Section 1 of A. J. Pickett’s “Interesting Notes upon the History of Alabama.”

Fort Madison a timber fort with Block houses situated 5 miles below Suggsville in which about 700 Inhabitants took refuge – and at the time of the fall of Fort Mimswe had 200 Militia commanded by Col. Jos. Carson – if I mistake not fort Mims fell on the 29th August after which we were visited by parties of Indians upon several occasions who were desirous to examine the strength of our Fort, but as we were well guarded, They could not approach day or night.

Upon the receipt of The news of The fall of Fort Mims – Gen. Claiborne – The commander in chief– then stationed at Mount Vernon, Now the Arsenal – dispatched orders to Col. Carson, to withdraw his forces from our fort and to concentrate all at St. Stephens, and advised the inhabitants to abandon Their Country, and take escort under Carson to St. Stephens = My Father Evan Austill, being opposed to such a course proposed to remain if he could be sustained by 50 persons capable of bearing arms – and after exerting himself for about Three hours, Succeedded in inlisting [sic] the number above to remain the Balance moved out and bid us farewell – a cene insued [sic] more affecting than you could imagine – Those leaving were confident That all who remained would be butchered, in a few days. – Friends and relations of every degree were parting – as those leaving supposed forever =

The shouts of distress and weeping – surpassed all description –

My Father had the Fort put in good Condition – and we were anctious [sic] for an assault, being very confident that we could repell [sic] at least 2000 Indians but as we had suspended lights at night enabling us to see an Indian over one Hundred yards – They thought prudent to let us alone, but at The same time many small parties were devastating our farms and Stock – but being to weak to send out any parties – we submitted to it for two weeks, when Claiborne finding we would not leave sent us 250 men; – Soon after, Genl. Dale having sufficiently recovered – proposed – to drive The Indians out of the neighborhood = I will here remark that part of the inhabitants had returned with the Troops – 44 including dale [sic] volunteered – We set out north visiting most the Farms = in search of the Enemy –

We saw plenty of sign, none later than a week – we were out some days, but the time not recollected – but after early frost must have been about the 1st October 1813. and after recruiting a few days – we set out South intending to reconnoiter the Farms upon the Alabama, beginning at Sizemores Ferry and going up. – Col. Carson permitted Capt Johnson of the Militia to Join Dale with a portion of his Company, about thirty men making the party 72 all told – The Negro man Ceaser informed ^ us he had two Canoes, hid above the Ferry, near what is now Henshaws Landing to which place we proceeded, and succeeded in crossing the river by Dark. – The date I cannot give but it was in November and we had a heavy frost That night for we suffered much from cold being without fire and thinly Clad = The next morning early we set out on the East side – Dale had placed me in charge of the boats with five or six men. – The first Farm we reached was Dickson Baley half Breed Indian of great courage who was killed in Fort Mims – Dale entered my Boat and crossed the river and we examined the Farm in which we saw much sign very fresh but found no indians – he then returned back to the head of his command – Just at the time we discovered a canoe full of Indians decending [sic]; we were ordered to give chase. The indians turned about and pushed up to escape us – and at a turn of the river near the mouth of Randon Creek – They disappeared, we concluded that they had taken the creek and run into the cane where we did not think it prudent to follow as our numbers were about equal – a few minutes after we heard a heavy firing up the creek Dale having met another party in the cane upon a path way – one indian was killed how many wounded was not known. This indian was killed by Genl. Dale having shot him before the indians discovered our party – we could hear the Indians running in the cane, but did not see any from the boats = We proceeded on to Randon’s Plantation where we waited the arrival of Dale some twenty minutes after – As it was impracticable to keep near the river up to the next Farm, Col Fe Cornell” Ferry afterwards Dales Ferry – our party commenced crossing over in to Randon’s farm, proceed by Capt Johnsons Company – and as it required some time twelve of our party including Dale, Col. G. W. Creagh of Clark County Jas.Smith, John Elliot a half Breed, Brady a shoe maker & myself & six others kindled a fire to roast some beef & Potatoes, taken from the Indians at the recent battle = Our location was in a small field of about four acres between a bluff of some sixty or seventy feet and the river – ^ upon This Bluff was where John Randon had lived, he was a wealthy indian country man, was killed in Fort Mims with much of his Family – After all our force had crossed but the 12, and immediately, and immediately after the return of the Smallest Canoe by Ceaser, – Capt Johnson Gave us the alarm we sprang up from our repast and discovered the indians decending [sic] the Bluff in great number surrounding the little Field where we were, we retreated to the First Bank of the river, being protected by the Second Bank from the fire of the Indians on reaching the first Bank we discovered a large flat Bottomed Canoe with 11 Indians decending the river and nearly within gun shot – They looked imposing, all painted and naked except their flaps and a Panther Skin round the head of the chief extending down his back in a [round?] robe they were sitting down with their guns erect before them – upon a nearer approach we opened fire upon them which they returned we kept up a fire for some time – but as the indians exposed nothing but the top of their heads and only that when firing at us we did but little execution for our party were armed with Muskets except Dale Smith & myself; – in the mean time two of them Jumped out and swam for the shore above the field and above the mouth of a Small Stream, carrying their guns dry above their heads – Smith proposed to me – to cross this Stream and kill them, when They approached the Shore – We sprung into it and found the mud and water deep, – but we got over, and ran up under or upon the river side and when Just opposite the Indians and when near the shore.

My leggins suspended by a band round my waist – fell about my feet from the weight of water in them and caused me to slip down some down some 20 feet into the river near The Indians – Smith shot one of them in the head the other ascended and passed near Smith keeping him off with a supposed loaded gun – On reaching my gun which I left on the bank where I fell – I pursued the Indians up this Small Stream intending to shoot him in the first open place – in going up some forty yards – a gun was fired near me and the shot passing over my head, I stopped, supposing I had got among the Indians in the canoe – It proved to be Creagh one of our party who had ^ run up the stream and crossed, and on rising the Bank fired at me for the Indians – discovering his mistake in time to elevate his piece – My Indian escaped in this way having reached his party – we returned back to our men, Dale having in the mean time having ordered the large Canoe from the opposite side to come over with a sufficient force to Capture the Indians = Eight Men Geton, Col. Edward Man of Georgia & six others set out paddled by Geton = On approaching near enough to discover the Number of Indians, The [man?] in bough rose up, and ordered Geton to Back water for there were to many indians, They then returned to the West shore, while this was occurring I directed Brady to rise the second Bank and See if the Indians were approaching or in the field – On rising the Bank about seven guns were fired at him at the same instant –piercing his clothes and shooting the britch or stock off his musket – yet did not hurt him – he leaped some 25 feet down to us swearing at the time it was to hot up there for him Dale on seeing the Boat retreating, then proposed that we should take the Small canoe – which was a square bottom dug out – carrying about five men – Smith and myself seconed [sic] the proposal – we had to leap some ten feet down to the water – being above the landing – in doing so Dale and myself wet the priming of our guns but did not then know it – Dale entered first followed by Smith & myself and would have been by all one party – could they get in – we shoved off paddled by Ceaser a Black or Dark Middle Sized Free Negro who lived with the Friendly Indians – on approaching within twenty yards, we got in a raking position and all rose up to give them a broad side – Dales gun & my own refused fire. The boat being unsteady Smith fired without effect – Ceaser was then ordered to paddle along side. One of the Indians fired at us without effect – and when within some ten feet the chief – recognized Dale, and sung out now for it big Sam and at the same time presented his gun at my breast – as I could not reach it at the moment, Smith directed me to strike him with an oar – I struck at him, but he dodged me and then as we were nearer struck me on the hand with his gun, I caught the end and pulled on it to rest it from him which drew him with reach of Smith and Dale, both their guns come down upon his head; Dales barrell braking [sic] off at the hind sight Smith caught the mussel end and Dale got his gun I then engaged with the second – third and on to the last – when I reached the 3rd one Dale leaped into the Bow of their boat as he was in our rear we then formed a Double file and mowed them down. I was carried on between the last two The last one hit me with a War Club when engaged with the other. I caught the but end but fell across their boat more from the unsteadyness [sic] of our boat than any thing else – whilst down the other indian in my rear – was knocked down when in the act of knocking me on the head – Smith & Dale both Claimed the credit of saving my life – I therefore gave thanks to both supposing both did the act – I rose holding on to the club and we scuffled some time for it I rested ^ it from him, and knocked him over board he rose up – insensible, I struck him again and he appeared no more. Dale stated there were Seven of them as he counted them – before we waged – I do not know – There appeared at least a plenty for us not one word was spoken on either side that I heard after the first Blow I made – until the scuffle between the last one and myself – when Ceaser handed his musket to Dale to Stick the Bayonet in the Indian, The men on the West bank kept up such interminable yell of encouragement – that little else could be heard –

