ONE HUNDRED YEARS WITH THE SECOND CAVALRY
By Joseph I. Lambert, Major, Second Cavalry
Copyright 1939 Commanding Officer, Second Cavalry, Fort Riley, Kansas
Capper Printing Company, Inc.
Colonel Twiggs and his staff remained in Washington until April 1, 1837, when they moved the headquarters to New Orleans, La. After a month at this place, they sailed up the Mississippi River to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, where they arrived May 30. Companies B and C also left Washington in April for New Orleans, where they were organized as units upon arrival. Company K was organized in that city during the month of March. All three of these companies sailed for Jefferson Barracks in the latter part of May. The men of these organizations together with a number of recruits now began intensive training for field service both in mounted and dismounted tactics.
After several engagements in which they were defeated, the Indians requested an armistice in March, 1837, and later agreed to move to Arkansas as they had done before. The time of year had arrived when they must plant their crops, and it is believed that they sued for peace merely to accomplish this, and by friendly acts to obtain more supplies and guns from the government. In June the Indians suddenly fled from the concentration camps, led by Osceola and Coacoochee, and the war was started again.
On September 7, 1837, Brigadier General Hernandez, U.S.V., left Fort Peyton, east Florida, with a force made up of Companies E, F, and H, Second Dragoons, under Lieutenants McNeil and May, and a detachment of the Third Artillery. The command marched secretly to Mosquito Inlet, where it surrounded a Seminole village at dawn, September 10. The dragoons charged the enemy, capturing thirty-five Indians, including King Philip, the father of Coacoochee, and a number of the negroes. In this combat Lieutenant McNeil, while leading his men, received a mortal wound.
After the capture of his father, Coacoochee asked for an armistice. On October 21, 1837, he and Osceola appeared at Fort Peyton seven miles south of San Augustine, with seventy well-armed warriors to talk terms of surrender. By direction of General Jesup, who was tired of the Indian duplicity, there suddenly appeared 150 dragoons under Captain Ashby, who surrounded the Indians and made them prisoners. General Jesup complimented the work of the dragoons here, stating that it was so expeditiously done that the savages did not have time to fire a shot. The chief, Coacoochee, soon afterward made his escape.