Lossing's Field Book of the War of 1812, Chapter XXXIII - War against the Creek Indians.






Louisiana and the Floridas. – Insurrectionary Movements. – Events at Baton Rouge. – West Florida claimed by the United States. – Military Movements therein. – Intermeddling of a British Official. – Events near Mobile. – Admission of Louisiana. – Insurrection in East Florida. – Seizure of East Florida by United States Officials. – Expedition against Mobile. – General Wilkinson. – Surrender of Mobile by the Spaniards. – Tennesseeans under Andrew Jackson preparing for War. – The Tennesseeans on the Mississippi River. – Their Treatment by the Government. – Jackson’s Kindness. – Jackson’s fiery Letters. – Return of his Troops to Nashville. – His pecuniary Troubles on their Account. – The Government just. – Tecumtha in the Creek Country. – His successful Appeals to the Creeks. – Tecumtha at a great Council. – He traverses the Creek Country. – His Threat and its Fulfillment. – The Creek Nation and their Position. – General James Robertson. – Choctaws and Chickasaws. – Civil War in the Creek Nation. – The white Inhabitants in Peril. – The Militia called out. – The Militia in the Field. – March of M‘Queen and his Followers from Pensacola. – Battle of Burnt Corn Creek. – General Claiborne in the Creek Country. – Refugee Settlers. – Mims’s House fortified. – Map of a Part of the Creek Country. – Fort Mims and its Occupants. – Claiborne’s Anxiety about the Settlers. – Rumors of impending Indian Hostilities. – Pacification of the Choctaws. – Stockades threatened. – Fort Mims crowded with Refugees. – Warnings of Slaves unheeded. – Indians near the Fort. – The Indian Leaders. – Gathering of the hostile Savages. – False Confidence of the Commander at Fort Mims. – Sudden Appearance of the Indians. – Furious Assault on the Fort. – A terrible Battle in Fort Mims. – Massacre in Fort Mims. – Scalping the Dead and Dying. – Price for Scalps offered by the British Agent. – Number of the Slain. – Indians rewarded by the British Agent. – Horrors of the Massacre. – Burial of the Dead. – Distress in the Creek Country. – Response of the Tennesseeans to a Cry for Help. – Jackson’s Appeal, and its Effects. – General Coffee in Northern Alabama. – Jackson in the Field. – Mobile threatened, but saved.


"Oh, dim waned the moon through the flitting clouds of night,

With a dubious and shadowy gleaming,
Where the ramparts of Mims rose stilly on the sight,
And the star-spangled banner was streaming.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
And far still that wild horde of savage birth they deem’d,
And far every fearful intrusion,
Till the war-hatchet swift o’er their fated fortress gleam’d,
Midst despair, havoc, death, and confusion."


Hitherto, in the course of our narrative, we have only observed hints of hostile operations in the more southern portion of the republic, beginning with the endeavors of Tecumtha to induce the Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws, and other tribes in the Gulf region 1 to become a part of his great Indian Confederacy against the white people. We have now reached a point in the story where a consideration of the events of the war in that region is necessary to the unity of the history.

Let us first consider the geographical and political aspect of the Gulf region.

In a former chapter we have considered the purchase by and cession to the United States of the vast Territory known as Louisiana. 2 Eastward of that Territory, at the time of the breaking out of the war in 1812, and bordering on the Gulf of Mexico, was a region in possession of the Spaniards, known as East and West Florida. The former extended from the Perdido River (now the boundary-line between the states of Florida and Alabama) eastward to the Atlantic Ocean, including the great peninsula lying south of Georgia, and stretching over almost six degrees of latitude. The latter extended westward from the Perdido to (as the Spaniards claimed) the island of Orleans, on the Mississippi. The northern boundary was partly on and partly a little below the thirty-first parallel.

During the autumn of 1810, and winter of 1810 and 1811, movements were inaugurated which finally led to the absolute possession of both Floridas by the United States. In October, that portion of the claimed Spanish territory lying on the Mississippi became the theatre of insurrectionary operations. It was inhabited chiefly by persons of British and American birth. These seized the old fort at Baton Rouge; met in Convention; declared themselves independent of Spain; and adopted a flag with a lone star upon it, as the revolutionists in Texas did many years later. 3 The Spanish Loyalists made slight resistance, but it was soon overcome; and the insurgents asked the government of the United States to give them aid and recognition. Already that government had claimed a right, under the act of cession, to the entire Territory of West Florida, and that claim was a topic for dispute between it and that of Spain. Instead, therefore, of countenancing the insurgents in their efforts to set up for themselves, the President issued a proclamation on the 27th of October, in which he declared the Territory of West Florida, as far east as the Pearl River, to be in the possession of the United States. W. C. C. Claiborne, the governor of the Orleans Territory (afterward called the State of Louisiana), then in Washington, was hurried off to take possession of it, avowedly not only as a right, but as a friendly act toward Spain, whose rights were as much jeoparded by the revolutionary movement as was those of the United States. Claiborne was clothed with powers to employ troops then in the Mississippi Territory, if necessary, to enable him to take and hold possession of the country.

Not long after this, a body of men, chiefly Americans from Fort Stoddart, on the Mobile River, led by Colonel Reuben Kemper, who professed to be acting under the authority of the Florida insurgents, menaced the port of Mobile. 4 They were driven away, but still threatened that post; and the Spanish governor, Folch, thoroughly alarmed, wrote a letter to Mr. Monroe, the American Secretary of State, in which he expressed a desire, in the event of his not being speedily re-enforced from Havana or Vera Cruz, to treat for the surrender of the whole province of Florida. At about the same time, Morier, the British Chargé d’Affaires, residing at Baltimore, formally protested against such acquisition on the part of the United States as an act unfriendly to Spain, then struggling with the gigantic power of Napoleon.

When Congress assembled in December [1810.], the question of the occupation of Florida by the United States had assumed a very important aspect in the public mind. The Federalists were vehemently opposed to all farther acquisition of territory; and when, early in January [January 3, 1811.], the letter of the Spanish governor and the protest of the British chargé were laid before Congress, they produced considerable excitement. Morier’s protest was considered simply an impertinence by the government party, while the intimations of Folch were pondered seriously, and acted upon after some debate. In secret session a resolution was adopted, in which was expressed an unwillingness on the part of the United States to allow the Territory in question to pass from the possession of Spain into that of any other power. An act was also passed in secret session [January 5.] authorizing the President to take possession of both Floridas under any arrangement that might be entered into with the local authorities; or, in the event of an attempt to do the same by any foreign power, to take and hold possession by force of arms. It was believed, and with reason, that the British were about to assume control of that country, under the provisions of some secret arrangement with Spain; and, to forestall such action, Governor Claiborne had already asserted the jurisdiction of the United States over a considerable portion of Florida eastward of the Mississippi, after some opposition from Fulwar Skipwith, formerly a diplomatic agent of the United States in France, who had been elected governor of their domain by the insurgents.

Finding himself supported chiefly by the dregs of society only, Skipwith yielded, and retired to private life. Soon afterward, a small detachment of American regulars, under Captain (afterward Major General) Edmund P. Gaines, appeared before Mobile and demanded its surrender. Governor Folch refused. Presently Colonel Cushing arrived from New Orleans with gun-boats, artillery, and troops, and encamped three weeks at Orange Grove, when he marched up to Fort Stoddart, and formed a cantonment at Mount Vernon. He came professedly to defend the Spaniards against the insurgents, who made no farther efforts to obtain possession of Mobile.

Louisiana was admitted into the Union as a state on the 8th of April, 1812. By a separate act, that part of Florida, as far eastward of the Mississippi River as the Pearl River, was annexed to that new state [April 14, 1812.]; and by another act the remaining territory, as far as the Perdido River, eastward of Mobile Bay (with the exception of the post of Mobile, yet in the hands of the Spaniards), was annexed to the Territory of Mississippi [May 14.], then asking for admission as a state.

An insurrection had broken out in East Florida in the mean time. Its chief theatre was on the coast, near the Georgia border. Brigadier General George Mathews, of the Georgia militia (a soldier of the Revolution), who had been appointed commissioner under the secret act of the session in 1810-’11, to secure the province should it be offered, was the chief instigator of the disturbance, for the Georgians were anxious to seize the adjoining territory. Amelia Island, lying a little below the boundary-line, seemed to be a good as well as justifiable base of operations. The fine harbor of its capital, Fernandina, was a place of great resort for smugglers during the days of the embargo; and, as a neutral port, might be made a dangerous place. The possession of this island and harbor was therefore important to the Americans. A pretext for seizing it was not long wanting. The insurgents planted the standard of revolt on the bluff opposite the town of St. Mary’s, on the border-line, in March, 1812. Some United States gunboats, under Commodore Campbell, were in the St. Mary’s River, and Mathews had some United States troops at his command near.

