"NEW YORK, November 10, 1829.
"SIR: I have seen the President's order of the 13th of August last, which gives a construction of the sixty-first and sixty-second articles of war relative to rank or command.
"Humbly protesting that this order deprives me of rights guaranteed by these articles, and the uniform practice of the army under them, from the commencement of the Government down to the year 1828, when the new construction was first adopted against me, in obedience to the universal advice of my friends, who deem it incumbent on me to sacrifice my own connections and feelings to what may, by an apt error, be considered the repeated decision of the civil authority of my country, I have brought myself to make that sacrifice, and therefore withdraw the tender of my resignation now on file in your department.
"I also ask leave to surrender the remainder of the furlough the department was kind enough to extend to me in April last, and to report myself for duty. WINFIELD SCOTT.
"The Hon. J.H. EATON, Secretary of War."
To this the Secretary of War replied:
"WAR DEPARTMENT, November 13, 1829.
"SIR: Your letter of the 10th instant is received, and I take pleasure in saying to you that it affords the department much satisfaction to perceive the conclusion to which you have arrived as to your brevet rights. None will do you the injustice to suppose that the opinions declared by you upon this subject are not the result of reflections and convictions; but since the constituted authorities of the Government have, with the best feelings entertained, come to conclusions adverse to your own, no other opinion was cherished or was hoped for but that, on your return to the United States, you would adopt the course your letter indicates, and with good feelings resume those duties of which she has so long had the benefit. Agreeably to your request, the furlough heretofore granted you is revoked from and after the 20th instant. You will accordingly report to the commanding general, Alexander Macomb, for duty. J.H. EATON.
"To Major-General WINFIELD SCOTT."
General Scott, on reporting to General Macomb, was assigned to the command of the Eastern Department, while General Gaines was assigned to the Western. From the assignment of General Scott to the command of the Eastern Department, for a period of nearly three years, his duties were those of an ordinary department commander, with no incidents necessary to be ingrafted into his biography.
A treaty had been made by the United States Government in 1804 with the chiefs of the Sac Indians, in which their lands east of the Mississippi were ceded to the Government, but with the reservation that so long as they belonged to the Government of the United States the Indians should have the privilege of occupying and hunting on them. The Sacs and Foxes were contiguous and friendly tribes, and their principal village was on a peninsula between the Rock River and the Mississippi. Their principal chief was known as Black Hawk. The United States Government in its treaty acquiring the title to these Indian lands made a guarantee that the Indians should be free from intrusion from any white settlers.
Their lands were very fertile, and soon white men in large numbers began to encroach on them, and no adequate steps were taken by the Government to protect the Indians in their treaty rights. In 1829 the Government ordered a public sale of lands which included a part of the Sac village. It was purchased by an Indian trader. This greatly disturbed the Chief Black Hawk, but he was assured that if the lands purchased by this agent had not actually been sold to the Government that the sale would be canceled and the Indian occupants allowed to remain. Nothing more was done in the matter until in the spring of 1831, when the corn planted by a number of Indians was plowed up by white settlers, and many annoying trespasses made by the whites upon the Indian occupants. The Chief Black Hawk then announced to the white settlers in the village that they must remove. This resulted in a memorial from some of the white settlers, in May, 1831, to the Governor of Illinois, stating that the Indians were committing depredations on them. The Governor called out seven hundred militia to remove a band of the Sac Indians, and so notified General Gaines. General Gaines, on May 29th, replied to the Governor that he had ordered six companies of troops from Jefferson City to Rock Island, and four other companies from Prairie du Chien, to assist the Governor's militia in repelling the Indians. When the United States troops reached Fort Armstrong a conference was held with some of the Indian chiefs, but with no practical results. On receiving this information General Gaines called on the Governor of Illinois for additional forces, and on June 25th Governor Reynolds and General Joseph Duncan arrived at Rock River with sixteen hundred mounted militia. The Indians from the Sac village, being informed of this movement, deserted their homes with their wives and children and crossed the Mississippi. The next morning General Gaines occupied the Sac village without opposition.
A treaty was then made (June 30th) by General Gaines and Governor Reynolds with the Sacs, by which the Indians agreed to take up their abode west of the Mississippi River. In April, 1832, Chief Black Hawk and his tribe recrossed the Mississippi, in violation of the treaty previously made, for the purpose of joining the Winnebagoes and making a crop of corn and beans.
General Henry Atkinson at this time was in command of Fort Armstrong. He notified Black Hawk that he must recross the river or be driven back. The Indians refused to obey the order. Black Hawk endeavored to enlist some of the Northwestern tribes to join him, but failing to gain their assent, resolved to recross the Mississippi. He was encamped with his tribe at a place which the Indians called Kish-wa-cokee.
Some of the Illinois mounted militia were at Dixon's Ferry, on Rock River, not far from the Indian encampment. Major Stillman, commanding some three hundred volunteers, moved from Dixon's Ferry to Sycamore Creek on a scouting expedition. Black Hawk, being apprised of their approach, sent three of his young Indians bearing a white flag to meet them. One of these young Indians was captured and killed. Another party of five Indians, following the flag-of-truce bearers to assist in pacific negotiations, were met by the whites and two of them killed. The Illinois militia moved on and crossed Sycamore Creek. Black Hawk, who was exasperated at the killing of his men whom he had sent under flag of truce, advanced with his warriors on May 14th, met the Illinois militia, engaged and defeated them, and forced them to recross the creek.
This success greatly encouraged the Indians, but created great alarm and excitement with the white people of Illinois. Many small battles took place after this between the whites and Indians, and the war was brought to a close by the delivery of Black Hawk to the Indian agent, General Street, August 27th, by two of his followers who betrayed him. This war created necessarily great excitement and alarm in Illinois. It was the general expectation that the Winnebagoes and Pottawattomies would sympathize with Black Hawk, and the result would be a general Indian war. At this juncture General Scott was ordered to proceed to Illinois and take command of the forces to bring the Indians into subjugation. In July, acting under this order, he left Buffalo with about one thousand troops, destined for Chicago. The general and his staff, with about two hundred and twenty men, embarked on the steamboat Sheldon Thompson, and on July 8th it was announced that several of the soldiers were attacked with Asiatic cholera. The vessel arrived at the village of Chicago on the 10th with eighty sick men on board, one officer and fifty-one soldiers having died during the passage.
The fate of the troops who were embarked in other vessels was even worse than those on the Thompson. Of the one thousand men who left Buffalo only about four hundred survived. General Scott gave every attention to the sick, exposing himself without fear day and night in seeing to the wants of his men. Leaving Colonel Abram Eustis in command, he proceeded to join General Atkinson at Prairie du Chien, which he reached on the 3d of August. The engagement called the Battle of Bad Axe had been fought before his arrival. He was here again confronted with the plague of cholera, which had broken out in Atkinson's command at Rock Island, and he devoted himself to the care of the sick and the consolation of the dying.
In this connection an extract from the Richmond Enquirer of August 7, 1832, will be of interest:
"LOUISVILLE, July 27, 1832.—The following is the latest official intelligence from Chicago. We are indebted to a commercial friend for it.—Advertiser.
"'HEADQUARTERS NORTHWESTERN ARMY,
"'CHICAGO, July 15, 1832.
"'SIR: To prevent or to correct the exaggerations of rumor in respect to the existence of cholera at this place, I address myself to your Excellency. Four steamers were engaged at Buffalo to transport United States troops and supplies to Chicago.
"'In the headmost of these boats, the Sheldon Thompson, I, with my staff and four companies, a part of Colonel Eustis's command, arrived here on the 8th. All on board were in high health and spirits, but the next morning six cases of undoubted cholera presented themselves. The disease rapidly spread itself for the next three days. About one hundred and twenty persons have been affected.
"'Under a late act of Congress six companies of rangers are to be raised and marched to this place. General Dodge, of Michigan, is appointed major of the battalion, and I have seen the names of the captains, but I do not know where to address them. I am afraid that the report from this place in respect to cholera may seriously retard the raising of this force.
"'I wish, therefore, that your Excellency would give publicity to the measures I have adopted to prevent the spread of the disease, and of my determination not to allow any junction or communication between uninfected and infected troops.
"'The war is not at an end, and may not be brought to a close for some time. The rangers may reach the theatre of operations in time to give the final blow. As they approach this place I shall take care of their health and general wants.
"'I write in great haste, and may not have time to cause my letter to be copied. It will be put in some post office to be forthwith forwarded. I have the honor to be
"'Your Excellency's most obedient servant,
"'His Excellency, GOVERNOR REYNOLDS.'"
From the Richmond Enquirer, October 12, 1832.
"In laying the following article before our readers, our own personal feelings, as well as a just sense of gratitude to a meritorious officer, prompts us to add that we have known Winfield Scott long and have known him intimately, and that the conduct here attributed to him is precisely such as we should have expected, from his ardent patriotism, his humane disposition, and his distinguished intelligence."
From the Illinois Galenian, September 12, 1832.
"GENERAL SCOTT.—Perhaps on no former occasion has a more arduous and responsible duty been confided to any officer of our Government than that with which this gentleman has been clothed, in prosecuting to final issue the savage war upon our borders. And we hesitate not to say that in our estimation a better selection could not have been made.
"It might suffice, in justification of this assertion, to instance the promptitude of his movements to the scene of action, the ease with which he overcame space, and the facility with which he surmounted all obstacles opposed to the accomplishment of his object.
"But he had an enemy to encounter far more terrible than Black Hawk and his adherents—an enemy that bid defiance to military prowess and baffled all the skill of the tactician.
"That loathsome epidemic, the direful scourge of the Eastern hemisphere, the cholera, invaded his camp. Here was a new foe that had never yet been conquered. Victim after victim fell under its ravages. The general might have retired to some healthy clime, where he would have been freed from this pestilence, but not while his officers and men were falling around him; humanity prompted him to remain and succor a distressed army. During our stay at Rock Island the cholera commenced its work of death; and seeing the general almost every day, we had frequent opportunities of witnessing his untiring perseverance in and constant personal attention to all those duties appertaining to his official station, the calls of humanity, and the best interests of the country.
"On the arrival of the companies from Chicago (among whom the cholera had been severe) they were stationed on an island in Rock River, several miles from the fort, and all communication prohibited by special order. Some of his aids, on their way to Rock Island, having violated this order (without knowing it was given), were immediately ordered back to Rock River, while the general was left alone to perform all their respective duties. When a soldier was attacked with cholera he was the first to render assistance by the application of friction to the extremities in order to attract the fluids from the large internal vessels to the surface of the body. At the bake-house we found him one day giving instructions how to make the most wholesome bread, and on the next day we beheld one of his bakers consigned to the tomb. And if we follow him on, we next find him instructing those employed in the culinary art, so cautious is he about everything that his men eat and drink. And in order to insure temperance among the soldiers, he issued an order requiring every man found drunk to dig a grave.
"In his orders he was bound to be severe, and in their enforcement he was equally rigid. His whole soul seemed to be devoted to the benefit of his army.
"On one occasion he observed that his own honor, the duty he owed his country and his fellow-men, required his personal attention at his post, and also the severity of his orders. And if, in attending to his duties, he should be so unfortunate as to lose his life, the army could get along as well without him, but he could not get along without an army. Thus, with Roman firmness and a disinterested devotion of life to his country, has he remained at his post of duty. Such conduct deserves the highest praise, and we feel confident that it will be awarded by a grateful and virtuous community."
The cholera having subsided by the middle of September, negotiations were opened with the various Indian tribes at Rock Island. General Scott and Governor Reynolds were the commissioners on the part of the United States to make treaties with the Sacs, Foxes, Winnebagoes, Sioux, and Menomonees. The leading man among the Indians was Ke-o-Kuck, a Sac chief, who was of commanding appearance, eloquent in speech, and a brave warrior. He was not, however, a hereditary chief, and for this reason his tribe deposed him; but on General Scott's request he was again replaced as chief. General Scott conducted the negotiations in the way of speech-making at the request of his associate, Governor Reynolds. The speeches of Scott and those of the Indian chiefs were taken down by Captain Richard Bache, of the army, and are to be found in the archives of the War Department at Washington.
The result of the treaties was the cession to the United States by the Sacs and Foxes of about six million acres of land, the greater part of which is now included in the State of Iowa; and the United States gave in consideration of this cession a reservation of nearly four hundred square miles, on the Iowa River, to Ke-o-Kuck and his band, and agreed to pay the Indians an annuity of twenty thousand dollars per annum for thirty years to pay the debts of the tribe, and to employ a blacksmith and a gunsmith for them. The treaty also provided for ample space for hunting, and planting-grounds for the Indians and their posterity. A similar treaty was made with the other Indians. General Scott, on his return to Washington, was complimented by General Cass, the Secretary of War, "upon the fortunate consummation of his arduous duties," and he expressed his entire approbation of the whole course of his proceedings during a series of difficulties requiring higher moral courage than the operations of an active campaign under ordinary circumstances.
Troubles in South Carolina growing out of the tariff acts apprehended, and General Scott sent South—Action of the nullifiers—Instructions in case of an outbreak—Action of the South Carolina Legislature.
On the conclusion of the treaties with the Indian tribes, mentioned in the preceding chapter, General Scott went to New York, where he arrived in October, 1832. A few days after his arrival he received an order to proceed to Washington.
The passage of the tariff act of 1828 had produced great excitement in several of the Southern States, but especially in South Carolina. By this act the duties on foreign goods imported into this country were raised much higher than by any previous tariff. It was passed for the protection of American manufactures, of which at that time none were in the South, but all, or nearly all, in the New England States.
The cotton planters of South Carolina opposed and resisted it on the ground that it was not only in violation of the Constitution of the United States, but injurious to their interests, and in the interest of other States as opposed to theirs. They argued, as it is now argued, that a tariff is a tax, and that this tariff discriminated in favor of certain portions of the country as against other portions, and that therefore it unquestionably violated the fundamental law of the land.
This tariff act was passed on May 15, 1828, and on the 12th of June following the citizens of Colleton District, South Carolina, met at the courthouse in Walterborough and adopted an address to the people. Among other things this address stated: "For it is not enough that imposts laid for protection of domestic manufactures are oppressive, and transfer in their operation millions of our property to Northern capitalists. If we have given our bond, let them take our blood. Those who resist these imposts must deem them unconstitutional, and the principle is abandoned by the payment of one cent—as much as ten millions." The address assumed "open resistance to the laws of the Union."
Governor Taylor was asked to convene the Legislature. He declined to take action on the request of the Colleton meeting, on the ground that "the time of great public excitement is not a time propitious for cool deliberation or wise determination."
George McDuffie, a member of the House of Representatives in Congress from South Carolina, and a man of high character and great ability, was the leading spirit in the opposition to this tariff and resistance to its enforcement. At a dinner in Columbia, S.C., he recommended that the State fix a tax on Northern manufactured goods, and proposed as a toast "Millions for defense, but not a cent for tribute." In the district of St. Helena, S.C., a public meeting was held at which this resolution was adopted:
"Resolved, That, differing from those of our fellow-citizens who look to home production, or more consumption of the fabrics of the tariff States as a relief from our present burdens, we perceive in these expedients rather an ill-judged wasting of the public energy and diversion of the public mind than an adequate remedy for the true evil, the usurping of Congress, which (since that body will never construe down its own powers) can be checked, in our opinion, only by the action of States opposed to such usurpation."
The reference to "expedients, rather an ill-judged wasting of the public energy," was to the action of certain meetings in South Carolina where it was resolved to wear only their own manufactures, and abstain wholly from those made north of the Potomac. The supporters of nullification defended themselves on constitutional grounds and on the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions of 1798. Congress revised the tariff in May, 1832, modifying some of the duties imposed by the act of 1828. In October, 1832, the Legislature of South Carolina passed an act providing for the calling of a convention of the people of the State.
The object of the convention was "to take into consideration the several acts of the Congress of the United States imposing duties on foreign imports, for the protection of domestic manufactures or for other unauthorized objects; to determine on the character thereof, and to devise the means of redress."
The convention authorized under this act assembled on November 19, 1832. An ordinance was passed to provide for arresting the operations of certain acts of Congress of the United States, purporting to be taxes laying duties and imposts on the importation of foreign commodities. On its final passage the word "arresting" was stricken out and the word "nullifying" substituted in its place.
The substance of this ordinance was to interdict the action of the courts, and to require all officers to take an oath to obey the ordinance and the laws passed to give it effect. It also declared that the tariff acts of 1828 and 1832 were null, void, and not binding on the State, its officers or citizens. It further declared it to be unlawful for any of the constituted authorities of the State or of the United States to enforce the payment of the duties imposed by the act within the limits of the State of South Carolina. Other provisions were that no case of law or equity decided in South Carolina, in which was involved the question of the validity of the ordinance of the South Carolina convention, or any act of its Legislature to give it effect, should be appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, or be regarded if appealed; and that, if the General Government should employ force to carry these acts into effect, or endeavor to coerce the State by closing its ports, South Carolina would consider the Union dissolved, and would proceed to organize a separate government. A union convention was called in South Carolina to endeavor to suppress the movement inaugurated by the ordinance of the recent convention.
The States of Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia—the first through its Governor, Gayle, and the latter by resolutions of their Legislatures—took strong anti-nullification grounds. On December 10th President Andrew Jackson issued his famous proclamation exhorting all persons to obey the laws, and denouncing the South Carolina ordinance. He said in this proclamation: "I consider, then, the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed."
"This, then, is the position in which we stand. A small majority of the citizens of one State in the Union have elected delegates to a State convention. That convention has ordained that all the revenue laws of the United States must be repealed, or that they are no longer a member of the Union. The Governor of that State has recommended to the Legislature the raising of an army to carry the secession into effect, and that he may be empowered to give clearance to vessels in the name of the State. No act of violent opposition to the laws has yet been committed, but such a state of things is hourly apprehended; and it is the intent of this instrument to proclaim not only that the duty imposed on me by the Constitution—'to take care that the laws be faithfully executed'—shall be performed to the extent of the powers already vested in me by law, or of such other as the wisdom of Congress shall devise and intrust to me for that purpose, but to warn the citizens of South Carolina, who have been deluded into an opposition to the laws, of the danger they will incur by obedience to the illegal and disorganizing ordinance of the convention; to exhort those who have refused to support it to persevere in their determination to uphold the Constitution and laws of their country, and to point out to all the perilous situation into which the good people of that State have been led; and that the course they are urged to pursue is one of ruin and disgrace to the very State whose rights they affect to support."
This proclamation, of which the foregoing are extracts, was signed on December 10, 1832. The ordinance adopted by the convention of South Carolina was passed November 24th; and the Legislature of South Carolina, which had formulated laws necessary to carry out the ordinance, adjourned on December 21st.
President Jackson, in anticipation of the troubles likely to arise, had, as early as October 29th, directed General Macomb to issue an order to Major Heileman, commanding the United States troops at Charleston, stating that "it is deemed necessary that the officers in the harbor of Charleston should be advised of the possibility of attempts being made to surprise, seize, and occupy the forts committed to them. You are therefore especially charged to use your utmost vigilance in counteracting such attempts. You will call personally on the commanders of Castle Pinckney and Fort Moultrie, and instruct them to be vigilant to prevent surprise in the night or day on the part of any set of people whatever who may approach the forts with a view to seize and occupy them. You will warn the said officers that such an event is apprehended, and that they will be held responsible for the defense, to the last extremity, of the forts and garrisons under their respective commands, against any assault, and also against intrigue and surprise.
