History of the Indian Wars: Chapter 19
War with the Creek nation.—Massacre at Fort Mims.—Battles of Tallushatches, Talledaga, Antosse.—Attack upon Camp Defiance, and brilliant victory at the Bend of the Tallapoosa.
The enemy, apparently disposed to enlist the savages in the war at its commencement, despatched messengers to several of the Indian tribes in the Mississippi Territory, distinguished by the names of Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws, to persuade them to take a part with them in their contest with the United States. The most friendly relations had subsisted between these tribes and the United States for many years; and the latter, dictated by a generous policy, had been successful in their endeavors to introduce among them the improvements of civilized society. But so ardent is the propensity of the Indian character for war, that many were induced to commit the most wanton and unprovoked acts of barbarity upon the Americans.
The most experienced and well-disposed chiefs, aware of the evils a war with the United States must produce upon the tribes, made use of their best endeav ors to suppress their acts of cruelty; but those determined on war were not disposed to listen to the dictates of discretion or wisdom, and commenced open hostilities against the United States by one of the most bloody massacres recorded in Indian history. The particulars of the bloody transaction are copied from a letter of Judge Toulman, dated September 7th, 1813.
"The dreadful catastrophe which we have been some time anticipating has at length taken place. The Indians have broken in upon us, in numbers and fury unexampled. Our settlement is overrun, and our country, I fear, is on the eve of being depopulated. The accounts which we received led us to expect an attack about the full moon of August; and it was known at Pensacola, when the ammunition was given to the Indians, who were to be the leaders of the respective parties destined to attack the different parts of our settlement. The attempt made to deprive them of their ammunition, issued by the Spaniards on the recommendation of a British general, on their way from Pensacola, and in which it was said the Indians lost more than twenty men, although only one third of our peo ple stood their ground, it is highly probable, in some measure, retarded their operations; and the steady succession of rain contributed to produce the same effect. Had their attempt been conducted with more judgment and supported with more vigor, there would have been an end, for a time, of Indian warfare. In consequence of the delay, our citizens began to grow careless and confident; and several families who had removed from Tensaw to fort Stoddert, returned again, and fell a sacrifice to the merciless savages.
"A few days before the attack, some negroes of Mr. M'Girt, who lived in that part of the Creek territory which is inhabited by half-breeds, had been sent up the Alabama to his plantation for corn; three of them were taken by a party of Indians. One escaped and brought down news of the approach of the Indians. The officer gave but little credit to him; but they made some further preparation to receive the enemy. On the next day Mr. James Cornels, a half-breed, and some white men, who had been out on the late battle-ground, and discovered the trail of a considerable body of Indians going towards Mr. M'Girt's, came to the fort and informed the commanding officer of the discovery. Though their report did not appear to receive full credit, it occasioned great exertions; and on Saturday and Sunday considerable work was done to put the fort in a state of defence. On Sunday morning three negroes were sent out to attend the cattle, who soon returned with an account that they had seen twenty Indians. Scouts were sent out to ascertain the truth of the report. They returned and declared they could see no signs of Indians. One of the negroes belonging to Mr. Randon was whipped for bringing what they deemed a false report. He was sent out again on Monday, and saw a body of Indians approaching; but, afraid of being whipped, he did not return to Mims but to Pierce's fort; but before his story could be communicated, the attack was made. The commanding officer called upon Mr. Fletcher, who owned another of the negroes, to whip him also. He believed the boy, and resisted two or three applications; but at length they had him actually brought out for the purpose, when the Indians appeared in view of the fort. The gate was open. The Indians had to come through an open field one hundred and fifty yards wide before they could reach the fort, and yet they were within thirty steps of the fort, at eleven o'clock in the morning, before they were noticed. The sentry then gave the cry of 'Indian!' and they immediately set up a most terrible war-whoop, and rushed into the gate with inconceivable rapidity, and got within it before the people of the fort had an opportunity of shutting it. This decided their fate. Major Beasely was shot through the body near the gate. He called to the men to take care of the ammunition and retreat to the house. He went himself to a kitchen, where it is sup posed he must have been burnt.
