One of the three remaining Red Stick leaders in West Florida was killed in June 1818, 200 years ago this month.
This article continues a special series that commemorates the 200th anniversary of the First Seminole War. Please click here to see the entire timeline of stories.
The Mico Decoxey was a thorn in the sides of not only Andrew Jackson and U.S. officials, but the Big Warrior and other leaders of the white-allied faction of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. A follower of the Prophet Josiah Francis, he first raised the “red stick” in 1813 when the Creek War of 1813-1814 began as a civil war between the forces of the Prophet and the followers of the Big Warrior. (Please see Holmes, Econchattimico & Mico Decoxey: West Florida’s Last Red Sticks to learn more about him).
By June 1818 he was one of three key leaders still active in Spanish West Florida and was reportedly encamped somewhere on the Chipola River. On June 28, however, he appeared not far from the white settlements that had grown around Fort Gaines on the Chattahoochee River:
I have received the report of the principal chief of Ufaula town, that his warriors yesterday met with the notorious hostile chief called Micko decoxy, near the settlement upon this river, and killed him. Many of the warriors of this chief had previously left him, and returned to the friendly part of the nation; where there is now reason to believe the residue will soon follow. [I]
Maj. Gen. Edmund P. Gaines, author of the above account, was at Fort Gaines when a courier arrived with news of the Mico Decoxey’s death.
The killing of the Red Stick chief by the warriors of Eufaula Talofa is somewhat surprising, as these same men had earlier been accused of being friendly with the forces at war against the United States. By late June 1818, however, the outcome of the war was no longer in doubt.
Hundreds of non-combatant from bands such as the one led by the Mico Decoxey descended on the Chattahoochee River towns of Eufaula and Okitiyakani to beg for food and help. The huge influx of refugees strained supplies to the limit and everyone was going hungry. Gen. Gaines gave orders for the army to help:
…I have ascertained from the reports of the chiefs, as well as from the statements of interpreters, and the white inhabitants here, that in consequence of the great number of women and children of the hostile party having taken refuge among the friendly Indians of Ufaule and oak,te,ok,o,ne, their corn and other provisions have been for the most part eaten up, and they are now suffering with hunger. I have therefore ordered a small supply from the contractors store at Fort Scott for these towns. Inclosed I send a copy of my order, which I hope you will approve. [II]
Gaines was writing to his commanding officer, Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson. Old Hickory approved giving food to the starving people at Eufaula Talofa and Okitiyakani and six barrels of flour, three barrels of pork and four gallons of salt went to each town from the army stores at Fort Gaines and Fort Scott.
The death of Mico Decoxey left only two key Red Stick leaders still alive and fighting west of the Apalachicola and Chattahoochee Rivers. Econchattimico was somewhere on the Chipola and Holmes was at the Big Spring of the Choctawhatchee.
This series will continue. To learn more about historic Fort Gaines, please consider Dale Cox’s book Fort Gaines, Georgia: A Military History.
These books will tell you more about the First Seminole War. All are available in both print and Kindle formats.
[I] Maj. Gen. Edmund P. Gaines to Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson, June 29, 1818, Jackson Papers, Library of Congress.