|Lincoln/Net||Prairie Fire||Illinois During the Civil War||Illinois During the Gilded Age||Mark Twain's Mississippi||Back to Digitization Projects||Contact Us|
Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
DIVINE prescience having determined, through the instrumentality of Moses, to elevate the Hebrews from their depressed and servile state, and to liberate them from the bondage under which they had so long groaned, the prophet had no sooner guided them to a locality suitable for the experiment, than he taught them the principles of law and government. Private rights and duties were accurately prescribed, and these were again distinguished from political and religious obligations. Among a people so long estranged from the true objects of society, and who had lived in a country where they were surrounded by the symbols, as well as examples, of idolatry and heathenism in many of their most repulsive forms, it was essential to prescribe laws for the protection of personal property; for compensation and compromise in cases of depredations of cattle, or accidental murders; to guard the rights of servants; and to establish other political and social rules. The public tithes, or governmental taxes, and the scale of valuation for animals used in sacrifice, were fixed. Nothing of practical importance was left to the operations of chance. It was not deemed sufficient to teach them general moral maxims and principles, or to merely place before them the decalogue. It was followed out by the application of its precepts in society; and its observance was
enjoined by a tender of the highest rewards, on the one hand, and a denunciation of the most severe punishments on the other. To the supremacy of the law and the government the very highest testimony was borne. The Jew could not be exalted in the scale of society by a miracle. For a period of forty years were they isolated from the rest of mankind, and subjected to these severe teachings, before they were permitted to enter the promised land, the soil of which was to be tilled by their husbandmen, and the cities occupied by their people. During all this time, the law was unflinchingly and rigidly supported and enforced. Death was inflicted for gathering sticks on the Sabbath, and assuming the duties of the priesthood. The power of government was never, for an instant, wielded by any other than God, who had, from the first revelation to Moses, placed himself at the head of it. It was strictly a theocracy; but, from an early period, it embraced a representative system for the choice of tribal rulers. The temple service and the Sanhedrim were united in this system, but never conflicted. The policy of the state and that of the church were distinct and clearly defined, concurring only in the great purpose of a government, designed to exalt the nation in its industrial and economical wealth, as well as in the scale of high morality.
Can we expect the Indian tribes to be reclaimed without similar means are employed? Or are they expected to spring perfect, as it were, from the brain of Jupiter, without any established governments, courts, schools, churches, and without, at least, forty years' tuition, in their wilderness of barbarism? Is this the true signification of the promises? or is it not a contradiction of them? Can the Indian be elevated in the social scale while he remains a hunter? or can civilization be put on, like a garment, while the tribes are in a nomadic state? Is the waste of large annuities on a nation of idlers, a means of advancing them? and are idleness and intemperance conjoined calculated to improve a people? Do the nations of Europe expect such a miracle from America? Is it not, on the contrary, through their persevering industry, in husbandry, arts, mechanics, letters, and science, that Europe has risen? It is by means of their enterprise and virtue, and by a system of approved political economy, that the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic races in this Union have advanced and diffused themselves over the country.
Mr. Jefferson, on being called to occupy the Presidential chair, in 1801, felt the importance of the claim which the existing state of Indian society had upon his attention; all his letters and communications, private as well as public, demonstrate this. Even in alluding to their history and origin, his views were of the most comprehensive character. 470 To him we owe the passage of the fundamental act to preserve peace on the frontiers, and regulate intercourse with the Indian tribes. By this act, the boundaries of the Indian country, and the operations of the laws in it, are clearly defined.
Regulations are established for the government of the Indian trade. The territory of the tribes is protected from depredations by the whites, who are permitted to visit it for no other purpose than trade, or mere transit through it. The jurisdiction of courts is established, and the methods of proceeding particularly pointed out. In fine, a system of policy is laid down, calculated to advance the prosperity of the Indians, and at the same time secure a just public economy.
The act establishing the North-west Territory, was the first step towards the induction of this practical mode of teaching among the Indians teaching by example. However slight the effect its lessons may have been on the remote tribes and bands, yet they were not wholly inoperative, even there; while at points within the civil jurisdiction, they carried with them a monition which caused them to be obeyed.
The commonwealth of Ohio was the first organization of public territory in the West, and the extension of State sovereignty over the once sanguinary boundary, west of the Ohio river, ensured to that area an expansion which has no parallel in history. Whether the Indians of the West will become participants in the benefits of civilization, is a proposition depending solely on themselves, their strength of purpose and energy of character; for its price, alike to red or white men, is knowledge, industry, temperance, and virtue.
While Ohio heralded to the western tribes the rule of government and law, Louisiana, by a wise forecast of executive policy, came in, at this critical time, to confirm and greatly extend the system. In fifty years the limits of the Union had reached the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Neither men nor States practice what is not conceived to be best suited to promote their prosperity. By offering to the Indians the protection of the laws, and the benefits of intercourse with civilized society, the highest assurances were given that we were sincere, and sought only to advance them in the scale of knowledge and happiness. But, as the Indian is an extraordinarily suspicious being, the good faith of this offer has ever been doubted by him, and some sinister purpose has been supposed to be concealed. He has affirmed that the so-much prized civilization of the white man contains elements which are not suited to his nature; but what these elements are, neither philosophy nor revelation has informed us. Persian education consisted in learning to ride a horse, to draw the bow, and to speak the truth. If the former comprised a military education, the latter did a moral one.
Chapter II. Geographical Explorations of Upper Louisiana, and the Country Destined to be the Future Refuge of the Indian Race.
TO ascertain the character and extent of Lousiana, and the numbers of the Indian tribes within its area, Mr. Jefferson despatched expeditions up the Missouri and Mississippi. The first was led by Merriwether Lewis and William Clark, captains in the army, both of whom were commissioned for that purpose. They left St. Louis, May 14, 1804, and ascended the Missouri through the territories of the Osages, Kansas, Otoes, and Sioux, to that of the Mandans, where they wintered. The following year they continued their route through the countries of the Tetons, Crows, and Blackfeet, to the source of the Missouri, in the Rocky Mountains, and, crossing this range, descended the valley of the Columbia to the point where it empties into the Pacific. Retracing their steps from this remote position, they descended the Missouri to St. Louis, where they landed, September 23, 1806. This was the first exploratory expedition sent, out by the Government; and its results, while they evinced the great personal intrepidity of the explorers, were suited to convey an exalted opinion of the value and resources of this newly-acquired section of the Union. It was found to be a difficult task to enumerate the Indian population of the Columbia valley, owing to the confusion of synonymes and other causes; consequently, over-estimates were inevitable. The aboriginal population was rated at 80,000 471 and the distance travelled, from the mouth of the Missouri to that of the Columbia, on the Pacific, at 3555 miles. 472 The observations made by Mr. Lewis on the Indian trade, disclosed gross irregularities, which were directly traceable to the era of Spanish rule, and such modifications were suggested as would tend to place the natives in a better position, as well as to improve the system. 473 The amount of information obtained by the officers of this expedition constituted a valuable addition to our knowledge of the Indians and their country; and the observations of General William Clark, joined to his acquired experience,
admirably qualified him for the duties of the office to which he was, in after time, appointed, that of Superintendent of Indian Affairs at St. Louis, on this frontier.
