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Monette, John W. History of the Discovery and Settlement of the Valley of the Mississippi, by the Three Great European Powers, Spain, France and Great Britain, and the Subsequent Occupation, Settlement, and Extension of Civil Government by the United States, Until the Year 1846, in two volumes, Volume II . New York: Harper and Brothers, Publishers, 1846. [format: book], [genre: history]. Permission: Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures, Aurora University
Argument. British Policy of instigating savage Warfare. Population and Settlements in 1813. Origin of Creek Hostilities. Prosperous Condition of the Creeks in 1812. British Instigation from Canada. Tecumseh stirs up a war Party in the Creek Nation. Tombigby Settlements menaced by hostile Creeks. Deluded Security of Colonel Hawkins and General Flournoy. General Claiborne advances to the Tombigby. Judge Toulmin's Opinion of the true State of the Indian Affairs. Disposition of Troops under General Claiborne. Condition of Affairs on the Alabama in August. General Claiborne's Letter. Major Beasly admonished of Danger. Attack and Massacre of Mims's Fort. Number of Whites slain. Loss of Indians. Consternation produced by the Disaster. Wretched Condition of the Inhabitants. Marauding Bands of Indians ravage the Country. Employment of the Choctâs urged as indispensably necessary. General Claiborne secures the Co-operation of the Choctâs under Mushulatubbe and Pushmataha. Spanish Treachery detected. British Supplies for Indians sent to Pensacola. The Army advances to Fort Claiborne. Advances to the Holy Ground, and defeats Creeks under Weatherford. The Georgia Troops under General Floyd invade eastern Part of the Creek Nation. Tennessee Troops invade the northern Part. General Jackson advances to Fort Strother, on the Coosa. Battle of Tallushatches. Battle of Talladega. Creeks supplied for the War by British Agents. Battle of Emuckfaw. Battle of Enotochopco. Battle of the Horse-shoe, or Tohopeka. The Power of the Creeks humbled. Invasion of the Hickory Grounds. "Fort Jackson" built. Submission of the hostile Chiefs. Surrender of Weatherford. Treaty of Fort Jackson. Its Conditions and Requirements. Colonel Nichols in Florida. General Jackson Commander-in-chief in 7th military District. British Emissaries among the Florida Indians. Jackson advances to Mobile. Defense of Fort Bowyer against British Fleet. Expels the British Forces from Pensacola. Tribute of Esteem to General Jackson. Advance of white Population into the Indian Country. Settlements north and south of Tennessee River; upon Sources of Tombigby. Monroe County organized. Population of Madison County in 1815. The Creeks instigated by British Emissaries to reject the Treaty of Fort Jackson. Population of the Territory in 1816. Application for Authority to form a state Government. Indian Treaties in 1816. Territory divided. "State of Mississippi" admitted into the Union. Choctâ Cession by Treaty of Doak's Stand. Ceded Territory organized into Counties. Permanent state Capital selected. "City of Jackson." County of Monroe annexed. Final Extension of the state Jurisdiction within the entire Limits. Summary of Indian Treaties within the Mississippi Territory. Governors of Mississippi. Alabama Territory organized. State of Alabama admitted into the Union. Subsequent increase of Population.
[A.D. 1813.] IN the war of 1812-1815, Great Britain, not content to lay waste the seaboard of the United States, by burning the cities, towns, and private property of individuals within reach of her fleets and armies, together with the monuments of art and genius, again adopted the disgraceful and inhuman policy of instigating the savages, and supplying them with the means of carrying on a murderous warfare of indiscriminate
destruction against the feeble frontier settlements which were remote from the seat of war, and were not, properly, parties in the contest. The Indian barbarities of the Revolutionary war were to be revived against the northern and southern frontiers.
As late as the close of the year 1813, the American settlements within the Mississippi Territory were comprised in three distinct portions of the country, each remote from the other, with extensive Indian territory intervening. The principal population was to be found in the Natchez District, which included the counties of Warren, Claiborne, Jefferson, Adams, Wilkinson, Amite, and Franklin, containing in the aggregate about twenty-two thousand persons. In the eastern portion were the Tombigby settlements, including the annexed portion of Florida near the Mobile Bay. These settlements composed four counties, Washington, Clark, Mobile, and Baldwin, with an aggregate population of about seven thousand persons. West of these were the large counties of Hancock, Marion, Greene, and Wayne, extending to the eastern portion of Amite, and containing a sparse population, in the aggregate not exceeding five thousand persons. The third important settlement was north of the "Great Bend" of Tennessee River, and was comprised in the county of Madison, with a population of about eight thousand persons.
The aggregate white population did not exceed forty thousand, and scarcely forty-two thousand, including slaves. The remainder was occupied wholly by powerful tribes of Indians, known as the Chickasâs, Choctâs, Cherokees, and Creeks. The two latter nations, and especially the last, were numerous and warlike.
Origin of Creek Hostilities. Although the Creeks, as a nation, for many years after the close of the Revolutionary war, under Spanish influence, had been occasionally hostile to the American people, yet, after the occupancy of Louisiana by the United States, their enmity had been subdued by the conciliatory policy of the Federal government, confirmed by formal treaties of peace and friendship. Missions had also been established in the nation for the purpose of improving their moral condition, opening schools for the education of their children, and teaching the useful arts and employments of civilized life. To encourage these aids to domestic comfort, and to introduce
among them useful employments, and gradually wean them from the uncertain support and destitution of savage life, Congress made liberal appropriations toward the introduction of agriculture and manufactures; agencies were established for supplying them by government with all the articles of Indian trade at fair prices, excluding the introduction of whisky, and protecting them from the extortion of designing individuals.
One of the principal agents of the government, Colonel Benjamin Hawkins, on the frontiers of Georgia, who had been zealously engaged for years in the laudable enterprise of introducing the arts and usages of civilized life among them, had succeeded in greatly meliorating their condition. Many towns were large, with buildings and improvements, which indicated a degree of comfort and domestic independence previously unknown among the Indians. Some of the industrious Creeks were wealthy, possessing large plantations, a great variety of domestic stock, and numerous slaves. The leading chiefs were pleased with the improved condition of their people, and gave their full influence to measures which were gradually to place them above the precarious dependence of savage life.
Such was the condition of the Creek nation after the commencement of the war with Great Britain, until the summer of 1813; and such, in all probability, it would have continued, with a progressive improvement, had it not been for the inhuman course of Great Britain, which seeks to accomplish her purposes regardless of the means employed.
Pursuing the barbarous policy which has characterized that government for the last three centuries, agents and emissaries were dispatched to instigate the northern and southern Indians to resume hostilities against the whole southern and western frontier of the United States.
Under the direction of Elliott, a British trader of Canada, and relative of the notorious Elliott, formerly British agent on the Maumee, the revengeful Tecumseh was employed as an emissary to rouse up the southern as well as the northern savages for the destruction of the border settlements.
This warlike Indian, in the winter of 1812-13, empowered by the British authorities of Canada, commenced his enterprise of uniting all the powerful nations south of the Ohio into a league with those of the north for a general war with the United States.
Accompanied by his brother, the "Prophet," and about thirty-warriors from the northern tribes, Tecumseh set out from the Wabash on his mission to the great tribes of the South. With his fiery eloquence, and his vindictive hatred of the American people, he soon created a party in the Creek nation which began to defy all restraint and all subordination to their constituted authorities, and soon spread conflagration and havoc from the frontiers of Georgia to the banks of the Mississippi. 467
This party soon began to increase both in numbers and violence. Imbued with all the insatiable malice, and the well-known contempt for civilized life, which was entertained by that ferocious savage, his adherents became violent in their opposition to every attempt to introduce any change in the national habits and customs of the Creek nation. They denounced any attempted innovation upon their long-established customs and usages as only an artifice of the whites for the ultimate acquisition of their country, after having deprived them of their ability to subsist on the resources so bountifully provided by Nature. Still, the party in favor of civilization, sustained by the principal chiefs, the United States agents, and by the missionary influence, resisted the efforts of the hostiles until they were finally overwhelmed by increasing numbers.
The war spirit spread rapidly from town to town, until the whole nation was thrown into the greatest state of excitement and phrensy. Elated with the assurances given by Tecumseh of efficient aid from the British king, they commenced their war-dances, their incantations, and national preparations for making common cause with England in the extermination of the frontier settlements of Georgia and Tennessee, with those of the Mississippi Territory.
At length the hostile Creeks conceived a bitter enmity to the ruling chiefs of the party in favor of peace and civilization. A rebellion was fomented against their authority, because the friends of civilization were the friends of peace; they were denounced as the enemies of their country, and confederates of the white man for the extinction of their nation. If so, they
deserved to die, and each hostile warrior conceived himself the chosen instrument to execute the sentence.
The opposing parties at length became organized under their respective leaders, and a civil war commenced. At the head of the peace party was the "Big Warrior," one of the legitimate chiefs; at the head of the hostile party was the "Little Warrior," a violent and sanguinary man. Acts of violence ensued, and several of the friendly chiefs were murdered in cold blood. As the hostiles gained strength, they proceeded to new acts of violence; regardless of the legitimate authorities, they deposed and put to death the friends of peace, until the nation was involved in general bloodshed. The war party at length prevailed, and all opposition was suppressed by arbitrary force.
The war-dances introduced by Tecumseh and the Prophet were celebrated generally, and served to rouse the enthusiasm of the savages into a perfect phrensy. 468
Parties of hostile warriors began to assemble in various parts of the Creek nation, with the avowed purpose of commencing hostilities against the white settlements of the Mississippi Territory, and of Georgia and Tennessee. Emissaries were employed in efforts to induce the Choctâs to unite with them in the general league, Tecumseh having been unsuccessful in his efforts among the chiefs of that nation.
Meantime, the settlements on the Alabama and Tombigby Rivers were harassed by continual alarms of divers incursions, which threatened to involve them in one promiscuous massacre. Tormented with the most exaggerated reports of approaching danger, and believing themselves menaced with speedy destruction, the people of Washington District made their urgent appeals to Governor Holmes for protection against the hostile savages. To quiet these apprehensions, the governor lost no time in organizing a brigade of nine hundred volunteers and militia, which he placed under the command of Brigadier-general F. L. Claiborne.
Although many of the Choctâ warriors were inclined to join the Creeks in their contemplated hostilities, the prudent counsel of Mushulatubbe, Pushmataha, and Pitchlynn, three influential
war chiefs, prevailed, and the Choctâ nation remained friendly to the Americans. Yet the influence of these chiefs would have been of little avail, had it not been for the influence, address, and prudence of General Claiborne, who finally secured not only their neutrality, but their co-operation.
Although the people on the Tombigby and Alabama frontier had been kept in a state of continual alarm and apprehension by the commotion and civil discord in the Creek nation, and the continual rumors of hostile designs against the American settlements, no actual warlike demonstration had been made against them until July. Early in this month the hostiles proceeded to acts of violence against the ruling chiefs who advocated peace and friendship with the whites. About the same time they began to burn the houses and destroy the property of the half-breeds living near the white settlements who were suspected of being friendly to the United States.
