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The Second Seminole Indian War, 1837-1841 was fought by the United States to drive the Seminole Indians from the peninsula of Florida. From his main base at Fort Mellon (Sanford) on Lake Monroe General Jesup, Army of the South Commander, proposed to send an army of 2000 men under the command of General Eustis to the head waters of the St. Johns River in pursuit of the southward retreating Seminoles. To support this army he established supply depots a day's march apart (approximately 30 miles) along his proposed route.
Fort Lane was the first depot in this chain. It was established here on the west bank of Lake Harney on December 18, 1837 by Companies F & K, 2nd United States Infantry under the command of Major Greenleaf Dearborn of Maine. Brought by barges from Fort Mellon, the companies consisted of an average of 125 Florida militiamen, including a fifer and a drummer, according to army records (post returns).
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In one of Jesup's dispatches this fort was datelined "Headquarters, Army of the South, Fort Lane, head of Lake Harney". The post returns indicate that in March 1838 having completed its assignment, the Fort Lane detachment returned to Fort Mellon.
Kentuckian, Captain John F. Lane (1810-1836), for whom Fort Lane was named, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1828. His first assignment was as a professor of mathematics and philosophy at West Point. In 1836 he committed suicide while serving as aide-de-camp to General Jesup. His death may be viewed as a commentary on the well documented effect of health and/or the ill-defined bouts with conscience to which the military was subjected.
Other officers were Lieutenants Silas Casey as adjutant J.R.D. Bennett, William Alburtis, Hannibal Day and Major Thomas Steniford.