Browsing Some Local History

I spent some of the afternoon idly browsing through A correct and authentic narrative of the Indian war in Florida with a description of Maj. Dade’s massacre, and an account of the extreme suffering, for want of provision, of the army—having been obliged to eat horses’ and dogs’ flesh, &c, &c. by Captain James Barr.

I was struck by the casual brutality of the following passage. This is how the soldiers treated other soldiers.

“[February] 29th [1836]—Buried another Louisiana volunteer, named Gray. On his arrival at Tampa Bay, he had become extremely ill, and was left behind on the sick list, when General Gaines marched; soon after, his malady turned to madness, which was, I fear, confirmed by the treatment he received. Instead of being properly attended to, he was chained by the leg, outside the Fort, with nothing whatever to shade him from the burning sun. He was kept in this state several days; he was at length admitted into the hospital, but it was too late; he died soon after. Poor fellow! He perished far from his friends and home, the victim of the grossest negligence and brutality. Such conduct in the medical department should not be overlooked.”

Barr was in Louisana in January 1836 when he decided to volunteer to travel to Florida and fight the Seminoles who didn’t want to be forcibly removed. Initially his company was assigned to guard Fort Brooke, so the first part is just reporting on what is going on around the Fort.

“On the 12th, I received the unwelcome intelligence that my company had been selected to remain in the Fort, to guard the sick and baggage, and to my great mortification was compelled to march inside the piquets.”

Barr’s regiment left Florida at the beginning of May, so this brief diary covers February, March, April of 1836.

(100 Days of Blogging: Post 028 of 100)

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