Also known as the Second Treaty of Indian Springs or Treaty with the Creeks, one-hundred, ninety-five years ago, today, it was signed by the Muscogee and the U.S. government at the Indian Springs Hotel (now a museum).
The U.S. and the Muscogee had, previously, signed the Treaty of Indian Springs of 1821. On January 8, the Muscogee agreed to cede their land holdings east of the Flint River to the state of Georgia in exchange for $200,000, paid in installments.
Letter from December 14, 1824 (Digital Library of Georgia):
[…] Duncan Campbell and James Meriwether, U.S. Commissioners, [wrote] to Georgia Governor George M. Troup regarding obstacles the commissioners [faced] in treating with the Creeks. They [related] that proceedings [were] being conducted orally since the written method [had] failed. Also, the publication of negotiations held at Tucabatchee (Tuckabatchee or Tuckabatchie) and Pole Cat Springs [had] spread alarm throughout the nation as [had] the persistent “interference” of the Cherokees. Campbell and Meriwether negotiated the Treaty of Indian Springs [of] 1825 that was unauthorized by a majority of Creeks and, later, abrogated by the United States.
The treaty that was agreed [to] was negotiated with six chiefs of the Lower Creek, led by William McIntosh. McIntosh agreed to cede all Muscogee lands east of the Chattahoochee River, including the sacred Ocmulgee National Monument (Historic Park), to Georgia and Alabama and, accepted relocation west of the Mississippi River to an equivalent parcel of land along the Arkansas River. In compensation for the move to unimproved land, and to aid in obtaining supplies, the Muscogee nation would receive $200,000 (again), paid in decreasing installments over a period of years. An additional $200,000 was paid directly to McIntosh.
Governor Troup, and most Georgians, were in favor of the treaty and his inside man was his first cousin…William McIntosh. McIntosh paid the highest price. According to a Creek law, that McIntosh, himself, had supported, a sentence of execution awaited any Creek leader who ceded land to the United States without the full assent of the entire Creek Nation. Just before dawn on April 30, 1825, Upper Creek chief Menawa, accompanied by 200 Creek warriors (The Law Menders), attacked McIntosh at Lockchau Talofau (Acorn Bluff/McIntosh Reserve) to carry out the sentence. They set fire to his home, shot and stabbed him to death and, [killed] the elderly Coweta chief Etomme Tustunnuggee. Chillie McIntosh, the chief’s oldest son, had also been sentenced to die but, he escaped by diving through a window. Later that day, the Law Menders found [Samuel and Benjamin Hawkins, Jr.] (McIntosh’s sons-in-law), who were also signatories. They hanged Samuel and shot Benjamin but, he escaped.
A large majority of chiefs and warriors objected that McIntosh did not have sufficient authority to sign treaties or cede territory. [The] Creek Nation sent a delegation, led by Opothleyahola and [included] Menawa, to lodge an official complaint. Federal investigators (appointed by President John Quincy Adams) agreed and the U.S. government negotiated a new land cession in the 1826 Treaty of Washington. The Creeks did not, however, have their territory restored in the new treaty.
Though the Creek did retain a small tract of land on the Georgia-Alabama border and the Ocmulgee National Monument, Governor Troup refused to recognize the new treaty. [He] authorized all Georgian citizens to evict the Muscogee and ordered the land surveyed for a lottery, including the piece that was to remain in Creek hands. He threatened an attack on Federal troops if they interfered with the [previous] treaty and challenged [the President]. The president intervened with Federal troops but, Troup called out the state militia, and Adams, fearful of a civil war, conceded.
The government allowed Troup to quickly renegotiate the agreement and seize all remaining Creek lands in the state. By 1827, the Creeks were gone from Georgia. Within eight years, most of them would be relocated from Alabama to the designated Indian Territory (modern Oklahoma).
From Son of the South:
S. C. Major Anderson had long urged his government, but in vain, to strengthen the military works in Charleston Harbor. The burden of the few replies was: “Be prudent; be kind; do nothing to excite the South Carolinians. It will not do to send you reinforcements, for that might bring on hostilities.” At length he was satisfied that the people were about to attempt to seize Fort Sumter.