I then got into the indian boat and Dale ane myself threw over the Dead indians – there were then eight in it as well as I recollect – The bottom was botu two inches in blood. – Just as we got Through a ball struck the boat in looking up we saw Three Indians – On the second bank in the field opposite to us – The Second fired his ball hit the water and bounded over – The third fired and it cut the clothes of Smith & myself each one having taken a rest – The canoes returned and we received our Nine friends, and brought them off safely – although we were informed afterwards that there were 280 Indians around the field on the East Side

– We then proceed up to the Ferry Two Miles – without seeing anymore – As we were out of Provisions we returned That night to the Fort. I was at the time and for some days after unable to use my left arm having recd. many hard Blows upon my arm and head The latter being Cut Deep – Taking the expedition all together it was some what remarkable, That not a man was injured saving myself –

James Smith was to the best of my knowledge a Georgian a man of Low Stature well set, weighing about 165 lbs – a bold dareing [sic] frontier farmer at 25 years of age at the time – he died two years Since in the County West of Clark in Mississippi Dale I presume it is unnecessary to describe, he was about 6 feet weighing 185 lbs or there abouts and about 35 years of age. –

I was then 19 years old. Over six feet and weighing about 175 lbs. – As well as I can now recollect. we were all dressd in Common Mixed Lindsey Cloths ^ cut (Dress Coats) = I was born near the Ocony Station in Pendleton District = August 10th 1794 = My Father was from Surry North Carolina. My Mother The only Sister of Col. David Files who died in this State 1820. My Father was sent out with Silas Dinsmore to the Cherokee agency in 1798, where he remained until 1809 he commenced moving – we stopped in North Alabama – & returned the

next year supposing The Cherokees about to ceed [sic] their County finding he

was deceived – we set out for South Alabama down Through The Creek Country

– we were taken Prisioners [sic] by the Indians and after several days detention

were released without injury through the influence of The big Warrior – and

Settled in Clark County in 1812

Col. Russell will I presume give you the details of the Holy Ground Battle,

and the Cahawba expedition – in the winter of 14 & 15 I was in service under Col.

Carson. Rangers Guarding the Frontier – we had one small brush with the Indians

at the allegater [sic] holes upon the Pensacola Road killing six or eight and

loosing [sic] one man Geo. Bates = in December ^ 1815 I went up to Wetumke or

Fort Jackson with [B…] Fitzpatrick – his Brothers and several others – without

encountering any indians – I returned The same month with Two Negroes – on

one horse a Man and Woman. I was unarmed and took every precaution to avoid

any small parties of Indians – On reaching the only house occupied by a White

man above Claiborne = which was on the West Bank of the Suppulgee = Named

Rogers send there with his family by Col. Geo Fisher, the contractor for carrying

the mail to Georgia – I came out of the Swamp to within 15 paces of the house at

Sun Rise – Six Indians had Rodgers down and was in the act of tommehock him,

as I appeared – Seeing my own Danger and that of Rodgers – I looked back as if a

force was at hand and ordered a charge, charging myself upon them. They did not

wait to see who was behind – but made for the Swamp above the house 200 yards

into which I pushed ^ them taking care to give them a little distance on their

reaching the swamp = Three of them fired back at me = I Still called of rhelp until