"There was a large body of Indians, though they probably did not exceed four hundred. Our people seemed to sustain the attack with undaunted spirit. They took possession of the port-holes in the other lines of the fort, and fired on the Indians who remained in the field. Some of the Indians got on the block house, at one of the corners; but, after much firing upon the people, they were dislodged. They succeeded, however, in setting fire to a house near the pickets, from which it communicated to the kitchen, and from thence to the main dwelling-house. They attempted to do it by burning arrows, but failed. When the people in the fort saw the Indians retained full possession of the outer court, and the gate continued open, that their men fell very fast, and that their houses were in flames, they began to despond. Some determined to cut their way through the pickets and escape. Of the whole number of white men and half-breeds in the fort, it is supposed that not more than twenty-five or thirty escaped, and of these many were wounded. The rest, and almost all the women and children, fell a sacrifice either to the shot of the Indians or the flames. The battle terminated about an hour before sunset.
"The women and children took refuge in an upper story of the dwelling-house; and it is said that the Indians, when the buildings were in flames, danced around them with savage delight. The helpless victims perished in the flames. It is also reported that, when the buildings were burning, and the few who remained were exposed to the fire of the enemy, they collected many of the guns of the deceased and threw both them and the remaining stock of ammunition into the flames, to prevent their becoming subservient, in the hands of the Indians, to the destruction of their fellow-citizens. Surely this was an instance of determined resolution and benevolent foresight, of which there are not many examples.
"But notwithstanding the bravery of our fellow-citizens, the Indians carried all before them, and murdered the armed and the helpless without discrimination. Our loss is seven commissioned officers, and about one hundred non-commissioned officers and privates, of the first regiment of the Mississippi territory volunteers. There were about twenty-four families of men, women, and children in the fort, of whom almost all have perished, amounting to one hundred and sixty souls. I reckon, however, among them about six families of half-breeds and seven Indians. There were also about one hundred negroes, of whom a large proportion were killed. The half-breeds have uniformly done themselves honor, and those who survive will afford great assistance in the prosecution of the war."
On the first of November, Gen. Jackson, receiving information that a considerable number of hostile Creeks were embodied at Tallushatches, detached Gen. John Coffee with a number of men to attack and destroy the place, which he completely effected.
The following is an extract from Gen. Coffee's official report to Gen. Jackson of the expedition.
"Pursuant to your order of the 2d, I detached from my brigade of cavalry and mounted riflemen nine hundred men and officers, and proceeded directly to the Tallushatches towns, crossing Coosey river at the Fishdam ford, three or four miles above this place. I arrived within one and a half miles of the town on the morning of the 3d, at which place I divided my detachment into two columns : the right, composed of the cavalry, commanded by Col. Allcorn, to cross over a large creek that lay between us and the towns; the left column was of the mounted riflemen, under the command of Col. Cannon, with whom I marched myself. Col. Allcorn was ordered to march up on the right and encircle one half of the towns, and at the same time the left would form half a circle on the left, and unite the head of the columns in front of the town; all of which was performed as I could wish. When I arrived within half a mile of the town, the drums of the enemy began to beat, mingled with their savage yells, preparing for action. It was an hour after sunrise when the action was brought on by Capt. Hammond and Lieut. Patterson's companies, who had gone on within the circle of alignment for the purpose of drawing out the enemy from their buildings, which had the most happy effect. As soon as Capt. Hammond exhibited his front in view of the town (which stood in wood-land) and gave a few scattering shot, the enemy formed and made a violent charge on him; he gave way as they advanced, until they met our right column, which gave them a general fire and then charged. This changed the direction of the charge completely. The enemy retreated, firing until they got around and in their buildings, where they made all the resistance that an overpowered soldiery possibly could do; they fought as long as one existed. But their destruction was very soon completed; our men rushed up to the doors of the houses, and in a few minutes killed the last warrior of them. The enemy fought with savage fury, and met death with all its horrors without shrinking or complaining; not one asked to be spared, but fought as long as they could stand or sit. In consequence of their flying to their houses and mixing with the families, our men, in killing the males, without intention killed and wounded a few of the squaws and children, which was regretted by every officer and soldier of the detachment, but it could not be avoided.