"The attempt to surprise the forts and garrisons, it is expected, will be made by the militia, and it must be guarded against by constant vigilance, and repulsed at every hazard. These instructions you will be careful not to show to any persons other than the commanding officers of Castle Pinckney and Fort Moultrie."
Two companies of artillery were ordered to Fort Moultrie on November 7th, and on the 12th General Macomb directed Major Julius Frederick Heileman that a building called "The Citadel," in Charleston, and which was the property of the State of South Carolina, should, with its State arms, be delivered up if demanded by the State authorities. He was further instructed to act in this matter with the greatest courtesy; but should he be attacked, he must make a stubborn defense.
This was the state of affairs in South Carolina at the time stated. On November 18th, President Jackson, after a conference with General Scott, ordered him on a confidential or secret order to Charleston. The order was, of course, issued from the War Department by direction of the President, and the main points of it are as follows:
" ... The possibility of such a measure furnishes sufficient reason for guarding against it, and the President is therefore anxious that the situation and means of defense of these fortifications should be inspected by an officer of experience, who could also estimate and provide for any dangers to which they may be exposed. He has full confidence in your judgment and discretion, and it is his wish that you repair immediately to Charleston and examine everything connected with the fortifications. You are at liberty to take such measures either by strengthening these defenses or by re-enforcing these garrisons with troops drawn from any other posts, as you may think prudence and a just precaution require.
"Your duty will be one of great importance and of great delicacy. You will consult fully and freely with the collector of the port of Charleston, and you will take no step, except what relates to the immediate defense and security of the posts, without their order and concurrence. The execution of the laws will be enforced through the civil authority and by the method pointed out by the acts of Congress. Should, unfortunately, a crisis arise when the ordinary power in the hands of the civil officers shall not be sufficient for this purpose, the President shall determine the course to be taken and the measures adopted. Till, therefore, you are otherwise instructed, you will act in obedience to the legal requisitions of the proper civil officers of the United States.
"I will thank you to communicate to me freely and confidentially upon every topic upon which you may deem it important for the Government to receive information.
"Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
General Scott, acting in obedience to these orders, arrived in Charleston November 28th, two days after the passage of the ordinance. He found, on his arrival and after conferring with many of the leading people, that the sentiment in regard to the action of the convention was divided, there seeming to be as many persons in opposition as those who favored it.
His arrival created no special notice, as he had been in the habit of visiting Charleston about this time of year in discharge of his duties as inspector. It should be added to what has been said in regard to his conference with President Jackson before leaving Washington, that the President announced to him in the most emphatic terms that "the Union must and shall be preserved." On asking General Scott for any suggestions he had to make, the general told the President that Fort Moultrie, Castle Pinckney, and the arsenal at Augusta should be strongly garrisoned. He also advised that a number of troops, sloops of war, and revenue cutters would be needed at Charleston to enforce the collection of duties on foreign importations. The President said to him: "Proceed at once and execute those views. You have my carte blanche in respect to troops; the vessels shall be there, and written instructions will follow you."
The President at this interview invited General Scott to remain and take supper with him. He declined, on the ground that he desired to call on his friend ex-President Adams before leaving. To this President Jackson replied, "That's right; never forget a friend."
On his journey he met with an accident and sprained his ankle. This turned out a fortunate thing, for it enabled him to delay so as to spend needed time in Charleston, Savannah, and Augusta without exciting any suspicion of the real object of his visit. Had it been known that he was there to make preparations for defense and to strengthen the garrisons, it would have excited the populace who sustained the action of the convention, and might have resulted in open hostilities. He visited Fort Moultrie and Castle Pinckney, and gave oral confidential orders to enlarge and strengthen both places. Orders were also sent for re-enforcements in single companies, which excited no alarm. These important matters being accomplished, he went to Savannah and posed as a sick man, for the reason that an early return to Fort Moultrie might have excited alarm. In the latter part of January he returned by sea to Fort Moultrie, but his presence there was unknown to all outside of the fort.
In the meantime the leaders of nullification had, at a large meeting, agreed that no attempt to execute the ordinance should be undertaken before the adjournment of Congress on March 3d following. The Legislature of South Carolina, at its meeting in December, had passed laws for the raising of troops and providing money for the purchase of arms and ammunition, and many organizations of volunteers had been formed wearing the palmetto cockade and buttons. A very decided and unexpected rebuff was given by the Court of Appeals of South Carolina, which decided, in the case of State vs. Hunt (2 Hills, S.C. Reports), that the ordinance which required the citizens of South Carolina to take a test oath of exclusive allegiance to the State was unconstitutional. It is a curious piece of history that the palmetto buttons worn by the volunteer nullifiers were manufactured in Connecticut.
There was in Charleston, as in other parts of the State, a very large number of Unionists. Both parties in Charleston held frequent meetings, and it was with great difficulty that riots or encounters between the two were prevented.
The officers of the army and navy at and near Charleston during these perilous times showed great prudence. Their first public display was the celebration of Washington's birthday; but the most intense nullifier could raise no objection to this. During these exciting times a fire broke out in the city of Charleston, and General Scott, being one of the first to observe it, called for volunteers and went to the scene, and, with the assistance of the naval volunteers and men of the army, succeeded in extinguishing the fire. This act of General Scott, seconded by army and navy men, had much to do with quieting the intense political excitement in Charleston.
In the latter part of January, 1833, the General Assembly of Virginia passed a resolution asking Congress to modify the tariff, and also to appoint a commissioner to South Carolina and endeavor to conciliate that State. The commissioner appointed was Benjamin Watkins Leigh. On his request, Mr. James Hamilton, president of the South Carolina convention, called it to assemble, when it rescinded the ordinance, the troops which had been called were disbanded, and the whole State and country were happily relieved of an impending internecine war. Congress had passed the compromise act, and the United States troops and vessels which had been sent to Charleston were withdrawn, and peace and quiet again dawned on the lately excited city.
Mr. Leigh, the Commissioner of Virginia to South Carolina, says of General Scott's part of that historic period: ... "General Scott had a large acquaintance with the people of Charleston; he was their friend; but his situation was such that many of the people—the great majority of them—looked upon him as a public enemy.... He thought, as I thought, that the first drop of blood shed in civil war—in civil war between the United States and one of the States—would prove an immedicable wound, which would end in a change of our institutions. He was resolved, if possible, to prevent a resort to arms, and nothing could have been more judicious than his conduct. Far from being prone to take offense, he kept his temper under the strictest guard, and was most careful to avoid giving occasion for offense; yet he held himself ready to act if it should become necessary, and he let it be known that he strictly understood the situation. He sought the society of the leading nullifiers, and was in their company as much as they would let him be, but he took care never to say a word to them on the subject of political differences; he treated them as friends. From the beginning to the end his conduct was as conciliatory as it was firm and sincere, evincing that he knew his duty and was resolved to perform it, and yet his principal object and purpose was peace. He was perfectly successful, when the least imprudence might have resulted in a serious collision."
Events that led to the war in Florida—Treaty of Camp Moultrie and its stipulations—Complaints of Indians and whites—Treaty of Payne's Landing—Objections of the Indians to complying with the latter treaty—Councils and talks with the Seminoles—Assiola—Murder of mail carrier Dalton—Murder of Charley Amathla—Dade's massacre—Murder of General Thompson and others—General Clinch—Depredations by the Indians on the whites and by the latter on the Indians—Volunteers—Military departments of Gaines and Scott.
It is proper to give as brief a resume as the subject will permit of the events that led to the outbreak of hostilities in Florida.
General Jackson, when Governor of Florida in 1821, urged upon the Government the necessity of adopting measures to send back to their own reservations the large number of Creek Indians who had left their nation and settled with other tribes in Florida. He argued that this was an encroachment by the Creeks, and that an increase of Indians in this territory would lead to unhappy results. Colonel Joseph M. White, the delegate from the territory of Florida, fully concurred with General Jackson in this view, and so informed the Secretary of War.
The Government, disregarding these wise suggestions, entered into a treaty with the Florida Indians, September 18, 1823, at Camp Moultrie, stipulating for their continued residence in the territory for twenty years. They were by this treaty established in the heart of the country, and their claims to the lands acknowledged and guaranteed. The treaty provided, among other things, that the Seminole Indians should relinquish all their claim to lands in Florida except a tract estimated to contain some five millions of acres, within the limits of which they agreed to abide.
The Government of the United States agreed to pay to the Indians two thousand dollars to aid them in removal to the new reservation, to furnish them with certain articles of husbandry and stock to the amount of six thousand dollars, to furnish them with corn, meat, and salt for one year, to pay them forty-five hundred dollars for their improvements on their surrendered lands, to allow them one thousand dollars per annum for a blacksmith and one thousand dollars per annum for a school fund, and these last two allowances to extend during the term of the treaty. Complaints were made by the whites, and counter complaints by the Indians, of depredations, but the preponderance of testimony is that the whites were the principal aggressors. These Indians were slave-holders, having a number of negroes held in slavery by the same tenure that slaves were held by the whites in Florida. The whites commenced and carried on a systematic and continued robbery of the slaves and cattle belonging to the Indians, sending them to Mobile for sale. A protest was made by the inhabitants of ten of the Seminole towns, complaining in substance that the white people had carried all their cattle off; that the white men first commenced to steal from them; that within three years six Indians had been killed by the whites, admitting that the Indians had taken satisfaction, but were not even on that score by three.