On the 17th of March [1812.] the insurgents, two hundred and twenty in number, sent a flag of truce to Fernandina demanding the surrender of the town and island. The American gun-boats came down at about the same time. The authorities bowed in submission, and General Mathews, assuming the character of a protector, took possession of the place in the name of the United States. Commodore Campbell declared, in a letter to Don Justo Lopez, the commandant of Amelia Island, that the naval forces were not intended to act in the name of the United States, "but to aid and support," he said, "a large proportion of your countrymen in arms, who have thought proper to declare themselves independent." 5

A flag was raised over Fernandina on which were inscribed the words "Vox populi lex salutis," and on the 19th the town was formally given up to the United States authorities. A custom-house was immediately established; the floating property in the harbor was considered under the protection of the United States flag, and smuggling ceased. Then the insurgents, made eight hundred strong by re-enforcements from Georgia, and accompanied by some troops furnished by General Mathews, besieged the Spanish governor in St. Augustine, for it was feared that the British might help the Spaniards in recovering what they had lost in the Territory. This was a kind of filibustering which the United States government would not countenance, and David B. Mitchell, 6 governor of Georgia, was appointed to supersede Mathews [April 10, 1812.] as commissioner. But the change of men did not effect a change of measures. Mitchell believed that Congress would sanction Mathews’s proceedings. The Lower House did actually pass a bill [June 21.], in secret session, authorizing the President to take possession of East Florida. The Senate rejected it, for it was not desirable, at the moment when war had been declared against Great Britain, to provoke hostilities with another power unnecessarily. There was inconsistency in it, which the Opposition were not slow to perceive and make use of. "Say nothing now," they said, "about Sir James Craig, of Canada, and John Henry, 7 or Copenhagen." 8 They denounced the whole movement of the government in Florida, East and West, as dastardly – a seizure of the possessions of a friendly power "by Madison’s army and navy."

We have observed that the United States claimed, under the act of the cession of Louisiana, all of West Florida, including Mobile; and that a large portion of that territory had been annexed to that of Mississippi. When the Congress and the Cabinet had determined upon war with Great Britain in the winter and spring of 1812, the importance of the post of Mobile to the United States was very apparent, and as early as March in that year, General Wilkinson, then in command of the United States troops in the Southwest, was ordered to take possession of it. At near the close of March [1812.] he sent Commodore Shaw, with a detachment of gun-boats, to occupy the Bay of Mobile and cut off communications with Pensacola; and Lieutenant Colonel Bowyer, then stationed with a respectable number of troops at Fort Stoddart, about forty miles above Mobile, was ordered to march on the latter post at a day’s notice, for the purpose of investing Fort Charlotte.

Wilkinson left New Orleans on the 29th of March, and embarked on board the sloop Alligator. The troops were ordered to rendezvous at Pass Christian. The weather was unfavorable for the schooner, and the general took a barge. He came near losing his life by the upsetting of this little vessel. He and his fellow-passengers clung to its upturned keel a long time, when, exhausted and famishing, they were picked up by some Spanish fishermen, who towed their barge ashore and righted it, and allowed the rescued men to proceed. They reached Petit Coquille at midnight, and on the following morning an express was sent to Boyer with orders for him to come down the river, and take a position opposite the little village of Mobile.

The troops from New Orleans arrived in Mobile Bay on the 12th of April [1812.], and at two o’clock the next morning landed opposite the site of the Pavilion, not far from the fort, then commanded by Captain Cayetano Perez. 9 The garrison was surprised. The first intimation given them of the presence of an enemy was the sounding of Wilkinson’s bugles for an advance. Six hundred men, in column, appeared before Fort Charlotte at noon, and demanded its surrender. The negotiations to that end were short, and on the 15th the Spaniards evacuated the fort and retired to Pensacola. The Americans at once entered, took possession, and proceeded to strengthen the post. Wilkinson sent nine pieces of artillery to Mobile Point, which were placed in battery there, and, marching to the Perdido, began the construction of fortifications there under the superintendence of Colonel John Bowyer. This work was soon abandoned, and Fort Bowyer was commenced on Mobile Point by some workmen under Captain Reuben Chamberlain. Such was the beginning of movements which resulted in the acquisition of all Florida by the Americans.

When the war broke out there was an already famous militia general in Tennessee, well known all over the settled portion of the Mississippi Basin. It was Andrew Jackson, who, as we have observed, became somewhat entangled in the toils of the wily spider, Aaron Burr, for a while. 10 He was living on a fine plantation a few miles from Nashville.

War was declared on the 19th of June by the proclamation of the President. Tidings of it reached Jackson on the 26th, and on the same day he authorized Governor Blount to tender to the President of the United States the services of himself and twenty-five hundred men of his division as volunteers for the war. Under other circumstances the offer would have been rejected. Jackson was no "court favorite;" on the contrary, he was obnoxious to the President and his Cabinet. He had soundly berated the government, when Madison was chief minister, in a speech in the streets of Richmond, as the "persecutor of Aaron Burr." He had openly shown his preference for Monroe over Madison, and had called the Secretary of War an "old granny." But the government needed strength, and was not willing to reject any that might be offered. The President received Jackson’s generous offer with gratitude, and accepted it, he said, "with peculiar satisfaction." The Secretary of War wrote a cordial letter of acceptance to Governor Blount [April 11, 1812.], and that officer publicly thanked Jackson and his volunteers for the honor they had done the State of Tennessee by their patriotic movement. 11

For several weeks Jackson remained on his farm impatiently awaiting orders to go to the field. All was calmness in the Gulf region, for the energies of the government were bent to the one great labor, apparently, of invading and subjugating Canada. When that effort failed, and Hull’s campaign ended in terrible disaster at Detroit, sagacious men believed that the British, not needing so many troops on the Northern frontier, would turn their attention to the seizure of Gulf ports and an invasion of the sparsely settled country in that region. The government was also impressed with this surmise, and late in October [October 21.] called on Governor Blount for fifteen hundred Tennesseeans to be sent to New Orleans to re-enforce General Wilkinson. Blount made a requisition upon Jackson for that purpose, and the general at once entered upon that military career which rendered his name immortal. On the 10th of December, a day long remembered in Middle Tennessee because of deep snow and intense cold, Jackson’s troops, over two thousand in number, assembled at Nashville, bearing clothing for both cold and warm weather. When organized, they consisted of two regiments of infantry of seven hundred men each, commanded respectively by Colonels William Hall and Thomas H. Benton, and a corps of cavalry six hundred and seventy in number, under Colonel John Coffee. William B. Lewis, Jackson’s near neighbor and friend, was his quartermaster; and his brigade inspector was William Carroll, a young man from Pennsylvania. The troops were composed of the best physical and social materials of the state, many of the young men being representatives of some of the first families in Tennessee in point of position; and on the 7th of January, 1813, when every thing was in readiness, the little army went down the Cumberland River in a flotilla of small boats, excepting the mounted men, whom Coffee led across the country to join Jackson at Natchez, on the Mississippi. With sly sarcasm, whose shaft was pointed at some New York and Pennsylvania militiamen on the Niagara frontier at that time, the energetic leader, in a letter to the Secretary of War, said: "I am now at the head of 2070 volunteers, the choicest of our citizens, who go at the call of their country to execute the will of the government, who have no constitutional scruples, and, if the government orders, will rejoice at the opportunity of placing the American eagle on the ramparts of Mobile, Pensacola, and Fort Augustine, effectually banishing from the Southern coasts all British influence." Jackson was then in his prime of manhood, being forty-six years of age.

After many stirring adventures among the ice in the Cumberland and the Ohio, and the floods and tempests of the Mississippi, for nine-and-thirty days, the little flotilla reached Natchez [February 15, 1813 {original text has "1812".}],a thousand miles, by the route it had taken, from its place of departure. Colonel Coffee, with his mounted men, was already near there to welcome them. The troops were in glorious spirits. The love of adventure had been heightened by its gratification, and all were impatient to push forward to New Orleans, a land of warmth and beauty as it appeared to their imaginations. The officers, especially, wished to go rapidly forward, for they dreamed of glory in the conquest of Mobile and Pensacola, and delicious resting-places among the orange groves of the Gulf shore. They were disappointed. A messenger had arrived at Natchez with orders from Wilkinson for them to remain where they were, as he had no instructions concerning them or their employment in his department, nor had he any quarters prepared for their accommodation. He was evidently fearful of being superseded by Jackson, who was a major general of volunteers in the United States service, for he said in his letter to that leader that caused him to halt, that he should not think of yielding his command until regularly relieved by superior authority. Jackson disembarked his troops, and encamped them in a pleasant spot near Natchez, to await farther orders.

February passed by, and the early flowers of March were budding and blooming, and yet the Tennessee army was at Natchez. On the first of that month Jackson wrote an impatient letter to the Secretary of War. He saw little chance for the employment of himself and his followers in the South, and suggested that they might be useful in the North. He had gone to the field as an unselfish patriot, and, as he said in his letter to Wilkinson, "had marched with the spirit of a true soldier to serve his country at any and every point where service could be rendered" Day after day he waited anxiously for orders to move. At length he was cheered by the receipt of a letter from the War Department. His heart beat quickly with the thrill of delightful expectations as he broke the seal. Icy coldness fell upon his spirits for a moment when his eyes perused the contents. It read thus:

"SIR, – The causes of embodying and marching to New Orleans the corps under your command having ceased to exist, you will, on the receipt of this letter, consider it as dismissed from public service, and take measures to have delivered over to Major General Wilkinson all the articles of public property which may have been put into its possession." To this was appended a cold tender of the thanks of the President to Jackson and his corps, and the signature of John Armstrong, the new Secretary of War, who, on the date of the letter, had been only two days in office.

That was practically a cruel letter, under the circumstances. It placed the little army in a sad plight, for it was dismissed from service without pay, sufficient clothing, means of transportation, provisions, or accommodations for the sick, more than five hundred miles from their homes by the nearest land route, which lay much of the way through a wilderness roamed by savages. Jackson instantly resolved on disobedience. He determined not to dismiss the men until they were restored to their homes; and with that decision and courage in assuming responsibility which always marked his career, he made every necessary preparation possible for a return to Tennessee, at large expense, and without any money. He impressed wagons and teams, and gave orders for pay on the quarter-master of the Southern Department. In like manner he incurred other expenses. So confident were the merchants of Natchez in his integrity and the justice of their government, that they turned over to him large quantities of shoes and clothing, telling him to pay for them at Nashville when convenient.

