Cedar Key, Florida - History - Indian War

Indian War

Permanent historic occupation of the islands began in 1839, when the United States Army, led by General Zachary Taylor, established "Fort No. 4", which served as a depot and included a hospital, on Depot Key (later known as Atsena Otie Key) during the Second Seminole War. This became the headquarters of the Army of the South. Cantonment Morgan was established on nearby Seahorse Key late in the war and used as a troop deployment station and as a holding station for Seminoles who had been captured or who had surrendered until they could be sent to the West. A hurricane with a 27-foot (8.2 m) storm surge struck the Cedar Keys on October 4, 1842, destroying Cantonment Morgan and causing much damage on Depot Key. Some Seminole leaders had been meeting with Army officers at Depot Key to negotiate their surrender or a retreat to a reservation in the Everglades. After the hurricane, the Seminoles refused to return to the area. Colonel William J. Worth had declared the war to be over in August 1842, and Depot Key was abandoned by the Army after the hurricane.

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