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Serious apprehensions were entertained for the safety of the fleet at Erie ; the enemy, however, did not attempt to penetrate further at the moment, and a sufficient force was soon collected for its defence, which will remain during the winter.
§ 1. Events on the southern frontier. 2. Seizure of Mobile. 53. War
with the Creek Indians. $ 4. Capture of Fort Mims. $ 5. Battle of Ta'lushatches. $ 6. Battle of Talledega. $ 7. Destruction of the Hillibee towns. $ 8. Battle of Autossee. $ 9. Expedition to the Tallapoosie river. $ 10. Prospects of peace. $ 11. Retaliation. § 12. Correspondence on the employment of the Indians.
01. WHILE active operations were thus carried on, on the north and north-western frontier of the United States, the calamities of war began to extend to the southern portion. In the summer of 1813 the Creek nation commenced hostilities by an attack on Fort Mims, a post upon the Tensaw river. Before we enter on a narrative of the events of this war, however, it will be proper to notice another important event which took place in this quarter, in the month of April ; namely, the surrender of Mobile to the arms of the United States.
9 2. By the treaty of St. Ildefonso, concluded on the 1st of October, 1800, between France and Spain, the latter, in consideration of certain stipulations in favour of the duke of Parma, ceded to the French republic “ the colony or province of Louisiana, with the same extent that it now has in the hands of Spain, and that it had when France possessed it ; and such as it should be after the treaties subsequently entered into between Spain and other states.". By a treaty concluded at Paris, on the 30th of April, 1803, France ceded to the United States, the territory she had acquired by the treaty of St. Ildefonso, “as fully and in the same manner as they have been acquired by the French republic.” In virtue of the above-mentioned treaties, the United States claimed, as the southern portion of Louisiana, all the country lying between the Sabine and Perdido rivers. The Spanish government, however, resisted this claim, and contended that its eastern boundary was the river Mississippi, and the lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain. This country has accordingly been the subject of negociation for several years, between the American and Spanish governments, the latter still holding possession of the country. This negociation was put an end to by the troubles which took place in old Spain, in 1807 ; and a revolution breaking out in Florida,
the United States, on the ground that Spain could no longer hold possession of the country, and that her rights would be jeopardized or lost, by suffering it to pass into the hands of a third party (the revolutionists), on whom they could have no claim, took possession of the whole of the disputed country, in 1812, except the post of Mobile, a small fortified town of about 400 inhabitants, situated on the west side of Mobile bay, which continued to be held by a Spanish garrison until the 15th of April, 1813, when it was summoned to surrender to the arms of the United States, under general Wilkinson, which was immediately done without the slightest opposition.
3. The country of the Creek Indians, with whom the United States is now at war, is situated in the western part of the state of Georgia, and the eastern part of the Mississippi territory, between the Oakmulgee and Tombigbee rivers, and extends from the Cherokee country, which borders on Tennessee, to Florida. In the course of the last summer, several families were murdered, near the mouth of the Ohio river, by a party of Indians passing from the great lakes to the Upper Creeks. The principal chiefs of the nation, on the application of the United States' agent, determined to punish the murderers by putting them to death, and a party of warriors was appointed to execute their determination. This was no sooner done, than the resentment of the friends of the murderers broke out in acts of open violence against all who had been in any way concerned in causing the murderers to be put to death, and a civil war was the consequence. It appears, however, that this circumstance only produced a premature disclosure of their object, as it has since been ascertained that most of the Upper Creeks had previously determined to take part with the northern Indians in their war with the United States.
About the middle of July, the secretary at war wrote to the governor of Georgia, and at the same time transmitted a copy of his letter to the governor of Tennessee, stating, that information through various channels had reached the general government, of the hostility of a portion of the Creek nation, and of the necessity of breaking it down by some prompt and vigorous measures; and suggested the propriety of embodying a portion of the Georgia militia, who should either act separately against the enemy, or in concert with another corps of militia, drawn from Tennessee. This letter was received by governor Mitchell in the end of July, when he immediately took measures for calling out fifteen hundred of the Georgia militia, who were soon after marched to the Oak
mulgee river. Their number was subsequently enlarged to a full brigade.