On the 20th of July information was received by Captain Gaines, Choctâ agent at St. Stephen's, from Mushulatubbe, a friendly Choctâ chief, apprising him of the disposition and movements of the Creek nation. 469 It thus became evident that
all the disturbance and violence in the Creek nation was only the harbinger of a contemplated attack upon the frontier settlements, for which they were receiving supplies of ammunition from the Spaniards of Florida.
At this time no efficient measures had been taken by the commander-in-chief of the Seventh Military District to protect the border inhabitants of Washington District from Indian revenge. General Flournoy, who had succeeded General Wilkinson, having his headquarters occasionally at New Orleans, or the Bay of St. Louis, rarely visited the exposed frontier, and was deaf to all the representations and entreaties, not only of the people, but also of the militia officers on duty in that quarter. With two or three full regiments of United States regular troops under his command, he permitted these settlements to be harassed by constant alarms, while the third and seventh regiments were in cantonments at Washington, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans.
Trusting in the perverted judgment, and guided by the mistaken declarations of the Creek agent, Colonel Hawkins, he remained at New Orleans and other points remote from the Indian region, ignorant of the true state of Indian feeling and hostile preparations, neglectful of the appeals for aid and protection from the exposed people, and apparently regardless of the storm which was about to burst over them. Notwithstanding the daily evidences of hostility in the Creek nation, and the repeated acts of violence by those in favor of war; and notwithstanding the same spirit was now extending to the Choctâs, and threatened to involve them with the Creek nation, he refused to give his sanction to any efficient measures for arresting the designs of the inimical Creeks, or securing the friendship of the Choctâ nation. Thus, by his incompetence for the station he occupied, and by his misdirection of the military resources under his control, he contributed in no small degree to all the horrors of the Indian war which soon afterward broke forth.
Meantime, Colonel Hawkins, at a period when the Creeks were ripe for the execution of their plans and the destruction of the exposed population infatuated by his misguided judgment,
denied there was any hostile party in the Creek nation, Under this false impression, he omitted no effort to inculcate his belief among the white inhabitants, as well as upon the credulous commander-in-chief. He asserted that all the disturbance, commotion, and violence in the Creek nation was without any hostile design against the United States, but solely the result of a domestic faction opposed to civilization; that the alarm and distrust on the Alabama and Tombigby Rivers were without any real foundation, and that all precautions and means of defense were uncalled for and superfluous that no hostile movement against the whites could be made until the civil war in the nation was finally settled.
Such were the views entertained by Colonel Hawkins, and which were imbibed by General Flournoy, controlling the defenses of the southern frontier; views which were not changed until the agent was compelled, early in July, to fly for his life from the Creek nation; and the commander-in-chief was astounded by the massacre of Fort Mims. 470
In the mean time, the British fleet had been cruising in the Gulf of Mexico for months, and had made its appearance several times off the coast of Florida, whence vessels had been dispatched to Pensacola and to other neutral ports in East Florida, to discharge supplies for their savage allies, together with munitions of war, and emissaries to superintend their distribution, and to expedite the hostile organization of the Creek nation.
It was not until the first week in July that General Claiborne received orders from General Flournoy, in New Orleans, requiring him to advance with his brigade from Baton Rouge and take post at Mount Vernon, three miles east of Fort Stoddart. Colonel Carson, with the advanced guard, set out immediately for the designated point, where he arrived and established a cantonment for the troops. On the 30th of July, General Claiborne, with the rear guard, arrived and took charge of the army for the protection of the exposed settlements. The greatest energy was then required to enable him to distribute his forces in such a manner as to give a tolerable security to the defenseless inhabitants and the recent stockades which they had hastily constructed for their preservation.
Upon his arrival at Fort Stoddart, General Claiborne took every measure to ascertain the true condition of the Creek nation, and their designs toward the United States. The following day he received from Judge Toulmin a written opinion, assuring him that hostilities were already commenced against the frontier people. 471
The general proceeded to distribute his troops in such a manner as would best promote the security of the exposed population, who were now in the greatest alarm and apprehension of a speedy attack from the hostile warriors, who were reported upon the march for the Tensas settlements. Two hundred men, under Colonel Carson, were allotted for the defense of the large settlement in the "Forks" of the Alabama and Tombigby, where the people had erected a stockade for protection, which was known as "Easley's Station." Major Beasly, with one hundred and eighty men, was dispatched to the Tensas settlement, where the inhabitants were also collected into a stockade, known as "Mims's Fort." Captain Scott, with one company, was dispatched to Fort St. Stephen, to re-enforce the garrison for the protection of that settlement, and for the security of the United States agency at that place. The mounted dragoons of Major Hinds were employed to scour the country in every direction, to discover the first approach
of the Indians. The militia of Washington county were distributed to re-enforce the exposed stockades.
Such was the precautionary measures taken to guard against any sudden attack which might be contemplated by the savages during the month of August. The settlements which were deemed greatly exposed were entirely abandoned by their inhabitants, many of whom fled westward as far as the Chickasâhay River, and some as far as the vicinity of Natchez.
We can not give a better idea of the condition of things on the Tombigby at this period than is contained in a letter of General Claiborne to the Governor of Georgia, dated "Cantonment, near Fort Stoddart, August 14th, 1813." The general says, "On my arrival here on the 30th ult., I found the inhabitants on Tombigby and Alabama in a state of the utmost confusion and alarm. They were flying from all quarters to the west side of the Tombigby, leaving behind them rich and highly cultivated farms, with immense crops and stocks of cattle, an easy prey to the hostile Indians. I took every possible pains to ascertain the disposition of the Creeks toward the American government; and, from the unquestionable testimony of many respectable planters and half-breed Indians who reside on the east side of the Alabama, and who are perfectly acquainted with the disposition and intentions of the unfriendly Creeks, I deemed it advisable to make such a disposition of the disposable force under my command as would best secure protection to the most exposed part of the eastern frontier of this territory.
"Some time previous to my arrival, information which could be relied on was received that M'Queen, who appears to be a leading man among the unfriendly Creeks, was on his way to Pensacola with a party of about three hundred Indians, who were going to procure powder and other warlike stores from the governor of that place.
"Immediately on the receipt of this intelligence, two gentlemen of respectability were dispatched to Pensacola, to ascertain whether the governor of that place would furnish munitions of war to the Indians, and also to discover their intentions toward us. Their report was, that the governor had supplied them with a considerable quantity of powder, lead, flints, and the like, and that the Indians did not hesitate to declare openly and at all times that their objects were hostile to the whites, and that they were determined to attack and destroy
the settlements on Tombigby and Alabama. Information was also brought that this party of M'Queen's would proceed from Pensacola north to the Whetstone Hill, about eighty miles east of Tombigby, where they were to be met by a party from the nation, when they would distribute their stores, and immediately attack our defenseless frontier.
"When these things were known, Colonel Caller, of the militia, hastily collected about one hundred and seventy-five mounted men, and proceeded to the trace leading from Pensacola into the nation, with a view to prevent the junction of these two parties, and also to destroy the stores which they were conveying into the nation.
"On the 27th of July, Colonel Caller, with his militia, met the Indians on the edge of the Escambia low grounds, where he gave them battle. The savages were soon driven, and when every thing declared for the colonel's party, contrary to his express orders and expectations, a retreat was ordered by a junior officer; and, notwithstanding every exertion of Colonel Caller, and some of his officers and men, the militia could not be rallied, but retreated in confusion, with the loss of two killed, and seven or eight wounded. The loss of the enemy was much greater.
"From the information which I have collected, there can be no doubt but that the civil war between the Creeks has originated with the British in Canada. It is stated to me by some of the most intelligent half-breeds, that the Little Warrior, who had been with the British army in Canada, had written orders from the commanders in that quarter to the governor at Pensacola to furnish the Indians with whatever arms and ammunition they might require. These orders, when the Little Warrior was killed, fell into the hands of M'Queen, and on them there is no doubt he was supplied. From a letter of John Innerarity, of the house of John Forbes and Co., of Pensacola, it appears that the Indians have obtained, by threats and otherwise, considerable warlike supplies. It shows, too, that the Spanish government at that place is too weak to support their authority.
"When we are at war with a savage nation, who are thus able to procure warlike supplies from the Spanish government immediately on our borders, and which enables them to commit depredations on our frontier, and to support a contest with our troops at great expense to our government, sound policy
would dictate that such dispositions should be made as would effectually destroy these resources. This can only be done by taking possession of Pensacola and such other places in East Florida as border on our lines. This measure, I hope, will be adopted.
"I have now at the different frontier stations about seven hundred men, and expect in a few days to be re-enforced by the seventh regiment. I sincerely hope that I may then be ordered by General Flournoy, under whose orders I act, to penetrate the Creek nation. More could be effected now by one thousand men than could be accomplished three months hence by double that number." 472
In order to prevent the apprehended incursion of the savages, General Claiborne solicited re-enforcements of regular troops from General Flournoy, with authority to invade the Creek country. But the latter withheld re-enforcements, and declared the Creek difficulties would soon be terminated. Conscious of the impending danger, General Claiborne having re-enforced the different garrisons with his feeble force, enjoined the most ceaseless vigilance and untiring industry in completing the stockades and block-houses.
In the mean time, the storm of Indian warfare was about to burst with savage fury upon the defenseless inhabitants east of the Tombigby. Rumor asserted that more than fifteen hundred Creek warriors were imbodied, and were already on their march in two divisions against the frontier settlements; one party, of nearly eight hundred warriors, was destined to lay waste those of Tennessee, from Georgia on the east to the Muscle Shoals on the west; another body, of more than seven hundred warriors, designed the destruction of the settlements on the southwest, from the Alabama and Mobile to the Pascagoula on the west. This party was led by the ferocious Weatherford, who delayed his advance for a few days in the vicinity of Pensacola, procuring supplies of ammunition from the Spaniards. 473
Yet General Flournoy, as if fearful to approach the scene of danger without express orders, and fearful of "transcending his authority," even to the discomfiture of the enemy, still enjoined upon General Claiborne to act strictly on the defensive.
Apprehensive of an attack on the lower settlements, General Claiborne dispatched orders to Major Beasly at Fort Mims,
urging him to the utmost vigilance and caution; requiring him to complete the block-houses, to strengthen the stockades, to respect the prowess of the enemy, and prepare for a vigorous resistance, and to guard against a sudden attack by employing scouts throughout the settlements.