Rodgers had time to gather his Family and make their escape for Claiborne –

some days after they killed a man who had stoped [sic] at the same house; name

not recollected –

I will mention an instance of the courage of Smith Just before our –

reconnoitering expedition – he sliped of [sic] 6 miles to see his farm alone, and on

returning caught two choctaws in a house loading themselves with tools – he took

them and Started to the fort, – on the way in a thick wood the Indians ran to make

their escape he fired and killed one then ran the other down and killed him –

Supposing them to be Creeks.

About this time two Families were killed – James and Kimbels – at a fort

15 miles in our rear – and above us an express reached us calling for help to bury

the Dead – Ten men went up John Woods Jas. Smith – one Haden & seven others

They carried the dead 10 in Number to the Fort – and when burrying [sic] them 50

yards off – all the inmates children & women were present – One Hundred Indiads

cam charging upon them, and but for Haden Must have killed many of them. He

mounted his horse standing by and charged the Indians with some fifty Dogs. and

such was the fury of the Dogs That the Indians had to turn their fire upon them

Four balls passed through Hadens Coat which was loose about his body and his

horse killed – he entered the fort with the rear – unhurt. The Indians attemted

[sic] several times to Storm it but were repulsed with a loss of 1/4 their number

They killed one man boy – and a woman who was the spring = That night one

man brought all off in safety to our fort —

There are many important incidents which I omit – as my recollection as to names

of persons at this date is so imperfect. What I have Stated is true to the best of my

recollection —

Dale died 23d May 1843

Your Obt Svt

J. Austill

I did not receive your favor until yesterday morning which is my apology for not

answering it sooner and I have written this in some haste —

[Written above the postage] Valuable papers

[Postmark] [postage]



Col. A. J. Pickett / Montgomery


From Jeremiah Austill / in / relation to the Canoe fight

MSS Book 2, Section 1, No.2

Salt works Clark Co. August 22. 1847

A J. Pickett Esqr.

Your favor of the 10th Inst reached me two days since at my

farm where I spend most of my Summer months, and in Mobile the major part of

my time – I regret very much That it is not in my power to give you the dates and

the various occurances [sic] in detail. The events of that date are fresh in my

memory. yet the dates are blurred and unsatisfactory in my mind. you are correct

as to the attack upon Sinkfield fort. The Ten men sent up to bury the slain.

Kimbels and James Families Ten in Number, were all put in one pit in front of the

fort. They ^ The 10 men having their horses hitched at hand when covering the

dead – some one saw as he supposed a great number of Turkey on the ridge above

them calling out, see the Turkey – upon this ^ The Indians rose up from a crawling

position and gave the War yell with a charge. Nine of our party caught up

children and ran for the fort – This man Haden (otherwise represented a horse

Thief) mounting &c &c as before stated checked the Indians – ^ Married a

Daughter of james, having a sone one year old and living with her parents. Was

knocked down and four scalps taken of her head her son was cut for the same

purpose. but his hair being full short, was abandoned and upon the fall of some

rain a few hours after in the night, This woman came to and after searching about

found her son aparently [sic] alive she carried him part of the way to the fort, her

Strength failing her she put him in a hollow log and went to the fort and the child

was sent for and both recovered. I dressed their wounds until the child was well

and the Mother nearly so – She has a brother now living at James Bluff (Bigby).

