Monday, November 22, 2010

The destruction of the Cherokee Nation in the Back Country: Part 4

In August of 1776 the Cherokee and their Loyalist allies decide to attack Col. Williams and his forces gathering to try to prevent the patriots from continuing their counter attack against the Cherokee homelands. To accomplish this 1200 braves attack Williams and his advance force early in the morning of August the first to try to destroy the threat to their Cherokee homes. This attack failed to dislodge Williams and his force because Andrew Pickens and a relief force was able to rush to Williams aid to check the Cherokee attack.  This failed attack was the last major attack of the Cherokee against the patriot force outside their land. Once the Cherokee were beaten back Williams along with Pickens began to enter the Lower Cherokee towns and began to apply the torch to them and their surrounding fields. Thus the total war against the Cherokee Nation began with the torch touching anything that the patriots felt could help the Cherokee in their path.

Andrew Pickens
On August 12th, 1776 Andrew Pickens along with thirty-five men were caught in an ambush by a large group of Cherokees. This is where Pickens entered the realm of folk lore hero with his famous Ring Fight. Pickens formed his men into a two circles and had them fire two at a time to keep the Cherokee at bay until a relief force commanded by his brother Joseph Pickens could reach them.  Until the relief force reached them the men continued their fire on the Cherokee and even resorted to hand to hand combat when a group of Cherokees tried to charge the circle. Once the Cherokee were driven off it was discovered that only one of Pickens men was wounded, while his man claimed to of killed up to over eighty attackers.

Thomas Sumter
By August the twentieth the Patriots rushed counter attack was starting to fall apart as men began to run out of supplies and the supplies promised from Charlestown had not yet reached them. As a result Williams ordered most of the men home to replenish their supplies and to recruit others to come and join them against the Cherokee. These new recruits would have been the ones left home to protect the towns and settlements as Williams and Pickens began to set up a hurried defense and attack the Cherokee back in early July. To ensure that the Cherokee would know they were not finished and to protect from another Cherokee attack Williams built Fort Rutledge at the destroyed lower town of Essenca (present day Clemson) as a rallying point for the new recruits and as a staging area for the next round of attacks against the Cherokee.  On September the twelve Col. Thomas Sumter and his men along with the promised supplies from Charlestown arrives to help bolster the troop numbers and supplies needed.

By October 1776 Virginia and North Carolina also started attacks again the Cherokee Nation in order to protect their frontier. Thus by October of 1776 the Cherokee were fighting Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia militias at all points along their border. As a result of these fighting everyone and every where the Cherokee were hard pressed to stop the patriots as they went from village to village burning them to the ground. All of their lands are touched by the sword and flame from the lower villages to the over the mountain villages. As winter approached they found themselves without shelter, without food, and without help from their British Allies. They continued to try and fight through the winter and early spring but by May of 1777 they were ready to make peace. As a result of the peace treaty, they gave up all of their lands in the lower villages thus removing the Cherokee from the back country of South Carolina. This brought peace to the back country and South Carolina which was spared from war for the next two years because of it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment