Forgotten Trails: Saga of Battle of Murder Creek comes to an end
Published 5:54 am Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Surprised, excited, panicky and caught dismounted in a trap of crossfire, Caller and his men acted more like wild men instead of the brave soldiers they had been moments before. They had only one thought in mind-to get out of there alive if they could and fast!
They made a mad, wild run toward where their horses, with trailing bridle reins, were wandering about the camp ground nibbling on bunches of grass. It was now every man for himself. Bravery, heroism and helping your fellow man just didn't exist. To hell with the man just ahead, who, just before reaching his horse caught an arrow in the shoulder, stumbled and fell and was trying to pull it out.
The running men frighteded some of the horses which shied and ran off, bridle reins trailing. Their owners tried desperately to catch them. Others caught their horses, swung into saddles, feeding them the spurs and making a dash for Burnt Corn swamp.
One man was trying to mount his horse when a rifle ball smacked the horse broadsided. The horse, in falling, knocked the man down, almost pinning him beneath but he jumped up and headed for the swamp. Another hadn't hit the saddle good before an arrow embedded itself in his horse's flank. The horse squealed, reared up on his hind feet, pawing the air with his front feet to dump the rider over backward, and then the horse ran off with the shaft of the arrow bobbling up and down.
Catching his horse, Col. Caller threw himself into the saddle. At the same time, a rifle ball plowed a furrow across the top of the horse's head. The horse dropped to his knees, throwing Caller, who landed on his stomach and skidded across the grass. Hatless, he jumped up and ran toward the swamp.
And just as suddenly as it had started, the battle of Burnt Corn was over, with the Indians in full command of their camp, and with only two white men in sight. One of them was dead and the other had an arrow in his shoulder and was trying to pull it out. With the butt of his rifle a young Indian buck knocked his brains out, then ripped his scalp off and waved it in the air.
Yo-o-o-hi-i-ye-e! The first scalp collected and in the first battle of the Creek War.
Dead Indians, two white men and several horses dotted the Indian campsite. There is no record of how many Indians were killed, and outside of two white men killed, 15 had been wounded. And if the Indians hadn't been such poor riflemen more than just two ghosts of Caller's men would be keeping company with the ghosts of Indians down there beside Brunt Corn on the camping ground.
In escaping from the Indians Col. Caller and Major Wood got lost and wandered for 15 days before they were found, half starved to death and their clothes torn into strings. Caller's men had all the Indian fighting they wanted. They mustered themselves out of service, and like whipped dogs, they headed for their home in different parts of the country.
Caller and his men received severe criticism for their attack on the Indians beside Burnt Corn, because of the fact that the Indians they tried to massacre were a party of friendly Indians who had been to Pensacola to trade and buy supplies and they were on their way home when Caller and his men, without any warning, attacked them.
Caller should have realized it wasn't Peter McQueen's party when he saw squaws and children along. And the conversation that took place between himself and Captain Simpson just before the attack would show that he didn't exactly care whether it was McQueen's party or not as long as they were Indians.
For years afterward, it was a common saying: that it was disgrace to all those who took part in the battle of Burnt Corn.
And thus the Battle of Burnt Corn was the first battle of the Creek War in Alabama. It enraged the Indians to such an extent they went on the warpath, and spurred on by their victory over the whites at Burnt Corn they banded together for a savage attack on Fort Mims at Boatyard Lake in Baldwin County.
Until next week, happy hunting!