At the same period, Lieutenant Z. M. Pike, U. S. A., was commissioned to explore the
A considerable addition was thus made to our knowledge of the character and habits of the extreme western and northern Indians, and the duties of the Indian Department thereby greatly increased. The State of Ohio was admitted into the Union in 1803, at which period the territory of Indiana was organized, and General William Henry Harrison appointed its Governor, as well as, ex officio, Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Harrison had served as an aid to General Wayne, in his Indian campaigns, and entered upon the duties of his office with the additional experience acquired under this redoubtable chief; his skill in military tactics being fully equalled by his knowledge of the aboriginal character, which, combined with his address and activity, soon made him respected as a plenipotentiary at their council fires. For many years he shared with General Clarke, of St. Louis, the onerous and responsible duty of preserving peace on the frontiers.
Two or three elements of discord had existed in the Indian communities located along the frontiers, from the outbreak of the Revolution, which were not extinguished by its successful termination, and still smouldered, after the close of the Indian war, in 1795. Among these, was the preference of the western tribes for the British nation, arising, perhaps, from the conquest of Canada, but kept up by political fallacies, England had secured the good will of the French residents, in whose hands the important commerce with the Indians was concentrated, and still remained. The possession of the Indian trade has ever exercised a controlling influence on the policy of the Indians; which is wielded, not by ministers plenipotentiary, or high secretaries of state, but by the little local traders on the frontiers, petty clerks,
interpreters employed by commercial houses, and couriers du bois, who never fail to make their principles square with their interests; and it is a matter of little moment to the limited ambition of this class, who influence the destinies of courts or of nations, provided they be permitted to control the traffic in beaver skins.
While the French held Louisiana, no counter-interests disturbed the harmony of their intercourse with the natives; but, when the government was vested in the Spanish crown, the rival interests of the Spanish and French merchants had produced discord between their subordinates, which extended also to the Indians. The cession of Louisiana to the United States calmed these troubles; all differences were forgotten, and the contending parties readily accommodated themselves to the American system. But in Florida there was never the least abatement in this strife for commercial supremacy; the thirst for gain acknowledging no nationality. On the contrary, during the short period when Florida was held by the British crown, a new feature was developed in the character of the Indian trade, which imparted to it additional vigor and system. We have, in a preceding page, alluded to this fact, which was the introduction of the Scottish element among the aboriginal population. One of its most important results was the intermarriage of the Scotch traders with the native females, 575 thereby giving a permanent character to their influence, and exercising a beneficial ethnological effect on the chiefs and ruling families of the native race. Though it produced, or rather precipitated, the previously existing tendency to the formation of two classes in Indian society, it gave a definite direction to the Indian mind; and, while the Galphins, the Millidges, and their compeers, reaped the harvest of trade, the M'Intoshes, the M'Gillivrays, and other chiefs of their race, by infusing their blood into the aboriginal current, gave to the Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and Seminoles, a higher social and national character. The fact that this intermixture of the races was coincident with the employment of African slave labor by the higher Indian class, was merely incidental. The negroes fled into the Indian territory to escape servitude in the Southern States, and voluntarily assumed the performance of labor, as an equivalent for the shelter, support, and comparative ease and enjoyment Indian life afforded them.
Along the entire northern borders, southward to the line of demarcation designated by the treaty of Versailles, and throughout Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, as well as the present areas of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, British capital and enterprise were the great basis and stimulus of the Indian traffic. The limits of this trade had receded very far to the north-west after the victories of Wayne; Maumee, Vincennes, Kaskaskia, Detroit, and Michilimackinac, no longer formed centres for the trade. There had been, up to the commencement of Mr. Madison's administration, no public effort made to prevent foreigners from pursuing their traffic with the Indians
north of the shores of Lakes Huron and Michigan. One of the peculiar characteristics of the Indians is, that they are wont to give their attention to the lowest order of counsellors; not because of any preference they have for an inferior grade of intellect, but from a natural suspicion that persons in higher positions are always governed by sinister motives; and suggestions from these subordinate sources would appear, sometimes, to be invested with importance, in the precise ratio that they are removed from plausibility or truth. Whoever has, either as a plenipotentiary or a commissioner, passed through the ordeal of an Indian council, controlled by the diverse interests of the trade, and of the half-breed relations and protégées of the tribes, will appreciate the force of this remark.
Chapter III. Ire of the Indian Priesthood as a Disturbing Political Element. Battle of Tippecanoe.
ANOTHER power was, at this period, in the rapid process of development, through the influence attained by the Shawnee prophet, Ellksattawa, over the entire body of tribes. This person, though belonging to the reservation of his tribe, at Wappecanotta, had located his residence principally on the Wabash, in the vicinity of the mouth of the Tippecanoe river, which became the centre of his power, and whence emanated his oracular revelations. By the recital and interpretation of dreams, by fasting, and by an assumed indifference to all worldly considerations and rewards, he had attained a high position and influence. Ellksattawa had lost one eye, which defect he concealed by wearing a black veil or handkerchief over the disfigured organ. He affected great sanctity; did not engage in the secular duties of war or hunting; was seldom in public; devoted most of his time to fasting, the interpretation of dreams, and offering sacrifices to spiritual powers; pretended to see into futurity, and to foretell events, and announced himself to be the mouthpiece of God. The Indians flocked to him from every quarter; there was no name that carried such weight as his. They never ceased talking of his power, or expatiating on the miracles he wrought; and the more extraordinary the revelations he made, the more readily were they believed and confided in. He possessed a remarkably clear conception of the Indian character, great shrewdness, and astuteness. It being essential to his purposes that he, who was the concentrated wisdom of the Indian race, should have no rivals, the minor priests and powwows became but the retailers of his words and prophecies; and, when one was found who disputed his authority, or resisted his power, he did not proceed against him in a direct manner, but insidiously operated upon the superstitions of the Indian mind. In this way, he disposed of Tarhe, the wise and venerable sachem king of the Wyandots, who, being accused of witchcraft, was condemned to be burnt at the stake. The very knowledge that he possessed such an indomitable will, increased the fear and respect entertained for him by the Indians; which was, however, based on an implicit belief in his miraculous gifts. It has been mentioned that the prophet was not a warrior; his sole
object was to employ his power in furtherance of the projects of his brother Tecumseh. 476
There was a higher purpose concealed under these manifestations of Ellksattawa. He told the Indians that their pristine state, antecedent to the arrival of the Europeans, was most agreeable to the Great Spirit, and that they had adopted too many of the manners and customs of the whites. He counselled them to return to their primeval simple condition; to throw away their flints and steels, and resort to their original mode of obtaining fire by percussion. He denounced the woollen stuffs as not equal to skins for clothing; he commended the use of the bow and arrow. Like Pontiac, who, however, had made no pretensions to priestly power, he professed a profound respect for the ancient manners and customs of the Indians; whether influenced thereto by his knowledge, derived from tradition, of the potency of this argument, as made use of by that renowned chief; or, which might have been the case, the idea originated with himself. Fifty years only had passed since the era of Pontiac, and young men who had been engaged in that bold attempt to resist British power, might yet be on the stage of action. Now, however, the real purpose was not to resist, but to invite the co-operation of British power. This was the secret of his actions. This was the argument used by the subordinate emissaries of the Indian trading agencies located in Canada, who visited the Miami of the Lakes, the Wabash, the Scioto, the Illinois, and the upper Mississippi. In the course of a few years, the doctrines of Ellksattawa had spread among the tribes in the valley of the Missouri, over those located on the most distant shores of Lake Superior, and throughout all the Appalachian tribes of the South. They were as current on the Ockmulgee, the Chattahootchee, and the Alabama, as they were on the Wabash, and the Miami. He was himself a half-Creek.
