The History of Butterfly, Part 120: News from the Seminole War

In 1837, our group of Sac and Fox Indians from Iowa went to Washington for a treaty conference.  At that time, the U. S. policy of Indian Removal was in full force.  The papers were full of news about various events.

The Second Seminole war was in full swing in Florida.  It resulted from the Seminoles refusing to sign any removal treaties.

The Niles Weekly Register repeated a report from another newspaper:

“The Tallahassee “Floridian” of the 13th of August, contains the following horrible narrative.

A few days since, a party of Lowndes county Georgia, volunteers, fell in with a party of Creeks near the Florida line, and killed ten warriors, and took eight women and children prisoners.  The prisoners were taken to a house under guard.  In the evening one of the squaws was observed to give her children drink from a coffee pot.  Shortly after, she obtained leave of absence, and not returning, search was made for her, but she had made her escape.  Her children were all found dead, from poison administered by their unnatural mother.  On Wednesday, the 2nd instant colonel Wood, of Randolph Georgia, with only thirty-eight men under his command, discovered a large party of Indians in a swamp—the savages challenged him to come into the swamp for a “fair fight.”  Notwithstanding his inferiority in numbers, he boldly charged upon them.  After a desperate engagement, hand to hand, the savages fled in all directions.  Twenty seven warriors were found dead on the field of battle, and many more were supposed to have been killed and wounded.  Before their flight they strangled their children by stuffing their mouths and nostrils with mud moss.  The children were found in that condition after the battle was over.”

So was this an exaggeration to make the enemy seem less human, or were the Seminoles so frightened of the white soldiers that they killed their own children?  Neither option puts the U.S. in a good light.

About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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