Members of the Camp Blount Historic Site Association are readying for the inaugural Camp Blount Volunteer Days set for Friday, Oct. 1 and Saturday, Oct. 2, on site of the historic Camp Blount.
The camp, located on the banks of the Elk River just more than a half mile south of downtown Fayetteville, is the site where General Andrew Jackson mustered troops for the Creek Indian War in October of 1813 as part of the War of 1812, according to members of the Camp Blount Historic Site Association. The muster of Tennessee Volunteers at Camp Blount was the beginning of a campaign that culminated in the Creeks defeat at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, members said. Nine months later, soldiers — under Jackson’s command — again mustered at Camp Blount and marched to New Orleans to be a part of the Battle of New Orleans and the final defeat of the British forces, ending Great Britain’s goal to colonize America.
“Fayetteville was involved in two of the muster sites that supplied troops to two of major battles in the War of 1812 after the Revolutionary War,” said Dr. Farris Beasley, a member of the association, who said at the time Tennessee was considered a frontier state. “There was no Alabama, no Mississippi or no Louisiana”
In September 1813, a call for troops to participate in the war was made by President James Madison to Tennessee Governor Willie Blount.
“The governor called on Lt. Gen. Andrew Jackson, in charge of the Tennessee militia, to raise the militia and volunteers,” Beasley said, adding they met at Camp Blount. “The governor gave the order to meet on the south bank of the Elk River at the big oak trees.” The oaks would have been in front of where Walmart in Fayetteville sits today.
“They called for 2,500 volunteers,” Beasley said. “4,500 showed up. And for the first time, a Nashville paper used the term Tennessee, the volunteer state.”
Beasley said Jackson kept a diary and often the words “my Tennessee volunteers” are found within the diary’s pages.
“We think we have a little bit of a claim to the reason why Tennessee got its name,” Beasley said. “We were the biggest muster site in the War of 1812. That’s where we come from.”
The association said this led to General Jackson becoming the seventh President of the United States, and the turnout of Tennessee volunteers earning the state its nickname, the “Volunteer State.”
The public is invited to the free and open event from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2. Friday’s events will be dedicated to area students.
Volunteer Days will include speakers, music, demonstrations, history and more.
Some of the historic demonstrations to be held during Volunteer Days include firing a cannon, rifles and pistols; blacksmithing; spinning and weaving; flint knapping; woodworking and leather working. Native American, equestrian, local archeologist, period crafts, period music, women’s fashion and historic impressions demonstrations will also be held.
Association member and organizer Gloria Meadows invites the community to learn the history of Fayetteville and Lincoln County.
“It’s right here,” she said, adding a lot of people weren’t educated about Camp Blount as they were growing up. “Come and learn about the significance of living in Fayetteville and Lincoln County.”
“That link to the Battle of New Orleans changed America forever,” Beasley said. “We’ve got a major link to it and it’s little known. We are just now getting the word out.”
Camp Blount is located 1124 Huntsville Hwy. in Fayetteville and is Tennessee’s eighth historic site.