Among the many interesting but practically forgotten episodes of our early naval history is the spectacular destruction in 1816 of the so- called “Negro Fort,” located 25 miles up the Apalachicola River in the then Spanish colony of Florida, by a joint military-naval expedition under Lieutenant Colonel D. L. Clinch, 4th U. S. Infantry, and Sailing Master Jairus Loomis, U. S. Navy. As the United States and Spain were then at peace with one another the affair naturally attracted much attention in Washington and Madrid.
The peculiar circumstance of an American attack by regular forces projected into neutral territory originated in the Indian unrest and constant depredations along the Florida border. The Creek Indians resented the loss of a vast area of land, comprising what is now central and southern Alabama and southern Georgia, under the terms of the treaty which General Jackson had forced upon them after the campaign of 1813-14. Their desire for revenge had also been kept alive by the encouragement and support of a group of fugitive slaves living on the Apalachicola River with their central strong point at “Negro Fort.”