Commemorating the Battle of Buchanan's Station


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The the Buchanan's Station cemetery sits on a bluff above Mill Creek along Massman Drive just north of Elm Hill Pike. There, on Sunday at 2 p.m., the Friends of the Buchanan's Station Cemetery are putting on a brief commemoration for the 220th anniversary of the Battle of Buchanan's Station.

If you are any kind of history buff, this is a great story, full of intrigue and drama and women yelling at men to get to fighting. Weirdly enough, considering how little-known it is in town, it's also a major turning point in U.S. history.

Before the Battle of Buchanan's Station, Spain thought it could arm Middle Tennessee's Indian tribes to attack settlers along the Cumberland, in hopes of driving them out of the area or into the arms of Spain. The Cherokees and Creeks thought that they could wage a vicious enough war to get the United States to abide by its treaties and leave the land between the mountains and the Mississippi to them. And indeed, settlers seriously wrestled with the idea of becoming Spanish subjects.

After the Battle of Buchanan's Station, however, Spain agreed to stop arming the Indians. The Creeks and Cherokees realized they couldn't count on Spain as an ally. And the Cumberland settlers realized their future was as U.S. citizens, not with Spain. We may not realize it here in Nashville, but on the night of Sept. 30, history took a sharp turn down a new road.

That quote is from a story I wrote about the part of the Battle of Buchanan's Station I find most peculiar: Why did a Cherokee man who was in the middle of drumming up support for Nashville's slaughter suddenly change his mind and warn the town the attack was coming?

But I hope it's also a nice introduction to the importance of the battle, not just for Nashville history, but for U.S. history. So, you can read the story and you'll be well-set for the commemoration on Sunday.


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