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Summertime--not that slow

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We have mostly thought of summertime as the slow time during the 2SW. Maybe this wasn't exactly true. There were plenty of battles and skirmishes that continued during the warm weather.

During the first half of the war, the Army would usually limit the campaigns to the cooler months, and in the summer abandon inland posts and head to the coast. But even though they reduced the action of the military, there were still major actions going on during the war. Many of the Seminole actions and battles were more of a result of an opportunity, to hit the army hard and in a manner where they would have few casualties. This was the lesson of guerrilla warfare that the army would have to learn.

We also have to remember that Seminoles were on a defensive position in the war. They didn't have a quartermaster to keep sending them supplies. So if they could avoid conflict and use the time to gather crops, they would. But sometimes they were on the offensive too.

I will mention several summer actions here, so will not get too detailed on each. If you want to talk about a particular one, I can make it the topic of a future journal entry.

Earlier before the war, there are a few interesting summer actions:

In May 1800, William Augustus Bowles forced the Spanish to surrender Fort St. Marks to him. He had it for about six weeks until the Spanish came and took it back.

In Alabama, the Battle of Burnt Corn Creek happened in July 1813, and was followed by the Massacre of Fort Mimms the next month, in August.

The Americans destroyed Negro Fort on the Apalachicola River in July 1816.

One of the events that led to the 2nd Seminole War, the skirmish at Hickory Sink, happened in June 1835, followed by the killing of the Fort Brooke mail carrier in retaliation in August. The Hickory Sink incident was mainly a cattle dispute.

On June 9, 1836, there was a major battle at Fort Defiance near Micanopy. The same day there was the Battle of Shepherd's Plantation in Georgia, which is reenacted each year at Westville. Most of the major battles of the 1836 Creek War happened in June and July.

A couple other battles in July 1836 include the battle of Welika Pond near Micanopy, and the attack on the Cape Florida lighthouse by the Spanish Indians under Chakaika. This was the only attack on a lighthouse by Native American Indians.

In August there was a battle at Fort Drane where Osceola and his band had taken up residence after the army abandon the post.

Summer of 1837 calms down a bit. The next summer of 1838 is pretty quiet too, except for the battle of Kanapaha Prairie near Newnansville.

By 1839 the war turns into a lot of short hit & run skirmishes. One major exception is the spectacular attack on the Caloosahatchee Trading Post near Fort Myers/Cape Coral. Col. Harney's loss of Dragoon soldiers ranks as one of the worst losses for the army in the war, behind Dade Battle and Okeechobee. The Battle of Bridgwater in May 1840 was almost as bad with the loss of life for the Army.

Chakaika and the Spanish Indians seem to be the ones who made the bold attacks in the summer, on the Cape Florida lighthouse and the Caloosahatchee Trading Post. But their most daring attack was on Indian Key in August 1840. After that, Col. Harney had a vendetta against Chakaika until he killed him the following December.

After 1840 the Seminoles were on the run in a totally defensive posture. Most of their war leaders had been killed or removed. The army changed tactics and continued the war in the summertime with summer scouts and campaigns. And finally, the war was declared over by Col. Worth on August 14, 1842.

Current Location:
the hammock
Current Mood:
accomplished accomplished
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