Complaints from whites of Indian depredations and counter complaints from the Indians became so frequent that the President determined to endeavor to make a new treaty, abrogating that of Camp Moultrie. For this purpose Colonel James Gadsden, of Florida, was appointed a commissioner to carry out this purpose. The Indians, by invitation, assembled at Payne's Landing, on the Ocklawaha River, on May 8, 1832. The points agreed upon were that the Seminole Indians relinquish their claim to the tract of land reserved for them by the second article of the Camp Moultrie treaty, containing four million thirty-two thousand six hundred and forty acres, and to remove west of the Mississippi River and there become a constituent part of the Creeks.
The United States engaged to pay the Seminoles fifteen thousand four hundred dollars as a consideration for the improvements on the lands which they abandoned, and a further sum of two hundred dollars each to two negroes, Abraham and Cudjoe, each Indian to be furnished with a blanket and homespun frock, and a sufficient quantity of corn, meat, and salt for one year's support after arriving in the new reservation. Two blacksmiths, at one thousand dollars a year, were agreed to be furnished for a period of ten years, and an annuity of three thousand dollars for fifteen years to be paid after their arrival in the West; which sum, together with the four thousand dollars stipulated for in the Camp Moultrie treaty, making seven thousand dollars per annum, was to be paid to the Creek nation with their annuities.
In order to relieve the Seminoles from vexatious demands on them for their slaves and other property, the United States stipulated to have the matter investigated, and to liquidate such as were satisfactory, provided the amount did not exceed seven thousand dollars. This treaty was executed on May 9, 1832, and signed by Holata Amathla and fourteen other chiefs. Seven of the chiefs were deputed to visit and explore the new country, accompanied by their interpreter and by Major John Fagan, formerly Indian agent in Florida. The delegation reported their approval of the country, and the ratification on the part of the Indians was made by seven of the chiefs at Fort Gibson, La.
This ratification by the seven chiefs was in excess of their authority, as they were only authorized to examine the country and report the result of their mission to a general council of the nation, which was to be convened on their return.
Colonel Gadsden, the commissioner on the part of the United States, addressed a letter to the Secretary of War, in which he said: "There is a condition prefixed to the agreement without assenting to which the Florida Indians most positively refused to negotiate for their removal west of the Mississippi. Even with the condition annexed, there was a reluctance, which with some difficulty was overcome, on the part of the Indians to bind themselves by any stipulations before a knowledge of the facts and circumstances would enable them to judge of the advantages or disadvantages of the disposition the Government of the United States wished to make of them. They were finally induced, however, to assent to the agreement....
"The payment for property alleged to have been plundered was the subject most pressed by the Indians, and in yielding to their wishes on this head a limitation has been fixed in a sum which I think, however, will probably cover all demands which can be satisfactorily proved. Many of the claims are for negroes said to have been enticed away from their owners during the protracted Indian disturbances, of which Florida has been for years the theater. The Indians allege that the depredations were mutual, that they have suffered in the same degree, and that most of the property claimed was taken as reprisal for property of equal value lost by them. They could not, therefore, yield to the justice of restitution solely on their part, and probably there was no better mode of terminating the difficulty than by that provided for in the treaty now concluded. The final ratification of the treaty will depend upon the opinion of the seven chiefs selected to explore the country west of the Mississippi River. If that corresponds to the description given, or is equal to the expectations formed of it, there will be no difficulty on the part of the Seminoles. If the Creeks, however, raise any objections, this will be a sufficient pretext on the part of some of the Seminole deputation to oppose the execution of the whole arrangement for removal."
On March 8, 1835, the Hon. John H. Eaton addressed a letter to Lewis Cass, Secretary of War, raising the question whether the treaty of Payne's Landing was valid, it not having been ratified until 1834. To this the Secretary replied that, the question had been referred to the Attorney General, and that he had decided that the obligation of the treaty was not affected by the delay, but that the Indians might be required to move in the years 1835-'37.
The Indian agent called a meeting of the Indians, who assembled in council on October 23, 1834. The agent stated that he had convened them by order of the President, who said that he had complied with all the promises made to them, and that they must prepare to move by the beginning of cold weather. He further stated that he had a proposition to them from the Creeks, and exhibited a map of the country allotted to them west of the Mississippi.
The proposition from the Creeks was that the Seminoles, instead of settling in the country allotted to them, in a separate body, settle promiscuously among the Creeks. The agent stated in regard to this last proposition: "It is left, as it should be, entirely optional with you, and no persons but yourselves have any right to say you shall or shall not accede to the proposition." Other questions were submitted, such as the disposition of their cattle, whether they preferred to march by land or go by water, and the manner in which they desired the annuity paid them. The Indians then retired for a private council, and on their return Holata Amathla said: "My brothers, we have now heard the talk that our father at Washington has sent us. He says that we made a treaty at Payne's Landing, and we have no excuse now for not doing what we promised; we must be honest. Let us go, my brothers, and talk it over, and don't let us act like fools."
At four o'clock in the afternoon of the same day the Indians met in private council and were addressed by Assiola, in which he opposed emigrating from Florida to the Creek country, denouncing the Creeks as bad Indians. He also denounced the agent for advising them to remove "from the lands which we live on—our homes and the graves of our fathers." He announced that when the Great Spirit told him to go he would go. But he said the Great Spirit had told him not to go. He also threatened the white people with his rifle, for he still had that, and some powder and lead. He also said that if any of the Indians wanted to go West they would not be permitted to do so. Assiola was followed by Holata Amathla, who strongly urged his brothers to abide by the treaty of Payne's Landing, and advised them to "act honest and do as our great father at Washington tells us." Jumper, the sense-keeper, also urged a compliance with the last-named treaty, because if they did not comply the white men would make them. Chief Arpincki proposed that Holata Amathla be selected to represent to the agent the objections of the nation to removal. This was declined by Holata Amathla, and Jumper was selected in his stead to speak the sentiments of the people on the next day.
On October 24, 1834, the Indians again met in council. The agent asked them if they were ready to reply to the proposals made to them. Holata Mico and Miconopy made short talks. When Jumper rose he complained that a treaty had been made or rather forced on the Indians at Payne's Landing before the twenty years provided in the Camp Moultrie treaty had expired. He was one of the chiefs who had gone to look at the new lands and liked them, but did not like the neighbors they would have, and spoke of these latter Pawnees as savages and horse thieves. He told the agent that his talk always seemed good, but that the Indians did not want to go West. Holata Amathla, who was also one of the chiefs who went West, objected to his people removing there for substantially the same reason as Jumper. Charley Amathla said that seven years of the time stipulated in the Camp Moultrie treaty remained unexpired. He did not say that he would not go, but did not think he would give an answer until the expiration of the seven years. He also complained that the distance to the West was so great that many would die on the way. In these talks the chiefs spoke well of the agent. The latter, in reply, said: "I have no answer to make to what you have said to me to-day. My talk to you yesterday must and will stand, and you must abide by it." He then repeated the question he had previously submitted, and told them to deliberate further, and let him know when they were ready to meet him. Another meeting was held on October 25, 1834. The agent told them he was ready to receive their answers. The speakers on the part of the Indians said their people still refused to comply with the treaty of Payne's Landing and leave their native country. They thought the agent was mad with them. General Thompson, the agent, told them he was not mad, but was their friend; that what they said was not an answer to his questions, and added, "Your father, the President, will compel you to go." He argued that the treaty of Payne's Landing had been duly signed. This was denied by Miconopy, when the general told him he lied, and that by the terms of the treaty the decision of the delegation sent out to view the country was binding on the Seminoles, and they were compelled under its provisions to move. He told them that the Payne's Landing treaty abrogated that made at Camp Moultrie. Replying to Charley Amathla's assertion that the last treaty had been forced upon them, he said: "You say that the white people forced you into the treaty of Payne's Landing. If you were so cowardly as to be forced by anybody to do what you ought not to do, you are unfit to be chiefs, and your people ought to hurl you from your stations." He explained to them the white people's Government; that the Indians living among white people might be charged with all kinds of offenses under the law, and would not be permitted to testify themselves; that the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws who live in the States were moving beyond the Mississippi River, because they could not live under the white people's laws, and the Seminoles were a small handful compared to their number; that when the jurisdiction of the State government was extended over them the Indian laws and customs would have to be abolished; and told them it was this view of the subject that had induced the President to settle them beyond Florida; and told them further that the land to which they were to go should be theirs "while grass grows and water runs," It was for this reason the treaty had been made with them at Payne's Landing, and for the same reason they would be compelled to keep it and comply with their bargain. His speech was a long one, reiterating, elaborating, and emphasizing the determination of the Government to make them move, whether they desired to or not. During this speech the agent was interrupted by Assiola, who urged Miconopy to be firm, and to assure the agent that he did not care whether any more annuity was paid or not. The agent closed by hoping that mature reflection would make them act like honest men, and not compel him to report them to their father, the President, "as faithless to your engagements." The Indians then, through Assiola and Miconopy, announced positively and emphatically that their answer had been made, and that they did not intend to move. The agent told them that he was satisfied now that they were willfully and entirely dishonest in regard to their engagements with the President, and regretted that he had to so report them. He told them the talk he had given them must and should stand, and directed them to retire and prepare their stocks to receive their annuity on the following day.
