|Scope & Content||
Letter signed by Zachary Taylor at Fort Basinger, dated February 22, 1838, and sent to Colonel P.T. Smith. Letter was written in the wake of Taylor's victory over the Seminoles in the Battle of Lake Okeechobee in late December. To Smith, commander of the Army south of the Withlacoochee, he recommends a vigorous pursuit: "We should direct our whole force against the main body of the enemy". First, he suggest, they must "ascertain the position of the enemy and whether or not we can reach him by land or Water. Antonio (a scout)...thinks the main body of the hostiles are in the great cypress Swamp...near the lower end of Lake Okeechobee...15 days march by land...there is a river...which he calls Kiofinnemee and which can be approached or entered with Steamboats and navigable...and within three days marchof the Cypress Swamp...Wagons cannot reach the Kiofinnemee." Therefore, he concludes, "they should defer any movement against the enemy until I can hear from Major General Jesup..." Then he will "establish a post near Cape Roman and ...move a force by land and water to the South. I will immediately join & cooperate with you against the enemy. In the mean time it might be as well to have the river referred to examined by a Steam boat..." He is grateful for information on "the Caloosahatchu and Fish-eating Creek," and adds that, "Antonio says the outlet of Lake Okeechobee cannot be used for boating."
The Battle of Lake Okeechobee was "the largest clash of the seven-years-long Florida conflict but it was the only time the Indians chose to stand and fight" (Bauer, Zachary Taylor, p. 82). Taylor promoted to Brigadier General, and continued efforts to bring the elusive Indians to battle. Most of the remaining "hostiles" surrendered in late March or early April.
|Title||ALS Zachery Taylor to Col. Smith|
|Size||9 1/2'' x 7 5/8''|