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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


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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;

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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
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