Meanwhile Jackson had written fiery letters to the President, the Secretary of War, Governor Blount, and General Wilkinson. 12 He despised the latter, and suspected him of sinister designs; and when, in due time, he received a reply from that officer, in which he suggested that great public service might be rendered by promoting enlistments into the regular army, Jackson’s anger knew no bounds. He watched for recruiting officers with hawk-eyed vigilance, and when one was found in his camp, he notified him that if he should catch him trying to seduce one of his volunteers into the regular army, he would have him instantly drummed beyond his lines. 13 The Secretary of War, on the other hand, by a courteous and explanatory letter, mollified his passion by assuring him that when he wrote the letter that appeared so cruel, he did not suppose that the little army had moved far from Nashville.

Late in March Jackson commenced his homeward movement. It was an undertaking of great hazard and difficulty, but was well accomplished in the course of a month, for they traveled at the rate of eighteen miles a day. He shared all the privations of the soldiers, and he was beloved by them as few men have ever been beloved. His endurance was wonderful during the march, and his men declared that he was "as tough as hickory." From that day until his last on earth, he was familiarly and affectionately called "Old Hickory."

Finally, on the borders of his state, Jackson sent a messenger to Washington to convey an offer of the services of himself and volunteers on the Northern frontier, whither Harrison had been sent as chief commander. No response came, and on the 22d of May he drew up his detachment on the public square in Nashville, where they were presented with an elegantly wrought stand of colors, by the ladies of Knoxville. 14 There they were dismissed, and dispersed to their homes with feelings of great dissatisfaction toward the national government.

Such was Jackson’s first effort to serve his country in the field in the War of 1812, and it resulted in holding the fear of absolute pecuniary ruin over his head for some time. His transportation orders were dishonored, and the creditors looked to him for pay. He was prosecuted for amounts in the aggregate much larger than his entire fortune. The suits were postponed to give him an opportunity to appeal to the national government for justice and protection. The late Thomas H. Benton was his messenger and advocate on that occasion; and when it was intimated to him that nothing could be done for the general’s relief, he boldly assured the President and his cabinet that if the administration desired the support of Tennessee in the war, the government must assume the payment of the bills in question, for the volunteers under Jackson were drawn from the most substantial families in the state. This argument was convincing. The government met the draft promptly, all concerned were satisfied, and Jackson was saved from bankruptcy and ruin.

Omens of a war tempest soon appeared in the Southern firmament, and Jackson was not allowed to remain long in quiet on his plantation. British emissaries, pale and dusky, were busy among the Indians of the Gulf region, endeavoring to stir them up to war against the Americans around them, hoping thereby to divide and weaken the military power of the United States, and lessen the danger that menaced Canada with invasion and conquest. Chief among these emissaries in zeal and influence was Tecumtha, the great Shawnoese warrior, who, as early as the spring of 1811, as we have seen, had, with patriotic designs, visited the Southern tribes, and labored to secure their alliance with Northern and Western savages in a grand confederation, whose prime object was to stay the encroachments of the white man. He went among the Seminoles in Florida, the Cherokees and Creeks in Western Georgia and in Alabama, and the Des Moines in Missouri, but without accomplishing little more than sowing the seeds of discontent, which might in time germinate into open hostility. He returned to his home on the Wabash just after the battle of Tippecanoe [November, 1811.], which his unworthy brother had rashly brought on, and which destroyed his hopes of a purely Indian confederacy. Thereafter his patriotic efforts were put forth in alliance with the British, who gladly accepted the aid of the cruel savages of the Northwest.

In the autumn of 1812, after the surrender of Detroit and the Michigan Territory promised long quiet on that frontier, Tecumtha went again to the Gulf region. He took his brother, the Prophet, with him, partly to employ him as an instrument in managing the superstitions of the Indians, and partly to prevent his doing mischief at home. They were accompanied by about thirty warriors. The Choctaws and Chickasaws, among whom they passed on their way, would not listen favorably to Tecumtha’s seductive words; but the Seminoles in Florida and Georgia, and the Creeks in Alabama, lent to him willing ears. He was among the latter in October, where he crossed the Alabama River at Autauga, in the lower part of the present Autauga County, and there addressed the assembled Creeks for the first time. His eloquence, his patriotic appeals, and his fame as a warrior won him many followers, and with these and his own retinue he went on to Coosawda on the Alabama, 15 and at the Hickory Ground addressed a large concourse of warriors who had flocked to see and hear the mighty Shawnoese, whose exploits in the buffalo-chase, on the war-path, and in the council had filled their ears, even in boyhood, with wondrous tales of achievements won. It was a successful day, and Tecumtha was greatly encouraged. He crossed the Coosa, and went boldly forward in the direction of the great falls of the Tallapoosa (in the southwest part of the present Tallapoosa County) to Toockabatcha, the ancient Creek capital, where Colonel Hawkins, the United States Indian Agent, had called a great council of the Creeks. Hawkins was highly esteemed by them, and at his call full five thousand Indians responded in person, besides many negroes and white people mingled with them.

Tecumtha approached this great gathering with well-feigned modesty. He kept at the outer circle of spectators until the conclusion of the agent’s first day’s address, when, at the head of his thirty followers from the Ohio region, he marched with dignity into the square, all of them entirely naked excepting their flaps and ornaments. Their faces were painted black, and their heads were adorned with eagles’ feathers, while buffalo tails dragged behind, suspended by bands around their waists. Like appendages were attached to their arms, and their whole appearance was as hideous as possible, and their bearing uncommonly pompous and ceremonious. They marched round and round in the square, and then, approaching the Creek chiefs, they cordially gave them the Indian salutation of a shake at arm’s length, and exchanged tobacco in token of friendship. Only one chief (Captain Isaac, of Coosawda) refused to greet Tecumtha. On his head were a pair of buffalo horns, and these he shook at the Shawnoese visitor with contempt, for he said Tecumtha was a bad man, and no greater than he. 16

Tecumtha appeared in state in the square each day, but kept silence until Hawkins had finished his business and departed for the agency on the Flint River. Then he was silent no longer. That night a grand council was held in the great round-house. It was packed with eager listeners. In a fiery and vengeful speech Tecumtha poured forth eloquent and incendiary words. He exhorted them to abandon the customs of the pale-faces and return to those of their fathers. He begged them to cast away the plow and the loom, and abandon the culture of the soil as unbecoming noble Indian warriors, as they were. He warned them that servitude or extinction at the hands of the white race would speedily be their doom, for they were grasping and cruel; and he desired them to dress only in the skins of beasts which the Great Spirit had given them, and to use for weapons of war only the bow and arrow, the war-club, and the scalping-knife. He concluded by informing them that their friends, the British, had sent him from the Great Lakes to invite them out upon the war-path for the purpose of expelling all Americans from Indian soil, and that the powerful King of England was ready to reward them handsomely if they would fight under his banner. The wily Prophet at the same time, who had been informed by the British when a comet would appear, declared to the excited warriors that they would see the arm of Tecumtha, like pale fire, stretched out on the vault of heaven at a certain time, and thus they would know by that sign when to begin the war. It was almost dawn before this famous council adjourned, and then more than half of the braves present had resolved on war against the Americans.

Tecumtha, full of encouragement, went forth, visiting all of the important Creek towns, and enlisting many recruits for the British cause. Among the most distinguished of these was Weathersford, a powerful, handsome, sagacious, brave, and eloquent half-blooded chief. But others equally eminent withstood the persuasions of the great Shawnoese. One of the most conspicuous of these was the Big Warrior of Toockabatcha, whose name was Tustinuggee-Thlucco. Tecumtha was extremely anxious to win him, but the Big Warrior remained true to the United States. At length the angry Shawnoese said, with vehemence, as he pointed his finger in the Big Warrior’s face, "Tustinuggee-Thlucco, your blood is white. You have taken my red-sticks and my talk, but you do not mean to fight. I know the reason. You do not believe the Great Spirit has sent me. You shall believe it. I will leave directly, and go straight to Detroit. When I get there I will stamp my foot upon the ground, and shake down every house in Toockabatcha!" The Big Warrior said nothing, but long pondered this remarkable speech. 17

It was, indeed, a remarkable speech. Events soon proved it to be prophetic. Natural phenomena – one that might be foretold by astronomers, and the other always beyond the knowledge of mortals – combined to give tremendous effect to Tecumtha’s words and mission. The comet, the blazing "arm of Tecumtha" in the sky, appeared; and at about the time when the common Indians, who believed in the great Shawnoese and his mystical brother, knew, by calculation, that Tecumtha must have arrived at Detroit, there was heard a deep rumbling beneath the ground, and a heaving of the earth that made the houses of Toockabatcha reel and totter as if about to fall. The startled savages ran out of their huts, exclaiming, "Tecumtha is at Detroit! Tecumtha is at Detroit! We feel the stamp of his foot!" It was the shock of an earthquake that was felt all over the Gulf region in December, 1812. 18 But it did not move the Big Warrior from his allegiance.

Tecumtha’s visit proved to be a most sad one for the Creeks as a nation. It brought terrible calamities upon them – first in the form of civil war, and then in almost utter destruction at the hands of the exasperated Americans. He left seeds of discontent to germinate and expand into violent agitations. Chief was arrayed against chief; and family against family, on the question of peace or war with the Americans. They were strong as a nation, numbering about thirty thousand souls, of whom at least seven thousand were warriors; yet peace was the guarantee of their existence. They were hemmed in by powerful and rapidly-increasing communities of white people, and between them and the Northern tribes were the Choctaws and Chickasaws, 19 over whom that grand old patriot, General James Robertson, held a powerful sway, like that of a kind father over loving children. 20

These stood as a wall of separation between the actual followers of Tecumtha north of the Ohio, and those in the Gulf region whom he was endeavoring to seduce from the pursuits of peace into the war-path under the British banner. They were not only opposed to an alliance with the British, but were ready to fight for the Americans. "My heart is straight," said the brave Too-tumastubble, the "medal chief" of the Choctaws, "and I wish our father, the President, to know it. Our young warriors want to fight. Give us guns and plenty of powder and lead, we fight your enemies. We fight much; we fight strong. . . . . Our warriors good Americans – fight strong. You tell him so. You, General Robertson, know me; my heart straight. Choctaw soldiers good soldiers. Give epaulettes, guns, and whisky – fight strong."