The speeches of the Indians in their assemblages had, for some time, savored of these counsels, and the name of the Shawnee prophet was known, and the influence of his teaching disseminated throughout the country. In 1811, the congregation of large masses of Indians around the residence of this oracular personage, on the banks of the upper part of the Wabash, created considerable alarm, and General Harrison, who had closely watched this secret movement, reported it to the government, by which he was authorized to march a military force from Vincennes, up the Wabash. This army, comprising one regiment of regular infantry, an auxiliary body of mounted Kentucky volunteers, and also volunteer militia from other Western States, left Vincennes in October, 1811, and, in November, reached the Indian villages located on eligible open grounds near the confluence of the Tippecanoe. A preliminary conference was immediately held with the Indians, who recommended a locality at a moderate distance inland, as a suitable one for an encampment. General Harrison had no reason to
suspect Indian treachery, nor is it quite clear that any was originally intended. But that night the prophet was observed practising his secret rites of divination; and he reported that the omens were favorable for an immediate attack. The army was encamped with the skill and precaution indicated by the teachings of Wayne; and, agreeably to his rigid rules, General Harrison had arisen to order the reveille, and was in his tent engaged in drawing on his boots, when the chief musician stepped in to ask whether he should commence the beat. "Not yet; but presently," was his reply. 477 The expression had scarcely passed his lips, when the Indian war-cry was heard. One of the sentinels on post had observed an arrow fall on the grass, which did not it seems reach its destination; and, his curiosity being aroused, he was endeavoring to peer through the intense darkness in the direction whence the arrow came, when the Indians made a sudden onslaught. 478 A thousand wolves could not have produced a more horrific howl. The lines were driven in; the horses of the officers, fastened to stakes in the square, broke loose; confusion everywhere prevailed; and the army was assailed from all points. General Harrison 479 gallantly mounted his horse, and endeavored to restore order at the principal points of attack. The mounted volunteers from Kentucky and Indiana charged, as well as they could, through the darkness. The fourth regiment of United States infantry, which was in a high state of discipline, restored confidence to the foot, and as soon as the dawn of day permitted them to act, they repulsed the Indians. At the same time the volunteer cavalry drove the enemy across the prairie to their coverts. There had been, however, a most severe and lamentable slaughter. Daylight rendered visible the dead bodies of the chivalric Colonel Davies, of Kentucky, Colonel Owens, of Indiana, a Senator in Congress, and of a vast number of brave officers and men. The army was only saved from destruction by the rising of the sun, which rendered the enemy visible. Such a battle had not been fought since St. Clair's defeat, and the sensation produced throughout the Union was immense. Numbers of the Indians had been slain by the broadsword, in their retreat. This battle was not, however, fought by Tecumseh, who was then absent on a mission to the Creeks, his relatives by his mother's side. Thus commenced a new Indian war.
Chapter IV. The Indians Recklessly Engage in the War of 1812.
ON the 18th of the June following this battle, Congress declared war against Great Britain. This war, according to the newly announced oracular view, appeared to the Indians as the manifestation of the power of the Great Spirit, and was regarded as the means employed to disenthral them from the hated rule of the white race. Their great Shawnee prophet had announced to the tribes, from his oracular jesukean, or prophet's lodge, on the banks of the Wabash, the approaching epoch of their deliverance, and the news had been diffused far and wide. The intimate political relations of his brother, Tecumseh, with the British authorities of Canada, as now fully disclosed, 480 formed the nucleus of their power; and, hence, they could depend on the British for arms, provisions, and clothing. Was it any wonder that they flocked to the British standard as soon as it was displayed? Twenty-seven days after the declaration of this war by Congress, the Indians were in possession of Michilimackinac; and, on the same day, their tomahawks were red with the gore of the slaughtered garrison of Chicago, who had abandoned the fort walls, and sought safety on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan. It is not designed to create an impression that our Indian relations had had, originally, any controlling influence on this question. The war resulted mainly from long-pending disputes concerning maritime rights and national injustice. The concurrent Indian hostilities on the frontiers, were but a sequence of the original cause of complaint. Tet the assumption that they were originated by British emissaries was clearly deducible from the events which transpired on the frontiers, and it derived additional confirmation, in a short time, from the fact, that these Indian tribes were engaged to "fight by the side of white men," 481 and to serve as auxiliaries to the British army in the West. It was the threat of the Indian tomahawk and scalping-knife that unstrung the already weak nerves of General Hull, at Detroit; and the employment of these barbarous weapons lent an additional horror to the massacres perpetrated on the River Raisin, and at Chicago. In the war of 1812, Great Britain made the same unjustifiable use
of the Indians as she had previously done in that of 1776; they were her cruel and bloody satellites. Thyendanagea had gone to the hunting grounds of the spirit land; but his counterpart still existed in Tecumseh, who possessed greater energy of purpose, equal bravery, and had more deeply enlisted the warmest sympathies of the Indians. The former, it is hoped, had, ere his death, overcome his violent prejudices against the Americans; but the latter fell in defence of rights and of a cause which he believed to be just, while his dishonest adviser and auxiliary in command, General Proctor, fled ingloriously from the field. 482
The Indians believed that, in the war of 1812, they had an opportunity of regaining possession of the western country, perhaps to the line of the Illinois, while the British thought to secure a more southerly line of boundary than that prescribed by the treaty of 1783; a motive which, in the minds of sober-thinking people, hardly redounded to their credit. Their conduct in this war, as in that of the Revolution, served only to add to its horrors, and, by acts of cruelty, incited the Americans to greater exertions. It is but sorry testimony to the intellectual calibre of British statesmen, to say that they supposed the fury of savages, however demoniac, could produce permanent national apprehension, or exert any practical influence on a people inured to hardships, and educated for centuries in the principles of political self-reliance, and faith in God. If the Indians were in error as to the possibility of recovering their lands, or limiting the westward progress of civilization, those who led them into this error were certainly not deceived, and could not have supposed this probable, or even possible. That the Indians had been told that they would be able to recover their territory north-west of the Ohio, is evident from the speech of Tecumseh, made to General Proctor, at Amhertsburg, in 1813. "When the war was declared," said the great Indian captain, "our Father stood up, and gave us the tomahawk, and told us that he was now ready to strike the Americans; that he wanted our assistance; and that he would certainly get us our lands back, which the Americans had taken from us." 483
After reciting the long course of maritime injustice and wrong, the Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs emphatically say, "Forbearance has ceased to be a virtue." "Whether the British Government has contributed, by active measures, to excite against us the hostility of the savage tribes on our frontiers, your Committee are not disposed to occupy much time in investigating. Certain indications of general notoriety may supply the place of authentic documents, though these have not been wanting to establish the fact in some instances. It is known that symptoms of British hostility towards the United States have never failed to produce corresponding symptoms among those tribes. It is also well known that, on all such occasions, abundant supplies of the ordinary munitions of war have been afforded by the British commercial companies, and even from British garrisons, wherewith they were enabled to commence that
