Days Gone By - stories from the past

On Dec. 23, 1813, the Holy Ground Campaign and Battle took place in Lowndes County, Alabama


The principal campaign and engagement between the Creeks and the whites in South Alabama, continuing for several weeks and concluding with the battle of the Holy Ground, December 23, 1813.

The Holy Ground, or Ikanatchaka, was an Indian town of controlling influence among the Indians, during the Creek Indian War of 1813-14. It was located between Pintlala and Big Swamp Creek, on the Alabama River in the present Lowndes County. It was about two miles north of White Hall. The town contained the council house of the Alabama tribe and was the residence of the principal Creek prophets, who with their magic spells at the opening of the War, had asserted that it had been made holy or was consecrated against the intrusion of white men. Until its destruction, it was a base for provisions and war supplies of the Creeks in their operations against the settlers.

Site of Holy Ground, a Creek Indian settlement in present-day Lowndes County, Alabama ca. 1930 (Alabama Department of Archives and History)

Indians took precautions

Gen. F. L. Claiborne then in south Alabama resolved that the Holy Ground must be destroyed. In November 1813, he marched with his army from the Tombigbee to Weatherford’s Bluff on the Alabama, where he established a depot of provisions for Gen. Jackson and erected a fort, to which the name Fort Claiborne was given. Here on November 28, his army was reinforced by the 3d United States Infantry Regiment under Col. Gilbert Christian Russell. On December 13, in obedience to instructions from Gen. Thomas Flournoy, Gen. Claiborne advanced his forces from Fort Claiborne toward the Holy Ground. After several days’ march, a brief halt was made in the present Butler County, where a depot was established, known as Fort Deposit, where he left his wagons, cannon, baggage, and the sick, with 100 men as a guard. The march was then resumed.

The Indians on learning of the approach of Gen. Claiborne’s army took the precautions to move their women and children across the Alabama River into what is now Autauga County. They thus evidenced their unwillingness to put much faith in their vaunted belief as to the impregnability of the town. About midday December 23, the town was attacked. The battle lasted only about one hour, resulting in a complete defeat, the Indians making good their escape across the river, leaving 33 warriors slain. The number of wounded is not known, as they succeeded in bearing them all away. William Weatherford, the “Red Eagle,” had conducted the defense of the Holy Ground, and was one of the last to make an escape. His famous horseback leap from the river in making his escape was one of the picturesque incidents of the Creek War.

The American loss at the Holy Ground was 1 killed and 20 wounded. This extremely light loss, considering the bravery with which the Creeks fought, must be ascribed to the scarcity of ammunition among them, which compelled many of the warriors to have resort to bows and arrows.

Spoils were given to Gen. Claiborne

The spoils of the Holy Ground were given by Gen. Claiborne to his Choctaw allies, and the town was then burned. The two succeeding days were devoted to the destruction of other towns of the Holy Ground and vicinity, and .the Indian farms and boats.

The defeat of the Creeks at the Holy Ground closed their military operations in south Alabama, and it tended greatly to facilitate the work of Gen. Jackson in bringing the war to a close, three months later, by the decisive Battle of the Horseshoe Bend. After the battle, the army returned to Fort Claiborne, where many of the volunteers were honorably discharged, their term of service having expired.


History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS- Pioneers – A Collection of Lost and Forgotten Stories

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Choctaw Nation of Indians in Worchester v Georgia in 1832.

    The Georgia Cession of the Mississippi Territory made the creation of both Alabama and Mississippi Repugnant to the Constitution.

    In 1834, Congress enacted the Non-Intercourse Act of 1834 (25 USC 177). It was updated in 2015.

    In 1835, the United States Congress found the Louisiana Purchase to be fraud and revoked and made null and void all Land Grants – Spanish and otherwise based on the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 which is Controlling to the present day.

    Darby Weaver
    The Tribal Leader

  2. In this article it said the Choctaw fought along side the whites against the Creeks. What was their motivation? Did the Choctaw and Creek have a grudge against each other?

    1. The Creek nation, Red Sticks, Seminole, and others took hostile offense for the invasion of whites upon their land, which led to them losing their land, & ultimately the tragedy of the Trail of Tears. The Choctaw and some Cherokees leaned away from fighting the whites, choosing to believe the white government’s broken promises.

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