The Future President – Black Hawk & Seminole Wars

58 [Indian Wars] Taylor, Zachary. ARCHIVE OF
FOUR LETTERS SIGNED AND ONE
DOCUMENT SIGNED, WITH AUTOGRAPH
NOTE SIGNED BY WINFIELD SCOTT, 1832-
1843. Approximately 14 pp., in ink, all very
readable in fine condition. Housed in mylar
covers and binder.

A great archive of letters from the hero of the
War of 1812, relating to Indian Wars and affairs
between 1832 to 1843. The first two letters are
from the Black Hawk War (written just after
accepting Black Hawk’s surrender; August 23,
1832 and Nov. 24, 1833); the first of these is a
lengthy six page letter reporting on the condition of the troops after the Black Hawk
War, including a recommendation that troops move every month or two through posts along the Mississippi river in Indian country, and he evinces an a strong egalitarian streak when he asks for permission to stop the practice of officers hiring soldiers to work as their ‘personal waiters or servants,” and this would stop the ‘dissentions which daily take place.” The third letter (Dec. 21, 1838), which is exceptionally important and contains Taylor’s account of his expedition against the Indians in Florida: “I left that place (Fort Clench) with one company of dragoons, for Fort Fanning, which I reached in the evening of the 9th, having passed four days on the way examining the swamps and hammocks for the enemy… The Indians had stopped a train of four wagons belonging to citizens near Wacfassa? And robbed the drivers’ negros of their clothing and wagon covers. I determined… to have the country between the Sewanee and Talahassee completely scoured and the enemy driven from it before I left. I reached here (Fort Frank Brooke, Dead Man’s Bay) the 17th… Several reconnoitering parites had been sent out in various directions, one of whom fell in with and captured one Indian who afterwards made his escape. Many recent signs of them were found indicating that they were in considerable force… Some outbuildings within three miles of Black Creek were burnt by the hostiles (where there were from three to four hundred troops) who also fired on the house, in which there was a woman and six or seven children, the elder of whom, a boy of 15 or 16, having discharged a gun, the Indians, if Indians they were, ran off, he also states that a cart accompanied by two men was robbed by the hostiles in the same section of country where Tuppin’s family was murdered… all of which from reports appears to have been committed by a few Indians and one Negro… I fear nothing else will satisfy the people of East Florida, and also a portion of those of middle Florida, short of bringing the whole of them into the service of the United States.”; the final letter is from Fort Smith, Arkansas (April 8, 1843) and contains an enclosed letter from the Choctaw Agency (included here) with Taylor’s recommendations for Fort Washita (this letter has an autograph note on the verso from Winfield Scott endorsing Taylor’s course: “Being now of the opinion that the post should be continued and completed.” A great archive of letters written from the Black Hawk and Seminole Indian Wars, as well as the West, from the general who became 12th President of the U.S. There have been two small archives of Taylor letters (3 in each) over the past twenty years; one, from the Mexican War period; the other group, written from Fort Smith (1841-42, same as the last in this collection), was in the Siebert Sale of 1999; in 1993 one Seminole War letter of Taylor’s (content similar to this one). Taylor was remarkable for the care he showed for his men (as shown in the first letter here); they responded by giving him the sobriquet of ‘Old Rough and Ready.”

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