system of savage warfare on our frontiers, which has been, at all times, indiscriminate in its effect on all ages, sexes, and conditions, and so revolting to humanity." 484
"Summer before last," [i. e., 1810,] says Tecumseh, "when I came forward with my red brethren, and was ready to take up the hatchet in favor of our British Father, we were told not to be in a hurry; that he had not yet determined to fight the Americans." 485 This impatience on the part of the Indians was so great, that it appears they took the initiative at the battle of Tippecanoe. That action thrilled through the nerves of the Americans like an electric shock, and was the first intimation that the frontiers were about to become the scene of another severe contest with the bloodthirsty and infuriated savages. But, though the impatient Indians chafed at the delay, it served to give a degree of unanimity to their hostility which even the war of the Revolution had not witnessed. From the termination of the Appalachian chain to the great lake basins of Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior, and onward to the
During the winter following the action on the Wabash, Ellksattawa continued his incantations, delivering his oracular responses with more than Ephesian authority; while his distinguished brother continued those negotiations with the tribes, which were necessary to prepare them for conflict; and we would not have known they were ready to take up the hatchet two years previously, had not Tecumseh stated it in his celebrated speech. 486
Early in the spring of 1813, the forests surrounding every military post in the West were, at nearly the same time, filled with armed warriors, who watched the gates with the keen eyes of a panther ready to spring upon its prey. Their central rendezvous, and the depot whence they drew their supplies, was Fort Maiden, at Amhertsburg, near the mouth of the Detroit river. They had watched the movements of Hull in Michigan with the accuracy of a vulture, or of an eagle on its perch; and with the same rapacious vigilance, had permitted no one to escape who ventured from the gates of a fort, or of any guarded enclosure. When the apprehensions of Hull had reached their climax, and the British flag was hoisted on the ramparts of Fort Shelby, their exultation was extreme. The Chippewas and Ottawas, with delegations of the Menomonees, Winnebagoes, and Sioux, had, on the 17th of July preceding, enabled Captain Roberts, with a trifling force, 487 to surprise and capture
Brownston, defeated Major Van Horn, with a force of 200 riflemen, driving him back to Detroit with great loss. 488 On the 9th of August, after Hull had re-crossed Detroit river, Colonel Miller also encountered at Brownston the same force of Indians, led by Tecumseh, and supported by a large body of British regulars, located behind temporary breastworks, whom he gallantly charged with the bayonet, and defeated. 489 On the 16th of the same month, Detroit was surrendered to an inconsiderable army, 490 hastily mustered by General Brock, who officially intimated that the Indians could, not be restrained. General Hull observes that "the history of barbarians in the north of Europe does not furnish examples of more greedy violence than these savages have exhibited;" 491 and thus consoles himself, by a historical truism, for a surrender which is a lasting stigma on the military history of the Union.
Decision and address were alone required for the maintenance of that post. The Indians had neither the disposition, capacity, nor will to contend with the garrison of a strong fortification; and this fort mounted eight brass guns, beside twenty-five pieces of iron ordnance, 492 and likewise contained four hundred rounds of twenty-four pound shot. 493
On the 15th of August, the garrison of Chicago, under Captain Heald, was surrounded by Pottawattamies, while on its march to Detroit, along the open shores of Lake Michigan, and all but about fifteen massacred, including the women and children who followed the camp. The stock of stores and baggage was captured. 494
On the 8th of September, the Wabash Indians invested fort Harrison, then garrisoned by a few men, under command of Captain Zachary Taylor. 495 They killed several persons outside of the fort, and invested it closely for two days. Finding they could not force an entry, they fired one of the blockhouses, the lower part of which contained the provisions of the garrison. Attempts to save it proving unsuccessful, it was burned down, leaving an opening about eighteen feet in width. With great self-possession and cool courage, Captain Taylor caused the breach to be repaired, though subjected to an incessant fire from the enemy, and finally beat them off. 496
On the 5th of the month, the savages laid siege to Fort Madison, of Missouri, on the Upper Mississippi, commencing their operations by shooting and scalping a soldier near the gate. They then opened a brisk attack with ball and buckshot, killed the cattle in an outer enclosure, fired at the flag-staff, and cut the rope which held the flag, causing it to fall, and also made several bold and dexterous attempts to set the works on fire.
On the 28th of September, a series of severe skirmishes took place on the St. John's river, between the Creeks and Seminoles and a party of 250 Georgia volunteers, in
which both parties suffered a loss in killed and wounded. The principal bands engaged were those of the Lotchnoay and Alligator Indians. Early in October, Governor Edwards, of Illinois, marched against the Indian town of Peoria, and the savages in its vicinity. He was attacked by the Indians in their usual manner, but succeeded in burning their towns and destroying their corn, losing only a few men. In the month of November, the hostilities of the Wabash Indians became so troublesome, that a force of about 1250 volunteers, under General Hopkins, was marched from Vincennes against them. On the 20th, 21st, and 22d, he applied the torch to several of their villages, utterly destroyed the prophet's town, and drove the enemy from their strongholds, who, however, avoided any decisive battle. On the 12th of December, a party, comprising 260 or 300 Indians, assaulted the camp of Colonel Campbell, on the Mississinaway branch of the Wabash, killing eight men and wounding thirty-five or forty. 497 General Harrison commended the intrepidity with which this attack was repulsed.
This event closed the campaign of 1812.
Chapter V. Events of the Indian War of 1813.
FACTS demonstrate that the Indians throughout the Union, from south to north, had entered into the war with the greatest unanimity and spirit. They believed, as Tecumseh declared to Proctor, in 1813, that they were about "to get back their lands;" 498 that it was, in a great measure, a contest between themselves and the United States; and that the crisis rendered it necessary that they should endure every hardship and privation for the purpose of securing victory. Indeed, it must be confessed that, admitting their sincerity, the stand they made was heroic. Of the Duke of Marlborough, his panygerist exclaims:
An Iliad rising out of one campaign;"
If the Indians did not perform equal feats, it could not be denied that they caused not only the frontiers, but also the entire territorial area of the Union, to realize the perfidy and cruel carnage, with which a savage foe disgraced the military movements of an ally, in which they participated.
The year 1812 closed very inauspiciously. In wars with his own race, the Indian never continues hostile operations during the winter season. The trees have then lost their foliage, and do not hide his movements; the snows, at that season, present a complete map of his track; the cold is too intense for him to dispense with fire, the light of which would reveal the position of his encampment. But, when an Indian is quartered among civilized troops, he is protected in the use of camp-fires; he builds huts to ward off storms; draws his provisions from a commissary; and clothes himself in woollens, which are not paid for by beaver skins. Under these circumstances, a winter campaign can be endured, and does not become distasteful.
