Eastern Indian Wars (detail of a war flag)

The Creek Indian War

Andrew Jackson had a long history with the Indians. During the War of 1812, he led militia forces in a war against Creek Indians.

One faction of the Creek sided with the British and fought the United States along the western frontier. This group, known as Red Sticks because of the bright red war clubs they carried, followed the teachings of the charismatic Shawnee, Tecumseh. In 1811 Tecumseh rallied his people, “Where today are the Peqout? Where are the Narragansett, the Mahican, the Pokanoket? Will we let ourselves be destroyed in our turn without a struggle, give up our homes, our country bequeathed to us by the Great Spirit, the graves of our dead and everything that is dear and sacred to us? I know you will cry with me, “Never! Never!”

The Red Sticks believed that Indians of many tribes needed to unite against the United States. On August 30, 1813, the Red Sticks attacked Fort Mims in the Mississippi Territory. In the bloody massacre, they killed between 300 and 400 people, including militiamen, women, and children. Andrew Jackson would soon avenge the loss in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

 

The Battle of Horseshoe Bend

On March 27, 1814, Andrew Jackson, with a force 3,300 men consisting of Tennessee militia, United States regulars, and both Cherokee and Lower Creek allies, attacked Chief Me-Na-Wa and 1,000 Upper Creek or Red Stick warriors fortified in the “horseshoe” bend of the Tallapoosa River. The Red Sticks were trapped and slaughtered, ending the Creek War. In the treaty that followed, the Creek lost twenty million acres of land, half of all they claimed.

 

Andrew Jackson by Ralph Eleaser Whiteside Earl
Tecumseh, artist unknown
McIntosh by Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall. Creek chief who sided with the Americans
Map of Horseshoe Bend, 1814
Me-Na-Wa by Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall. Creek warrior who fought against removal of Indians

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