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Origins of the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts

Written by Katarina "Kato" Wittich and Edited by Sarah N. Johnson

The Third Seminole War

The Third Seminole War (1855-1858) was an attempt by the government to remove those last Seminoles from Florida. It was brief, with no large battles, and ended without victory or treaty. Most of the remaining Seminoles agreed to go to the reservation in Indian Territory, and the rest retreated into the Everglades, where the soldiers could not pursue them successfully.  They never officially surrendered, so the Seminole Wars were Indian Wars that were never won by the United States. They were also by far the most expensive and deadliest Indian Wars, with huge losses for the U.S. Military. [13]

In Indian Territory, it rapidly became clear that the U.S.  military and the government were unable or unwilling to adequately protect the Seminole Negroes. The Creek Indians, on whose reservation the Seminoles had been placed, practiced “chattel slavery” in a manner very similar to that of whites and made frequent raids on the Seminole Negroes to capture members and sell them to southern plantation owners. There was no safety for the Seminole Negroes unless they abandoned their farms and camped on the Cherokee reservation where the soldiers from Fort Gibson could provide some protection. This meant they could not raise crops or provide for themselves and were dependent on military rations for survival.



[13] Alcione and Senter, The Black Seminoles, 106.

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