"The number of the enemy killed was one hundred and eighty-six that were counted, and a number of others that were killed in the woods and not found. 1 think the calculation a reasonable one to say two hundred of them were killed, and eighty-four prisoners of women and children were taken. Not one of the warriors escaped to carry the news, a circumstance hitherto unknown.
"I lost five men killed and forty wounded, none mortally, the greater part slightly, a number with arrows; two of the men killed was with arrows. This appears to form a very principal part of the enemy's arms for warfare; every man having a bow with a bundle of arrows, which is used after the first fire with the gun, until a leisure time for loading offers."
Gen. Jackson, receiving information on the seventh of November that a party of friendly Creeks at the fort at Tallegada were threatened with an attack from a considerable body of hostile Creeks, marched to their relief in the evening. At four o'clock in the morning of the 9th, he fell in with the enemy within a quarter of a mile of the fort, and after a short action succeeded in dispersing them with great slaughter.
The following is an extract from the general's official letter, giving the particulars of the battle.
"At sunrise we came within half a mile of them, and having formed my men, I moved on in battle order. The infantry were in three lines; the militia on the left, and the volunteers on the right. The cavalry formed the extreme wings; and were ordered to advance in a curve, keeping their rear connected with the advance of their infantry lines, and enclose the enemy in a circle. The advanced guard, whom I sent forward to bring on the engagement, met the attack of the enemy with great intrepidity; and having poured upon them four or five very gallant rounds, fell back, as they had been previously ordered, to the main army. The enemy pursued, and the front line was now ordered to advance and meet them; but, owing to some misunderstanding, a few companies of militia, who composed a part of it, commenced a retreat. At this moment a corps of cavalry commanded by Lieut. Dyer, which I had kept as a reserve, was ordered to dismount and fill up the vacancy occasioned by the retreat. This order was executed with a great deal of promptitude and effect.
"The militia, seeing this, speedily rallied, and the fire became general along the first line, and on that part of the wings which was contiguous. The enemy, unable to stand it, began to retreat, but were met at every turn and pursued in every direction. The right wing chased them with the most destructive fire to the mountains, a distance of about three miles; and had I not been compelled by the faux pas of the militia in the onset of the battle to dismount my reserve, I believe not a man of them would have escaped. The victory, however, was very decisive; two hundred and ninety of the enemy were left dead, and there can be no doubt but many more were killed who were not found. Wherever they ran they left behind traces of blood; and I believe that very few will return to their villages in as sound a condition as they left them. I was compelled to return to this place to protect the sick and wounded, and get my baggage. In the engagement we lost fifteen killed and fifteen wounded, two of whom have since died."
On the 11th of November a detachment of the Tennessee militia, under Gen. White, was sent against the Hillibee towns, for the purpose of punishing the hostile Creeks in that quarter. Extract from Gen. White's official letter to Major Gen. Cocke, giving an account of the expedition.
