Two hundred years ago, in the middle of America’s 32-month military conflict against Great Britain and its Indian allies, General Andrew Jackson and an army of 2,500 Tennessee militia launched a campaign against the Red Stick Creeks.
The Indian group had killed hundreds of Americans at what was called the Fort Mims massacre of Aug. 30, 1813.
The U.S. response would be similarly brutal.
The first battle of the Creek War was on Nov. 3, when General John Coffee, under orders from Jackson, attacked the Creek village of Tallushatchee and killed 186, with only 5 U.S. deaths.
Future American folk hero Davy Crockett was part of this battle, commenting, “We shot ’em down like dogs.”
Here’s how the battle was described by the Columbian Phenix newspaper:
Less than fifteen miles from Fort Strother lay the Creek village of Tallushatchee, where a large body of Red Sticks had assembled. Jackson ordered General John Coffee, along with a thousand mounted men, to destroy the town. On the morning of 3 November 1813, Coffee approached the village and divided his detachment into two columns: the right composed of cavalry under Colonel John Alcorn and the left under the command of Colonel Newton Cannon. The columns encircled the town and the companies of Captain Eli Hammond and Lieutenant James Patterson went inside the circle to draw the Creeks into the open. The ruse worked. The Creek warriors charged the right column of Coffee’s brigade, only to retreat to their village where they were forced to make a desperate stand. Coffee’s army overpowered the Creeks and quickly eliminated them. Coffee commented that “the enemy fought with savage fury, and met death with all its horrors, without shrinking or complaining: no one asked to be spared, but fought as long as they could stand or sit.”
Over the next several months, Jackson’s army would proceed to crush the Red Sticks, finally forcing the Creek Nation to cede 23 million acres of land after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.
One of the Creek children orphaned at the Battle of Talladega caught Jackson’s eye. The 10-month-old named Lyncoya was later adopted by the Jackson family and grew up in their home near Nashville, Tennessee.
Jackson would go on to become president in 1828, when many of his policies — notably the Indian Removal Act — were vehemently opposed by his former soldier, Crockett, who was elected to the Congress in 1826.
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