“The book has a double value in the text of the author and the annotation by the editor. The author adds to . . . our knowledge of the peninsula warfare and gives probably the best extant account of operations in the north central region of Florida and in southern Georgia.”—Journal of Southern History
“The reader gets a good feeling of what campaigning in Florida meant to one used to the comforts of Charleston and Cambridge. . . . Lively, humorous, and very easy to read. In style the book is far above most descriptions of the Seminole Wars written by participants.”—Florida Historical Quarterly
In 1836, 24-year-old Jacob Rhett Motte, a Harvard-educated southern gentleman with a literary flair, departed his hometown of Charleston to serve as an Army surgeon in wars against the Creek and Seminole Indians. He found himself transported from aristocratic social circles into a wild frontier.
Motte recorded his experiences in a lively journal, presented in full in Journey into Wilderness: An Army Surgeon’s Account of Life in Camp and Field during the Creek and Seminole Wars, 1836–1838. In his journal, Motte relates observations of Indian warfare from southern Georgia and eastern Alabama to Key Largo in Florida. He reports his impressions of pioneer settlements, military fortifications, towns, roads, frontier life and society, and geography. His journal also offers glimpses of the economic, political, and religious trends of the time. A fascinating story and travelogue, it is a rare firsthand account of life on the Georgia-Alabama-Florida frontier.
Jacob Rhett Motte (1811–1868) was a U.S. Army surgeon during the Seminole Wars of the early nineteenth-century. He later worked in private practice in Charleston, South Carolina.