Being a big anniversary year for the 2nd Seminole War, I was thinking of what it was like to live in the United States at that time. Looking at early 1836, here is what was going on.
On February 20th, 1836, General Gaines command reached the battleground where Major Dade and his men were killed eight weeks earlier. A very awkward but very solemn ceremony is held as Dade and his men were buried in a mass grave.
This was a wake-up call for the United States. After believing that the Indian tribes would remove with a show of force and were unable to withstand the military might of the nation and state militias, they were shown otherwise. 40 years later, George Armstrong Custer would face a similar defeat against even larger forces.
As shocking to the American psyche as this was, an even greater jolt was about to happen in the Republic of Texas.
General Gaines continued on after the burial ceremony, until his command was also surrounded on the Withlacoochee River a week later. They were under siege in their breastwork for about 10 days until the Seminoles surrounding them agreed to a truce and ended the siege. Fortunately, we have several written accounts available from the many officers who wrote about it in their journal. One of the most interesting is Lt. Henry Prince in the book, "Amidst a Storm of Bullets". I think that when the soldiers with General Gaines were surrounded and under siege on the Withlacoochee, that they probably thought that they might suffer the same fate as Major Dade and his men, who wer also held up in a similar breastwork.
But the country did not have time to pay attention to General Gaines on the Withlacoochee. At the same time, the Alamo was being overrun by Santa Ana's forces, which was also the cause of death of national celebrities of Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. The newspapers were busy with this episode for a long time, with very little information available. There was speculation that Davy Crockett may have survived the siege, but later proved to be false.
So late February / early March 1836 were a very interesting time for the United States. Also happening at the same time, was something that was not noticed but was a great technological advance in warfare. Unnoticed by many, was that Colt patented his repeating rifle.