Almand James who escaped from the Indians with Kimbel the Father of the other

family at the time of the massacre = he could perhaps give you some information,

at any rate the names & perhaps the date. –

Carsons command was gotten up by a call from Genl. Jackson to guard the frontier

until he Jackson could reach this portion of the country – We were formed into

four Companies under the Honl. Rubin Saffold, Charles Daveroux the latter

afterwards murdered by P. McLaskey of Mobile – & Capt. Wm ^ Archabald Wells

– our head Quarters were at Fort Mims or in sight – We marched to and from the

mouth of the Perdido up to near Claiborne = in one of our expeditions we passed

the head of the Perdido and in passing the allegater [sic] holes to our left they

hung obscured by a small growth of sweet gum. a Dog was heard to bark; a halt

was made and immediately some indians were seen running out the opposite side

– we gave chase having Daveroux at the head as part of our Division, had taken

down on the opposite side. Eight I believe of the indians were over taken ere they

reached a Swamp below and killed Daverous killing one in full speed with his

sword, splitting his head down to his neck at the mouth of the Perdido. our

division was united and we then threw up a breast work 10 miles from the bay

with a […] of water The British fleet. Some rebels being seen off the bar. We

took some Spanish Spies or Stock hunters procuring beef for the British – I was

detailed one night to take two men and reconnoiter the Bay – we caught one man

and found a Small boat & Sloop The latter was loaded with provisions. we

scuttled her and the canoe. You will observe that we were not without our

amusement – Whilst one of our men was cutting a hole in the small boat, I

directed another to shove him off jently [sic] so that he would not perceive it –

When the boat commenced sinking he turned to run out, when lo he found

himself near 20 paces from shore he was much astonished, but leaped out & swam

ashore –

Becoming short of provisions a few days after we left for head Quarters &

released our prisioners [sic] – On our way we [hurried?] up some wild cattle and

in attempting to kill two of them a large Bull was […] whereupon, Wm

Carmichael, The same man who scuttled the canoe, ran and leaped upon his back

with a Jack Knife – The bull rose up, and put out with all speed – C. upon his

back cutting at his neck – in passing our lines which he did not respect – W. Wells

fired at his head The bull fell but rose again & on he went, but ere he got out of

Sight, C. Cut down amidst the Shouts of Troop. This had little to do with the war,

but it is nor without some interest – Carson has under his command 196 men all

told – when out upon or expedition, we fell in with Wm Boyls a Spy from

Pensacola. he informed us, there were about 1000 Indians men women and

children – about 15 miles above Pensacola. We called a counsel of war, and 192

voted to march down upon them and when we had proceedd on the most of the

way, Carson halted and addressed us some time, giving his reasons for declinging

to go any further. – He said he had every degree of confidence in our Success. yet

it was possible we might be defeated and in that event, he would be tried and

punished for entering a neutral country, beyond the bounds of his authority. we

felt much disappointed. yet we marched about and returned to head Quarters –

Majr. Blue soon after left in command – having with him, one company of

chickasaws & one of choctaws, some infantry and horse. Our term of service 60

days having expired – Some of Carsons men I believe went with Blue. I was then

engaged with ^ the [Sutter?] & Quatermasters department at Montgomery Hill,

where I remained until the close of the War – Majr. Blue found many of the

Indians dispersed about on the Conecuh River most of in a Starving condition – a

few of them were killed by the friendly Indians and [be?] to one hundred men,

women & children = were brought in and divided between the Friendly Indians

who carried them home with them – I felt for the poor devils – Some could

scarce stand = while the Chickasaws & Choctaws, held a great war Dance around

them for the Space of one night near the fort after returning –

A short time before the canoe expedition – Foster, Tandy Walker & Evans a

collered [sic] Free man were imployed [sic] as spies. – They set out from our fort,

and crossed the Alabama – and proceeded on Eastwardly to burnt corn where they

Saw Signs of many indians and Evans shot one Indian within half a mile of a large

encampment of which he was ignorant at the time. The Spies withdrew and the

Indians fled leaving many things behind them which were afterwards found – On

the return of the Spies to Sizemores Ferry they encamped in a corn field upon the

east Bank – During the night Foster Dreamed he was in Danger. he awoke the

others and proposed to leave the place. they laughed at him and would not go. he

left and hid himself upon the river bank above the Ferry at the Dawn of Day a

negro approached the others, and asked them if they were indians or whites –

Evans replied they were Indians – Walker uncovering his face at the moment.

