General Scott was in charge of the Second Seminole War (1835-1842) for the U.S. Army. In accordance with the Indian Removal Act of 1830, Scott planned a grand campaign to conquer the Seminole and drive them out of Florida. With 5,000 soldiers he converged at their hideout located at the Cove of the Withlacoochee. The campaign failed miserably.
Major Dade joined the Twelfth Infantry in 1813 during the War of 1812 as a third lieutenant. By 1815 he was transferred to the Fourth Infantry. Under this post he successfully led two military expeditions from Fort Brooke in Tampa to Fort King. In 1825 , amongst ongoing conflicts with Native Americans, Dade’s final mission was to lead 110 men from Fort Brooke to Fort King. That fateful mission ended on December 23, 1835 when the troops were ambushed by the Seminole, led by Chief Micanopy. This event is referred to as the Dade Massacre.
General Gaines assembled a force of 1,100 soldiers and sailed with them from New Orleans to Fort Brooke at Tampa on a personal mission to avenge the killing of Major Dade and his soldiers. Setting out for Fort King, they came upon the 106 deceased soldiers of the Dade Massacre and documented the scene in detail. After leaving Fort King, he and his soldiers came under attack while trying to return to Tampa by way of crossing the Withlacoochee River. Although Gaines sent a request for reinforcements after the first day, no help came and the siege lasted two weeks. The soldiers protected themselves inside a 250-yard quadrangle fortified with log breastworks and earthen bastions which they named Camp Izard after the first solder that died in the skirmish. Rations ran out and the men were forced to eat their horses and dogs to survive. Gaines was injured in the mouth. Help eventually came, but only after Gaines and his men had negotiated a truce with the Seminole.
General Jesup replaced both Scott and Gaines in January 1837. Jesup’s approach to battling the Seminole included wearing them down by continually driving them from their encampments. Soon, nearly 700 Seminoles surrendered to Fort Brooke to await their journey west. However, on June 2, 1837, Osceola led a raiding party to free the Seminoles, reigniting the conflict. In 1838, Micanopy was captured with Osceola and others by General Jesup’s forces while under a false flag of truce. This breach of honor by the U.S. military was considered an outrage by much of the public.