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The Destruction of Littafuchee, and a Brief History of American Settlement

From: Alabama Review
Volume 67, Number 3, July 2014
pp. 233-253 | 10.1353/ala.2014.0028

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Head Quarters, Nashville, September 24th, 1813

Brave Tennesseans!

Your frontier is threatened with invasion by the savage foe! Already do they advance towards your frontier with their scalping knifes unsheathed, to butcher your wives, your children, and your helpless babes. Time is not to be lost. We must hasten to the frontier, or we will find it drenched in the blood of our fellow-citizens.

The foregoing was issued by major general andrew jackson , calling for the rendezvous of two thousand men of the Volunteer infantry and militia of his division at Fayetteville, Tennessee on Monday, October 4th, 1813. This action was a direct response to the destruction of Fort Mims on August 30th, 1813, and rumors of hostile intentions of the Creek Nation toward the Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia Frontiers.

General Jackson and his army made a name in history with one sided victories against the Red Stick warriors amassed at Talladega, and later Horseshoe Bend, but little has been written concerning the destruction of the abandoned Black Warrior’s Towns, and the action at Littafuchee, both events in the initial days of Jackson’s expedition against the Creeks. These early actions provided a confidence for the army that it had superiority over the Creek forces, and supported an objective that continued through the war: to clear all lands west of the Coosa River of Creek Indians, opening the land for American settlement. The taking of the Creek towns also provided for the feeding of Jackson’s army in a desperate time before a consistent line of supply had been established.

Jackson and his Tennessee Volunteers were soon on their way, crossing the Tennessee River, cutting a wagon road from a wilderness Indian path across Sand Mountain. His army, now twenty-five hundred strong, set up camp on the evening of October 26th on the West bank of Big Wills Creek, just inside the Creek Nation.

Early on the morning of October 27th, 1813, Colonel Robert Henry Dyer was given the order to proceed with a detachment of mounted troops to the “Creek Village on Canoe Creek.” He was to treat all men found there as enemy. All women and children were to be taken as prisoners. All livestock, grain, and anything of worth that could be transported were to be brought back to Camp Wills on the evening of that same day. Dyer’s detachment was composed

“Jackson’s Campaign against the Creek Nation, October 10, 1813 through November 3, 1813.” Map courtesy of T. R. Henderson.

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of two hundred mounted cavalrymen. It was typical to have orders directed, written, and received for the day by 7 a.m. each morning in Jackson’s camp, as in this instance. The detachment was immediately off, headed to take the Creek Village of Littafuchee, twenty miles to the west.

These troops were fresh and eager for adventure. They expected a quick and decisive expedition that would provide revenge for the death of so many American frontiersmen at Fort Mims, and they also expected to eliminate the perceived menace to the Tennessee Frontier of these Creek Indians. They had been mustered in for a full month now without seeing any action. Their service to date had consisted of guarding those out front of the main army who were carving a wagon road between Madison County and the Indian Nations and building block houses and fortifications at Camp Coffee and Fort Deposit.

The route they took was probably around the north side of Chandler Mountain, through Greasy Cove, a narrow valley set between the steep sloped Straight and Chandler Mountains. The path was a single track through deep, open hardwood forest, with no significant stream crossings. Emerging from Greasy Cove, they traveled a length of Crawford’s Cove, and then the “flatwoods” of Canoe Creek valley. With fresh horses, a good canter would put them at Littafuchee by noon or early afternoon. The forest was in its full autumn splendor, and the air crisp and full of autumn smells. Though the primary mission of this army was to crush the Creek Indian Nation, to many soldiers, an equally important objective was to scan the land for future...

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