The British Water Battery
The British Water Battery was
used by American troops to
create the river face of Fort
North Moat of the British Fort
A small marker points out the
site of the British moat at Fort
Gadsden Historic Site.
Fort Gadsden and the "Negro Fort" on the Apalachicola - Fort Gadsden Historic Site, Florida - Fort Gadsden Historic Site, Florida
Apalachicola River at Prospect Bluff
The site of the British Post on the
Apalachicola rises just a few feet above the
level of the river.
During the final year of the War of 1812, the
British decided to attempt a "Southern
strategy" that would include attacks from the
Gulf Coast against New Orleans, Mobile and
Georgia. The plan called for the enlistment of
Creek and Seminole warriors, along with free
blacks and liberated slaves.

To help accomplish this goal, a fort was
established here at Prospect Bluff on the
Apalachicola River. Constructed during the
summer of 1814, the works consisted of an
octagonal central magazine surrounded by
palisades and moats and an earthen water
battery overlooking the river itself.

Native American warriors came here to
receive arms, ammunition and other
supplies, while the British used the fort as a
base for a large force of auxiliary Royal
Marines under Lt. Col. Edward Nicolls
(sometimes misspelled Nicholls) and Capt.
George Woodbine.

The British Post on the Apalachicola,
sometimes called Fort Blunt or Fort Nicolls,
became a major supply point and training
installation This, of course, quickly attracted
the attention of U.S. military leaders,
including Andrew Jackson.

Campaigns against the fort were discussed
and two were actually launched. The first
failed to reach its target due to supply
problems, but the second came as far south
as today's Lake Seminole before its
commander, Col. Benjamin Hawkins,
learned that the war was over.

Col. Nicolls and his associates continued to
occupy the fort, however, until May of 1815.
He engaged in a spirited exchange of letters
with American officials trying to force them to
restore Indian lands seized between 1812-
1814 as required by the Treaty of Ghent.

The Americans ignored these demands,
claiming that the Creek War had been an
entirely different conflict that was resolved by
a separate treaty signing at Fort Jackson,
Alabama, in 1814.
British Magazine Site
British troops built an
octagonal log magazine on
this site.
Trace of the Inner Moat
A shallow depression is all
that remains of the moat that
surrounded the magazine.
British Post on the Apalachicola
Nicolls finally left the fort on the Apalachicola
in May of 1815, returning home to plead the
cause of his Creek allies with authorities in
London. The Creek prophet Josiah Francis
went with him and was received by the Prince
Regent, but Great Britain was unwilling to
reopen the War of 1812 for the sake of its
former Native American allies.

When the colonel left Prospect Bluff in 1815,
he placed the fort and its massive store of
artillery, ammunition and weaponry in the
hands of his Native American and black
allies. He ordered them to defend
themselves against all threats and the British
flag continued to fly over the fort, which
quickly became a beacon for escaped slaves
from all along the Southern frontier.

Outraged American officials began calling
the post the "Negro Fort" in their official
correspondence, and it was not long before
they began to develop plans to deal with the
former British Post on the Apalachicola.

General Andrew Jackson was ordered by
authorities in Washington, D.C., to seek out
the policy of Spanish authorities in Florida
regarding the fort. The move was the first
step toward a U.S. attack on the post.
Custom Search
Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.