Tecumtha had enjoined the leaders of the war-party to keep their intentions secret, and for many months, while civil war was kindling in the bosom of the Creek nation because of a powerful and zealously-opposing peace-party, and the land was filled with quarrels, fights, murders, and violence of every kind, it was difficult for the public authorities to determine with any certainty whether or no any considerable number of the Creeks would join the British standard. Colonel Hawkins, the agent, believed that nothing more serious than a war between native factions would ensue. It was well known that Peter M‘Queen, a half-blood of Tallahassee, who was one of the leaders of the war-party, was doing every thing in his power to accomplish that result, while Big Warrior was equally active in efforts to avert so great a calamity. On one hand was seen the hideous "war-dance of the Lakes," taught them by Tecumtha, and on the other the peaceful, quiet, anxious, determined deportment of men resolved on peace. The whole Creek nation became a seething caldron of passion – of angry words and threatenings, which were soon developed into sanguinary deeds.

On account of the civil war raging here, and there, and every where in the Creek country, the white settlers were placed in great peril. In the spring of 1813 they were made to expect an exterminating blow. They knew that a British squadron was in the Gulf; and in friendly intercourse with the Spanish post at Pensacola. They knew that the fiery M‘Queen and other leaders had gone to that post with about three hundred and fifty warriors, with many pack-horses, intended doubtless for the conveyance of arms and supplies from the British to the war-party in the interior. Every day the cloud of danger palpably thickened, and the inhabitants of the most populous and more immediately threatened districts of the Tombigbee and Tensaw petitioned the governor of Mississippi for a military force sufficient for their protection. The governor was willing, but General Flournoy, who succeeded General Wilkinson in command of the Seventh Military District, persuaded by Colonel Hawkins, the Indian agent, of the civilization and friendly disposition of the Creeks, would not grant their prayer. 21

Left to their own resources, the inhabitants of the menaced districts prepared to defend themselves as well as they might. They sent spies to Pensacola, who returned with the positive and startling intelligence that British agents, under the sanction of the Spanish governor, were distributing supplies freely to M‘Queen and his followers, that leader having exhibited to the chief magistrate of Florida a list of Creek towns ready to take up arms for the British, in which, in the aggregate, were nearly five thousand warriors. On hearing this report, Colonel James Caller, of Washington, called on the militia to go out and intercept M‘Queen and his party on their return from Pensacola. There was a prompt response, and he set out with a few followers, crossed the Tombigbee into Clarke County, passed through Jackson, and bivouacked on the right bank of the Alabama River, at Sisemore’s Ferry, opposite the southern portion of the present Monroe County, Alabama. He crossed the river, on the following morning [July 16, 1813.], and marched in a southeasterly direction across the Escambia River into the present Conecuh County, Alabama, toward the Florida frontier.

He had been joined in Clarke County by the famous borderer, Captain Sam Dale, and fifty men, who were engaged in the construction of Fort Madison, toward the northeast part of Clarke, and was now re-enforced by others from Tensaw Lake and Little River, under various leaders, one of whom was Captain Dixon Bailey, a half-blood Creek, who had been educated. at Philadelphia. Caller’s command now numbered about one hundred and eighty men, divided into small companies, well mounted on good frontier horses, and provided with rifles and shot-guns. During that day they reached the Wolf Trail, crossed Burnt Corn Creek, and bivouacked.

On the morning of the 27th Caller reorganized his command. Captains Phillips, M‘Farlane, Wood, and Jourdan were appointed majors, and Captain William M‘Grew was created lieutenant colonel. 22 They were now on the main route for Pensacola, and were moving cheerily forward, down the east side of Burnt Corn Creek, when a company of fifteen spies, under Captain Dale, who had been sent in advance to reconnoitre, came galloping hurriedly back with the intelligence that M‘Queen and his party were only a few miles distant, encamped upon a peninsula of low pine barrens formed by the windings of Burnt Corn Creek, engaged unsuspectingly in cooking and eating. A hurried council was held, and it was determined to attack them. For this purpose Caller arranged his men in three columns, the right led by Captain Smoot, the left by Captain Dale, and the centre by Captain Bailey. They were upon a gentle height overlooking M‘Queen’s camp, and down its slopes the white men moved rapidly, and fell upon the foe. M‘Queen and his party were surprised. They fought desperately for a few minutes, when they gave way, and fled toward the creek, followed by a portion of the assailants.

Colonel Caller was brave but overcautious, and called back the pursuers. The remainder of his command were engaged in capturing the well-laden pack-horses of the enemy, and when those in advance came running back, the former, panic-stricken, turned and fled in confusion, but carrying away their plunder. Now the tide turned. M‘Queen’s Indians rushed from their hiding-places in a cane-brake with horrid yells, and fell upon less than one hundred of Caller’s men at the foot of the eminence. A severe battle ensued. Captain Dale was severely wounded by a ball that struck his breast-bone, followed the ribs around, and came out near the spine, yet he continued to fight as long as any body. Overwhelming numbers at length compelled him and his companions to retreat. They fled in disorder, many of them leaving their horses behind them. The flight continued all night in much confusion. The victory in the Battle of Burnt Corn Creek – the first in the Creek war – rested with the Indians. Only two of Caller’s command were killed, and fifteen wounded. The casualties of the enemy are unknown. For some time it was supposed that Colonel Caller and Major Wood had been lost. They became bewildered in the forest, and wandered about there some time. When they were found they were almost starved, and were nearly senseless. They had been missing fifteen days! Caller’s command never reassembled. M‘Queen’s retraced their steps to Pensacola for more military supplies. 23 But for the fatal word "retreat" the Indians might have been scattered to the winds. While these events were transpiring in the Indian country above Mobile, General F. L. Claiborne, 24 who had been a gallant soldier in Wayne’s army in the Indian country north of the Ohio, was marching, by orders of General Flournoy, from Baton Rouge to Fort Stoddart, on the Mobile River, with instructions to direct his principal attentions to the defense of Mobile. He reached Mount Vernon, in the northern part of the present Mobile County, three days after the battle of Burnt Corn Creek [July 30, 1813.]. He found the whole population trembling with alarm and terrible forebodings of evil. Already a chain of rude defenses, called forts, had been built in the country between the Tombigbee and Alabama Rivers, a short distance from their confluence where they form the Mobile River, 25 and were filled with affrighted white people and negroes, who had sought shelter in them from the impending storm of war.

Claiborne’s first care was to afford protection to the menaced people. He was anxious to march his whole force into the heart of the Creek nation, in the region of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers, but this Flournoy would not allow. "If Governor Holmes [of the Mississippi Territory] should send his militia into the Indian country," he wrote, "he must, of course, act on his own responsibility; the army of the United States, and the officers commanding it, must have nothing to do with it." Claiborne was compelled to do nothing better than to distribute his troops throughout the stockades for defensive operations. He sent Colonel Carson, with two hundred men, to the confluence of the Tombigbee and Alabama Rivers, and dispatched Captain Scott with a company to St. Stephen’s, in the northeast part of Washington County, where they occupied an old Spanish block-house. Major Hinds, with, dragoons, was ordered to scour the country in various directions for information and as a check; and some of the militia of Washington County were placed in the stockades in Clarke County, between the Tombigbee and Alabama. Captain Dent was sent to Okeatapa, within a short distance of the Choctaw frontier, and assumed the command of a fort there.

Previous to Claiborne’s arrival, wealthy half-blood families had gone down the Alabama in boats and canoes, and secreted themselves in the thick swamps around Tensaw Lake. There they united with white refugees in constructing a strong stockade around the house of Samuel Mims, an old and wealthy inhabitant of that region, situated a short distance from the Boat-yard on Tensaw Lake, a mile east from the Alabama River, ten miles above its junction with the Tombigbee, and about two miles below the Cut-off. 26 The building was of wood, spacious in area, and one story in height. Strong pickets were driven around it, and fence-rails placed between them; and, at an average distance of three feet and a half from the ground, five hundred port-holes for musketry were made. The pickets inclosed an acre of ground, and the stockade was entered by two ponderous gates, one on the east and the other on the west. Besides Mims’s house there were several other buildings within the pickets; also cabins and board shelters. At the southwest corner was a partially-finished block-house. The whole work, which was called Fort Mims, was upon a slight elevation, yet not eligibly situated; but such confidence had the people of the surrounding country in its strength, that, as soon as it was finished, they poured into it in large numbers with their effects. It soon became the scene of a terrible tragedy that dispelled the pleasant dream of Creek civilization and friendship, and inflamed the people westward of the Alleghanies, who had suffered much from savage cruelty and treachery, with a thirst for vengeance.