"Under your order of the 11th November, I immediately marched with the mounted infantry under the command of Major Porter, and a few of the Cherokee Indians under Col. Morgan, with very short rations only. We continued our march to Little Oakfuskie, when we fell in with and captured five hostile Creek warriors, supposed to be spies. Finding no other Indians at that place, we burned the town, which consisted of thirty houses. We then proceeded to a town called Genalga, and burned the same, consisting of ninety-three houses. Thence we proceeded to Nitty Chapota, consisting of about twenty-five houses, which I considered it most prudent not to destroy, as it might possibly be of use at some future period. Thence we marched to the Hillibee town, consisting of about twenty houses, adjoining which was Grayston's farm. Previous to our arrival at that place, I was advised that a part of the hostile Creeks were assembled there. Having marched within six or seven miles of it on the 17th, I dismounted a part of the force under my command, and sent them, under the command of Col. Burch, with the Cherokees under the command of Col. Morgan, in advance, to surround the town in the night, and make the attack at daylight on the 18th. Owing to the darkness of the night, the town was not reached until after daylight; but so complete was the surprise, that we succeeded in surrounding the town, and killing and capturing almost, if not entirely, the whole of the hostile Creeks assembled there, consisting of about three hundred and ten; of which number about sixty warriors were killed on the spot, and the remainder made prisoners. Before, the close of the engagement my whole force was up and ready for action, had it become necessary; but, owing to the want of knowledge on the part of the Indians of our approach, they were entirely killed and taken before they could prepare for any effectual defence. We lost not one drop of blood in accomplishing this enterprise."
The Georgia militia under Gen. Floyd, on the 29th November, succeeded in defeating a large body of hostile Creeks at Antosse. The following is from his letter to Gen. Pinckney, detailing the particulars of the battle.
"Having received information that numbers of the hostile Indians were assembled at Antosse, a town on the northern bank of the Tallapoosa, about eighteen miles from the hickory ground, and twenty above the junction of that river with the Coosa, I proceeded to it with nine hundred and fifty of the Georgia militia, accompanied by between three and four hundred friendly Indians. Having encamped within nine or ten miles of the point of destination the preceding evening, we resumed the march a few minutes before one, on the morning of the 29th, and at half past six were formed for action in front of the town.
" Booth's battalion composed the right column, and marched from its centre. Watson's battalion composed the left, and marched from its right. Adams' rifle company, and Merriwether's, under Lieut. Hendon, were on the flanks. Capt. Thomas' artillery marched in front of the right column in the road.
"It was my intention to have completely surrounded the enemy, by applying the right wing of my force on Canlabee creek, at the mouth of which I was informed the town stood, and resting the left on the bank below the town; but to our surprise, as day dawned, we perceived a second town, about five hundred yards below that which we had first viewed and were preparing to attack. The plan was immediately changed; three companies of infantry on the left were wheeled to the left, into echelon, and were advanced to the low town, accompanied by Merriwether's rifle company, and two troops of light dragoons under the command of Captains Irwin and Steel.
"The residue of the force approached the upper town, and the battle soon became general. The Indians presented themselves at every point, and fought with the desperate bravery of real fanatics. The well-directed fire, however, of the artillery, added to the charge of the bayonet, soon forced them to take refuge in the out-houses, thickets, and copses in the rear of the town; many, it is believed, concealed themselves in caves, previously formed, for the purpose of secure retreat, in the high bluff of the river; which was thickly covered with reed and brush-wood. The Indians of the friendly party who accompanied us on the expedition, were divided into four companies, and placed under the command of leaders of their own selection. Some time after the action commenced, our red friends thronged in disorder in the rear of our lines. The Cowetas under M'Intosh, and the Tookabatchians under Mad-Dog's-Son, fell into our flanks, and fought with an intrepidity worthy of any troops.
" At nine o'clock the enemy were completely driven from the plain, and the houses of both towns wrapped in flames. As we were then sixty miles from any depot of provisions, and our five days' rations pretty much reduced, in the heart of the enemy's country, which in a few months could have poured from its numerous towns hosts of its fiercest warriors; as soon as the dead and wounded were disposed of, I ordered the place to be abandoned, and the troops to commence their march to Chatahouche."
Gen. Floyd was attacked by a large body of hostile Creeks in his encampment, forty-eight miles west of Colahoochie, on the 27th January; but succeeded in repelling them after a very bloody conflict. The particulars are contained in a letter of the general to Maj. Gen. Pinckney, dated on the day of the engagement.
