Report of Colonel Warren, Fort Gilleland, September 18, 1836, to R. K. CALL, Governor of Florida
Report of Colonel Warren, Fort Gilleland, September 18, 1836, to R. K. CALL, Governor of Florida.
SIR-Yesterday morning, the 17th [of September, 1836], a party of from one to two hundred Indians came within a mile of this post, on the Picolata road, and captured a cart belonging to John Standly. Three white men and two [black men] were fired on by a part of this body, fortunately without effect. The cart was set on fire. I immediately sallied out with thirty men to reconnoiter, while the troops were preparing to make a general sortie; a very heavy rain which came up at this time answered the double purpose of extinguishing the fire and rendering our arms useless. The cart with a load of corn was saved and brought in. I pursued on the trail some distance, and found that they had gone towards Colonel Sanchez's plantation; it being now nearly dark, and rain still continuing, it was concluded to return and make an attack on them in the morning.
At one o'clock this morning, four men of tried valor were sent out to reconnoiter around the San Felasco Hammock and the plantation of Colonel Sanchez; they returned at four o'clock, having made no discovery. Being satisfied that they were there, I resolved to go out; accordingly, at six o'clock I marched out with one hundred mounted men, being detachments from Captains Walker, Ward, and Garrison's companies, with twenty-five gentlemen under Captain Beekman, (having formerly belonged to his company, and volunteered their services for this special service,) Captain D. D. Tompkins, of company B, 1st regiment United States artillery, with a twenty-four-pound howitzer and twenty five of his men. This command was arranged in three lines, as follows: Captain Walker, with his company, and Lieutenant Bruten, in command of the detachment from Captain Garrison's company, formed the right wing under my personal command ; Captain Tompkins, with his command, formed the centre; and the volunteers under Captain Beekman, with Captain Ward's company, formed the left wing under Lieutenant Colonel Mills. On arriving within three-quarters of a mile of the hammock, the spies reported Indians in front; they immediately opened a sharp fire on the right wing and center.
The Indians on the left, in considerable force, made an attempt to turn that flank, but were charged with spirit and success by Lieutenant Colonel Mills's command, and driven into a thick-wooded oak scrub; then, dismounting and charging on them, drove them through this into the border of the hammock, where the artillery played on them with considerable effect. After this, they retired to the right, and attempted to turn, that wing; but were charged with success by Captain Walker and Lieutenant Bruten's command, and again driven within range of the artillery, which opened on them with great effect. They made several desperate attempts to maintain their position, and charged twice on the artillery, but were driven off at all points, and pursued for a mile and a half into a dense hammock, where they could not be pursued to advantage.
The command advanced and took a position, and remained on it for two hours and a half, then returned in the same order of the advance, without seeing or hearing any thing more of them. The action lasted one hour and a half one hour of which the firing was heavy on the whole line. From the ground which they occupied, their force is estimated at least at three hundred men. Several Indians were distinctly seen to fall before the fire of the artillery, particularly on the left; several persons report that they saw a mounted Indian (a chief from his appearing to be giving orders) fall before the fire of the artillery. Adjutant Gilleland reports that he saw a large fellow mounted in front of the right, and, from a recollection of his person, thinks it was Jumper; he ordered a platoon fired at him, and several persons assert that he fell. From the many traces of blood discovered in passing over the ground after the enemy were routed, a great number must have been killed and wounded. We also discovered where they had killed five beeves and seven hogs, some of which were left by them, in their hurry, in the situation in which they were shot down.
Lieutenant Colonel Mills sustained, in this action, the reputation he had previously acquired for bravery, coolness, and judgment: I beg leave to recommend him to your excellency's notice for his good conduct in this action, as well as the important services rendered by him since stationed at this post. Captains Beekman, Walker, and Ward, and Lientenants Bruten and Hindly, behaved with great bravery.
Lieutenant Bruten had his horse killed under him. Adjutant Gilleland particularly distinguished himself by his bravery and exertions on the right wing. Private Weyman, B company, 1st artillery, stationed at the howitzer, was severely wounded at the first fire, but refused to retire from his post until four rounds were fired, when he was compelled to retire from loss of blood. In fact, the whole command behaved well.
Below is a report of wounded. I regret to state that private Jerry Burnett is pronounced mortally wounded; the others appear to be in a fair way to recover. I should do injustice were I to close this report without mentioning, in terms of approbation, the prompt attention of Doctors Pelot and Turtelot to the wounded men: they promptly attended, during the action, so all.
I have the honor to be, respectfully, &c., JOHN WARREN, Colonel, commanding 2d M: D., E. F.
His Excellency R. K. CALL, Governor, commanding in chief.