The Battle of Lake Okeechobee
was one of the major battles of the Second Seminole War
. It was fought between 800 troops of the 1st, 4th, and 6th Infantry Regiments and 132 Missouri Volunteers (under the command of Colonel Zachary Taylor
) and between 380 and 480 Seminoles
led by Billy Bowlegs
, Abiaca and Alligator on December 25, 1837. The Seminole were resisting forced relocation to a reservation out west. Though both the Seminoles
and Taylor's troops emerged from the battle claiming victory, Taylor was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General
as a result, and his nickname of "Old Rough and Ready" came mostly due to this battle.
Taylor's army came up to a large hammock with half a mile of swamp in front of it. On the far side of the hammock was Lake Okeechobee
. Here the saw grass stood five feet high. The mud and water were three feet deep. Horses would be of no use. It was plain that the Seminole meant this to be the battleground. They had sliced the grass to provide an open field of fire and had notched the trees to steady their rifles. Their scouts were perched in the treetops to follow every movement of the troops coming up.
At about half past noon, the sun shining directly overhead and the air still and quiet, Taylor moved his troops squarely into the center of the swamp. His plan was to make a direct attack rather than encircle the Indians. All his men were on foot. In the... Read More