Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth Century (1853)



The fort at Watauga, when attacked, had one hundred and fifty settlers within its enclosure. The women from the fort had gone out at daybreak to milk the cows and were fired upon, but made a safe retreat to the fort. The brisk fire was then made upon the garrison, and kept up till eight o’clock, without effect. The assault was repelled with considerable loss to the assailants, as was inferred from the quantity of blood left upon the ground. In a short time after the Indians renewed the attack and continued for six days.

In the meantime, a soldier effected his escape from Watauga and went to Holston express for reinforcements. A detachment of one hundred rangers was instantly forwarded under the command of Col. Wm. Russell. On their way the rangers fell in with a party of forty Cherokees, who were busy skinning a beef at a deserted plantation, fifty miles east of Long Island. Of these Col. Russell’s men killed five and took one prisoner, who was mortally wounded, and also made prize of twenty rifles belonging to the Indians.*

During the time the Indians were around the fort, James Cooper and a boy named Samuel Moore, went out after boards to cover a hut. When near the mouth of Gap Creek, they were attacked by Indians; Cooper leaped into the river, and by diving hoped to escape their arrows and bullets, but the water became too shallow and he was killed by them and scalped. The firing by the Indians and the screams of Cooper were heard in the fort, and Lieutenant John Sevier attempted to go to his succour. Captain Robertson saw that the Indians were superior in force to that within the fort, and that it would required all the men he commanded to protect the women and children from massacre. The firing and screaming without, he believed to be a feint on the part of the enemy to draw his men from the fortification, and he recalled Sevier and his party from the attempted rescue. Moore was carried prisoner to the Indian towns, and was tortured to death by burning. A few mornings after the battle a man named Clonse was found in the thicket below the fort, killed and scalped. He had probably chosen the darkness of the

* Maryland Gazette.

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