Mounted Volunteers of East Tennessee

COLONEL: John Williams

  • DATES: December 1812 – March 1813
  • MEN MOSTLY FROM: Blount, Grainger, Knox, and Washington Counties.
  • CAPTAINS: Samuel Bunch, David Vance, and William Walker.


While the volunteers under Andrew Jackson were gathering at Nashville for their expedition to the Natchez region, a similar gathering was taking place in Knoxville. Their destination was the territory of East Florida, under the domain of Spain, and the leader of the expedition was John Williams of Knox County.

Williams, along with approximately 250 volunteers, marched to East Florida to join with the combined forces of U.S. troops and Georgia “patriots” to “liberate” this region from Spanish control. Ostensibly, the expedition was raised to eliminate the threat of marauding Creeks and Seminoles on the borders of Georgia.

Like Jackson’s Natchez Expedition, the men of the Florida Expedition were considered to be from the finest families of the region and, like the Natchez Expedition, the excursion into Florida accomplished little. Some Creek villages were destroyed and the Tennessee volunteers suffered only one casualty. John Williams later became colonel of the 39th U.S. Infantry, a unit instrumental in Jackson’s victory at Horseshoe Bend (27 March 1814).

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