Nickajack Expedition: The expedition

Published on September 25, 2014 by Carol

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Nickajack Cave

The expedition

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Governor Blount appointed Major James Ore to head an expedition against the Chickamauga, or “Lower Cherokee” as they had come to be known. Col. John Montgomery commanded the territorial militia, and Col. William Whitley of Kentucky (whose state had been the subject of many attacks launched from this area by the Cherokee) commanded his 6th Regiment of militia. They singled out two Chickamauga villages, Nickajack Town and Running Water Town, as the objects of attack, as these villages were the source of many of the raiding parties. However, finding their locations and a method of attack was problematic for the American force.

The armies finally came against Nickajack Town in mid-August, but found only a hundred or so warriors present. Many of the villagers had heard of the army’s approach and had fled to Running Water Town before Ore’s men could reach the village. Warriors from Running Water Town were on their way to Nickajack to investigate the activity and encountered the fleeing villagers along the way. The Nickajack group merged with the Running Water group, and together they proceeded back to engage the Americans.

By this time the militias had begun a pursuit of the fleeing villagers. The two sides met at “the Narrows” along the Tennessee River and engaged in battle. It proved to be a disaster for the Chickamauga. They were quickly routed, and managed to wound only three Americans, killing none. The armies quickly destroyed both villages, leaving seventy dead. It was reported that Col. Whitley personally shot a warrior out of a moving canoe at some distance after some of his men had failed to make the deadly shot.


Coupled with other military victories which followed quickly upon their defeat at Nickajack Town and Running Water Town, the Chickamauga were resigned to sign several treaties favorable to the Americans, including the Treaty of Tellico.

Source: warpaths2peacepipes Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2014 Native American Encyclopedia.
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