Second Seminole War 1835-1842

[ 1835 - 1842 ]

The Second Seminole War (1835-42) followed the refusal of most Seminoles to abandon the reservation that had been specifically established for them north of Lake Okeechobee and to relocate west of the Mississippi River. Whites coveted this land and sought to oust the Seminoles under the Indian Removal Act. Led by their dynamic chief Osceola, the Seminole warriors hid their families in the Everglades and fought vigorously to defend their homeland, using guerrilla tactics. As many as 2,000 U.S. soldiers were killed in this prolonged fighting, which cost the government between $40,000,000 and $60,000,000. Only after Osceola's capture while parleying under a flag of truce did Indian resistance decline. With peace, most Seminoles agreed to emigrate.

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Osceola [b. c. 1804, Georgia, U.S.; d. Jan. 30, 1838, Charleston, S.C.] American Indian leader during the Second Seminole War, which began in 1835 when the U.S. government attempted to force the Seminole Indians off their traditional lands in Florida and into the Indian territory west of the Mississippi River.

Osceola moved from Georgia to Florida, where, although not a chief, he came to be acknowledged as a leader of the Seminoles. He led the young Indians who opposed the Treaty of Payne's Landing (1832), by which some of the Seminole chiefs agreed to submit to removal from Florida. In 1835 he and a group of braves murdered Charley Emathla, a chief who was preparing to emigrate with his people, and Gen. Wiley Thompson, the U.S. Indian agent at Ft. King.

For the next two years, U.S. troops attempted to crush Seminole opposition. The Indians withdrew into the Everglades and fought back, employing guerrilla tactics. In October 1837 Osceola and several chiefs went to St. Augustine, Fla., under a flag of truce to attend a parley with Gen. T.S. Jesup. By special order of the General, the Indians were seized and imprisoned. Osceola was removed to Ft. Moultrie at Charleston, S.C., where he died. The war continued until 1842, but only sporadically after Osceola's death.

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Indian Removal Act (May 28, 1830), first major legislative departure from the U.S. policy of respecting the legal and political rights of the American Indians. The act authorized the president to grant Indian tribes unsettled western prairie land in exchange for their desirable territories within state borders (especially in the Southeast), from which the tribes would be removed. The rapid settlement of land east of the Mississippi River made it clear by the mid-1820s that the white man would not tolerate the presence of even peaceful Indians there. President Andrew Jackson (served 1829-37) vigorously promoted this new policy, which became incorporated in the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Although the bill provided only for the negotiation with tribes east of the Mississippi on the basis of payment for their lands, trouble arose when the United States resorted to force to gain the Indians' compliance with its demand that they accept the land exchange and move west.

A number of northern tribes were peacefully resettled in western lands considered undesirable for the white man. The problem lay in the Southeast, where members of what were known as the Five Civilized Tribes (Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole, Cherokee, and Creek) refused to trade their cultivated farms for the promise of strange land in the Indian Territory with a so-called permanent title to that land. Many of these Indians had homes, representative government, children in missionary schools, and trades other than farming. Some 100,000 tribesmen were forced to march westward under U.S. military coercion in the 1830s; up to 25 percent of the Indians, many in manacles, perished en route. The trek of the Cherokee in 1838-39 became known as the infamous "Trail of Tears" (see Cherokee). Even more reluctant to leave their native lands were the Florida Indians, who fought resettlement for seven years (1835-42) in the second of the Seminole Wars.

The frontier began to be pushed aggressively westward in the years that followed, upsetting the "guaranteed" titles of the displaced tribes and further reducing their relocated holdings.

<table class='table table-bordered col-lg-12 col-md-12 col-sm-12 col-xs-12 margin20 row-30' border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><tbody><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">State</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Entry</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Exit</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Combat Forces</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Population</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Losses</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Seminole</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1835</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1843</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">15000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">200000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">3000</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">USA</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1835</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1843</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">50000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">15000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">10000</font></td></tr></tbody></table>

Total Casualties 13000 Killed and Wounded
Casualties Killed 13000 / Wounded
Military Casualties Killed 13000 /Wounded
Civilian Casualties Killed 0 / Wounded
Note
Belligerents Initiation Date Termination Date
Seminole and United States of America 1835 1843 View
Weapon Name Weapon Class Weapon Class Type
Model 1817 common rifle Manportable Rifles