"This morning, at twenty minutes past five o'clock, a very large body of hostile Indians made a desperate attack upon the army under my command. They stole upon our sentinels, fired on them, and with great ferocity rushed upon our line. In twenty minutes the action became general, and our front, right, and left, flanks were closely pressed; but the brave and gallant conduct of the field and line officers, and the firmness of our men, repelled them at every point.
"The steady firmness and incessant fire of Capt. Thomas' artillery, and Capt. Adams' riflemen, preserved our front lines. Both of these companies suffered greatly. The enemy rushed within thirty yards of the artillery, and Capt. Broadnax, who commanded one of the piquet guards, maintained his post with great bravery, until the enemy gained his rear, and then cut his way through them to the army. On this occasion, Timpoche Barnard, a half-breed, at the head of the Uchies, distinguished himself, and contributed to the retreat of the piquet guard; the other friendly Indians took refuge within our lines, and remained inactive, with the exception of a few who joined our ranks. As soon as it became light enough to distinguish objects, I ordered Majors Watson and Freeman's battalions to wheel at right angles with Majors Booth and Cleveland's battalions, which formed the right wing, to prepare for the charge. Capt. Duke Hamilton's cavalry, which had reached me but the day before, was ordered to form the rear of the right wing, to act as circumstances should dictate. The order for the charge was promptly obeyed, and the enemy fled in every direction before the bayonet. The signal was given for the charge of the cavalry, who pursued and sabred fifteen of the enemy, and left thirty-seven dead on the field. From the effusion of blood, and the number of head-dresses and war-clubs found in various directions, their loss must have been considerable, independent of their wounded.
"I directed the friendly Indians, with Merriwether and Ford's rifle companies, accompanied by Capt. Hamilton's troops, to pursue them through Canlebee swamp, where they were trailed by their blood, but they succeeded in overtaking but one of the wounded."
On the 14th January, Gen. Jackson, having been reinforced by about eight hundred volunteers, commenced his march in quest of the enemy upon the Tallapoosa river. The objects and particulars of the expedition are disclosed in the following extract of a letter from him to Maj. Gen. Pinckney, dated Fort Strother, Jan. 29.
"I had the honor of informing you in a letter of the 31st ult., forwarded by Mr. M'Candles, of an excursion I contemplated making still further into the enemy's country, with the new raised volunteers.from Tennessee. I had ordered those troops to form a junction with me on the 10th instant; but they did not arrive until the 14th. Their number, including officers, was about eight hundred.
"The motives which influenced me to penetrate still farther into the enemy's country with this force, were many and urgent. The term of service of the new raised volunteers was short, and a considerable part of it was expired; they were expensive to the government, and were full of ardor to meet the enemy. The ill effects of keeping soldiers of this description long stationary and idle, I had been made to feel but too sensibly already. Other causes concurred to make such a movement not only justifiable, but absolutely necessary.
"I took up the line of march on the 17th inst., and on the night of the 18th encamped at Tallegada fort, where I was joined by between two and three hundred friendly Indians, sixty-five of whom were Cherokees, the balance Creeks. I was informed that an attack was intended soon to be made by nine hundred of the enemy. I resolved to lose no time in meeting this force, which was understood to have been collected from New Yorkcau, Oakfuskie, and Ufauley towns, and were concentrated in the bend of the Tallapoosa, near the mouth of the creek called Emuckfau, on an island below New Yorkcau.
