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  • Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the USA (1767 - 1845)
    1. ANDREW JACKSON, JR., b. 15 Mar. 1767, Waxhaws, South Carolina—d. 8 Jun. 1845, Nashville, Davidson Co. Tennessee; m. Aug. 1791, Natchez, Mississippi (re-m. 17 Jan. 1794, Nashville), to Rachel Donelso...

This project is for Fort Negro or Fort Appalachicola, Florida.

Fort Gadsden Wiki

Fort Gadsden

Fort Gadsden is located in Franklin County, Florida, on the Apalachicola River. The site contains the ruins of two forts, and has been known by several other names at various times, including Prospect Bluff Fort, Nicholls Fort, Blount's Fort, British Post, Negro Fort, African Fort, and Fort Apalachicola.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Fort Gadsden Historic Site is located in Apalachicola National Forest and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 1972.

Original fort

During the War of 1812, the British hoped to recruit the Seminole Indians as allies in their war against the United States. In August 1814, a force of over 100 officers and men led by a lieutenant colonel of the Royal Marines, Edward Nicolls, was sent into the Apalachicola River region in Spanish Florida, where they began to aid and train local Indians. Although Nicolls claimed he rallied large numbers of Indians, his efforts bore little fruit in terms of fighting, and the completion of the war ended his mission a few months after his arrival.[6]

In late November 1814, United States Major Uriah Blue, commanding a 1000-man force of Mississippi militia, Chickasaw[7] and Choctaw warriors, left Fort Montgomery (east of Mobile and west of Pensacola), to seek out and to destroy the Red Stick Creeks. Present among the force was Creek War veteran Davy Crockett.[9] Being unfamiliar with the territory, and being short of provisions, Major Blue's force did not find the fort, and returned to Fort Montgomery on 9 January 1815.

Before Nicolls left East Florida, he built a fort at Prospect Bluff, 15 miles above the mouth of the Apalachicola River and sixty miles below U.S. territory, which he equipped with cannon, guns, and ammunition. The fort, originally known as the British Post, served as a base for British troops and for recruitment of ex-slaves into the new Corps of Colonial Marines, and as a rallying point to encourage the local Seminole to attack the United States. When the British evacuated Florida in the spring of 1815, they left the well-constructed and fully armed fort on (the east bank of) the Apalachicola River in the hands of their allies, about 400 fugitive slaves, including members of the disbanded Corps of Colonial Marines, and a sizable number of native Indians. News of the "Negro Fort" (as it came to be called) attracted as many as 800 black fugitives who settled in the surrounding area.

In September 1815, US Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins sent a group of 200 men to attack the fort at Prospect Bluff. The attack failed, thereby lulling the inhabitants of into a false sense of security. Under the command of a black man named Garson and a Choctaw chief (whose name is unknown), the inhabitants of Negro Fort launched raids across the Georgia border. The fort, located as it was near the U.S. border, was seen as a threat to Southern slavery. The U.S. considered it "a center of hostility and above all a threat to the security of their slaves."

The Savannah Journal wrote of it:

It was not to be expected, that an establishment so pernicious to the Southern States, holding out to a part of their population temptations to insubordination, would have been suffered to exist after the close of the war. In the course of last winter, several slaves from this neighborhood fled to that fort; others have lately gone from Tennessee and the Mississippi Territory. How long shall this evil, requiring immediate remedy, be permitted to exist?

Seminole Wars

Main article: Battle of Negro Fort

In early 1816 the U.S. built Fort Scott on the west bank of the Flint River in the southern part of Georgia to guard the United States border between the state and Spanish Florida. Supplying the fort, however, was a problem; to take materials overland required traveling through unsettled wilderness. Major General Andrew Jackson, the military commander of the southern district, preferred supplying Fort Scott by boat using the Apalachicola River in Spanish territory. This was both easier and provided a likely casus belli for destroying the Negro Fort. As expected, when a US naval force attempted the passage on July 17, 1816, it was fired on by the garrison at the Negro Fort, and four U. S. soldiers were killed.

Ten days later, Andrew Jackson ordered Brigadier General Edmund P. Gaines at Fort Scott to destroy the Negro Fort. The American expedition included Creek Indians from Coweta, who were induced to join by the promise that they would get what they could salvage from the fort if they helped in its capture. On July 27, 1816, following a series of skirmishes, the American forces and their Creek allies launched an all-out attack under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Clinch, with support from a naval convoy commanded by Sailing Master Jarius Loomis.

According to Historian William Cooper Nell, the Freedmen refused to surrender and submit themselves back into slavery, and cries of "Give me liberty, or give me death!" were repeated several times throughout the day. The two sides exchanged cannon fire, but the shots of the inexperienced black gunners failed to hit their targets. A "hot shot" (a cannonball heated to a red glow) from the American forces entered the opening to the fort's powder magazine, igniting an explosion that was heard more than 100 miles away in Pensacola, and destroyed the fort, killing all but 30 of 300 occupants. Garson, the Freedman commander, and the Choctaw chief, among the few who survived, were handed over to the Creeks, who shot Garson and scalped the chief. African-American survivors were returned to slavery.

The Creek salvaged 2,500 muskets, 50 carbines, 400 pistols, and 500 swords from the ruins of the fort, increasing their power in the region. The Seminole, who had fought alongside the blacks, were conversely weakened by the loss of their allies. The Creek participation in the attack increased tension between the two tribes. Seminole anger at the Americans for the fort's destruction contributed to the breakout of the First Seminole War a year later.

