Fort Mims Massacre

August 30, 1813, Fort Mims, Alabama (Mississippi Territory)

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American Forces Commanded by
Daniel Beasley
Strength Killed, Wounded, Missing/Captured
275 517
British Forces Commanded by
Peter McQueen and William Weatherford
Strength Killed Wounded Missing/Captured
800 200 ? ??
Conclusion: Indian Victory
Creek War

The Fort Mims massacre occurred on August 30 when a force of Red Sticks under Peter McQueen attacked a group of settlers and militia in Fort Mims.

At the start of the Creek Civil War, settlers north of Mobile particularly mixed blood Creeks from the lower towns began to take refuge in the stockades of Fort Mims. About 550, including 175 armed militia, were gathered at Fort Mims, located about 35 to 45 miles above Mobile on the eastern side of the Alabama River. Upon learning that Peter McQueen's party of Red Sticks was in Pensacola obtaining arms from the Spanish, Major Daniel Beasley and Captain Dixon Bailey led a disorganized force to intercept the Red Sticks. The resulting confrontation is known as the Battle of Burnt Corn.

Immediately after Burnt Corn, Peter McQueen gathered a party of about 800 to a 1000 warriors to strike at the mix-blood Creeks at Fort Mims. One of McQueen's strongest allies, William Weatherford, attempted to talk the Red Sticks from attacking because he feared for the lives of his family mambers who had taken refuge in the fort. Weatherford eventually agreed to take part in the attack with the hopes of preventing a slaughter and to seek vengeance on his personal enemy Capt. Dixon Bailey.

Although Beasley, the commander, maintained that he could "maintain the post against any number of Indians," the stockade was poorly defended and, at the time of the attack, one of the two gates was partially blocked open by drifting sand.

On the 29th of August 1813, 2 Negro slaves, who were tending cattle outside the stockade, reported that painted warriors were in the vicinity. However mounted scouts from the fort found no signs of the war party, and Beasley had the second slave flogged for raising a false alarm.

The attack occurred the next day during the midday meal when no scouts were out. The Red Sticks rushed the fort and tomahawked Beasley, who was trying to close the blocked gate. They then seized the loopholes and the outer enclosure. The settlers under Dixon Bailey held the inner enclosure and fought on for a time. However, the Red Sticks finally set fire to a house in the center, which spread to rest of the stockade. The warriors then forced the inner enclosure and, despite attempts by William Weatherford, massacred most of the mixed-blood and white settlers. As the fever pitched emotions of battle evaporated, 500 people were found dead and 250 scalps were taken. Most of the Negros were spared to become slaves of the Red Sticks. About 15 persons escaped, including Bailey, who was mortally wounded.

The Red Sticks' victory at Fort Mims spread panic like wildfire through the Southeastern United States frontier. The massacre marked the transition from a civil war within the Creek tribe (Moscoge) to a war between the United States and the Red Stick warriors of the Upper Creek. Since Federal troops were occupied with the Nothern front of the War of 1812, Tennessee, Georgia, and the Mississippi Territory mobilized their militias to move against the Upper Creek towns that supported the Red Sticks' cause.

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