The Second Seminole War
The Treaty of Payne’s Landing, signed by a small number of Seminoles in May 1832, required Indians to give up their Florida lands within three years and move west. When the U.S. Army arrived in 1835 to enforce the treaty, the Indians were ready for war.
As Major Francis Dade marched from Fort Brooke toward Fort King, 180 Seminole warriors led by Micanopy, Alligator and Jumper attacked. Only one man of that army detachment survived the ambush.
The campaigns of the Second Seminole War were an outstanding demonstration of guerrilla warfare by the Seminole. The Micos Jumper, Alligator, Micanopy and Osceola, leading less than 3,000 warriors, were pitted against four U.S. generals and more than 30,000 troops.
The Second Seminole War (1835-1842), usually referred to as the Seminole War proper, was the fiercest war waged by the U.S. government against American Indians. The United States spent more than $20 million fighting the Seminoles. The war left more than 1,500 soldiers and uncounted American civilians dead. And the obvious duplicity of the U.S. government’s tactics marred Indian-white relations throughout the country for future generations.
As the hostilities dragged on, frustrated U.S. forces increasingly turned to desperate measures to win the war. For example, Osceola was captured and imprisoned when he met with U.S. troops who had called for a truce and claimed to want to talk peace.
With Osceola in prison, the United States was confident the war would end soon. But it did not. Although Osceola died in prison in 1838, other Seminole leaders kept the battle going for a few more years.
In 1842, a nominal end to the hostilities arrived, though no peace treaty was ever signed. By this time most Seminoles had been moved from Florida, relocated to Indian Territory today’s Oklahoma.