John K. Mahon


The Battle of Lake Okeechobee, which occurred on December 25, 1837, was the last large pitched battle of the Second Seminole War. Casualties among United States forces totaled 138, including twenty-six killed. Florida’s native hostiles lost only eleven to fourteen men.1 Nonetheless, army commander Zachary Taylor and his superiors hailed a great victory, and early reports of the “severe and bloody battle” claimed that “the Indians were driven in every direction.“2 The effect on the general’s military and eventual political career was substantial. As noted by a Taylor biographer, “His victory in the only large battle of the conflict went far in earning him distinction and it shielded him from public notice of his lack of other successes.“