Five days after Christmas in 1837, Brigadier General Thomas Sidney Jesup wrote a letter to Colonel Zachary Taylor on the subject of cypress canoes. The latter officer was fresh off an engagement against a large band of Seminole Indians. Taylor's force of 800 regular soldiers and volunteers engaged some 400 Seminole warriors and their black allies on the north shore of Lake Okeechobee.1 The Indian group, led by fabled leaders Sam Jones, Alligator, and Wild Cat, retreated across the lake after injuring and killing a significant number of Taylor's detachment.2 With the enemy withdrawing across the large, unfamiliar lake, and Taylor boat-less, the U.S. Army found itself once again stymied by circumstance.3
Rizzi, Christine A.
""The Indians Are Scattering, I Fear": Mobility and Power in the Second Seminole War,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 94:
3, Article 7.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol94/iss3/7