The Second Seminole War was the most costly war, in lives and money, ever fought by the United States government against Native Americans. This second of three wars resulted from the Treaty of Payne's Landing in 1832 which required the Seminoles to leave Florida. The Seminoles refused to leave and the war began. In 1836, Camp Monroe was established as the East Florida headquarters for the US Army. The camp was positioned strategically on the southern shore of Lake Monroe on the St. Johns River. On February 8, 1837, Camp Monroe was attacked by Seminoles led by Coacoochee. Captain Charles Mellon was killed in the battle and the camp was renamed Fort Mellon on February 11. The war continued until 1845 at the cost of millions of dollars and thousands of lives. Many Seminoles were forced to leave Florida and settle on land west of the Mississippi River. Some Seminoles hid in the Everglades and fought again in the Third Seminole War in 1855.
[ Illustration ]
· "Oseola at Lake Monroe"
Osceola (1804 - 1838) was born in Alabama & came to Florida at an early age. Osceola was never a "chief" of the Seminoles, but he was a fierce leader who had many followers among the Seminoles. Osceola's main encampment was here on the southern shore of Lake Monroe. Osceola led a valiant attempt to resist the U.S. government's efforts to remove the Seminoles from Florida. After leading many fierce battles against the soldiers, Osceola was captured under a white flag of truce in October 1837. He was taken to Fort Moultrie in South Carolina, where he died in January 1838 of what is thought to be strep throat.
[ Illustration ] · (portrait engraving: Coacoochee)
Coacoochee (1810 -1857), also known as Wild Cat, was born to a sister of Micanopy (Chief of the Seminole Nation) and King Philip (Emathla, Cheif of a Mikasuki tribe) in Mosquito County, now Seminole County. King Philip (Emathla) and Coacoochee led the attack against Camp Monroe (Fort Mellon) on February 8, 1837. Coacoochee became the most respected war chief after the death of Osceola. Coacoochee was captured several times, but escaped. He was captured again in October 1841 and sent to a reservation in the Arkansas Territory (now Oklahoma). In 1845, he was taken to Texas to assist on a peace mission, but instead Coacoochee traveled throughout Texas for four years, inciting hostile Indians. He recruited some Kickapoo warriors and with his following of Seminoles and Blacks, they escaped into Mexico. He died of smallpox in Mexico in 1857.
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·"N.W. view of Fort Mellon, Lake Monroe, 1837" - JRV
Fort Mellon was located on Lake Monroe at the foot of the US Army road that is Mellonville Avenue today. The fort stood until after the Civil War when the town of Mellonville grew up around the site. This view of Fort Mellon was drawn by Capt. John Rogers Vinton, of the US Army Third Artillery, who was stationed at the fort in 1837.
[ Illustration ] · (Distinctive Unit Insignia, US 2nd Cavalry Regiment)
, "Toujours Pret"
The US Army Second Regiment of Dragoons was stationed at Fort Mellon from 1837 through 1841. The palmetto leaf on the unit insignia represents the Second Seminole War. This regiment fought during Operation Desert Storm as the Second Armored Cavalry Regiment and as the Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment during Operation Iraqi Freedom.