Friday, June 19, 2009

Battle of Miccosukee - Tallahassee, Florida

One of the few significant encounters of Andrew Jackson's final invasion of Spanish Florida took place on April 1, 1818, near the present city of Tallahassee.

U.S. troops had invaded Florida in March, pushing down the Apalachicola River to the site of the old "Negro Fort" where they built a new outpost, Fort Gadsden, to serve as a base for their operations. Turning northeast from the fort, Jackson's army pushed for the key Seminole towns of Tallahassee Talofa and Miccosukee in present day Leon County, Florida, receiving substantial reinforcements on the way.

Jackson reached Tallahassee Talofa ("Old Fields Town"), from which the modern city of Tallahassee takes its name, on March 31, 1818, but found that its residents had fled on his approach. The town was torched and its houses burned to the ground.

On the morning of April 1, 1818, the army pushed for the nearby Miccosukee towns. The primary center of the eastern branch of the Seminoles, the towns stretched for ten miles down the western shore of Lake Miccosukee, a large but shallow lake northeast of modern Tallahassee.

As the soldiers approached, the warriors of the towns took up a position on a point of land in a swampy pond. Their plan was to fight a delaying action to allow time for the women, children and elderly of the massive towns to escape. As Jackson detected the resistance, he swung part of his army of more than 3,000 men into line of battle to oppose the 200 or so warriors. A severe firefight erupted and continued until a portion of the army moved to flank the Indian position.

The stand by then had achieved its purpose in allowing the evacuation of the towns and the warriors fell back through the villages and across Lake Miccosukee. The soldiers followed, wading the lake and attempting to catch up with the retreating Indians, but they were unable to do so. The did, however, burn over 300 Indian homes.

The exact site of the Battle of Miccosukee is not known today, but traces of the massive villages have been found all along the western shore of the lake. There are no markers for the battle. To learn more about the Battle of Miccosukee, please visit

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