These apprehensions on the part of General Claiborne and the citizens generally were not without good cause. On the 30th of August, near eleven o'clock A.M., the savages first made their appearance before Mims's Fort, when about sixty warriors, suddenly deploying from a thicket, rushed furiously to the gate, which was open. Before they were perceived they were within thirty yards of the gate, which they endeavored to possess before they could be assailed by the garrison within. Although the attack was unexpected, the whole garrison was immediately in arms, and each man bravely defending the fort. The slaughter at the gate was terrible; nearly every Indian who first approached was killed in the onset; but increasing numbers crowded on, and a furious mêlée was maintained for half an hour by the commingled combatants, with the bayonet, sword, and the clubbed rifle on one side and the tomahawk, scalping-knife, and the war-club on the other, amid the deafening yells of the infuriated savages, until the garrison, reduced in numbers and borne down by superior force, retreated within the gate, and sought safety in the buildings and blockhouses. A scene of indescribable confusion and carnage ensued within and around the fort while the contest continued, and subsequently in the wholesale massacre of the helpless families who had taken shelter within it. The following extract is from the official report of the massacre:
"In the contest for the gate many fell on both sides. Soon however, the action became general, the enemy fighting on all sides in the open field, and as near the stockade as they could get. The port-holes were taken and retaken several times A block-house was contended for by Captain Jack at the head of his brave riflemen, for the space of an hour after the enemy were in possession of a part of it, when finally, they succeeded in driving this company into a house in the fort, and, having stopped many of the port-holes with the ends of rails, possessed themselves of the walls. From the houses our troops made a most gallant defense; but the enemy set fire to the roofs and an attempt to extinguish the flames proved unsuccessful. The
few who remained now attempted a retreat under the direction of Captain Bayley of the militia, and Ensign Chambliss of the rifle company, both of whom had been badly wounded. Previously to their retreat, they threw into the flames many of the guns of the dead men. Few of them succeeded in escaping. A few citizens who fought in the stockade, but were not enrolled in any company, also escaped; one of them leaving a wife and six children, who were probably burned to death.
"Major Beasly fell, gallantly fighting at the head of his command near the gate, at the commencement of the action. Captain Jack was killed about the close of the scene, having previously received two wounds. Captain Middleton also distinguished himself, having received four or five wounds before he fell. He was active, and fought bravely from the commencement of the action until he died. Lieutenant Spruce M. Osborn, of Wilkinson county, after receiving two wounds, was taken into a house, but requested to die on the ground, that he might, as long as possible, see the men fight. The other officers fell nobly doing their duty, and the non-commissioned officers and privates deserve equally well. The action continued until five o'clock in the evening.
"Our loss is great; sixty-five, including officers and men, were killed, belonging to the first regiment of Mississippi Territory Volunteers, and twenty-seven volunteer militia, officers included. Many respectable citizens with numerous families, who had abandoned their farms for security, were also killed or burned in the houses into which they had fled." 474
The whole number of persons slain in the fort, including about twenty respectable families, which were massacred or burned in the houses, was over two hundred and fifty. Only seventeen escaped, most of them severely wounded. 475
The loss of the Indians was but little less. Their whole number was subsequently ascertained to have been seven hundred and twenty-five warriors, chiefly Alabamons, commanded by the ferocious Weatherford. The detachment sent to bury the bones of the white victims, subsequently, on their return, reported that the woods adjacent presented nearly two hundred Indian graves. The loss of the enemy had previously been estimated over one hundred and fifty.
Such was the melancholy catastrophe of Fort Mims. In the massacre the fury of the savages was unbounded. Perfectly intoxicated with rage and vengeance, after they had gained the fort they murdered in cold blood, amid the heartrending screams and entreaties of their victims, the crowd of women and children.
The stockade of Mims's Fort was amply sufficient to have been defended by the garrison, had a proper degree of vigilance been enforced by the commandant; but he seemed to have been incredulous of the imminent danger to which he was exposed. On the morning of the 30th, a few hours before the attack, he had written to General Claiborne, declaring his ability to maintain the post against any number of Indians. 476
Such was the penalty for despising an enemy. That Major Beasly was brave, can not be doubted; but his courage was devoid of that ceaseless vigilance which alone gives victory to the brave, by detecting the movements and secret operations of an enemy. When cautioned from several sources of the impending danger, he treated the information as an idle tale, unworthy of his attention; and, instead of preparing to meet the storm, his gates were carelessly thrown open to admit the savage foe.
This melancholy catastrophe spread gloom and consternation throughout the whole territory. The country north and south of the post at Mount Vernon was abandoned by the inhabitants, except the few posts occupied by troops. A spectator at Mount Vernon writes, on the sixth of September, "Never in my life did I see a country given up before without a struggle. Here are the finest crops my eyes ever beheld, made and almost fit to be housed, with immense herds of cattle, negroes, and property, abandoned by their owners almost
on the first alarm. Many have run from this neighborhood particularly, and have literally abandoned their property. The country is in a deplorable state. It is full of Indians, and the force on the frontier admits only of defensive operations. The Indians which took Mims's station are on the Alabama, only ten miles from that place." 477
Nor did the Indians cease from their hostilities after the destruction of Fort Mims. Every station, every block-house, and every fort was assailed by the open foe or by lurking bands of concealed savages. During the month of September, the distress of the people in the midst of the sickly season was extreme; hundreds of families were lying around the stockades, unable to get within the walls. At Mount Vernon, both forts were so crowded that no more could be admitted.
On the seventh of September, Rankin's Fort, a stockade for the protection of the fugitive people, contained five hundred
and thirty white persons, of whom only eighty-seven were capable of military duty. Others were arriving every hour, and it was feared the number would be doubled in a few days.
Consternation pervaded the whole country, from the town of Mobile to the extreme northern settlements near the Choctâ boundary, and westward to the Tombigby. Parties of Indians spread themselves in every direction over the whole country, burning and destroying every thing in their reach. After burning the houses, they herded the stock together, and drove them off or destroyed them on the spot. The hogs were driven into the corn-fields to fatten for their use; the horses were taken for their marauding detachments, to enable them the better to spread their ravages; while their camp was furnished with all the luxuries requisite for the continuance of their bacchanalian orgies and nocturnal revelries.
People, prizing their lives above all worldly possessions, fled from their homes utterly destitute, leaving every thing, even their wardrobe and household furniture, to the mercy of the Indians, and with their families sought the nearest stockade.
Employment of the Choctâs. In these perilous times, in the infancy of the State of Mississippi, Judge Toulmin was always active in his patriotic efforts to defend the settlements from acts of aggression, whether by a savage or a civilized foe. To conciliate the wavering Choctâs, he had been first to urge the employment of them against the unfriendly Creeks; he declared that they would take part on one side or the other; and that, if the American commander lost the opportunity then offered, the Choctâs, in self-defense, would be compelled to join the Creeks, who already looked upon their neutrality as cause of war, and for which they designed to treat them as enemies.
On the 23d of September, a "committee of safety" had prepared an address for the consideration of General Flournoy, setting forth the imminent danger of the inhabitants, and the necessity of conciliating the Choctâs by employing them in the service of the United States against the hostile Creeks. It urges, in view of the impending danger, that the public stores of the Choctâ agency at that place shall be opened for the supply of the Choctâ warriors who are ready to take up arms in defense of the American settlements, and it presents the names of many citizens who voluntarily obligated themselves to indemnify the agent for any loss which he might sustain by
so doing. It represented that such is the condition of that nation, urged and menaced by the Creeks, and lured by the liberal supplies of arms and military stores promised by British emissaries to those who espouse the British interests and unite with the Creeks, that they are compelled to take sides in the war either with their old enemies, the Muskhogees, or with the American people.
The committee further represented that "the Choctâs, through a principal chief of one of the three districts of the Choctâ nation, and a captain from another, have manifested a disposition to engage in the war, upon condition of being supplied by the United States with the means of carrying it on; that, upon these conditions, they will cooperate with our troops against the hostile Creeks, who, unless promptly checked, will ruin the settlements in this part of the territory." It represents further, that a number of the Choctâs have been already seduced to join the Muskhogees; and that, as the nation will embark in the war on one side or the other, the success which has heretofore attended the Creeks, in the only two battles yet fought, will exert a strong influence in making their final decision lean to the Creeks; and so strong was the conviction of many in the settlements that this would be their decision, that they are already deserting the country for more secure places.
It represents further, that it is now well known that a British vessel has arrived on the coast of West Florida laden with stores and presents to be distributed among the Indians, in order to attach them to the British interests; 478 that the hostile
portion of the Creeks amounts to four fifths of the nation, all burning with mad enthusiasm for the destruction of the American settlements in this quarter, which they will abandon only with their lives.
It recounts the inadequate protection now furnished to that portion of the territory, the troops from the Mississippi not yet arrived, no intelligence of assistance from Tennessee, and only a rumor that the Georgia militia had taken the field. Under these circumstances, the committee believe a crisis has arrived when it is absolutely necessary, for the future safety and peace of the country, to close with the propositions of the Choctâs, to invade the Creek country, and completely subdue or exterminate the Creek nation. Those best acquainted with Choctâ affairs deem it indispensable to make no delay in securing the co-operation of these Indians, lest they cease their friendly overtures, and yield to the seductions of the enemy. Such are the reasons urged for the employment of the Choctâs in the war against the hostile Creeks. 479 In the emphatic language of
Major Gibson, the point was narrowed down to this, "We must engage the Choctâs, or fight them!"
Pushmataha, a medal Choctâ chief, had been active in his efforts to restrain the inimical feelings of his people toward the whites, and to induce them to abandon the contemplated alliance with the Creeks in the approaching war. He had succeeded in causing several Choctâ warriors to burn the war-club and abandon the Creeks.
To carry out his friendly designs in favor of the United States, this chief, with a few attendants, had visited Fort St. Stephen, to lay his views before the American commanders. A formal interview with General Claiborne was held on the 23d of September, when the first step was taken to enlist the Choctâ warriors in defense of the American settlements. The measures adopted were subsequently approved by General Flournoy.
Up to the 1st of October, nothing had been done by General Flournoy to secure the peace and friendship of the Choctâs. The whole country was deeply concerned at the position occupied by this nation in the contest which had commenced. Strongly urged by the Creeks to make common cause with them, and exposed to their resentment for refusal, and yet without any assurance of protection from the American commander, it was evident to all that, without some decided measures on the part of the American commanders, they must shortly ally themselves to the Creek nation. Many of the best men in the country, among whom was Judge Toulmin, believed the Choctâs would soon embark in the war on the side of the hostile Creeks, and thus place the settlements of Washington county between two opposing tribes.
General Claiborne had been impatient to invade the Creek country from the first outbreak of hostilities, and, at the same time, he had been anxious to secure the friendship and co-operation of the Choctâs; but General Flournoy, "fearful of
transcending his authority," declined any decisive action in the case until the month of October.
In the mean time, a confidential agent had been sent into the Choctâ nation with instructions to conciliate their feelings, and to induce them, if possible, to accept the tomahawk, and unite with us in chastising their old enemies the Muskhogees. The hostiles were conciliated by friendly talk, and several principal chiefs consented to visit St. Stephen's, and hold a conference with General Claiborne. From this place, they were induced to visit General Flournoy at Mobile, to impress him with the importance of some speedy and decisive action. But it was at Fort St. Stephen that the first efficient measures were taken to imbody the Choctâs in arms against the unfriendly Creeks; there, also, the first arrangements were made, and the first definite action taken, which resulted in the complete pacification of the Choctâs, and secured the settlements upon the Mississippi, as well as those upon the eastern frontier, from the revenge of the Choctâ nation.
Arrangements having been made for the co-operation of the Choctâs with the troops under General Claiborne, Pushmataha arrived at Mount Vernon on the 4th of November with a detachment of fifty-one warriors. Here they remained, waiting for arms and ammunition, until the 10th; Mushulatubbe, with another portion of the Choctâ warriors, was advancing toward the Black Warrior. By the first of December, Mushulatubbe' s captains, the "Talking Warrior" and the "Old Leader," had commenced operations against the Creek towns on the Black Warrior, and their first trophies were the scalps of four Creek warriors.
