A significant stimulus to the development of steamboat activity in Florida was the Second Seminole Indian War (1835-1842). The war was a difficult one for the United States to wage. Transportation by water played a key role. The conflict involved a substantial number of steamboats. Because of a lack of roads, they served as logical and logistical answers to military needs. Army facilities located on or near navigable waters, like the St. Johns River and its tributaries, could be supplied by steamboats. With few exceptions steamboats were primarily used for military purposes and usually did not cater to civilians. However, it was realized that there was potential for trade and transportation. Mainly the army was involved in the Indian war; the navy played only a limited role.
Mueller, Edward A.
"Steamboat Activity in Florida During the Second Seminole Indian War,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 64
, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol64/iss4/5