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Memoir of reconnaissances with maps during the Florida campaign, 1854-1858.
1.00 microfilm reel 35 mm.
Terms Governing Use:
The mid-1850's witnessed the third attempt by the U.S. Government to subdue the Seminole Indians, to remove them from Florida, and to resettle them on lands west of the Mississippi River. With the final removal of the Seminoles after the third Seminole war, the long-standing Federal policy of transferring Indians in the Southeast to land reserved for them in the West had been realized. In 1854, after a long lull, U.S. Troops in Florida under the command of Col. John Munroe once again attempted to execute the provisions of the treaties made with the Seminoles that required their transit west. At one point, Special Indian Agent Luther Blake thought that he had secured a promise from Seminole Chief Billy Bowlegs to cooperate in getting his people to emigrate. When Bowlegs, in Blake's view, failed to keep his promise, the U.S. Army--under pressure from the Florida State Legislature--began surveying Indian land in the interior for white settlement. On December 20, 1855, a group of Seminoles attacked one of the surveying parties in the Big Cypress Swamp, opening the third Seminole war.
The Army's failure to effect the peaceful removal of the Seminoles and the major attack by the Indians on Sarasota in March 1856 led the War Department to organize Florida for large-scale operations by merging Headquarters, Troops in Florida, which was detached from the Department of the East by General Order 4, Adjutant General's Office, March 27, 1856, with the newly created Department of Florida. This reorganization took effect in Florida on April 12, 1856. By November 1856 the Department commander, Bvt. Brig. General William S. Harney, headquartered at Fort Brooke, had 24 companies of troops with which to carry on the war.
The Seminole attack on Sarasota was one of the few major encounters of this war, which lacked the magnitude of the second Seminole war. Indeed, most Army Regulars were withdrawn from Florida in 1857. When Col. Gustavus Loomis replaced General Harney in April 1857, Loomis' command in the Department of Florida consisted of only four companies of Regular Army troops, leaving mainly Volunteers to carry out operations. The Volunteers were chiefly responsible for defeating Billy Bowlegs and the Seminoles, and, with that, hostilities of any significance ended. The defeated Seminoles, 160 in all (including Billy Bowlegs), agreed in March 1858 to go west. On May 7, 1858, Loomis declared that the war was over.
This microfilm publication contains four volumes constituting the "Memoir of Reconnaissances With Maps During the Florida Campaign," April 1854-February 1858. The volumes consist of summaries of reports and accompanying maps received by Headquarters, Troops in Florida (April 1854-April 1856), and Headquarters, Department of Florida (April 1856-February 1858). The summarized reports found in this publication were abstracted from detailed original reports that were prepared by field officers serving with the Army in Florida and, with accompanying maps, were forwarded to Headquarters, Troops in Florida, later Headquarters, Department of Florida, located at Fort Brooke. These summarized reports, filmed with maps that accompanied the original reports, describe the various map-producing activities of the Army in Florida, including surveying, exploring, road-building, and scouting. They contain extensive comments about the terrain and other topographic features of Florida's coastal and inland geography, field notes on the geology of the State, and remarks about its flora. The reports emphasize cartographically useful details, such as the natural bridge at Arch Creek, and describe the navigational problems caused by the dense islands of cypress, mangrove, and live oak that dotted Florida's wide sawgrass prairies. The reports also include many references to Indian life, diet, trails, and villages.
The maps in this publication that accompany the summarized reports are also largely the result of field observations. Some of these maps are rough sketches of routes traversed by scouting parties or exploring expeditions, drawn to only an approximate scale. Typically, these maps indicate prominent rivers and lakes, military posts and roads, forts, and the location of Indian trails and villages. They sometimes include notations on water levels, vegetation, and sources of freshwater. Others of these maps, often associated with reports of formal surveys, are more accurately rendered, drawn to scale, prepared with multicolored inks, and more fully annotated.
The maps were separated from the original reports and bound with these summarized reports in two volumes in rough chronological order. This was presumably done at Fort Brooke under the supervision of Bvt. Maj. Francis N. Page, Assistant Adjutant General, Department of Florida, prior to his departure from Florida in May 1858. Each summary includes the date and purpose of the expedition, the name of the reporting officer, and the file citation of the original report that is among the main series of letters received by Headquarters, Troops in Florida, or Headquarters, Department of Florida. A few maps in this publication are not accompanied by summaries of nor otherwise keyed to specific reports. These maps may represent either loose maps for which the original report was not available at the time of binding or, more probably, maps compiled at headquarters from information contained in several reports or taken from other maps.
List of maps and an aid for locating forts on the maps are available at the Archives.
Additional Physical Form:
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
National Archives, Washington, D.C., from the Records of the U.S. Army Continental Commands, 1821-1920, Record Group 393.
National Archives Microfilm Publication M1090.
Electronic Records Access:
Subject Access Fields:
Seminole War, 3rd, 1855-1858. Military topography Florida Seminole Indians Wars Seminole Indians. Indians of North America Florida
Military maps. aat