|Jefferson County Units in the War of 1812|
Regimental Histories of Primary Jefferson County Units
Compiled by Tom Kanon, Tennessee State Library and Archives
Colonel Samuel Bayless
This regiment, along with Colonel William Johnson's Third Regiment and Colonel Edwin Booth's Fifth Regiment, defended the lower section of the Mississippi Territory, particularly the vicinity of Mobile. They protected the region from possible Indian incursions and any British invasion. These regiments were under the command of Major General William Carroll. They manned the various forts that were located throughout the territory: Fort Claiborne, Fort Decatur, and Fort Montgomery, for example. Sickness was rampant in this regiment and the desertion rate was high. The regiment mustered in at Knoxville and was dismissed at Mobile.
Colonel Samuel Bunch
Colonel Samuel Bunch commanded two separate regiments at different times during the war. This regiment of three-month enlistees, in the brigade of General James White, participated in the action against the tribe of Creeks known as the Hillabees (18 November 1813). Although Jackson was negotiating a peace proposal with this tribe, the East Tennesseans under General White were not aware of this situation when they attacked the Hillabee village. This attack by White's brigade, aided by a band of Cherokees, led to a stubborn resistance by the Hillabees until the end of the Creek War.
This regiment passed through Fort Armstrong, located on Cherokee land, in late November 1813. There was much protest by the Cherokees concerning property destroyed by the Tennessee troops as they were marching home. The Cherokees claimed that their livestock was "wantonly destroyed for sport" by the Tennessee soldiers.
Andrew Jackson's official report of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (27 March 1814) mentions that "a few companies" of Colonel Bunch were part of the right line of the American forces at this engagement. More than likely, some of those companies included Captains Francis Berry, Nicholas Gibbs (who was killed at the battle), Jones Griffin, and John McNair. In addition, muster rolls show some casualties from this battle in the companies led by Captains Moses Davis, Joseph Duncan, and John Houk. Other men from this regiment remained at Fort Williams prior to Horseshoe Bend to guard the post -- provision returns indicate that there were 283 men from Bunch's regiment at the fort at the time of the battle.
This regiment was in General George Doherty's Brigade and many of the men stayed after the enlistment expiration of May 1814 to guard the posts at Fort Strother and Fort Williams until June/July. The line of march went through Camp Ross (near present-day Chattanooga), Fort Armstrong, and Fort Jackson.
Major John Chiles
This battalion, along with a battalion under the command of Major William Russell, was part of an expedition led by Major Uriah Blue (39th U.S. Infantry) into West Florida in December 1814/January 1815. Their mission was to roam the Escambia River in search of refugee Creek warriors who escaped Jackson's capture of Pensacola (7 November 1814). The mission was largely unsuccessful, as the troops suffered from lack of supplies.
Their rendezvous point was Fort Montgomery and at the end of the war they were in the vicinity of Baton Rouge, where they were waiting to go to New Orleans to participate in the campaign there. The war concluded before they were called out. The muster rolls of Captains Conway, Cummings, Price, and Tipton contain physical descriptions of the soldiers, as well as the county of residence. Captain Rueben Tipton and his four brothers served in the same company.
Colonel William Johnson
Part of General Nathaniel Taylor's brigade, this unit of drafted militia (about 900 men) was mustered in at Knoxville and marched to the vicinity of Mobile via Camp Ross (present-day Chattanooga), Fort Jackson, Fort Claiborne, and Fort Montgomery. Along the way the men were used as road builders and wagon guards. Many of them were stationed at Camp Mandeville (near Mobile) in February 1814, where there was much disease. For example, the company of Captain Joseph Scott had thirty-one listed sick out of an aggregate of 104 at the final muster.
Colonel William Lillard
This regiment of about 700 men was assigned to fill the ranks at Fort Strother for Andrew Jackson after the December 1813 "mutiny" of his army. While at Fort Strother, they comprised half of Jackson's forces until mid-January 1814 when their enlistments were up. This regiment was used to keep the lines of communication open and to guard supply lines.
Their route was from Kingston, Tennessee to Fort Armstrong (early December 1813) to Fort Strother. Cherokees friendly to the United States fought with various units of the Tennessee militia and Lieutenant Colonel William Snodgrass commanded a detachment of Cherokees at Fort Armstrong from mid-January to early February 1814.
Colonel Samuel Wear
Muster rolls show this regiment at Fort Strother in early November 1813 and at Fort Armstrong in late November of the same year. The regiment, in the brigade commanded by General James White, helped attack a tribe of Creek Indians known as the Hillabees on 18 November 1813 where sixty-eight Creeks were killed and about 250 taken prisoner. Unbeknownst to the Americans, the Hillabees had sued Jackson for peace the day before the attack. Actually, a detachment of Cherokees friendly to the United States did most of the fighting -- there were no American casualties.
Although the bulk of Tennessee volunteers and militia units served in the regiments and battalions mentioned above, there were hundreds who enlisted in miscellaneous units of artillery and "spies" (companies that did the reconnaissance work and usually rode ahead of the main army). Some of the more prominent units include Lieutenant Jesse Bean's company of Mounted Spies (who fought at Horseshoe Bend and New Orleans); Captain David Deadrick's artillery company (who were noted by Jackson for their bravery at Enotochopco); and Captain William Russell's company of Spies who fought at practically every battle of the Creek War. For a complete listing of the various miscellaneous units, including several companies that patrolled the "frontier" of Stewart and Hickman Counties, consult the index to the muster rolls at the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
In addition to the state militia and volunteer units, many Tennesseans joined the U.S. Regular Army. In particular, the U.S. 39th Infantry was composed mostly of East Tennesseans. This regiment was key to Jackson's victory at Horseshoe Bend and elements of the regiment also participated in the attack on Pensacola in September 1814. The 24th U.S. Infantry recruited heavily in Tennessee (especially in Nashville) and this regiment participated in the campaigns of the Northwest. Also, the Kentucky-based 7th U.S. Infantry had enlistees from Tennessee.
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