The Suwannee engagement was the largest and most decisive battle of the war, and the principal fighters were black. Despite the prominence of the black warriors, however, politicians and historians united in writing them out of the record books, classifying the First Seminole War as an Indian conflict. Jackson's enemies, most notably Henry Clay, sharply criticized the general's treatment of the Indians, but legislators did not protest the devastation wrought upon the blacks, if they were even aware of it. And yet Jackson's primary goal in Florida appears to have been the destruction of the black settlements on the Suwannee. The Hero himself did not shy away from describing the danger of the African rebels, as in this 1817 letter to the Pensacola governor:
"[N]egroes who have fled from their masters, citizens of the United States … and the Seminole Indians … all uniting, have raised the tomahawk, and, in the character of savage warfare, have neither regarded sex nor age. Helpless women have been massacred, and the cradle crimsoned
with the blood of innocence."
ASPMA 1: 722, Mulroy 16, ASPFR 4: 584, 567.
Part 1, Early Years: l