harvest. Abandoned military camps often contained many wasted or abandoned provisions. In areas where horses were fed, corn kernels and whole cobs were left scattered on the ground. Prince complained that the volunteers wasted Â“more than a pint of corn to every horse by leaving it on the ground when they moveÂ” (Prince 1998:69). Documents record several instances of Seminoles gathering corn left in this manner (Kieffer 1979:203; Prince 1998:71). Lack of transportation often forced troops to abandon provisions as they broke camp. Cohen noted that the Seminoles followed closely upon the trail of troops in order to pick up remnants in abandoned camps. In 1836 CohenÂ’s division captured fifteen ponies, Â“which the Indians were leading, with packs laden with corn and beans, of which we had left on the road five or six barrels for want of transportationÂ” (Cohen 1964:216). Provisions were abandoned at the Battle of Dunlawton in 1836 (Knetsch 2003:83), and troops breaking camp at Carrickfergus plantation abandoned 20,000 rations, which were confirmed to have fallen into the hands of the Seminoles (Cohen 1964:223). Shipwrecks were also a lucrative source of subsistence (and other) goods. All of the vessels that passed through the Florida shipping routes carried subsistence goods for their own use. If the cargo itself consisted of food goods, one shipwreck could prove to be a major windfall. A party of Seminoles that fled from a military scout in April of 1842 was in the midst of salvaging more than 200 barrels of flour from a shipwreck (Sprague 1848:388, Buker 1997:132-133). We might reasonably assume that the entire cargo of rice salvaged by the Seminoles near Fort Jupiter in 1838 contained comparable quantities (Mahon 1985:235). The withdrawal of military troops from May to November of each year provided the Seminoles and their allies with an opportunity to plant crops, procure plunder and engage in trade with little interference. Perhaps the most dramatic example of the SeminolesÂ’ use of the Â“sickly seasonÂ” was OsceolaÂ’s construction of 150 proper frame houses in the hammock behind Fort Drane after its abandonment, where as many as 500 inhabitants enjoyed the 12,000 bushels of corn left standing in the field there (Boyd 1951:289; Williams 1962:247). A Native American from AlligatorÂ’s band who spoke with a spy
147 from BunceÂ’s rancho in June of 1836 stated that his band had established themselves near Fort Brooke, were raising corn, and planned no offensive activities until their corn was ripe and gathered. Mix noted that this band had recently made an attack on soldiers sent from Fort Brooke to gather wood; a tactic often used to keep the small summer garrisons within the pickets of the fort ( Mix Journal, June 28, 1836 and August 16, 1836). As troop strength was reduced each year, settlers abandoned their homes, leaving the frontier in the possession of the Seminoles and their allies. Had settlers left their homes at the outbreak of the war and not returned, abandoned crops would have been a one-time resource. We have seen, however, that settlers returned to their homes and replanted fields after the Seminoles signed the Articles of Capitulation at Fort Dade in March of 1837. When the more than 700 Seminoles and Black Seminoles assembled for emigration at Fort Brooke fled in June of 1837, settlers once again fled for the relative safety of the nearest military posts, leaving mature crops standing in the fields (Sprague 1848:177180). This cycle was repeated when Macomb negotiated a truce in 1839, which was broken by the raid on Colonel HarneyÂ’s troops at Charlotte Harbor (Mahon 1985:261262; Sprague 1848:233). Abandoned crops thus were an ongoing source of subsistence goods. During the winter months when troops were once again active, the SeminolesÂ’ superior knowledge of the Florida terrain enabled them to grow crops in secluded areas. The intensive local scouting which began under TaylorÂ’s command, and was continued by Armistead and Worth, finally began to break the SeminolesÂ’ hold on the interior of the Florida peninsula as neighborhood scouts discovered previously unknown villages and destroyed secluded agricultural fields (Buker 1997:123-133; Knetsch 2003:130-131; Sprague 1848:389, 472). ArmisteadÂ’s troops destroyed a total of 500 acres of cornfields along the Ocklawaha River, in the Wahoo Swamp and at Chocochatti, and discovered a previously unknown village only fifteen miles from Fort King (Mahon 1985:278). The intrusion of military troops into previously secure retreats placed pressure upon the Seminoles and their allies, and rendered even the most remote camps insecure. When intensive scouting began to threaten their subsistence, the Seminoles and their allies made skillful use of the parley ruse to halt military offensives and obtain provisions. As campaigns in the Everglades in 1840 and 1841 placed pressure upon the
148 southern bands, emissaries hastened to Sarasota to parley, promising peace and emigration, and were fed, clothed and permitted to come and go at will. Within days of the dismissal of troops for the sickly season, the entire band abruptly left and broke off negotiations. In response to intensive scouting in Middle Florida, Tiger TailÂ’s emissaries emerged from Annuteliga to parley, where they were given Â“subsistence and supplies to any amount requested,Â” then returned to seclusion with the approach of the sickly season (Sprague 1848:255-262). Only when Worth began to turn the parley ruse back upon the Seminoles, capturing several important war leaders, was the resistance weakened. The few remaining war leaders began to consider emigration or, as OchtiarcheÂ’s band did, determined to refrain from hostilities in order to plant and gather crops without discovery (Sprague 1848:472). Clothing The Seminoles and other Southeastern Native Americans were accustomed to meeting clothing needs with cloth and ready-made clothing purchased through trade. Before the advent of the deerskin trade, Southeastern Native Americans wore little during the hot summer months. In the winter they made use of skins and furs to stay warm. European textiles and ready-made clothing changed Native American dress. Breechcloths once made of leather were now made of coarse, inexpensive stroud cloth in blue and bright vermillion colors. Hunting shirts, once manufactured of deerskin chamois, now came ready-made or were manufactured from stroud. In the winter, men, women and children now wrapped themselves in blankets of European or American manufacture (Holland-Braun 1993:124). Embellishment of basic clothing increased with European trade as well. Lace, fringe, bells, beads, buckles and buttons adorned shirts, leggings, dresses, coats and turbans. Some items of European manufacture were put to creative use: thimbles were strung together as fringes and bells. Brass and copper wire, in their original state or pounded flat, were used as decorative accents. Clothing and personal adornment had been used as status indicators in Mississippian times, and such use was elevated to new heights with the advent of European trade (Holland-Braun 1993:125).
149 So important was cloth to Native Americans, notes Holland-Braun, that Â“the commerce could have been termed the cloth trade as easily as the deerskin tradeÂ” (Holland-Braun 1993:122). Clothing and material appear prominently in early colonial gift lists and trade inventories, and fabrics of various designs, colors and weights were considered essential by Native Americans by the early 1700s (Holland-Braun 1993:122123). It is not surprising, then, that Seminole clothing was in short supply almost immediately after legal trade was cut off, and that this shortage increased as the war dragged on. It is also not surprising that clothing figured prominently as goods procured through plunder, trade and clandestine assistance. Evidence of clothing shortage comes to us as descriptions of prisoners, Seminoles and blacks who assembled for immigration and those who frequented military forts during peace negotiations. In May of 1837, Jesup described those who assembled for emigration following the capitulation as Â“literally naked, many of themÂ” (American State Papers 7:871). Macomb described those who assembled for peace talks in 1839 as Â“in a most destitute condition, as to clothingÂ” (Sprague 1848:231). In December of 1842, Hitchcock described PascofferÂ’s band as Â“wretchedly dressed Â… with very dirty tattered shirts. One or two had bits of blanket about themÂ” (Hitchcock 1971:170). When the same band finally was embarked west in 1843, Hitchcock described them as Â“badly dressed, the blankets I had given them just covering their nakedness, and seemed haggard and poorÂ” (Hitchcock 1971:172). Because of their skill in employing the parley ruse, however, it is worth noting that the Seminoles who assembled for peace talks may have Â“dressed downÂ” in an attempt to obtain clothing and other supplies. One of the ways in which the Seminoles relieved the clothing shortage during the war was by manufacturing garments from corn sacks discarded in Army camps. The practice also seems to have had a wide geographic distribution. Prince noted that a prisoner captured in the Cove of the Withlacoochee in January of 1837 was clad in a shirt made of corn bags, while Jesup observed Seminole women dressed in corn bags at Fort Jupiter in the southern peninsula in 1838 (Prince 1998:69-70; Kieffer 1979:203). Clothing and textiles were also taken as plunder. Describing the plunder of her familyÂ’s plantation, Anna Dummett noted that Â“Every article of cloth had been taken, the
150 house was full of feathers and hair from the beds, the leather torn from the furnitureÂ” (Strickland 1985:24). Raiders fleeing the attack on the Harlan home near Apalachicola in 1838 left a trail of clothing in their wake (Carter 1962:112). Entire trunks of clothing were taken in the attack on Indian Key in 1840 (Walker 1926:19-43; Sprague 1848:243246). Because clothing and textiles figured so prominently in trade items during the nineteenth century, we may reasonably assume that they were among the items taken at the sutlerÂ’s country store near Fort Brooke (Carter 1960:211) the trading post at William CooleyÂ’s home on New River (Kirk 1977:27; Potter 1966:117), the trading post plundered on Josefa Island (Buker 1997:23-24), and the goods taken in the raid upon Colonel HarneyÂ’s troops in 1839 (Mahon 1985:261-262; Sprague 1848:233). We have seen that the Seminoles were accustomed to trading wild hogs and cattle for blankets, homespun, red cloth and calico at Damietta plantation. In the attack upon Indian Key in 1840, raiders appear to have painstakingly removed textiles while leaving other valuable items untouched. We learn from Charles HoweÂ’s letter that when he returned to his home after the attack, he found that his Â“clock, looking glasses, and sideboard were not disturbed, only divested of their gauze covering which appears to have been done with great care.Â” The window curtains had been removed and dresses and shoes were scattered about the garden. Even the slave quarters had been plundered of clothing and bedding (Peters 1979:22-23). Clothing and textiles were prominent among items troops recovered during the war. Colonel BankheadÂ’s troops, scouting Lake Harney in 1837, discovered Â“pieces of cloth and soldiersÂ’ uniformsÂ” in an abandoned camp there (White 1959:153). Packs of clothing were among the items BankheadÂ’s force found and destroyed in the Everglades in 1838 (Hughes 1981:43). Troops scouring the hammock around Fort Micanopy in 1838 found a spot where the Seminoles had distributed clothing (Prince 1998:16-17). Some $2,000 worth of ready made clothing, cloth, linens and calicoes were recovered in the raid upon ChakaikaÂ’s camp in 1840 (Sturtevant 1953:49). Articles of clothing were among the items MarchandÂ’s troops found in the large cache of goods on a remote island just inside the Everglades in 1841 (Sprague 1848:383). After the Battle of Palaklakaha in 1842 troops recovered articles of clothing, Â“several highly-ornamented dressesÂ” and well as
151 sewing supplies such as thimbles, needles and thread left by HalleckÂ’s retreating band (Sprague 1848:458). This did not exhaust the bandÂ’s supply, as Sprague relates that Â“large quantities of cloth, cottons, blankets, and calicoÂ” were recovered from HalleckÂ’s war camp at Haw Creek after his capture (Sprague 1848:481-482). Black Seminole John Caesar, associated with King PhilipÂ’s band at Tohopekaliga, seems to have maintained a supply line for goods purchased in St. Augustine, supplied by slaves on HansonÂ’s plantation and free blacks residing within the city. After troops surprised and killed John Caesar at HansonÂ’s plantation in 1837, they found calico, needles, thread, and other such articles in his war camp (Porter 1943:402). Coacoochee may have kept this supply line open after John CaesarÂ’s death. We have seen that among the items he and his warriors abandoned when confronted by scouting troops at Wild CatÂ’s crossing on the St. Johns in 1840 were Â“70 blankets, 100 yards of calico, a black frock coat and other menÂ’s clothing, womenÂ’s dresses, chemises, fancy aprons, and handkerchiefs,Â” all with new labels (Waterbury 1994:73). In the Suwannee River/DeadmanÂ’s Bay area, clothing, powder and ammunition appear to have been among the items purchased through trade in stolen cattle. Captain Bradley described the warriors killed or captured there as Â“well dressedÂ” ( American State Papers 7:841). At Fort Andrews on the Fenholloway River, the commandant noted that during the peace negotiations of 1839, the Seminoles camping near the fort went off every few days and returned well supplied with clothing, tobacco, powder and lead (Mahon 1985:261). The parley ruse was an important source of clothing throughout the war. Sprague notes that during the talk with General Hernandez that preceded his capture, Osceola was evasive and talked only Â“of friendship, clothing and provisionsÂ” (Sprague 1848:187). The slaves who surrendered that same day informed Jesup that Osceola and Coe-Hajo had no intention of emigrating, but had come in to obtain powder and clothing (Sprague 1848:187). During parleys with Macomb in 1839 Â“The women and children were brought in and received enough cotton and calico to cover their nakednessÂ” (White 1956:186). From Hitchcock we learn that on a visit to Colonel Worth in March of 1840, Coacoochee asked for some calico. He was given Â“calico for his wife and daughter and a shirt for himself and each of the men with him, and a red blanketÂ” (Hitchcock 1971:127).
