[M234, roll 807, frames 28-30]
Tampa Bay Florida
February 9, 1851
In reply to your letter of January 22d, making certain inquiries about the Seminoles remaining in Florida. I have the honor to state that:
1. About 110 Warriors remain in Florida
2. The aggregate of men women & children is about 450. There are, with them, 2 Negro men belonging to the Indians & 1 belonging to Col. B. M. Dell of the states; 2 or 3 Negro women, 1 of whom was captured from the whites in the last war, and 2 or 3 Negro children.
3. Nearly all are opposed to emigration on any terms; and, until lately, they would not speak on the subject to us, and their law was death to any who should propose it. This law is now said to be repealed; but still no Indian could advocate emigration without being denounced by the men and scorned by the women. The women have always been more hostile to emigration than the men, and they have great influence over their brothers and sons.
4. With regard to the best mode of effecting their early removal, I feel great hesitation in speaking or advising. Nearly every species of force has been tried for years, and at a vast expense.
Few have been caught, and very few killed.
Since the war began (December 28 1835) about eleven twelfths (11/12) of the Nation have been removed, mostly by negotiations following hard pursuits and fights, and by "gratis" while in council or while in camp under invitations to "talk".
The white population ar---d these Indians advances and increases very slowly, as compared with its progress on other frontiers, partly owing to the terror inspired by the Seminoles; but chiefly on account of the poverty of the soil on this side of South Florida. Thus has the small band left here, nearly as great a range and as many hiding places as the whole nation formerly had, and it is consequently more difficult to catch or kill them. I allude to these difficulties to show the necessity of a force greatly disproportionate to the number, and an outlay perhaps disproportionate to the object, an early removal, of so small a number of Indians.
In view of all the circumstances I would venture to suggest that unless they refuse to atone for the outrage committed by some of their people last August, or commit some more atrocities, it would be advisable to continue and increase the friendly intercourse, now being re-established, for one or two years, in order to let them taste the sweets of peace and free trade, and strengthen the influence of their Chiefs. At the end of that time, or sooner, if they are to be early removed at all hazards, an ample force should be displayed, (early in the fall season) and a final choice offered to them; either to emigrate on most liberal terms, or, take their chances in a war of extermination.
It must be remembered that threats are utterly powerless unless they see the means by which they are to be enforced. When such a course shall have been decided on and prepared for, an auxiliary force of 2 or 300 Creek, or other Indian warriors, stimulated by high pecuniary inducement, such as has already been suggested to the War Department and approved of by Gen. Triggs, would be of great service.
Any attempt to force an "early removal" without ample means would, I fear, only scatter them in small parties all over the thinly populated parts of the state and cause great destruction of life and property, enable them to secure abundance of powder and lead, and then require the continued exertions of a force, the mere display of which might, in the first place, have induced them to accept our terms.
Finally, I would not venture to propose such means were not the force & expense of the late Florida War so well remembered.
Your obedt servt
John C. Casey
Capt. & -- Agt Florida Inds
Hon Luke Lea
Com Ind Affs
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