Longer excerpt and context of Jesup's observation
to main trail
It is interesting to read Jesup's frequently cited comment that, "This … is a negro, not an Indian
war," in its full context. Jesup offered his observation to Acting Secretary of War Benjamin Butler in a letter estimating the size of the enemy forces, which he gauged at between 480 and 800 warriors:
"If I should not succeed in dislodging Powell [Osceola], I can on returning to this place, strike Micanopy, Philip, and Cooper, who are about a day's march from each other, each with from one hundred and twenty to two hundred Indian and negro warriors
-- the latter, perhaps, the more numerous. My object will be to strike them in succession, and prevent them from congregating.
"By all means let me have the sixth regiment; and if any companies of the second regiment of dragoons have been raised, let me have them.
"This, you may be assured, is a negro, not an Indian war; and if it be not speedily put down, the south will feel the effects of it on their slave population before the end of the next season."
Jesup made the observation within days of assuming command in Florida, but he would never deviate from this assessment of the war. Its
essential accuracy is at least partially supported by the fact that all of the major battles of the Second Seminole War took place while blacks were still engaged. No major battles took place after
the maroons quit the field.
ASPMA 7: 820-21.
Part 2, War: l