152 In the later years of the war, it appears that the Seminoles began to rely more upon dressed deerskins to clothe their warriors. Macomb noted in 1839 that although the women and children were in great want of clothing, the men were not so much, Â“having most of them good buck skin shirtsÂ” (White 1956:186). Hitchcock (1971:170) observed in 1842 that PascofferÂ’s warriors were dressed Â“mostly in skins.Â” The Seminoles continued to manufacture moccasins from deerskin, as witnessed by the Â“half-finished moccasinsÂ” found after the battle at Pelaklakaha in 1842 (Sprague 1848:458). Guns, Powder and Ammunition Before the war, the Seminoles could obtain powder and ammunition at the trading post at Fort King, and by trading in St. Augustine. They also obtained powder from trade with the Spanish fishermen, plantation owners, Captain TrescaÂ’s trading post at Sarasota and William CooleyÂ’s trading post at New River. As discussed earlier, powder and ammunition were stockpiled before the outbreak of hostilities. Porter reports that Black Seminole Abraham built a reserve of ammunition and made arrangements for Â“a continued supply of powder and lead during the hostilities, whenever they should break outÂ” (Porter 1946:18). After the October 1834 council which was apparently a turning point in the SeminolesÂ’ decision to fight rather than negotiate, the chiefs had used a significant portion of their annuity payment to purchase as many as five whole kegs of powder (Carter 1960:61). We learn from Mahon (1985:135) and Porter (1943:397) that in the days prior to the war, the Seminoles had purchased almost all of the powder and lead available in St Augustine. After his capture in 1841, Halleck Tustenuggee revealed that he had buried many kegs of powder for use in the war. At the time of his capture, he still had five kegs in reserve (Sprague 1848:481-482). Documentary evidence also suggests that once hostilities commenced, the Seminoles and their allies obtained powder and lead from a variety of sources. Some avenues yielded resources only once, while other supplies were ongoing. Plundering raids were one-time, single source events. Raids on farmsteads were likely to yield powder and lead, as these items were considered essential by settlers, especially in the summer, when there were few troops stationed for the protection of the
153 frontier. It is reasonable to assume that settlers who abandoned their homes to congregate at military forts would take their guns and ammunition with them, thus surprise attacks on inhabited homesteads were more likely to yield guns and ammunition. Many such surprise attacks occurred during the war. At William CooleyÂ’s plantation, the raiders carried off a keg of powder and 200 pounds of lead (Potter 1966:117). Raids on entire settlements, such as New Switzerland (Williams 1962:248-249) and Mandarin (Mahon 1985:305) may have yielded guns or ammunition. The raid on the Indian Key settlement netted four kegs of powder (Preble 1945:63; Sturtevant 1953:49). The capture of munitions from the military was also a one-time source. The Seminoles captured a keg of powder in the raid upon Colonel John WarrenÂ’s baggage train in December of 1836 (Carter 1960:291; Potter 1966:101). In their retreat from the Battle of Dunlawton in 1836, troops were forced to abandon ammunition and provisions which they had placed upon flatboats before the battle (Knetsch 2003:83). Retreating sailors who skirmished with warriors on the St. Lucie River in 1838 inadvertently left a boats containing powder on the bank (Buker 1997:59-63). The raid upon Colonel HarneyÂ’s camp on the Caloosahatchee netted Â“fourteen patent rifles, six carbines, one keg of powder, and a number of percussion-capsÂ” (Sprague 1848:236). According to the prisoner questioned by Prince in January of 1837, Osceola had obtained six kegs of powder abandoned by retreating troops: Â“the whitemen fought & then went back & were so scared that they left these kegs in the bushesÂ—threw them awayÂ” (Prince 1998:70). We also have indirect evidence that powder could be obtained through use of the parley ruse, although it seems unfathomable that the military would place powder in the hands of an enemy who had been known to stop and restart hostilities as whim dictated. After their capture, HospetarkeÂ’s band admitted Â“that it was not their intention to emigrate or surrender; they had come for powder, whiskey and breadÂ” (Sprague 1848:303). During the parley, HospetarkeÂ’s followers had traded a large quantity of deer skins at the fort, and were Â“more anxious to obtain powder in exchange than moneyÂ” (Sprague 1848:303). Several former slaves who surrendered in 1837 told Jesup that in the false parley that led to their capture, Osceola and Coe-Hajo meant to obtain powder and clothing (Sprague 1848:187). Sprague (1848:255-256) states that after employing the parley ruse in the
154 spring of 1841, Tiger TailÂ’s band vanished into the Annuteliga Hammock freshly supplied with Â“powder sufficient for defence (sic) and amusement.Â” When Halleck Tustenuggee accompanied Colonel Worth to Fort King, where he was taken prisoner, his band had contributed their last dollar so that he might purchase powder and lead at Fort King (Sprague 1848:465-466). Sugar houses were an important one-time supply of lead. As we have seen, sugar houses were sometimes the sole target of plundering raids, especially in areas where troops were stationed for protection of the frontier. If we take 100 pounds to be the amount of lead a single sugar manufactory would yield (Forry 1928a:93-94), such valuable plunder explains why raiding parties would risk attacking sugar houses in Middle Florida, where troops were stationed and the risk of detection was higher. Other supply sources were ongoing, and required outside aid. Such aid was rendered through clandestine trade and, to a lesser extent, by sympathizers among the slaves and free blacks in St. Augustine. Porter (1946:18) states that Abraham received shipments of gunpowder from a free black in St. Augustine, disguised as barrels of flour. The evidence for trade is abundant. The prisoner taken at Charlotte Harbor in 1836 revealed that he had made trips to Havana to procure powder for the Seminoles, and indicated that the Pease Creek band Â“had large supplies of ammunition at Charlotte HarborÂ” (Potter 1966:180). The band at Clearwater Creek apparently purchased powder from William Bunce in the winter of 1836 (Prince 1998:70). A Black Seminole captured in 1839 revealed that, although they had no ammunition, Â“they could get a supply from a white man down the countryÂ” (White 1956:151). Nethlockemathlar spoke of Â“negroes, interpreters, and SpaniardsÂ” who supplied powder and lead to the young warriors of his band (Sprague 1848:454). Three Spaniards reportedly supplied ChakaikaÂ’s band with ammunition (Sturtevant 1953:49), and small turtle boats apparently visited the Everglades to trade, supplying powder and ammunition (Buker 1997:111). In the DeadmanÂ’s Bay area, where there is evidence of clandestine trade in cattle and jerked beef, powder horns taken from warriors contained Â“the finest fresh glazed powderÂ” ( Tallahassee Floridian, July 8, 1837). Observations in military reports supply indirect evidence of trade. We have seen that prisoners taken by TaylorÂ’s troops in the Everglades in 1838 were well supplied with
155 arms and ammunition. One was Â“armed with an excellent rifle, fifty balls in his pouch, and an adequate proportion of powder.Â” Another taken a few miles on was Â“armed and equipped as the formerÂ” (Sprague 1848:206). A prisoner taken into custody by Lieutenant W. K. Hanson at Fort Mellon in 1839, had with him Â“a new Colt rifle and currency from the Bank of New OrleansÂ” (Knetsch 2003:120). BankheadÂ’s force found a quantity of lead and several pounds of gunpowder in canisters at an island camp in the Everglades in 1838 (Hughes 1981:43). Seminoles camped near Fort Andrews in 1839 would go off and return with powder and lead (Mahon 1985:261). Captain Wade at Fort Lauderdale reported that in the winter campaign of 1841, he had captured Â“13 rifles, 12 powder-horns (well filled), a quantity of ball and buck-shot, with other munitions for defensive operationsÂ” (Sprague 1848:393-394). Content of Recovered War Caches We have seen that the yearly cycle of events during the war consisted of plundering raids and subsistence stockpiling during the summer months or Â“sickly season,Â” followed by the recovery of plunder during military campaigns in the winter months. Most often when plunder was recovered, it was in war camps that had been hastily abandoned or that were taken by surprise. We would expect that plunder cached in a war camp was intended either for personal use or for future trade. We would of course not see plunder that had been put to immediate use in trade, therefore we might expect that plunder recovered in war camps would not necessarily be representative of all of the plunder taken. While documents suggest that items related to subsistence, clothing, guns and ammunition were recovered in war camps throughout Florida, evidence also suggests that there was some degree of regional variation in items recovered. It is well to note, however, that because so few of the remaining historical documents actually include specific mentions of plunder recovered, we must use caution when making inferences about such a small body of evidence. Given the limitations of the documentary record, the few specific mentions of plunder that we have, when combined with the few archaeological traces of war camps recovered to date, may be instructive for the recognition of Seminole war caches. Because existing evidence seems to argue for regional variation, it is useful to examine the evidence by region.
