Battle of Burnt Corn revisited

Published 10:23 pm Wednesday, August 11, 2004

By By LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
The July meeting of the Escambia County Historical Society just happened to fall on the 191st anniversary of the Battle of Burnt Corn which occurred July 27, 1813. Chuck Johns, local attorney, was the speaker and told the large group gathered about the importance of that battle. It is now believed by most that the battle occurred in present day Escambia County. The meeting was well attended and several people made long trips in order to attend because of their interest in the battle.
There has been much discussion over the years as to just where the battle may have taken place. Some believe that it was in Conecuh County, some in Monroe County and some in Escambia County. The truth is that it was probably in all three counties. In 1813, it was Monroe County in the Mississippi territory. Later Conecuh County was formed, and the site was located within its boundaries. In 1868 when Escambia County was formed out of Conecuh and Baldwin, it is believed that the site became part of the new county. There is a small community near the site of old Belleville by the name of Burnt Corn, so who really knows? Certainly I am not an expert on the locality of the battle.
During the time period, Pensacola was a hotbed of Spanish, French and English, all who would love to have taken possession of the territory now known as south Alabama. They were willing to used the Indians to do the dirty work of dispatching the whites who were settling in the area.
There was a report that a group of Indians went to Pensacola to get a supply of weapons. The settlers were very concerned that this meant trouble for them so the militia was alerted. The Indians had apparently fought with both whites and friendly Indians on the way to Pensacola and had taken the wife of the the government interpreter. They are reported to have sold her for the price of a blanket.
Col. James Caller of the militia rallied his men and set off to waylay the Indians on their way back from Pensacola. The group of around 180 men reached what was known as Wolf trail where they spent the night and were joined by other small companies of militia. The next morning, July 27, their scouts reported that the Indians were camped a few miles away. The Indians were engaged in cooking and eating so it was decided by those in charge that they would attack and surprise the Indians while they were not expecting trouble.
The attack did catch them by surprise, but they quickly regained their composure. The militia in the meantime had stopped to plunder the pack horses to see what all they could find. This gave the Indians the opportunity to recover and counter attack. The tide was turned and the Indians routed the whites. It was probably considered a minor skirmish in the big scheme of things but it was one of the catalysts that led to the Creek War. This battle and the massacre of the settlers at Fort Mims in Baldwin County would drive the two sides into a bloody war that resulted in the defeat of the "Red-sticks" and open the way for more settlers to come into the area.