ExploreSouthernHistory.com - First Seminole War of 1817-1818
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - First Seminole War of 1817-1818
Lake Miccosukee, Florida
A column of U.S. troops headed by Maj. Gen.
Edmund P. Gaines waded across the lake following
the Battle of Miccosukee on April 1, 1818.
Fort Scott, Georgia
The command post for U.S.
Army operations during the
First Seminole War, Fort Scott
was on the lower Flint River.
Fort Gadsden, Florida
Built on the site of the earlier
"Negro Fort," Fort Gadsden
was deep in Spanish Florida
and would be held there for
three years.
The First Seminole War of 1817-1818
Florida, Georgia and Alabama
Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update: July 19, 2012
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Native American Sites in the South
Fort Barrancas, Florida
The Bateria de San Antonio
(the white structure at left)
was part of the fort captured
by Andrew Jackson in the late
spring of 1818.
Fort Mitchell, Alabama
An important supply depot,
Fort Mitchell was also the
base of U.S. Indian Agent
David B. Mitchell.
The Creek Pocahontas
Milly Francis, the daughter of
the Prophet Josiah Francis,
saved the life of a Georgia
militia soldier named Duncan
McKrimmon on the Wakulla
River early in 1818.
The First Seminole War of 1817-1818 was
ignited on November 21 and 23, 1817, when
U.S. troops attacked the Creek Indian village
of
Fowltown in what is now Decatur County,
Georgia.

The attacks on Fowltown ended a war of
words that had gone on for months between
Neamathla, the chief of the village, and Major
David E. Twiggs, the commanding officer at
Fort Scott on the lower Flint River. The chief
refused to remove his people from lands
ceded to the United States by the Treaty of
Fort Jackson, pointing out that he had not
been a party to that agreement. The land was
his, he told Twiggs, and he was "directed by
the Powers above to defend it."

The first attack on Fowltown (Nov. 21, 1817)
took place in the dark of night and ended in a
brief skirmish when the warriors of the town
tried to defend themselves from encircling
U.S. soldiers. The troops came again two
days later (Nov. 23, 1817) and were raiding
the village corn cribs when Neamathla and
his warriors suddenly emerged from the
swamps and attacked them. The resulting
encounter, remembered as the Battle of
Fowltown, left 1 U.S. soldier dead and 3
wounded. Indian losses were estimated at 6
to 8 killed.
Aaron Hughes, a fifer from the 7th
Infantry, was the first American soldier killed
in the Seminole Wars.

The attacks on Fowltown outraged not just
the Lower Creeks, but also the Seminoles of
Florida. African American warriors from the
Suwannee River (the "black Seminoles")
joined the growing Indian army, as did the
refugee Red Sticks who had fled their homes
in Central Alabama following their defeat at
the
Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814.

Large forces of warriors surged to the scene
of the action. Several hundred of them took
up a position just below the confluence of the
Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers. They took
revenge for the attacks on Fowltown on
November 30, 1817, when they ambushed a
U.S. Army boat commanded by Lieut. Richard
W. Scott.

Scott's boat was carrying 40 U.S. soldiers, 7
women and 4 children. By the time the
slaughter ended, 34 men, 6 women and all
of the children were dead. One woman -
Elizabeth Steward - was taken prisoner and
of the six soldiers who escaped by leaping
into the water, five were seriously wounded.

Despite the earlier attacks on Fowltown, the
Scott Massacre was regarded as an
unprovoked atrocity by the United States. A
large army was ordered to assemble at Fort
Scott and Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson was
directed to take command at the front.

Additional fighting took place during this
interval. Indian warriors fired into Fort Scott
on December 2, 1817, but were driven away
by cannon fire.
Fort Hughes, a blockhouse at
presenty-day Bainbridge was attacked on
December 13, 1817 in a battle that lasted 3-4
days. A supply flotilla on the Apalachicola
River was attacked on December 16, 1817,
at the
Battle of Ocheesee, which lasted for
weeks.

Andrew Jackson reached Fort Scott on March
9, 1818. Remaining there only one day, he
immediately followed his orders to invade
Spanish Florida and chastise the Seminoles.
Sites of the First Seminole War
Advancing into Spanish territory, Jackson
paused on the
Apalachicola River to build
Fort Gadsden before advancing against the
main Seminole villages. The invasion led to
battles at
Miccosukee and Suwannee Old
Town as well as the capture of the Spanish
fort of
San Marcos de Apalache (St. Marks).

The army took a number of prisoners,
including the Prophet Francis and the Red
Stick chief Homathlemico, both of whom
were hanged by Jackson's order. Also
captured were Alexander Arbuthnot and
Robert Ambrister, a Scottish trader and
former British offer respectively. Both were
accused of being foreign agents and inciting
the Indians to violence, tried before military
courts and executed.

Jackson then crossed the Apalachicola River
and marched across the Florida Panhandle
where he captured both
Pensacola and Fort
San Carlos de Barrancas. A few additional
raids would follow, but Jackson's campaign
effectively broke the strength of the North
Florida Indian alliance.

The First Seminole War and clear ability of
U.S. troops to move through Spanish territory
played a key role in the cession of Florida
from Spain to the United States in 1821.