On the first of November, General Claiborne was still at "Pine Levels," near St. Stephen's, awaiting the arrival of supplies and equipments for his Indian auxiliaries his troops being impatient to advance into the strongholds of the Creeks, beyond the Cahaba.
At length, after great indecision and delay on the part of General Flournoy, he issued order, on the 10th of November for General Claiborne to advance with his command 480 to Weatherford's
Bluff, on the east side of the Alabama River, eighty-five miles by land above Fort Stoddart, and one hundred and fifty miles below the junction of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, and there erect a stockade cantonment as a dépôt for supplies and military stores for the relief of the Tennessee troops under General Jackson, who was advancing down the Coosa.
Accordingly, on the 13th of November, General Claiborne took up the line of march from "Pine Levels," and traversed the region between the Tombigby and the Alabama until the 16th, when he encamped upon the west bank of the Alabama, opposite Weatherford's Bluff. Next day, having crossed the river, he took his position and commenced the stockade on the bluff, which was completed before the close of the month, and called "Fort Claiborne." It consisted of a strong stockade two hundred feet square, defended by three block-houses and a half-moon battery, which completely commanded the river. It was near the middle of December before General Flournoy permitted the army to advance against the Creeks.
The Creek war was now fully opened in every quarter of their wide, extended country, and the hostile Creeks were inflamed with the most vindictive rage against such of their own people as were neutral or favorable to peace. Hence the latter were compelled to seek safety against their enraged countrymen either by flying to the white settlements and joining the American troops, or by fortifying themselves in their towns as against an opposing foe.
The Georgia troops, advancing from the east, were accompanied by large numbers of the friendly warriors, who were compelled to seek the protection of the whites. On the north, each division of the Tennessee troops was also accompanied by large numbers of friendly Creeks, who were likewise compelled to take up arms against their own countrymen, who had become their most inveterate enemies. In like manner, the contiguous Choctâs, Chickasâs, and Cherokees, in self-defense, were compelled to take sides with the whites. The revengeful Creeks tolerated no suspicious neutrals; and, at a subsequent date, General Jackson adopted the same policy with rigor. Thus the war, in fact, shortly became to the Creeks a war of self-extermination.
On the 13th of December, General Claiborne, at the head of nearly one thousand men, including a portion of the third regiment
under Lieutenant-colonel Russell, and the Choctâs under Pushmataha, took up the line of march for the Creek country on the Alabama, above the mouth of the Cahaba River. Advancing eastward, on the south side of the Alabama, after a march of more than one hundred miles from Fort Claiborne, he approached the strong-hold of Weatherford, a town of about two hundred houses, situated in a swamp near the south bank of the Alabama River, and known as Eccanachaca, or "Holy Ground."
This town was attacked on the 23d of December by the army in three divisions, with great spirit and impetuosity. The Indians, encouraged by their chiefs and prophets, Weatherford, Josiah, Francis, and Sinquister, as firmly defended their town against the assault. But they were soon compelled to submit to a total defeat, with the loss of thirty of their warriors. Weatherford, in the midst of the battle, fought like a demon until overpowered, when he fled.
Meantime, the Georgia troops had advanced into the Creek nation. About the middle of October, General Floyd, at different points on the western frontier of Georgia, had under his command about twenty-five hundred troops; and early in November, at the head of nearly one thousand troops and about four hundred friendly Indians, he advanced from the Chattahoochy against the Creeks living upon the Tallapoosa and its tributaries. On the south side of the Tallapoosa, thirty miles above its mouth, and near Autossee Creek, he came upon a fortified town, defended by nearly four hundred Creek warriors. On the 29th of November, after a severe conflict of several hours, the town was carried by storm, and the hostile Indians were defeated and completely routed, with the loss of two hundred warriors killed on the field. Among the slain were two of their kings. Two towns, comprising four hundred houses were destroyed and burned, including many of a superior order not common among the Indians. 481
The Autossee towns were situated upon the "beloved ground" of the Creeks, where they had supposed no white man in hostile array could come without certain death; but the whole eastern portion of their country was subsequently overrun and terribly ravaged by the Georgia troops in other
campaigns. Yet this was only the beginning of the retribution which awaited them during the following year from another quarter.
Operations of the Tennessee Troops. The people of Tennessee had been no idle spectators of the infuriate vengeance which impelled the savages to the destruction of the American settlements in the beginning of the war. The success at Fort Mims and other points on the Mobile waters had imboldened the savages, and accelerated their destiny by prompting their advance against the confines of Tennessee, and against that portion of Tennessee where the energy and skill of the commander and the courage of the troops were equal to the emergency of the conflict. 482
The exposed condition of the inhabitants in the Tennessee Valley, west of Huntsville, had presented a favorable opportunity for another savage triumph, and in the month of September the Indian warriors began to concentrate near the advanced settlements north of the Tennessee River. The rumor of their approach spread alarm throughout the exposed population, and hundreds of families on the advanced frontiers fled from their homes, and sought safety more remote from the Indian border.
Meantime, active preparations had been in progress for imbodying a strong military force in Tennessee for the invasion of the Creek country. Major-general Jackson, in West Tennessee, and General John Cocke, in East Tennessee, were each advancing with twenty-five hundred men toward the Indian Territory, for its simultaneous invasion from two opposite directions.
On the 10th of October, General Jackson commenced his march from Huntsville, with two thousand choice volunteers, for the Indian country. Marching the infantry toward the Coosa, he detached Brigadier-general Coffee, with nearly one thousand mounted volunteers, to make a circuit and scour the country upon the head waters of the Black Warrior, for the dispersion of the hostile Creeks who were supposed to be in that quarter.
In his advance into the Indian country, General Jackson encountered great difficulties in procuring supplies for his troops; yet, overcoming all obstacles by his indomitable energy and
perseverance, he continued to advance toward the Indian town, near the "Ten Islands" of Coosa.
Learning that a large body of Indians had posted themselves on Tallushatches Creek, southeast of the Coosa, and about thirteen miles from his encampment, General Jackson dispatched General Coffee with his mounted brigade to attack and disperse them. Conducted by the Indian pilot, General Coffee crossed the Coosa four miles above Ten Islands, and encamped a few miles distant from Tallushatches. Early next morning he advanced to the attack. Within one mile and a half he divided his troops into two divisions, each marching so as to unite their fronts beyond the town. An hour after sunrise the battle was commenced by two companies of spies, thrown within the circle of alignment for the purpose of drawing the Indians from their houses.
In a few minutes the action became general, and the Indians were immediately driven into the town, where they fought with the most obstinate fury as long as they could stand or sit, disdaining to ask quarter. The principal missiles used by the Indians after their first fire were bows and arrows, each warrior being furnished with a bow and quiver, which was used when no opportunity occurred for reloading. The savages were utterly defeated with great slaughter, and their town, with all its effects, was consumed with fire.
Upon the ground were found one hundred and eighty-six Indians killed, besides eighty-four taken prisoners. The Tennesseans lost five men killed, and had forty-one wounded. 483 Such was the first regular engagement of the Tennessee volunteers with the Creek Indians, and such the issue of the battle of Tallushatches, on the 2d of November.
General Jackson concentrated his force near Ten Islands, on the Coosa, where he established a strong post, which he called "Fort Strother," and made it his headquarters. On the 8th of November he took up his line of march for Talladega, with his whole disposable force, consisting of twelve hundred infantry and eight hundred mounted riflemen. At this point the hostile Creeks were in great strength.
After a rapid march, the army arrived within six miles of the enemy late in the evening, and there encamped with the
utmost circumspection. Soon afterward, the scouts reported the Indians posted in great force within a quarter of a mile, but their numbers could not be ascertained. Orders were given about midnight to prepare the troops for marching. By four o'clock in the morning the whole line was in motion. The infantry proceeded, as usual, in three columns; the cavalry in the same order in the rear, with flankers on each wing. At seven o'clock, having arrived within a mile of the enemy's position, the columns were displayed in order of battle. At eight o'clock the battle was commenced by a heavy fire from the savages, throwing the advance into some confusion. Order was soon restored in every part except in the regiment of Colonel Bradley, who failed to advance. 484 The action soon became general along the whole line, and in fifteen minutes afterward the Indians were seen flying in all directions. They were pursued, with great slaughter, to the mountains, a distance of three miles. In this engagement, Colonel Carroll, Lieutenant-colonel Dyer, and many other brave officers distinguished themselves, and were highly applauded by their commander for their gallantry and deliberate courage during the action.
The force of the Indians in this engagement was one thousand and eighty warriors. The battle continued, with occasional remissions, for nearly two hours. The Indian loss was three hundred warriors left dead upon the field. The Tennessee troops lost fifteen men killed and eighty-five wounded. 485
Such was the result of the battle of Talladega; and had it not been for the defection of Colonel Bradley with his regiment, and the retreat of three companies of militia, which opened a space for the flight of the enemy, it is more than probable that scarcely a warrior would have escaped.
No other operations of importance were undertaken by General Jackson for want of supplies and re-enforcements, the term of service having expired with many, until January following.
Thus terminated the first campaign of the Tennessee troops in the Creek war. The only severe contests and honorable victories were achieved by the western division, which, under their active and skillful commander, had they not been paralyzed in their efforts by the want of provisions and supplies, would well-nigh have terminated the war in a single campaign.
[A.D. 1814.] In the mean time, the British fleet had been off the coast of Florida, and through the Spanish ports had abundantly supplied the Seminoles and Creeks with arms and ammunition, and all the requisites for maintaining an Indian war. Thus sustained and assisted, the Creeks imbibed new life and new energy in their preparations to renew the conflict, and to compel the co-operation of their own nation.
Second Campaign of the Tennessee Troops. At the distance of fifty miles from Fort Strother, in a southeast direction, the hostile Indians had concentrated in great force at the Horseshoe Bend of the Tallapoosa River. The isthmus and peninsula formed by this bend had been fortified in such manner as to bid defiance to the militia without the aid of artillery. This fortified peninsula was near the mouth of a creek which the Indians called Emuckfaw, and included an island in the river, the whole situated just below the Indian village of New Youka. Toward this place General Jackson began his march on the 18th of January, and on the evening of the 21st he encamped on the Emuckfaw Creek, about twelve miles from the Indian citadel. 486 Here, perceiving that the Indians in great force were within a few miles of his position, and scouts had been discovered reconnoitering his movements, he adopted an expedient which prevented the horrors of a night attack from the wily savages, who were anticipating an easy victory. Encircling his camp with a cordon of camp-fires beyond the line of sentinels, he effectually protected the army, as well as the sentinels, from surprise by the lurking enemy. The sentinels, being double-manned, and securely posted within the circle of reflected light, were enabled plainly to discern every Indian enemy who might approach the camp, and, from their position in the dark, could deliberately shoot down the lurking foe, while vainly searching for the encampment. Thus protected, the troops were held in readiness for battle until the morning light.
The Indians, apprised of his design against Tohopeka, had resolved to intercept his march, and, if possible, cut off the advancing enemy. But the wary commander had defeated the prompt execution of the chief design of the warriors from the Tallapoosa. The savage host resolved not to abandon the ultimate object of their advance, but prepared to attack the camp at the first dawn of day.
