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Camp Blount

Camp Blount is one of the few historical sites in Tennessee associated with the War of 1812. Situated along the banks of the Elk River in Fayetteville (Lincoln County), Camp Blount served as the rendezvous point and mustering ground for many of the troops under Andrew Jackson in the period of 1813 to 1814. This location was also used in the Seminole Wars of 1818 and 1836, as well as during the Civil War, when it is likely that both Federal and Confederate soldiers bivouacked there. In spite of the fact that Camp Blount served as a campground during several conflicts, though, whatever recognition the site has received is based largely on its connection to Andrew Jackson.

In late September 1813 the call for troops to participate in the so-called Creek War (often referred to as a sub-conflict of the War of 1812) prompted the enlistment of over 3,500 Tennessee volunteers. Under the leadership of Andrew Jackson, then major general of the Tennessee militia, most of the soldiers from the Western Division (now the region of Middle Tennessee) were ordered to gather at Fayetteville, then a fledgling community six miles from the border of Tennessee and present-day Alabama. The plan was to march the men southward into the Creek Nation to initiate a military campaign against the warring faction of the Creek Indians. Jackson arrived in Fayetteville on 7 October 1813 to take command of the army encamped on the gently sloping fields and oak groves south of town. The camp was named in honor of then-Governor Willie Blount (1809-15). While it is difficult to ascertain the exact number of troops that passed through Camp Blount during the war, it is probable that several thousand soldiers, at different times, gathered at this point.

For the most part, historians have ignored the significance of Camp Blount. No surviving structures exist, and no one is exactly sure where the perimeters of the camp lie. Still, there have been a number of attempts at recognition. In 1913 the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a stone marker at Camp Blount, which still stands. Then, in 1927, a movement to have Camp Blount designated as a national military park stalled in the U.S. Congress. In 1951 the Tennessee Historical Commission erected a plaque off of U.S. Highway 231, but by the late 1960s this sign had disappeared. In the mid-1990s the Camp Blount location, previously in the hands of private owners, was sold to the Wal-Mart Corporation, and the former muster grounds became a shopping complex. However, in 1998 state and local officials sponsored legislation to place a new highway marker at the entrance to the complex. Despite the commercial transformation of the site of Jackson's encampment, some of the original terrain still survives.

Published » December 25, 2009 | Last Updated » January 01, 2010