The Second Seminole War Diary of General Thomas Sidney Jesup

The Second Seminole War (1835-1842) was the longest and costliest American Indian War in American history. The conflict resulted in the removal of nearly 5,000 Seminoles and their African allies from the peninsula, and, in effect, brought central and southern Florida under the control of the United States for the first time. Several individuals attained national prominence through their involvement in the war. On the American side, perhaps no one received more criticism for the conduct of the campaign against the Seminoles than General Thomas Sidney Jesup.

Jesup diary

Thomas Sidney Jesup commanded military operations in Florida during the early stages of the Second Seminole War, although he is mostly remembered for capturing the Seminole warrior Osceola under a white flag of truce in October 1837. Osceola later died at Fort Moultrie in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. As a result of his treacherous capture and subsequent death, Osceola became a symbol of the broken treaties and brutal wars endured by Native American peoples in the 19th century.

Painting of Osceola by George Catlin (1837)

Painting of Osceola by George Catlin (1837)

The State Library and Archives of Florida has digitized and transcribed Jesup’s account of the Second Seminole War between October 1, 1836, and May 30, 1837. The Jesup diary provides insight into the daily movements of the U.S. Army, the nature of fighting during the war, and negotiations between Seminole and American military leaders.

Check out the Thomas Sidney Jesup diary, the latest addition to the Collections Page on Florida Memory, to learn more about the Seminole Wars.