156 The Eastern Seaboard Below St. Augustine Existing documents suggest that Seminole bands operating along the eastern coast below St. Augustine established and maintained a supply line for procuring subsistence goods, lead, clothing, textiles and sewing implements. This supply line seems to have been maintained throughout the war, and by a succession of individuals. We first see John Caesar coordinating procurement. After militia troops killed John Caesar in a skirmish in 1837, they recovered from his camp articles recently purchased in St. Augustine, which included calico, needles and thread (Porter 1943:402). In the same area, in 1840, troops captured packs that Coacoochee and his warriors had abandoned while fleeing across a gully. Their packs contained men and womenÂ’s clothing, 70 blankets, 100 yards of calico, dresses, handkerchiefs and aprons, and pieces of cotton and linen (NA RG94: Reel 202; Waterbury 1994:74-75). When troops captured Uchee Billy in a temporary war camp in the same area in 1840, they found 100 pounds of lead that had been cut from a sugar boiler, and nonspecified other articles which were auctioned in St. Augustine (Forry 1928a:93-94). At Lake Harney west of New Smyrna, troops scouting in late 1837 found a longabandoned camp which contained soldiersÂ’ uniforms, pieces of cloth and Â“several hominy poundersÂ” (probably troughs and pestles made of wood) (White 1959:153). Here they also found a flat boat, a canoe and several planks along the shore (White 1959:153). In Halleck TustenuggeeÂ’s temporary camp at Pelaklakaha, troops found in 1842 Â“large quantities of dried deermeat, dressed deer-skins, half-finished moccasins, axes, hoes, kettles, articles of clothing Â… thimbles, needles, thread, and several highlyornamented dressesÂ” (Sprague 1848:458). In his home base war camp at Haw Creek near DunnÂ’s Lake, troops retrieved five buried kegs of powder, Â“cloth, cottons, blankets and calicoÂ” in hiding places described as Â“holes in the earth, hollow trees, small palmetto sheds in the midst of the swamps &c.Â” (Sprague 1848:481-482).
157 Figure 8: DunnÂ’s Lake/Haw Creek Area Source: Seat of War, 1839. Library of Congress http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3931e.ct000138 The Cove of the Withlacoochee During CallÂ’s campaign near the Cove of the Withlacoochee, the common characteristics of overrun or abandoned Seminole and Black Seminole war camps were cattle and hogs, and evidence of the slaughter of the same ( American State Papers 7:841; Potter1966:182; Prince 1998:40; Weisman 1999:57; Williams 1962:260-262). Rafts were also recovered, with evidence that they had been used to ferry cattle across the Withlacoochee River (Williams 1962:260-262). Seminole ponies; smaller and more gracile than settlerÂ’s horses, were also common elements of overrun or abandoned war camps within the Cove (Williams 1962). The prisoner questioned by Prince in 1837 stated that the inhabitants of his camp on Clearwater Creek north of present-day Clearwater had nothing to eat but coontie and fresh beef (Prince 1998:69-70), suggesting that few crops were stockpiled there. Troops destroyed 12,000 pounds of jerked beef at a camp in the Cove in 1841 (Weisman 1999:57). At an abandoned town in the Cove near the Ruth Smith Mound site (8Ci200), Prince found a powder cache beneath a house. The powder container was an unprocessed animal hide that had been buried in a bark-lined pit. Green hides were also used as boats for ferrying supplies within the Cove (Weisman 1989:103-104).
158 Weisman (1989:92-96 and 1999:61-63) has demonstrated that at war-period camp sites within the Cove, European ceramics are notably absent although historic glass fragments are present; traits that may be explained as expressions of Nativism. The Southern Peninsula After the Battle of Okeechobee in December of 1837, TaylorÂ’s men passed through a camp where they found a Â“great abundanceÂ” of dry hides; some of which troops used to construct litters to ferry the wounded (Sprague 1848:209). At another camp in the Okeechobee area, troops found evidence of the slaughter of a great number of cattle (Sprague 1848:212). At a pine island near New River, BankheadÂ’s force found and destroyed coontie processing equipment, cooking utensils, packs of clothing and cowhides, a quantity of lead and several pounds of gunpowder in canisters (Hughes 1988:43). HarneyÂ’s troops recovered four kegs of powder, $2,000 worth of ready made clothing, cloth, linens, calicos and tools, a large amount of processed coontie and a flat boat (Preble 1945:63; Sturtevant 1953:49). In the Everglades just west of New River, BurkeÂ’s troops recovered a rifle, a small skiff, two canoes, numerous blankets, camp utensils and coontie processing equipment at a hastily abandoned camp in 1841 (Knetsch 2000:28). At an island on Fish Eating Creek, McLaughlinÂ’s men found remains of several huts and parts of six saddles. On the shore of Lake Tohopekaliga they found an old saddle and the remains of two oxen (Preble 1945:45). Captain WadeÂ’s troops recovered rifles, powder horns, ball and buck shot and twenty canoes in the Everglades in 1842 (Sprague 1848:393-394). The cache on a small key just within the Everglades discovered by Marchand in 1842 contained large quantities of deer skins, processed coontie, clothing and cooking utensils (Sprague 1848:383). Archaeological investigations in the southern peninsula have yielded evidence of possible war caches. At the Myakkahatchee site (8So397), investigators recovered a ceramic vessel containing lead shot, which was capped with an inverted kettle (Luer, Almy, Ste. Claire and Austin 1987). Kaskaskia points have been collected at the MaddenÂ’s Hammock (8Da45) and Honey Hill (8Da411) sites in Dade County. Cut
159 copper and brass artifacts were also recovered at Honey Hill. At the TaylorÂ’s Camp site (8Ob13) in the Okeechobee region, archaeologists discovered a cache of three iron matlocks and a possible copper gorget (Steele and Carr 1993). Implications of Regional Variation The regional variation observed in plunder recovered in war period camps suggests that trade networks were local, and plunder distribution took place at the band level or below. Documentary evidence supports such an interpretation. We learn from Buker (1997:134) that bands in the Everglades were rationing powder, yet Halleck Tustenuggee had five kegs buried at Haw Creek for the use of his small band (Spraguie 1848:481482). Bands within the Withlacoochee Cove resorted to the use of corn sacks for shirts, while CoacoocheeÂ’s band apparently maintained a steady supply line for ready made clothing and cloth (Prince 1998:70; Porter 1943:402). A statement made by one of PrinceÂ’s prisoners supports an interpretation of bandlevel property rights. The prisoner related that after the Battle of the Wahoo Swamp, AlligatorÂ’s band took more than their share of plunder, and drove all of the cattle down to Pease Creek, Â“some of which belonged to the other tribeÂ” (Prince 1998:75). The fact that other bands had fallen out with Alligator over this incident suggests that property rights resided at the band level or below, and that plunder was not considered the common property of the nation. Local trade with distribution at the band level or below would explain the observed documentary and archaeological evidence. Predictive Model: Contents of War Caches The documentary and archaeological evidence presented above, allows us to predict the contents of war caches. We might expect that war caches throughout Florida will contain archaeological remains of items associated with subsistence, clothing, guns and ammunition. Items associated with subsistence may include remains of metal farming implements, wooden mortars and pestels used for processing coontie or corn, knives and other tools associated with butchering and processing livestock, ceramic vessels used for preparing or storing food, glass bottles used for storing liquids, kettles and other cooking utensils
160 and eating utensils. Clothing related remains may include buttons, dress hooks, buckles and beads, and thimbles, needles or other sewing equipment. Caches might contain guns or gun parts, implements for cleaning and loading weapons, remains of powder horns or pouches, lead shot, molds for manufacturing lead shot, gunflints, ammunition for small bore rifles, remains of powder kegs, unworked lead or brass, Kaskaskia points and projectile points. We might also expect to see the following regional variations: In the area east of the St. Johns River and around St. Augustine, we might expect caches to contain relatively larger amounts of items related to clothing and textiles, lead or brass cut from sugar works, and farming implements taken from the plantations below St. Augustine. In this region, caches may be buried, associated with remains of hollow trees, or with remains of small palmetto sheds. In the Cove of the Withlacoochee, we might expect caches to contain military buttons or other items gleaned from abandoned military camps, guns, ammunition, powder stored in hides, and tools associated with butchering and skin processing. War camps themselves might contain skeletal elements or teeth of cattle, hogs or the small Seminole pony, and remnants of canoes, rafts or skin canoes. We might also expect that European ceramics would not appear in war caches within the Cove. Caches might be buried or associated with remains of dwellings. Within the Everglades, caches might manifest as tools such as those taken from Indian Key or found in TaylorÂ’s camp, coontie processing equipment (sheets of metal punctured to form a grating surface), cut copper, Kaskaskia points, tools for butchering livestock or processing hides, and remnants of hide bundles. We might also expect to see skeletal elements or teeth of cattle and Seminole ponies in Everglades war camps. Because many goods were shipped in barrels during the nineteenth century, we might expect to find barrel staves and nails in camps where shipwreck salvage was cached. Caches within the Everglades might be found on remote keys and islands, or buried within camps. The evidence presented above has allowed us to make inferences concerning the behavior of the Seminoles and their allies during the war, and what the material traces of that behavior may be. We may now discuss how those traces manifest as an archaeological landscape.
