Holy Ground Battlefield Park - White Hall, Alabama
Holy Ground Battlefield Park - White Hall, Alabama
Holy Ground Battlefield Park
The park is near the site of Holy Ground, the town of
the Creek Prophet Josiah Francis. He ignited the
Red Stick movement among the Creek Indians.
The Battle of Holy Ground
Holy Ground Battlefield Park
overlooks the Alabama River
near the site of the Creek War
battle.
Boardwalk at Holy Ground
An interpretive boardwalk
leads to an overlook that
provides panoramic views of
the Alabama River.
The Battle of Holy Ground - White Hall, Alabama
Holy Ground Battlefield Park
Copyright 2013 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Updated: October 13, 2013
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The Creek War of 1813-1814
Weatherford's Leap
This 1877 sketch is an artist's
conception of Weatherford
leaping from the bluff during
the Battle of Holy Ground.
A commanding bluff overlooking the Alabama
River near the small community of White Hall
commemorates a highly significant moment
in
Alabama history and legend.

Holy Ground Battlefield Park is near the site
of Econachoca or "Holy Ground," the town of
Creek Prophet Josiah Francis.  The large
village was a key base of operations for Red
Stick warriors during the
Creek War of
1813-1814.  It was here that the noted Creek
warrior
William Weatherford made his famed
horseback leap into the Alabama River.

Although it may have existed earlier, Holy
Ground first attracted attention during the
winter of 1812-1813 when Prophet Francis
made it the headquarters for his rapidly
expanding religious movement. A convert to
the teachings of the Shawnee Prophet
Tenskwatawa, Francis taught his followers
that they should return to traditional ways and
give up all aspects of white culture.

When a civil war among the Creeks spilled
over to the whites following the battles at
Burnt Corn Creek and
Fort Mims, the town at
Holy Ground quickly became a target for
attack.

One of three U.S. armies converging on the
Creek Nation left Fort Claiborne (today's
Claiborne, Alabama) in December of 1813
and began a cross-country march to Holy
Ground. Led by Gen. Ferdinand L. Claiborne,
the troops emerged from the forests and
attacked Holy Ground on December 23, 1813.

Claiborne began the battle with his forces
organized into three columns: one on the left,
one on the right and one in the center. The
heaviest fighting took place on the right
where Weatherford and the largest group of
Red Stick warriors used a huge fallen log as
a breastwork.

The warriors continued to resist until the
women, children and elderly could escape
across the Alabama under the direction of
the Prophet and other leaders. Once their
families were safe, they abandoned their
makeshift fortification and escaped in all
directions.

Among the noncombatants who escaped
that day was the young daughter of the
Prophet.
Milly Francis, who later saved the life
of an American soldier and was dubbed the
Creek Pocahontas by newspapers across
the United States. She was around 10 years
old when Claiborne's troops attacked her
town.

One of the most remarkable moments in
Alabama and Southern history took place at
Holy Ground as Claiborne's soldiers closed
in around the town itself.

William Weatherford, the Red Stick leader
who had commanded the warriors fighting a
delaying action at the Battle of Holy Ground,
found himself cut off from escape. After trying
several different routes in hopes of locating a
way of slipping out through the U.S. lines, he
found himself trapped with Claiborne's men
closing in from every direction.

At this critical moment, Weatherford rode his
horse straight off the bluff and into the
Alabama River. As stunned soldiers crowded
to the top of the bluff, they saw "Arrow" come
up from the depths and swim for the other
shore. William Weatherford was still on the
horse's back.
Weatherford's leap became a popular
Alabama legend and despite many years of
writers downplaying or questioning it, the
reality of the amazing feat has never been
disproved.

The Battle of Holy Ground was a devastating
defeat for the Prophet Francis and his Red
Stick followers. General Claiborne reported
that his men burned 200 houses at Holy
Ground and also destroyed large quantities
of food and other supplies.

U.S. casualties were reported as 1 killed and
6 wounded. Claiborne estimated the Red
Sticks lost 30 killed and "many wounded."

Weatherford's town, which stood a short
distance away, was destroyed the next day.
Another 60 houses were burned there and
three more Red Stick warriors were reported
to have been killed.

The terms of enlistment of many of his men
having expired, General Claiborne turned his
army around after destroying the two towns
and marched back to Fort Claiborne. The
Prophet Francis and William Weatherford
both survived the battle and lived to fight
another day.

The actual battle was not fought within the
limits of today's Holy Ground Battlefield Park,
but the recreation area commemorates the
engagement with interpretive panels. A
boardwalk leads along the top of the bluff to
an overlook which provides a beautiful view
of the Alabama River.

Maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, Holy Ground Battlefield Park is
located off U.S. 80 between Montgomery and
Selma near the community of White Hall. To
reach the park, turn north from U.S. 80 on
either C.R. 29 or C.R. 40 and follow the signs.

The park is located at the end of Holy Ground
Road and the best address to enter for your
GPS is 400 Battlefield Road, White Hall,
Alabama.
A Prophet's View
The Alabama River flows past
Holy Ground Battlefield Park
and the nearby site of Holy
Ground. The Prophet Francis
once admired this view.