Rebellion Florida slave uprising: 1835-38     
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Overview > Toolkit on the rebellion > Tally of plantation slave rebels
spacer Tally of plantation slaves in the Black Seminole slave rebellion, with sources

Note: This version of the table is out-of-date. The current, revised version is here.

How to read this table: Estimates of slaves in rebellion are listed plantation by plantation, with numbers from various sources listed together to afford a comparative view. Sources are listed completely in the end notes.
     Low numbers represent the most conservative figures reported. High numbers represent the highest numbers reported. In one instance ("Dupont & other unspecified plantations"), the numbers are estimates. Aside from this, only reported numbers are included.
     Subtotal estimates are conservative, based on the credibility of the combined sources. Further research into correspondence and newspaper reports will likely raise both the low and high estimates. The list of "Miscellaneous other estimates" at the end shows three other people's attempts at the total number of plantation rebels. My final estimate (385-465) is at the bottom of the table.

Dates: Unless noted, all reported plantation rebels defected between Christmas day 1835 and mid-January 1836. There are no reports of mass defections after 1836. Plantation rebels remained with the Seminole allies through 1838.

Master(s) and/or plantations Low # High # Source & notes
Col. Rees, Spring Garden area 160   Cohen. Cohen's 1836 report cited “about 160” slaves carried off. [1]
  160   St. Augustine Herald. “At Spring Garden, we learn from Forrester … the negroes, amounting to one hundred and sixty … taken off.” [3]
  160   Boyd. Cites Cohen number and patrol reporting “complete destruction” of sugar plantations in this area. [2]
Subtotal estimate 160    
Cruger and Depeyster, New Smyrna area 70 80 Niles' Weekly Register. Anonymous letter from St. Augustine, dated January 6, 1836, states, "Depeyster has 70 or 80 negroes taken away—Heriott as many." [4]
  60   Boyd. "They secured 60 of the Depeyster negroes," concluded Boyd. [5]
  45   Cohen. [6]
  No #'s given   St. Augustine Herald. Captain John S. Williams reported from region of St. Johns County plantations that Depeyster’s “negroes, with all but one or two exceptions, [were] captured and taken off.” [7]
Subtotal estimate 60    
Heriot, New Smyrna area 75   Boyd. Boyd concluded that " ... on Major Heriot’s place all, including the sugarhouse, was fired and 75 negroes were carried away." [8]
  70 80 Niles' Weekly Register and Cohen. Anonymous letter from St. Augustine dated January 6, 1836, appearing in Niles' Weekly Register, stated, "Depeyster has 70 or 80 negroes taken away—Heriott as many." [9]
  80 80 Cohen reported slaves "about 80 in number" captured from Heriot. [9]
  No # given No # given St. Augustine Herald. Captain John S. Williams reported, “All the negroes captured and taken off.” [10]
  75   St. Augustine Herald. Editors reported Indians carried off all Heriot’s “negroes, about seventy-five in number.” [11]
Subtotal estimate 75    
Woodruff, Forrester, Joseph Woodruff 20   Cohen. See entry on Colonel Rees. Deduced by subtraction since Cohen mentions 180 negroes taken from Rees and Woodruff estate combined while listing negroes taken specifically from Rees as “about” 160. [12]
Subtotal estimate 20    
Stamp and Hunter 3 3 Boyd and Porter. Both cited three slaves as exceptions to “most” of the slaves of Stamp and Hunter whom overseers succeeded in restraining. [13]
  4 5 St. Augustine Herald. Captain John S. Williams reported, “Hunter’s cotton house burnt, and four or five negroes taken.” [14]
Subtotal estimate 4    
  12   U.S. Congress House 25.2 Report 1043. “… [T]he Indians captured about a dozen of the negroes as he [Hernandez] was in the act of taking them away.” [15]
Subtotal estimate 12    
Dupont (Buen Retiro plantation) & other unspecified plantations 20 100 Cohen. Sometime after February 24, 1836, when Cohen stopped keeping his wartime journal, “The Indians had … carried off the negroes, and destroyed his [Dupont's] buildings. So in like manner, of other places subsequently to the time at which I journalized.” [16]
Subtotal estimate 20    
Humphreys 34   Littlefield. Humphreys reported that during the summer of 1836 Indians “captured” 34 of his negroes, and he reported an additional number had joined the Seminole allies in the year before the war. [17]
  34 59 U.S. Congress House 25.3 Ex. Doc. 225. Writing government officials in 1838 advancing a claim for Black Seminoles and slaves lost: “My heaviest loss consisted in negroes; a valuable gang of thirty-four of whom were captured by the enemy in the summer of 1836; some twenty-five others absconded before the war commenced, and took refuge in the Indian country.” [18]
Subtotal estimate 34    
Miscellaneous other estimates      
Sprague 100 150 Sprague. In the first months of the war, from December 1835 through the spring of 1836, Sprague reported the devastation of 16 plantations on which were employed between 100 and 150 slaves. This number is 5 short of the accepted total of 21 destroyed plantations. [19]
Anonymous 400   Niles' Weekly Register. From letter to the Charleston Courier with a dateline of “St. Augustine, Jan. 14”: “There are now about 400 negroes, perhaps more, in the hands of the Indians. The whole of East Florida is very much at the mercy of the enemy....” [20]
Rivers 750 1,000 Rivers. Historian Larry Rivers estimated that as many as 750 to 1,000 or more slaves may have sided with the Black Seminoles. [21]
  Low # High # Source & notes
Rebellion's estimated total 385 465 "Rebellion" at High estimate assumes about 100 (not 20) escaped from other plantations after Feb. 24, 1836. [22]
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Also see:

Slave Uprising: 6 story panels on the rebellion from the Trail Narrative.

The largest slave rebellion in U.S. history: Essay documenting size and scope of the rebellion and comparing it to other major U.S. slave revolts.

The buried history of the rebellion: Essay exploring how and why scholars overlooked the largest slave revolt in U.S. history.