1761 - British expedition against the Cherokee Indians

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1761 - British expedition against the Cherokee Indians

The campaign lasted from April to August 1761

Introduction

In 1760, the Cherokee stopped the advance of Montgomery during his expedition against their Middle Towns, defeating him at Echoee on June 24 and forcing him to retire. In the first part of August, the Cherokees captured Fort Loudon. Panic and consternation reigned in Charleston at the news. A truce of six months was agreed to during which peace attempts failed.

On December 15, 1760, Lord Jeffrey Amherst, the British commander-in-chief in America, being now master of Canada, sent orders to Colonel James Grant to prepare a new expedition against the Cherokee for the defence of the southern provinces.

On December 23, Grant's force sailed from New York for Charleston where he arrived January 10 1761.

Map

Map of the Cherokee Country in 1762
Source: Wikipedia

By 1762, the various villages of the Cherokee Country could still supply 809 fighting men coming from the following villages on the Little Tennessee River:

  • Mialoquo, or the Great Island: 24 men under Chief Ada-gal’kala
  • Tuskegee (at the confluence with the Tellico River): 55 men under Chief Ada-gal’kala
  • Tomotley: 91 men under Chief Ostenaco
  • Toqua (at the confluence with Toco Creek): 82 men under Chief Willinawaw
  • Tanasi: 21 men under Chief Kanagatucko
  • Chota (the capital): 175 men under Great Chief Kanagatucko
  • Chilhowee (at the confluence with Abrams Creek): 110 men under Chief Yachtino
  • Settacoo (at the confluence with Citico): 204 men under Chief Seroweh
  • Tallassee: 47 men

Description

On January 17, 1761, Grant wrote to Amherst from Charleston, where he was assembling his force, to expose him the difficulty of his mission. It seemed impossible to find forage for cattle and horses along his line of advance before April.

On March 24, Chief Ostenaco sent a parley to Grant from his village of Tomotley.

On April 1, Chief Seroweh came in person to discuss.

By mid April, delayed by heavy rain, Grant was still encamped at Monk's Corner.

On April 14, Grant finally started his march towards the Congaree River.

On April 22, Grant arrived at the Congaree where he was joined by the South Carolina Provincials and the 1st Royal Regiment of Foot. This brought his total force to:

By April 25, the Cherokee had released several prisoners taken at Fort Loudoun who rejoined Fort Prince George.

At the end of April, a Chickasaw scouting party sent forward by Grant attacked the village of Keowee, killing Chief Tistoe's wife and wounding his son, before returning to “12 Mile Run” near Saluda.

On May 4, a cyclone struck Charleston. The weather was terrible and Grant's advance very slow.

On May 18, Grant reached Fort Ninety Six where where it joined 401 rangers led by Thompson.

On May 22, Chief Ada-gal’kala arrived at Fort Prince George to open peace negotiations.

On May 23, Grant, still on his way to Fort Prince George, was informed of Chief Ada-gal’kala's arrival.

On May 24, Grant's messenger, carrying proposals for Chief Ada-gal’kala, arrived at Fort Prince George after the latter's departure.

On May 27, Grant's army finally arrived at Fort Prince George. Chief Ada-gal’kala, hearing that a formidable army approached his nation, hastened to the camp of Colonel Grant and proposed terms of accommodation but did not come to any agreement.

On May 28, Grant put his men to work to prepare for the invasion of the Middle Towns and to make a camp to protect his 150 wagons which he intent to leave behind.

On May 29, Chief Ada-gal’kala quitted Fort Prince George to carry Grant's condition to the Cherokee.

By June 2, more than 60 Cherokee had put themselves under Grant's protection at Fort Prince George.

On June 7, Grant, at the head of 2,600 men advanced towards the Cherokee country.

On June 11 at 8:00 a.m., after three days of forced march, an engagement took place at Etchoe on almost the same ground where Cherokee warriors had fought Montgomery in the previous campaign. The action fought under heavy rain lasted till 2:00 p.m. and the Cherokee were finally forced to retire. In this action, Grant lost about 60 men killed or wounded, not counting the losses of his Indian allies. In this engagement, Grant lost:

  • 1st Royal Regiment of Foot: Ensign Knight wounded, 1 soldier killed, 4 wounded
  • 17th Foot and 22nd Foot: 6 soldiers wounded, Ensign Monro of the 22nd killed
  • 95th Foot: Lieutenant Barber and Ensign Campbell wounded, 1 sergeant and 4 soldiers killed, 16 soldiers wounded
  • South Carolina Provincials: Lieutenant Terry wounded, 1 soldier killed, 1 drummer and 12 soldiers wounded
  • Native American Allies: 1 wounded
  • Rangers: 1 soldier killed and 2 wounded
  • Pack horse men: 1 soldier killed and 5 wounded

After the engagement, Grant's force marched forward to the Cherokee village of Echoee which they reached about midnight of June 12.

On the morning of June 12, Grant burnt the village of Echoee. Grant then proceeded to 14 other villages of the Middle Towns where he destroyed the granaries and corn fields and burnt the villages. He drove back the Cherokee to the mountains.

Grant then returned to Fort Prince George.

In September Ada-gal’kala, Ostenaco and 17 other leaders went to Fort Prince George to surrender and sign a new peace treaty. However, Grant’s terms were insulting and included the public execution of four Cherokees. Ada-gal’kala refused to sign.

In November Standing Turkey and 400 Cherokee made peace with Governor Stephens of Virginia.

In December, Chief Ada-gal’kala went to Charlestown to talk to Governor Bull, and a treaty was signed between South Carolina and the Cherokee. At his request, Ada-gal’kala’s old friend John Stuart (Bushyhead) was made Indian Agent for South Carolina.

References

This articles contains texts from the following book which is now in the public domain:

  • Ramsey, J. G. M.:, The Annals of Tennessee to the end of the Eighteenth Century, Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co., 1853, pp. 61-62.

...other texts come from the following articles in Wikipedia:

Other sources

Cockran, David H.: The Cherokee Frontier: Conflict and Survival, 1740-62, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2016.

Conley, Robert J.: The Cherokee Nation: A History, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007.

Oliphant, John: Peace and War on the Anglo-Cherokee Frontier, 1756-63, Louisiana State University Press, 2001, pp. 141-152

Shaffner, Talafiero Preston: History of the United States of America – From the earliest period to the present time, Vol. II, London and New York, 1863

The Southern Quarterly Review, Vol. VI, Charleston, 1844, p. 158

Tortora, Daniel J.: Carolina in Crisis: Cherokees, Colonists, and Slaves in the American Southeast, 1756–1763, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.

Acknowledgements

Jean-Pierre Loriot for the losses at the engagement of Etchoe

Larry Burrows for additional information on this campaign