Published on February 8, 2013 by Carol
The Chickamauga Wars (1776–1794) were a series of raids, campaigns, ambushes, minor skirmishes, and several full-scale frontier battles which were a continuation of the Cherokee (Ani-Yunwiya, Ani-Kituwa, Tsalagi, Talligewi) struggle during and after the American Revolutionary War against encroachment by American frontiersmen from the former British colonies. Until the end of the Revolution, the Cherokee fought in part as British allies. After 1786, they also fought along with and as members of the Western Confederacy, organized by the Shawnee chief Tecumseh, in an effort to repulse European-American settlers from the area west of the Appalachian Mountains.
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Open warfare broke out in the summer of 1776 between the Cherokee led by Dragging Canoe and frontier settlers along the Watauga, Holston, Nolichucky, and Doe rivers in East Tennessee. (The colonials first referred to these Cherokee as the “Chickamauga” or “Chickamauga-Cherokee,” and later as the “Lower Cherokee”.) The warfare spread to settlers along the Cumberland River in Middle Tennessee and in Kentucky, as well as to the colonies (later states) of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
The earliest phase of the conflicts, ending with the treaties of 1777, is sometimes called the “Second Cherokee War”, a reference to the earlier Anglo-Cherokee War. Since Dragging Canoe was the dominant leader in both phases of the conflict, the period is sometimes called “Dragging Canoe’s War.”
Dragging Canoe and his forces fought alongside with American Indians from several other tribes, both in the South and in the Northwest: Muscogee Creek and Shawnee, respectively. They had the support of, first, the British (often with participation of British agents and regular soldiers) and, second, the Spanish. The Cherokee were among the founding members of the Native Americans’ Western Confederacy.
Though the Americans identified the followers of Dragging Canoe as “Chickamauga” as distinct from Cherokee who abided by the peace treaties of 1777, there was no separate tribe or band known as “Chickamauga”. They identified as Cherokee