Tuesday, January 09, 2007

My crew in Coden are wired and inspired about the Bicentennial of Aaron Burr's capture!

Greg called to say he's almost certain he's found the place above McIntosh Bluff where Burr was arrested by Lt. E.P. Gaines!

My discussion with Greg really helped me to piece together what happened during the hours before the capture of Aaron Burr on February 19, 1807. Greg was correct in suggesting that THE REMINISCENCES OF GEORGE STROTHER GAINES would be essential.

Greg and I have been having trouble understanding how Nicholas Perkins, the man who captured Burr, was able to travel the 20 miles between Wakefield and Ft. Stoddert at night.

Here's the explanation according to Gaines who was there and whose brother arrested Burr.

Nicholas Perkins was Register of the Land Office in Wakefield and he owned land on the Sunflower Bend of the Tombigbee. Greg believes he knows the location of the ghost town of Wakefield and the location is near the Sunflower Bend.

Burr showed up at Perkins' cabin a little after dark on February 18. Burr was dressed in disguise but Perkins believed him to be the former Vice-President so he made preparations to collect the $2000 reward posted for Burr's capture.

Burr and his companion were looking for directions to Col. Hinson's house which was 7 miles away. Hinson's place was south of Wakefield in the direction of Fort Stoddert.

After Burr and his companion left, Perkins convinced the Sheriff to accompany him to Hinson's house to see if they could capture Burr for the reward money. Sheriff Brightwell agreed to go with Perkins to Hinson's place.

Once they got there, Perkins let Brightwell go inside the cabin because he was on bad terms with Hinson. Undoubtedly, Sheriff Brightwell came under Burr's spell because he never came out of the cabin so about midnight Perkins decided to go get Lt. E.P. Gaines at Ft. Stoddert.

Perkins then rode 15 miles before daylight to Joe Bates' place on Nannahubba Bluff. Here he borrowed Bates' canoe and he and one of Bates' Negros paddled 8 or nine miles down the Tombigbee to Ft. Stoddert.

At the fort, he told Lt. Gaines about the man he suspected was Aaron Burr. After serving Perkins breakfast, Lt. Gaines along with 4 or 5 men accompanied Perkins on the ride north toward Hinsons' place. That afternoon, they found Burr riding the trail just south of Hinsons' along with Hinson and Sheriff Brightwell.

Burr asked Hinson who were the riders that were approaching them.

Brightwell said, "That's Perkins. You're gone."

Burr exclaimed, "God have mercy!"

This was when Lt. Gaines served Burr with the proclamation from the governor and the president which ordered Burr's arrest.


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