About six o'clock on the morning of the twenty-second, a while before daylight, the Indians made a vigorous assault upon the left flank of the army. The attack was resisted with great firmness for half an hour, when a furious charge of the cavalry, under General Coffee, completely routed the Indians, and drove them nearly two miles from the field, with great slaughter.
During the first half hour, General Coffee, Colonel Carroll, Lieutenant-colonel Sitler, the adjutant-general, and Colonel Higgins, distinguished themselves for their cool and deliberate courage in sustaining the assault and in pursuing the flying enemy. 487
Not long afterward the camp was attacked with great vigor on the right, where the principal attack was intended from the first. Against this General Jackson had duly provided, he having from the first believed the attack on the left only a feint to confuse and weaken the right. This second attack was accordingly sustained with firmness and courage until the mounted volunteers were prepared to charge. The first charge, under Colonel Carroll and Colonel Higgins, put one division of the Indians to flight, and a second charge, under General Coffee, completely routed the remainder of their forces, with the loss of forty-five of their warriors left upon the ground.
General Jackson next encountered the savages on his return to Fort Strother, on the 24th of January. The retrograde march was taken up at ten o'clock on the forenoon of the 23d. Late in the evening the army reached their encampment on Enotochopco Creek. Here they spent the night in constant apprehension of an attack from the Indians, who had followed in their trail. The march was resumed on the morning of the 24th, with increasing evidence of a contemplated attack by the Indians at the defile in crossing the creek. Just as the first columns had crossed the creek, and the artillery was entering the ford, the rear columns were furiously attacked by the savages, and thrown into temporary disorder and flight. A short time, however, served to restore order, when the troops fought with great courage. The artillery was soon brought to bear upon the enemy by Lieutenant Armstrong and his brave company, who advanced in the face of a most galling fire from ten times their number of Indians. They were soon supported by the
columns of infantry, which were brought up to take the place of the right and left columns, which had given way. In a short time the Indians were routed in every direction, and were pursued by the cavalry more than two miles, under the greatest consternation. Twenty-six warriors were left dead on the field.
The loss of the Tennessee troops in these several engagements, on the 22d and on the 24th of January, was twenty-four men killed and seventy-five wounded. 488 The whole number of Indians found dead on the several battle-grounds was one hundred and eighty-nine warriors, and there is no doubt but that many had been removed. 489
Early in March, General Jackson having been appointed major-general in the United States service, was re-enforced by the thirty-ninth regiment of United States Infantry, under the skillful and intrepid Colonel John Williams. This regiment numbered about six hundred effective men, and possessed ample supplies. Several detachments of militia and volunteers had also joined his standard before the middle of March, when his entire force amounted to nearly four thousand men, besides Indian auxiliaries to the number of nearly one thousand. 490
At this time, the Choctâs from the Tombigby and Black Warrior, the Chickasas, and the Cherokees, as well as the friendly Creeks, had rallied to his standard.
The enemy was encountered again, and for the last time in a general engagement, at the strong-hold of Tohopeka, upon the Tallapoosa River. It was on the 27th of March, about ten o'clock in the forenoon, when the army reached the vicinity of the Indian fortress.
The savages, aware of the approach of General Jackson's
forces, had made every preparation for defense, and had assembled their warriors, to the number of about one thousand, from their different towns. The peninsula enclosed by the bend was a place of great natural strength, being surrounded on all sides but one by a deep river, with high and steep banks. The isthmus, or neck which separated the extremes of the bend, was defended by a strong wall or breast-work, from five to eight feet high, and pierced with numerous port-holes.
Preparations for an attack were made without delay. General Coffee, with his brigade of mounted volunteers, and with the friendly Indians, had been detached to cross the river, two miles below the bend, and to encompass the bend on the opposite side, so as to cut off from the enemy all opportunity of retreat. Soon afterward the infantry were put in motion, and advanced slowly along the isthmus toward the breast-work; one six-pounder cannon and one three-pounder were planted in an advantageous position, within two hundred yards of the enemy's line. The cavalry under General Coffee and the Indian allies had attained their position, and had commenced an attack on the rear from the opposite side of the river, when the cannon opened a very brisk fire upon the breast-work. The infantry slowly advanced, and poured in volleys of musketry and rifle-balls whenever the Indians presented themselves above the breast-work. In this manner the attack was kept up with but little intermission for two hours, when a part of the mounted volunteers and some of the friendly Indians crossed the river in canoes, and set fire to some buildings in the rear of the hostile Indians, and opened a brisk fire upon the enemy's rear. At this time General Jackson resolved to carry the place by storm. The infantry in front of the breastwork had been in readiness for some time, and were impatient for the order to storm the works. The order was given, and received by the troops with acclamation, and "the history of warfare furnishes few instances of a more brilliant attack. The regulars, led on by their intrepid and skillful commander, Colonel Williams, and by the gallant Major Montgomery, soon gained possession of the works, in the midst of a most tremendous fire from behind them; and the militia of the brave and venerable Doherty's brigade accompanied them in the charge, with a vivacity and firmness which would have done honor to regulars. The enemies were completely routed. Five hundred and fifty-seven
were left dead upon the peninsula, and a great number were killed by the horsemen in their attempt to cross the river. It is believed that not more than twenty have escaped. 491
"The fighting continued with some severity for five hours; but we continued to destroy many of them, who had concealed themselves under the banks of the river, until we were prevented by night. The morning following, sixteen men were killed who had been concealed. We took two hundred and fifty prisoners, all women and children. The power of the Creeks is forever broken." 492 Such is the general's brief account of the terrible battle of Tohopeka.
The loss of the Americans was twenty-five killed and one hundred and five wounded. Among the slain were the brave, accomplished, and lamented Major D. P. Montgomery, and Lieutenants Moulton and Somerville. The friendly Indians under Major M'Intosh, the Cowetan, lost twenty-nine killed and fifty-four wounded. 493
The memories of Lieutenants Moulton and Somerville are perpetuated in the flourishing towns of Moulton and Somerville, in the counties of Lawrence and Morgan, in North Alabama. That of the lamented Montgomery is perpetuated in the county and town of Montgomery, southeast of the Alabama River. Major Montgomery, a native of Virginia, had been an eminent lawyer and an accomplished gentleman in Tennessee at the commencement of the war with Great Britain, when he assumed the profession of arms, and entered the regular service of the United States. In this capacity he was the idol, and the model for imitation to his junior officers and men. Attentive to the wants of his men, to their health and comfort he was looked upon as a father and friend. Strictly obedient to the orders of his superiors, and punctilious in the performance of his promises, he secured the most implicit obedience from those under his command. In his person tall and graceful; in his manners, polite, reserved, and modest, he was the favorite of all who knew him. Ardent, brave, and patriotic, he hastened to the field of danger in defense of his country; and, scarcely expecting to return alive, he faltered not, observing, "If I fall in battle, I hope I shall die gloriously." 494
In the mean time, Colonel Pearson, with two hundred and fifty militia from North Carolina, scoured the banks of the Alabama and captured six hundred and twenty-two Indians, including men, women, and children. Several other skirmishes with parties of Indians had resulted in the death of some, and the capture of many others.
These victories completely prostrated the Creek power. They had heretofore been a powerful confederacy, and for more than thirty years had been inveterated in their hatred of the white settlers. In this they had been instigated by Spanish emissaries ever since the close of the war of Independence. During this time, no permanent peace, no complete security, no sincere friendship could be obtained for the white population of Georgia and Tennessee, or for those of the Mississippi Territory.
On the 1st of April General Jackson marched to Fort Williams, where he remained a few days to refresh his troops and to recruit their horses. 495 Convinced, however, of the necessity of reducing the remainder of the Creeks to peace, or of exterminating them, he again prepared to take up the line of march for the "Hickory Grounds," comprising the region lying between the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers, commonly known as the Forks. This region was the favorite resort of the Creeks, and their prophets had assured them it was sacred against the footsteps of the white man. In this region, extending more than thirty miles up the Tallapoosa, there were a number of hostile towns, whose inhabitants were said to be furious with desperation. To animate his soldiers to further toils and new achievements, the general issued the following address: "You have entitled yourselves to the gratitude of your country and your general. The expedition from which you have just returned has, by your good conduct, been rendered prosperous beyond any example in the history of our warfare; it has redeemed the character of your state, and of that description of troops to which most of you belong.
"The fiends of the Tallapoosa will no longer murder our women and children, or disturb the quiet of our borders. Their midnight flambeaux will no more illuminate their council-house, or shine upon the victims of their infernal orgies. In their places a new generation will arise, who will know their duty
better. The weapons of warfare will be exchanged for the utensils of husbandry, and the wilderness, which now withers in sterility, and mourns the desolation which overspreads it, will blossom as the rose, and become the nursery of the arts. But, before this happy day can arrive, other chastisements remain to be inflicted. It is indeed lamentable that the path to peace should lead through blood, and over the bodies of the slain; but it is a dispensation of Providence, and perhaps a wise one, to inflict partial evils, that ultimate good may be produced."
With rations for eight days packed upon the backs of the soldiers, the army set out for the hostile towns over the rugged country which forms the dividing ridges between the Coosa and Tallapoosa. In less than ten days, the whole country on both sides of the Tallapoosa, for fifty miles above its mouth, was severely scoured and ravaged by fire and sword. But the Indians fled in every direction on the approach of the victorious army; the towns were all deserted, with their fields, to the mercy of the invader. On the 17th of April the army arrived at old Fort Talassee, on the Coosa, six miles above its mouth. This is the site of the old French Fort Toulouse, upon an isthmus between the Coosa and Tallapoosa, which approach within one hundred rods of each other. Here the last chain of military posts was erected, and, in honor of the victorious commander, it was called "Fort Jackson."
In the mean time, the Georgia troops, under Colonel Milton, had advanced to the east side of the Tallapoosa with provisions and supplies; and having formed a junction with General Jackson's army, advanced to the general rendezvous at Fort Jackson. Many of the Indian auxiliaries had been discharged at Fort Williams on account of the scarcity of provisions, and others were also discharged at Fort Jackson, as the war was now terminated.
The savages were humbled, and they had sued for peace and mercy from their conquerors. From the day that the general arrived at Fort Jackson, the Creek warriors and chiefs had been daily arriving from every quarter, imploring peace for their nation and for their families. Among the distinguished chiefs was the notorious Weatherford, chief of the Alabamons, a principal instigator of the outbreak, the leader in the capture and massacre of Fort Mims, and an active commander
during the war. Vanquished, but not subdued, the proud warrior and fearless chief, disdaining to be led a captive, boldly advanced through the American camp into the presence of his victorious enemy, surrounded by his staff officers, and, bearing in his hands the emblem of peace, thus addressed General Jackson:
"I am in your power; do with me as you please. I am a soldier. I have done the white people all the harm I could; I have fought them, and fought them bravely. If I had an army, I would yet fight, and contend to the last; but I have none; my people are all gone. I can do no more than weep over the misfortunes of my nation. Once I could animate my warriors to battle; but I can not animate the dead. My warriors can no longer hear my voice: their bones are at Talladega, Talllushatches, Emuckfaw, and Tohopeka. I have not surrendered myself thoughtlessly. While there were chances of success, I never left my post nor supplicated peace; but my people are gone, and I now ask it for my nation and for myself. On the miseries and misfortunes brought on my country, I look back with deepest sorrow, and wish to avert still greater calamities. If I had been left to contend with the Georgia army, I would have raised my corn on one bank of the river and fought them on the other; but your people have destroyed my nation. You are a brave man: I rely on your generosity. You will exact no terms of a conquered people but such as they should accede to: whatever they may be, it would be madness and folly to oppose. If they are opposed, you shall find me among the sternest enforcers of obedience. Those who would still hold out can be influenced only by a mean spirit of revenge; and to this they must not, and shall not, sacrifice the last remnant of their country. You have told us where we might go and be safe. This is a good talk, and my nation ought to listen to it: they shall listen to it."
In the mean time, arrangements were in progress by the Federal government for holding a regular treaty with the Creeks at Fort Jackson, on the Tallapoosa River. For the accomplishment of this desirable object, no one was so well calculated to impress the savages with the power and justice of the United States as the "commander of the Tennessee volunteers." Hence General Jackson, in conjunction with Colonel Benjamin Hawkins, the Creek agent, was appointed
commissioner to negotiate and conclude a permanent treaty of peace and amity with the Creek nation. The whole country of the Creeks having been overrun, and the nation entirely subdued by the American troops, they were completely at the mercy of the conquerors, both as to territory and their own personal safety.
On the 9th day of August the treaty was regularly concluded and signed by the American commissioners and the chiefs representing the Creek nation, which thereby ceded to the United States all the Creek territory lying east of the Tombigby and west of the Coosa Rivers.
The "treaty of Fort Jackson" bears upon it the impress of the great soldier, and the forbearance of a nation outraged by savage cruelty, yet kind and indulgent to the conquered.
The preamble of the treaty sets forth that the Creeks had commenced an unprovoked, inhuman, and sanguinary war against the people of the United States, which had been repelled, prosecuted, and determined by the United States successfully, and agreeably to the principles of national justice and honorable warfare; that prior to the outbreak of the war, and the subsequent conquest of the whole Creek country, numberless aggressions had been committed by hostile Creeks against the property, safety, and lives of American citizens, and against such Creeks as were friendly to the United States, at the mouth of Duck River, Fort Mims, and elsewhere, contrary to national faith and express treaty stipulations. That the United States, previous to the perpetration of these outrages, had endeavored to secure the peace and future harmony of their people respectively, by a strict conformity to former articles of treaty, while the Creeks, their chiefs, and warriors, had been induced, by foreign emissaries, impostors, and agents, to commence hostilities against the American people.
Wherefore, the United States claim, as an indemnity for the expenses of the war, a cession of the Creek territory within certain limits, while they guarantee to the Indians the integrity and occupancy of the residue, provided the Creek nation abstains from all intercourse with English or Spanish agents not authorized by the United States to trade with them.
The United States also claim and require the right to establish trading-houses and military posts, and to navigate all the waters of the Creek territory, and to open and use such roads
as may be deemed expedient. The United States demand the immediate surrender of all prisoners and property in their possession, and also the capture and delivery of all prophets and instigators of the war, whether natives or foreigners.
And whereas the Creek nation is reduced to extreme want, without the means of subsistence, the United States, out of pure benevolence and humanity, agree to furnish gratuitously to the Creek nation the necessaries of life until their crops shall be matured.
Under the foregoing provisions and considerations, the United States ratify and confirm the peace with the Creek nation, and between them and the Cherokees, Chickasâs, and Choctâs. Such are the leading provisions and stipulations of the "treaty of Fort Jackson." 496
Such was the close of the Creek war; a war of extermination commenced by them against the American settlements, instigated and sustained by British revenge, but which resulted in the loss of nearly four thousand of their people, slain in battle, and the complete devastation of their country.
British Emissaries in Florida. In the mean time, British officers and emissaries had been actively engaged in rousing the Indians of Florida to renewed hostilities. This province was inhabited by portions of the Creek nation, and by a numerous tribe known as the Seminoles, within the limits of the Spanish dominions. These were to be armed against the frontier population of the United States, to renew the scenes at Fort Mims. For this purpose, the British brig Orpheus, early in August, landed several British officers, with a few men, and several pieces of artillery, at Appalachy Bay, near St. Mark's, in East Florida. These officers in advance were to stir up the Creeks and Seminoles; to imbody, train, and drill a large force of them, to assist in the reduction of Mobile Point, and other posts and settlements in the vicinity of Mobile Bay. 497 The avowed object was to restore to Spain that portion of country which had been seized and occupied by the United States west of the Perdido River.
These agents and officers at St. Mark's at length succeeded in imbodying a large number of Indians, who were drilled in the field exercise, and supplied with arms and ammunition. Soon
afterward, Colonel Nichols arrived with a British squadron at Pensacola, where he established his headquarters, and from which he soon issued his famous proclamation to the people of Louisiana. 498 Copies of this fulsome and presumptuous document, dated "Headquarters, Pensacola," were distributed in various border portions of Louisiana and the Mississippi Territory. An address, drawn up in a similar strain, was to the troops and "allies" of Great Britain; and to the savages he promised a bounty of ten dollars for every scalp, as a stimulus to active operations. 499
It was not long before his emissaries returned to him at Pensacola, accompanied by several hundred Indian allies recruited from Florida, who were subsequently engaged with the British troops in their abortive attack upon "Fort Bowyer," on Mobile Point.
Early in the autumn, General Jackson was appointed commander-in-chief of the Seventh Military District in place of General Flournoy. Proceeding without delay to the seat of
war, near the Gulf of Mexico, he immediately took active measures to protect the coast of Louisiana and the Mississippi Territory from British invasion. At his summons the Tennessee volunteers again rallied under his standard for the defense of the country from foreign invasion, as they had already done for the humiliation of savage power.
The fort which had been commenced by General Wilkinson at Mobile Point was the only defense against the entrance of the enemy's vessels into the Bay of Mobile, and General Flournoy had considered the post too much exposed to admit of successful defense in case of a vigorous attack. As such, it had been partially abandoned to its fate; but General Jackson immediately ordered its reoccupation by a suitable garrison, and proceeded to augment and strengthen the defenses, so as to close the pass against the entrance of the enemy's vessels. This post, known as Fort Bowyer, was placed under the command of Major Lawrence, with a garrison of one hundred and thirty men and twenty pieces of cannon; and with such success was the defense conducted, that on the 15th of September it successfully repulsed a combined attack by Colonel Nichols and Captain Woodbine with six hundred Indians on land, and the fleet of Sir W. H. Percy, consisting of four vessels and ninety-two pieces of cannon. 500 In the assault the enemy lost one hundred and sixty men killed, about seventy wounded, with the destruction of one vessel of war. 501
The British troops and vessels engaged in the attack on Fort Bowyer having retired to the port of Pensacola, General Jackson resolved to drive the enemy from the neutral port, and to enforce an observance of neutrality on the part of the Spanish authorities, and, if necessary, to take military possession of the port and fortresses.
Having concentrated a strong force in the vicinity of the line of demarkation, he advanced toward Pensacola, and on , the 6th of November encamped before the place with nearly four thousand men, including Indian auxiliaries. The same evening he dispatched a flag by his aid, Major Piere, with a communication to the Spanish governor; but as he advanced, the fort opened her fire, and compelled him to return. The tenor of the communication was to inform the Spanish governor
that the army of the United States did not approach with any hostile designs against Spain, but for the purpose of dislodging the British army from a position from which they were carrying on war against the territories and people of the United States, and requiring the Spanish governor to admit, from the army of the United States, a sufficient number of troops to garrison the Forts St. Michael, Barancas, and St. Rose, until the Spanish authorities could supply a force sufficient to enable the government of Pensacola to support the neutrality of his Catholic majesty's territory. Having reconnoitered the forts at Pensacola, he ascertained distinctly that they were occupied by British troops. The Spanish flag at that time was displayed, but on the day previous both the Spanish and British flags had been hoisted. 502
No satisfactory assurances having been given by the Spanish governor, the army was put in motion to take the town and forts by storm on the seventh. Three thousand men, in three different columns, with artillery, were marched along the beach, in order to avoid the fire of Fort St. Michael. When approaching the town, the advance of the artillery being retarded by the deep sand, the middle column was ordered to charge with the bayonet. This column advanced briskly; and as it entered the principal street, a Spanish battery of two guns opened its fire upon them; but it was immediately carried by the Americans at the point of the bayonet, when the town was surrendered, and the British troops, with their Indian allies, retired from Fort Barancas to their shipping, having first laid a train by which the fort was blown up soon after it was evacuated.
The American army retired to Mobile, from which General Jackson proceeded westward to superintend the defenses of the Louisiana coast, and especially the passes to the city of New Orleans, which was the ultimate object of the enemy. A few weeks afterward the troops were concentrated near Baton Rouge, preparatory to their advance to New Orleans, which was then threatened by a formidable British fleet and army. 503
[A.D. 1815.] Meantime, the war with Great Britain, as well as with the savages, having been conducted to a successful termination, the people of Mississippi, secure alike from savage
and British barbarity, through the extraordinary courage and energy of General Jackson, made no delay in publicly bearing testimony to his merits as a military commander. The people of the territory, through the General Assembly, in March, with great unanimity, awarded to him a splendid sword, embellished with suitable devices, as a token of their gratitude and affectionate regard for his extraordinary services during the war. This testimonial of an admiring people, accompanied with the cordial congratulations of Governor Holmes, was dispatched to Governor Blount, of Tennessee, by whom, on the 25th of May, it was formally presented to the general at a public meeting in Nashville, amid the felicitations of his friends and companions in arms.
Extension of the White Population into the Indian Country. Meanwhile, the people of Tennessee, and other states contiguous to the Indian nations, relieved from apprehension of savage hostility, began to advance into the Indian country. The treaty of Fort Jackson had extinguished the claim of the Creek nation to all the country south of Tennessee River, from the Black Warrior eastward to the Coosa, and beyond Fort Jackson on the Tallapoosa; and the tribes of that nation had begun to retire within their new boundary; but the country south and west of the county of Madison was in the possession of the Chickasâ nation, as far south and west as the Choctâ boundary; yet, before the close of the year 1815, the white population was gradually advancing and forming settlements west of Madison county and south of the Tennessee River, within the Chickasâ territory.
