By Gilbert C. Din
“Using a plethora of formerly unexamined records from a couple of documents, this paintings offers the 1st transparent realizing of William Augustus Bowles and his exploits alongside the Spanish Gulf Coast and one of the Creek Indians, demonstrating unequivocally that the glory-seeking adventurer used to be now not the tragic heroic determine that he and former historians have claimed.”—F. Todd Smith, collage of North Texas
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Extra resources for War on the Gulf Coast: The Spanish Fight against William Augustus Bowles
16 Nevertheless, the indefatigable Bowles retained elements of support and opportunities to exploit, particularly among the disgruntled Lower Creeks and Seminoles of the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, and Flint rivers. All Indians resented Panton’s prices, which he allegedly inflated for European goods and depressed for their hides and furs. They further lamented Spanish parsimony all the while praising—and no doubt exaggerating—past British generosity. 17 Notwithstanding the adventurer’s failed expedition, he and his partners clung tenaciously to a glimmer of hope.
He blamed erroneous impressions of him for not gaining Spanish approval for his designs. To dispel scurrilous descriptions William Augustus Bowles Challenges the Spaniards • 33 adversaries heaped on him, he portrayed himself as a peace lover who desired to promote harmony between tribes and Spain. 30 Nine days later and perhaps after familiarizing himself with Spanish bureaucracy, Bowles wrote to the head of government, the Conde de Floridablanca, in behalf of the Creeks and Cherokees and their reputed twenty thousand warriors, which inflated their number several hundred percent.
The precocious teenager possibly fathered two children by these women. Although he wove tales of participating in battles against the Spaniards, such as the failed British thrust at The Village (La Aldea) across the bay from Mobile in January 1781, more credible was his return to colors shortly before the Spaniards besieged and captured Pensacola in the spring of 1781. On the day before the surrender, he became a sublieutenant, the lowest-ranking officer in the British army. 2 In the early postwar era, Bowles’s movements are faintly known.