Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Location of Fort Mims State Historic Site

Fort Mims State Historic Site
I receive a significant number of emails from people trying to find directions to Fort Mims State Historic Site in Tensaw, so I'm going to provide them here. Hopefully these will help you find the site and encourage more people to visit.
The site is located 7 miles west of Tensaw, a community on AL 59 roughly 45 miles north of Mobile.

To reach the site from Mobile, travel north on I-65 for 22 miles to Exit #31 (AL 225). This is the Stockton/Spanish Fort exit.  From the exit, turn left onto AL 225 for 3.6 miles to AL 59. Turn left onto AL 59 and follow it 13.2 miles to Tensaw.

When you reach Tensaw, turn left onto Boatyard Road (County Road 80) and follow it for just over 6.5 miles to Fort Mims Road. There will be a historical marker at the intersection. Turn right onto Fort Mims Road and follow it around the curve. The fort site will be just ahead on your right.

The Fort Mims site includes a monument, interpretive signs, picnic facilities and a partial reconstruction of the stockade. This, of course, was the site of the August 30, 1813 massacre or battle of Fort Mims.

Monument at Fort Mims
The battle took place when a large force of Red Stick Creek Indians (so named because they displayed red warclubs or "sticks" in their towns) attacked a small force of Mississippi Territorial Militia assigned to protect the civilians congregated in the fort. Alabama was then part of the Mississippi Territory, although the Creeks believed with considerable justification that the land belonged to them.

The attack came in retaliation for a similar attack on a Red Stick supply party at Burnt Corn Spring by militiamen. Several Red Sticks were killed in that battle and their demands for vengeance led to the Fort Mims assault.

By the time the smoke of battle cleared, Fort Mims had been largely burned to the ground. Exactly how many people died remains a subject of considerable debate, but burial parties later reported finding the remains of around 250 of the fort's occupants and 100 of the Red Stick attackers. Some estimates, however, place the number of people killed in the fort as high as 550.

The attack on Fort Mims, even though it was a retaliatory strike, ignited a bloody war between the Red Sticks and the United States that culminated when Andrew Jackson broke the power of the Red Stick movement at the Battle of Horseshore Bend the following year. A phase of the War of 1812, the conflict is remembered today as the Creek War of 1813-1814.

To learn more about Fort Mims, please visit

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