The Black Hawk and Seminole Wars
Digital History ID 684
Coacooche, a son of a major Seminole leader, was taken captive, along with Osceola, in 1837, during negotiations with the U.S. military. He and nineteen others escaped from an American prison in St. Augustine. He was finally forced to surrender in 1841, when he made the following statement.
I saw the white man, and was told he was my enemy. I could not shoot him as I would a wolf or a bear; yet like these he came upon me; horses, cattle, and fields, he took from me. He said he was my friend; he abused our women and children, and told us to go from the land. Still he gave me his hand in friendship; we took it; whilst taking it, he had a snake in the other; his tongue was forked; he lied and stung us. I asked but for a small piece of these lands, enough to plant and to live upon, far south, a spot where I could place the ashes of my kindred, a spot only sufficient upon which I could lay my wife and child. This was not granted me. I was put in prison; I escaped. I have been again taken; you have brought me back; I am here; I feel the irons in my heart....I wish now to have my band around me and go to Arkansas. You say I must end this war! Look at these irons! Can I go to my warriors? Coacooche chained! No, do not ask me to see them. I never wish to tread upon my land unless I am free. If I can go to them unchained they will follow me in...they will surrender and emigrate.
Source: John T. Sprague, The Origin, Progress, and Conclusion of the Florida War (New York, 1848), Chapter 6.
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