Little Bits of History

July 27

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 27, 2017

1816: The Battle of Negro Fort is fought. During the War of 1812, the British established a fort on Prospect Bluff along the Spanish side of the Apalachicola River. The British Royal Marines were partnered with several hundred African-Americans, many freedmen. They comprised a total of four infantry companies. After the War, the British paid off the Colonial Marines and withdrew from the post. The African-Americans stayed and the fort was known as Negro Fort. By 1816, the Fort was a refuge for escaped slaved from Pensacola and Georgia and there were about 800 freedmen and women living there who werefriendly with the natives of the area.

The US built Fort Scott on the Flint River for use by their Army. Andrew Jackson decided to use the river to move goods through the Apalachicola, Spanish territory. He hoped to avoid involving Spain in his plans. During one of these resupply mission, two gunboats stopped near Negro Fort and sailors disembarked in order to refill canteens. They were attacked and all but one American was killed. In response, Jackson asked for permission to attack the fort. He was given permission to do so. This day’s battle along with Jackson’s eventual takeover of Florida were seen as national “self-defense” by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams.

Jackson with his Creek allies brought two gunboats to Negro Fort. These were manned by 100 infantry and another 150 soldiers came over land. Master Loomis was in charge of the two gunboats and moved them upriver for a siege bombardment. There were at least 200 freedmen armed with ten cannons and many muskets. They were allied with the Seminole and Choctaw warriors under their own chief. General Gainse requested a surrender and Garson, the leader of Negro Fort, refused. Garson claimed the British military had commanded him to hold the fort at any cost. The Americans believed the Fort to be heavily defended.

Between five and nine rounds were fired from the gunboats to check for range. The first hot shot (heated shot used to start a fire at the landing site) cannonball was fired by US Navy Gunboat No. 154. The shot entered the fort’s powder magazine and exploded, destroying the entire post. Almost all the occupants were killed or wounded and it is the single deadliest cannonball shot in US history. The ground troops charged into the fray and captured the surviving defenders. Garson survived and was executed by firing squad for a prior attack. The Choctaw Chief was handed over to the Creeks who killed and scalped him. This was the first major engagement of the Seminole Wars and Jackson’s Conquest of Florida.

Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I believe that people make their own luck by great preparation and good strategy. – Jack Canfield

I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

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