On the 23rd day of December in 1855, I, Adolphus N Pacetti, was employed by Colonel John Monroe, commanding at Fort Brooks, Florida. I was sent to the frontier on special service to notify the settlers that the Seminole Indians had broken out, wounded Lieutenant Harshof, killed several of his men, wounded the rest, and for the settlers to stockade themselves for protection.
In the spring of 1856, I was employed as expressman to carry the US dispatches from Fort Brooks to Ocala as the Indians had committed deprivations on that line, and deterred the US mail from being conveyed on that line until the United States had organized and sent troops to protect this part of country. After this, I was employed as wagon master in charge of all government teams and stock.
In the later part of June 1857, I received an order from Colonel John Monroe, Commanding Officer at Fort Brooks, to organize a company of boatmen to serve in the everglades and adjacent country. After receiving this order in the early part of July 1857, I was compelled to leave Tampa as men for enlistment at that time were scarce on account of the organizing of other companies at that time. I had to go to Palatka, Ocala, Saint Augustine, and Jacksonville. After recruiting at Jacksonville I took what recruits I had enlisted to Palatka, where I met my other recruits, and marched them to Fort Brooks, arriving there about the 20th day of July.
We were mustered in the United States service on the 27th day of July 1857, by Major Francis N Page, who was US Mustering Officer at that time. We were mustered into US service to serve the US the same as regulars, the same as all enlisted men in the service of the US to serve six months or sooner discharged. We were to be paid by the Quartermaster, as these were special companies ordered to serve in the everglades. I had to pay all the expenses, which amounted to about $250.00 in recruiting and feeding them during their march to Fort Brooks from Palatka, where I had to hire a team to convey their provisions and baggage. After being mustered in service I was instructed by Major Page to go to the armory and there draw arms and ammunition from Lieutenant CC Howard, who was in charge of the armory at that time. After thoroughly organizing my company I remained at Fort Brooks a few days in camp.
I received an order from Colonel Loomis, Commanding US Officer with headquarters at Fort Brooks, to proceed with my company to Fort Kissimmee and there to take boats and proceed down the Kissimmee River to Lake Okeechobee and scout the west margin of the lake and cooperate with the cavalry in search of the Indians. I was on that scout 42 days. Reaching Fort Comb on Fisheating Creek I found no Indians on the lake, but from signs left by them, were three burnt villages, one containing about sixty huts, and two more nearby about twenty huts each. These huts were east of Taylor Creek in the northeast of the lake and near where General Zachary Taylor had fought the Indians in 1836. In following these Indians trails from time to time, I discovered that they led toward the big cypress. I notified Colonel St George Rogers, who commanded the second district, of my discovery. He took two or three of his companies, dismounted them at Fort Drum in the Big Cypress, and penetrated through the Big Cypress, enduring the most terrible hardships and suffering. They came upon Billy-Bowlegs town, which they entirely broke up, capturing several Indians and two of Billy-Bowlegs wives. In this skirmish Captain Parkhill was killed. This happened in November or December of 1857.
In January 1858, I received orders from commanding officer to move my company from Lake Okeechobee to Fort Myers by transporting my boats and wagons from Fort Center on Fisheating Creek to Fort Thompson on Caloosahatchee River. From there I proceeded down the river to Fort Myers with my company. It being the latter part of January and the war with the Indians was about closed, I was ordered to Fort Brooks and there my company was mustered out on the 30th day of January 1958.
These three boat companies did more benefit for the US Government than any other troops in the company in capturing Indians, which the records in Washington will show if examined into. And how can anyone imagine what these men suffered in this service, without tents nearby all of the time, for it was impossible to carry anything more than your ration and a tin cup to cook a little coffee at a time. On these scouts in the everglades swamps most of the time we were wading in mud and water. At night we would have to cut saw grass and pile it up so as we could get out of mud and water to get a little rest. We were wet nearly all the time, and the men suffered from fever from their exposure. At one time, I had to stop on Observation Island ten or twelve days with fifteen of my men down with pneumonia. I had no doctor in my company but I had medicines with me, which I administered to the men with great success. It is impossible to describe the hardship and suffering that these men endured without a murmur of discontent, but ever-faithful performers of their duty.