Posts tagged ‘Andrew Jackson’

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (March 9-March 15)

Collision Course

After a month of drilling and training the green troops who panicked during his retreat at Enotachopco Creek (in what is now the state of Alabama), Major General Andrew Jackson is almost ready to march south against the pro-British Creek Indians known as the Red Sticks.

Ma. Gen. Andrew Jackson (Image courtesy National Park Service)

Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson
(Image courtesy National Park Service)

According to Robert V. Remini’s “Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars,” the tall, gaunt Tennesean became a “hard and determined disciplinarian” who inflicted the harshest punishment on anyone who disobeyed an order a or attempted to desert – which his rough-and-tumble Tennesee Volunteers were wont to do. That hard discipline included the execution by firing squad of a 17-year-old Tennesee recruit who, during an argument with an officer, threatened to shoot anyone who tried to arrest him, according to A.J. Langguth, in his “Union 1812, The Americans Who Fought the Second War of Independence.”

Jackson forbade the importation of whiskey into camp and ordered his troops to improve the road between his base at Fort Strother and his army’s supply depot at Fort Deposit near the Tennessee River.

On March 14 Jackson took his army out of Fort Strother and headed south 60 miles to the Red Stick stronghold at the Horseshoe Bend of the Tallapoosa River. They included regulars from the 39th U.S. Infantry Regiment and additional Tennesee volunteers.

Jackson left some troops behind to guard Fort Strother. He took with him about 2,000 infantry and 700 cavalry and mounted riflemen. Accompanying Jackson were about 600 Indians – 500 Cherokees and about 100 friendly Creeks.

Map Courtesy of PCL Map Collection at the Universtity of Texas at Austin

Map Courtesy of PCL Map Collection at the Universtity of Texas at Austin

March 9, 2014 at 10:17 pm Leave a comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (February 2-February 8

Small War

Map courtesy of U.S. Army Office of Chief of Military History

Map courtesy of U.S. Army Office of Chief of Military History

While Andrew Jackson, major general of the Tennessee volunteers, drills his green troops constantly in preparation for an all-out assault on the Creek Indian stronghold at Horsehoe Bend in what is now Alabama, the British and Americans trade raids back and forth across the Canadian border. The military activity takes place on the Niagara Frontier and along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario between Ogdensburg and Oswego, New York. Most raids aim to destroy or capture the enemy’s supplies.

One raid, this week by a small group of Royal Marines and Canadian militia strikes at Madrid, New York just south of the Saint Lawrence River in far northern New York.

Also in February, President James Madision officially appoints five commissioners to negotiate directly with the British in Gothenburg, Sweden. Among the commissioners are Speaker of the House of Representatives Henry Clay, leader of the “Warhawks” faction in Congress that pressed for war with Britain, and John Quincy Adams, U.S. minister to Russia and future 6th U.S. president. The others are former Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin, former Delaware Sen. James Bayard and Jonathan Russell, U.S. minister to Sweden. Later in the year, the talks will be transferred to Ghent, Belgium.

February 2, 2014 at 9:18 pm 1 comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (January 20 – January 25, 1814)

Retaliation Reversed

The Battle of Enotachopo Creek January 24, 1814 (Tennessee State Library Photograph Collection)


(Tennessee State Library Photograph Collection)

After units of his 2,000-man Tennessee Volunteers army defeated the Creek Indians on November 3 at Tallushatchee in eastern Mississippi Territory (today’s Alabama) and at Talladega six days later, Major General Andrew Jackson was in trouble.

He was short on supplies, most of his troops’ enlistments were up and winter was coming on. He had twice put down mutiny and mass desertion by sheer will and a few well-placed cannon. Jackson was also ill, suffering from a lack of sleep, dysentery and a still-throbbing shoulder wound received in a gunfight/duel with personal enemies a few months earlier back in a Nashville hotel.

By late December 1813, his forward base, called Fort Strother, was nearly deserted. The few troops remaining were set to march home in a few days when their enlistments were up.

But on January 14, without warning, nearly 900 raw recruits marched into the fort. Jackson didn’t waste any time and marched them right out again to attack the stronghold of the anti-American Creek faction known as the Red Sticks, at the Horseshoe Bend of the Tallapoosa River. Jackson had been spoiling to retaliate against the Creeks ever since they raided a small community on the Duck River in Tennessee, killing several people and taking a woman captive in 1812.

By January 21 Jackson’s force was camped at Emuckfaw Creek — just three miles from the Creek stronghold. But the Creeks attacked Jackson the next day. While his men drove the Red Sticks off, the element of surprise was lost and rather than face another assault, Jackson ordered a retreat back to Fort Strother.

Creek War Campaign (via CensusFinder.com)

Creek War Campaign
(via CensusFinder.com)

But the Red Sticks followed his retreating army and attacked again while the troops were strung out fording Enotachopco Creek. Jackson ordered the rear guard to attack while other troops were summoned to cross back over the creek and surround the Red Sticks. But the green troops of the rear guard panicked and ran. Jackson rallied his forces and the other units crossed over and held off the Creeks, who withdrew.