Two days after he reached Mount Vernon General Claiborne asked Flournoy’s permission to call for the militia. "I am not myself authorized to do so," his commander replied, "as you will perceive if you turn to the late regulations of the War Department." Again foiled in his generous endeavors by official interference, Claiborne resolved to do what he might in strengthening Fort Mims. Already Lieutenant Osborne, and sixteen soldiers under him, had taken post there [July 28, 1813.]. He now dispatched Major Daniel Beasley thither, with one hundred and seventy-five volunteers, who was accompanied by Captains Jack, Batcheldor, and Middleton. They found seventy citizens there on volunteer duty [August 6.], under Captains Dunn and Plummer, who were inexperienced officers. On the following day [August 7.] the little garrison was cheered by the presence of General Claiborne, who had come to make a personal inspection of the fort. He saw its weakness, and issued orders for it to be strengthened by the addition of two block-houses. "To respect an enemy," he said, wisely, "and prepare in the best possible way to receive him, is the certain means of success." He also authorized Major Beasley to receive any citizens who would assist in the defense of the station, and to issue rations to them with the other soldiers under his command. Under this order the seventy citizens just mentioned were enrolled, and they immediately elected the brave Dixon Bailey their captain – the half-blood who distinguished himself at the battle of Burnt Corn Creek. Claiborne also organized a small company of scouts under Cornet Rankin, composed of that officer, one sergeant, one corporal, and six mounted men.

Every day the war-cloud thickened. Rumors came to Claiborne from the northward that there was growing disaffection among the powerful Choctaws, and he perceived the value of an immediate blow at the Creeks before they should be ready to strike one themselves, or draw over to the interest of the war-party their more peaceably-inclined neighbors. He again applied to Flournoy for permission to penetrate the heart of the Creek nation, but with no better success than before. "I have to entreat you," Flournoy wrote to Claiborne, "not to permit your zeal for the public good to draw you into acts of indiscretion. Your wish to penetrate into the Indian country with the view of commencing the war does not meet my approbation, and I again repeat, our operations must be confined to defensive operations." 27 Flournoy was impressed with the belief that the hostile movements in the Creek country were only feints in the interest of the Spaniards, to draw the American troops from Mobile, so that the former might, while that post was weakened and uncovered, attempt its capture with a chance of success.

Again foiled, Claiborne addressed himself to the important task of securing the neutrality, at least, of the Cherokees, for every day gave signs of their constantly-growing disaffection. A belief was gaining ground, and with good reason, that a general Indian war in the southwest was possible, and even probable, and the whole country from the Perdido to the Mississippi was filled with alarms. The stockades were crowded with refugees from their menaced homes early in August, and doubt, and dread, and great fear filled the hearts of the white people. Claiborne went up to St. Stephen’s, and from thence dispatched a deputation to Pushamataha, the principal chief of the Choctaws, who was balancing between equally powerful inclinations toward peace and war. He listened, and was finally induced to visit Claiborne’s head-quarters at Mount Vernon [August 15.]. The general received him with much military pomp, and presented him with the uniform and other insignia of a brigadier general. 28 By this means his friendship was secured, and he and a band of his Choctaws – chosen warriors – immediately prepared for the war-path under the flag of the United States, while the rest of the nation agreed to remain neutral.

Having accomplished the pacification of the Choctaws, the energetic Claiborne turned his attention to the defense of the several stockades in the Indian country. Late in August [August 23, 1813.], while he was at St. Stephen’s, he was informed that four hundred Creek warriors were about to fall upon Fort Easley, a feeble post sixty miles nearer the enemy than Fort Mims, and that Fort Madison would be next attacked. The women and children in Easley had only about a dozen defenders, and Claiborne resolved to hasten to their relief. He left the camp at Mount Vernon in charge of Captain Kennedy, and, with twenty mounted dragoons, and sixty men from the companies of Captains Dent and Scott, he pushed on toward Easley Station, or Fort Easley. Major Beasley, in the mean time, finding Fort Mims too small for the swelling multitude that flocked into it, commenced its enlargement by driving a new row of pickets sixty feet beyond the eastward end. The work went on slowly and carelessly. Every day, and sometimes several times a day, the inmates were alarmed by rumors of approaching savages, until they became indifferent, in the belief that they were all false.

On the morning of the 29th of August, two slaves (one of them belonging to John Randon, and the other to a man named Fletcher), who had been sent out a short distance from the fort to attend to some beef-cattle, came rushing through one of the wide-open gates almost out of breath, and their eyes dilated with mortal fear. They declared that they had counted four-and-twenty painted savages on the edge of a swamp. Captain Middleton was immediately sent out with two mounted men to reconnoitre, but returned at sunset without seeing any trace of hostile Indians. Beasley charged the negroes with lying, and ordered them to be severely flogged for raising a false alarm. Randon’s negro received the lashes, but Fletcher, who believed the story of his slave, refused to have him flogged. This so exasperated Beasley that he ordered Fletcher to leave the fort, with his large family, by ten o’clock the next day. At that time there were five hundred and fifty-three souls within the stockade, consisting of white people, Indians, officers, soldiers, and negroes. Many of them were sick, for there arose around them continually the malaria of Alabama swamps sweltering in the rays of an August sun. Most of them were non-combatants, for the infatuated Beasley, who believed himself and charge to be perfectly secure, had greatly weakened the garrison by sending men to neighboring posts from which came piteous cries for aid and protection.

The morning of the 30th was clear and sultry. The alarm caused by the story of the negroes on the previous day had subsided, and Fletcher, the owner of one of them, had consented to have his slave whipped rather than be driven from the fort with his family. Full of confidence, Beasley at ten o’clock had dispatched a messenger with a letter to General Claiborne, in which he assured his commander of his perfect safety, and his "ability to maintain the post against any number of Indians." 29 The women in the stockade were preparing dinner; the soldiers were loitering listlessly about, or were playing cards, or lying on the ground asleep; and almost a hundred children were playing gleefully among the cabins and tents. Young men and maidens were dancing, and every appearance gave promise of an evening of sweet repose. Nothing marred the happy aspect of the scene but the form of Fletcher’s poor negro, who was tied up and his back bared for the lash because he had told a terrible truth, and it was believed to be a lie. But it was a moment of awful peril. In a shallow ravine, overshadowed by trees and filled with luxuriant vegetation, lay almost a thousand Creek warriors, not more than four hundred yards from the eastern gate, preparing, like fierce and famished tigers, to spring upon their prey at the first opportune moment. They were mostly naked excepting the usual "flap." Many of them were hideously painted, and all were well armed. The prophets, in whose care were the superstitions of the dusky horde, lay with the warriors, their heads covered with feathers, their faces painted black, and their medicine-bags and magic rods by their sides. It was a host devilish in appearance, and on a demoniac errand. Whence came they? Let us see.

We have observed that M‘Queen and his followers, after the battle of Burnt Corn Creek, went back to Pensacola, where they were again well supplied with provisions and ammunition, and instructed by the British and Indian agents there to fight the Americans, and, in the event of their being defeated, to send their women and children to Pensacola. "If you should be compelled to fly yourselves," they said, "and the Americans should prove too hard for both of us, there are vessels enough to carry us off altogether to Havana." 30

M‘Queen was associated with Josiah Francis and William Weathersford, both half-bloods; the former a son of a Creek woman by a Scotchman named Francis, 31 and the latter a child of Charles Weathersford, of Georgia, by the beautiful Sehoya, a half-sister of General M‘Gillivray, of the Creek nation. 32 Weathersford was an extraordinary man; commanding in person, powerful in physical strength, honorable, and as humane as circumstances would allow. He was the superior of M‘Queen and Francis in ability; and when, after the return of the well-supplied Indians from Pensacola, there was a great gathering of warriors at Toockabatcha, on the Tallapoosa, and preparations were made for opening the war by an incursion into the country on the Lower Alabama, he became the principal leader. 33

Late in August [August 20, 1813.] Weathersford conducted his followers to the plantation of Zachariah M‘Girth, not far from the site of the present village of Claiborne, in Monroe County, Alabama, ninety miles below Montgomery. There he captured some negroes, and from them learned the condition of Fort Mims. One of his captives escaped, and bore to Major Beasley intelligence of impending danger, while Weathersford for several days deliberated and prepared for an exterminating blow. As the Indians did not make their appearance, Beasley supposed the negro fugitive’s story to be a mere fabrication; and, as we have observed, the commander and the inmates of the fort were resting in fancied security, when, on the 29th, Weathersford and his host approached the ravine in which they lay on the morning of the 30th. There they were again seen by the slave, who had been whipped for supposed lying on the previous day. He might have warned Beasley, which warning, if heeded, might have saved the fort; but his back was yet smarting from the severe flogging, and, fearing a repetition of it, he fled to Fort Pierce, a stockade about two miles from Fort Mims.

At noon the garrison drum at Fort Mims beat for dinner. The eastern gate stood wide open, with some drifted sand against it. The first tap was the signal for the savages to rise from their cover and rush to the fort; and the first intimation of their presence was a horrid yell, 34 that filled the air as they came streaming over a field toward the open gate. Beasley flew to close it, and his soldiers rushed with their arms to the port-holes, while the unarmed men, and the women and children, huddled, pale and trembling, and almost paralyzed with sudden fear, in the houses and cabins within the main inclosure. Beasley was too late. Before he could remove the drifted sand and shut the gate, the savages were upon him. He was felled by clubs and tomahawks; and over his dying body the dusky torrent rushed into the new inclosure, where Captains Middleton and Jack were on duty. He crawled behind the gate and soon expired, using his latest breath in exhorting his men to fight valiantly.

The Indians soon filled the outer inclosure, while the field beyond swarmed with a yelling multitude of blood-thirsty men. Their prophets commenced incantations and dances. They had assured the warriors that the white men’s bullets would split harmlessly on the sacred bodies of the seers and the multitude behind them. The delusion was soon dispelled. Five of the invulnerable prophets were shot dead. The dismayed savages recoiled for a moment in doubt and fear. Many rushed wildly out of the gate, but others filled their places, and, with yells and howls, they poured a deadly fire upon the inmates of the fort through the port-holes of the old pickets and the outside stockades. The poor bound negro, who was awaiting the lash, was shot dead on the spot where he was to have been punished for doing all in his power to avert the dreadful calamity then impending. Captain Middleton, who was in charge of the eastern section, was slain, with all of his command. Captain Jack, in the south wing, with a rifle company, maintained the conflict nobly. Lieutenant Randon fought from the guard-house on the west; and Captain Dixon Bailey, the gallant half-blood, on whom the command of the garrison devolved after the fall of Beasley, was seen in every part of the fort, directing the military and encouraging the other inmates.

The situation was terrible. There were two inclosures, separated by a row of log pickets with port-holes, and an open gate. On one side were unarmed men, women, and children, thickly crowded, with few soldiers, for a larger portion of them were in the outer inclosure with Middleton and Jack. On the other side were lusty savages, maddened by the sight of blood and ravenous for plunder; and all around were human fiends filling the open field and eager for slaughter and spoils. Victory or death was the alternative offered to the inmates of the fort. After the first shock of surprise their courage returned, and, under the direction of the intrepid Bailey, those who had arms manned the dividing pickets, and through the port-holes poured volleys that made wide lanes in the thick ranks of the foe. These, however, were immediately filled, and the terrible conflict went on. Sometimes the guns of a Christian and pagan would cross in a port-hole, and both would fall. Old men, and even women and boys, fought with desperation. Bailey’s voice constantly encouraged them. "Hold on a little longer," he said, "and all will be well. The Indians seldom fight long at a time." He endeavored to induce some of them to join him in a sortie and a dash through the enemy to Fort Pierce to procure re-enforcements, and, returning, attack the enemy in the rear and raise the siege. The movement seemed too perilous and hopeless, and none would follow him. He determined to go alone, and was actually climbing the picketing for the purpose when his friends pulled him back.

The horrid battle raged for three hours, when, as Bailey expected, the Indians began to tire. Their fire slackened, their howlings were less savage, and they began to carry off plunder from the head-quarters of Major Beasley and the other buildings in the outer inclosure. The people in the main fort were thrilled with a hope that the savages were about to depart. That hope was soon extinguished. Weathersford was not a man to accept of half a victory when a complete one was within his grasp. He beheld with scorn the conduct of many of his warriors who were more intent on plunder than conquest. Seated upon a fine black horse, he rode after the departing braves, addressed them vehemently with words of rebuke and persuasion, and soon led them back to complete the business in hand. With demoniac yells the savages resumed the work of destruction. They soon filled the outer inclosure again, but were kept at bay by brothers of Captain Bailey and other sharp-shooters, who had made port-holes in Mims’s house by knocking off some shingles, and from thence sent deadly bullets into many a lusty warrior who was endeavoring to press through the inner gate. But very soon, under the direction of Weathersford, fire was sent to Mims’s roof on the wings of arrows, and it burst into a flame. Some of the scorched inmates of the house fled to other buildings, and some were roasted in the horrid oven. The house was soon in cinders, with its extensive sheds and out-buildings. The fire spread to other buildings, and in a few minutes almost the entire area of the fort was scathed by the crackling flames. The shrieks of women and children added to the horrors of the scene.

Only one place of refuge now remained, and to it the doomed people rushed frantically. It was Patrick’s loom-house (7 in the diagram below), on the north side of the fort, which had been inclosed with strong pickets, and called the Bastion. This was Captain Bailey’s original stand, and there he and the survivors of his company now took position and poured fatal volleys upon the savages.

The assailants were now in the main fort, and every inmate pressed frantically toward the Bastion. In doing so many were killed by the Indians, while the weak, wounded, and aged were trampled under foot and pressed to death. The venerable Samuel Mims, when tottering toward this last place of refuge, was shot, and while he was yet living the knife of his assassin was passed around his head, and his scalp, with its hoary locks, was waved exultingly in the air.


The above plan of Fort Mims was found among the manuscripts of General Claiborne, and first published by Pickett in his History of Alabama, ii., 265. It may also be found in Claiborne’s Life and Times of General Sam Dale, page 112, and is printed here by permission of the author. The following is an explanation of the reference figures: 1. Blockhouse; 2. Pickets cut away by the Indians; 3. Guards’ station; 4. Guard-house; 5. Western gate, but not up; 6. This gate was shut, but a hole was cut through by the Indians; 7. Captain Bailey’s station; 8. Steadham’s house; 9. Mrs. Dyer’s house; 10. Kitchen; 11. Mims’s house; 12. Randon’s house; 13. Old gateway, open; 14. Ensign Chambliss’s tent; 16. Randon’s; 17. Captain Middleton’s; 18. Captain Jack’s station; 19. Port-holes taken by Indians; 20, 21. Port-holes taken by Indians; 22. Major Beasley’s cabin; 23. Captain Jack’s company; 24. Captain Middleton’s company; 25. Where Beasley fell; 26. Eastern gate, where the Indians entered.

The fire and the savages attacked the Bastion at the same time. The former was more merciful than the latter. The Indians broke down the pickets, and butchered the inmates in cold blood. The children were seized by the legs, and their brains knocked out against the stockades. Women were disemboweled, and their unborn children were flung in the air. The British agent at Pensacola had offered five dollars apiece for scalps, and the long tresses of women, as well as the coverings of men’s heads, were speedily in the hands of the savages as marketable commodities in a Christian mart! In the midst of the performance of these horrid deeds Weathersford rode up. Like Tecumtha, he was noble and humane. He reproached his followers for their cruelty, and begged them to spare the women and children at least. His interference nearly cost him his life. Many clubs were raised threateningly over his head, and he was compelled to retire. In after years the scenes he then witnessed filled him with remorse, for he was chief author of the calamity. He had raised the storm, but he was unable to control it. "My warriors," he said, "were like famished wolves, and the first taste of blood made their appetites insatiable." 35

At noon on that fatal 30th of August, when the drum was beaten for dinner, there were five hundred and fifty persons in Fort Mims, happy in the belief that they were secure from danger; at sunset of the same day four hundred of them were dead! Not one white woman nor one child escaped. Every avenue of flight from the horrid slaughter-pen was sentineled. Yet twelve men of the garrison did cut through the pickets and escape to the swamp. Among these was Captain Bailey; but he was severely wounded, and died by the side of a cypress stump. 36 Hester, a negro woman, who had received a ball in her breast, had followed them out. She reached a canoe in Tensaw Lake, paddled it into and down the Alabama to Fort Stoddart, which she reached on Tuesday night [August 31, 1813.], and was the first to give information to General Claiborne of the horrible tragedy. Most of the negroes were spared by the Indians, and were made their slaves.

The battle lasted from twelve o’clock until five, when the fort was a smoking ruin. The savages then retired about a mile east of the fort, where they slept that night, after smoking their pipes and trimming their scalps. They had suffered severely, for the garrison had sold their lives as dearly as possible. Not less than four hundred Creek warriors were slain or wounded. On the morning after the conflict they commenced burying their dead, but soon abandoned the labor. Putting their wounded into canoes, a part of the warriors went up the river; some staid in the neighborhood to plunder and kill, 37 and others went to Pensacola, with their trophy-scalps on poles, to receive their reward from the British agents there.

Ten days afterward, Major Kennedy, who had been sent by General Claiborne to bury the dead at Fort Mims arrived there [September 9.]. His eyes met a sad and horrid spectacle. The air was filled with gluttonous buzzards who had come to feast on the dead bodies, and a large number of dogs were disputing with the foul birds for the banquet. The mutilated remains of the dead were buried in two pits. 38 "Indians, negroes, white men, women, and children," Kennedy said in his report, "lay in one promiscuous mass. All were scalped; and the females of every age were butchered in a manner which neither decency nor language will permit me to describe. The main building was burned to ashes, which were filled with bones. The plains and the woods around were covered with dead bodies. All the houses were consumed by fire except the block-house and a part of the pickets. The soldiers and officers, with one voice, called on Divine Providence to revenge the death of our murdered friends." 39

The massacre at Fort Mims created the most intense excitement and alarm throughout the Southwest. This was increased by the operations of the powerful prophet, Francis, who at the same time was spreading destruction and consternation over the country between the Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers, from the forks northward, now Clarke County, in Alabama. The little stockades were filled with the affrighted inhabitants, and sickness and death were their constant companions. The distress in the Creek country can scarcely be imagined. A fearful cry for help went northward, not, as it would now, on the wings of the lightning, but by couriers on swift horses. Yet they were tardy messengers measured by travel-speed to-day. It took thirty-one days to carry the news to the city of New York, where it produced very little sensation, for the heart of the whole country was then yet tremulous with the joyous emotions created by the recent victory won by Perry on Lake Erie, and excited by intense interest in the movements of General Harrison, who was then penetrating Canada, and nobly retrieving the national misfortunes at Detroit the previous year. These absorbed the public attention northward of the Ohio and eastward of the Alleghany Mountains, while the fiercely-kindled Creek War equally absorbed the attention and awakened the most fervid sympathies and hottest indignation of the people of the Mississippi and Gulf regions.

The sons of Tennessee quickly and nobly responded to the cry for help from below. Governor Blount promised to do what he might, but General Jackson was then too ill to take active measures in the same direction immediately, but he assured his fellow-citizens that he would do so as speedily as possible. He was then lying at the Nashville Inn, prostrated by the effects of serious wounds received from the late Thomas H. Benton in an affray in the streets of Nashville with deadly weapons. He was convalescing, and, full of the "fire of the flint," he issued a stirring address to those volunteers who followed him a thousand miles to Natchez a year before. He begged them to go forward in a cause "so worthy the arm of every brave soldier and true citizen;" and expressed his regret that he was not able to go with them, at the same time assuring them of his belief that he might soon join them, which he did.