[..] he resolved to take position in Sumter before it should be too late. He was commander of all the defenses of the harbor, and, in the absence of orders to the contrary, he might occupy any one he chose.
Governor Pickens sent a message to Anderson demanding his immediate withdrawal from [the fort]. The demand was politely refused and, the Major was denounced in the State convention, in the legislature, in public and private assemblies, as a “traitor to the South,” […]. The Confederates in Charleston and Washington were filled with rage.
[Secretary of War] Floyd declared the “solemn pledges of the government” had been violated by Anderson and he demanded of the President [Buchanan] permission to withdraw the garrison from Charleston Harbor. The President refused; a disruption of the cabinet followed. Floyd fled; and Anderson received (Dec. 31) from Secretary of War [Joseph] Holt —a Kentuckian like himself— an assurance of his approval of what he had done.
Governor Pickens, nettled by Anderson’s refusal to give up Sumter, treated him as a public enemy within the domain of South Carolina. Armed South Carolinians had been sent to take possession of Fort Moultrie, where they found the works dismantled.
On February 7, […] seven states adopted a provisional constitution for the Confederate States of America and established their temporary capital at Montgomery, Alabama. A February peace conference met in Washington, D.C. but, failed to resolve the crisis. The remaining eight slave states declined pleas to join the Confederacy.
The seceding states seized numerous Federal properties within their boundaries, including buildings, arsenals and fortifications. President James Buchanan protested but, took no military action in response. Buchanan was concerned that an overt action could cause the remaining slave states to leave the Union and, while he acknowledged there was no constitutional authority for a state to secede, he could find no constitutional authority for him to act to prevent it.
South Carolina authorities considered Anderson’s move to be a breach of faith. Governor [Francis W.] Pickens believed that President Buchanan had made implicit promises to him to keep Sumter unoccupied and suffered political embarrassment as a result of his trust in those promises. Buchanan, a former U.S. Secretary of State and diplomat, had used carefully crafted ambiguous language to Pickens, promising that he would not “immediately” occupy it. From Major Anderson’s standpoint, he was merely moving his existing garrison troops from one of the locations under his command to another.
Governor Pickens […] ordered that all remaining Federal positions except Fort Sumter were to be seized.
President Buchanan was surprised and dismayed at Anderson’s move to Sumter, unaware of the authorization Anderson had received. Nevertheless, he refused Pickens’s demand to evacuate Charleston harbor. Since the garrison’s supplies were limited, Buchanan authorized a relief expedition of supplies, small arms, and 200 soldiers. […] an unarmed civilian merchant ship, Star of the West [was sent], which might be perceived as less provocative to the Confederates. As Star of the West approached the harbor entrance on January 9, 1861, it was fired upon by a battery on Morris Island, […] staffed by cadets from The Citadel […].
In a letter delivered January 31, 1861, Governor Pickens demanded of President Buchanan that he surrender Fort Sumter because, “I regard that possession is not consistent with the dignity or safety of the State of South Carolina.”
On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as president. He was almost immediately confronted with the surprise information that Major Anderson was reporting that only six weeks of rations remained at Fort Sumter. A crisis similar to the one at Fort Sumter had emerged at Pensacola, Florida, where Confederates threatened another U.S. fortification — Fort Pickens. Lincoln and his new cabinet struggled with the decisions of whether to reinforce the forts, and how. They were also concerned about whether to take actions that might start open hostilities and which side would be perceived as the aggressor as a result. Similar discussions and concerns were occurring in the Confederacy.
After the formation of the Confederate States of America in early February, there was some debate among the secessionists whether the capture of the fort was rightly a matter for South Carolina or for the newly declared national government in Montgomery, Alabama. South Carolina Governor Pickens was among the states’ rights advocates who thought that all property in Charleston Harbor had reverted to South Carolina upon that state’s secession as an independent commonwealth.
