1813 One Hundred And Seventy-five Years Ago

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Faced with the onslaught of white settlers in Alabama and Georgia, the Creek Indians split into two factions. One faction, the White Sticks, re- mained loyal to the United States. The other group, the Red Sticks, wanted war.

War is what they got. In November troops under Gen. Andrew Jackson launched a bloody series of attacks in retaliation for an August massacre at Fort Minis in which Red Sticks killed more than 350 men, women, and children. On November 3 Tennessee soldiers destroyed the Red Stick settlement of Talishatchee. All 186 of the village’s warriors were killed. “We shot them like dogs,” recalled Davy Crockett, who fought in the battle.

Six days later hostile Creeks laid siege to the White Stick village of Talladega. General Jackson, with an illprovisioned force of twelve hundred infantry and eight hundred cavalry, raised the siege and killed 293 Red Sticks.

On November 29 Gen. John Floyd, commanding Georgia troops and four hundred White Stick allies, leveled the town of Auttosee on the Tallapoosa River. The defending Creeks fought desperately as their homes burned to the ground; two hundred of them were killed, while Floyd lost only eleven men.

The overwhelming superiority of U.S. forces drove many Indians off the warpath. After Talladega, a group of Creeks called the Hillabees sued for peace. Jackson accepted their surrender, but a contingent of East Tennessee volunteers led by Gen. James White, unaware of these developments, charged into the Hillabee towns and slaughtered more than sixty unresisting Indians.

The Creeks, understandably, interpreted this as the basest form of treachery, and even those Red Sticks once amenable to peace now saw no choice but to fight to the death. The war’s end, once almost at hand, continued until Jackson shattered the Red Stick forces the following year.