The River Detroit had been, from the earliest period, the principal entrance to the Indian territory in the north-west, and the area of lower or eastern Michigan consequently became the meeting-place of Indian councils, and the grand rendezvous of war parties. The surrender, by Hull, of this territory, appeared to have abandoned it to
them, under the protection of their allies. It was renowned in their mythology as having been trod by the fabled heroes and demigods, Enigorio, Manabsoho, and Hiawatha; and celebrated, in their traditional history, by the deeds of a Pontiac and a Minnavivina. The great object of the manoeuvres of the United States troops was, to regain possession of Michigan. Tecumseh, whose headquarters were located near Amhertsburg, separated from it only by the River Detroit, had, as has been already mentioned, defeated Major Van Horn at Maguaga, on the 4th of August, 1812, and, likewise, aided in the determined resistance made to Colonel Miller, at the same place, on the 9th. He was in himself a host, and might well have exclaimed, in the symbolical language used by his prototype, Pontiac, "I stand in the path!"
General Winchester, in his eagerness to consummate the purpose of the campaign, marched through the snows in mid-winter, from the rapids of the Miami, at the head of a gallant army, and reached the River Raisin on the 22d of January. He encamped there in a hurried and confused manner, and was defeated by a considerable force of British regulars and Indians, commanded by Tecumseh. The citizens of the Union were horrified with the details of the massacre, by the Indians, of the wounded prisoners taken on this occasion. This scene of diabolical cruelty was, it is alleged, the result of the lack of a proper controlling power in the white victors, for which they are generally held to be responsible. 499
On the night of the 27th of January, a large body of Creeks stealthily seized the sentinels, and then attacked the army of General Floyd, some forty miles west of the Chattahootchee river. They were perfectly wild with fury, and rushed to within fifty yards of the artillery, evincing a courage which the Indians had but once previously displayed, viz., in the action against St. Clair, on the St. Mary's. They were encountered with firmness, and, as soon as day dawned, successfully charged with the bayonet and the broadsword. General Floyd gained a complete victory: thirty-seven dead bodies were found on the field, of which fifteen had been sabred. 500
The northern Indians assembled, under British colors, around Fort Meigs, on the Miami of the Lakes, aided materially in effecting the defeat, on the 5th of May, of 1200 volunteers, under General Green Clay and Colonel Dudley. On the 30th of August, the Creeks and southern Indians made an attack on a fort at Tensaw, commanded by General Claiborne. They stormed one of the gates, after a desperate struggle, killing many men, as well as several brave officers, and set fire to and consumed some of the buildings. Their force is estimated to have been from 500 to 700 warriors, of whom at least 150 are claimed to have been killed. 501
The north-western Indians, who were under the influence of Tecumseh, and of the Shawnee prophet, his brother, had manifested considerable restlessness and dissatisfaction
at the course pursued by the British generals during the spring, summer, and autumn of 1813. Their decided and unexpected defeat by Croghan, in the sharp action at Upper Sandusky, their abandonment of the siege of Fort Meigs, on the Miami, and withdrawal from the American shores of Lake Erie, and, above all, the capture of the British fleet by Perry, had appeared to the Indians to be presages of evil. As early as the 18th of August, only eight days after Perry's victory, Tecumseh had protested against these retrograde movements. He was then in ignorance of the result of the naval battle, which had been concealed from him; but he feared the worst. "We have heard the guns," he said, "but know nothing of what has happened to our father with one arm. 502 Our ships have gone one way, and we are very much astonished to see our father tying up everything and preparing to run away another, without letting his red children know what his intentions are. You always told us to remain here, and take care of our lands; it made our hearts glad to hear that was your wish. Our great father, the King of England, is the head, and you represent him. You always told us that you would never draw your foot off British ground. But now, father, we see you are drawing back, and we are sorry for our father doing so without seeing the enemy."
The victory obtained by Perry was the turning-point in the campaign. A fleet being now at the command of General Harrison, he could at once transport his entire army, with its artillery and baggage, across the lake; thus avoiding long and perilous marches, through more than serbonian bogs, such as that of the Black Swamp, and the peril of ambuscades in the forests. General Harrison landed his army on the shores of the lake, a few miles below Amhertsburg, on the 23d of September; and, in less than one hour, he marched into the town, where not a single British soldier was to be found. General Proctor, the commandant, had fled, with all his troops and the Indian auxiliaries, after burning the fort, barracks, navy-yard, and public stores. He was pursued the following day, and, on the 5th of October, overtaken at the Moravian town on the river Thames, when a general action ensued, in which he was utterly defeated. In this battle the Indians occupied low grounds, behind a dense forest of beech trees, which could not be penetrated by horsemen. The position was well chosen, and evinced the judgment of their great captain, Tecumseh, who commanded the Indians, and, by word and example, animated them to a vigorous resistance. The defeat of Proctor in front, by a well-planned charge of General Harrison, left Tecumseh unprotected, and he would necessarily have been compelled to retreat, had not the action in this quarter, which was fiercely maintained by the dismounted Kentuckians, under Colonel Richard Johnson, terminated in the death of the Indian chief. With the fall of Tecumseh, the Indian league was virtually broken; the Indians abandoned the
contest, and dispersed. On the 16th of October, General Harrison issued a proclamation, 503 granting an armistice to the Miamies, Pottawattamies, Weas, Eel River Indians, Chippewas, Ottawas, and Wyandots; each of these tribes having delivered into his custody hostages for the faithful performance of their agreement. The same tribes, together with the Kickapoos, had previously sent delegates to Generals M'Arthur and Cass, commanding at Detroit, offering to conclude a peace.
Chapter VI. Hostilities with the Creeks. Massacre at Fort Mimms. Battles of Tullushatches, Talladega, Hillabee, and Attasee.
WE must now turn our attention to the southern tribes. The fallacy of concluding treaties with an ignorant, wild, and nomadic people, destitute of sound moral principles, was never more fully demonstrated, than in the case of the Appalachian group of tribes. The Creeks, a full delegation of whom, with M'Gillivray at its head, visited New York, in 1790, and, amid great ceremony, entered into solemn compacts with General Washington, renewing the same in 1796, and again in 1802, as well as in 1805, were, all the while, only carrying out a diplomatic scheme. They hated the Americans, and the more so, it seems, because they had, as colonies, prevailed over the British. This great tribe had, in early days, subdued the once proud Utches and Natches, and other Florida tribes, and in truth wielded the power of a confederacy, which they averred to consist of seven tribes or elements. 504 But in a confederacy of savages, it was necessary to keep the tomahawk ever lifted. Destitute of political compactness, and its leaders lacking the power of mental combination, as well as moral steadiness, this league was powerful only against savages like themselves, but proved to be an utter failure when opposed to the policy of industrial and civilized nations.
Tecumseh had harangued in their councils early in his career. His mother having been a Creek, they listened to his words with peculiar favor, more especially as he was fresh from the banks of the Wabash, where he had heard the voice of inspiration. In common with the western tribes, the Creeks believed they were on the eve of a great revolution, through which the Indians would once more regain their ascendency in America. At the commencement of hostilities with them in 1815, the residents along the Mobile and Alabama rivers sought protection within the walls of Fort Mimms. A battalion of militia garrisoned it; and its huts and stockades formed a refuge for a large number of families. It, was not a position of much military strength, and such laxity of discipline was tolerated in its garrison, that in a few months after its erection, the Indians observing the carelessness with which it was guarded, suddenly surrounded
the fort and captured it by stratagem. A frightful scene ensued; men, women, and children being indiscriminately butchered. Such an incident, so early in the war, betokened the sanguinary character of the rest of the contest.