The South sent delegations to Washington, D.C. and, offered to pay for the Federal properties and enter into a peace treaty with the United States. Lincoln rejected any negotiations with the Confederate agents because he did not consider the Confederacy a legitimate nation and making any treaty with it would be tantamount to recognition of it as a sovereign government.
On April 6, Lincoln notified Governor Pickens that “an attempt will be made to supply Fort Sumter with provisions only and, that, if such attempt be not resisted, no effort to throw in men, arms or ammunition will be made without further notice, [except] in case of an attack on the fort.”
Lincoln’s notification had been made to the Governor of South Carolina, not the new Confederate Government, which Lincoln did not recognize. Pickens consulted with [P. G. T.] Beauregard, the local Confederate commander. Soon, President Davis ordered Beauregard to repeat the demand for Sumter’s surrender and, if it did not, to reduce the fort before the relief expedition arrived.
Beauregard dispatched aides […] to Fort Sumter on April 11 to issue the ultimatum. Anderson refused, although he reportedly commented, “I shall await the first shot and, if you do not batter us to pieces, we shall be starved out in a few days.”
At 1 a.m. on April 12, the aides brought Anderson a message from Beauregard: “If you will state the time which you will evacuate Fort Sumter, and agree in the meantime that you will not use your guns against us unless ours shall be employed against Fort Sumter, we will abstain from opening fire upon you.”
Maj. Anderson replied that he would evacuate Sumter by noon, April 15, unless he received new orders from his government or additional supplies.
Aide Col. Chesnut considered this reply to be too conditional and [replied] to Anderson: Sir, by authority of Brigadier General Beauregard, commanding the Provisional Forces of the Confederate States, we have the honor to notify you that he will open fire of his batteries on Fort Sumter in one hour from this time.”
Anderson escorted the officers back to their boat, shook hands with each one, and said “If we never meet in this world again, God grant that we may meet in the next.”
Although the Union garrison returned fire, they were significantly outgunned and, after 34 hours, Major Anderson agreed to evacuate. There were no deaths on either side as a direct result of this engagement, although a gun explosion during the surrender ceremonies on April 14 caused two Union deaths.
From Son of the South:
The fort had been evacuated, not surrendered. Anderson bore away the flag of Sumter, which was used as his winding-sheet, and was buried with him.
More reading on The Bombardment of Fort Sumter from Harper’s Weekly, April 27, 1861.
Fifty-four years ago, today, the First March of the Selma to Montgomery marches took place. The planned marches were a response to the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson by Alabama State Trooper James Fowler. Fowler shot Jackson on February 18, 1965, during a clash between, approximately, 500 protestors walking to Perry County Jail for James Orange and, Marion police officers, sheriff’s deputies and the state troopers. Jackson died from his injuries on February 26. Other casualties that night were two UPI photographers and NBC News correspondent Richard Valereani.
The death of Jackson motivated James Bevel “to initiate and organize the first Selma to Montgomery march to present a way for the citizens of Marion and Selma to direct the anger over Jackson’s death into a positive outcome.” Amelia Boynton assisted with the planning.
As the demonstrators crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, state, and county police, stopped the march and beat the protesters. Boynton was knocked unconscious and the photograph of her wounded body got the entire world’s attention.
The third march to Montgomery spanned March 21 through March 24. By Thursday, March 25, the movement had reached the State Capitol Building. The murder of Viola Liuzzo was the final end to the violence and the 18 day struggle. Her murder, however, uncovered an FBI Informant, exposing J. Edgar Hoover‘s illegal activities.
In 1857, caught in a Category 2 Hurricane, the SS Central America sank 160 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, drowning 420+, including Captain of the Ship Commander William Lewis Herndon. Nicknamed The Ship of Gold, 30,000 pounds of gold from the California Gold Rush went down with her, exacerbating The Panic of 1857.
In other September 12 trivia bits, as we wait for Hurricane Florence 2018 to show up, this appears to be a rather bad day for hurricanes. Did you know that there have been six Atlantic Hurricanes named Florence? She gets around. ~Vic