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Two days after, Col. Parish marched for Fort King, and arrived there in safety. He then proceeded to Powell's (Osceola's) town, and destroyed it. The volunteers then returned to Fort Drane."
The best opinion can be formed of the distress of the people of Florida at this period, from the sufferers themselves, or those momentarily expecting to become such. On the 16 January, a newspaper published at Tallahassee contained as follows:-“ Since the engagement on the Wythlacoochee, no intelligence has been had of the main body of the Indians. The situation of the inhabitants east of the St. John's and south of St. Augustine, is truly deplorable. New Smyrna has been burnt, and all the fine plantations in that neighborhood are broken up. Many of the negroes have been carried off, or have joined the savages. The Indians are dispersed in small parties, and when pursued they take refuge in the thickets, which abound every where, and fight with desperation, until they are dead, no matter by what numbers they are assailed. It is literally a war of extermination, and no hope is entertained of putting an end to it, but by the most vigorous measures. In the mean time, the number of the enemy is daily increasing by desperadoes from other tribes, and absconding slaves. The Mickasooky tribe is considered the leading (one) of the Seminoles. They have always been noted as the most ruthless and determined of the savage race.”
But it must not be supposed, that the measure of the sufferings of the Floridians was yet full, at this date of our history, nor even at the very writing hereof, (20 July,) although the whole coast from St. Augustine to Cape Florida is in the hands of the Indians, and has remained so ever since the 11 February. Nevertheless, nothing seems yet to have occurred sufficiently alarming to awaken the sympathies of the heads of the nation. But on the 30 January, Mr. White, in the house of representatives, asked leave to introduce the following resolution :
“Resolved by the senate and house of representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That the president of the U. States be authorized to cause rations to be delivered from the public stores to the unfortunate sufferers who have been driven from their homes by Indian depredations, until they can be re-established in their possessions, and enabled to procure provisions for the sustenance of themselves and families.”
This resolution, after some debate, was passed, and became a law. The notice of this act of congress is in anticipation of the order of events; but one thing is certain, that if I have noticed congress a little prematurely, they have not committed the like fault in noticing the affairs of Florida.
Upon the 17 January, as George W. Rockleff and Jerry Powers, pilots in the sloop Pilot, of Mosquito, were proceeding up Halifax River, and when nearly opposite Mıs. Anderson's plantation, they were fired upon by Indians, about 100 in number, as they judged, who continued their fire about a quarter of an hour. They overshot the men, but the sail and rigging of their vessel was much injured; 30 bullets having passed through the maivsail.
The next day, 18 January, Major Putman, who was at the head of the independent company, styled the St. Augustine Guards, stationed at Mosquito, proceeded to Mrs. Anderson's plantation, at a place called Dun Lawton, about 50 miles south of St. Augustine, on the Halifax River, upon discovery. It will be remembered that the whole of the Mosquito country was destroyed on the 26 and 27 of December, as we have before related, and the buildings of Mrs. Anderson were at that time burned. While there, this company, composed of the generous and spirited young men of St. Augustine, joined by a few from Mosquito, making about 40 men, was attacked by 150 Indians, as was supposed. Mr. Geo. Anderson and Mr. Douglas Dummit, standing on guard, saw two Indians approaching, upon whom they fired, killing one and wounding the other. Dummit ran to the fallen Indian, and as he was stooping over him, received a wound in the back of the neck. At the same moment the whole body of the Indians rushed out of a scrub, distant a little more than musket shot, and commenced a furious attack upon Major Putman's men, who, from behind the fragments and broken walls of the burnt buildings gave the Indians a warm reception; and although but 40 in number, having coverts from which to fight, and the Indiaus being in open space, they kept
CONGRESS AND THE SEMINOLE WAR.
them at bay for about an bour During this time but one had been wounded. The Indians now charged thein with such determined fury upon their flanks, that they were obliged to fly to their boats, which were at considerable distance from the shore, and were closely pursued by the Indians. In their hurry, the whites rendered all their guns, but one, useless, by wetting them. with this one, however, they fired as often as possible, and pushed off with energy; but the water being shallow for a great distance, they were in the most imminent danger of being boarded by the numerous Indians; in such event, every man must have perished. However, they escaped with 19 badly wounded, and several of these mortally. One boat fell into the hands of the Indians, in which were eight or ten men, who all jumped overboard and escaped, except one, a Mr. Edward Gould, who swam to Pelican Island, and was there left; nor was it in the power of the others to relieve him, they being pursued by the Indians in the boat which they had just taken. He was not heard of afterwards, and was supposed to have been drowned next day in endeavoring to swim from the island. A Mr. Marks swam to the opposite beach, and escaped 10 Bulowville; the others were taken into the boats again.