161 Archaeological Landscapes and Second Seminole War Camps The material traces of activities of the Second Seminole War comprise an archaeological landscape. An archaeological landscape is formed when humans interact with their surroundings in patterned, cultural ways that leave a material signature. Knapp and Ashmore have defined an archaeological landscape as Â“the backdrop against which archaeological remains are plottedÂ” (Knapp and Ashmore 1991:1). Crumley and Marquardt (1987:1-3) define formation processes of an archaeological landscape as the ways in which human beings interact with, experience and use landscapes. Patterned interaction with landscapes may be expected to leave patterned traces in the archaeological record. Within the evidence presented here, we might identify patterns of behavior that may allow us to create an archaeological predictive model for the locations of Seminole war camps, and the contents of material caches associated with those camps. Archaeological Model: Location of War Camps and Trading Sites Butler (2001) has demonstrated that Seminoles and Black Seminoles interacted with FloridaÂ’s topography in deliberate and patterned ways within the context of combat behavior. ButlerÂ’s analysis established that Seminoles and Black Seminoles consistently and deliberately chose certain terrain on which to prepare a battlefield. The elements common to the battlefields chosen by the Seminoles and their allies were deliberate use of dense hammock cover and terrain and strategic use of water in organized ways. When the Seminoles had an opportunity to choose their battlegrounds, they most often chose locations on the margins of hammocks or swamps, where advancing soldiers would have to cross a body of water to reach their position. Butler concluded that Â“by attacking from dense cover across this body of water the Seminole were guaranteed a window of opportunity to escape while inflicting casualties upon the soldiersÂ” (Butler 2001:44). Documentary evidence presented here suggests that the SeminolesÂ’ patterned use of landscape also extended to their choice of locations for war camps and sites where clandestine trade may have taken place. Descriptions of war camps suggest that strategic use of water played an important role in the SeminolesÂ’ choice of sites where women and children were concealed, where warriors camped, and presumably where trade was carried on. One of the principal camps in the area of the Cove of the Withlacoochee was
162 in the Wahoo Swamp, situated across a creek from the only ingress. Here 200 Black Seminoles and 420 warriors with their women and children were concealed throughout much of the war (Mahon 1985:185). Bemrose (1966:70) informs us that King PhilipÂ’s war camp on an island within Lake Tohopekaliga was Â“surrounded by water so deep that it cannot be forded except in one place, nor can it be approached from any point without discoveryÂ” (Bemrose 1966:70). Camps within the Everglades where women and children were concealed were often situated on cypress islands surrounded by water. Only when troops using small-draft boats penetrated the Everglades were these camps discovered (Buker 1997:134-135). Dense cover was strategically used in the selection of war camp sites as well. A war camp with more than 100 occupants, situated in an oak and hardwood hammock only fifteen miles from Fort King, escaped the notice of troops from 1836 to 1841, when neighborhood scouting finally led to its discovery (Mahon 1985:278). Warriors encamped in a Â“much-to-be-feared hammockÂ” terrorized the Alachua area in the summer of 1837 (Forry 1928a:104). Orange Lake Hammock, the site of another war camp, was so thickly forested that horsemen found it impossible to ride through (Prince 1998:116). When camps were constructed for ongoing extraction of goods from plantation sites, they were generally located in hammocks near the extraction site. We have seen that OsceolaÂ’s band constructed frame houses in a hammock bordering Fort Drane, in order to make use of crops left standing in the field (Boyd 1951:289; Williams 1962:247). The band that was harvesting potatoes at Spring Garden plantation in 1836 located their camp across the river from the plantation, in a dense hammock (Cohen 1964:156). The band that drove cattle from San Felasco to Hogtown Prairie placed their camp in the surrounding San Felasco Hammock (Yelton 1975:326). Weisman (1989:110-11 and 1999:61-65) has demonstrated that aboriginal ceremonial or burial sites were favored by OsceolaÂ’s followers in the area of the Cove of the Withlacoochee. We might expect war period camps to be located at or near such sites within the Cove. Accessibility by small coasting vessels was likely an important factor in the location of camps where trade was carried on. We have seen that areas where prairie lands extend onto peninsulas with harbor access were the scene of activity involving the congregation
163 of warriors and movement of cattle. We have seen that Wacasassa Bay, DeadmanÂ’s Bay, Cape Romaine, Punta Rasa, Cape Florida and Cape Sable were places of suspect activity throughout the war. Based upon the preceding evidence, it would appear that the Seminoles and Black Seminoles prioritized dense cover and the strategic use of water in choosing the placement of war camps, and presumably the sites where trade was carried out. The consistency with which they chose such locations allows us to propose a predictive model that targets hardwood hammocks near prairie capes with harbor access as possible war camp locations. A predictive model for the location of Seminole war camps and trading areas should involve using the direct historical approach to identify areas of interest, then concentrating survey activities on nearby hardwood hammocks, islands within bodies of water, or prairie capes with associated hardwood hammocks. Challenges to the Discovery of War Camps The archaeologist in search of war period camps is faced with many challenges. War period camps may have been occupied for as little as one day or as much as a year, making their visibility today extremely variable. We might expect them to be located in the most inhospitable and poorly navigable locations, the appeal of which was their remoteness. Camps that were discovered by troops during the war were summarily destroyed, again leaving the archaeologist little to find. Add to these challenges the deliberate attempt at obfuscation that the Seminoles and Black Seminoles made in order to cover their tracks, and one wonders if these sites are discoverable at all. A direct historical approach that considers topography seems the only possibility. Once possible sites are identified, a survey conducted both on the ground and from the water approaches may provide further clues as to site locations. The dense recesses of the Withlacoochee Cove present the same environmental challenges as they did to the government troops: little visibility in thick hammock cover, the obvious challenges of navigating a swamp, and the natural dangers of both the physical environment and its wildlife inhabitants. Development has also obliterated the traces of many Seminole War period sites; especially those situated along FloridaÂ’s coastline. Examination of existing collections
164 from sites thus destroyed may provide insights into the relationship between Seminole group behavior and the archaeological record. The Cultural Significance of Seminole War Camps The Florida soil was much more than a beloved homeland to the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes, for it was on Florida soil that their distinct cultural identity was forged and maintained. As Weisman (1999:26) has noted, the Native Americans who immigrated to Florida arrived as Creeks, and emerged as Seminoles. We have seen that before the United States gained possession of Florida, Native American settlements were disbursed, many families were economically independent, and the authority of central chiefs had eroded considerably (Weisman 1999:13-21). By the end of the nineteenth century, a distinct Seminole cultural identity had emerged. Weisman (1999:26-27) has argued that the events of the Second Seminole War period were among the leading catylists for the reordering of the Seminole cultural base. The archaeological landscape of the Second Seminole War may therefore hold important insights to the events and processes that forged Seminole and Miccosukee cultural traditions. War camps and their contents are important components of the archaeological landscape of the Second Seminole War. Recognizing, preserving and interpreting Second Seminole War camps are important steps toward gaining an understanding of Seminole ethnogenesis.
165 Chapter Six The Political Economy of the Second Seminole War Discussion The theoretical framework of political economy is a useful expanatory tool for examining the events and processes that enabled the Seminoles, Black Seminoles and their allies to successfully wage a seven year war with the United States. Although they were outnumbered in troop strength, the Seminoles and their allies were able rely upon preexisting social, economic and political alliances to gain the information and resources that were essential to the war effort. Stated in terms of political economic theory, the Seminoles used social capital to mobilize financial, material and human capital that allowed them to wage the war. An anthropological view of political economy views communities as complex, integrated systems at an anthropological moment in time. The nature, composition, values and norms and of a given community are the result of individuals and groups acting upon historical constraints and opportunities that emerged from a shared history. Social capital, which has its basis in the system of obligations, expectations, values and norms, plays an important role in reciprocity and exchange of other types of capital among members of a given community. The evidence presented here does suggest that the inhabitants of Pre-Territorial Florida comprised a social, political and economic community with a shared history. We have seen that before the United States gained control of Florida in 1819, that community was governed largely by consensus, common law and custom. Within that community, diverse segments interacted to create and maintain equilibrium based upon economic interdependence. The Seminoles and Black Seminoles were an important segment of that diverse community. To the economic community that had been established for at least 50 years before FloridaÂ’s acquisition by the United States, the Americans were the only
166 Â“foreignersÂ” to be found in Florida. The groups that were in Florida when the United States took possession of the territory in 1821 had been in place there since at least the 1770s. As we have seen, their shared history began with economic prosperity and cooperation, progressed through times of turbulence and upheaval, and culminated in insecurity and uncertainty as the territory passed into American hands. It is likely that these stresses from without, served to strengthen the bonds within, FloridaÂ’s diverse PreTerritorial community. It is also likely that the more individuals and groups relied upon one another for help during those turbulent times, the greater the obligations of reciprocity grew. Before the United States won possession of Florida, changes in colonial control had little effect upon the lives of those who inhabited the peninsula and/or made their living there. Lack of governmental oversight forged a self-regulating and generally egalitarian society whose members valued freedom, industry and cooperation, and the quality of life that resulted from these. The transfer of power to the United States government brought about drastic changes in the lives of the groups who comprised FloridaÂ’s Pre-Territorial community. Personal freedoms were curtailed, industry was regulated, and the balance of power was swayed heavily toward the United States government. This was especially true in the southern peninsula. The heterogenous mlange that was South FloridaÂ’s population extracted resources for personal use and profit while enjoying trade and barter relationships with both near and distant neighbors. The United StatesÂ’ acquisition of Florida rendered the majority of these pursuits extralegal, literally overnight. Nowhere are these changes more evident than in FloridaÂ’s economy. The years after the United StatesÂ’ acquisition and before the change of flags placed increasing pressure upon nearly everyone who had staked their economic claim in Florida; most especially in the southern cape. The wrecking industry saw a dramatic demographic shift from English to American dominance, even as tighter controls rendered wrecking less and less profitable for those English nationals who remained. The Spanish fisheries found themselves intruded upon as well, by both an influx of American competitors and increased American oversight of their day to day activities. For the Spanish fishermen, the turbulent period ushered in by the Patriot War saw the destruction and plunder of four
167 settlements and perhaps the forcible carrying off of some of their hired laborers and even family members. In the season immediately prior to the outbreak of the war, an epidemic in Cuba had lessened the demand for fish, and only five of the dozen or so fisheries on the west coast operated that season. FloridaÂ’s black community lost much with the advent of American control. Black Seminole and maroon societies were threatened with loss of freedom, economic opportunity and social status, while slaves and free blacks lived in an environment of ever tightening restrictions. By the time the United States took possession of Florida, Black Seminole and maroon communities had been under severe stress for a number of years. The Patriot War and its aftermath had scattered Black Seminole and maroon communities in Middle Florida. In the violence and terror of this turbulent time, some were killed; others captured and carried off. Many who remained lost loved ones; both friends and family members, and were forced to seek more secure locations where they might rebuild their lives. The diaspora set in motion in the years between 1812 and 1818 had split the Black Seminole community into two distinct segments; one in Middle Florida and the other below Tampa Bay. During this time, the lower peninsula saw an influx of black refugees whose presence gave rise to new settlements and altered the demographic of existing settlements. Well before the change of flags, FloridaÂ’s imminent cession to the Americans had transformed the countryside into a slave hunterÂ’s paradise where Black Seminoles and maroons grew increasingly apprehensive and cautious in the conduct of their daily lives. Even free blacks were not safe from the slave catchers who roamed FloridaÂ’s countryside, as the complicated history that brought about their free status often left them without documentary proof of their freedom, making them fair game for capture and sale into slavery (Brown 1991:9; Landers 1999:247-248, 251-252). Given these conditions, it is fair to say that many of those residing in Florida or making their living there faced the incoming American presence with resentment and dread. Nearly every segment of FloridaÂ’s Pre-Territorial community had reason to resent the United States government. Added to this was the United StatesÂ’ stated intention of removing a significant segment of FloridaÂ’s economy. Seminoles, Black Seminoles and