It will be remembered that by the treaty of Payne's Landing it was stipulated that seven chiefs should be sent to examine the lands to which it was proposed to remove the Seminoles. They were to report its general aspect and fertility to the nation, but were not invested with power to ratify the treaty. That was the province of the nation in general council. Jumper, as stated in these pages, was one of the chiefs selected for the purpose of examining and reporting upon the new country. General Thompson, the agent, had told the chiefs in council that "no person has a right to say to you, You shall go, or that you shall accede to the proposition made to you by the Creeks; but it is left, as it should be, entirely optional with you." This is in singular contrast to the words heretofore quoted from the agent, and altogether different from his assurance to one of the chiefs: "The President, backed by the Secretary of War" (the Indian Bureau was then under the jurisdiction of the War Department) "and the whole Congress, never should compel me to act so dishonorably as to violate the treaty [of Camp Moultrie] made with your people. If such a thing were required of me I would spurn the President's commission and retire to the bosom of my family." General Thompson reported to the authorities at Washington what had taken place, as just related, and stated that, in view of the circumstances, no doubt remained that the Indians intended to resist the execution of the treaty of Payne's Landing. After giving a full statement of the situation, he felt it his "imperious duty" to urge the necessity of a strong re-enforcement at Fort King, and the station of a strong force at Tampa Bay, as early as possible. "An imposing force, thus marshaled to coerce the refractory people, would have the effect to crush the hopes of the chiefs and those who had been tampering with them into a proper respect for the Government, afford protection to the neighboring white settlements, and supersede the necessity of Holata Amathla and his followers fleeing the country." At this time the force at the two posts mentioned was two hundred and thirty-five men. General Thompson, sustained by Governor William P. Duval, continued to urge upon the Government, an increase of the military force. The latter, in a letter to the Secretary of War, informed that official that even with a respectable military force stationed at Fort Brooke and Tampa Bay the agent and superintendents would have much difficulty in carrying the treaty of Payne's Landing into effect. The necessity for additional military force was urged by Generals Clinch and Eaton and Lieutenant Joseph W. Harris, the disbursing agent. These representations went unheeded. In the whole of Florida there were but two hundred and fifty men of the United States army, while more than three thousand were stationed at other convenient points totally inactive.
When the time came for the removal of the Big Swamp Indians they were so notified. But having been previously informed that they would be expected to go, they did nothing in the way of planting crops, and were destitute of food. Corn was distributed by the agents to the most needy. It was concluded to make another effort to secure their peaceful removal, and on April 22, 1835, several hundred of them assembled in council. After the council was opened General Thompson explained to them the treaty of Payne's Landing, and read a letter from President Jackson, in which he besought them as his children, to whom he had always acted honestly and kind, to comply with the treaty and go to the lands selected for them, telling them they must go; that they had sold all their land and did not have a piece "as big as a blanket to sit upon," and had no right to stay. The letter concluded: "If you listen to the voice of friendship and truth, you will go quietly and voluntarily; but should you listen to the bad birds that are always flying about you, and refuse to remove, I have then directed the commanding officer to remove you by force. This will be done. I pray the Great Spirit, therefore, to incline you to do what is right." After the letter had been read through and interpreted, Jumper rose and opposed the treaty, but deprecated force. Miconopy and others sustained Jumper's views as to the treaty, but were silent on the question of forcible resistance. General Clinch then addressed them, and told them the time of expostulation had passed, that persuasion had been exhausted, and wound up by telling them "it was the question now whether they would go of their own accord or go by force." On the next morning the chiefs and warriors sent word to the agent that they wanted to talk to him. On assembling, Miconopy was absent. Jumper, the spokesman, announced that he stood firm, but the veteran chief Fueta Susta Hajo (Black Dirt) spoke passionately and eloquently in favor of the execution of the treaty. After he had concluded, General Thompson placed on the table a paper, dated April 23, 1835, which pledged the Seminole tribe to voluntarily acknowledge the treaty at Payne's Landing on May 9, 1832, and the treaty concluded at Fort Gibson on March 28, 1833 (the one signed by the seven chiefs who had gone to visit the country to which the Seminoles were to remove), and freely submitting and assenting to said treaties in all their provisions. This paper received the signatures of eight principal chiefs, among them Fueta Susta Hajo and eight subchiefs. Five of the principal chiefs, Jumper among them, stood aloof and would not sign. Miconopy, who was absent, sent word by Jumper that he would not abide by the treaty. Upon this the agent said he would no longer regard Miconopy as a chief, and said his name should be stricken from the council of the nation. This action on the part of the agent was arbitrary and wholly unauthorized, and was severely censured by General Cass, Secretary of War.
On August 11th the mail carrier Dalton was met by a party of Micosukee Indians six miles from Fort Brooke and killed. The body was found a few days afterward, and General Clinch immediately sent a demand for the surrender of the murderers, but they eluded capture by seeking refuge in the "Old red sticks" in the neighborhood of Ouithlacoochee. This murder, it was claimed, was in retaliation for the killing of an Indian in the previous June.
On August 19, 1835, at the request of Holata Amathla and twenty-five others, a council of the Seminoles was convened. At the request of the other chiefs Holata Amathla opened the council, saying they had come to talk about matters of great interest. He referred to the treaty of Payne's Landing, the visit to the West of the seven chiefs, and the promises that had been made; stated that the Seminoles wanted their separate agent, and paid a high compliment to General Thompson, who, he said, had always told them the truth. The speech was forwarded to Washington, but no notice was taken of it. This nonaction on the part of the authorities at Washington served to intensify the distrust and suspicions of the Indians as to the good faith of the Government, and caused many of those who had expressed a willingness to move to join the ranks of those who objected to doing so. Hostilities soon commenced. The Long Swamp and Big Swamp Indians commenced pillaging. Three of them were caught and subjected to exceedingly cruel treatment by the white settlers. Many outrages were perpetrated on both sides. The Indians were notified to bring in all their cattle, ponies, and hogs to be turned over to a United States agent and appraised, the owners to be paid on their arrival across the Mississippi. Six of the principal chiefs and some others surrendered their stock. The sale, however, was indefinitely postponed. The Big Swamp Indians resolved to retain possession of the country, and condemned to death all those Indians who should oppose their views. This caused many of the friendly Indians to take refuge in the United States forts. About four hundred and fifty fled to Fort Brooke, and on November 9th they encamped on the opposite side of Hillsboro River. The hostile Indians, fearing that the secrets of their councils had become known, made every effort to win over to their side those who were disposed to comply with the treaty. Assiola and about four hundred warriors went to the house of Charley Amathla and demanded that he pledge himself to oppose removal. He declined, saying he would sacrifice his life before he would violate the pledge he had given his great father. Assiola attempted to shoot Charley, but was prevented by Abraham, the interpreter. Assiola left, but soon returned with a small party to the house and murdered him in cold blood. A number of the murdered man's followers at once made their escape to Fort King, while others joined the hostile party. Charley Amathla was regarded as a brave, resolute, and upright man. He had saved the life of Assiola, and his murder was an act of horrible ingratitude. The Indians now abandoned their homes and took refuge in the impenetrable swamps.
At this time the entire military force in Florida amounted to four hundred and eighty-nine officers and men, and were distributed as follows: At St. Augustine, one company, fifty-three men; at Fort Brooke, on Hillsboro Bay, three companies, one hundred and fifty-three men; at Fort King, six companies, three hundred and fifty-three men. The Seminoles were located in the peninsula of Florida, a region of fens, swamps, and creeks almost inapproachable. They claimed that the Government had not carried out in good faith the treaties made with them. Their great leader and chief was Assiola, sometimes called Powell, and improperly spelled Osceola, whose father was a white man and his mother a woman of the Creek Indian tribe. Among most of the tribes of Southern Indians the children took rank from the mother. He was recognized among the Indians as a Creek. He did not inherit the title or place of a chief, but won it by his native ability, cruelty, and courage. In his early days he was insolent in his manners, and kept apart from the society of his people.
When General Alexander Ramsay Thompson was agent of the United States for these Indians, on one occasion Assiola appeared before him and announced that the lands claimed by the Government belonged to the Indians; that the Indians could take care of themselves, and did not need General Thompson's services. He was arrested and placed in confinement, and after being imprisoned some time expressed regret, signed the treaty, and was released. Subsequently he rendered valuable service in arresting criminals, and regained the confidence of the whites. This confidence, however, was of short duration.
War having been declared in the name of the Florida Indians, a detachment of volunteers with some regulars, under General Duncan L. Clinch, moved to the Ouithlacoochee, the Indian encampment. Three days before the event which will be described as occurring at Ouithlacoochee, Major Francis Langhorne Dade, with a small command, had moved from Fort Brooke to relieve the post of Fort King. Major Dade and his command had marched sixty-five miles in five days, intrenching themselves each night in their encampment. On the sixth night they were attacked by Indians and negro allies, and out of one hundred and twelve all were slain except three. The officers killed were Major Francis Langhorne Dade, Captain George Washington Gardiner, Captain William Frazier, Lieutenants William E. Basinger, J.L. Keayes, Robert Richard Mudge, Richard Henderson, and Dr. John Slade Gatlin. Total killed, officers and men, one hundred and seven; escaped, three. A handsome monument has been erected to their memory at West Point. Returning to General Duncan L. Clinch's advance on Ouithlacoochee, here he was attacked by Assiola and his followers after he had crossed the river; but the general succeeded in repelling the attack and driving the Indians. While the battle resulting in the massacre of Major Dade and his command was being fought, the death of Thompson and others was effected within a few hundred yards of Fort King, on February 28th. All of the troops except Thomas W. Lendrum's company of the Third Artillery, about forty strong, had been withdrawn on the 26th, to re-enforce General Clinch at Lang Syne plantation, with a view to his striking a blow at the families of the Indians supposed to be concealed in the swamps and hammocks of the Ouithlacoochee River, with the hope of drawing the Indian warriors out and bringing on a general engagement. All those attached to the fort or agency were directed not to pass beyond the picketing. Thompson slept inside the defenses and passed the greater part of the day at the agency, about one hundred yards beyond the works. The sutler, Rogers, had moved his goods into the fort, but was in the habit of taking his meals at his residence, six hundred yards away in the skirt of a hammock to the southwest of the fort.
