NAME: Negro Fort
COUNTY: Franklin
COMMENTS: No residents. Camping and picnic area. Historical trail. It is located east of the Apalachicola River, a short distance from State Road 65 and the small town of Sumatra.
REMAINS: reconstruction, abandoned graves and a crater where the blast occured.
The ruined fort was built by the British during the War of 1812 and left to their black allies (300 African Americans and 30 Seminole and Choctaw Indians) when they departed in 1815. The were left with a substantial artillery, ammunitions, including 700 kegs of gunpowder. The fort attracted as many as 800 black fugitives, some from as far away as Tennessee and the Mississippi Territory, who settled in the surrounding area. The fort was under the command of a black man named Garson and a Choctaw chief (whose name is not known). They often launched raids across the Georgia border. Negro Fort was perceived as a threat to white slaveholders in Georgia. In July of that year, Major General Jackson gave the order to Col. Clinch to destroy Negro Fort and to return the blacks to their white owners. On July 27, 1816 during the insuing warfare, an American "hot shot" shell hit the open magazine within the fort, killing approximately 300 men, women, and children. The eyewitness accounts of the event reveal "arms and legs and bodies spewed all over the area" and thousands of muskets and other firearms found. The few survivors were taken prisoner and turned over to Georgia slaveholders. Garson was shot on the spot and the Choctaw chief was killed and scalped by the Creek Indians, American allies. Andrew Jackson himself said the war was designed to destroy the "escaped slave" black towns in Florida depriving them of places of refuge. Fort Gadsden(later a confederate fort) was constructed over the site of the ruins of Negro Fort. Submitted by: Mike Woodfin

Painting of magazine explosion
Courtesy Mike Woodfin

Schematic of Ft. Gadson and Negro Fort
Courtesy Mike Woodfin

Ft Gadsden Historical Marker
Courtesy Mike Woodfin

Rreconstruction of Negro Fort
Courtesy Mike Woodfin

Replica of Fort Gadsden
Courtesy Mike Woodfin