Attention all you U.S. 7th Infantry Cottonbalers, this involves a historical marker for an incident of your regiment. Lt. Richard Scott and the soldiers of Fort (Winfield) Scott in 1817.
Dale Cox from the famous community of Two Egg, Florida, has been successful for promoting the history around northwest Florida. Last year he put up a historical marker for Nicoll’s trading post at Chattahoochee Landing, where British Marine Colonel Nicolls established a fort with Josiah Francis during the War of 1812, known as Apalachicola Fort. Now he has started a new campaign, which you will see in this video:
With that British fort on the north end of the Apalachicola River, and Negro Fort on the southern end of the river, the Brits hoped that their Indian allies would control the river traffic through Spanish Florida and be a hindrance to American cotton trade from Georgia and Mississippi territory during the War of 1812.
Dale Cox has also written several history books on the history of Gadsden County, Jackson County, Milly Francis, Nicolls’ Outpost, and the Scott Massacre. Now Dale is also seeking to put up a historical marker at the site of the Scott Massacre, which is a stone’s throw from Nicoll’s Fort and Chattahoochee Landing. The Scott Massacre is a significant incident which started the First Seminole War.
Picture: From Dale Cox, Attack on the American boat in 1817.
In 1817, Chief Nea-Mathla, was one of the main Seminole / Mikasuki chiefs. His village, named Fowltown, was in Georgia, along the Flint River. Nea-Mathla had always lived there, and considered it his land, not the United States, not the State of Georgia, not Creek land that had been ceded over to the U.S. with the Treaty of Fort Jackson. He was Mikasuki / Miccosukee and not Creek, and did not recognize the Creeks as having any authority over him, who had no authority to give away his land. In contrast, the United States recognized this land as the State of Georgia, as land ceded by the Creeks under the Treaty of Fort Jackson three years earlier.
General Gaines demanded that Nea-Mathla come to Fort Scott about 15 or 20 miles away. Nea-Mathla refused, did not trust the Americans, and had no reason too. Gaines sent his soldiers to Fowltown to bring Nea-Mathla to him. As the armed and uninvited soldiers approached the alarmed town, the people in town fired back and fled. The one Indian killed was a woman. As the soldiers examined the deserted town, they found a British uniform and letter from the British of support to Nea-Mathla.
The soldiers returned, this time 300 in number, finding the town deserted, and burned everything, and taking with them the cattle and stores of crops. As expected, the Indians were outraged. This meant a declaration of war to the Seminole / Mikasukis.
This was the first action of the First Seminole War. The destruction of Fowltown was only the beginning. A week later was what is known as the Scott Massacre, which can be considered as revenge.
Fort Scott had been running low on supplies. Before the attack, a shipment was coming on boats up the Apalachicola of uniforms, supplies, food, with the families, and an escort of sick soldiers in barges that were not easy to maneuver on the river. For whatever reason, when the officer in charge, Lt. Richard Scott, heard of the trouble between the Army and Nea-Mathla’s people, he decided to continue on. That was his fatal mistake. Late at night the wind blew the barges close to shore about a mile south of the confluence of the Flint and the Chattahoochee River, and the Indians attacked. Most all in the boats were killed. Just a few soldiers survived and escaped to make their way to Fort Scott. Mrs. Elizabeth Stewart was captured by the Indians and remained a prisoner among the Indians until she was freed about six months later. (And remember, this is all in Spanish territory.)
The press called this incident a massacre of women and children. In reality, it was mostly soldiers of the 40 who were killed. About six women were on board. We are still debating if there were children or not. But this was all the provocation needed.
This incident caused the outrage with the United States government, who gave General Andrew Jackson reason to organize an army to come down to Fort Scott, which started the First Seminole War. These were to opening shots of the next forty years of warfare against the Seminoles-Miccosukees of Florida. The United States would gain possession of Florida from Spain. It all started at Fowltown and here near Chattahoochee Landing on the Apalachicola River. This incident is certainly worthy of recognition of a historical marker, wouldn’t you agree?
Dale has set up a fund to raise money for a historical marker for the Scott massacre, and here is the link. Please feel free to give. He is not asking for much! He has done very well by creating other historical makers by this method.