Today marks the 200th anniversary of the massacre at Fort Mims in what is now Alabama.
The incident kicked off the Creek War, in which several important Frontier Partisans served — Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston and David Crockett, to name the three best-known.
A militant faction of the Creek Nation, known as Red Sticks, attacked the fort, which was criminally undefended due to the negligent complacency of the garrison commander. Once the Red Sticks broke into the stockade, they killed at least 250 of the 517 people inside the fort (maybe more; a handful escaped and the rest, especially a large contingent of black slaves, were led into captivity). Among the dead were soldiers and militia and their dependents and a large number of mixed-blood Creeks who had sought refuge in the fort in what was, in effect a Creek Nation civil war.
The garrison actually gave a pretty good account of themselves in a desperate struggle inside the confines of the fort. They killed as many as 100 Creek Red Sticks, which ultimately only served to feed a blood frenzy.
The atrocity fired panic — and a vengeful spirit — all along what was then the southwestern frontier. The ensuing war was exceedingly brutal, even by frontier standards. See Crockett’s memoirs for a frank account that really brings home the horrors of frontier warfare.
There’s a detailed history of the event here.
Oscar Case says
Never heard of this one, a little revenge on the whites by the Indians and a Creek civil war going on, attended by Davy Crockett, Sam Houston and Andrew Jackson. WOW!
Yeah, the 1813 Creek War is a little obscure. It was kinda part of the War of 1812 and kinda separate. The Battle of Horseshoe Bend, which ended the conflict in 1814, was the largest loss of life among an Indian nation in a single battle in all of American history. The Creeks fortified a bend in the Tallapoosa River and Gen. Jackson’s force, which also included Cherokee and Creek auxiliaries, took the barricades by storm.
Despite its strategic and political significance, the whole thing is almost forgotten today. As I often say, historical memory is capricious.