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150th anniversary of the last battle

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Well I missed a big anniversary two weeks ago. I had some other family issues that distracted me, otherwise I would have remembered.

Two weeks ago was the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Royal Palm Hammock, the last battle that the United States and Florida fought against the Seminoles as part of the three Seminole Wars. On November 28th, 1857. And it happened near where I am right now, in southwest Collier County. The location is unknown; it is mostly likely in Fakahatchee Strand, which has the largest number of Royal Palms in the state.

After the battle the Army did come back to try and find the location, and they came up Blackwater River which is now Collier-Seminole State Park, also known as Royal Palm Hammock. The report says that it was not here, but several miles away. So we are pretty certain the site was at what is now Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, but the area has changed so much in the last 50 or 60 years that it is almost impossible to locate the area.

The skirmish was a Seminole / Miccosukee victory because they held their ground and were not removed, and remain here today. The Florida troops did not fare as well, and the commanding officer was killed, Captain John Parkhill. Today there is a monument to Parkhill on the front lawn of the old capitol building in Tallahassee. I am sure the Seminoles and Miccosukees probably find that amusing, that there is a monument to the guy who was killed in the last battle against them, and a skirmish the Indians won. There are no monuments on the capitol lawn in honor of the Seminoles who fought to stay.

And a week from now, the 172nd anniversary of the Battle of Black Point, that started the Second Seminole War. On December 18th, 1835. Florida troops trying to drive Seminoles to Tampa for removal had their baggage train attacked and raided near Micanopy. The Seminoles made off with two wagons, and about 8 soldiers were killed. The wagons were found two days later, but missing the food and some of the supplies on them.

Both these battles involved the Florida Volunteer soldiers or Florida Militia. Regular Army troops were not involved in both of these battles. So the opening and closing battle of 22 years and two wars attempting to remove the Seminoles were both fought by Florida troops. When the war finally ended in 1858, and the last Seminoles to remove left in 1859, this would be the last attempt east of the Mississippi to remove Indians to the Arkansas territory before the Civil War. Only a small number remained in Florida; estimated at around 180. Considering that there was anywhere from 5,000 to 7,500 in Florida before the wars started, you can say that they almost didn't make it. But they did and survived, and today there are 3,000 Seminole and Miccosukee Indians in Florida who are descended from those who fought to stay.
Current Location:
the hammock
Current Mood:
awake awake
Current Music:
The Best of [David] Bowie
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