The northern tribes were, to a considerable extent, controlled by climatic influences. They could not continue together in large bodies, without being furnished with regular supplies of food, and some of the requisites of a military camp. When, therefore, their white allies and supporters were defeated, they were dismayed; but when their own great leaders and captains were killed, they were placed entirely "hors du combat." There were no reserves from which to recruit defeated Indian armies; there was, in truth, no recuperative power in the Indian character. To some extent, the tribes south of latitude 40° north, were an exception to this rule. From 40° to 46° north, the snow falls to a greater or less depth between the months of November and March. North of 46°, corn, on which the Indian relies for his supply of vegetable food, must be purchased from the Indian traders who visit his villages during the winter; but a war with Europeans, whose armies can operate either in winter or summer, is adverse to hunting and destructive of his means, as the northern Indian can neither raise corn in summer, nor hunt deer, nor search the streams for beaver in winter. It is far otherwise with the tribes located between the latitudes of the capes of Florida and the Appalachian Mountains. A large part of this territory, lying between the longitudes of the Atlantic coasts of Georgia and Florida, and the banks of the Mississippi, have a tropical climate, and produce tropical vegetation. Here is produced not only the indigo plant, cotton, rice, and sugar (transplanted species), but also the orange, banana, plum and other native fruits. 505 The forests are redolent with the aromatic odors of "groves of illicium, myrtle, laurel, and bignonia." 506 The Indian spreads his simple mantle here, and lies down on the ground without a tent, or a fire. The forests are filled with the deer and wild turkey. Its soil yields the arrow-root, and betata; and its sea-coasts, as well as its lakes, abound with the most delicious shell-fish, and the various species of water-fowl. These tribes had not yet been circumscribed in their movements by the onward progress of the emigrant; and no such idea had mingled in their dreams, as that the fertile and extensive territories on the Chattahootchee, the Alabama, and the Tuscaloosa, were designed for nobler pursuits than the mere hunting of deer. Antiquity of opinion, manners, and arts, is what the native, unsophisticated Indian loves; novelty is distasteful, progress unwise, agriculture regarded as servitude, letters and religion detested, and Christ not considered as comparable to Manito, Aba Inka, Owayneo, Wakondah, or Hiawatha.
In effect, the laying down of the war-club by the northern tribes, who had been led on by Tecumseh in their crusade against civilization, had little or no effect on the Southern tribes. On the 3d of November, within one month after the decisive battle
of the Thames, in the north, the Creeks assumed such an attitude of hostility at Tullushatches, on the Coosa river, that General John Coffee marched against them with a brigade of cavalry and mounted riflemen. The Indian town was reached at sunrise, when the beating of the drums of the savages indicated that they were prepared to meet them. A sham attack and retreat, by a single company, effectually succeeded in decoying them from their houses in close pursuit. This sally was checked by their encountering the main body of Coffee's command, which charged them, and drove them back to their shelter, where they were in a very short time surrounded by superior numbers. They fought with great desperation, without "shrinking, or complaining; not one asked to be spared, but fought as long as they could stand or sit." 507 One hundred and eighty-six dead bodies were counted on the field, and eighty prisoners were taken, chiefly women and children. General Coffee's brigade lost five killed, and forty-one wounded. 508
Only a few days elapsed when the Creeks appeared in great force, at Talladega; but General Andrew Jackson advanced against them, and, by great exertions and night marches, reached the vicinity of that place at sunrise, on the 7th of November. He formed his militia in line on the left, his volunteers on the right, and his cavalry on the wings in a curve, so as to enclose the enemy, giving directions to pour in four or five rapid discharges, and then fall back. The Indians pursued them, and had well nigh thrown the entire force of infantry into confusion. The militia fled; but Jackson immediately ordering a corps of reserved cavalry, under Colonel Dyer, to dismount and fill up the gap, confidence was restored. The militia seeing this, rallied, and the fire became so hot, general, and destructive, that the Creeks fled. The right wing pursued them for three miles, until they reached the mountains. Two hundred and ninety dead bodies of the enemy, left behind on the field, proved that they had made a spirited resistance. Jackson had seventeen killed, and eighty-three wounded. 509
On the 11th of November, Brigadier-General James White marched against the Hillabee Creeks, a distance of about 100 miles from Fort Armstrong. He captured five Creeks on the Little Oakfuskee, and burned a town comprising thirty houses. The town of Genalgo, consisting of ninety-three houses, shared the same fate. Having arrived at a point within five or six miles of the Hillabee town, where, he was informed, the Indians would make a stand, he dismounted part of his forces, and prepared to make a night attack. It was, however, daylight, on the 18th, before the troops reached the town, which they succeeded in surrounding and surprising. 510 Sixty were killed on the spot, and 256 persons taken prisoners.
On the 29th of November, Brigadier-General John Floyd fought a general battle with the Creeks at Attasee, some eighteen miles from the Hickory Ground, on the
waters of the Tallapoosa. His force was composed of 950 Georgia militia, between 300 and 400 friendly Cowetas, under M'Intosh, and the Tookabatchians, under their chief, Mad Dog. These fought with intrepidity when incorporated with the line of the troops. After some changes of plan, induced by ignorance of the local geography, the army approached the upper town, where the action became general. "The Indians presented themselves at every point, and fought with the desperate bravery of real fanatics." 511 By the use of artillery and the bayonet, the enemy were obliged to retreat, and take shelter in houses, thickets, and caves in a high bluff, on the river. The action terminated at nine o'clock in the morning, when the town was burned. The loss of the enemy is not definitely stated; but 400 buildings are estimated to have been consumed. 512 Floyd's loss was 7 killed, and 54 wounded.
On the 23d of December, General Claiborne, with a brigade of volunteers, and a part of the 3d regiment of United States troops, attacked the Creek town of Eccanachaca, on the Alabama, about eighty miles above the mouth of the Cahaba. Being advised of his approach, they were prepared for him, and immediately commenced an attack; but they were quickly repulsed, with the loss of thirty warriors killed. 513
On the northern frontier the Indians effected little, except as flankers and guerilla parties, in connection with the British armies. The most noted movement of this kind was the attack on Buffalo. A strong party of them, accompanied by the British troops, crossed the Niagara before daybreak on the 30th of December, and laid the village of Buffalo in ruins. 514
Chapter VII. Battles of Emucfau, Enotochopco, and Tohopeka. The Horse-shoe Creeks Subdued.