168 maroons occupied solid and essential economic niches within the pre-territorial economy. They bartered and sold their labor, services and material goods to the benefit of both their trading partners and themselves. Wreckers, fisheries, plantation owners, traders and even visitors depended upon the goods and services the Seminoles, Black Seminoles and maroons were able to provide. American presence therefore represented a threat to FloridaÂ’s community from without. It was onto this complex background that the events leading to the Second Seminole War unfolded. It is probable that the Treaty of Moultrie Creek and the creation of the Seminole reservation did not completely end the former way of life. It is clear that the United States had neither a clear understanding of the number or location of the Seminole groups in Florida, nor the means to compel them to remove within reservation boundaries. Many simply remained in place and went about their former pursuits. Some moved onto the reservation, found conditions inadequate for their subsistence, and moved back out (Knetsch 2003; Mahon 1985). The treaty did, however, severely limit those who chose to abide by its provisions. Among those who did attempt to live in the newly prescribed manner, trade and food distribution were grossly inadequate to provide for needs. Large numbers were threatened with starvation; some even died for want of food (Mahon 1985). It is reasonable to assume that those who had not tried this experiment, but witnessed its effects, became ever more determined not to be placed under the control of the American government. The Treaty of PayneÂ’s landing brought a swift change in the governmentÂ’s demands. No longer were the Seminoles and their allies expected to confine themselves to certain areas and change their subsistence base. They were now expected to do so within the confines of a new and foreign territory. After the turning point in October of 1834 which seems to indicate that the Seminoles had determined to fight rather than remove, both those who had attempted reservation life and those who had not then worked together to resist (Mahon 1985; Mulroy 1993). It was not only the Seminoles and their allies who suffered with the outbreak of the Second Seminole War. The war disrupted the lives and livelihoods of everyone who lived in Florida or made their living there. In Sarasota, Captain Frederick Tresca closed his trading post; knowing that he could no longer trade with the Seminoles (Covington
169 1957:108). The Spanish fisheries dealt with US military demands that they provide assistance and guides, and the SeminolesÂ’ hostility over their having complied. Among those who exported goods for resale in Cuba and the Bahamas, the outbreak of war created a supply void. William CooleyÂ’s coontie starch manufactory was destroyed, abruptly halting a thriving trade. Traditional white trading partners had fled, abandoned their normal pursuits, or were serving in the military. It was no longer legal to trade with the Seminoles and Black Seminoles. As relations between the United States and the Seminoles deteriorated, various segments of FloridaÂ’s community were obliged to help their distressed neighbors. The documentary evidence suggests that the Seminoles, Black Seminoles and their allies relied upon social capital to foster a collective resistance to incoming American rule. The evidence presented here suggests that at least some individuals in each of the diverse segments of FloridaÂ’s society participated in that collective resistance. The result of this coalescence of individual resentments was that the United States now had a much larger foe to contend with in Florida than simply the Seminoles and Black Seminoles. Resistance Before the War The documentary record provides abundant evidence that many segments of FloridaÂ’s diverse community participated in the careful planning and execution of the initial hostilities. In the fourteen months that transpired between the SeminolesÂ’ decision to resist in the fall of 1834 and the initial attacks in December of 1835, the Seminoles and their allies procured and stockpiled goods and munitions, carried their families to places of concealment, laid plans for the procurement and disposition of plunder, and recruited slaves to rise up when hostilities commenced. Even if the documentary evidence of complicity was not so abundant, it would be unreasonable to believe that the Seminoles and their allies could have accomplished such a sweeping plan without outside aid and participation. There is both direct and indirect evidence of outside participation in the SeminolesÂ’ planning and war effort. Most of the evidence falls into the latter category, as the illicit nature of trade with, and aid to, the Seminoles necessitated precautions to avoid detection. The bulk of the evidence thus manifests as unconfirmed reports or evidence of
170 unusual gathering or movements of people and supplies. Particularly in the latter months of 1835, there were unconfirmed reports, from both the upper and lower peninsula, of groups of Seminole men, women and children making into the coastal waters in large canoes, bound for the area around the southwest coast (Carter 1960; Laumer 1995). During this time there were unconfirmed reports of Spanish trading vessels visiting the Suwannee and Ochlockonee Rivers, and of unusually large gatherings of Native Americans in the Cape Sable and New River areas of the southern cape (Buker 1997; Carter 1960). Several unconfirmed reports indicated that supplies and ammunition had been landed in southwest Florida from aboard armed Spanish vessels, and Spanish merchant vessels were observed taking unconventional courses and traveling to unusual destinations ( American State Papers 7:218-219). From the plantations around St. Augustine and in Middle Florida came unconfirmed reports of secret interaction between Seminoles, Black Seminoles and plantation slaves. Residents of St. Augustine became concerned over unusual movements, actions or general dispositions of free blacks (Mahon 1985; Porter 1943). Frontier raids increased at an alarming rate. Cattle and other livestock were destroyed, scattered, or driven off entirely in large numbers. Estimates of the loss of cattle alone ran as high as 20,000 head. The Pease Creek bands, and Osceola himself, were suspected of conducting intelligence gathering missions (Brown 1990; Cohen 1964). Groups who came into Fort King were decidedly reserved; some even hostile, in their dealings with the whites. Even the press became aware of these conditions. Military correspondence shows a heightened apprehension that hostilities were imminent. Evidence was abundant, even to contemporary observers, that a larger plan was in operation in the days before the war (Knetsch 2003; Mahon 1985). Resistance During the War The outbreak of hostilities seems to have come as no surprise to most of the observers who created the documents we have examined. What does emerge is a sense of shock and disillusionment at the magnitude and ferocity of the initial attacks, as well as distress over the governmentÂ’s inability to quell the resistance and force the Seminoles and their allies to submit to removal. Amid these distressed communications, confirmed
171 and unconfirmed reports of plunder taking, illicit trade and outside assistance to the Seminoles began to emerge. Homes, plantations and entire settlements were ravaged and desolated by plundering raids. More than 300 slaves absconded or were taken in the first month of hostilities. Large groups of hostiles were reported to be gathered in the Cove of the Withlacoochee and on the entire southern cape. As the war progressed, evidence continued to mount that there was a strong resistance network in full operation (Mahon 1985). Documentary evidence suggests that literally every segment within the PreTerritorial economic community carried on extralegal relationships with the Seminoles and their allies before and during the seven year war; even at great risk. The evidence is stronger for some groupsÂ’ participation than for others. Outside Aid from Slaves and Free Blacks The statement given by Seminole war chief Halpatter Tustenuggee (Alligator) demonstrates that, before the outbreak of hostilities, the Black Seminoles Abraham and John Caesar, accompanied by the Seminole subchief Yaha Hadjo, visited the many plantations along the east coast below St. Augustine, urging the plantation slaves to take up arms and join them when the conflict began (Porter 1943:394, Laumer 1995:239-241). We have seen that after the war commenced, more than 300 slaves joined the resistance or were abducted by the Seminoles. Among the accounts presented here, statements are many concerning these slavesÂ’ activities in the prosecution of the war. We have seen that escaping slaves participated in the initial plunder of the plantations below St. Augustine (Boyd 1951; Cohen 1964; Gold 1972; Mahon 1985; Potter 1966). A former slave of a St. Augustine planter was among the conspicuous leaders at the Battle of the Wahoo Swamp ( American State Papers 7:876). Absconded slaves significantly reinforced Seminole and Black Seminole forces in virtually every major battle of the war, and the raiding parties who revisited the plantations in 1837 were composed almost entirely of slaves who had recently fled from those plantations (Mahon 1985:197; Porter 1943). The battle at HansonÂ’s plantation within two miles of St. A ugustine and the recovery of articles that had been purchased new in St. Augustine heightened the governmentÂ’s awareness of the role of runaway
172 slaves in the Seminole resistance. As Porter (1943) has demonstrated, absconded slaves continued to keep supply and information lines open at least as late as 1838, when many began to accept JesupÂ’s offer of freedom and protection in return for surrender and emigration. Nethlockemathlar also spoke of Â“negroesÂ” who supplied powder and information to his band (Sprague 1848:454). Among those who remained with their masters or were placed on Anastasia Island, individuals continued to contribute to Seminole and Black Seminole resistance. We have seen that Colonel HansonÂ’s slaves were implicated in aiding the Seminoles, by providing information and perhaps purchasing or carrying off supplies for their use. Colonel RodmanÂ’s slave, Rebecca, was found harboring fugitives who reportedly had Â“held intercourse with the IndiansÂ” (Carter 1960:328-329). When CoacoocheeÂ’s mother was captured in 1840, her statement confirmed that the Seminoles had received aid from Colonel HansonÂ’s slaves (NA RG94: Reel 202). In St. Augustine, with her heterogenous population of slaves, free blacks, and refugee plantation slaves, it was difficult for the whites to know whom to trust. When several instances of collusion between the Indians and the blacks of St. Augustine were brought to light, the anxiety and dread deepened, and probably contributed to the reluctance of some whites in St. Augustine to leave the city for militia duty. More than once, the officers suspected that Â“surrenderingÂ” blacks were actually spies sent among them. Captain James Keogh certainly entertained such suspicions after his encounter with Allick and Stephen, who appeared to Keogh to be on an intelligence gathering mission (Moore 1965:370). When John, the former slave of Henry Crews, came into Fort Dallas to warn of the impending attack on Indian Key, he also was thought to be a spy, and was ordered held in irons (Buker 1997:105). These and other incidents no doubt led to JesupÂ’s communication with the Secretary of War that Â“The two races, the negro and the Indian, are rapidly approximating; they are identified in interests and feelingsÂ” ( American State Papers 7:876). Fugitive slave Andrew Gay presents one example of how quickly this Â“approximatingÂ” took place. Andrew left St. Augustine in June of 1836 and joined the Seminoles and their allies. By mid July, he was pursued by a patrol while engaged in sending a black emissary into the city of St. Augustine as an operative. Andrew escaped, but the operative was taken into
173 custody. Andrew made repeated visits to St. Augustine, where he met with enslaved friends and facilitated the escape of several. At these meetings, Andrew claimed that he Â“had become high in the confidence of the Indians and that he only wanted a white manÂ’s scalp to make him a great man.Â” He had been among the raiders at Colonel HansonÂ’s plantation in January. Andrew received three wounds in that skirmish. After escaping from the volunteer troops, Andrew remained in hiding near HansonÂ’s, subsisting upon roots and other forest productions. He was finally captured in March of 1837 by volunteer forces when he ventured out of hiding in search of food. AndrewÂ’s stated desire for the scalp of a white man shows how quickly his values had aligned with those of the Seminoles and Black Seminoles. Tom Gay, who was arrested in St. Augustine in the summer of 1836 (and was possibly the operative in the company of Andrew Gay, spoken of above), was released in September as a result of legal maneuverings of John Rodman, who had earlier succeeded in securing RebeccaÂ’s release (Porter 1943:399). Reports of several of Cruger and DepeysterÂ’s slaves painting their faces during plundering raids also illustrate a solidarity between absconded slaves and the Seminoles and Black Seminoles (NA RG94: Reel 124) Evidence suggests that free blacks played a role in furthering Seminole resistance as well. Stephen Merritt and Randall Irving were suspected of selling arms to the Seminoles, but the two were released with the arrest of free black Moses, following the capture of goods from CoacoocheeÂ’s band. Stephen MerrittÂ’s son Joe, also free, was among those killed with John Caesar at HansonÂ’s plantation in 1837. Free blacks on Anastasia Island were also suspected of providing information and supplies to the Seminoles (Moore 1965:370; Waterbury 1994:74-75). Outside Aid from the Spanish A large body of evidence, most of it unconfirmed reports, suggests that the Seminoles and their allies received aid in the form of trade and supplies from Spanish nationals during the war. Whether these individuals were Spanish fishermen, the masters of Spanish trading vessels or representatives of the Cuban government remains a subject of future research, although we might fairly assume that vessels described as mounting guns or cannons were Spanish ships of war and not small coastal schooners.