On the day of the massacre Lieutenant Constantine Smith, of the Second Artillery, had dined with General Thompson, and after dinner the two went out for a walk. They had proceeded about three hundred yards beyond the agency office when they were fired upon by a party of Indians who were concealed in the hammock on the border of which the sutler's house stood. The reports of the rifles, and the war-whoop repeated, were heard within a brief time, other volleys more remote were fired, when the smoke of the firing was seen at the fort. Captain Lendrum at once called out his men, who were at that time engaged in strengthening the pickets. He was not aware of the absence from the fort of General Thompson and Lieutenant Smith; he supposed the firing was a ruse to draw him out and cut him off from the fort. Very soon several whites and negroes came in and informed him that Mr. Rogers, his clerks, and themselves had been surprised at dinner, and the three former had fallen into the hands of the Indians. A small command was at once dispatched to succor and pursue, but the butchery had been as brief as it was complete, and a last war-whoop had been given as a signal for retreat. The bodies of General Thompson, Lieutenant Smith, and Mr. Kitzler were soon found and brought in; those of the others were not found until the following morning. General Thompson's body had fourteen bullets in it and a deep knife-wound in the left breast. Lieutenant Smith and Mr. Kitzler had each received two bullets in the head. The bodies of Rogers the sutler and Robert Suggs were shockingly mangled, the skulls of each being broken, and all save Suggs were scalped. The party was led by Assiola, and consisted of fifty or sixty Micosukees. Two other Indians were in the party attired as chiefs, but were not recognized. This information comes from an old negro woman who was in the house and who concealed herself so as to elude the Indians, and made her escape to the fort after the massacre.
Information of the butchery was at once dispatched to General Clinch. General Richard Keith Call, with Colonels Richard C. Parish and Leigh Read, having arrived on the 29th with about five hundred volunteers from the adjoining counties, who had previously been ordered to scour the country on the right and left flank, joined the United States troops, numbering about two hundred under General Clinch. Orders were issued for a forward movement at sunrise on December 29th. They arrived near the Ouithlacoochee on the 30th, and threw up breastworks around their encampment. On arriving at the river next morning it was found too deep to be forded. No Indians being in sight, one of the men swam the river and brought over a canoe. As only seven men could be taken over at a time, the work of crossing the troops was slow and tedious. General Clinch and Colonels Samuel Parkhill and Read crossed over, and, in conjunction with General Call, began the construction of rafts on which the baggage and stores could be crossed over. The regulars were all over by twelve o'clock, and Major Alexander C.W. Fanning marched them into an open field surrounded on all sides either by a thick swamp or hammock, and there formed them into line, awaiting the crossing of the volunteers. When about fifty of the volunteers had crossed, and the officers were engaged in superintending the construction of the rafts, an alarm was given that the Indians were upon them. General Call at once put his men in line, and the Indians opened fire, but the volunteers poured a heavy volley into the hammock, which silenced the fire of the Indians for a time; but they soon collected their forces and opened a galling fire on the regulars. General Clinch ordered a charge, which was gallantly led by Major Fanning, but the Indians maintained their ground. A second charge was more successful, driving the Indians some distance back. The chiefs made every effort to rally them, but without success.
During the battle General Call, Colonel John Warren, and Major James G. Cooper, with a number of volunteers, crossed the river at imminent peril, and the two latter immediately engaged and fought with the most determined bravery. General Call had formed the volunteers that last crossed into two parallel lines, placing one above and the other below the crossing place, for the purpose of protecting the troops on the other side and those who were recrossing with the dead and wounded. He therefore did not reach the field until the enemy were repulsed, though his services were eminently useful in directing the crossing. Clinch at this time was not advised of the disaster to Major Dade's command.
The term of service of the volunteers having expired, General Clinch marched them, on January 2d, to Fort Drane and disbanded them. In this last-named engagement the regulars and volunteers, numbering, all told, two hundred and twenty-seven men—under the able leadership of Clinch, Major Campbell Graham, Major Fanning, Colonel John Warren, General Richard K. Call, Cooper, and Lieutenant George Read—succeeded in defeating over seven hundred Indians who had chosen their ground and were protected by the swamps and hammocks. The volunteer officers, to whom great credit was due, were Major (afterward Brigadier General) Leigh Read, whose horse was shot under him, Colonel John Warren, Colonel Parkhill (of Richmond, Va.), Colonel William J. Mills, Major Cooper, Captain Martin Scott, and Captain William J. Bailey. The services of General Call and Majors Gamble and Wellford were of great value. General Clinch makes mention of Major J.S. Little his aid-de-camp, Captains Gustavus S. Drane, Charles Mellon, and Gates, Lieutenants George Henry Talcott, Erastus A. Capron, John Graham, William Seaton Maitland, and Horace Brooks, of the United States army, and Colonel McIntosh, Lieutenants Youman, Stewart, Nathaniel W. Hunter, Cuthbert, and Adjutant Joseph A. Phillips, of the Florida volunteers, of the officers of the medical staff. Special mention was made of Drs. Richard Weightman, Hamilton, Philip G. Randolph, and Brandon. The returns of the killed and wounded were as follows:
REGULARS. Killed, 2 artificers and 2 privates 4 Wounded, 1 captain and 2 lieutenants 3 Two sergeants and 4 corporals 6 Private soldiers 43 — 52 VOLUNTEERS. Wounded, Colonel Warren, Major Cooper, and Lieutenant Youman 3 Private soldiers 4 — 7 59 = 63
Previous to and immediately after this engagement the Indians divided themselves into small parties for the purpose of devastating the country. They made their appearance simultaneously in the southern part of the peninsula as far north as Picolata and from the extreme east below St. Augustine to the west, carrying off everything that was useful to them and destroying the remainder. At New River, on the southeast side of the peninsula, they murdered the wife, children, and teacher in the family of Mr. Cooley, carrying off provisions and horses, and setting fire to the house on their departure.
The settlements in that neighborhood were abandoned, the inhabitants taking refuge near the lighthouse on Cape Florida; but they had been there only a short time when, the Indians making their appearance, they were compelled to seek shelter and protection elsewhere.
The ruthless destruction of property and of lives on the east side of the peninsula was heartrending. Their principal ravages, however, were on the east side from St. Augustine to the south. Major Benjamin A. Putnam, with a small detachment of men, marched into this country with a view to drive the Indians away. He was met by an overpowering number of the savages, and forced to retreat. In fact, no part of the State seemed to be free from these murderous savages.
General Clinch made requisitions on the Governors of Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama to aid the Floridians in their unequal warfare with the savages. It was felt by the citizens of Florida that the Government at Washington showed great apathy, if not real indifference, to their condition. A meeting was called in Charleston, S.C., early in January, for the purpose of aiding the people of Florida with men and means, but General Eustis informed the meeting that General Clinch had sufficient force and supplies under his command to subdue any number of Indians and negroes that could be brought to oppose him. On January 12th, intelligence having been received from General Clinch asking for six hundred men, the committee conferred with General Eustis and requested him to send a company of United States troops with arms and ammunition for the defense of St. Augustine. This was granted, and the citizens of Charleston chartered a steamboat and placed on board one thousand bushels of corn, one hundred barrels of flour, thirty barrels of beef, twenty barrels of pork, and ten tierces of rice. On January 20th another meeting was called to raise volunteers for Florida. The banks of Charleston subscribed twenty-five thousand dollars as a loan to the Government. The committee dispatched a schooner, loaded with corn, rice, bread, beef, pork, and military and hospital stores, and sent a physician to attend the sick.
Four companies of volunteers were put in motion on the 27th for St. Augustine—viz., the Washington Light Infantry, Captain Ravenel; Washington Volunteers, Captain Finley; German Fusileers, Captain Timrod; and Hamburgh Volunteers, Captain Cunningham. These volunteer companies arrived at St. Augustine on January 30th, and were at once sent out to scour the country for hostile Indians; they were, however, relieved from duty on February 12th, on the arrival of the South Carolina militia and United States troops under Major Reynold Marvin Kirby. These troops were placed on the same duty as their predecessors, but there was no engagement with the hostile Indians until the latter part of March. An instance of the chivalric spirit of the South Carolina volunteers is worthy of mention. On requisition of the Governor for three companies to be furnished for Florida, Colonel Chesnut, of Camden, called out his regiment. After telling them what was wanted, he requested those who desired to volunteer in defense of their suffering neighbors to step forward. The whole regiment marched forward and tendered their services. At the same time four thousand dollars were contributed for their equipment.
On receipt of the intelligence of the Dade massacre in Savannah, a company of Georgia volunteers at once embarked for Picolata. A meeting of the Richmond Blues and Richmond Hussars, of Augusta, was called for the purpose of rendering aid. The city council appropriated the necessary funds to supply arms and ammunition. The ladies of Augusta volunteered to make the uniforms, and in less than a week these volunteers were on their way to Picolata. These companies were composed of the elite of the city. Supplies of all kinds were sent by Mayor Joseph Beard to Fort Drane and the posts on the St. John's, which were poorly equipped with ordnance and quartermaster's stores. He also sent a six-pounder cannon with necessary equipments of grape, canister, and round shot, ten thousand rounds of musket ball and buckshot cartridges, and a general supply of needful articles. Further supplies were drawn on their arrival at Picolata.
This action of Quartermaster Beard was most fortunate, as it was found that the military posts, by the neglect of the War Department or its subalterns, had been reduced to such an extremity that in case of attack they must necessarily have been shorn of the means of defense, and would have fallen into the hands of the enemy. Nothing but the timely arrival of supplies saved these posts from destruction.
