Clinch's first-hand account of the attack
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Lt. Colonel Clinch wrote at least two graphic descriptions of the explosion of the fort. One account was in a letter to Robert Butler on August 2, 1816, which subsequently appeared in the
National Intelligencer (November 15, 1819) and in Coe's 1898 pro-Seminole history
Red Patriots (19):
"The explosion was awful, and the scene horrible beyond description. Our first care, on arriving at the scene of the destruction, was to rescue and relieve the unfortunate beings who survived the explosion. The war yells of the Indians, the cries and lamentations of the wounded, compelled the soldier to pause in the midst of victory, to drop a tear for the sufferings of his fellow beings, and to acknowledge that the great Ruler of the Universe must have used us as his instruments in chastising the blood-thirsty and murderous wretches that defended the fort."
A second version of the same account appeared in the Army and Navy Chronicle (2: 115), the official periodical of the corps. The
Chronicle version included more graphic detail on the suffering of the victims:
"The explosion was awful, and the scene horrible beyond description. You cannot conceive, nor I describe the horrors of the scene. In an instant lifeless bodies were stretched upon the plain, buried in sand and rubbish, or suspended from the tops of the surrounding pines. Here lay an innocent babe, there a helpless mother; on the one side a sturdy warrior, on the other a bleeding squaw. Piles of bodies, large heaps of sand, broken guns, accoutrements, etc, covered the site of the fort. The brave soldier was disarmed of his resentment and checked his victorious career, to drop a tear on the distressing scene."
Clinch probably wrote both letters around the same time, varying the description slightly for each audience.
National Intelligencer Nov 15 1819, Coe 19, A&NC 2: 115.
Part 1, Early Years: l