“We are now about to take our leave and kind farewell to our nativeland, the country that Great Spirit gave our Fathers, we are on the eve ofleaving that country that gave us birth. .
. it is with sorrow we are forcedby the white man to quit the scenes of our childhood. . . we bid farewell toit and all we hold dear. ” This is the way that Cherokee Vice Chief CharlesHicks described, in 1838, the emotions that must have been felt after themistreatment and the abuse that was wrought upon the Cherokee Indians.
Itwas a trail of blood, a trail of death, but ultimately it was known as the”Trail of Tears”. Picture this, it’s the War of 1812 and Andrew Jackson is mounting upforces against the Pro-British faction of the Creek Indians. The UnitedStates appealed for Cherokee support for aid in war against Tukumsa andanother Indian known as Red Sticks. The Cherokee Nation replied with six toeight hundred of their best warriors.Order now
It was this war were the Indiansfought side by side with Jackson. After a treaty in 1814 was forced on theCreek Indians, the Cherokees filed claims for their loss. There was nopromise that their claims would be acknowledged. This would bring on thebiggest betrayal on the Cherokee Indians, Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson demanded the session of twenty-three million acres ofland to the United States. The Cherokee Nation, however, owned Four millionacres of this land.
The Cherokees protested again to Indian agent JonathanMeigs in the War Department. Once again their former ally called theseclaims “Cherokee intrigue”. Andrew Jackson then suggested with troopsalready in the field that this would be the perfect time to removeCherokees as well as Creeks out of Tennessee. The Indian Removal Act wasintroduced by Andrew Jackson and was passed by Congress in 1830. This actwas to force the Indians west of the Mississippi River.
General WinfieldScott and his army of approximately seven thousand troops largely carriedthis out, in May of 1838. When the army arrived in Georgia, thousand ofCherokee Indians would be rounded up with dragnets and penned up in woodenstockades. By June 5, 1838 it was estimated that only 200 Cherokee hadescaped. There were between fifteen to seventeen thousand Cherokee held inthese crude jails, where they would await their long brutal journey west. This route from Georgia through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri,Arkansas, and finally ending in Oklahoma, would later be referred byCherokees as Nunna-da-ul-tsun-yi, or “the trail on which they cried”. “I saw the helpless Cherokees arrested and dragged from their homes,and driven at the bayonet point into the stockades.
And in the chill of adrizzling rain on an October morning I saw them loaded like cattle or sheepinto six hundred and forty-five wagons and started toward the west. . . . Onthe morning of November the 17th we encountered a terrific sleet and snowstorm with freezing temperatures and from that day until we reached the endof the fateful journey on March the 26th 1839, the sufferings of theCherokees were awful. The trail of the exiles was a trail of death.
Theyhad to sleep in the wagons and on the ground without fire. And I have knownas many as twenty-two of them to die in one night of pneumonia due to illtreatment, cold and exposure. . . “Private John G.
Burnett Captain Abraham McClellan’s Company,2nd Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Mounted InfantryCherokee Indian Removal 1838-39 The journey on which the Indians traveled would bring many deaths dueto starvation, droughts, and disease. There were two main ways of travel,by land and river. River travel was difficult if not impossible because lowriver levels due to the drought. All in all it took 645 wagons, 5000 horsesand oxen and river vessels used primarily for the ill. Grant Foreman, Deanof Indian Historians, recorded this appalling period.
He stated that theweather was extremely hot, there was a drought, and water was scarce andthere were suffocating clouds of dust mixed with the oxygen. He also statedthat at least three but, up to five people died per day on the trail. Bythe end of June 1838 two to three hundred Indians were sick. On June 17,1838 General Charles Floyd of the Georgia militia wrote to Governor Gilmenof New Echota that they were convinced that there were no longer anyCherokee in Georgia. This .