By Dale Cox
Apalachicola River – The deadliest battle in the history of Jackson County took place 191 years ago this month on the Apalachicola River between Sneads and Chattahoochee. Remembered by history as Scott’s Massacre, it was the event that led Andrew Jackson to invade Florida and eventually brought many of his soldiers to Jackson County as settlers.
In November of 1817, following a determined but peaceful standoff between the Lower Creek Chief Neamathla and Major David E. Twiggs, the commanding officer at Fort Scott (located on the Flint River arm of today’s Lake Seminole), Major General Edmund P. Gaines ordered the movement of nearly 1,000 U.S. troops to the fort. Supplies for the soldiers were sent via the Gulf of Mexico and Apalachicola River on boats escorted by troops from the 4th U.S. Infantry.
When he arrived at Fort Scott in person, General Gaines ordered Lieutenant Richard W. Scott to take 40 men down the Apalachicola on a boat to assist the supply vessels in reaching the fort. He then sent 250 men under Major Twiggs to Fowltown, the village of Neamathla, with orders to bring the chief to Fort Scott.
Infuriated by what he considered unprovoked attacks, Neamathla called for reinforcements from other Creek and Seminole villages across North Florida and ordered one of his sub-chiefs to stop the supply boats from reaching Fort Scott. Hundreds of warriors (some reports estimated as many as 2,000) flooded to the banks of the Apalachicola River in anticipation of a battle against the supply flotilla.