"On the morning of the 21st, I marched from Eno tachopee, as direct as I could for the bend of the Tallapoosa, and about two o'clock P. M. my spies, having discovered two of the enemy, endeavored to catch them, but failed. In the evening, I fell in upon a large trail, which led to a new road, much beaten and lately travelled. Knowing that I must have arrived within the neighborhood of a strong force, and it being late in the day, I determined to encamp, and reconnoitre the country in the night. I chose the best site the country would admit, encamped in a hollow square, sent out my spies and pickets, doubled my sentinels, and made the necessary arrangements before dark for a night attack. At about ten o'clock at night, one of the pickets fired at three of the enemy, and killed one, but he was not found until the next day. At eleven o'clock, the spies whom I had sent out returned with the information that there was a large encampment of Indians at the distance of about three miles, who, from their whooping and dancing, seemed to be apprized of our approach. One of these spies, an Indian in whom I had great confidence, assured me that they were carrying off their women and children, and that the warriors would either make their escape, or attack me before day. Being prepared at all points, nothing remained to be done but await their approach, if they meditated an attack, or to be in readiness, if they did not, to pursue and attack them at daylight. While we were in this state of readiness, the enemy, about six o'clock in the morning, commenced a vigorous attack on my left flank, which was vigorously met. The action continued to rage on my left flank, and on the left of my rear, for about half an hour. The brave Gen. Coffee, with Col. Sittler, the adjutant general, and Col. Carroll, the inspector general, at the moment the firing commenced, mounted their horses, and repaired to the line, encouraging and animating the men to the performance of their duty. As soon as it became light enough to pursue, the left wing, having sustained the heat of action, and being somewhat weakened, was reinforced by Capt. Ferrill's company of infantry, and was ordered and led on to the charge by Gen. Coffee, who was well supported by Col. Higgins and the inspector general, and by all the officers and privates who composed that line. The enemy was completely routed at every point, and the friendly Indians joining in the pursuit, they were chased about two miles with great slaughter.
"The chase being over, I immediately detached Gen. Coffee, with four hundred men and all the Indian force, to burn their encampment; but it was said by some to be fortified. I ordered him, in that event, not to attack it, until the artillery could be sent forward to reduce it. On viewing the encampment and its strength, the general thought it most prudent to return to my encampment, and guard the artillery thither. The wisdom of this step was soon discovered. In half an hour after his return to camp, a considerable force of the enemy made its appearance on my right flank, and commenced a brisk fire on a party of men who had been on a picket guard the night before, and were then in search of the Indians they had fired upon, some of whom they believed had been killed. Gen. Coffee immediately requested me to let him take two hundred men and turn their left flank, which I accordingly ordered; but, through some mistake which I did not then observe, not more than fifty-four followed him, among whom were the old volunteer officers. With these, however, he immediately commenced an attack on the left flank of the enemy; at which time I ordered two hundred of the friendly Indians to fall in upon the right flank of the enemy, and co-operate with the general. This order was promptly obeyed, and at the moment of the execution what I expected was realized. The enemy had intended to attack on the right, as a feint, and expecting me to direct all my attention thither, meant to attack me again with their main force on the left flank, which they hoped to find weakened and in disorder; but they were disappointed. I had ordered the left flank to remain firm to its place, and the moment the alarm gun was heard in that quarter, I repaired thither, and ordered Capt. Ferrill, with part of my reserve, to support it. The whole line met the approach of the enemy with astonishing intrepidity, and having given a few fires, they forthwith charged with great vigor. The effect was immediate and inevitable. The enemy fled with precipitation, and were pursued to a considerable distance by the left flank and the friendly Indians, with a galling and destructive fire. Col. Carroll, who ordered the charge, led on the pursuit, and Col. Higgins and his regiment again distinguished themselves.
"In the mean time, Gen. Coffee was contending with a superior force of the enemy. The Indians whom I had ordered to his support, and who had set out for the purpose, hearing the firing on the left, had returned to that quarter, and when the enemy were routed there, entered into the chase. That being now over, I forthwith ordered Jim Fife, who was one of the principal commanders of the friendly Creeks, with one hundred of his warriors, to execute my first order. As soon as he reached Gen. Coffee, the charge was made and the enemy routed. They were pursued about three miles, and forty-five of them slain, who were found. Gen. Coffee was wounded in the body, and his aid-de-camp, A. Donaldson, killed, together with three others.
