Weekly Reads

Weekly Reads: Swamp Sailors in the Second Seminole War

Swamp Sailors in the Second Seminole War (Florida Sand Dollar Books) by George E. Buker is a bit of a heavy read, but well worth it. Students and researchers interested in the Seminole Wars need to read this to attain a deeper understanding of the part the Navy played in the Second Seminole War.

swampsailorInformation about the book: The Indian Removal Act of 1830 led to the Second Seminole War, fought by the United States to evict the Seminoles from the Florida Territory. When the last surviving Seminoles sought refuge in the Everglades and resorted to guerrilla-style tactics, however, the U.S. Navy found its standard strategies of guerre de course and gunboat coastal defense useless.

For the first time in its history, the American Navy was forced to operate in a nonmaritime environment. In Swamp Sailors, George Buker describes how Navy junior officers outshone their commanders, proving themselves less resistant to change and more ready to implement novel strategies, including joint combat operations and maneuvers designed specifically for a riverine environment.

By 1842, when the Second Seminole War was halted, Lt. John McLaughlin’s “Mosquito Fleet” exemplified the Navy’s new expertise by making use of canoes and flat-bottomed boats and by putting together small, specially trained joint combat teams of Army and Navy personnel for sustained land-sea operations. 

 Originally published in 1975 and now in paperback for the first time, Buker’s Swamp Sailors is the story of the U.S. Navy’s coming of age, sure to be of interest to military history enthusiasts, to students of Florida history, and to armchair sailors everywhere.

This book is a particularly enjoyable account of the United States Navy’s part in the Second Seminole War. It’s a short book with plenty of fascinating information. Highly recommended.

Ask for it at your local library!


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