There was a lot that happened in December.
December 1837 – The number of American forces in Florida reaches a height of 9,000 soldiers, sailors, marines, and state militia forces, which includes 56% of the regular U.S. Army. The largest number of armed forces in Florida during the three different Seminole wars.
1 December 1833 - Wiley Thompson arrives as the new Indian Agent at Fort King.
1 December 1835 - General Thompson sets another sale for Indians to sell their livestock before moving west. This time no one participates.
3-24 December 1840 - Forces under Colonel William S. Harney leave Fort Dallas (Miami) on a search and destroy mission looking for Seminole villages in the Everglades. The army forces wear Seminole clothing and travel in dugout canoes. This is the first time Americans cross the state through the Everglades.
7 December 1835 - The Florida militia fights Seminoles in a hammock near Wacahoota, at the plantation of Captain Gabriel Priest.
On the same day, Seminoles attack a wood cutting party on Drayton’s Island in Lake George on the St. Johns River.
9 December 1836 - General Thomas Sidney Jesup replaces General Call as the commander of the army in Florida.
9 December 1840 - Col. Harney’s force discovers and destroys a Seminole village in the Everglades. Six women and children are captured. Soldiers pursued and captured two warriors who are immediately hung.
10 December 1840 - Col. Harney’s force finds Chakaika’s Island hideout and leads a surprise attack that kills the Spanish Indian leader. All warriors they capture are hanged, and women & children are taken prisoner to Fort Dallas.
14 December 1814 to 9 January 1815 - An American force under Major Uriah Blue rampages through West Florida, destroying several Indians towns, and killing or capturing any Indian found.
17 December 1835 - Seminoles attack plantations near Micanopy.
17 December 1856 - Seminoles attack and burn a house near New Smyrna and kill the occupants. The Seminoles then burn several houses at Dunlawton. This created panic because it was much further north than anyone expected the Seminoles to attack during the Third Seminole War.
18 December 1835 - The first large battle of the Second Seminole War, later known as the Battle of Black Point. Seminoles attack a Florida Militia supply train near Wacahoota on a road from Newnansville to Micanopy in Alachua County. Many of the militia soldiers deserted at the first sign of attack, leaving only a few who are unable to defend the wagons against a larger force. Eight soldiers are killed and six or eight wounded.
20 December 1835 - Florida Militia forces attack a Seminole camp and recapture their wagons from the battle two days earlier. The militia gets back their papers and cooking utensils, but not their ammunition and clothing.
20 December 1841 – Miccosukee Indians under Halleck Tustenuggee attack Mandarin Settlement on the St. Johns River south of Jacksonville.
The same day Major Belknap fights a well defended group of Seminoles in Big Cypress Swamp led by Bowlegs and the Prophet.
20 December 1855 - Seminoles under Billy Bowlegs attack the camp of Army surveyors in Big Cypress. Lt. George Hartsuff, the officer in charge, is seriously wounded. This is the beginning of the Third Seminole War.
23 December 1813 - Red Stick forces evacuate the town of Eccanachaca (or E-kana-chatee, meaning “Red Ground” or “Red Earth”) when over 1000 Mississippi soldiers approach with a large number of Choctaw allies.
23 December 1814 to 8 January 1815 - The Battle of New Orleans. Several hundred Miccosukee and Seminole Indians side with the British at the Battle of New Orleans, including Chief Bowlegs (the first.) They are not at the actual battle, but waiting to be deployed from ships that are miles away.
23 December 1823 - The U.S. Senate ratifies the Treaty of Moultrie Creek. By the time the Second Seminole War started 12 years later, the treaty was long abandoned.
The U.S. Supreme Court declares that all land in America is owned by the right of discovery and conquest, and that the aboriginal inhabitants have no right or claim on the land. This made the Treaty of Moultrie Creek void because the Supreme Court declared that Indians didn’t have any rights to the land.
25-27 December 1835 - Seminoles attack and destroy the Cruger, Depeyster, Stamp, Hunter, and Dunham plantations south of St. Augustine. Over the next few weeks, King Philip, his son Coacoochee, and Creek & Yuchi Indians under Yuchie (or Uchee) Billy, lead a campaign that destroy all the plantations and settlements on the East Coast south of St. Augustine.
25 December 1837 - Battle at Lake Okeechobee. Colonel Zachary Taylor leads a force of 1032 soldiers, which faces a combined Seminole and Miccosukee force of 380. Seminole leaders who participate are Sam Jones, Coacoochee, Alligator, Otolke-Thloco, and Halleck Tustenuggee. Taylor routs the Indians from a hammock on the north side of Lake Okeechobee, but sustains the second largest number of soldiers killed and highest number wounded of any battle during the war. The 6th Infantry and a Missouri Militia Company suffers the most casualties. Still, the battle is declared a victory and heightens Taylor’s military and political career.
26 December 1817 - The Secretary of War authorizes Andrew Jackson to take command of the situation along the border between Spanish Florida and Georgia and bring the Seminoles under control.
26 December 1835 - Seminoles overrun and destroy the Dunlawton plantation (New Smyrna.)
On the same day, Seminoles destroy the Hillsboro lighthouse near present day Fort Lauderdale.
26-27 December 1835 - The sugar plantation owned by Major Benjamin Heriot is attacked and burned by King Philip’s band who capture 75 slaves.
26 December 1837 - General Nelson’s Georgia Volunteers battle a wandering band of Seminoles on the Wacasassa River.
27 December 1838 - Skirmish near the Econfina River.
28 December 1835 - Dade’s Battle. Major Francis L. Dade’s command is ambushed on the military road between Fort Brooke and Fort King. Only three of the 110-man command survived. The Seminole force is estimated around 180 warriors with only a few casualties. This is the Seminole’s most significant victory in the war.
At the same time, Indian agent Wiley Thompson and Lieutenant Constantine Smith are ambushed and killed outside Fort King by warriors under Osceola. The sutler store is attacked and burned.
28 December 1840 - Miccosukees under Halleck Tustenuggee and Coosa Tustenuggee attack an Army escort on the Micanopy-Wacahoota road and kill six people, including Mrs. Montgomery, the wife of Lt. Alexander Montgomery at Fort Micanopy. The death of Mrs. Montgomery causes outrage over the war in newspapers across the country, and Secretary of War Joel Poinsett demands an investigation.
29 December 1835 - The Rees Plantation is destroyed at Spring Garden.
31 December 1835 - First Battle along the Withlacoochee River. About 250 Seminoles under Alligator and Osceola fight 250 regular army troops under General Duncan Clinch, as 460 Florida Volunteers watch on the opposite bank. Osceola is injured during the battle. After the battle, the Americans retreat back to Fort Drane.