Spain protested the violation of its soil, but according to historian John K. Mahon, it "lacked the power to do more."

Rebuilt fort

In 1818 General Jackson directed Lieutenant James Gadsden to rebuild the fort, which he did on a nearby site. Jackson was so pleased with the result that he named the location Fort Gadsden.

During the American Civil War, Confederate troops occupied the fort until July 1863, when an outbreak of malaria forced its abandonment.

Battle of Negro Fort Wiki

Battle of Negro Fort

The Battle of Negro Fort was a short military siege 1816 in which forces of the United States assaulted and managed to blow up an African-American fortified stronghold in the frontier of northern Spanish Florida. It was the first major engagement of the Seminole Wars period and marked the beginning of General Andrew Jackson's Conquest of Florida.


In 1814, during the War of 1812, the British Royal Marines established what was known as the Negro Fort on Prospect Bluff along the Spanish side of the Apalachicola River. The garrison initially included around 1,000 Britons[citation needed] and several hundred African-Americans[citation needed] who were recruited as a detached unit of the Corps of Colonial Marines, with a strength of four infantry companies. Shortly after the end of the war in 1815, the British paid off the Colonial Marines, withdrew from the post, and left the black population in occupation. Over the next few years the fort became a colony for escaped slaves from Pensacola and Georgia.

By 1816 over 800 freedmen and women had settled around the fort, there were also friendly natives in the area. Following the construction of Fort Scott on the Flint River by Colonel Duncan Lamont Clinch of the United States Army, Andrew Jackson decided that to resupply the post, they would have to use the navy to transport goods via the Apalachicola through the sovereign territory of Spain without their permission. During one of these resupply missions, a party of sailors from gunboats 149 and 154 stopped along the river near Negro Fort to fill their canteens with water. While doing so, they were attacked by the garrison of the fort and all but one of the Americans were killed.

In response Andrew Jackson requested permission to attack the fort, they then dispatched gunboats to reduce Negro Fort. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams justified the attack and subsequent seizure of Spanish Florida by Andrew Jackson as national "self-defense," a response to alleged Spanish and British complicity in fomenting the "Indian and Negro War." Adams even produced a letter from a Georgia planter complaining about "brigand Negroes" who made "this neighborhood extremely dangerous to a population like ours." Southern leaders worried that even a small, impoverished island of rebel slaves in the Caribbean or a parcel of Florida land occupied by a few hundred blacks could threaten the institution of slavery. According to Historian William Cooper Nell, the Freedmen who occupied the fort "caught the spirit of liberty,--at that time so prevalent throughout our land" and "they were slain for adhering to the doctrine that 'all men are endowed by their Creator with the inalienable right to enjoy life and liberty.'"

  • A plaque at the site of Negro Fort marking the location of the powder magazine.

As the American expedition drew near the fort on July 27, 1816, black militiamen had already been deployed and began skirmishing with the column before regrouping back at their base. At the same time the gunboats under Master Loomis moved upriver to a position for a siege bombardment. Negro Fort was occupied by about 330 people during the time of battle. At least 200 were freedmen, armed with ten cannons and dozens of muskets. They were accompanied by thirty or so Seminole and Choctaw warriors under a chief. The remaining were women and children, the families of the black militia.

Before beginning an engagement General Gaines first requested a surrender; the leader of the fort was an African named Garson and he refused. Garson told Gaines that he had orders from the British military to hold the post and at the same time raised the Union Jack and a red flag to symbolize that no quarter would be given. The Americans considered the Negro Fort to be heavily defended; after they formed positions around one side of the post, the navy gunboats were ordered to start the bombardment. Then the defenders opened fire with their cannons, but they were not experienced artillerymen and thus were not effective.

It was daytime when Master Jarius Loomis ordered his gunners to open fire. After only five to nine rounds of hot shot, a cannon ball entered the fort's powder magazine. The ensuing explosion was massive and destroyed the entire post. Almost all of the occupants were killed or wounded, and just afterward, the American column and the Creeks charged and captured the surviving defenders. General Gaines later said that the "explosion was awful and the scene horrible beyond description." There apparently were no American casualties.

Another summary

"July 24, 1816 --Fort Apalachicola or Negro Fort, as it was known, built and manned by runaway slaves and Indians, fell after a four-day siege by federal land and sea forces. Gen. Andrew Jackson's instructions had been to "blow it up" and "return the Negroes to their rightful owners." All but 60 of the 334 occupants of the fort were instantly killed, including many women and children, when a cannon ball ripped into the powder magazine. Two of the survivors, a Black man and an Indian, were executed at Jackson's orders." (Jet, July 22, 1976).


Garson was executed by firing squad because of his responsibility for the Watering Hole Massacre and the Choctaw Chief was handed over to the Creeks who killed and scalped him. The survivors were taken prisoner and placed into slavery under the claim that Georgia slaveowners had owned the ancestors of the prisoners. Neamathla, a leader of the Seminole at Fowlton, was angered by the death of some of his people at Negro Fort so he issued a warning to General Gaines that if any of his forces crossed the Flint River, they would be attacked and defeated. The threat provoked the general to send 250 men to arrest the chief in November 1817 but a battle arose and it became the official opening engagement of the First Seminole War.


  • The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution: With Sketches of Several Distinguished Colored Persons (1855) at

See also

  • Maroon (people)
  • Black Seminoles
  • Seminole Wars