|Site of the Scott Massacre of 1817|
A critical event in American history, the battle took place durign the initial days of the First Seminole War. On November 21st and 23rd, Major General Edmund Pendleton Gaines had sent troops from Fort Scott in Georgia to attack the Lower Creek village of Fowltown (Tutalosi Talofa). Located atop a commanding bluff on the Flint River, the fort stood in what is now Decatur County, Georgia. Fowltown lay about 12 miles away at a site also somewhere within the limits of Decatur County.
The chief of Fowltown was Neamathla, a man who would figure prominently in the founding of Tallahassee and the early history of Florida as a U.S. Territory. In 1817, however, he lived on land that his ancestors had claimed for as long as anyone could remember. The name Neamathla is a corruption of the Hitchiti term "Eneah Emathla" which means roughly "Fat Warrior" or "Large Warror." The chief was not a Muskogee, as many Creeks are called today, but instead spoke the Hitchiti language common among the Lower Creeks. Hitchiti is similar too, but not mutually intelligible, with Muskogee.
|19th Century Drawing of the Scott Massacre|
To overcome his "reluctance," as he termed it, General Gaines had ordered the raids on Fowltown for the purpose of bringing the chief back to Fort Scott. The raids failed to achieve that objective, but sparked two sharp battles that outraged most of the Lower Creek and Seminole warriors living along the border between North Georgia and South Florida.
While these events were underway, a large boat was making its way down and then back up the Apalachicola River under Lieutenant Richard W. Scott. An officer in the 7th U.S. Infantry, Scott had been sent down the river from Fort Scott to assist supply boats then making their way up the river. When Scott reached the supply flotilla, however, its commander took 20 of his able bodied men and then loaded Scott's boat with an equal number of sick soldiers, as well as seven women and four children. The latter individuals were family members of soldiers at Fort Scott.
|Apalachicola River at Battle Site|
A strong current was flowing and Scott was forced to navigate his boat close to the east or Gadsden County shore in order to keep making headway. He was unaware, however, that several hundred Creek and Seminole warriors were hiding there. As the boat came close enough, they opened fire.
|Later home of Elizabeth Stewart|
Fort Gaines, Georgia
When news of the battle reached Washington, D.C., outraged leaders ordered Major General Andrew Jackson to Florida with an army. His orders gave him authority to invade Spanish Florida in order to punish the perpetrators of the attack and destroy the power of the Creek and Seminole alliance in what are now the Panhandle and Big Bend regions of Florida.
To read more and to learn what happened to Elizabeth Stewart, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/scottsmassacre1.