Great fears having, all along, been entertained that the Seminoles would be aided by the Creeks, it is now confidently affirmed that at least 1000 of them have gone down into Florida for that end.
About the 20 January, Captain Hooder, on the lower Suanee River, finding the opposite side in possession of the Indians, crossed over with nine men to attack them. As they landed, two of his men were shot down; one with nine balls, the other with five. With his remaining men he charged the Indians with great boldness. In the mean time bis boat got adrift, and no other alternative was left but victory or death. After a close and deadly contest of some minutes, the Indians were routed with severe loss.
CONGRESS makes an appropriation for carrying on the war-Remarks in the Senate
of the United States on the war with the Seminoles-Debate in the house of representatives on the bill for the relief of the inhabitants of Florida — Attack on some Creeks at Bryant's Ferry-General Gai-es's campaign in Florida-Fights the Indians on the Ouithlacoochee-His conference with Osceola-Resigns his com. mand, and leaves the country—Captain Allison's skirmish— The chief OUCHEE Billy killed-Siege of Camp McLemore-Great sufferings of its garrison-Delit. ered by Captain Read— The chief Mad Wolf slain.
Towards the close of the preceding chapter, notice was taken of the delay in congress, and by the executive of the nation, to agitate the subject of this
At length Mr. Webster of the senate, from the committee on finance, reported, without amendment, a bill making further appropriation for suppressing hostilities with the Seminole Indians, and asked for its immediate consideration, as the state of the country required its passage with the utmost despatch. The amount of the appropriation was 500,000 dollars, and the bill was passed after some explanatory remarks; which reniarks, as they not only set the affairs of the war forth as they were known in Washington at that period, but discover to us something by which we can judge who has been in fault there, shall here be laid before the reader.
“Mr. Clay said he should be glad to hear the communications from the departments read, in order to see whether they gave any account of the causes of this war. No doubt, he said, whatever may have been the causes, it was necessary to put an end to the war itself, by all the possible means within our power. "But it was a condition, altogether without precedent, in which the country was now placed. A war was raging with the most rancorous violence within our borders; congress bad been in session nearly two months, during which time this conflict was raging ; yet of the causes of
the war, how it was produced, if the fault was on one side or on both sides, in short, what had lighted up the torch, congress was altogether uninformed, and no inquiry on the subject had been made by either branch of the legislature. He should be glad, he said, if the chairman of the committee on finance, or of the committee on Indian affairs, or any one else, would tell him how this war had burst forth, and what were its causes, and to whom the blame of it was to be charged.
“Mr. Webster replied, that he could not give any answer to the senator from Kentucky. It was as much a matter of surprise to him, as to any one, that no official communication hay - «n made to congress of the causes of the war. All he knew on the strect he had gathered from the gazettes. The communications from the departments spoke of the war, as a war growing out of the relations between the Indians and the government of the U. States, and gave no reason to suppose that it had its origin in any quarrel with the citizens. It probably grew out of the attempts to remove these Indians beyond the Mississippi. According to the latest accounts, the country between Tallahassee and St. Augustine was overrun by hostile Indians, and the communication between those places was interrupted. The view taken by the gentleman from Kentucky was undoubtedly the true one. But the war rages, the enemy is in force, and the accounts of their ravages are dis
The executive government has asked for the means of suppressing these hostilities, and it was entirely proper that the bill should pass.
“Mr. White expressed his regret that he could add nothing to the information given on this subject. He knew nothing of the cause of the war, if it commenced in any local quarrel or not. It was the object of the government to remove these Indians to the west side of the Mississippi, and he was apprehensive that the difficulty had arisen out of this measure. He had, however, no information, which was not in the possession of every other senator. He was for the bill.
