Friday, October 15, 2010

Cherokee Campaign Part 2; The Loyalist Uprising

Once John Stuart decided how to use the Cherokee Nation against the rebels with the input of other Loyalist based in the Florida Colonies such as Thomas Brown and Moses Kirkland he decided to go and meet with General Clinton in person. This plan had the approval of almost of all of the highest ranking British officials in North America and Britain such as General Howe, General Gage, Lord William Campbell, and Lord North.
Cherokee Settlements in 1776 before the attacks

So in February of 1776, Stuart boarded a boat to go and meet with General Clinton at Cape Fear off the coast of North Carolina to coordinate the efforts between the Cherokees and British Army now off of the Southern American coast trying to decide where they were going to strike. In conjunction with this meeting John sent his brother Henry Stuart and Alexander Cameron to the Cherokee Nation with as much military supplies as they could transport to the Cherokee. Once Stuart and Cameron arrived in the Cherokee nation they were greeted as friends and their military supplies divided up amongst the warriors who were now ready to attack. The next part of their mission was to coordinate with the warriors some sort of plan to attack when the British Fleet made land fall.

This part of the plan was for the Cherokee Warriors to fight alongside Loyalist who were in theory to show the Cherokee who were friends of the crown to not harm and whom were rebels that they could attack freely. This was a concept the French had used in the French and Indian War against the British themselves. This however was a different type of war all together, with people switching sides at this point of the war to protect their own interest fairly commonly. The Loyalist who were to travel with the bands of Cherokee as they began the attack wore to wear typical Cherokee clothes and war paint to help identify them as Cherokee Warriors so as to not be mistaken in a fight by the Cherokee in attacks against rebels. The other reason for the Loyalist to wear these disguises was to hide their identity to friend and foe alike. These Loyalist who fought and travelled with these Cherokee bands were doing so in their own communities, where they had families, farms, and other ties.  If they were discovered too of been helping unleash all settlers’ biggest fear of an Indian uprising along the frontier they would never be forgotten or forgiven by their former friends and neighbors.  If they were to return to these communities after this war it could only be if they were victorious and they acted as such when fighting.

Once John Stuart returned to West Florida after meeting with General Clinton the go ahead to release the Cherokee Nation was given and riders were sent out to the Loyalist in the field to begin their attacks with their Cherokee allies. So on July 1st, 1776 the Cherokee Nation along with their Loyalist allies began to attack settlers and settlements along their boards thus begun a Cherokee War along the frontier.     

When the attacks started along the border they were swift and divesting to outlying farms and settlers families.  As could be imagined these attacks were carried out without regards to gender, race, age, or even loyalty to the crown. So as the word of these attacks began to spread along the frontier an alarm went out to all of those who lived there to be on the alert and to be ready to defend themselves against the Cherokee who were now unleashed on them all.

This marked a turning point in the back country of South Carolina in regards to the attitudes of its people. Before, during, and after the Snow Campaign of 1775 the back country had been a rough place for Loyalist and Patriot with whom both sides had shed the blood of the other, property was destroyed of each, and humiliation had been distributed. However after the Snow Campaign they had thought the issues settled and people had tried to return to their lives with hard feelings towards each other but not shooting after parole had been given. Both sides had returned to their fields and were trying to make a living under these conditions. The unleashing of the Cherokee however made this struggle more bitter and devise than anyone could of imagined with both sides now playing for total victory with no quarter to be given or expected as a result, until the matter was to be resolved at the end of the war with neither side willing to give an inch until then.

Next article up is: The Patriots response to the Cherokee attacks.

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