The Battle of Hobdy's Bridge
A marker at Hobdy's Bridge
tells the story of the battle, but
incorrectly gives an 1836 date.
Hobdy's Bridge, Alabama
The modern bridge spans the
Pea River at the same site as
the 1837 structure.
Battle of Hobdy's Bridge - Pike and Barbour Counties,  Alabama
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Battle of Hobdy's Bridge, Alabama
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Battle of Hobdy's Bridge, Alabama
Pea River at Hobdy's Bridge
The battle took place in the swamps north of
Hobdy's Bridge, as militia troops overran Creek
warriors and inflicted great slaughter.
Desperate Fight on the Pea River
In the eyes of the U.S. Government, the Creek
War of 1836 had been over for months when
one of its largest battles was fought on the
Pea River at Hobdy's Bridge, Alabama.

Named for an early settler, Hobdy's Bridge
spanned the river between Pike County and
Barbour County about seven miles west of
the town of Louisville, Alabama. Then, as
now, the bridge was surrounded by vast
floodplain swamps.

A large party of Creek Indians - men, women
and children - had fled into these swamps
after the concentration camps where they
were waiting to be sent west on the
Trail of
Tears were attacked by white militia units.
These attacks, several in number, took place
in February of 1837. An estimated 14,526
Creeks were already on the long journey to
what is now Oklahoma by then, forced from
their homes despite the fact that most of
them had sided with the United States during
the fighting in 1836.

The attacks were described as particularly
brutal. One emigrating agent heard shots
from the direction of his camp and rushed to
the scene to find that a blind, elderly man had
been killed and a young girl shot in the leg by
men who tried to assault her:

...The same men had in several instances
accomplished their diabolical views upon the
frightened women, and in many cases
deprived them by force of finger-rings, ear-
rings, and blankets. Many of their women and
whole families, under a state of alarm, ran to
the swamp, where the major part of them are
still, and no doubt viewed as hostile. I have
used every possible means to draw them out
without success....

Outraged by such treatment and needing to
feed their families and obtain supplies, the
warriors in this group began to strike at
isolated homes and farms around the
fringes of the Pea River swamp. It did not
take long for a military force to pursue them.

Led by Brigadier General William Wellborn
(also spelled Welborne and Wellborne), a
large force of volunteers and militia left
present-day
Eufaula (then called Irwinton) to
root out the refugees in the swamp.

Reaching Hobdy's Bridge, then a long
wooden span and causeway, Wellborn
learned that the main party of Creeks were
camped about one mile north of the bridge.
Sending part of his force up the east or
Barbour County side of the Pea River under
Captain Harrell, he moved up the west or
Pike County side with his primary command.
As he neared the site of the camp, gunfire
erupted in the swamp.

Correctly assuming that the party moving up
the east bank under had encountered
resistance, Wellborn ordered his men
forward through the mud and water at a full
run.

The Creek warriors fought fiercely to hold off
the whites while their families tried to flee the
scene. Participants in the fight later reported
that some of the Creek women and children
also took up arms to fight, raining showers of
rifle balls and arrows on them. In one case,
two of the Indian women attacked a member
of the Franklin Volunteers with knives:
...He used every exertion to disengage
himself from them, but they made a furious
and deadly assault upon him with their
knives, and in self-defence, he drew his
Bowie and with two blows killed them both....

Unable to defeat the desperate Creeks with
gunfire alone, Wellborn finally ordered a
direct charge on their lines. The tactic work
and, "the Indians fled to the encampment to
carry off their children, and there scattered in
every direction, many swimming the river."

Two whites were killed and seven wounded.
Creek losses are unknown, but Wellborn's
men found the bodies of 23 warriors on the
battlefield.

In winning the Battle of Hobdy's Bridge,
Wellborn had defeated the refugee Creeks
but had failed to surround and capture them
as he had hoped. Instead they fled south
down the Pea River to its confluence with the
Choctawhatchee and continued across the
line into Florida. Furious at their treatment,
they continued to battle the whites for years to
come.

Hobdy's Bridge is located on Alabama State
Highway 130, about seven miles west of the
town of Louisville. A modern concrete bridge
crosses the Pea River at the site and a
marker commemorating the battle can be
seen on the western or Pike County side.

Please note that the 1836 date on the marker
is incorrect. The battle was fought on March
24, 1837. Also incorrect is that it was the last
Indian battle in Alabama. Later fights took
place in today's Geneva and Dale Counties.

The bridge was also the site of an important
skirmish during the Civil War. Research
indicates, in fact, that the last Union soldiers
wounded in that war may have fallen at
Hobdy's Bridge.
Click here to read more
about the 1865 Skirmish of Hobdy's Bridge.
Creek War of 1836-1837
The militia troops crossed the
Pea River on a fallen long to
gain access to the Creek
position.
Pea River
The refugee Creeks used the
swamps of the Pea River to
shelter themselves as they
fled south to Florida.
The Flame of a Nation...
A monument at Fort Mitchell
memorializes the those of the
Creek Nation forced west on
the brutal journey known
today as the Trail of Tears.
Custom Search
Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.