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What Is Fort Mitchell, Alabama?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 17, 2024
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Fort Mitchell, Alabama, is a community in Russell County. It is close to Phenix City and Cottonton in Alabama as well as Columbus and Cusseta in Georgia. Named after Georgia Governor David B. Mitchell, Fort Mitchell has great significance in the history of the United States.

The community is the site of the original Fort Mitchell, which was used in the War of 1812 by Colonel Benjamin Hawkins during a campaign that was resolved peacefully. The fort was used again during the Creek War of 1813-1814 by General John Floyd's military troops. This hilltop fort was needed as a place for the troops to recover after they initiated battle with the Creek Nation natives. The Mississippi Territorial Militia attacked a supply train at Burnt Corn Creek in Alabama on 27 July 1813 which started that war.

In the Creek War of 1836, white settlers forced the Creek Nation people from their land and homes. They stole land rights in the area east of the Mississippi River. The Creek Nation Indian bands eventually fought back.

They first tried to do it legally by pleading for help from American President Andrew Jackson. When that didn't work, the natives burned homes, disrupted mail coaches and destroyed the whole town of Roanoke, Georgia. United States Army troops led by Major General Winfield Scott shackled and starved the Creek Nation Indians while moving them away from the Fort Mitchell, Alabama, area to what later became part of the state of Oklahoma.

The Fort Mitchell National Historic site is a museum that contains the fort as well as replicas of cabins, a blacksmith shop and other buildings of the time. The Chattahoochee Indian Heritage Center at the museum features a Trail of Tears monument that was created in Russell County, Alabama, as a memorial of the crying that occurred as the Creek Nation was forced from its land. The memorial sculpture is flame-shaped to symbolize the Creek Nation's ceremonial fire.

The museum is open to the public for self-guided tours. Fort Mitchell National Cemetery, a burial site for military veterans, is also open to the public for viewing of the grave markers. Veterans buried there include a Medal of Honor recipient from the Vietnam War, Platoon Sergeant Matthew Leonard. Fort Mitchell, Alabama, is no longer used as part of the active military community. Instead, Fort Benning, a United States Army post nearby in Georgia, replaced it as a modern military community.

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