The Scott Massacre of 1817 - Chattahoochee, Florida
The Scott Massacre of 1817 - Chattahoochee, Florida
Scott Massacre of 1817
The battle is seen here as depicted
by a 19th century artist.
The Scott Massacre of 1817 - Chattahoochee, Florida
Site of the Scott Massacre
The bloodiest battle of the First Seminole War was
fought along this bend of Florida's Apalachicola
River on November 30, 1817.
First Seminole War of 1817-1818
On November 30, 1817, the bloodiest battle
of the First Seminole War was fought on the
Apalachicola River at today's Chattahoochee,
Florida. The event has been remembered for
more than 190 years as the Scott Massacre.

Although it was portrayed at the time as an
unprovoked attack, the slaughter of a party of
men, women and children led by Lieutenant
Richard W. Scott of the 7th U.S. Infantry was a
retaliatory strike for the U.S. attack on the
Creek village of Fowltown in Southwest
Georgia just one week earlier.

Soldiers from
Fort Scott, a frontier outpost on
today's Lake Seminole, attacked
on November 21 and 23, 1817, in an attempt
to chastise its chief, Neamathla. A bold
leader, he had refused to surrender land
claimed by the United States under the terms
of the Treaty of Fort Jackson. Fowltown was
ransacked and several villagers, both men
and women, were killed.

Outraged by the army raid, Red Stick Creek,
Seminole and African (Black Seminole)
warriors from across the region moved into
action. A decision was made to try to block
the movement of supplies for Fort Scott from
moving up the Apalachicola River. Aware that
Lieutenant Scott's boat was slowly making its
way up the river, a force of several hundred
warriors prepared an ambush for him at
present-day Chattahoochee.

The lieutenant had been warned that he
might be attacked, but despite the danger he
continued upriver. Scott at least did take the
precaution of sending a messenger overland
to notify General Edmund P. Gaines at Fort
Scott of the reported danger, but his last
dispatch reached the fort too late for Gaines
to do anything to help.

On November 30, 1817, the warriors took up
a position along the east bank of the
Apalachicola River at a point where they
knew the strong current of the river would
force Scott's boat to within striking distance.
They were led by Homathlemico, a Red Stick
Creek leader who had fled to Florida after
Andrew Jackson's victory at the
Battle of
Horseshoe Bend.

The strength of Homathlemico's force was
estimated at from 300 to 500. Lieutenant
Scott, meanwhile, commanded only 39 men,
half of whom were so ill they were not armed.

As the vessel came within range, the
warriors fired from ambush.  Scott and most
of his able-bodied men went down in the first
volley. Homathlemico's men then waded into
the river and stormed over the sides of the

The Scott Massacre resulted in the deaths of
33 men, 6 women and 4 children. Another 5
men were wounded, but escaped.

The only female survivor was
Mrs. Elizabeth
Stewart (later Elizabeth Dill). Taken prisoner,
she was held by the Red Sticks until freed by
the troops of Andrew Jackson's army the
following spring. She subsequently lived out
the rest of her life in
Fort Gaines, Georgia.
According to one source, Lieutenant Scott
was found wounded but alive after the battle.
Taken prisoner by the Red Sticks, he was
tortured and killed on Homathlemico's orders.

Only one man survived the attack uninjured.
Along with the 5 wounded male survivors, he
escaped by jumping overboard. They swam
to the Jackson County shore of the river
opposite the attack site.  There they were
rescued by U.S.-allied Lower Creek warriors
who helped them reach Fort Scott.

The attack on Scott's party prompted officials
in Washington to order Jackson to frontier to
"chastise" the Seminoles and Creeks. Under
the orders of President James Monroe, he
invaded Spanish Florida during the spring of
1818, and destroyed the principal Seminole
town of
Miccosukee before capturing the fort
San Marcos de Apalachee and the Spanish
city of

Just three years later, Spain surrendered
Florida to the United States.

The site of the Scott Massacre can be viewed
from the dock at River Landing Park in
Chattahoochee, Florida. From US 90 in
Chattahoochee, take River Landing Road
south to the park.

The battlefield stretches from about the dock
area south along the riverbank for several
hundred yards south. Most of the original site
has been washed away but the general
scene can be viewed from the dock. An
interpretive marker will be placed in 2015.

Learn more from the book:
Site of the Attack
The strong current forced Lt. Scott's
boat near the shore at this point,
where warriors were waiting to attack.
Home of a Survivor
The only female survivor of the attack
later lived in this home in Fort
Gaines, Georgia.
Copyright 2010 & 2015 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update: November
29, 2015
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