Rebellion March 14, 1815     
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Military map showing the Negro Fort and Fort Gadsden
Plan of Fort Gadsden, constructed in 1818 on the grounds of the Negro Fort. The location of the Negro Fort is noted in the top-center of this 1818 sketch by Captain James Gadsden. National Archives.
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“[C]ertain Negroes and outlaws have taken possession of a Fort on the Appalachicola River in the territory of Florida,” wrote General Edmund Gaines on May 14, 1815. British agents helped the Seminoles construct the fort during the late stages of the War of 1812. Their plan was to recruit Indian and slave allies who would harass Georgia’s slaveholders on the southern frontier. The war ended before the British could put the plan into action, but the fort was complete. After the British and most of the Indians left, the “Negro Fort” rapidly became a beacon for fugitive slaves.* By June of 1815, approximately 330 black warriors and 30 Seminole Indians were stationed on the banks of the Apalachicola at Prospect Bluff, protecting the region with four pieces of artillery, six light cannon, and a large stock of British ammunition and arms. One of the leaders was a charismatic free black from Pensacola named Garcon, who conducted affairs wearing a tattered British military uniform.

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Sources: Giddings Exiles 35-43, Forbes 200-05, ASPFR 4: 559-61. ©
Part 1, Early Years: Outline  l  Images

*The Fort was also known as "African Fort," "Prospect Bluff Fort," and "Nicholl's Fort," after the British agent who oversaw its construction. The U.S. later built Fort Gadsden on the same site.

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 Trail Narrative
 + Prologue
 + Background: 1693-1812
 - Early Years: 1832-1838
+ World at Birth
+ Encroaching America
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Andrew Jackson
Negro Fort
First War
+ A New Country
 + War: 1832-1838
 + Exile: 1838-1850
 + Freedom: 1850-1882
 + Legacy & Conclusion