Jackson’s appeal touched the hearts of the Tennesseeans; and the action of the Legislature, then in session, was consonant with the wishes and feelings of the people. On the 25th of September [1813.] they authorized Governor Blount to call out three thousand five hundred volunteers, in addition to fifteen hundred already mustered into the service of the United States, the commonwealth of Tennessee guaranteeing their pay and subsistence, and appropriating three hundred thousand dollars for the payment of expenses to he immediately incurred. On the same day General Jackson issued another spirited address, calling his division to the field. He ordered them to assemble on the 4th of October at Fayetteville, near the northern boundary of Alabama. Already his first address had set the military spirit of the state ablaze; now a letter-writer at Nashville declared [September 27.] that "in a few days there will be but few young men left in town. Nearly all have volunteered – some have gone, and others are getting ready. . . . Colonel John Coffee has already started with the cavalry. Infantry and mounted volunteer companies are flocking to the standard every day. Had not General Jackson been confined by his wound, I think all would have been on the way by this time." 40


On the 26th General Jackson dispatched the energetic Colonel Coffee, with his regiment of dragoons, five hundred strong, and as many mounted volunteers as could join him immediately, to take post at Huntsville, 41 in Northern Alabama, for the encouragement and protection of the inhabitants there, and to cover a dépôt of supplies which he intended to establish on the Tennessee River south of Huntsville, at Ditto’s Landing. Coffee pushed forward with celerity, and reached Huntsville on the 4th of October. His force had been augmented almost hourly on the way by volunteers who flocked to his standard, and he found himself on the borders of the Creek country with full thirteen hundred men. Jackson meanwhile, with his arm in a sling and suffering intensely, was making his way to the prescribed rendezvous of his troops at Fayetteville, on the 4th of October, full eighty miles south from Nashville. He could not reach there at the prescribed time, but sent forward a spirited address to the soldiers, to be read to them on that day. It was an appeal to their pride and patriotism; and called upon them, in an especial manner, to be obedient to discipline, for it was essential in preparing them for the noble task before them.

While these movements were in progress in West Tennessee, others of like character and importance were going on in East Tennessee, where General John Cocke was in command. Under the direction of Governor Blount, he ordered his division to rendezvous at Knoxville; and so promptly did they respond, that he wrote to General Jackson the 2d of October "that his men, twenty-five hundred in number, were ready to march, and that he could doubtless contract for a thousand barrels of flour to be sent to Ditto’s Landing immediately.

Jackson reached Fayetteville on the 7th of October, where he remained a week waiting for the arrival of troops, organizing them, and making arrangements for supplies. He was greeted by cheering news from Coffee. It was generally supposed that the Indians would hasten to the capture of Mobile, under the auspices and direction of the Spaniards, after the destruction of Fort Mims. It might have been an easy matter; but they lingered, as usual, after their victory, and then pushed northward. 42 This good news came from Coffee, and Jackson, acting upon it, was making vigorous preparation to meet them, when, on Monday, the 11th of October [1813.],a courier came dashing into his camp with intelligence from Coffee that the savages were near. The general gave instant orders for his troops to march. Two hours later they were in motion; and at eight o’clock the same evening they were in Huntsville, having marched thirty-two miles almost without halting. On the following morning Jackson was informed that the rumor of the near approach of the Indians was false. He leisurely led his troops across the swift-flowing Tennessee at Ditto’s Landing, joined Coffee’s command, and, on a high bluff overlooking the beautiful river, opposite a charming island, encamped.



1 These families came under the general name of Mobilian tribes; and their territory originally was next in extent to that of the Algonquins, stretching along the Gulf of Mexico from the Atlantic to the Mississippi River more than six hundred miles, up the Mississippi to the mouth of the Ohio, and along the Atlantic to the Cape Fear. It comprised a greater portion of the present State of Georgia, a part of South Carolina, the whole of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi, and portions of Tennessee and Kentucky. The nation was divided into three grand confederacies, namely, Muscogees or Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws. The Creek confederacy included the Creeks proper, the Seminoles of Florida, and the Yamassees, or Savannahs, of Georgia.

The Creeks occupied the country from the Atlantic westward to the high lands which separate the waters of the Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers.

The Choctaws inhabited the beautiful country bordering upon the Gulf of Mexico, and extending west of the Creeks to the Mississippi.

The Cherokees were the mountaineers of the South, and inhabited the very beautiful land extending from the Carolina Broad River on the east to the Alabama on the west, including the whole of the upper portion of Georgia from the head waters of the Alatamaha to those of the Tennessee. It is one of the most delightful regions in the United States.

2 See page 131.

3 There was a family named Kemper in that region who had suffered much at the hands of the Spaniards. They were daring men (Reuben and Samuel), and resolved to get rid of their hated rulers. Impatient of the delay of the United States in taking possession of West Florida, they excited the people of Bayou Sara, and others in the neighborhood, to take up arms. They assembled at St. Francisville, marched upon Baton Rouge, took it by surprise after a slight skirmish, in which Governor Grandpre was killed, and the town and fort became the possession of the insurgents. The Spaniards fled eastward, some to Mobile, and some to Pensacola. The revolutionists then assembled in Convention; prepared and issued a declaration of independence, modeled after that composed by Jefferson, and declared their right and intention to form treaties and establish commerce with other nations.

4 His professions were true. He was dispatched to the Tombigbee by the Convention for the purpose of enlisting men to expel the Spaniards from the Mobile district. In that business he was assisted by a wealthy citizen, Colonel James Caller, who, like most of the residents in that region, hated the Spaniards. Troops were secretly raised. Flat-boats, with provisions, were sent down the Tensaw River to Smith’s plantation. Daring spirits gathered around the leaders; and a company of horsemen, under Captain Bernard, scoured the country for arms, ammunition, and provisions. A young man, named Sibly, was sent to demand the surrender of the fort, then commanded by Governor Folch. The invaders gathered near Mobile, and there drank and frolicked to their hearts’ content. An old man, who drank their whisky and won their confidence, betrayed their weakness to the governor. The latter sent two hundred regular soldiers, under a competent leader, who surprised them at near midnight, and broke up their camp. This was in November, 1810. Major Hargrove and nine men were captured, ironed, and sent to Havana, where they suffered five years in the dungeons of Moro Castle. – See Pickett’s History of Alabama, ii., 235.

5 MS. Letter in the Navy Department.

6 David B. Mitchell was a native of Scotland, and at this time was forty-seven years of age. He arrived at Savannah in 1783, to take possession of property there which had been bequeathed to him, where he studied law. He became solicitor general of Georgia in 1795, and for several years held various offices civil and military. He was elected governor of Georgia in 1809, and held that office until 1813. He was re-elected in 1815. He was active in public affairs until his death, which occurred in Baldwin County, Georgia.

7 See pages 219 to 221 inclusive.

8 Note 4, page 177.

9 On the 13th, General Wilkinson issued a proclamation and sent it into the town of Mobile, in which he assured the inhabitants that he came not to injure, but to protect them, and to extend over them the rightful jurisdiction and laws of the United States. He gave permission to those who chose to leave the place, to go, with their goods, in safety.

10 See page 136.

11 Parton’s Life of Andrew Jackson, i., 365.

12 "These brave men," he wrote to Wilkinson, "at the call of their country, voluntarily rallied around its insulted standard. They followed me to the field; I shall carefully march them back to their homes. It is for the agents of the government to account to the State of Tennessee and the whole world for their singular and unusual conduct to this detachment."

13 Parton’s Life of Jackson, i., 380.

14 The preparation of these flags was commenced soon after the departure of the troops from Nashville. One was a simple national banner made of silk; the other was a regimental standard. The embroidery, performed by the ladies in the most exquisite manner, was on white satin. Near the top, in a crescent form, were eighteen stars in orange color, denoting the then number of states. Next below were two sprigs of laurel lying athwart. Under these were the words, "Tennessee Volunteers – Independence, in a state of war, is to be maintained on the battle-ground of the Republic. The tented field is the post of honor. Presented by the Ladies of East Tennessee, Knoxville, February 10th, 1813." Below all, implements of war were represented, beautifully wrought. The wing of the colors was beautiful fancy lutestring, dove color, ornamented with white fringe and tassels.

In reply to the presentation letter, written by the wife of Governor Blount, Jackson said: "While I admire the elegant workmanship of these colors, my veneration is excited for the patriotic disposition that prompted the ladies to bestow them on the volunteers of West Tennessee. Although the patriotic corps under my command have not had one opportunity of seeing an enemy, yet they have evinced every disposition to do so. This distinguished mark of respect will be long remembered, and this present shall be kept as a memorial of the generosity and patriotism of the ladles of East Tennessee." – Nashville Whig, quoted by Parton, i., 383.

15 This Indian town was at the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers, where they form the Alabama. It was on the western side of the Alabama, in the southeastern part of Autauga County.

16 Pickett’s History of Alabama, ii., 242-3.

17 Pickett’s History of Alabama, ii., 245.

18 See Pickett’s Alabama, ii., 246. Drake, in his Book of the Indians of North America, eleventh edition, page 624, mentions that circumstance as occurring in December, 1811, and cites Francis M‘Henry as denying that it ever took place. But Mr. Pickett, in his carefully-prepared work, says this earthquake was remembered by all the old settlers, and places the date in December of 1812, which agrees with the incidents of Tecumtha’s mission there.

19 The Chickasaws {original text has "Choctaws".} inhabited the country along the Mississippi from the northern borders of the Choctaw domain to the Ohio River, and eastward beyond the Tennessee to the lands of the Cherokees and Shawnoese.

