In these woods on Christmas Day 1837, was fought the Battle of Okeechobee, in which a large band of Seminole Indians, under Chief Wild Cat, Alligator, and Sam Jones was routed by a brigade led by Colonel Zachary Taylor, consisting of the First, Fourth and Sixth Regiments of Infantry of the regular Army and the First Regiments of Missouri Volunteers totaling about 800 men. Fighting was close, desperate and bloody. Losses—Seminoles, unknown; Whites, 28 killed, 111 wounded. This action was the turning point of organized resistance in Florida.
Officers who lost their lives were:
Colonel Richard Gentry of the Missouri Volunteers;
Lieut.-Col. Alexander T. Thompson,
Capt. Joseph Van Swearingen
1st Lieut. Francis J. Brooke,
1st Lieut. John P. Center.
All of the Sixth Infantry, Regular Army.