Thursday, June 18, 2009

Battle of Miccosukee - Leon County, Florida


One of the few significant confrontations of Andrew Jackson's final invasion of Spanish Florida took place on April 1, 1818, when Jackson attacked the massive Miccosukee towns along the west shore of Lake Miccosukee.

The center of what was then the western branch of the Seminole nation, the Miccosukee towns stretched for 10 miles along the lake and were a primary target for U.S. troops. Although the Miccosukee chief Kenhajo and his warriors had generally avoided conflict with the United States until after soldiers from Fort Scott attacked the Lower Creek town of Fowltown near what is now Bainbridge, Georgia, they quickly emerged as one of the primary fighting forces of what is now remembered as the First Seminole War.

After warriors blocked boat traffic and wiped out a military detachment on the Apalachicola River then attacked both Fort Scott and Fort Hughes in Southwest Georgia, officials in Washington ordered Major General Andrew Jackson to the frontier from his home in Nashville. Marching to Fort Scott, Jackson invaded Florida in March of 1818 with an army that would grow to over 3,000 men.

After establishing Fort Gadsden on the lower Apalachicola to serve as a base of operations, he turned northeast across today's Apalachicola National Forest and arrived in the vicinity of modern Tallahassee on March 31st. There he found the Seminole town of Tallahassee Talofa abandoned and burned it to the ground. The next morning, he resumed his march for Miccosukee.

As Kenhajo's warriors detected the approach of the thousands of soldiers, militiamen and Creek volunteers, they took up a position on a point of land in a pond to fight a delaying action until the women, children and elderly could be evacuated from the Indian towns. A severe firefight erupted and the Miccosukee warriors held their ground until part of Jackson's army moved into position to flank them. They then fell back in a fighting retreat.

Jackson and his men burned more than 300 homes in the Miccosukee towns and captured large quantities of provisions. No trace remains of the towns today and the battlefield is not marked.

To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/miccosukee.

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