Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Site of Scott's Massacre - November 30, 1817


This photo, actually taken from the Gadsden County side of the Apalachicola River, shows the site of the bloodiest battle of the First Seminole War.
The river here forms the dividing line between Jackson and Gadsden Counties. Jackson County is on the right or west side of the stream and Gadsden County is on the left or east. On November 30, 1817, an army supply boat manned by 40 men from the 7th U.S. Infantry Regiment made its way around the sharp bend seen here. Due to the strength of the current, the boat was forced to navigate close to the east bank of the river. Although they had been warned of the possibility of attack, the soldiers were not prepared when a large force of Creek and Seminole warriors opened fire from hidden positions along the shore.
The commander of the boat, Lieutenant Richard W. Scott, and most of his men were killed or wounded in the first volley. As the warriors stormed the boat, six men managed to escape by leaping overboard and swimming across to the Jackson County shore. The rest were killed. Search parties later found the bodies of 34 men at the site.
In addition to the soldiers, 7 women and 4 children (family members of soldiers) were on the boat at the time of the attack. All but one of these, a Mrs. Stewart, were killed. She was taken prisoner by the warriors, but was rescued the following year by troops under Andrew Jackson.
The attack on Scott's party was made in retaliation for U.S. Army attacks on the Lower Creek village of Fowltown in what is now Decatur County, Georgia. The village, home of the chief Neamathla (Eneah Emathla), was attacked on both November 21st and November 23rd, 1817, after the chief refused to come to nearby Fort Scott for a conference. Fowltown warriors were among those who carried out the retaliatory attack on Scott's command.

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