IT ALL began with the murder of about 250 men, women, and children. Their deaths at Fort Mims in Alabama, came at the hands of Creek Indians who had acquired weapons from Great Britain during the war of 1812. In response to this massacre, Major General Andrew Jackson gathered a force of 3,300 men — according to the National Museum of American History — in Fayetteville, Tennessee, to assemble for battle against the Creeks at Horseshoe Bend. They won the battle and became known as the first Tennessee Volunteers.
This and more are what Camp Blount Historic Site — the muster site of the assembling volunteers — is all about.
The site is located at 1124 Huntsville Highway, containing 38 acres of land that is the remaining piece of property of the original muster site. Purchased by the state of Tennessee, Camp Blount is being developed as the state’s latest historic site.
The leaders of Camp Blount — Camp Blount Historic Site Association (CBHSA) — seek to teach people about Camp Blount’s involvement in the War of 1812. Dr. Farris Beasley, the CBHSA’s vice chairman, said the park’s historic significance is not well known, but he would like to change that.
“Young people need to know this story,” Beasley said. “And our older people need to know, too. But our main emphasis is probably going to be on students and youths.”
The CBHSA is hosting its Second Annual Camp Blount Volunteer Days on Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1. The event is open to all schools in the Fayetteville area, including homeschool groups, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will be open to the public on Saturday at the same time.
The Camp Blount Volunteer Day will have speakers, music, and history. There will be historic demonstrations of cannon, rifle, and pistol firing. Demonstrations of woodworking, flint knapping, women’s fashion, music, and more will be included as well.
“It’ll just be a little rendition of a repeat of that historical time frame,” Beasley said.
Efforts to create the historic site began when the state purchased the land four years ago. Beasley said the site’s development will be ongoing for a long time before Camp Blount is complete.
The most difficult part about building the site is obtaining funding, Beasley said. Because Camp Blount is considered a historic site rather than a historic park, it’s not under the State Park Commission, which has a huge budget.
“When you’re a historic site, you don’t get any direct state funding,” Beasley said. “You have to apply for grants and just beg for donations.”
“During these four years, a statue was placed in the vicinity, along with a plaza, flagpoles, and parking lots. There was also a 40 [foot] by 60 [foot] concrete pad laid for an open-air pavilion building, which was planned to be completed by the end of the summer,” Beasley said.
The bronze “Volunteer Statue,” unveiled in 2020, is dedicated to the original Tennessee Volunteers and to anyone from that time to the present time who volunteered their services for their country. The statue is 7.9 feet tall and was sculpted by Wayne Hyde.
In the future, the CBHSA would also like to add a visitor center to store historical collections. GN