After returning to Fort Strother, Jackson drilled his green troops for more than a month to prepare them for his next crack at the Horseshoe Bend stronghold in the Spring.

January 20, 2014 at 12:01 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: War of 1812, Collision Course in Alabama

On the Warpath

Creek War 1813-14 (PCL Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin)

Creek War 1813-14
(PCL Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin)

All is quiet during the winter of 1813-1814 along the U.S.-Canadian border where U.S. Army regulars and state militiamen have been battling British troops, Canadian militia and Native American warriors since the summer of 1812.

But Army regulars and state volunteers are still battling the Creek Indians of the Southeastern United States in what has become known as the Creek War. That struggle erupted within the the Creek nation (also known as the Muskogee) — which inhabited parts of what is now Alabama and Georgia — over whether to join Shawnee leader Tecumseh‘s campaign against whites of the United States. The “Red Sticks” faction favored war with white America. Indian leaders from what was known as the Lower Creek towns were against war with the whites, with whom many had intermarried. They were known as the “White Sticks.”

In July 1813 at Burnt Corn Creek, Mississippi militiamen attacked and were defeated by members of the pro-British Red Sticks returning from Spanish Florida where they had gone to obtain arms and ammunition. On August 30, 1813, hundreds of Red Sticks attacked a poorly defended stockade known as Fort Mims in southern Alabama, killing more than 200 whites, black slaves and White Stick Creeks.

That led Tennessee Gov. Willie Blount to call for 3,500 volunteers to fight the Creeks, widening a tribal civil war into one between Indians and whites. After defeating the “Red Sticks” on November 9, 1813 at the Battle of Talladega, the Tennessee commander, Major General Andrew Jackson, was plagued by supply shortages and discipline problems among his rowdy frontier troops who had only signed short term enlistments.

Meanwhile, Jackson’s mounted rifles commander, General John Coffee, who had returned to Tennessee for fresh horses, wrote Jackson that his troops had deserted. By the end of 1813, Jackson was down to a single regiment whose enlistments were due to expire in mid January.

Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson

Although Gov. Blount ordered up another 2,500 troops, Jackson would not be up to full strength until the end of February. By the time 900 raw recruits arrived unexpectedly on January 14, Jackson’s original force of 2,500 had dwindled to 103 soldiers.

Since the new men had signed on for only 60 days, Jackson decided to get going before their enlistments ran out. He departed Fort Struther on January 17, and marched toward the village of Emuckfaw to support the Georgia Militia. But it was a risky strategy: a long march through difficult terrain against a numerically superior force. Making matters worse, Jackson’s  volunteers were green and insubordinate. By January 21, they had marched to within a few miles of the Red Stick settlement of Emuckfaw, setting the stage for another battle.

NEXT WEEK: The Return of THIS WEEK in the War of 1812

The weekly feature, THIS WEEK in the War of 1812, returns on Monday, January 20.

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SHAKOSHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

January 16, 2014 at 1:55 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Fort Mims Massacre 1813

Creek War

While U.S. Army regulars and militiamen from the states battled British troops, Canadian militia and warriors from the First Nations (as Canadians now call them) along the Great Lakes and the Upper Midwest during the war of 1812, the Army and state volunteers were also battling the Creek Indians of the Southeast in what has become known as the Creek War.

On August 30, 1813, pro-British members of the Creek Indian nation (also known as the Muskogee) attacked a poorly designed stockade known as Fort Mims in southern Alabama where hundreds of white settlers and pro-U.S. Creeks had taken refuge.

According to some accounts, as many as 500 militia, settlers, slaves and Creeks favoring peace with the Americans were killed or captured in what has become known as the Fort Mims massacre. Modern historians generally put the death toll at about 250 men, women and children.

Fort Mims massacre re-enactment (al.com photo)

Fort Mims massacre re-enactment (al.com photo)

The bloodshed between whites and the Creeks in 1813-1814 was an outgrowth a civil war among the Creeks themselves.

That struggle erupted within the Creek nation, which inhabited parts of what is now Alabama and Georgia, over whether to join Shawnee leader Tecumseh‘s campaign against whites of the United States. The Red Sticks faction favored war with white America. Indian leaders from what was known as the Lower Creek towns were against war with the whites. They were known as the White Sticks.

The Fort Mims slaughter terrified whites in the South, who had waged war on and off with various tribes including Cherokee and Seminole Indians since before the American Revolution.  Future President Andrew Jackson, an Army and Tennessee militia general, led a long campaign against the Creeks culminating with the battle (and for all intents a massacre)  against the Indians at Horseshoe Bend in 1814.

Map Courtesy of PCL Map Collection at the Universtity of Texas at Austin

Map Courtesy of PCL Map Collection at the Universtity of Texas at Austin

A year later, Jackson would rise to national prominence following the Battle of New Orleans.

488px-Shako-p1000580

SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

August 30, 2013 at 12:42 am Leave a comment

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