Historic Markers Across Alabama

Seminole Wars / Mexican War

Marker ID:  
Location: 200 Monroe Street Northwest, Huntsville AL
County: Madison
Coordinates: N 34° 44.102    W 086° 35.315
  34.73503333    -86.58858333
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Seminole Wars

I am Private Pet Younger of the 4th US Infantry Regiment. I joined the Regular Army in November 1835 at age 15. I was specially trained as part of the light infantry company whose main jobs were scouting and skirmishing. My training was mighty timely because I had stumbled right into the Second Seminole War! The Seminoles were a mixture of original Florida natives, Creeks fleeing Alabama and Georgia after the Creek War, and fugitive slaves. The conflict dates back to May 1814, when British forces landed in Western Florida, armed the Indians and built a fort. When General Jackson chased the British and their Indian allies out of Mobile and Pensacola, fugitive's slaves took over the fort. Southern whites saw it as a dangerous inspiration for their slaves to run away. In 1817, American squatters and outlaws raided the Seminoles, killing villagers and stealing cattle and the Seminoles replied in kind. They killed a group of American sailors, which led to the First"official” Seminole War. Jackson attacked the Indians and Spanish and in 1819, Spain ceded West Florida to United States. Victory was declared and the Seminoles were allowed a reservation in central Florida. The Second War stemmed from President Jackson's Indian Relocation Act (Trail of Tears) in 1830, requiring all Indians to move west of the Mississippi River. The Seminoles rebelled and ambushed and massacred most of Major Francis L. Dade's force of 108 men on 28 December 1835. My regiment immediately went to Florida to begin a miserable, hellish, swampy trek lasting seven years. Regimental line of battle formations completely failed in the swamps. But by 1841, the Army started using light infantry skirmish drill. This succeeded and in 1842, the last 300 starving Indians surrendered. Our exhausted Army declared victory allowing the Seminoles the reservation shown in yellow on the map. However in 1855, with settlers and soldiers moving onto his lands. Billy Bowlegs' band attacked an Army camp killing four men, which started the Third Seminole War. The Florida Militia was called up but proved worst than useless. In 1856 and 1857, Regulars took over and successfully attacked swamp camps using boat companies. On May 8, 1858 the war was over and the remaining 100 Seminoles in the southern Florida swamps stayed quite permanently. Thus ended a long, costly, brutal, unpopular period of American history.

Mexican War
I am Corporal Lemuel Ruffin the First Marine Battalion. We fought in the war with Mexico. This war was the result of Texas joining the United States. When the Texians (you now call then Texans) won their independence in 1836 Mexico regarded it a state in rebellion but still a MEXICAN state. So when it was accepted as the 28th state of the United States on December 19, 1845, the Mexicans got down right peeved. They insisted that the border was not the Rio Grande but the Nueces River 150 miles to the north. So they sent troops across the Rio Grande to reclaim the disputed territory. Now President Polk had been trying to buy a big chunk of Mexico to fulfill the idea of Manifest Destiny. That was the notion that our nation was destined to extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific. With Mexican troops on American soil, the US declared war in 1846 and quickly occupied New Mexico and California and blockaded the Pacific coast. General Zachary Taylor and 2,300 soldiers charged into northern Mexico, guns ablazing. Our better weapons and new tactic of using mounted artillerymen,"flying artillery”, helped us overcome the larger Mexican Army and seize northern Mexico. In March 1847, the Marines landed with General Winfield Scott's Army of 10,000 men near Vera Cruz on Mexico's east coast without the loss of a single life. We lay siege to the city and bombarded it with field artillery and huge ship's guns that we moved on shore to take the city. They gave up on March 29 and in April we started a march to the Capital, Mexico City. We were in a number of pitched battles along the way but even thought outnumbered we were better trained, armed, and supplied and always victorious. My toughest fight was storming Chapultepec Castle perched on top of a 200-foot hill south of Mexico City. Five hundred men including me and a company of marines charged forward and were hit with a hail of musketry and cannon balls from above. Through sheer determination and bravery we gained the summit, swarmed over the walls, and drove the enemy out. Scarcely pausing, we pressed on to Mexico City and by nightfall held two gates to the city. At dawn the next day, September 14, the city surrendered and we raised the American flag over the Halls of Montezuma! In February 1848 the United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the war. Texas was recognized as part of the United States and a huge part of Mexico was ceded to the United States, extending our boundaries west to the Pacific Ocean. We marines always gave a good account of ourselves in Mexico and added more honor to our reputation. We also added the first line of the Marine Corps Hymn,"From the Halls of Montezuma”.

Erected 2013.

End of Seminole Wars / Mexican War