There were no means of transportation at Picolata, and the quartermaster procured horses at Jacksonville for the purpose of forwarding one of the six-pounders to Fort Drane. Four of the horses on arrival were found unfit for service, but, fortunately, General John M. Hernandez was able to furnish ten chicken carts, and the quartermaster was authorized to make impressments for transportation. The Richmond Blues, one hundred and twelve strong, with the Camden and Glynn mounted volunteers, numbering twenty-seven, and the Darien Infantry of about thirty, under command of Captains Robertson, R. Floyd, and Thomas S. Bryant respectively, took up line of march as an escort to the two six-pounders, ordnance stores, twenty-five wagons and carts laden with provisions, and passed through the heart of the enemy's country, arriving on February 15th, without obstruction, at the garrison of Fort Drane.
Supplies under the same escort were at once forwarded to Fort King. Subsequently the following-named companies of Georgia volunteers arrived in Florida: The Hancock Blues, Captain A.S. Brown; State Fencibles, Captain J.A. Merriwether; Macon Volunteers, Captain Isaac Seymour; Morgan Guards, Captain N.G. Foster; Monroe Musketeers, Captain John Cureton; Washington Cavalry, Captain C.J. Malone; Baldwin Cavalry, Captain W.F. Scott. Major Ross, with several companies of mounted men from Georgia, arrived later, but owing to the advanced season, much to their disappointment, did not enter the field.
Going back to January 15th, General Edmund Pendleton Gaines, who was on a tour of inspection through the Western Department, first heard of the troubles in Florida, and at once called on the Governor of Louisiana and requested him to hold in readiness a body of volunteers for service in subduing the Seminole Indians.
He also wrote to the adjutant general at Washington, urging that no time be lost in succoring the troops in Florida, and saying, from his knowledge of the Seminole character, that at least four thousand men would be required to subdue them, protected and aided by a strong naval force.
At that time the United States was divided into two military departments by a line drawn from the southern part of Florida to the northwestern extremity of Lake Superior. The Eastern Department was under the command of General Winfield Scott, and the Western under that of General Gaines, and by reference to a map it will be seen that the line passed directly through the theater of hostilities in Florida. The meeting of these two distinguished generals was purely accidental. General Scott was in Washington when the news was received of General Clinch's engagement with the Seminoles. After dispatching his letter to the adjutant general, General Gaines proceeded to Pensacola for the purpose of getting the co-operation of the naval forces at that station. He found, however, that Commodores Dallas and Bolton and Captain Webb had received orders to direct their attention to the inlets of Florida, whence they had sailed. He received here the most alarming intelligence of the state of affairs in Florida. He proceeded to Mobile on January 18th, and there learned that Fort Brooke was invested by the Indians and the garrison in great danger of being cut off and slaughtered. He at once sent an express to General Clinch, supposed to be at Fort King, stating that he would arrive at Fort Brooke about February 8th with seven hundred men, and requested General Clinch to take the field and march southward and form a junction with him at Fort Brooke.
As the crisis demanded immediate action, and General Scott being present to receive the instructions of the Government in person, he was charged with the direction of the campaign without regard to department boundaries. General Gaines had left his headquarters at Memphis, Tenn., on a tour of inspection through his department, and it was very uncertain when or where the orders and instructions of the Government would reach him; and as the immediate services of an officer of high rank of mind and discreet judgment were required to maintain the neutrality of the United States during the war between the Texans and Mexicans, General Gaines was selected for that important duty. However, the official dispatches did not reach General Gaines until he had already taken the field in Florida and marched from Fort Brooke to Fort King, within ninety-five miles of where General Scott had established his headquarters.
In pursuance of this plan, Lieutenant-Colonel David E. Twiggs was ordered to receive into service the eight companies of volunteers requested of the Governor of Louisiana, adding them to the command of such regular troops as might be in the vicinity of New Orleans, all to be held in readiness for a movement to Tampa Bay. The troops were mustered into service on February 3d. General Gaines having arrived in New Orleans on January 27th, chartered three steamers to convey the troops and stores. The Legislature of Louisiana had appropriated eighty-five thousand dollars for the equipment of her volunteers, and on February 4th the chartered steamers, with the Louisiana volunteers and one company of regulars, were under way, and on the same day another steamer, with Colonel Twiggs and Companies B, E, G, H, I, and K of the regulars, left New Orleans. The vessels arrived safely at Hillsboro Bay, four miles distant from the garrison, on February 8th, 9th, and 10th, and the troops were immediately disembarked and camped just outside of the fort.
The fort was a triangular work formed by pickets with blockhouses at the apex, the base resting on the bay and flanked on the west by Hillsboro River. It was found that there were at the fort about two hundred regular troops, composed of Companies A, B, C, and H of the Second Artillery, and Company A of the Fourth Infantry, with Majors Francis S. Belton, Richard Augustus Zantzinger, and John Mountford, Lieutenants John Breckenridge Grayson, Samuel McKenzie, John Charles Casey, Thomas C. Legate, Edwin Wright Morgan, Augustus Porter Allen, and Benjamin Alvord, and Surgeons Henry Lee Heiskell and Reynolds. Major Belton was the commanding officer of the post.
General Gaines, having received instructions at Pensacola from the Secretary of War to repair and take charge of the forces which were assembling on the Mexican frontier, announced the fact to Colonel Twiggs; but the troops, on hearing this, manifested great dissatisfaction, and insisted that as they had volunteered to go under the command of General Gaines, he in good faith should be their leader. Following is the text of the letter of the Secretary of War to General Gaines:
"WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, January 23, 1835.
"SIR: I am instructed by the President to request that you will repair to some proper position near the western frontier of the State of Louisiana, and there assume the personal command of all the troops of the United States which are or may be employed in any part of the region adjoining the Mexican boundary.
"It is not the intention of this order to change at all the relations between yourself and the military departments under your command, to require your personal presence at a point where public considerations demand the exercise of great discretion and prudence...."
The pressure not only from the troops in the field but from outside sources was so great that General Gaines felt it his duty to enter the field. Besides, that was thought a propitious time to begin active operations, as the day before the arrival of the Louisiana troops the friendly Indians had engaged the hostiles in a battle about four miles from Fort Brooke. Although at this date, as before mentioned, General Scott in Washington had been ordered to assume command in Florida, General Gaines was entirely ignorant of such order.
Orders were accordingly issued assigning officers to their respective duties. Captain Ethan A. Hitchcock, First Infantry, was announced Assistant Inspector General of the Department, and Lieutenant James Farley Izard, of the Dragoons, to be Acting Brigade Major. The artillery and infantry of the United States army, together with the Louisiana volunteer forces under Adjutant-General Persifor F. Smith, were to constitute "the light brigade." (Here is an instance of a staff officer being assigned to command troops.) The whole force to be under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel David E. Twiggs, Fourth Infantry.
The Louisiana volunteers were divided into two battalions, the first composed of the companies of Captains Burt, Lee, Williams, Rogers, and Thistle, under Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Lawson, Surgeon. (Here is another case of a staff officer and surgeon ordered to the command of troops.) The second battalion was composed of the companies of Captains Samuel F. Marks, William H. Ker, Magee, Smith, Abadie, and Barr, under Major Marks, the regiment to be commanded by Colonel Persifor F. Smith. Orders for marching were issued on the 13th, the troops to be supplied with forty rounds of ammunition and ten days' rations, five of which were to be carried in haversacks. During the Florida campaign the only articles drawn by the private volunteer soldiers were bread or flour, pork or beef, while only a few drew salt, sugar, and coffee. Major Richard M. Sands, of the Fourth Infantry, and Captain Barr's company of volunteers, amounting in all to one hundred and sixty men, were detailed for the protection of the fort, under command of Major Sands.
The army marched in three columns, equidistant one hundred yards, with a strong advance and rear guard. The center column was composed of one company of volunteers as advance guard, under command of Brigade Major Izard. Seven companies of United States artillery and infantry, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel William Sewell Foster; the baggage train, led by Captain Samuel Shannon; six companies of Louisiana volunteers as rear guard, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Lawson. Right column: Four companies of artillery acting as light infantry, under command of Major Belton. Left column: Four companies of Louisiana volunteers, under command of Major Marks. The entire command consisted of nine hundred and eighty effective men, exclusive of the detachment under Major Sands, which, added to the force, would make it eleven hundred and forty men.
The Quartermaster's Department at the post was in a very bad condition, destitute of nearly everything that was necessary for the comfort of the troops. There was great scarcity of ordnance stores, but, happily, an abundant supply of subsistence stores.
Review of the army by General Gaines—Arrival of General Gaines at Fort King—Lieutenant Izard mortally wounded—Correspondence between General Gaines and Clinch—General Scott ordered to command in Florida—Disadvantages under which he labored—Preparations for movements—Commencement of hostilities against the Indians.
General Gaines reviewed the army on February 13th, and, accompanied by seventy-seven friendly Indians, took up line of march toward the Alafia River, to which point he learned that the hostile Indians had gone. The march was made under many difficulties, the horses of the baggage train breaking down and necessitating the loss of valuable articles of camp equipage. Near dark they encamped six miles from Fort Brooke. The next day they arrived at Warren, on the Alafia River, eighteen miles from the fort, and received two days' rations, which General Gaines had ordered sent around from Fort Brooke by water. Discovering no traces of Indians, he directed the march toward the grounds where Major Dade and his party were massacred. The boats having arrived at Fort Brooke with the sick and disabled and all superfluous baggage, the army moved in the direction of a deserted Indian village, passing the ruins of many fine plantations, and struck the military road near the Hillsboro River.
