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The Charge Of The Hounds
by [?]


A terrible bit of news was carried from mouth to mouth through the region that is now Alabama at the beginning of September, 1813. The country was at that time in the midst of the second war with Great Britain, and for a long time British agents had been trying to persuade the Creeks–a powerful nation of half-civilized but very warlike Indians who lived in Alabama–to join in the war and destroy the white settlements in the Southwest.

For some time the Creeks hesitated, and it was uncertain what they would do. But during the summer of 1813 they broke out in hostility, and on the 30th of August their great leader, Weatherford, or the Red Eagle, as they called him, stormed Fort Mims, the strongest fort in the Southwest. He took the fort by surprise, with a thousand warriors behind him, and, after five hours of terrible fighting, destroyed it, killing about five hundred men, women, and children.

This was the news that startled the settlers in the region where the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers come together. It was certain, after such a massacre as that, that the Indians meant to destroy the settlements, and kill all the white people without mercy.

In order to protect themselves and their families the settlers built rude forts by setting pieces of timber endwise in the ground, and the people hurried to these places for safety. Leaving their homes to be burned, their crops to be destroyed, and their cattle to be killed or carried off by the Indians, the settlers hastily got together what food they could, and took their families into the nearest forts.

One of the smallest of these stockade forts was called Sinquefield. It stood in what is now Clarke County, Alabama, and, as that region was very thinly settled, there were not enough men to make a strong force for the defence of the fort. But the brave farmers and hunters thought they could hold the place, and so they took their families thither as quickly as they could.

Two families, numbering seventeen persons, found it was not easy to go to Sinquefield on the 2d of September, and so, as they were pretty sure that there were no Indians in their neighborhood as yet, they made up their minds to stay one more night at a house a few miles from the fort. That night they were attacked, and all but five of them were killed. Those who got away carried the news of what had happened to the fort, and a party was sent out to bring in the bodies.

The next day all the people in Fort Sinquefield went out to bury their dead friends in a valley at some little distance from the fort, and, strange as it seems, they took no arms with them. Believing that there were no Indians near the place, they left the gates of the fortress open, and went out in a body without their guns.

As a matter of fact there was a large body of Indians not only very near them, but actually looking at them all the time. The celebrated Prophet Francis was in command, and in his sly way he had crept as near the fort as possible to look for a good chance to attack it. Making his men lie down and crawl like snakes, he had reached a point only a few hundred yards from the stockade without alarming the people, and now, while they stood around the graves of their friends without arms to defend themselves with, a host of their savage enemies lay looking at them from the grass and bushes on the hill.

As soon as he saw that the right moment had come, Francis sprang up with a savage war-cry, and at the head of his warriors made a dash at the gates. He had seen that the men outside were unarmed, and his plan was to get to the gates before they could reach them, and thus get all the people of the place at his mercy in an open field and without arms to fight with.