Tag: Second Seminole War

Seminoles Attack Camp Monroe Florida 8 February 1837

Photo by John Stanton via Creative Commons License.

By Spring of 1835 trouble between the Florida indigenous population was brewing again. The U.S. government was trying to force the Seminoles to leave Florida for the Indian Territory of present day Oklahoma. The enticement to move was flimsy (a blanket per man and a pittance paid to the tribe), so the Seminoles ignored the Treaty of Payne’s Landing which spelled out the conditions of removal. The Seminoles found their voice in a firebrand, Osceola, who had fought with the Creeks against Andrew Jackson. What followed was the Second Seminole / Florida War.

Attack Camp Monroe

On 8 February 1837, two Seminole leaders, Emaltha (King Philip) and his son, Coacoochee (Wildcat), led 200 Seminoles on a strike on the fledgling Camp Monroe, near present day Sanford, Florida, on the south lip of Lake Monroe. The camp was caught off guard, but was able to fight off the assault with the help from a steamboat on the lake that was equipped with a canon. The toll was an undetermined number of Seminole killed, one U.S. soldier killed and eleven wounded. The U.S. soldier was Captain Charles Mellon of the 2nd U.S. Artillery. The camp was later named Fort Mellon in his honor. The area was later renamed Sanford. More can be found at The History of the Second Cavalry (Dragoons at that time).

The Seminoles delivered many of these blows to the U.S. Army during this classic guerilla war. The war often seemed unwinnable and the costs became a real problem for the new republic. Congress debated the war ad nauseum. If this seems familiar, you might want to read an analysis of the military strategy of the Second Seminole War by a modern day warrior. Major White’s conclusion sounds pretty familiar,

Eventually the Army did remove over 3OOO Seminoles to the West. Even though only a relative few managed to evade capture, the government fell short of accomplishing the political end state. The real lessons from the war concern how the Army preferred to view itself as a conventional power and was totally unprepared to fight an unconventional war. Even as they gained valuable lessons on Indian fighting, they lacked the institutions to pass these lessons along to the officers and men. Therefor[e], throughout the 19th century, the Army offered not one shred of training in preparation for an enemy it would ultimately end up fighting throughout the period of western expansion.”

Attack Camp Monroe Motorcycle Ride Recommendation

When you are next in the Orlando area, leave the kids and the wife at Disney World, rent a bike and check out this ride around Lake Monroe, through some of central Florida’s wilder areas and over to Ponce de Leon inlet where the European began his conquest of Florida.

The Burial at St Augustine – Second Seminole War Memorial

Cross-posted at Dragoon History.

Photo Credit – By Ebyabe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Reading From Everglade to Canyon with the Second United States Cavalry, I slowed to read this poem again. It is about the lost troopers of the First Seminole War, 1835-1842, but it is timeless and could have been written in Iraq or Afghanistan. The only difference is that we bring them home these days. Toujours Prêt, Fellas.

The Burial.

Hollow ye the lonely grave.
Make its caverns deep and wide ;
In the soil they died to save
Lay the brave men side by side.
Side by side they fought and fell,
Hand to hand they met the foe ;
Who was heard his grandsire tell
Braver strife or deadlier blow ?

Wake no mournful harmonies,
Shed no earthly tear for them ;
Summer dew and sighing breeze
Shall be wail and requiem.
Pile the grave-mound broad and high
Where the martyred brethren sleep ;
It shall point the pilgrim eye
Here to bend, but not to weep.

Not to weep ! Oh ! no ; the grief
Springing from a blow like this
May not seek a fond relief
In the drops that mother’s kiss ;
But the kindling heart shall bear
Hence the lesson, stern and high,
With as proud a flame to dare,
With a proud a throb to die.

“… On the 15th of August, 1842, the monument having been completed, the gallant dead were interred in the ground selected near Ft. Marion at San Augustine.”

“A mound of pyramidal form had been erected over each of the three vaults in which the remains were placed; each mound was five feet high, and rested on a bank of turf nicely terraced; on the marble surface of the tombs had been inscribed the names of those resting beneath.”

From Everglade to Canyon with the Second United States Cavalry, pages 75-76 and Appendix XXXII

Second Seminole War Memorial Inscriptions

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