Like the mystical Phoenix, Fort King rose from its ashes. Jesup built it both as a Command Center and as a Symbol of American strength and determination. The Seminoles could not destroy the Phoenix. When killed, it would rise and rise again.
Built to the same dimensions and of Long Leaf Pines on the same spot as stood the first Fort King (1827), Jesup's Fort King (1837) was approximately 160 feet square with bastions (blockhouses) at the Northeast and Southwest corners. Interior structures included billets, barracks, and a kitchen with mess hall. Ammo magazines were buried at separated distances. A guard tower stood above the enlisted barracks having a cow bell to warn of approaching strangers. Out buildings and housing surrounded the stockade.
It faced southeast, toward the Seep Spring and the Rising Sun. Through its main gate came the panoply of the wilderness frontier - Soldiers, Seminoles, Sutlers, Settlers, Slaves, and Surveyors. By 1840, Fort King took on the appearance of a modern military base complete with officer housing in which wives cooked, conceived, and cradled. Over it all stood the American Flag on a towering Long Leaf Pine flag pole waving in the breeze to the backdrop of the Forest.
In 1839, the Commanding Officer of the Army (the man Jesup, Scott, and Gaines reported to) was Alexander Macomb. In March he was directed by the Secretary of War to go to Florida and end the War by whatever means he could while protecting the Settlers. Like most of the other officers, he was appalled at the inhumanity and continued violence of the 'Florida War' and wanted it brought to a close.
It took him two weeks (April 22 to May 4, 1839) to reach Florida from Washington after an arduous journey on river boats, railroads, ocean steamers, and stagecoaches. He arrived at Fort King under dragoon escort on May 20, 1839.
While in route he had sent out Indian runners into the forest to invite the remaining Seminole War Chiefs to a peace conference at Fort King. General Zachary Taylor, now in Command in Florida, had told him that the only way to end the war was to give the Seminoles some small piece of land in Florida on which they could live (the same recommendation that Jesup had given earlier).
Macomb decided to meet with the Seminoles unarmed in their camp and offer them a new Indian Reserve south of the Peace River in which they could live in peace and be protected by the U.S. Army. It was a remarkable and genuine offer of Peace. Fort King had again become the place of Peace.
The War Chiefs came to Fort King and brought their families. Macomb gave the emaciated and naked women clothing. He fed them and their children. Halleck (the primary Seminole War chief in Central Florida) wanted peace.
On this Site, they smoked peace pipes, danced, and rejoiced. Both sides wanted the violence brought to an end. After a week of celebration, the Seminoles returned to the Forest. McComb proud of his efforts to achieve 'Peace with Honor' in Florida returned to Washington on a roundabout tour of the eastern States including a stop in sleepy little village in Pennsylvania called Gettysburg.
Unfortunately Macomb's efforts came to naught. The people of Florida did not want peace. They wanted War and the Seminoles completely eradicated from Florida. They would not support Macomb's Peace Plan and stepped up militia attacks on Seminole families. The War resumed unabated.
But the important thing was that Macomb had tried. The remaining Seminoles now knew that their only hope of justice and humanity rested with the Federal Government. They had no hope of justice or mercy from the Florida Government. In the years ahead, Seminoles in a slow but steady fashion kept surrendering to the Federal Government. They knew better than to surrendered to the Territorial Militias.