Saturday, May 9, 2009

Andrew Jackson at Alum Bluff - Bristol, Florida

A key site of the First Seminole War of 1817-1818 can be found at the end of a long hiking trail in the Nature Conservancy's Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve near the Liberty County town of Bristol.

Believed to be the largest exposed section of the earth's crust in Florida, Alum Bluff towers over the Apalachicola River. The commanding height was on the route of Andrew Jackson's march down the east bank of the Apalachicola when he invaded Florida during the spring of 1818.

The general and his army left Fort Scott, Georgia, on March 10, 1818, marching across the bluffs along the east side of the river in a desperate effort to meet supply boats that were known to be moving up the river. The men were on the verge of starvation and Jackson feared that his planned campaign might fall apart before it got underway if he could not find food for his men.

The men arrived atop Alum Bluff on March 13, 1818, down to just a few handfulls of corn for each man. A celebration erupted there, however, when the soldiers spotted the overdue supply boats in the river below. The army camped on the heights, dubbed "Provision Bluff" by the soldiers, and then continued their march down the Apalachicola the next morning.

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