THE determination with which the Creeks had entered into this war has no precedent in Indian contests. They had been five times defeated in battle; they had lost several hundred men on the battle-field; and upwards of forty of their towns, some of them comprising ninety houses, had been consigned to the flames. The Choctaws and Chickasaws did not assist them; and the Cherokees, being remote, either stood entirely aloof, or only sent out small parties of friendly scouts and spies. A limited number of the Creeks themselves, the tribes of the Cowetas and Tuckabatches, were friendly; yet the main body of the nation fought as if their salvation depended on defeating the Americans. If, as may naturally be conjectured, they opposed Narvaez and De Soto in 1628 and 1641 with this determined spirit, no wonder need be expressed that the former proceeded no farther than the mouth of the Appalachicola, 515 or that the latter was driven out of the Mississippi valley. 516 The numerous population of the tribe, located in a genial climate, in which all the productions necessary for the subsistence of Indians grew spontaneously, constituted them a powerful enemy. Their intellectual development and stability of character had also been promoted by intermixture with the Scotch race. It is not improbable, when we consider their heavy losses in battle, that we have never possessed anything like an accurate enumeration of their strength. Major Swan, who visited the country as an official agent in 1791, enumerates fifty-two towns; 417 and, with our knowledge of their fecundity and means of subsistence, they could not well be estimated at less than 200 souls to each town; which would give an aggregate population of 10,400. There could not have been less than 3000 Creek warriors in the field during the greater portion of the years 1812 and 1813, and a part of 1814. The tribe appears to have possessed an active military element, and the spirit to conquer other tribes. According to Bartram, they had been involved in wars and contests, before they crossed the Mississippi on their route to the present area of Florida;
and, having progressed to the Altamaha, still fighting their way, they first "sat down," to use their metaphor, at the "old fields," on that river. While their council-fire was located at this place, they subdued the Savannas, the Ogeetches, the Wapoos, Santees, Yamas, Utinas, Icosans, Paticas, and various other tribes, always making it a rule to incorporate the remnants with themselves; 518 and within the period of our own history, they have thus absorbed the Utchees and Natchez. 519
By a scrutiny of the official documents of that period, we are led to infer that the Creek war had been carried on by spirited and gallant leaders, who were, however, deficient in an accurate knowledge of the geography of the country. Military expeditions were led into the interior, under the guidance of ignorant men, who frequently misled the officers; and the latter were occasionally content to escape from perilous positions, with the éclat of a victory which neither secured the possession of the country, nor humbled the tribe. Tennessee, however, presented an officer of a very different character, in Andrew Jackson, a general of her State militia. He despised fair-weather soldiers and mouthing patriots. 520 His observations of Indian life had given him better defined views of their character; and, like Washington, he saw at a glance that half-measures would not do. The Indian is not a sensitive man, but a stoic, by nature as well as by education, and quickly recovers from calamities which are not of long continuance. The Indian's alertness, and quickness at the adoption of expedients, must be opposed by a similar course of policy. The general who operates against them must be willing and ready to fight by night, as well as by day; should not encumber himself with baggage; must occasionally run the risk of losing all his camp equipage for the purpose of defeating his enemy, and must endure hardships and fatigue like an Indian. Jackson's first march to, and victory at, Talladega, taught him all this. The system of rapid movements and impetuous charges, introduced by Napoleon, which overthrew the old military tactics of Europe, also gave success to Jackson's operations against the Indians. His attacks were quick, and terribly effective.
The battle of Talladega occurred on the 7th of November, 1813, just four days after that of Tullushatches, fought by Coffee, and was followed in quick succession by those of Hillabee, Attasee, and other successful actions, in different parts of the country, occurring at various intervals until the 23d of December. No signs of submission, however, appeared, but instead thereof, they assumed rather an attitude of defiance. The Creeks inhabiting the valley of the Tallapoosa maintained a resolute mien; and even those of the town of Talladega were in no manner intimidated. Very early in January (1814), General Jackson having been authorized to march against the hostile bands, designated the 10th of that month for the assembling of his new levies of volunteers, including cavalry and infantry, who amounted, in the aggregate, to 1950 men. They were not, however, finally mustered until the 17th; and on the
18th Jackson reached Talladega fort, where he was joined by between 200 and 300 friendly Indians, 521 of whom 65 were Cherokees, and the remainder Creeks. Learning that the entire force of warriors of the Oakfuskee, New Yarcau, 522 and Ufauley towns, was concentrated at a creek called Emucfau, in a bend of the Tallapoosa, he determined to proceed thither. The march was a hazardous one, being over a varied surface, and through many defiles, which presented great difficulties to raw and undisciplined troops. On the 20th he encamped at Enotochopco, a Hillabee village, twelve miles from Emucfau, where he was much chagrined at ascertaining the geographical ignorance of his guides, as well as by discovering the insubordination and want of skill which became apparent in his troops. They were, however, spirited and courageous men; and the following day he pushed on with them to the banks of the Tallapoosa, where he struck a new and well-beaten trail, which disclosed his proximity to the enemy. Being late in the day, he encamped his troops in a square, doubled his pickets, and made preparations to reconnoitre the enemy's camp the same night. At eleven o'clock his spies returned, with the information that the Indians were encamped in great force at the distance of three miles, and either preparing for a march, or an attack, before daylight. At six o'clock, the following morning, the Indians commenced a desperate onslaught on Jackson's left, both in front and rear, which was vigorously met. The contest raged with great violence for half an hour, and was participated in by the most efficient of the field and staff officers, as well as by a reinforcement of infantry, which immediately marched to the relief of the troops attacked. As soon as it was sufficiently light to discern surrounding objects, a charge was ordered, which was led by General Coffee; and the enemy being routed at every point, were pursued with great slaughter for two miles. Jackson then ordered their town to be burned, if practicable; but General Coffee, after marching thither, deemed it unadvisable, and returned. The Indians here evinced some skill in manoeuvring, for, after Coffee's return, they attacked Jackson's right, thinking to draw to that point reinforcements from the left, which had been weakened by the battle in the morning: having made this feint, they immediately prepared to renew their onslaught on the left. This movement had been anticipated by Jackson, who prepared for it by ordering a cavalry charge on the Indians' left, and by strengthening his own left with a body of infantry. The entire line met the enemy with great intrepidity, and, after discharging a few rounds, made a general charge, the effect of which was immediate the enemy fled with precipitation, and were pursued by the troops, who poured upon them a galling and destructive fire. In the meantime, Coffee, who had charged the left of the Indians, was placed in considerable jeopardy; some of his force not having joined him, and a part, comprising the friendly Creeks, having left their position. As soon as the front was relieved, the
Creeks, who had taken part in the first charge, rejoined Coffee, and enabled him to make another charge, which accomplished his purpose. The enemy fled in confusion, and the field was left in possession of the Americans.
Jackson passed the night in a fortified camp, and on the 23d, at ten o'clock in the morning, commenced his return march to camp Strother, whence he set out. He encamped on the Enotochopco before dark, having been unmolested on his route, which lay through a dangerous defile, caused by a windfall. Having a deep creek and another dangerous defile before him, he decided to avoid it by making a detour; but the next morning, while in the act of crossing the creek, the enemy, who, from signs observed during the night, had been expected, commenced a furious attack. The vanguard, a part of the flank columns, as well as all the wounded, had passed over, and the artillery were about to follow, when the alarm-gun was fired. He refaced his whole line for a backward movement; but, while the columns were manoeuvring to gain a position, a part of the rear of both the right and left columns gave way, causing a great deal of confusion. There then remained but a part of the rear guard, the artillery, and the company of spies, with which the rout was checked, and the attack repulsed. It was on this occasion that Lieutenant Armstrong (the late General Armstrong) performed deeds of heroic valor, by ascending an eminence with his gun, under a hot fire, and driving back the enemy with volleys of grape-shot. This battle was fought on the 24th of January. In these actions the loss on each side was very great, and several brave officers fell. There were 24 Americans killed, and 75 wounded, and the bodies of 189 Indian warriors were found on the field.
