Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Battle of Jack's Creek

from Historical Collections of Georgia, by George White, published 1854, Pudney & Russell, pp.672-673:

    Jack's Creek, in Walton County, [Georgia] is noted for a battle with the Indians, the particulars of which are given in the following letter from General Elijah Clarke to Governor [George] Matthews:— 

      LONG CREEK, Sept. 24, 1787.

I had certain information that a man was killed on the 17th, near Greenesborough, by a party of six or seven Indians; and that on the 16th, Colonel Barber, with a small party, was waylaid by fifty or sixty Indians, and wounded, and three of his party killed, This determined me to raise what men I could, in the course of twenty-four hours, and march with them to protect the frontiers, in which space of time I collected 160 men, chiefly volunteers, and proceeded to the place where Colonel Barber had been attacked. There I found the bodies of the three men mentioned above, mangled in a shocking manner, and after I had buried them, proceeded on the trail of the murderers as far as the south fork of the Ocmulgee, where, finding that I had no chance of overtaking them, I left it and went up the said river, till I met with a fresh trail of Indians coming towards our frontier settlements. I immediately turned and followed the trail until the morning of the 21st, between eleven and twelve o'clock, when I came up with them. They had just crossed a branch called Jack's Creek, through a thick cane-brake, and were encamped and cooking upon an eminence. My force then consisted of 130 men, thirty having been sent back on account of their horses being tired and lost.

I drew up my men in three divisions; the right commanded by Colonel Freeman, the left by Major [John] Clarke, and the middle by myself. Colonel Freeman and Major Clarke were ordered to surround and charge the Indians, which they did with such dexterity and spirit that they immediately drove them from their encampment back into the cane-brake, where, finding it impossible for them to escape, they obstinately returned our fire until half past four o'clock, when they ceased, except now and then a shot. During the latter part of the action they seized every opportunity of escaping by small parties, leaving the rest to shift for themselves. About sunset I thought it most advisable to draw off, as the men had suffered for provisions for nearly two days, and for want of water during the action, but more particularly to take care of the wounded, which amounted to eleven, and six killed. From every circumstance, I am certain that there were not less than twenty-five Indians killed, and am induced, to suppose that had I remained that night, I should have found forty or fifty dead of their wounds by the morning. In short, they were totally defeated, with the loss of their provisions, clothing, and the following articles: a gun, thirty-two brass kettles, thirty- seven large packs, containing blankets, &c. Colonel Freeman and Major Clarke distinguished themselves, and from the spirit and activity with which the whole of my little party acted during the action, I do not believe that had we met them in the open woods, we should have been more than five minutes in giving them a total overthrow.