Future Maj. Gen. writes from Fort Pleasant Fla about capturing Indians
March 22, 1842
Israel Bush Richardson was 26 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Marcella M. Richardson, was 14 when it was received.
Israel Bush Richardson died 20 years, 7 months, 12 days after writing this.
It was written 177 years, 9 months, 27 days ago.
It was a Tuesday.
Fort Pleasant, M. F. [Middle Florida]
March 22, 1842
We returned from a scout on the Suwanee River about a week since, and I have not had an opportunity of writing home before. All the officers are well here; the men are much troubled with influenza at this fort as well as the others. Our scouting party consisted of 120 men and 6 officers, was out 12 days in the hammocks in the vicinity of Charles Ferry on the Suwanee River. Saw no Indians during the tour, but found a camp where they had been about 3 weeks before, probably 8 or 10 in number. The detachment of the 7th Infantry under Col. Whistler operating in the same direction; was more fortunate and took 9 women and children as prisoners in their camp. The men themselves got clear of the troops. Maj. Belknap has taken 19 Indian prisoners on the Caloosahatchee River in East Florida in the Big Cypress Swamp and Major Plympton has taken 6 more. The 6th Infantry has left Florida for Jefferson Barracks. The 3 companies of this Regt. In M. F. have been replaced by 3 of the 2nd Dragoons. It is supposed the 2nd Dragoons will leave Florida on the first of May; the first Regt. Left about 2 months since. Considerable is said of the war being ended soon but Capt. Wheeler says he has seen two orders given that the war is finished on order by Gen. Scott and on by Gen. Macomb and he shall not be satisfied that the troops are going to get out of the country; until they get well started on their way to the north or west.
The weather here s very mild and warm. We shall soon commence to make a garden. The Capt. says we shall have two acres in it at least and 150 men will soon finish it. He says he made one at Waccasassa in East F. last year and as soon as the Peas and other things were fit to use; he was ordered to this Post, and the troops lost their garden. The peaches in this country are now quite large and peas were plenty in St. Augustine 2 months ago. The corn in the country among the planters is generally 2 to 3 inches above the ground, and cotton is beginning to be planted. The country about here abounds in game. I killed a deer the other day and brought it home. Killed the largest turkey on the scout I ever saw, it weighed above 20 pounds. I am getting to be a great hunter and woodsmen, get grey and black squirrels and pigeons every day that I go out. Killed a large turkey day before yesterday. I use a W. S. rifle in hunting altogether and am very expert as a marksmen, can kill a squirrel on the highest pine at every shot. A deer sometimes runs a great distance after being shot. I was out on a scout up the Suwanee with 30 men and shot a deer when he was upon the jump. The ball went through him on one side and out at the other through its lights. We followed the deer about a mile by the blood and he was a very large one.
I have received several papers from Susan at Pontiac, but no letter I think. I have written her two letters since I came here. The Postmaster in Tallahassee is in no haste to forward letters or papers. Some of the officers at this Fort, had 5 or six letters remains in the office a month. Letters often lay in the office a month or six weeks before they are sent to the north or west.
This fort is considered to [be] very healthy. No soldiers died here last year except 2 or 3 who took the fever at Port Leon. Capt. Wheeler thinks it is as healthy here as at any fort he could name in the U. States for order has been received here that no men scouting will be down in M. F. unless some other Indian depredations are committed. All that is to be done by the troops; will be to drill; furnish escorts and protection for the citizens; and to keep the forts in good police so as to be in readiness for the approaching sickly season. I have to finish my letter as the mail is about to be closed. Write me as soon and as often and tell the others of the family t do the same. Please make my respects to all the friends at B. My love to yourself and the rest of the relations in Vermont.
From your affectionate brother,
Israel B. Richardson