On the 17th they arrived at the river and halted. On the 18th, after burning two deserted Indian villages near the Big Ouithlacoochee River, the friendly Indians accompanying the expedition requested permission to return to Fort Brooke. General Gaines assured them that there was no danger to be apprehended; that he only required them to act as scouts and guides, and that they were not expected to go into battle.
The Ouithlacoochee was forded on the 19th, and that night a breastwork was thrown up on the ground which had been occupied by the ill-fated party of Major Dade. At daybreak of the 20th they resumed their march, and buried on their way the remains of Major Dade and Captain Frazier and eight other officers, and ninety-eight noncommissioned officers and privates.
It now became a question of importance whether to continue the march to Fort King, which post was thought to be besieged by the enemy, or to return to Fort Brooke. To Fort Brooke it was sixty-five miles, and to Fort King forty miles north. A large number of the volunteers were destitute of provisions. It would require five days to reach Fort Brooke, and but two to reach Fort King.
It having been reported at Fort Brooke that Fort King was assailed by the Indians and in danger of being cut off, and this opinion being strengthened by the noncompliance of General Clinch with the request of General Gaines to co-operate with him, it became General Gaines's duty to ascertain the cause. A large number of General Gaines's troops were in a destitute condition, and the senior assistant quartermaster, Captain Shannon, had a letter from the Quartermaster General at Washington, dated January 19th, which stated that large supplies of provisions had been ordered from New York to Fort King. With these facts before him, General Gaines determined to move to Fort King, where he could ascertain the position of the enemy and at the same time strengthen the garrison.
The army under General Gaines arrived at Fort King on February 22d. Finding the post poorly supplied with subsistence, he dispatched Lieutenant-Colonel Foster, with an escort of the Fourth Infantry, to proceed to Fort Drane, twenty-two miles distant, where General Clinch was stationed with four companies of artillery and one of infantry and two companies of volunteers, and endeavored to get a supply of provisions. The detachment returned on the 24th with seven days' supplies. Here for the first time General Gaines was informed that General Scott was in command in Florida, and that he was then at Picolata organizing forces and gathering supplies.
General Gaines then determined that he could not remain at Fort King, as supplies were being exhausted as fast as they came in, and that to remain there would necessarily embarrass the operations of General Scott. It was also evident that the enemy would not be found by retracing his march to Fort Brooke, but that by moving by the battle ground of General Clinch, even should he not succeed in meeting the enemy, the mere presence of a large force would perhaps tend to concentrate him, and thus give security to the frontier and enable the inhabitants to give attention to planting their crops. Besides, he would find supplies at Fort Brooke, and on his arrival the command of Colonel Lindsay would be strengthened.
The army, being provided with two days' rations, moved out on the 27th, and arriving at the river, a halt was called, the baggage train being under protection of the rear guard, while General Gaines, with the main column and artillery, moved forward for the purpose of making a reconnoissance preparatory to crossing. Finding the river too deep to ford at the point reached, General Gaines and Colonel Smith made an attempt to cross about two hundred and fifty yards higher up. Reaching a small island in the middle of the river, a sharp fire was opened upon them, accompanied by the Indian war-whoop.
The troops returned the fire, and the field piece under Lieutenant Grayson was brought into action, which quickly silenced the war-whoop. The engagement lasted about three quarters of an hour, during which one volunteer was killed and seven wounded. General Clinch's old breastwork was enlarged and occupied by the troops during the night.
On the morning of the 28th the line was again formed, and after a circuitous march the army arrived at the crossing place. James Farley Izard, a first lieutenant of dragoons, being on leave of absence, volunteered his services to General Gaines, was assigned to duty as brigade major, and was about forming the guard when the sharp crack of a rifle and the war-whoop gave notice of the presence of the enemy. His horse had received a bullet in his neck. When he dismounted he proceeded to the bank of the river, when a ball from the enemy entered his left eye. He said to the men, "Keep your positions and lie close." He died in a few days from the effect of the wound. A desultory fight was kept up from nine in the morning until one o'clock in the afternoon, when the enemy withdrew. The troops threw up breastworks, inside of which they encamped for the night. Captain William G. Sanders, commanding the friendly Indians, was severely wounded. Captain Armstrong, of the United States transport schooner Motto, was wounded, and a soldier of Captain Croghan Ker's company of Louisiana volunteers was killed. General Gaines sent an express to General Clinch asking his co-operation by crossing the river eight or ten miles above and coming down on the enemy's rear. He notified General Clinch that he would not move from his position until he heard from him, and requested to be furnished with needed subsistence. The dispatch arrived on the following morning, and General Clinch sent it forward to General Scott at Picolata.
On the 29th, orders were issued for one third of the command to remain on duty inside of the encampment, while another third was engaged in strengthening the defenses. A detachment of two hundred Louisiana volunteers under command of Captain Thistle, an expert marksman, was detailed for the erection of a blockhouse near the river, while others were engaged in preparing canoes and rafts. Everything was quiet until ten o'clock, when a fire was opened by the Indians on the working parties and on three sides of the camp. The Indians were concealed in the palmettoes, about two hundred yards distant. They set fire to the grass and palmettoes, but a sudden shift of the wind carried the fire in their direction. The firing lasted about two hours, when the Indians retired. Captain Thistle and party returned to camp without having sustained any loss. The firing was renewed by the Indians about four o'clock in the afternoon, but soon subsided. The loss in General Gaines's camp was one noncommissioned officer of artillery killed, and thirty-two officers, noncommissioned officers, and privates wounded. General Gaines received a painful wound in the mouth. Lieutenant James Duncan, Second Artillery, Mr. W. Potter, secretary to General Gaines, and Lieutenant Ephraim Smith, of the Louisiana volunteers, were wounded.
General Gaines now sent another dispatch by some friendly Indians to General Clinch asking him to march his forces direct to Camp Izard instead of crossing above. He also asked for some mounted men and one or two field pieces with a sufficient supply of ammunition. General Gaines regarded this as a most favorable opportunity to attack the Indians while they were concentrated, and he thought that with such re-enforcements as he asked, and a supply of provisions, he could end the war in ten days. He had notified General Clinch, on February 28th, that he would make no sortie nor would he move from his position until he heard from General Clinch. In his second letter to General Clinch he wrote: "Being fully satisfied that I am in the neighborhood of the principal body of Indians, and that they are now concentrated, I must suggest to you the expediency of an immediate co-operation with the forces under your command. I have only to repeat my determination not to move from my position or make a sortie until I hear from you, as it would only tend to disperse the enemy, and we should then have difficulty in finding them."
If General Gaines had made an attack he would certainly have lost one or two hundred men. He had no transportation to convey the wounded, and was short of supplies, as his whole train consisted of one wagon and two carts. Had he made an attack and routed the enemy, he had no means of following them, and his victory would have been barren of results. The Indians made another attack on March 1st, and renewed it on the next day. These attacks were repeated daily until the 5th, when they sent forward their interpreter, who wanted to know if Colonel Twiggs was in command, and saying they did not want to continue the war, but to shake hands and be friends. He was told to come at nine o'clock the next morning with a white flag. On Sunday morning, March 6th, Assiola and Colonel Hago, with others, appeared for a talk. Major Barron, Captain Marks, and others met them. They said they wanted to stop fighting; that they had taken up arms against the whites because they had been badly treated; that the whites had killed many of their men; that they would stop the war if the whites were withdrawn, and would not cross the river.
Major Barron replied that he would communicate what they said to General Gaines. Jumper asked if Colonel Twiggs was in camp. He was answered in the affirmative, but was told that General Gaines was in command. General Gaines directed Captain Hitchcock, of his staff, accompanied by Captain Marks, Dr. Harrall, and others, to confer with Jumper. On meeting Jumper he expressed a desire to see General Gaines, and said they would like to consult their governor, Miconopy, who was then some distance off. The Indians insisted on seeing General Gaines, and they were informed that he was ready to meet Miconopy, their governor. Nothing definite having been settled, they retired. At a subsequent meeting the Seminoles agreed to give up their arms and cease hostilities, and meet the commissioners again for a general treaty.
In the meantime General Gaines was re-enforced by Georgia troops, under command of Captains Edward B. Robinson and Bones, the Florida mounted militia, under command of Captain McLemore, and some regulars, under Captains Charles Myron Thruston and Graham, the whole under the command of General Clinch. They also brought beef cattle and other much-needed supplies. The Indians appeared again with a white flag and asked to confer with General Gaines, but were told that they must bring their governor, Miconopy, with whom General Gaines would confer.
General Gaines now turned over the command of the army to General Clinch, and on Thursday, the 10th, the army moved in the direction of Fort Drane. General Gaines left for Tallahassee and Mobile, and was the recipient of great attention by the citizens of those places.
Such was the situation when, on January 20, 1836, General Scott was ordered to take command of the army in Florida, which had been increased to twelve hundred regulars, besides volunteers, by the time he arrived there. He left Washington the day after receiving his orders and arrived at Picolata, on the St. John's River, and on February 22d issued orders forming the army into three divisions. The troops on the west bank of the St. John's River were placed under command of General Clinch, and constituted the right wing of the army. Those on the east bank of the St. John's River, under Brigadier-General Abram Eustis, constituted the left wing, and those at Tampa Bay, under Colonel William Lindsay, constituted the center. General Scott had been authorized to ask for volunteers from the States of Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and the Territory of Florida. Among other instructions given the general was the following: In consequence of representations from Florida that measures would probably be taken to transmit the slaves captured by the Indians to the Havana, orders were given the navy to prevent such proceedings, and General Scott was directed "to allow no pacification with the Indians while a slave belonging to a white man remained in their possession." There were a great many negroes among the Indians. In the band that massacred Major Dade and his command there were sixty-three of them mounted in one company. The negroes and Indians of mixed African and Indian blood were the most cruel members of the tribe.