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.
The first baptism of fire for the regiment occurred at Micanopy, Florida, on June 10, 1836. Company D, under Lieutenant Wheelock, First Dragoons, was stationed at the stockade at this place as a part of the garrison under Major Heiliman, Second Artillery. About 200 Seminole Indians led by Osceola attacked early in the morning, hoping to draw out the troops and then capture the stockade. Lieutenant Wheelock mounted his dragoons and enveloped the enemy right, while one of the companies of artillery moved around the enemy left. Meanwhile another detachment of the Second Artillery held the front with a six-pounder. After severe fighting the enemy was driven away and the troops returned to the stockade. For great courage in their first fight the men were commended by the President.
Micanopy, June 10, 1836.
GENERAL-“I have the honor to report that yesterday morning a party of Indians, estimated at one hundred and fifty or two hundred, made their appearance in front of this place, at the distance of about three-quarters of a mile. Their objective was evidently to draw us out; and not having any disposition to balk their views, I directed Captain Lee to take his company and skirt a hammock on the right of this post, and gain the left of the enemy. At the same time I directed Lieutenant Wheelock to mount with his dragoons, and make a corresponding movement on the left; and Lieutenant Humphreys, with a detachment of D and E Companies of Second United States Artillery, to move across the field in front, holding a six-pounder, with a few men in reserve.
The promptitude with which my orders were complied with, brought the three detachments immediately in contact with the enemy. Seeing the heavy fire of the enemy, I became at once satisfied they were treble our numbers, and immediately moved forward with the six-pounder. The horses being well broke, I was obliged to cast loose the prolonge. I had hardly done this, and while waiting a flank movement of Lieutenant Wheelock to unmask the six-pounder, when I received a message that the Indians were coming on the rear of this place. Having left a few teamsters and citizens in charge of the work, I deemed it proper to move back with the gun, and gave the directions accordingly. Taking myself a shorter route across the field, I arrived a few minutes before the gun; and finding the report to be untrue, I directed Lieutenant Talcott, 3d Artillery, to return to the field at full speed, while, with a few men, I reconnoitered the rear of our position.
After an hour and twenty minutes’ hard fighting under a broiling sun, our troops returned, having driven the Indians two miles into their strongholds. The gallantry and good conduct of both officers and men is beyond all commendation I am able to bestow; and it is with deep regret I report Captain Lee, 3d Artillery, severely, but not dangerously wounded (he received two wounds; one from a rifle ball, and the other from a musket). He was shot early in the action, but directed his men to push forward, which they did manfully.
I enclose Dr. Maffit’s report: and let me express my acknowledgment to Mr. Center, a resident of this place, for his unremitting kindness and attention to our wounded men, and ourselves generally.
Some individual acts of gallantry will form a special report, from the officers immediately in command of the troops.
I received 800 rounds of cartridges last night from Fort Drane, and shall move tomorrow morning. Lieutenant Burke, 3d Artillery, with his company, reached that place at 11 o’clock last night. I shall write to you on my arrival there.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. F. HEILEMAN,
Major, 2d Artillery, U. S. A.
War Department, Adjutant-General’s Office
Washington, June 25, 1836
GENERAL ORDERS No. 42
The gallantry and good conduct of the officers and troops in the action of the 10th of June with the Seminole Indians, near Micanopy, in Florida, where they met and defeated a very superior force of the enemy, merit the thanks of the President.
R. JONES, Adjutant-General