Meanwhile appearances became every day more threatening. The friendly Indians were forced to leave their towns and retreat towards the white settlements, and fortify themselves against the attacks of the war party.
The latter proceeded in great numbers to the south, where it is asserted they were supplied by the Spanish governor of Pensacola with arms and ammunition. At last, upon the 30th of August, they commenced hostilities against the United States, by an attack upon Mim's fort, on the Tensaw, a branch of the Mobile river, in the Mississippi territory, commanded by major Beasley.
$ 4. Information had been received about a week previous, that a large number of Indians were approaching with hostile intentions, but the attack was wholly unexpected at the moment it occurred, which was about eleven in the forenoon. The whole garrison, however, was immediately under arms. The front gate being open, the enemy ran in great numbers to possess themselves of it, and in the contest for it many fell on both sides. Soon, however, the action became general, the enemy fighting on all sides in the open field, and as near the stockade as they could get. The port-holes were taken and retaken several times. A block-house was contended for by captain Jack, at the head of his riflemen, for the space of an hour after the enemy were in possession of part of it ; when they finally succeeded in driving his company into a house in the fort, and, having stopped many of the port-holes with the ends of rails, possessed themselves of the walls. The troops made a most gallant defence from the houses, but the enemy having set fire to the roofs, and the attempt to extinguish it proving unsuccessful, the few who now remained alive attempted a retreat, having previously thrown into the flames many of the guns of the dead. Few, however, succeeded in escaping. Major Beasley fell gallantly fighting at the head of his command, near the gate, at the commencement of the action. The other officers fell nobly doing their duty; the non-commissioned officers and soldiers behaved equally well.
The loss of the Americans was great: sixty-five, including officers and men, of the Mississippi territory volunteers, and twenty-seven volunteer militia, were killed.
Many respectable citizens, with numerous families, who had 'abandoned their farms, and fled to the fort for security, were also killed, or burnt in the houses into which they fled. A de
tachment which was sent from cantonment Mount Vernon, on the 21st of September, to collect the bones of their countrymen, collected, and consigned to the earth, 247 persons, including men, women, and children. The detachment likewise searched the woods for bodies, where they found at least 100 dead Indians, who were covered with rails, brush, &c. These Indians had been interred with their war-dresses and implements, by which they were recognized.
On the receipt of the disastrous intelligence of the destruction of major Beasley's garrison, preparations were immediately made for collecting a large force of Tennessee militia, and providing supplies for those of Georgia, which had already assembled. The Tennessee militia were marched in two divisions, under the orders of major-generals Jackson and Cocke.
$ 5. On the 2d of November, major-general Jackson dispatched brigadier-general Coffee from the camp at Ten-Islands, with 900 men, consisting of cavalry and mounted riflemen, on an expedition 'against the Tallushatches towns, where a considerable force of the Creeks was concentrated. Coffee arrived within a mile and a half of the town on the morning of the 3d, where he divided his force into two divisions, and directed them to march so as completely to encircle the town, which was effected in a masterly manner. When they arrived within about half a mile of the towns, the enemy began to prepare for action, which was announced by the beating of their drums, mingled with savage yells. About an hour after sun-rise the action was brought on by two companies, who had gone within the circle of alignment, for the purpose of drawing the enemy out from their build. ings. As soon as the two companies exhibited their front in view of the town, and gave a few scattering shot, the enemy formed and made a violent charge upon them, on which they gave way, and were followed by the Indians, until they reached the main body, who immediately opened a general fire, and then charged. The Indians now, in their turn, retreated firing, until they got around and in their buildings, when they made a most determined resistance, fighting to the very last moment, as long as they could stand or sit, not one shrinking or complaining; not one asking for quarter. Every warrior in the town was killed, and all the women and children were taken prisoners, except a few who were unintentionally slain, in consequence of the men flying to the houses and mixing with their families, and at the same time refusing quarter. VOL. II.