Scenic USA - Alabama
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Points of Interest
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|Photo by Ben Prepelka
Signaling the end of the Cumberland Plateau, Lookout Mountain and Sand Mountain make up a large portion of a ridge that runs diagonally across Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. Here some of the most famous Civil War battles were fought at Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge and Orchard Knob, marking the end of South's siege on the key city of Chattanooga. So disastrous were these battles, Confederate General Braxton Bragg asked to be relieved of his duties.
Here at the southern end of Lookout Mountain, early history shows that this was once home to the Creek Indians. This long stretch of northeastern Alabama's Lookout Mountain overlooks the I-59 corridor and the scenic Shinbone Valley. Up on the mountaintop, the Little River is the only river that begins and ends entirely on top of a mountain. Down in the valley, this view along Route 273 looks over a field covered in a mass of wildflowers.
Long before Jackson's harsh Indian policies, the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Cherokee Natives all enjoyed the bounty of these Appalachian foothills, making this section of Alabama one of the most populated regions of the United States. During the late 1700s, the first few white newcomers lived peacefully among the Natives, negotiating personnel pacts with Chief Shinbone. Soon, settler demands for Native American lands were on the rise, leading to government intervention.
During the lopsided Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1819, the Creeks vs. Federal troops, Andrew Jackson was convinced to push for the Indian Removal Act. Once Jackson became President in 1836, one of the first directives was to remove 15,000 Creek Indians from the Lookout Mountain area. Many were bound with chains and handcuffs, and move on foot to Indian territories west of the Mississippi River. While the new country espoused its own ideas of freedom, this Act all but ended the autonomy of this vast Native nation.
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