Thursday, December 17, 2009

Battle of Ocheesee - Calhoun and Liberty Counties, Florida

From either Torreya State Park in Liberty County or Ocheesee Landing across the Apalachicola River in Gadsden County, it is possible to obtain a good view of the site of one of the most important battles of the First Seminole War.

The Battle of Ocheesee, Florida, was fought December 15-20, 1817, between a force of hundreds of Seminole and Creek warriors and a small force of U.S. troops escorting a flotilla of supply boats up the Apalachicola River.

The warriors were flush from dramatic victories over U.S. and allied Indian forces at Scott's Massacre (November 30, 1817) and the Battle of Blunt's Town (December 13, 1817) and hoped to surprise, halt and possibly even capture the supply vessels then slowly making their way up the river to Fort Scott in what is now Decatur County, Georgia. Taking up positions on both banks of the river, they ambushed the vessels on December 15, 1817, killing 2 soldiers and wounding another 13.

The fighting became so severe that the soldiers could not even show their heads above the bulwarks of their boats to fire back without risking death or serious injury. Pinned down and unable to move, Major Peter Muhlenburg was forced to drop anchor in mid-stream. Heavy firing continued for days until on November 19th, a specially fitted boat arrived from Fort Scott carrying materials that the soldiers were able to better fortify the supply boats. Slowly, in the days that followed, they were able to again make progress and break free of the attack.

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