"I had indeed hoped to have met the enemy there, but having met and beat them a little sooner, I did not think it necessary or prudent to proceed any further. I commenced my return march at half past ten on the twenty-third, and was fortunate enough to reach Enotachopco before night, having passed without interruption a dangerous defile, occasioned by a hurricane. I again fortified my camp, and having another defile to pass in the morning, across a deep creek and between two hills, which I had viewed with attention as I passed on, and where I expected I might be attacked, I determined to pass it at another point, and gave directions to my guide and fatigue men accordingly. My expectation of an attack in the morning was increased by the signs of the night, and with it my caution. Before I removed the wounded from the interior of my camp, I had my front and rear guards formed, as well as my right and left columns, and moved off my centre in regular order, leading down a handsome ridge to Enotachopco creek, at a point where it was clear of reed, except immediately on its margin.
"The front guard had passed with part of the flank columns, the wounded were over, and the artillery in the act of entering the creek, when an alarm gun was heard in the rear. I heard it without surprise, and even with pleasure, calculating with the utmost confidence on the firmness of my troops, from the manner in which I had seen them act on the twenty-second. I had placed Col. Carroll at the head of the centre column of the rear guard; its right column was commanded by Col. Stump. Having chosen the ground, I expected there to have entirely cut off the enemy, by wheeling the right and left columns on their pivots, recrossing the creek above and below, and falling in upon their flanks and rear. But, to my astonishment and mortification, when the word was given by Col. Carroll to halt and form, and a few guns had been fired, I beheld the right and left columns of the rear guard precipitately give way. This shameful retreat was disastrous in the extreme; it drew along with it the greater part of the centre column, leaving not more than twenty-five men, who, being formed by Col. Carroll, maintained their ground as long as it was possible to maintain it; and it brought consternation and confusion into the centre of the army, a consternation which was not easily removed, and a confusion which could not soon be restored to order. There was then left to repulse the enemy the few who remained of the rear guard, the artillery company, and Capt. Russell's company of spies. They, however, realized and exceeded my highest expectations. Lieut. Armstrong, who commanded the artillery company, ordered them to form and advance to the top of the hill, while he and a few others dragged up the six-pounder. Never was more bravery displayed than on this occasion. Amid the most galling fire from the enemy, more than ten times their number, they ascended the hill, and maintained their position until their piece was hauled up, when, having levelled it, they poured upon the enemy a fire of grape, reloaded and fired again, charged, and repulsed them.
"The enemy were pursued for more than two miles, who fled in consternation, throwing away their packs, and leaving twenty-six of their warriors dead on the field. This last defeat was decisive, and we were no more disturbed by their yells.
"In these several engagements, our loss was twenty killed and seventy-five wounded, four of whom have since died. The loss of the enemy cannot be accurately ascertained; one hundred and eighty of their warriors were found dead; but this must fall considerably short of the number really killed. Their wounded can only be guessed at."
Gen. Jackson, determined on the extermination of the Creeks for their atrocious conduct, on the 10th of March, 1814, penetrated as far as the bend of the Tallapoosa, where a most decisive victory was obtained, and the destruction of the nation nearly accomplished. The following is an extract from Gen. Jackson's account of the brilliant achievement, in a letter to Gov. Blount, dated Fort Williams, March 31, 1814.
"I took up the line of march from this place on the morning of the 21st instant, and having opened a passage of fifty-two and a half miles over the ridges which divide the waters of the two rivers, I reached the bend of the Tallapoosa, three miles beyond where I had the engagement of the 22d of January, and at the southern extremity of New Yorkcau, on the morning of the 27th.
"Early on the morning of the 27th, having encamped the preceding night at the distance of five miles from them, I detailed Gen. Coffee, with the mounted men and nearly the whole of the Indian force, to cross the river at a ford about three miles below their encampment, and to surround the bend in such a manner that none of them should escape by attempting to cross the river. With the musketry and rifles I kept up a galling fire wherever the enemy showed themselves behind their works, or ventured to approach them. This was continued with occasional intermissions for about two hours, when a detachment under Col. Morgan crossed over to the peninsula in canoes, and set fire to a few of their buildings there situated.
