Graham's Magazine Vol XXXII No. 6 June 1848

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Excerpt Time and opportunity make men—and high talent in any profession or sphere of life is valueless unless called into action. This is strikingly exemplified in the career of the person with whom we now have to do. Samuel Walker was born in the county of Prince George, Maryland, in the year 1815. His family, though respectable, had neither fortune nor influence sufficient to advance his interests; and at an early age he was thrown on the world, dependent for success only on his own exertions. Educated to no profession or business, the chances of his drawing a prize in the lottery of life seemed small indeed, yet it is probable no man of his grade in the service has, since the commencement of the Mexican war, attracted more attention. Of the early career of Walker we know little except that in 1840 he was one of the party of less than twenty men selected by Col. Harney, from the strength of the 2d Dragoons, to penetrate the great Payhaokee or everglades of Florida. The history of this expedition is peculiar. After the battle of Okeechobee the might of the Seminoles was broken, and they took refuge in the chain of lakes and immense hamacs which extend almost from Cape Florida to the Suwannee River. Divided into small parties, they defied the pursuit of heavy columns, yet frequently left their fastnesses to commit the most fearful atrocities. During the winter of 1839 and 40 they had been peculiarly bold, and had ventured even to attack, under the guns of Fort Micanopy, a party of mounted infantry which was escorting the young and beautiful wife of an officer of the 7th Infantry to a neighboring post. This party, with the exception of two or three persons, was destroyed. It became evident that no operations could lead to a good result unless the Indians were pursued to their own retreats, and treated as they had themselves conducted the war. Col. Harney, who was in command of one of the departments of Florida, immediately organized an expedition for the purpose of entering the great everglade south of the Lake Okeechobee, in which the Seminoles were supposed to be in much strength. The country in which he was about to act seemed to be the realization of the poetic chaos. It was overgrown with trees of immense size, of kinds almost unknown in other portions of the peninsula, and grass of great highth and strength rose two or three feet above the surface of the water, which not unfrequently had a depth of several feet. Notwithstanding, however, that this was the general character of the country there were often portages, or shoal and dry places, over which it was necessary to carry their boats by main force. In this kind of country the Indians had the manifest advantage, being acquainted with sinuous pathways, which, it is said, enabled them to thread all the intricacies of the hamac almost without wetting the moccason. The party of Col. Harney, however, were picked men, inured to all the hardships of Indian warfare, and after several days of hide and seek, surprised a party of Indians, among whom was a chief of distinction. As this identical party had more than once surrendered and broken truce, Colonel Harney ordered all the men to be hung summarily, and took the women with him to the nearest post as prisoners....
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