“ Mr. Benton said he was also ignorant of the causes of the war. Some years ago, he said, he was a member of the committee on Indian affairs. At that time these Indians in Florida were in a state of starvation; they would not work, and it was necessary that they should be fed by the U. States, or they must subsist on the plunder of our citizens. These Indians are a very bad tribe, as their very name signifies, the word Seminole, in Indian, being, 'wild runaway Indians. They were therefore considered a bad race. It was obviously the best policy to remove these Indians to a place where they would be able to obtain plenty."
When the bill for the relief of the distressed inhabitants of Florida was before the house of representatives, which was noticed in our last chapter, the following interesting debate arose upon it, which shall be laid before the reader, for the same reasons which caused the remarks in the senate to be given above.
“The resolution having been twice read, the house, on motion of Mr. White, agreed to consider it now.
“Mr. W. said that he would not occupy the time of the house further than to say, that in East Florida, five hundred families were driven from their homes, and had had their possessions destroyed in the progress of a war, which had commenced in consequence of•relations between the Indians and this government, and with which the suffering inhabitants of that country have had nothing to do.
“ Appropriations had frequently been made to succor Indians when in circumstances of distress, and he hoped that no member of the house would object to the adoption of the resolution for the succor of our own citizens.
“Mr. Granger of New York rose and said,—Mr. Speaker, in the little observation I have had of men and things, I have learned that precedent is often used to restrain our generous impulses, but seldom to impel us to generous action. In the little time I have been here, I have not been so much gratified with any thing that has occurred, as I have at the prompt manner in which this house has stepped forward to provide means for carrying on the war in Florida. Whilst we have been without any official information from the executive department of government—whilst the newspapers have been discussing the question, whether censure should rest upon one of the depart
FIGHT AT BRYANT'S FERRY.
ments, or upon the commanding officer in Florida, this house and the other branch of the legislature have stepped forward to sustain this war, although no requisition has been made by the chief magistrate of the nation. Sir"] rejoice that they have done so. “Mr. Cambreleng rose to explain, and Mr. Granger yielded the floor.
“Mr. Cambreleng said, that great injustice had been done in the newspapers to the conduct pursued by the departments. The committee of ways and means had been furnished with the first communication on which they acted by the secretary of war. They next day received a second communication with all the documents relating to the Indian war, and which contained all the information that was requisite. The documents had not gone forth to the public—which was an extraordinary circumstance. They certainly were sent by the committee to this house, and ought to have accompanied the bill and been printed and sent to the senate. If they had, the erroneous impression as to the remissness of the department, or the executive, would not bave gone into the newspapers. It was not the fault of the executive, or of the committee on ways and means, that this had not been done.
“Mr. Granger resumed. If the gentleman had listened to me a little longer, he would have discovered that I intended no censure on the executive; but as he has chosen to challenge me to speak, I do say that the history of this nation can present nothing like the silence which has existed on this subject. I do say that whilst this hall has been ringing with plaudits upon one administration, and whilst we have been called upon day after day to hunt up the bones of dead quarrels here-whilst your settlements have been laid waste and desolate, no communication has been made to this house as a branch of the government. Whatever information you have, even upon the gentleman's own showing, is a letter from the secretary of war to the chairman of the committee of ways and means.
“Mr. Cambreleng. That letter contained all that was necessary.
“Mr. Granger continued : Sir, I repeat that, with a war known to exist in this country, we have been occupied in hunting up the possibility, not only of a war which might take place hereafter with a foreign nation, but also to discover whether a war was last year likely to have existed.
“ We have war enough upon our hands to take care of. The war-cry is up in the woods; the tomabawk glitters in the sunbeam; the scalping-knife is urged to its cruel duty; the flower of your chivalry is strewed along the plain, and yet every department of this administration is as dumb as the bleeding victims of this inglorious contest.
“ In legislating for a suffering people, I want no precedent but that which my Creator has implanted in iny bosom. I do not believe that we stand here with the sympathies of our nature chilled and frozen by the mere force of the oath which we have taken; I do not believe that our duty requires that we should be thus chilled and frozen. I believe that the existence of this government depends upon its extending its fostering hand to the unfortunate whenever it can be done within the limits of the constitution. Especially should this be the case, where the sufferers reside within a territory, and have no state government to which they can look for succor.
“Such is the true course to be pursued in this nation; and then our people will feel that they are indeed members of one common family, and that, whilst they bear equal burdens, they are the equal recipients of the bounty and protection of the governnient.
