Monday, June 23, 2008

St. Augustine, Florida - Part Eight

This is a view of the interior of the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine.

One of the most noted figures in Florida history was held prisoner here for a time.

On October 21, 1837, the great Seminole leader Osceola was seized by the U.S. Army when he appeared under a white flag for a previously arranged negotiation near St. Augustine. The action remains one of the more deplorable episodes in the history of the U.S. military.

Osceola and several other Seminole leaders were brought here to the Castillo, then called Fort Marion by the U.S. Army, and imprisoned in some of the rooms in the interior of the old fort. Two of the other leaders managed to escape, but Osceola was seriously ill and could not.

Following the escape, he and his family were placed aboard a ship in Matanzas Bay and sent to Fort Moultrie near Charleston, South Carolina. There he died from sickness on January 20, 1838, just three months after he was seized while under the protection of a white flag.

He is buried at Fort Moultrie, far from his Florida home, but his figure remains larger than life in Florida today. Revered by the state's Native American community, Osceola is also the symbol of Florida State University.

Our series on historic St. Augustine, Florida will continue. Until the next post, you can read more by visiting and looking for the St. Augustine heading.

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