"Having maintained for a few minutes a very obstinate contest, musket to musket, through the port-holes, in which many of the balls were wedded to the bayonets of the muskets, our troops succeeded in gaining possession of the opposite side of the works. The event could no longer be doubtful. The enemy, although many of them fought to the last with that kind of bravery which desperation inspires, were at length entirely routed and cut to pieces.
"Both officers and men, who had the best opportunities of judging, believe the loss of the enemy in killed not far short of eight hundred. Among the dead was found their famous prophet Monahell. Two other prophets were also killed; leaving no others, as I can learn, on the Tallapoosa. I lament that two or three women and children were killed by accident. I do not know the exact number of prisoners taken, but it must exceed three hundred; all women and children except three.
"The battle may be said to have continued with severity for about five hours; but the firing and slaughter continued until it was suspended by the darkness of the night. The next morning it was resumed, and sixteen of the enemy slain, who had concealed themselves under the banks. Our loss was twenty-six white men killed, and one hundred and seven wounded; Cherokees, eighteen killed and thirty-six wounded; friendly Creeks, five killed and eleven wounded."
The brilliant and decisive victories obtained by Gen. Jackson and his brave men over the Creeks, induced many of those who survived to surrender and sue for peace. A few of them, however, otherwise disposed, fled towards Pensacola, before the arrival of the general at Tallapoosa. Many of the runaway negroes, who were captured at fort Mims, were restored to their masters, and an unfortunate white female captive, Polly Jones, who, with her two children, had been taken prisoners by the Indians, were released and restored to their friends. The Tallapoosa and Tostahatchee kings were taken prisoners, as was Peter M'Quin, a distinguished chief, but he unfortunately afterwards made his escape. Hillinhagee, their great prophet, fled with the fugitives towards Pensacola. Weatherford, their speaker, and who through the war had been one of the most active and enterprising chiefs, conceiving it in vain any longer to resist, and being informed that Gen. Jackson intended, if he could take him, to put him to death, was advised by his friends, as his warriors were almost all slain, as his country was ruined, and his escape almost impracticable, to surrender himself to the general; that it was useless to attempt further resistance; and this was the only means by which his life could be saved. Weatherford determined so to do, and presented himself to Gen. Jackson at his quarters, by whom it was demanded of him who he was and how he came there. He replied, " My name is Weatherford, one of the chiefs of the Red Sticks. I have fought you till my warriors are all slain. If I had warriors I would fight you still; but I have none. My country is overrun, and my soldiers are fallen. Here I am, in your power; do with me as you please; only recollect that I am a soldier!" The patriotic speech of this distinguished chief had its desired effect. Gen. Jackson declined to consider him even as a prisoner of war. Weatherford, although as bold and intrepid as a lion, had been many times defeated by his enemies.
Gen. Jackson, after having made known to the surviving Creeks the terms upon which he was authorized to make peace, in the latter part of April with drew his forces from the Creek country. The terms offered them were—That the United States were to retain as much of the conquered territory as would indemnify them for the expenses of the war, and as a retribution for the injuries sustained by their citizens, and such of the Creeks as had remained on friendly terms with them during the war. The United States were to establish whatever military posts and trading-houses they should think proper, and to have the free navigation of the rivers and water-courses throughout the Creek country. The Creeks were to surrender their prophets, and other chiefs who remained, or who should thereafter prove hostile to the interest and welfare of the States. The Tallisee king, of whom we have made frequent, mention, and who was supposed to have been killed in one of Gen. Floyd s engagements with the Creeks, surrendered himself a prisoner to the Americans. He was upwards of a hundred years of age, with a head as white as snow, and had been regarded by the enemy as a very great prophet. The friendly Creeks viewed him as their most inveterate enemy, and although nearly bent double with age, they were anxious to put him to death, and would have done so had it not been for the interposition of the American officers.