20 James Robertson, who has justly been called the Father of Tennessee, was a native of Virginia. He emigrated to the rich regions beyond the mountains about the year 1760, and on the banks of the Watauga, a branch of the Tennessee, he made a settlement, and lived there several years. He was often called upon to contest for life with the savages of the forest. In 1776 he was chosen to command a fort built near the month of the Watauga. In 1779 Captain Robertson was at the head of a party emigrating to the still richer country of the Cumberland, and on Christmas eve of that year they arrived upon the spot where Nashville now stands. Others joined them, and in the following summer they numbered about two hundred. A settlement was established, and Robertson founded the city of Nashville. The Cherokee Indians attempted to destroy the settlement, but, through the skill and energy of Robertson and a few companions, that calamity was averted. They built a log fort on the high bank of the Cumberland, and in that the settlers were defended against full seven hundred Indians in 1781. The settlement was erected into a county of North Carolina, and Robertson was its first representative in the State Legislature. In 1790 the "Territory south of the Ohio River" was formed, and Washington appointed Robertson brigadier general and commander of the militia in it. In that capacity he was very active in defense of the settlements against the savages. At the same time he practiced the most exact justice toward the Indians, and when these children of the forest were no longer hostile, his kindness toward the oppressed among them made him very popular. At length, when the emissaries, white and red, from the British in the North began to sow the seeds of discontent among them at the breaking out of the war in 1812, the government wisely appointed General Robertson agent to the Chickasaw tribe. He was ever watchful of the national interest. As early as March, 1813, he wrote: "The Chickasaws are in a high strain for war against the enemies of the country. They have declared war against all passing Creeks who attempt to go through their nation. They have declared, if the United States will take a campaign against the Creeks [because of some murders committed by them near the mouth of the Ohio], that they are ready to give them aid." A little later he suggested the employment of companies of Chickasaws and Choctaws to defend the frontiers and to protect travelers, and he was seconded by Pitchlyn, an active and faithful Indian.

During the war General Robertson remained at his post among the Indians, and invited his aged wife to share his privations by quaintly saying to her by a messenger, "If you shall come this way, the very best chance for rest and sleep which my bed affords shall be given you, provided always that I shall retain a part of the same." He was then seventy-one, and she sixty-three years of age. She went to him, and was at his side when he died at his post in the Indian country the year following. His death occurred on the 1st of September, 1814, and on the 2d his remains were buried at the Agency. In 1825 they were removed to Nashville, and, in the presence of a large concourse of citizens, were reinterred in the cemetery there. A plain tomb covers the spot. The remains of his wife rest by his side, and the observer may there read the following inscriptions:

"GENERAL JAMES ROBERTSON, the founder of Nashville, was born in Virginia, 28th June, 1742. Died 1st September, 1814.

"CHARLOTTE R., wife of James Robertson, was born in North Carolina, 2d January, 1751. Died 11th June, 1843."

She was then ninety-two years of age. Their son, Dr. Felix Robertson, who was born in the fort, and the first white child whose birth was in West Tennessee, died at Nashville in 1864.

21 Thomas Flournoy was a native of Georgia, and a distinguished member of the bar at Augusta, his place of residence. He was in feeble health at this time, and his force was inadequate to perform the arduous services required of them. He was commissioned a brigadier general on the 18th of June, 1812, and resigned in September, 1814. When Wilkinson was summoned to the Northern frontier, Flournoy was made his successor in the Gulf region. In 1819-’20 he was a commissioner to treat with the Creek Indians.

22 The principal subordinate officers were Phillips, Wood, M‘Farlane, Jourdan, Smoot, Dixon, Heard, Cartwright, Creagh, May, Bradberry, Robert Caller, and Dale.

23 Pickett’s Alabama, ii., 255. Life and Times of General Sam Dale, by J. F. H. Claiborne, pages 65 to 82 inclusive.

24 Ferdinand Leigh Claiborne, a brother of William C. C. Claiborne, at that time governor of the Orleans Territory, was born in Sussex County, Virginia, in 1773. His family was one of the oldest in that commonwealth. In his twentieth year he was appointed an ensign in Wayne’s army, and became much attached to Major Hamtramck. One of his sons, now (1864) living, bears the major’s name. He was in the battle of the Fallen Timbers, at the Rapids of the Maumee, in 1794. He was stationed at Richmond and Norfolk after the war, holding first the rank of lieutenant and then of adjutant. In 1799 he was promoted to captain, and was active as such, and adjutant general in the Northwest, until 1802, when he was ordered to Natchez. He resigned, settled in the Mississippi Territory, presided over the deliberations of its Legislature, and in 1811 was appointed brigadier general of the Mississippi militia. In March, 1813, he was commissioned a brigadier general of volunteers in the United States Army, and ordered to the command of the post at Baton Rouge. He was active, as the text avers, during the Creek War. He was a legislative councilor of the Mississippi Territory immediately after the close of the Creek War in 1814, and died the following year.

25 These were Forts Curry, Madison, Revier, Sinquefield, and White, situated upon a curve sweeping eastward of Bassett’s Creek and across its head waters.

26 See Map on the opposite page.

27 Flournoy to Claiborne, August 10, 1813, from "Bay St. Louis." See Claiborne’s Life of General Sam Dale, page 93.

28 He gave him a suit of rich regimentals, gold epaulettes, sword, silver spurs, and hat and feather, ordered from Mobile at a cost of three hundred dollars.

29 Major Beasley to General Claiborne, August 31, 1813.

30 Pickett’s Alabama, ii., 267, note.

31 Francis assumed to be a prophet inspired by the Shawnoe seer, Tecumtha’s one-eyed brother. He placed Francis in a cabin by himself, around which he danced and howled for ten days. Then, he said, Francis was blind, but that he would again see, and then he would know all of things future. At the expiration of ten days the Prophet led him forth, and Francis walked like a blind man all day. Toward night his sight came to him suddenly, when he became the greatest prophet in the Creek nation, with the power to create lesser prophets. That power he used freely.

32 Alexander M‘Gillivray was the head chief of the Creek nation during Washington’s administration. He was a son of a Creek woman by a Scotch Tory of Georgia, whose property was confiscated at the close of the old War for Independence. This son took refuge among the Creeks, and became the "beloved man," or head chief. He was an educated man; brave, fluent in speech, and personally popular. The Spanish authorities honored him with the commission of a colonel; and he was received in New York in 1790 with great honors when he came, with a retinue of followers, to negotiate a treaty between the Creeks and the United States – the very treaty whose spirit his countrymen were now about to violate. His mother’s family were among the first in the Creek nation; and his half sister, Sehoya, Weathersford’s mother, was celebrated for her beauty and mental excellence. Weathersford was born at the Hickory Ground, near Coosawda, on the Alabama.

33 Warriors from thirteen Indian towns marched in a southward direction, while others from Tallahassee, Auttose, and Ockfuske formed a corps of observation in another direction, to conceal the movement.

34 There seem to have been no sentinels on duty, for the Indians were within thirty steps of the fort before they were discovered. – Letter of Fletcher Cox to General Claiborne, in Life of General Sam Dale, page 109.

35 Claiborne’s Life of General Sam Dale, page 128.

36 When the flames began to reach the people in the Bastion, Dr. Thomas G. Holmes, an assistant surgeon of the garrison, seized an axe, cut some pickets in two, but left them standing till an opportunity for escape offered. Bailey now cried out, "All is lost!" and begged the people to escape. The pickets were thrown down, but, as we have observed, only twelve escaped. Bailey’s little sick son, only thirteen years of age, was carried safely to the woods by his negro man Tom, who, half mad with fear and dire confusion, ran back with the boy to the Indians. The savages took the child by the legs, and while he cried "Father, save me!" they dashed out his brains. The following are the names of the persons who escaped from the fort and lived: Dr. Thomas G. Holmes; Hester, a negro woman; Socca, a friendly Indian; Peter Randon, lieutenant of citizens’ company; Josiah Fletcher; Sergeant Mathews; Martin Rigdon; Samuel Smith, a half-blood; ----- Mourrice and Joseph Perry, of the Mississippi Volunteers; John Hoven; ----- Jones; and Lieutenant W. R. Chambliss, of the Mississippi volunteers. – Pickett’s Alabama, ii., 276. See diagram on opposite page for the houses of the Steadhams and Randons, and the tent of Lieutenant Chambliss.

37 The inmates of Fort Pierce, a small stockade two or three miles from Fort Mims, fled down the river and reached Mobile in safety.

38 Two hundred and forty-seven bodies were buried.

39 Kennedy’s MS. Report to General Claiborne, quoted in Pickett’s Alabama, ii., 282.

40 The War, ii., 73.

41 Huntsville is the present capital of Madison County, Alabama, one of the finest regions of that state, at the foot of the mountain slopes which there gradually melt into the level Gulf region.

42 The Indians, as usual, stopped to enjoy their victory after it was achieved, instead of securing its solid advantages. Such consternation was produced by the massacres on Tensaw that Mobile might have become an easy prey to the savages. But while they lingered, the Spanish accomplices at Pensacola appeared to have become alarmed lest the savages might destroy Mobile, which they hoped to recover uninjured. Governor Manique accordingly wrote to Weathersford and his associates on the subject. After congratulating them on their success at Fort Mims, assuring them of friendship and a desire to aid them, and thanking them for their offers of assistance in the recapture of Mobile, the governor dissuaded them from attacking it, or at least destroying it. "I hope," he wrote, "you will not put in execution the project you tell me of to burn the town, since these houses and properties do not belong to the Americans, but to true Spaniards." – Letter dated Pensacola, September 29,1813, quoted by Pickett in his History of Alabama. It is among the Claiborne papers already alluded to. It is positive proof of the complicity of the Spanish authorities at Pensacola with the British and Indians in waging an exterminating war against the people of the Mississippi Territory, and justified the seizure of Pensacola by the Americans which occurred afterward.



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