“On motion of Mr. White, the resolution was read a third time and passed."
We have now to return to the recital of warlike operations. About the middle of January, great alarm spread through the confines of Georgia, that the Creek Indians were imbodying in various parts of their country, and the utmost consternation prevailed. On the 23 January, it being reported at Columbus, that the Indians were in force at Bryant's Ferry, 15 miles below that place, a company of whites, consisting of about 20 or 30 men, under Captain Watson, marched down upon discovery. They discovered 30 or 40 Indians, some of whom had rifles, but it does not appear that they had done, or intended, any mischief. However, the whites pursued them, and pretty soon a firing commenced, and, though of short duration, two were killed ou
each side, and the whites were driven from the ground, having several of their number wounded.
The next operations of importance were those between the forces under General Gaines and Osceola, and upon the memorable Ouithlecoochee. General Gaines was upon a tour of inspection and duty, when he first learned that serious disturbances had occurred between the whites and Seminoles. This was about the 15 January, and the general was arrived at New Orleans. His previous head-quarters had been at Memphis, in Tennessee. He therefore called on the governor of Louisiana, to have a body of volunteers in readiness for military service, and set out himself immediately for the scene of hostilities. At Pensacola he found some vessels of war, under Commodores Dallas and Bollon, and Captajn Webb, who had already commenced operations in the neighborhood of Tampa Bay, and other adjacent inlets. Colonel Twiggs had peen ordered to receive into service eight companies of volunteers, to be raised by the governor of Louisiana, and the regular force at Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and other stations in the immediate vicinity of New Orleans, and to hold himself in readiness for a movement towards Tampa. This force consisted of about 1100 men.
That no time should be lost, General Gaines returned immediately to New Orleans (about 26 January), and, on the 4 February, was under way again for Florida, with his forces organized. He arrived at Tampa, with his forces, in three steam-boats, on the 9th, and, on the 13th began to proceed into the Indian country. His first movement was to the east, on the Alafia River, having understood there had been a fight in that direction, near Fort Brooke, between the hostile and friendly Indians; but after two days, no enemy being discovered, the line of march was altered for Fort King. General Gaines's army had but ten days' rations; but, by advices, he was assured that there was plenty at Fort King
On the 20 February, the army passed Major Dade's fatal field, on which was found 106 men, all of whom they decently interred. All the officers who fell in that disastrous fight were identified, and, what was very remarkable, every man was accounted for ; but what struck every one with the greatest surprise, was, that the dead were in no instance pillaged ; articles the most esteemed by savages were untouched; the officers' bosom-pins remained in their places; their watches were found in their pockets, and money, in silver and gold, was left to decay with its owner,—a lesson to all the world-a testimony that the Indians are not fighting for plunder!—nay, they are fighting for their rights, their country, their homes, their very existence! The arms and ammunition were all that had been taken, except the uniform coat of Major Dade.
On the 22 February, the army arrived at Fort King, much to the agreeable surprise of the garrison, which it had been reported was cut off by the Indians. Owing to the country's being in possession of the Indians, no supplies had arrived ; and, the next day, a troop of horse was despatched to Fort Drane, (22 miles north-west,) in hopes to obtain further supplies. They returned the 24, but with only seven days' additional rations. To this they added two days' more at Fort King. The general scarcely knew what course next to take; but he finally concluded to move down the Onithlecoochee, over General Clinch's battle-ground, and so to Tampa, thinking such a route might bring him in contact with the main body of the Indians. Accordingly the army moved, on the 26th, from Fort King, and, at two o'clock on the 27th, arrived at General Clinch's crossing-place. Here, while examining and sounding the river, the Indians fired upon them, and set up a fierce war-cry; but their numbers were not sufficient to make any material impression, although they continued the fight for about half an hour. The whites lost one killed, and eight wounded.
On the 28th, the army, having resumed its march, was again attacked, about two miles from its former position, and a fire was kept up about half of the day. At the commencement of the action, Lieutenant Izard, of the United States dragoons, fell, mortally wounded. In the course of the fight, another was killed, and two wounded. In the evening, express was sent to Fort Drane, with directions for the commanding officer to march down with a force upon the opposite side of the Ouithlecoochee, and thus come upon the