The Rise and Fall of Fort Loudoun
I took the family to what they call the Garrison Weekend at Fort Loudoun in Vonore Tennessee. It was an amazing trip, and we all learned a lot. After leaving, I felt the urge to know more about what happened there, so; I did a bunch of research and have discovered What happened during the rise and fall of Fort Loudoun. This article is my version of a travel essay all about Fort Loudoun.
Tellico Plains was incorporated July 4th, 1911. In 1776, it was laid to waste by an army of 1800 men and then again by an army led by John Sevier in 1779. In this area, Native American Culture goes back over 10, 000 years. The beginning of the end of the Cherokee Indians way of life started with the Migration of British Soldiers from the Carolinas and continued until the Indian Removal Bill of 1829.
In Tellico plains, a two and a half mile section of the Unicoi Trail has been restored for public use. This trail ran west into the south side of North Carolina over to the Tennessee border. It then curved North toward the over hill Cherokee villages and ended at Tellico, Vonore, or Knoxville. The trail was first used by British colonists in 1690’s to bring goods from Charleston to the over hill Cherokee villages to trade. By 1700, the French followed the Great Indian War Path to trade with the same villages.
n 1956, the seven year war began. The British Colony ran along the Atlantic coast, and the French Colony spanned along the Gulf Coast and into Canada. The Cherokee Indians were caught in the middle. Settlers soon started migrating from the Carolinas. Some were accepted, however; some fought to take over the Cherokee lands. These settlers altered the Cherokee people’s way of living, and many of the natives abandoned their ancestral ways. The Cherokee Indian’s allied with the British. In 1756, Fort Loudoun was built to protect the Cherokee Indians from their enemies and fortify the relationship between the British settlers and the Cherokee Tribe. Fort Loudoun was the price the British had to pay in order to enlist the Cherokee warriors help in their war.
Unfortunately, relationships between the British and the Cherokee quickly diminished and peace did not come easy, after a rash of attacks and a Small Pox epidemic The French started whispering in the Cherokees ears that the British were just using them and would kill them. In addition, the original Commander Raymond Demere, who was friendly with the Native people, relinquished control to his brother Paul, who was a cruel leader.
In 1760, the over hill Cherokees got fed up and started raiding settlements and trading houses in the back country. Then these Cherokee Warriors ambushed the commander of Fort Prince. This caused the British to retaliate. The Cherokee Indians knew not to attack Fort Loudoun head on; so they surrounded it, making it impossible for food supplies to enter. They had enough supplies to last for a few months, but the Warriors outside held their ground.
When the food ran out and they were reduced to eating horse meat, the British decided to give up the Fort in exchange for safe passage back to South Carolina. In about fifteen miles, they made camp. The morning light brought death to all, but a few British soldiers at the hands of their Cherokee escorts. The Cherokee Indians then destroyed the Fort, so that no other enemies would be able to inhabit it. Fort Loudoun was never again used for Military purposes. In 1917 Colonial Dames placed a commiserative plaque of the site, so that future generations would remember that happened there. It was purchased in 1933 by the Tennessee General assembly and turned into a state park in 1977.
This is a heartbreaking piece of American History. It was not just tragic for the British soldiers and settlers, but also for the tribe who only wanted to keep their land and be left alone. This was a tribe who welcomed the settlers and tried to adapt to their lifestyle, only to be treated as if they were the outsiders. In the same way, this was a group of men, woman, and children who surrendered and just wanted to go home. In this writers opinion, nobody really won in the rise and fall of Fort Loudoun.