Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fort Mitchell Historic Site - Fort Mitchell, Alabama

Civic minded citizens in and around Russell County, Alabama, have turned one of their historic treasures into one of the South's finest newly developed historic parks.

Fort Mitchell was built on a high hill overlooking the Chattahoochee River by Georgia Militia troops during the Creek War of 1813-1814. General John Floyd had marched an army of Georgians to the Chattahoochee River as part of a three-pronged attack on the Creek Nation. He built a log stockade on the west side of the river to serve as a base for his operations.

The outpost was named Fort Mitchell after Governor David B. Mitchell and served as the supply point and base for Floyd's movements prior to the Battles of Autossee and Calabee Creek, both in Alabama.

The fort also served as a key point during the U.S. campaign against what American officials called the "Negro Fort" on the Apalachicola River and was a supply point during the First Seminole War of 1817-1818.

The original stockade deteriorated and was replaced with a second fort during the 1820s. By 1836, Fort Mitchell was the last U.S. military post bordering the Creek Nation. The Creek War of 1836 erupted that year when Hitchiti, Yuchi and other Creek warriors, outraged over frauds and demands that they be removed from their lands, attacked settlements almost within earshot of the fort.

They uprising was quickly suppressed and Fort Mitchell then became a primary concentration point for thousands of Creek men, women and children being forced west on the Trail of Tears. As such, it became the easternmost point for the Creek Trail of Tears.

A company of the 15th Alabama Infantry was raised at the site during the Civil War, but the fort by then had all but rotted away.

Over the last 5 years, a major community effort has taken place in Russell County to develop the site as a heritage park. The 1813 stockade has been beautifully restored and the park now includes an impressive visitor center, a restored log home, cemetery sites associated with both the fort and local residents, a museum housing one of the finest collections of historic carriages in the South and much more.

1 comment:

Ed said...

Nice article; informative, but as a native Russell Countian and former history buff of that area, I believe you missed a few other important points about Fort Mitchell, worthy of mention:

1. William Bartram crossed the Chattahoochee River very near Fort Mitchell.

2. The General Marquis de Lafayette was welcomed into Fort Mitchell as a Revolutionary War hero, carried across the river by Creek indians.

3. The famous Francis Scott Key was once at Fort Mitchell, adcing as attorney for the new United States in the settlement of legal problems with the natives there.

It is located just miles from Fort Apalachicopla, a Spanish fort established to secure the Spanish foothold on the south east.