The Indians of the Tallapoosa did not, however, drop the tomahawk; but, having determined to make a more effective stand, they assembled on a peninsula of the Tallapoosa river, called by them Emucfau, or Tohopeka, and the Horse-Shoe, in conformity to the name given it by the whites. On this point, surrounded on all sides but one by the deep current of the river, 1000 persons assembled. Across the connecting neck of land they had erected a solid breastwork of earth, from six to eight feet high, which afforded a perfect covert. This breastwork was so sinuous in its form, that it could not be raked even by a cannon placed at one angle.
General Jackson, who approached it with his army on the 27th of March, thought the position had been admirably selected for defence, and well fortified. He began his approaches by directing General Coffee to so occupy the opposite sides of the river with his mounted men, as to prevent the Indians from crossing in canoes. He then proceeded slowly, and in complete order, to move towards the breastwork in front, at the same time opening a cannonade, at the distance of 150 to 200 yards, with one six, and one three-pounder, using muskets and rifles where an opportunity offered. This demonstration having produced no striking effects, a detachment was then sent from the troops on the opposite banks of the Tallapoosa, to burn some buildings located on the apex of the peninsula, which having been accomplished, they then bravely attacked
the Indian forces behind the breastwork. But this manoeuvre also, though gallantly executed, proved ineffective. Jackson then ordered his troops to storm the breastwork. Colonel Williams led on the right, and Colonel Montgomery the left column, who performed this duty with great alacrity, mounted the wall in the face of a tremendous discharge, and poured in a destructive fire on the backs of the Indians, who were defeated with immense slaughter; 557 dead bodies being found on the peninsula. Among the killed was Monahooe, the Creek prophet, who had received a grape-shot in his mouth. 523 Many Indians were found secreted under the banks, and shot. Two hundred and fifty prisoners were taken, all of whom were women and children, except two or three. Twenty warriors escaped. "The power of the Creeks," observes General Jackson, in his despatch, "is forever broken." 524
Chapter VIII. Foreshadowings of Peace.
THE war with the Creeks was now drawing rapidly to a close; the entire extent of the valleys of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, their strongholds, having been scoured, and their ablest chiefs defeated. Wethersford, the indomitable Black Warrior, on whose head a price had been fixed, having, after the memorable defeat at Emucfau, or the Horse-Shoe, surrendered himself to the commanding general, had been allowed to return to his nation unharmed; the object of the war being to convince them that the counsels of their prophets were only evil, and destructive to their best interests. Reason having failed to make them acquainted with this fact, the sword was the only resort left. Fortunately for the country, this duty was entrusted to a man noted for his decision, and who also possessed a just conception of the Indian character, capacity, and resources. Had it been otherwise, the war would have been protracted in the same manner as the subsequent contest with the Seminoles of Florida, and, like that war, would, possibly, have cost the treasury millions of dollars.
One of the most atrocious acts committed by the Creeks, was the massacre at Fort Mimms; and many of the negroes taken at that time, as also a woman and her children, were now liberated. Tustahatchee, king of the Hickory-Ground band, followed the example of Black Warrior, by delivering himself up; and Hillishagee, their jossakeed and prophet, absconded. During the month of April the army swept, like a resistless whirlwind, over the Creek country; and, by the early part of May, all its operations were closed, excepting the cautious retention of garrisoned posts.
It must be noticed, that the Indian priestly influence was the real origin of the Indian wars which raged from the extreme north to the south, between the years 1812 and 1816. Tecumseh had, through the wily arts of Ellksattawa, incited this new crusade against the Americans. He had visited the southern tribes, and was received with particular favor by his relatives, the Creeks. From the oracular teachings of Ellksattawa, on the Wabash, Monahooe and Hillishagee then received their clue, and, thenceforward, became active agents in the dark mysteries. War had sealed with death two of the principal originators of these hallucinations, these servants of the
western Chemosh, and disciples of Baal and Moloch, whose magic incantations and shouts sounded as dolefully at the solemn midnight hour, on the waters of the Appalachian slopes, as they ever did on the banks of the Euphrates, or along the rivers and plains of Palestine.
As the American armies acquired better discipline and greater experience, the assistance of Indian auxiliaries on the flanks of the enemy became less a subject of interest or apprehension; the most important tribes in the South, West, and North having also suffered such defeats as caused them rather to keep aloof from the contest. Still, though defeated whenever they fought without the aid of their British allies, they were, as a mass, unfriendly, and ill concealed their secret hostility under the guise of neutrality. They did not, however, fail to rally in their strength, whenever the presence of a detachment of regular troops promised them protection. In the sharp action fought by Major A. H. Holmes, on the 4th of March, 1814, within twenty miles of the River Thames, and near Detroit, the Indians formed a part of the forces which he had to encounter. 525 Also, in the attempt to retake the
Meantime, Colonel M'Dowell, who had but sixty regulars in the fort, recruited as many of the Canadian militia as he could muster and equip, marched out to Dousman's, and commenced firing with a six-pounder from an eminence which overlooked the battle-field.
Not less than 500 warriors were on the island, who opposed the landing from their coverts; entirely surrounding the field, and crouching behind clumps of trees on the plain, from which they poured an effective fire. Major Holmes, as soon as his men were formed, pushed forward with great gallantry, waving his sword, and had progressed some hundred yards, when he was shot by an Indian who was concealed behind a bush. When this officer fell, the troops faltered, and then retreated to the landing-place. Mr. Madison, in his message of September 20th, 1814, observes of Major Holmes, in alluding to this expedition, that "he was an officer justly distinguished for his gallant exploits." 526
The general battles of the Thames and Emucfau, having in reality, broken up the Indian combination in the North and South, they played only a secondary part in those events of the war, which occurred subsequently. A few of the friendly Iroquois valiantly aided General P. B. Porter's regulars and militia, in the severe and triumphant sortie made from Fort Erie against the British camp on the 17th of September. 527 There were also parties of friendly Creeks, of the Cowetas, under M'Intosh, as well as of the Cherokees and Chickasaws, who performed good service on the side of the Americans. The hostile Creeks, who had been expelled from the southern plains, having taken shelter at Pensacola, in Florida, General Jackson deemed it essential to the preservation of peace on the frontiers, that the governor of that town, and the commander of the fort there located, should have an opportunity of making an explanation of his policy in furnishing protection and supplies to the Indians. With this view, he appeared in that vicinity on the 6th of November, at the head of the army which had traversed the Creek country, and forthwith dispatched a field-officer to the town, with a flag, desiring a conference; but, the bearer of it being fired on by the cannon of the fort, Jackson immediately determined upon storming it; and, having made some preliminary reconnoissances, he attacked the town with his entire force on the 7th. He was assailed by a fire of musketry from the houses and surrounding gardens, and a battery of two guns opened on his front. This battery was immediately stormed by Captain Lavall's company; and, after sustaining a heavy and continuous fire of musketry, the garrison of the fort submitted unconditionally. The Choctaws were highly commended by Jackson for their bravery on this occasion. The following day, the Barancas was abandoned and blown up by the enemy, and Colonel Nichols, the governor, retreated to the vessels of the British squadron lying in the bay, which then put to sea.
This action was the closing event of the Indian war in that quarter. "It has convinced the Red Sticks," 528 remarks the General, "that they have no stronghold or protection except in the friendship of the United States." 529
Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html