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Fort Easley
Campbell, Alabama in United States
Fort Easley.jpg
Site of Fort Easley (spelled Easely) and Turkey Town
Coordinates 31°56′09″N 88°03′42″W / 31.93583°N 88.06167°W / 31.93583; -88.06167
Type Stockade fort
Site information
Owner Private
Controlled by Private
Open to
the public
No
Site history
Built 1813
Built by Mississippi Territory settlers
In use 1813
Battles/wars Creek War

Fort Easley was a stockade fort built in 1813 in present-day Clarke County, Alabama during the Creek War (part of the larger War of 1812).

History

Creek War

Fort Easley was built in 1813 on the east side of the Tombigbee River to provide local settlers protection from hostile Creek (known as Red Sticks) attacks. The fort was a stockade fort and encompassed three acres and a spring. The fort was named for an early settler of the area. The bluff Fort Easley was built on (Woods Bluff), was named for a Major Wood, who owned the surrounding land and fought in the Battle of Burnt Corn Creek.

A camp meeting was held at Fort Easley in early August 1813, prior to the Fort Mims massacre. Guards were stationed around the fort to prevent a surprise attack by Red Stick warriors.

On August 21, 1813, a Choctaw warrior from the nearby village of Turkey Town named Bakers Hunter arrived at Fort Easley with news of an impending Red Stick attack. The Red Sticks reportedly had four hundred warriors waiting around twelve miles north of Fort Easley and planned to attack Fort Easley, then Fort Madison, with the assistance of Choctaw warriors from Turkey Town. This news was further corroborated to Fort Easley's commander, Captain Cassity, by a settler who lived among the Choctaw. These reports were forwarded to Fort Madison the next day, then on August 23 reached General Ferdinand Claiborne at St. Stephens. The next day more than one hundred settlers who were fleeing Fort Easley arrived at St. Stephens, leaving approximately six to fifteen soldiers to defend Fort Easley. Based on these reports, Claiborne felt it necessary to send reinforcements to Fort Easley, and he personally led twenty dragoons and sixty soldiers to defend the fort. After Claiborne decided Fort Easley was in no further danger, he planned to return to Fort Stoddert. En route, he was met with news of the massacre at Fort Mims and immediately set out for the cantonment at Mount Vernon.

In early October 1813, Colonel William McGrew (who also participated in the Battle of Burnt Corn Creek) left St. Stephens and traveled towards Fort Easley with twenty-five militia members after hearing reports of Red Stick warriors in the area. Near Fort Easley, the party was ambushed by Red Sticks resulting in the deaths of McGrew and three additional militia members. This incident became known as the Bashi Skirmish. Soon after, General Thomas Flourney, commander of the 7th Military District, commanded Claiborne to carry out an expedition to the same area. Claiborne's forces consisted of volunteers, some militia companies, and dragoons under Lieutenant Thomas Hinds. Prior to arriving at Fort Easley, the force discovered the bodies of McGrew and the three militia members. Three of Hinds' men were also wounded when they were ambushed by Red Sticks. Many of the soldiers on this expedition became disgruntled (including Jeremiah Austill, who would soon become known for his participation in the Canoe Fight), and dubbed the affair the "Potato Expedition". Claiborne stayed at Fort Easley for approximately one month, but did not encounter any additional Red Stick warriors, then returned to St. Stephens.

Some time after Claiborne left, Fort Easley was abandoned.

Present day

Nothing remains at the site of Fort Easley today. The United States Army Corps of Engineers operates the Woods Bluff Public Access Area near the former site of Fort Easley. A community known as Woods Bluff formed around the site and operated a post office under the name Woods Bluff from 1835 to 1937.

Sources

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