At the same time, population was crowding into the country north of the Tennessee River, eastward and westward from Madison county, into that portion of the Chickasâ and Cherokee country which has since been organized into the counties of Jackson, Limestone, and Lauderdale, in North Alabama. While these regions were receiving a rapid increase of immigrant population, the country within twenty miles of the southern limit of Madison county was likewise receiving its advanced pioneer settlements in all that portion of the Tennessee Valley now comprised in the counties of Franklin, Lawrence, and Morgan, of North Alabama. Before the close of the year 1816, all this portion of country north and south of the Tennessee River was fairly in the exclusive occupation
of the white population. Nor was this the limit of emigration; hundreds were advancing down the Tombigby to the settlements on the lower portion of the river, near Washington county; others advanced westward upon the head waters of the Tombigby, coveting the fertile and virgin lands still in the occupancy of the Chickasâs. The advanced pioneers from Tennessee, who had explored the country upon the sources of the Tombigby and Black Warrior, "considered it the ‘land of promise,’ and they impatiently awaited the completion of the surveys by the United States, when they were ready to cover it with their tens of thousands." 504
It was early in the summer of 1815 that the first white emigrants advanced upon the tributaries of the Buttahatchy and the eastern sources of the Tombigby. The same summer a settlement was made on the main stream of Tombigby, near the site of Cotton-gin Port. By the first of June, such was the number who had arrived in this quarter and lower down the Tombigby, and in the vicinity of Columbus, that it was deemed expedient, "for the preservation of good order, and to prevent the laws of the territory from being infracted with impunity," to extend the jurisdiction of the government over them, when Governor Holmes, by his proclamation, dated June 9th, 1815, "in virtue of the powers vested in him as Governor of the Mississippi Territory, erected all the country to which the Indian title had been extinguished upon the Tombigby and Black Warrior Rivers into the ‘county of Monroe.’" The laws of Congress and those of the Mississippi Territory were declared in full force over the same. 505
The same year, Madison county, north of the Tennessee River, was the most populous county in the territory, it having given at the June election, for delegate to Congress, fifteen hundred and seventy votes. At the same election, the whole number of votes polled in the three counties of Adams, Jefferson, and Claiborne yielded an aggregate of only fourteen hundred and twenty. 506
Near the close of this year, a writer in the Washington Republican observes, that "Madison county, which is less than thirteen miles square, has within six years obtained a population of more than ten thousand inhabitants, many of
whom are wealthy planters from Georgia and South Carolina." The same year, this county sent three representatives to the General Assembly. These were Gabriel Moore, William Winston, and Hugh M'Vey. Washington District, on the Mobile and Lower Tombigby, sent only two representatives. Such was the relative population of these remote points in the territory at the close of the year 1815. 507
Origin of the Seminole War. But the advance of the whites was premature. The Indian tribes had not yet abandoned the country. The boundary line stipulated in the "Treaty of Fort Jackson" had not been established; and the Indians, reluctant to yield up so large a portion of their territory, under the promptings of British emissaries from Florida, refused to abandon the country, or to permit the line to be established. Influenced by these emissaries and agents, they denied the obligation of the treaty, because its terms were dictated by the victorious general, and was disapproved by a fraction of the Creek nation. They asserted their unimpaired title to the country, and forbade the advance of the white population. "The Big Warrior declared he was deceived in the extent of country to be ceded by the treaty; and that the restriction of the Creek nation to the limits of the treaty line would lead to the inevitable destruction of his nation, as it would leave their country too limited for a subsistence by hunting, and that they might as well die by the sword as by famine."
Before the 16th of October, the Creek Indians had commenced hostilities upon the frontiers of Georgia, and had broken up all the military cantonments on the line from Fort Jackson eastward to Fort Mitchell, on the Chattahoochy. 508 The pioneer settlers were compelled to retire from the exposed situations, and seek safety in the older settlements.
On the 12th of December, the president issued his proclamation forewarning all persons against entering upon the lands of the United States and making settlements thereon, when such lands had not been surveyed and thrown open to them; he also commanded the marshal in any state or territory where such trespass shall have taken place, to remove, if necessary, by military force, all persons unlawfully remaining upon any such lands after the 10th of March, 1816. 509 Meantime, the Federal
government omitted no effort for the amicable adjustment of the contested boundary; but the intrigues of British and Spanish emissaries defeated the humane policy of the government, and ultimately involved the hostile portion of the Creek nation and the Seminoles in another war of extermination.
[A.D. 1816.] Until the beginning of the year 1816, the Mississippi Territory continued to include the immense regions extending from the Mississippi to the Chattahoochy River. The greater portion of this extensive country was as yet in the virtual occupancy of the Indian tribes, the white population being still contained in three separate and remote districts. The first of these was that on the Mississippi, lying south of latitude 33°, and extending eastward to Pearl River. The second was comprised in the counties on the Tombigby and Mobile Rivers; the third was the isolated county of Madison, distant nearly four hundred miles from Natchez, and separated by two tribes of Indians. Between the settlements on the Mississippi and those on the Tombigby, an unsubdued wilderness of nearly three hundred miles intervened, with a few scattering settlements on the route of communication. Between these districts there was no natural or commercial connection; no community of interests or pursuits; and between the first and the second, the sterile character of the lands interposed an insuperable barrier to a continuous population; the Indian nations intervening between the first and the third precluded an intimate and safe intercourse. Hence the inhabitants of each of these sections were strangers to those of the others; but, being all within the limits prescribed for the Mississippi Territory, they were included in one territorial government for temporary convenience.
The great distance of Madison county and the Tombigby settlements from the seat of the territorial government gave rise to much dissatisfaction, and the plan of dividing the territory into two portions, with two separate governments, was warmly discussed during the year 1815. One of the first and most plausible plans devised by politicians was the annexation of the counties west of Pearl River, and south of latitude 33°, to the State of Louisiana, giving that state a uniform shape, and embracing both banks of the Mississippi River. Another government, extending from the mouth of the Tombigby northward
to the southern boundary of Tennessee, was desired, having its seat on the Tennessee River. 510
Meantime, before the close of the year 1815, a memorial from the General Assembly, as well as one from the people upon the Tombigby and Alabama, had been laid before Congress, representing the inconveniences of the existing government, and praying the division of the territory and the establishment of two separate governments. The county of Monroe, east of the Tombigby, had been organized, and formed a connecting link between the eastern settlements on the Upper and Lower Tombigby, and those further north, contiguous to Madison county.
Indian Treaties in 1816. The advanced population in all the new settlements, and especially those upon the head waters of the Tombigby and Black Warrior, was encroaching upon the contiguous territories of Choctâs, Chickasâs, and Cherokee nations, which were in friendly alliance with the United States. To facilitate the advance of these settlements chiefly north and east of the Creek nation, the Federal government took immediate measures to obtain a formal relinquishment of the claims of the three coterminous nations. For this purpose, commissioners were appointed on the part of the United States, who, during the autumn of the year, concluded three several treaties for the cession of all the territory from the head waters of the Coosa, westward to the Tombigby at Cotton-gin Port, and to a line running thence direct to the mouth of Caney Creek, on the Tennessee River. These were the last treaties for the relinquishment of Indian lands within the Mississippi Territory previous to its division into two separate territorial governments.
Immediately after these treaties, the white population pressed forward with great rapidity from the Tennessee Valley into the fertile and beautiful plains comprised within the limits defined by the late treaties. Before the close of the year 1816, the civilized inhabitants of the Mississippi Territory had increased to more than seventy-five thousand persons, including slaves. Of these, about forty-six thousand were distributed in the counties situated west of Pearl River; the remainder were in the Tennessee Valley, and upon the Tombigby and Mobile Rivers.
[A.D. 1817.] The Territory divided. On the 21st of January Congress adopted the views contained in the memorial from the General Assembly, and assented to the formation of a state Constitution. The subject having been duly considered, on the first of March following a bill was passed authorizing the people of the western portion of the Mississippi Territory to form a state government, preparatory to its admission into the Union as an independent state. 511 The eastern limit of this portion was "a line to be drawn direct from the mouth of Bear Creek, on the Tennessee River, to the northwestern corner of Washington county, on the Tombigby, thence due south with the western limit of said county to the sea."
State of Mississippi admitted into the Union. Agreeably to the provisions of the act of Congress, the General Assembly proceeded to provide for the election of delegates to a convention which was to assemble on the first Monday in July. The convention was to consist of forty-four members, representing fourteen counties, and to be convened and held in the town of Washington. After a session of more than five weeks, the Constitution was finally adopted on the 15th of August, 1817, and on the 10th of December following it was approved by Congress, when the "State of Mississippi" was admitted into the Federal Union. 512
At this time the whole white population of the new state was restricted to fourteen large counties, sparsely inhabited, and situated chiefly in its southern extremity, immediately north of the old Spanish line of demarkation, and south of the old Choctâ line, established by the treaty of Mount Dexter in 1805.
The county of Monroe, then lying chiefly on the east side of the Tombigby River, was not represented in the convention of Mississippi, but remained attached to the State of Alabama until the winter of 1820, when the boundary line, established by actual survey, assigned it to Mississippi.
The first session of the "First General Assembly of the State of Mississippi" convened in the town of Washington on the first Monday in October, 1817. 513 The session continued, for the organization of the state government, until February following. During this time many of the territorial laws were remodeled; inferior and superior courts were established and organized; a general militia law, and a law establishing a regular system of state revenue, were enacted. 514 The first senators to Congress were David Holmes and Thomas H. Williams; and the first representative elected by the people was George Poindexter, of Wilkinson county, who succeeded William Lattimore, the last territorial delegate. Such was the first organization of state government in Mississippi.
[A.D. 1820.] The new state continued to receive annual accessions to its population by emigrants from North Carolina, Tennessee, and the western states upon the Ohio; and in 1820, the number of inhabitants, exclusive of Indians, was seventy-five thousand four hundred, of whom thirty-three thousand were slaves. The inhabited portion had been subdivided into seventeen counties, 515 lying south of the Choctâ boundary, established at Mount Dexter.
Yet more than two thirds of the country comprised within the limits of the state were in the possession of the native tribes. The Choctâs claimed the largest portion, extending northward from the limit of the white settlements, while the Chickasâs occupied all the territory on the north beyond them. The claims of both nations extended from the Tombigby to the Mississippi.
To facilitate the extension of the white settlements into valuable and fertile lands lying north of the Choctâ boundary, the Federal government entered into negotiations with the Choctâ nation for the purchase of another large district of country.
Major-general Jackson, of Tennessee, and Major-general Thomas Hinds, of Mississippi, were appointed commissioners on the part of the United States to treat upon the subject. The chiefs, head men, and warriors of the Choctâ nation were assembled at Doak's Stand, near the eastern limit of the present county of Madison, and on the 20th of October a treaty was signed for the relinquishment of nearly five and a half millions of acres. This cession comprised all the lands, except a few reservations which lie west of a line drawn northwardly from a point on the former Choctâ boundary, near the -southeast corner of the present county of Simpson, "to the source of Black Creek, a tributary of the Yazoo; thence along said creek westward to its mouth; thence by a direct line to the Mississippi, one mile below the mouth of the Arkansas River."
The Legislature at the next session erected the ceded territory, for temporary government, into the "county of Hinds," in honor of the commissioner from Mississippi. During the same session a joint resolution was adopted, tendering "the thanks of the General Assembly and of the state to Major-general Andrew Jackson, and our distinguished fellow-citizen, Major-general Thomas Hinds, ‘commissioners plenipotentiary on the part of the United States to treat with the Choctâ tribe of Indians,’ for their patriotic and indefatigable exertions in effecting a treaty with said Indians, whereby their claim has been extinguished to a large portion of land within this state, and whereby a fund has been provided for public exigencies, our settlements on the Mississippi rendered more contiguous, and the state we represent more powerful in its resources and more respectable as a member of the confederacy." 516
The territory acquired by this treaty for many years subsequently was known and designated as the "New Purchase;" and hundreds from the old counties, lured by the prospect of securing large bodies of fine lands at cheap rates, began to prepare for settling the country. Subsequently this purchase was erected into the counties of Hinds, Simpson, Copiah, Rankin, Madison, Bolivar, Yazoo, Washington, and Holmes.
Heretofore the General Assembly had convened at Natchez or Washington, near the extreme southwestern part of the state, and at least two hundred and fifty miles from the newly-erected county of Monroe, east of the Tombigby. It had been determined
to establish the future seat of the state government at some point nearly central to the geographical limits of the state. Hence, at the autumnal session of the General Assembly, on the 28th of November, a bill was passed, authorizing "Thomas Hinds and William Lattimore, the commissioners heretofore appointed, and Peter A. Vandorn, to locate the future capital of the state" upon certain lands near the Pearl River, within the "New Purchase," and to prepare suitable buildings for the next session of the General Assembly. The same act declares that the future capital "shall be called and known by the name of ‘Jackson,’ in honor of Major-general Andrew Jackson." 517 Thus was the name of the early patron and defender of Mississippi perpetuated to posterity as identified with her future progress as an independent state. 518
Meantime, by an act of the Legislature, approved February 0th, 1821, the county of Monroe had been recognized as within the limits of the state; and the state authority was extended over it by an act entitled "An act to form a county east of the Tombigby River, and for other purposes." 519Since that time, Monroe county has formed an integral part of the State of Mississippi.
Yet the county of Monroe was separated from the counties near the Mississippi by the territory of the Choctâ nation, which had been reduced in width at this point, by the "new purchase," to about one hundred and twenty miles from Jackson. To connect these remote settlements, a public road was opened from the old "Nashville Trace," in a northeast direction, through the Choctâ nation, until it intersected the military road leading from Florence, on the Tennessee River, to the city of Orleans. This road passed through the new purchase, by way of the old Choctâ agency and Raymond, to the town of Columbus, thus connecting the settlements on the Tombigby with those near the Mississippi. For several years this road was known as the "Robinson Road," after its projector, Raymond Robinson, who erected the first house, and gave name to the present town of Raymond.
Population began to crowd rapidly into the "New Purchase,"
from which the Indians gradually retired, some into the nation northward, and many westward, across the Mississippi River, thus leaving forever the homes of their ancestors.
[A.D. 1830.] Extension of the State Jurisdiction over the Indian Country. After the organization of the state government, the population gradually increased, and extended into all the counties south of the former Indian boundary, until the close of the year 1820, when the aggregate number, exclusive of Monroe county, amounted to more than seventy-five thousand souls. From this time emigration was more active, and contributed to augment the population rapidly until the year 1830, when the "New Purchase," with its seven new counties, had received a large agricultural population, increasing the inhabitants of the state to one hundred and thirty-six thousand souls, exclusive of Indians. About this time the rage for the fine cotton lands of Mississippi, both in the upland regions of the Yazoo and Pearl Rivers, no less than the lowlands of the Mississippi, began to rouse the spirit of exploration in search of other lands beyond the limits of the white settlements.
The white people had again begun to press upon the Indian territory, and the Indians themselves began to find their country too circumscribed to admit of further restrictions. The Chickasâs had already been compelled to retire from the limits of the State of Tennessee to the occupancy of a district in North Mississippi, less than one tenth of their limits in the year 1800.
The Choctâs, occupying the middle portion of the state, were restricted to less than one tenth of the territory occupied by them thirty years before. The impatient white population, which was crowding into the state from Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia, demanded the final withdrawal of the Indian tribes to the west side of the Mississippi, and the subsequent survey and sale of the lands occupied by them. In order to constrain them to emigrate west of the Mississippi, the jurisdiction of the state was extended over their country, and themselves made amenable to its laws. The savage can not be forced into civilization; and abhorring the restraints of civil government and the steady advance of the white man, they agreed to enter into negotiations with the Federal authorities for the final cession and relinquishment of their country east of the Mississippi, and to accept in lieu of it the lands provided
for them west of the Arkansas Territory. The "Treaty of Dancing Rabbit," concluded on the 27th day of September, 1830, completed the stipulations for the sale and relinquishment of all the remaining lands of the Choctâ nation on the east side of the Mississippi. 520 Two years were allowed for their final removal from the country, and every assistance by
the government, with bountiful supplies, was tendered to facilitate emigration to their new homes; yet it was with reluctance they consented to take their leave.
[A.D. 1832.] Two years after the treaty of Dancing Rabbit, the Chickasâs, to avoid the jurisdiction of the state authority, agreed to enter into negotiations for the cession of all their remaining lands east of the Mississippi, preparatory to their departure for the country set apart for them in the West. The "Treaty of Pontotoc," concluded on the 20th of October, 1832, completed the stipulations for the cession and final relinquishment of all the Chickasâ territory within the limits of the State of Mississippi, and their subsequent removal west of the present State of Arkansas. Bountiful advantages were extended to them in the shape of large appropriations of land, and ample time was allowed for their change of abode.
To the Choctâs, also, liberal reservations of lands were allowed, provided they preferred to remain under the jurisdiction of the state. But these privileges have resulted more to the advantage of the land speculator than to the Indians themselves. Several hundred of the Choctâs remained in the sparsely-settled counties south of the Chickasâ line, for the purpose of claiming the reservation rights until the year, 1845, when they were conducted by the United States agent to their destination west of the Mississippi River.
[A.D. 1834.] After the ratification of the treaty of Pontotoc, the tide of emigration from Tennessee began to set toward the Indian country; but the Chickasâs were reluctant to abandon their ancient homes and the graves of their ancestors. Many resolved to remain, and, by submitting to the state authority, secure the reservations of land allowed to those who were so inclined; yet, before the close of the year 1839, the Chickasâs had taken up their residence west of the Mississippi.
[A.D. 1845.] Finally, it was about the year 1836, when the tide of emigration not only from the older counties of the state, but from Tennessee, North Alabama, and even from Georgia, began to crowd into this region with all the ardor of enthusiasm. All hearts appeared set upon the fine lands of the Chickasâ country, which had been erected into twelve large counties. Before the close of the year 1845, these counties had become the most populous in the state. The population of the state in 1840 had increased to more than three hundred and
seventy-five thousand souls, exclusive of Indians still remaining. Of these, one hundred and ninety-five thousand were slaves, engaged chiefly in agriculture, and rendering Mississippi one of the largest cotton-producing states in the Union. The treaty of Pontotoc comprised a stipulation, that certain of the Chickasâ lands should be sold at a reduced price, even below the minimum of the government; the consequence was, that hundreds of landholders in Tennessee and North Alabama, anxious to profit by the enhanced value of their lands in the older settlements, began to convert their estates into cash, for investment in the fertile regions of the Chickasâ cession. The advance of emigration continued to swell the number of whites in these regions until the close of the year 1845, when not only all the Chickasâs, but the last lingering remains of the Choctâs, were finally removed to the Indian territory upon the Arkansas River. The last removal of the Choctâs was completed under the superintendence of Colonels Anderson and Forester, Cobb and Pickens. Such has been the increase of population in the State of Mississippi. 521
The same year, the last remnant of the Creeks in Alabama, reduced to one hundred and sixty in number, were also removed to their new homes in the reserved Indian territory west of the Mississippi. 522
[A.D. 1817.] Alabama Territory. A brief retrospect of the advance of emigration into the eastern portion of the Mississippi Territory, and the admission of the State of Alabama into the Union, will close this chapter.
After the Mississippi Territory, under the provisions of the act of March 1st, 1817, the remaining or eastern portion was erected into a separate territorial government by an act approved March 3d, 1817, and was to be known and designated as the "Alabama Territory," after the principal river within its limits. The seat of the new territorial government was established temporarily at St. Stephen's, on the Lower Tombigby River, and the first governor was William W. Bibb.
The Alabama Territory, thus districted, contained a population of more than thirty-three thousand souls, exclusive of the native tribes. There were also seven organized counties, including Monroe, on the Upper Tombigby River. The principal old settlements were those in the Tennessee Valley, on the north, comprised in the original county of Madison, besides others extending for fifty miles east and west, south of the Muscle Shoals. The remaining population was upon the Lower Tombigby and upon the Mobile Rivers.
The former organized counties remaining in the Alabama Territory after the division were those of Mobile, Baldwin, Washington, and Clark, in the southern portion, comprising, in the summer of 1817, about twenty thousand inhabitants. In the northern portion were the counties of Madison, Limestone, and Lauderdale. In these counties, seven in number, all the authorities, legislative, executive, and judicial, remained as they were previous to the division, clothed, with all their powers unimpaired, in the full exercise of their respective duties. The act of Congress of March 3d, 1817, provided "that all offices which may exist, and all laws which may be in force within said boundaries, shall continue to exist and be in force until otherwise provided by law." The members of the former General Assembly, who represented these counties, when convened by the governor immediately after entering upon the duties of his office, were authorized to elect six persons, from whom the president should appoint three to complete the Legislative Council. Thus was the new territorial government fully organized, agreeably to the provisions of the ordinance of July, 1787.
A new land-office was organized in the northern part of the territory, for the survey and sale of lands in the "Northern Land District," and located at Huntsville, in Madison county. 523
[A.D. 1819.] The population of the Alabama Territory increased
rapidly; in 1816 the aggregate was short of thirty thousand souls, exclusive of Indians; but before the close of the year 1818 it had increased to more than seventy thousand persons, and the people desired an independent state government. In compliance with an application from the General Assembly, Congress, on the 2d of March, 1819, passed an act "to enable the people of the Alabama Territory to form a state Constitution, and for the admission of such state into the Union on an equal footing with the original states." 524
Agreeably to the provisions of this act, a convention of forty-four delegates from twenty-two counties convened at Huntsville, Madison county, on the first Monday in July following. Of these delegates the county of Madison sent eight; the county of Monroe, on Tombigby, four; Tuscaloosa, two; Washington, two; Montgomery, two; and others one, in proportion to their population respectively. The Constitution was adopted on the 2d day of August, and on the 14th of December following the "State of Alabama" was formally admitted into the Union by a joint resolution of Congress.
Meantime, the northern land-office at Huntsville had been in operation, and extensive surveys in the "Northern District" had been completed; the land-sales were proclaimed, and thousands of eager purchasers flocked into the country from every portion of the Southern and Western States in search of lands, not only for settlement, but as a profitable investment for future speculation.
[A.D. 1820.] Before the close of the year 1820, the population of the State of Alabama had increased to 127,900 persons; and in less than seven years afterward, immigration had augmented it to 244,000 souls. This number in 1830, twelve years after its admission into the Federal Union, had increased to 309,756 souls. 525 In 1844 it amounted to 625,000 persons.
Monette, John W. History of the Discovery and Settlement of the Valley of the Mississippi, by the Three Great European Powers, Spain, France and Great Britain, and the Subsequent Occupation, Settlement, and Extension of Civil Government by the United States, Until the Year 1846, in two volumes, Volume II . New York: Harper and Brothers, Publishers, 1846. [format: book], [genre: history]. Permission: Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures, Aurora University
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