Sunday, November 30, 2008

Anniversary of Scott's Massacre - November 30, 1817

Today marks the 191st anniversary of the Seminole War battle remembered as Scott's Massacre.

This bloody fight took place on November 30, 1817, on the Apalachicola River in roughly the area of Chattahoochee Landing between Chattahoochee and Sneads.

The battle began when Seminole and Creek warriors attacked a U.S. Army supply boat from the Gadsden County side of the river. The current had forced the boat to navigate close to the shore, allowing the warriors to fire from point blank range.

After firing a volley of musket and rifle fire that killed or wounded most of the able-bodied U.S. soldiers on the boat, the warriors (reportedly led by the refugee Creek chief Homathlemico and others) waded into the river and overwhelmed the survivors. The incident was widely mentioned in 19th century histories of the United States, but has now faded into obscurity. Illustrations like the one shown here were used in a number of books of that era.
The attack resulted in the deaths of at least 34 U.S. soldiers, 6 women (wives of soldiers) and 4 children. Four other soldiers were wounded, but escaped by leaping into the river and swimming away to the opposite bank. Only three people survived without injury. Two of them were soldiers that escaped to the opposite bank. The third, Elizabeth Stewart, was taken captive by the warriors and held in various villages until the following spring when she was rescued by troops under Andrew Jackson.

The event marked the deadliest day in the history of Gadsden and Jackson Counties. If you would like to learn more, please consider my new book, The History of Jackson County, Florida: Volume One. The book can be ordered by following the link and can also be purchased at Chipola River Book and Tea in Marianna (downtown across from the Battle of Marianna monument). It will be available through other locations in January.

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