The negro announced them to be white. and instantly a Number of guns were fired

at them Evans being killed & Walker had one arm broken. and a ball Struck his

body but was saved by knife. he Sprang up and ran into a cane brake, keeping the

Indians off with his gun – Foster Swam the river and came in during the day, The

day after Walker cam in having crossed the river on some cane, bringing his gun –

about the Same date – Fisher and Indian county man [sic] with his Three sons

visited his farm about one mile above this place for supplies. One of his sons

gathered some peas, and sat down in the yard to shell them. and when in the act of

Stooping he was shot in the back the ball passing up under his shoulder blade and

out by the coller [sic] bone he rose up and made his escape. his Father being in

Some corn near at hand ran out to know the cause and received a shot in the lower

part of his breast. The ball lodging in a rub near the back bone. he also made his

escape and came into our fort the day after both of whom recovered – The other

two Sons being in a Different part of the farm fled upon the report of the Guns,

and came in first – Those events hapened [sic] soon after the fall of Fort Mims.

The others of which I have written in the months of Octr. Nov. & December of

1814. – Some time perhaps in Nov. 1813, Genl. Claiborne marched all or most of

his forces up above St. Stephens in the upper part of Clark county – in pursuit of a

party of Indians, who were committed depredations – called the Potatoe

expedition the army living mostly upon potatoes. The result of which was the

getting Some of his men killed. I do not recollect the Number but about 5 or six.

Wm. McGrew a worthy citizen, and a young lawyer ^ Bradbury of great promise,

wounded at Burnt Corn was wounded again and died of his wounds. The noted

Haden of Sinkfield fort was shot through the mouth cutting his tong nearly in two,

and leaving several of his teeth on each side. This hapened [sic] in camp going

for water – not an indian was seen upon the expedition That I was apprised [sic]

of –

Col. Russell had en expedition to Cahawba with the 3rd Ridgement

accompanied with a horse company commanded by my Father, as we could not

both leave home at the time: I escaped the suffering and hardship of this

expedition, and will leave Col. Russell to give you an account of it –

I regret exceedingly That I have no records by which I can give you the

dates. Many of them can br procured at the War Department, as the companies

were generally enroled upon each expedition, except the Sinkfield party. They all

lost their horses and I tried to get pay for them, but as the men belonged to our

infantry companies The Department would not pay for them. John Woods one the

men now lives 7 or 8 miles west of the lower peach Tree, call and see him for he

was a soldier.

It would afford me great pleasure to be able to render you the aid I should

like to do – but my recollection of dates being very imperfect, and my ability to

write so deficient, for, I must admit That I never was in a grammar [sic] school. I

learned to read ^ as the fashion was [wright?] & traveled through an arithmeticin 27

months, and being then near 14 years of age, thought my fortune made –

Your Obt Svt

J. Austill

N.B. It was supposed we had killed nearly all the Indians at the allegater [sic]

holes, but upon our return we found the Indians all [covered over / carried on?]

and [Bales?] taken up & scalped – we concluded that the main portion had

secreted themselves in the gum bushes at the Holes – and Foster one of the spies,

was killed at Claiborne at his or in his Farm by the Indians as the close of the War.

[Handwritten postmark and postage]

New Wakefield / 25 Aug / 47 10


A. J. Pickett Esqr / Montgomery

This is written 1 in the hand of AJP.