174 Charles FitzpatrickÂ’s report of arms and ammunition intended for the Seminoles being landed at Charlotte Harbor and FitzpatrickÂ’s recollection of the arrival of the suspicious Spanish vessel at Key West bound from Tampa Bay or Charlotte Harbor is strong indirect evidence of Spanish aid ( American State Papers 7:218-219). JohnstonÂ’s report of a Spanish schooner visiting the Ochlockonee River in July of 1836, made just days after Captain ApplingÂ’s report of a large Spanish sloopÂ’s visit to Cape Sable, certainly is strong indirect evidence of such aid as well (NA RG94: Reel 120). Admissions from prisoners, particularly of their own involvement in such trade, are especially compelling. The statement of the Â“half breedÂ” captured by Lieutenant Powell who confessed to being a runner for the Seminoles, procuring powder in Havana, is one such example (Buker 1997:135). Nethlockemathlar stated that Spaniards provided powder to the young warriors of his band (Sprague 1848:454) and ChakaikaÂ’s sister told of Â“three Spaniards in the Everglades, who supplied the Indians with salt and ammunitionÂ” (Sturtevant 1953:49). HarneyÂ’s prisoners from ChakaikaÂ’s Island also informed him that Â“small Spanish turtle-hunting boats frequently brought supplies to the SeminolesÂ” (Buker 1997:111). The Spaniard detained at Indian Key in March of 1836 confessed to his involvement in some sort of plot involving two Native American companions concealed on a nearby island (Buker 1997:28-29). It is difficult to identify the agents of the trade near the St. Johns River that CoacoocheeÂ’s mother spoke of, as the official correspondence states only that this trading post was Â“supplied by fishing boats along the keysÂ” (NA RG94: Reel 202). We have established that Spanish fishermen frequented the waters of Mosquito Inlet and the surrounding shores (Griffin 1999:13) and that Bahamian wreckers caught turtle in eastern waters (Vignoles 1823:125). The vague reference to Â“assistance of boats from Charlotte HarborÂ” in the rumored attack on BunceÂ’s fishery provides little conclusive evidence as to the agents of such assistance (Carter 1960:332-333). It is likewise difficult to identify the masters of the Â“small coasting vesselsÂ” that Zachary Taylor suspected of supplying ammunition to the bands between the Suwannee River and St. Marks (Taylor to Mayo, July 16, 1839, Office of Naval Records).
175 Outside Aid from English or American Wreckers Documentary mentions of aid from wreckers are much less numerous than those concerning aid from Spanish vessels, but some do exist. Inspector HoweÂ’s report of the large American schooner full of unshackled blacks that touched at Indian Key after having been seen about New River for several days is one such example (NA RG94: Reel 120). Other evidence is indirect, and concerns large gatherings of Seminoles near the wreckersÂ’ base of operations on Key Tavernier. The report of two barrels of beef being landed to Seminoles waiting onshore, the large cache on a small coastal island near Key Tavernier, and reports of Native Americans on the beach beckoning to small coasting schooners in the area of Key Tavernier may also point to the involvement of wreckers (Knetsch 2000:31). We have seen that the wreckers were opportunistic and exploited a variety of economic opportunities, including trade. The Seminoles and Black Seminoles had long standing relationships with Bahamian vessel masters, who had provided passage to New Providence for diplomatic visits. It was also Bahamian wreckers who transported Black Seminoles to freedom on Andros Island in the aftermath of the Coweta invasion (Goggin 1946; Kersey 1981; Porter 1945). The most compelling evidence for the involvement of wreckers came from Jesup himself, tw years after the warÂ’s end, and almost as an afterthought in a letter written in 1844 concerning improving inland communication between St. Augustine and Key Biscayne. Here Jesup made the remarkable statement that Â“In my conference with the Indian chiefs in 1837, I ascertained that a constant communication had been kept up between the Seminoles and certain persons in the Bahamas and that most of the negroes who had eloped from their masters & sought refuge among the Indians previous to the war had been taken from the Peninsula (sic) in British vessels. Key Biscayne is so situated as to command both Providence and & Florida Channels, and if fortified would put an end to the communication between the Islanders and the blacks of the PeninsulaÂ” (Carter 1962:832-833).
176 Outside Aid from Whites Even before the outbreak of hostilities, military officials complained of white settlers who set up tippling shops near the reservation borders and sold spiritous liquors to the Seminoles. Officers also commented on the near impossibility of preventing such traffic, as the vendors were adept at locating their establishments in the remote hammocks that bordered the reservations (Knetsch 2003:65; Mahon 1985:54). Other whites were involved in far more serious dealings. After the siege of Camp Izard in the latter part of February of 1836, Prince reported that a white man had been seen among the Indians (Prince 1998:18). William Bunce was under constant suspicion of encouraging the Seminoles to resist emigration, and supplying them with goods and ammunition. The friendly Creek Jim BoyÂ’s revelations about Bunce telling George and Antonio that they should not emigrate brought suspicion upon Bunce, as did the statement of PrinceÂ’s prisoner that Â“His tribe bought their powder of Captain Bunce last winter for which they gave him Deer-skins.Â” This prisoner also stated that he had caught fish for Bunce (Prince 1998:70-72). Bunce also seemed to be well informed of the plans, comings and goings of the hostiles, as evidenced by his warning that an attack upon Fort Brooke was imminent (Prince 1998:56). We have seen that the Black Seminole captured in the skirmish near Fort Harlee in 1839 revealed that his band had no ammunition, but could Â“get a supply from a white man down the countryÂ” (White 1956:151). Even more compelling is the admission of the black Indian detained by citizens in Madison County in 1840, that Â“he had been sent as a spy by a party of 20 Indians then in the neighborhood to reconnoiter the little town called Madison,Â” and that among that party were two white men, Â“one from Alabama, the other from Tampa BayÂ” (NA RG94: Reel 125). Sprague (1848:273) spoke of Â“white men who murdered under the guise of IndiansÂ” and who shared the plunder with the Seminoles. White men were reportedly among the raiders at Indian Key (Carter 1962:202-203). Finally, we have the evidence that two white citizens who were suspected of holding constant intercourse with the Indians were put to good use to negotiate surrender terms for PascofferÂ’s band (Sprague 1848:472).
177 Reports of Intensive Activity as Evidence of Outside Aid Much indirect evidence of outside aid exists, in the form of reports of intensive activities in certain geographic regions of the Florida peninsula. From Middle Florida came many reports of cattle driving in the direction of Hogtown Prairie and DeadmanÂ’s Bay, as well as evidence of a jerked beef manufactory operation taking place there. Prisoners taken in that area were consistently reported to be well dressed and fully equipped, especially with powder and ammunition. In the eastern peninsula we have seen evidence of intensive plundering along the eastern coast, and suggestions that those goods were taken to PhilipÂ’s camp at Tohopekaliga. In the southern cape, we have many reports of the buildup of large war parties, especially in the areas of New River/Cape Florida and Cape Sable. These movements of people and goods may be viewed as indirect evidence of trade with outside sources. Cattle Driving and Jerked Beef Manufacturing A large body of evidence presented here suggests that the Seminoles and their allies had an interest in cattle procurement that was far above that needed for subsistence. While the largest portion of the cattle and other livestock taken were no doubt put to direct use for subsistence, it is reasonable to believe, based upon this evidence, that at least some of the beef in the SeminolesÂ’ possession found its way into an illicit trade. Massive cattle drives commenced in October of 1834 and continued well into the war. We have seen that, immediately following the tense councils at the agency at Fort King in October of 1834, depredations upon livestock and crops of white settlers increased dramatically (Knetsch 2003:69), and that in November of 1834, the inhabitants of Hillsborough County petitioned the Secretary of War for protection, as they had suffered Â“very serious lossesÂ” of cattle to Seminole raiding parties (Carter 1960:69-70). Members of the Pease Creek band, led by Black Seminole Harry, were even successful at stealing horses and cattle from the outpost at Fort Brooke (Boyd 1951:99). Cattle and other livestock were taken from the Simmons home near Micanopy (Florida Historical Society 1925b:18) and the Priest plantation near Wacahouta (Boyd 1951:58). Potter (1966:5) estimated that the Seminoles had driven off 25,000 head of cattle from the
178 frontier by 1836. Thereafter, the cycle of evidence that emerges is of cattle drives during the Â“sickly season,Â” followed by the recapture of thousands of cattle during winter scouts. Writing in 1838, Robert Raymond Reid estimated that 20,000 head of cattle had been driven off since the beginning of 1836 (Reid 1939:18). Scott recovered as many as 400 head of cattle, and during CallÂ’s campaign, more than 1,000 head of cattle were recovered in the Cove of the Withlacoochee alone (Prince 1998:182; Williams 1962:260-262). Newnansville citizen Charles Dell reported a cattle drive from San Felasco towards Hogtown Prairie in September of 1836 (Yelton 1975:326). Enroute from Alabama to Fort Drane, the Tennessee Volunteers discovered that cattle had been driven and penned (Williams 1962:256); scouts around the Withlacoochee in January 1837 recovered hundreds of cattle, and Jesup recovered several hundred head of cattle near the Big Cypress Swamp (Kieffer1979:159). The Tallahassee Floridian reported that during the supposed peace before the Seminoles absconded from Fort Brooke, the Seminoles Â“brought in large droves of cattle, the captured property of our citizens, which they sold to the governmentÂ” ( Tallahassee Floridian, July 1, 1837). Lieutenant Colonel BankheadÂ’s scout of Lake Harney in November 1837 revealed trails of numerous cattle (White 1959:153), troops scouting from Fort King in 1837 found evidence of 150 cattle being driven the Cove of the Withlacoochee (Forry 1928b:217), and on his march to Okeechobee in December of 1837, Taylor recovered more than 600 head of cattle, found evidence of the slaughter of hundreds more, and surprised a camp where the occupants Â“had just slaughtered a number of cattle, and were employed in drying and jerking the beefÂ” (Sprague 1848:209-212). Whatever the Seminole and their allies may have lacked during the course of the war, there was certainly no shortage of beef. Certain pieces of correspondence provide important details about the magnitude and nature of the Seminole cattle drives. Troops led by Captain Bradley, sent from San Pedro to Suwannee Old Town investigate numerous campfires and Indian signs reported in that area, discovered signs of Â“a large quantity of cattle having been driven from this neighborhood southerly, and very recently, by the IndiansÂ” ( American State Papers 7:841). Bradley found Â“considerable signs of Indians on the Suwanee, and trails where they had been driving cattle recently towards the upper part of the Suwanee Hammock
179 and DeadmanÂ’s BayÂ” as well as a large quantity of beef, fresh and dried, and preparations for drying beef ( American State Papers 7:841; Tallahassee Floridian, July 8, 1837). Prisoners captured or warriors killed were described as Â“well-dressedÂ” and equipped with powder horns Â“full of the finest fresh glazed powder,Â” as well as Â“three mules, three ponies, and one horse, all with good saddles and bridles on, and three Indian riflesÂ” ( American State Papers 7:841), suggesting that their supplies were being replenished through trade. At Fort Andrews on the Fenholloway River, the commandant reported in 1839 that the band camped near the fort were replenishing their supplies from some unknown source (Mahon 1985:261). An active presence around DeadmanÂ’s Bay continued after 1837. In December of 1838, Taylor surprised a large camp, which he estimated to be 120 strong, who fled (Sprague 1848:223). In June of 1841, Governor Call expressed concern to Worth over Â“Indians who it is known have been for some time past engaged in driving cattle, from this section of the country, across the SuwanneeÂ” (Carter 1962:353). The aforementioned evidence suggests that a systematic operation involving the trade of fresh and/or jerked beef was in operation in the area of DeadmanÂ’s Bay. An examination of the map in Figure 9 below shows that the area would have been particularly well suited to such an operation. Here we see an inlet to the Gulf of Mexico, navigable a portion of the way inland on the Esteen Hatchee River, surrounded by hardwood hammock and prairie land. In the area south of Old Town, pictured in Figure 10 below, we also see Â“excellent cattle rangeÂ” leading right down to the waterÂ’s edge at Wakassase (Wacasassa) Bay, an inlet of the Gulf. Cattle could have been driven to, and shipped from, either of these locations where intensive activity was noted.
180 Figure 9: DeadmanÂ’s Bay and Surrounding Lands Source: Seat of War, 1839. Library of Congress http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3931e.ct000138 Figure 10: Area Below Old Town Adapted from Williams 1837: Map Insert
181 Possible Market for Fresh and Dried Beef Both Cuba and the Bahamas may have been outlets for trade in fresh and salt beef. Otto (1987:329) notes that Â“beef, whether fresh or salted, was a common food in Britain, and barrels of salt beef provisioned the British ships which sailed for the American colonies.Â” Otto also notes that BritainÂ’s Carolina colony raised cattle to supply exports of salt beef to the British West Indies. Salt beef and salt fish also made up a large portion of the diet of field slaves in Cuba, and were used to provide subsistence on ocean voyages (Dow 1927:92, 282; Martinez-Fernandez 1998:48; Otto 1987:329). Turnbull (1973:154) states that in 1829, imports of jerked beef to Cuba amounted to 536,678 arrobas, and by 1837, imports had increased 40% to 800,500 arrobas. This was due in large part to the drastic increase in the Cuban slave population that resulted from the expanding sugar industry in Cuba in the 1830s. Kiple has demonstrated that the estimated slave population in Cuba doubled from 350,000 in 1823 to 700,000 in 1839 (Kiple 1976:12). This increase in CubaÂ’s slave population no doubt created opportunities for trade, legal or otherwise, in jerked beef. Esteban Montejo, a field slave in Cuba, described eating jerked beef, vegetables and bread each day in the field (Montejo 1968:252). The Florida Native Americans had traded in jerked beef since their migration into Florida. When Uchise leader Lajaliqui requested that the Spanish send vessels to Appalchicola to establish a trade in 1773, he offered to provide in ongoing trade Â“horses, cattle, dried beef, and skinsÂ” (Boyd 1953:107). Other early observers noted the beef trade to Cuba. Vicente Folch y Juan was sent by the Spanish crown in 1793 to reconnoiter the FloridaÂ’s coast, recommended settlements on islands along the western coast. Folch suggested that fifty families be granted Â“land, cattle, exemption from duties, and standard low prices for salt (to be used in salting meat, which industry would find a ready market in Havana, suggested Folch)Â” (Holmes 1965:107). Activity in the Southwestern Cape During the spring and summer of 1836, military officials received numerous reports of a concentration of warriors in the area of Cape Sable, and activity remained high in
182 that region throughout the war. The Spaniard and two Native Americans who were detained at Indian Key in March of 1837 revealed that a large number of Seminoles were gathering near Cape Sable (Buker 1997:28). This prompted a petition from the citizens of Key West to Navy Commodore Alexander Dallas, requesting a cutter vessel to cruise off the coast along the southern cape: Â“it is ascertained without a doubt, that a large body of Indians are collecting in the neighborhood of Cape Sable, but twenty miles from Indian Key. Their fires are seen from that islandÂ” (Carter 1960:313). Captain ApplingÂ’s report of a large Spanish sloop touching at Cape Sable suggests that this area may have been the location of supply transfers. We have seen that 50 to 80 warriors on Cape Sable contested the landing of McLaughlinÂ’s force on the abortive first attempt to launch an expedition into the Everglades from there (Buker 1997:103-104). The area around Cape Sable was very familiar to the Seminoles, Spanish Indians, Spanish fishermen and wreckers, all of whom harvested resources there for decades before the outbreak of the war. Cape Sable was one of three prairie capes along the extreme southern point of the peninsula. Noted botanist Henry Perrine, who was killed in the attack Indian Key, had chosen the area of the three capes as his intended place of settlement. Indian hostilities had led him to settle at Indian Key (Mahon 1985:280). In a letter to Dr. Ralph Glover of New York, written only three weeks before the attack, Perrine described the prairie capes surrounded by oak hammock. Fresh water could be had by digging four feet deep, even within 150 yards of the beach. The woods along the eastern shore were celebrated among the Bahamian wreckers for the wild cinnamon trees, which they had long exploited by exporting and selling the bark. The eastern most cape, known to the wreckers and turtlers as the Point of Main, offered six to seven feet of sheltered water as far as twelve to fifteen miles inland (Perrine 1979:32). One branch ran close along the prairie shore: Â“The Bahamans (sic) are hence highly delighted, because, say they, every man can have his own vessel come up to his own dwellingÂ” (Perrine 1979:32). These secluded harbors with shore access would have been ideal locations for trade with small coastal schooners. Williams, writing in 1837 of the Caximba Sound area of Cape Romaine (probably present-day Cape Romano) south of Charlotte Harbor, noted the existence of Â“several plantationsÂ” near the sound. Williams
183 states: Â“That of John Durant, a native of Savannah, Georgia, lies on the south side, about a mile from the western inlet. Another, near the eastern inlet, is owned by a mulatto man. They all employ several native Indian families, to assist in cultivating the groundÂ” (Williams 1962:26). The productions of the plantations Â“sell at a high price, to the fishing companies, who, in return, furnish them with clothing, powder, lead, &c.Â” (Williams 1962:26). Surgeon General Thomas Lawson, sent as commander of the volunteers to explore the area and establish a fort on the southern cape, chose Cape Sable for the post, as its position as the southernmost cape offered Â“a safe anchorage and harbour formed by the Keys around, with plenty of fresh water on it, and withal is the favorite haunt of the Turtle and other fishÂ” (Covington 1958:11). Rancho guides who accompanied Lawson on his expedition informed him that there were Native American settlements on Cape Romaine and the islands offshore. On one island, Lawson encamped upon Â“two or three hundred acres of cleared land.Â” Six miles up an inland stream Lawson found a deserted Native American settlement. Lawson found a deserted Â“very large plantation Â… upon which the Lemon and Sugar Cane was CultivatedÂ” on an island a few miles up a pass at the southernmost point of the cape (Covington 1958:9). This plantation may be the Durant plantation, or that of the Â“mulatto manÂ” Williams mentions. On a subsequent scout up the Pavilion River, guides informed Lawson that they would find a village of about 20 families a short distance inland. The settlement proved to be deserted, to the apparent surprise of LawsonÂ’s guides (Covington 1958:9-11). An examination of WilliamsÂ’ 1837 map of the southern peninsula shows the excellent harbors and surrounding prairie terrain of Cape Romaine and Cape Sable.
