Battle Description

From a historical point of view, it is always difficult to determine what actually happened during the course of any historical event.  Even people who were witnesses to the same event will often describe the event in quite different ways.  This is especially the case in the course of a war between opponents where victors tell the story of their conquests and the vanquished left no written or oral description of the event.  That was particularly the case at Fort Nooherooka where every Tuscarora occupant of the fort was either killed, scalped and left to die, or was taken prisoner and marched away to be sold into slavery.

The victor’s story of the battle was conveniently written in an elegantly-designed box in one corner of the Nooherooka Map.  It is unusual as a victor’s account in that it describes also one of the great blunders that occurred during the course of the bloody fray.  In order to understand the background of this text and to elucidate somewhat the Tuscarora experience during the battle, graduate researcher David Fictum described in great detail the architecture and design of the Tuscarora fort and the many ways in which the embattled Tuscarora attempted to counter the assault of a much more powerful enemy.  The Nooherooka fortress was designed to with stand a lengthy siege–but it could not defeat the French inspired trenching tactics, the European artillery pieces, and the much larger attacking forces.

Description of battle at Fort Nooherooka, March 20-23 1713, on the original Nooherooka map

After the Trenches were carried on with good succes and a Triangular Blockhous Finished att A[,] and a Battery at B so high that from them they might Fire over the Enemies Fort[,] and Mine carried under the Enemy’s works to C[,] and every Person ordered [to] his Post ready for a Generall Storm:

On Fryday the 20 of March 1712/3 about tenn of the clock in the Morning, the Mine was sprung, but with very little Success the Pouder being damnified. However[,] Att the Sound of the Trumpet the [Assault] was made. Capt Stone with 12 white Men from L and Capt Moore with his Brother [illeg.] [Captain Hastings,] Capt Harford[, and] Capt Thurston with other white Men and Indians from under the [illeg.] creek side o o o o o o. Presently made [themselves] Masters of the Enemies works from G to K with very little loss of Men, Notwithstanding the Enemy Fired verry briskly through the same Loopholes that our men attacked them at[.]

Capt Maul who was ordered from the Mulberry Battery to make his Attack bettwen D and K[,] Imagining he had some better advantage or mistaking his orders[,] marched between Bastions E and D from which Bastions the Enemy made very great Fire, And of which Company [illeg.] [twenty] Escaped being killed or wounded, being the greatest Loss sustained dureing the Attack.

Capt Canty from the Yamasee Battery being ordered to attack the same place which Capt Maul [was] ordered to. Seeing Capt Maul was gon on the wrong side of the Bastion and that his Indians did not come up readily went to the Commander in chief who was in the Battery B ( [illeg.] with Capt [illeg.] Capt [illeg.] (wounded) imediately followed with the same Story and added that unles he was [relieved, they] would all perish; Coll Moore imediately ordered to make all the Fire that could [be made from] Battery B upon the two Bastions E and D and Capt Maul retreated.

At the same [time Coll.] Moore observing that the small Lodgment made on the Enemys work att G. was [not sufficient] to Shelter above three Men[;] he sent some Spades to them with which they [flanked?] to the Northeast capable to shelter a great number from the Fire of the Enemy made [from] F and then commanded the work K to be set on Fire, from thence the Commander in Chiefe went to Capt Hastings who behaved himself very bravely att G and ordered Fire to putt [illeg.] and by the next morning that [illeg.] [was carried?] with the Bastion of Blockhouse F and several houses within the Fort.
The Enemy made verry great Resistance, and chose rather to perish by Fire within the Bastion [F] than to retreat in the Caves made under Ground from whence some haveing timely made their Retreat and gott in the Caves did verry much mischeif the next day and part of the Day following being Sunday, about tenn of the Clock We were intirely Masters of itt the Last place which was held out being the watterring place I which [some] of the Enemy had Fortified more strongly after the Fort had ben sett on Fire.

IN this Action is computed by the Enemies own Account their least Loss was two hundred and seventy of their Briskest men besides others aged and young Fellows, And with what Prisoners were taken their whole Loss cannot be Less than Eight hundred.

LOSS ON OUR SIDE
Twenty two white men killed, Twenty six white men wounded, whereof twelve killed and Eighteen wounded of Capt Maul’s Company [illeg.] [Indians] killed, [Fifty eight] Wounded.

The Box in the Upper Right:
D E F. Bastions with Blockhouse raised in them so high as Fire over the Pallisados of the Fort
F. Was covered att the Top.
H Was a large covered Blockhouse [and] raised high, but rendred useless to Enemy before the Attack.
M Was a Trench run out from the Gate by the Enemy.  From whence they used to Sally out and hinder the Approaches
N An Angle made by the Enemy on the Partition of the Fort.

Other Markings on Map:
[Upper Left Corner Camp]:
Charoke Camp.  Captains Harford and Thurston 10 White men 310 Indians

[Right side near Yammasee Battery]:
Capt Maurice Moore[,] Coll Mackey[,] Tenn white men[,] Fifty Indians[,] Capt Pearce

[Camp in Lower Right]:
Coll JAMES MOORE. Commander in Chiefe[,] Coll Mitchell, Capt. Maul, Capt. Canty[,] Capt Hastings[,]
Eighty Eight white Men, Four hundred Indians Of Severell Nations.

The Enemy made verry great Resistance, and chose rather to perish by Fire within the

of the Day following being Sunday, about tenn of the Clock We were intirely Masters
of itt the Last place which was held out being the watterring place I which [some] of the
Enemy had Fortified more strongly after the Fort had ben sett on Fire.

IN this Action is computed by the Enemies own Account their least Loss was two hundred
and seventy of their Briskest men besides others aged and young Fellows, And with what
Prisoners were taken their whole Loss cannot be Less than Eight hundred.
LOSS ON OUR SIDE.
Twenty two white men killed, Twenty six white men wounded, whereof twelve killed and
Eighteen wounded of Capt Maul’s Company [illegible] [Indians] killed, [Fifty eight]
Wounded.

The Box in the Upper Right:

D E F. Bastions with Blockhouse raised in them
so high as Fire over the Pallisados of the Fort
F. Was covered att the Top.
H Was a large covered Blockhouse [and]
raised high, but rendred useless to
Enemy before the Attack.
M Was a Trench run out from the Gate
by the Enemy.  From whence they used to
Sally out and hinder the Approaches
N An Angle made by the Enemy on the
Partition of the Fort.

Battle description by David Fictum as presented at the Nooherooka 300 Commemoration on March 22, 2013 in Mendenhall Student Center.

Link to presentation