184 Figure 11: Cape Romaine Figure 12: Cape Sable Adapted from Williams 1837 Adapted from Williams 1837 Activity in the Southeastern Cape The New River/Cape Florida area was the source of intensive Native American activity throughout the war. The area had a long history of use by Seminoles, Black Seminoles and Spanish Indians. We have seen that hunters had occupied the region seasonally since the 1700s, and the area above New River was an important coontie gathering ground. It was to here that refugees had fled the Coweta incursion in 1818, and from here that Black Seminoles and maroons left for their refuge on Andros Island in the Bahamas. We have seen that William Cooley knew, and traded with, the Native American groups there. Native Americans had also wrecked upon the eastern cape since the 1700s. New River/Cape Florida was just north of Key Tavernier, the base of operations for the majority of the wreckers who worked Carysfort Reef. The area around New River was a major contact point for vessels traveling to and from the Bahamas. Here Charles Lewis, allegedly associated with William Augustus Bowles, had settled and carried on a trade with local Native Americans. At the time that Spanish officials came looking for Lewis, he was away, having taken a load of dried venison to New Providence to sell there (Murdoch 1952:36). As we have seen, many of the first settlers at New River were wreckers from New Providence. New River also offered ingress/egress to the inland waterways leading into the Everglades. The Seminoles, Black Seminoles and maroons had a history of trade relations with merchants and officials in New Providence. Woodbine, who founded the maroon
185 settlement at Sarazota, resided in New Providence, as did traders Arbuthnot, Ambrister, MacGregor and Bowles (Covington 1959, 1993). As discussed earlier, Bahamian wreckers had provided passage to Native Americans on diplomatic missions to New Providence, and had carried Black Seminoles to freedom on Andros Island. Given the long standing relationships between the Seminoles and English nationals from the Bahamas, it is reasonable to assume that they would appeal to Bahamian allies for assistance during the war. After the outbreak of hostilities, the Cooley family at New River was murdered, and William CooleyÂ’s warehouse and trading post were plundered and destroyed. Most of the areaÂ’s white inhabitants abandoned the New River settlement following the attack (Potter 1966:117). FitzpatrickÂ’s plantation slaves had resisted the overseerÂ’s attempt to remove them, suggesting that perhaps recruiting parties had been in contact with them as well (Black 1981:40). In the days following the Cooley attack, Seminole war parties made repeated attempts to destroy the lighthouse at Cape Florida (Buker 1997:17). They finally succeeded on July 23, 1836 when they plundered the light, k illed the lightkeeperÂ’s assistant, and set fire to the light (Buker 1997:29-31). Captain Mix reported that a friendly Indian had learned from a Mikasuki that the largest part of the Seminoles was gathered in the Everglades near Cape Florida ( Mix Journal June 28, 1836). The area was a safe haven, as the destruction of the lighthouse cleared the area of white presence and left the cape completely in the possession of the Seminoles. So unmolested were the Seminoles in the Cape Florida area that after they plundered and burned the schooner Mary in October of 1836, they remained in the area for several days (Buker 1997:51). Although naval patrols were maintained off the southern cape, the crews were rarely able to engage hostile forces they encountered because of the SeminolesÂ’ superior numbers. During the gale that sent eight vessels aground at Cape Florida in 1838, naval forces did not arrive on the scene until after the Seminoles had salvaged most of the cargo. In the months that followed, patrols were increased, but the crews could do little except note the presence of superior forces (Buker 1997:78-79). Throughout the early years of the war, military forces were concentrated in the upper peninsula for the protection of the settled frontier, and there was little effective force anywhere on the peninsula during the summer.
186 Perhaps the most remarkable evidence for illicit activity on the eastern coast emerged after the warÂ’s end. In August of 1843 the Mayor and Council of the city of St. Augustine addressed the Secretary of the Treasury about the need for maritime patrols of the coast of the southern peninsula. The letter contained an account of seven slaves escaping from Key West and making their way to the Bahamas, where they were granted sanctuary. A few weeks later, seven more slaves commandeered a pilot boat and possessed themselves of seven muskets, a compass and sufficient provisions to reach the Bahamas. Two of the seven were employed on the schooner Walter M., Â“a vessel in the service of the United StatesÂ” (Carter 1962:724). A few days after this occurrence, a suspicious sail appeared off of St. Augustine and Â“continued for several days to lurk on and offÂ” the harbor. Pilots who boarded the vessel observed that she was light, although her captain claimed to be carrying a cargo of salt. After the pilots left the boat, she immediately steered into the wake of the Walter M., which had just left St. Augustine for Key West. A fellow slave of one who escaped stated that before the slave absconded, he told his fellow slaves that a British vessel would soon be in the port, and that Â“those who wished it, could obtain their freedomÂ” (Carter 1962:724). The Secretary of the Treasury responded that Â“The suppression of Piracy (sic), or the protection of private property, are only incidental to the discharge of the legitimate duties prescribed by law to the Revenue vessels, and this Department has no power to provide vessels for either purposeÂ” (Carter 1962:720). In December of 1842, suspicious activity was reported at Indian River inlet. A settler claimed that he had himself seen Â“seven and eight vessels at a time inside the barÂ” at the inlet, and that it was Â“even now visited by the wreckers, and offers them Â… a place of resort and deposite (sic), from which merchandise, sugar, tobacco, and segars [cigars] in particular, could be shipped to any ports of the United States, as Florida produce.Â” The settler also noted that two other inlets, GilbertÂ’s and Jupiter, continually opened and closed with tide fluctuations and when open, offered Â“a channel sufficiently deep to be used and often used by the wreckersÂ” (Carter 1962:577-578). A year later, a citizen addressed the Secretary of the Treasury, stating that the schooner Ellen entered the bar at Indian River and illegally landed a cargo of salt. According to the concerned citizen, when a Coast Guard cutter hove in sight, a manifest
187 was hurriedly made out that did not include the salt that had been landed at Indian River. It was further alleged that another portion of the cargo was landed at St. Johns Bar before the ship came to port in Jacksonville. The citizen wished to call to the attention of the Secretary the Â“facilities afforded to the smuggling of contraband articles, and particularly Cigars of Spanish Manufacture (sic), and Indian River Inlet and GilbertÂ’s Bar, from their contiguity to the West India IslandsÂ” (Carter 1962:809-810). The Strategic Importance of Human Capital The Seminoles and their longtime neighbors shared more than just a love for Florida soil. They also shared a knowledge of the Florida terrain and its natural productions that the United States military did not possess. After repeated talks and negotiations with representatives of the United States, the Seminoles and Black Seminoles also shared a knowledge of the customs and values of the incoming Americans. This shared knowledge, which Bullen and Onyx refer to as human capital (1998:2), would become one of the strongest and most effective weapons as the Seminoles and their allies repeatedly turned the AmericansÂ’ weaknesses back upon them. Far from being the nave Â“children of the forestÂ” that some Americans believed them to be; the Seminoles were shrewd tactitians who exploited their knowledge of the ways of the whites to their own advantage. Time and again they told the incredulous government officials that they were assembling their people for emigration, while they were in fact engaged in planning the next battle. When it became apparent that offering to parley brought a halt to offensive operations, they began to employ the parley ruse whenever American forces got uncomfortably close to the camps of the Seminole women and children. Their knowledge of American military strategy enabled them to carry on an effective guerilla war by striking at the troopsÂ’ flanks and outriders. They waited until the annual withdrawal of troops for the sickly season to conduct the bulk of their plundering raids. Scarcely did the military effect a new strategy before the Seminoles learned its weaknesses and adjusted their own strategy accordingly. Perhaps the most important knowledge the Seminoles shared with their Florida neighbors was their knowledge of FloridaÂ’s geography and its natural resources. We
188 have seen that, even before the war, local whitesÂ’ knowledge of the Florida terrain allowed them to set up Â“tipling shopsÂ” in dense hammock land bordering the reservation, where they would not be detected. Superior knowledge of the Florida terrain enabled the Seminoles and their allies to conceal their war camps and their women and children. Knowledge of FloridaÂ’s terrain also enabled those bringing material aid to the Seminoles to do so without discovery. Knowing what we do of the abundance of subsistence resources that were available in the southern peninsula, it seems absurd that most of the military commanders who prosecuted the war in Florida sought to drive the Seminoles and their allies into the southern cape. This was doubtless an effort to protect the settled Middle Florida frontier, but its effect was to place resources in the hands of the Seminoles that helped them to prolong their struggle. Not until the military presence was increased in South Florida did the Seminoles seriously consider ending their resistance to emigration (Carter 1962:209; Knetsch 2003:131). The southern peninsula abounded with game and fish, offered seclusion and protection to the Seminole and Black Seminole women and children, contained many excellent harbors for trade with small coasting vessels, and abounded in excellent prairie lands where cattle could be grazed. Cursory attempts to scout the southern peninsula around and below Charlotte Harbor were made in the early days of the war, however, troops found land travel there to be strenuous, and little progress was made. Not until JesupÂ’s campaign were further attempts made to travel overland in the southern peninsula (Mahon 1985:231). Jesup realized early the importance of the southern peninsula. Just before he assumed the Florida command, Jesup recommended military posts be established on Pease Creek and at Punta Rasa ( American State Papers 7:873). After JesupÂ’s command, the military presence in the southern peninsula was limited at many times to naval forces (Buker 1997). The SeminolesÂ’ long possession of the southern peninsula was a substantial advantage that allowed them to continue their struggle. Had there been sufficient military presence in South Florida early in the war, the conflict might have been brought to a much swifter conclusion.
189 Conclusion Within the historical and archaeological records are the traces of behavior that allow us to make inferences about cultural processes and their outcomes. The historical and archaeological records can inform us about the forces and events that shaped Seminole and Black Seminole identity and culture. They can also inform us about how the Seminoles and their allies in Florida were able to wage a successful war with the United States government that led to a truce, rather than a surrender. This thesis has examined the documentary and archaeological records of the Second Seminole War to uncover evidence of trade and plunder networks between the Seminoles, Black Seminoles and other segments of the Pre-Territorial community in Florida. Abundant evidence does, in fact, argue for the existence of such networks. Where evidence does exist, the actors have been identified if possible. The bulk of the cited evidence suggests that individuals were most often the agents of exchange, with the notable exceptions of possible aid from the Spanish government in Cuba, and the organized efforts of enslaved and free blacks in and around St. Augustine. Evidence also suggests that at least some members of each of the diverse segments of FloridaÂ’s community contributed materially to the SeminolesÂ’ war effort, or provided crucial intelligence that enabled the Seminoles to continue their struggle to remain in their homeland. The political economy of the Second Seminole War has been examined and discussed, and an archaeological predictive model has been deveoped for the location and contents of Second Seminole War camps. A theoretical framework of political economy is a useful explanatory tool that provides insight on how Seminoles and Black Seminoles used social capital to mobilize financial, material and human capital, to further their war efforts. The archaeological predictive model developed here may help archaeologists to recognize and preserve the war camp sites that are important components of the archaeological landscape of the Second Seminole War, and may thus enhance of understanding of how the Seminoles and Black Seminoles emerged from that experience with their distinct ethnic identity.
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