The Red Stick War (1813-1814)


The decision to march against Fort Mims had committed the Red Stick Party immediately and irrevocably to hostilities with the United States. . .The successes of the Red Sticks encouraged them to seek allies. They told the hesitating Upper towns that they were now ready to destroy the Lower Creeks, enter Georgia and ravage all before them. . .Overtures had already been made to the Choctaws and Cherokees by the Red Sticks, but both of these nations remained friendly to the United States. The ambitious designs of conquest of the Red Sticks were to be truncated by the armies of the United States.

Upon receiving news of the massacre on the Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and the Mississippi Territory sprang instantly to arms. . .This force of 2,500 Indians was able to hold out for more than a year against the total of 15,000 American troops sent against it. . .The forces of the United States were divided into four armies-two from Tennessee and one each from Georgia and Mississippi Territory. About the best that can be said for the cooperation existing among these armies is that they did not fight each other. A unified plan of campaign was worked out by General [Thomas] Pinckney; but the chaotic system of short time volunteer levies, the failure of supply services and the preoccupation of each army in its own designs rendered a sustained united effort impossible. The war was scarcely more than a series of raids against the Red Sticks.

The Mississippi Territory army fought one major battle with the Indians, Georgia fought two, and Tennessee six. The territorial troops won their battle. Those of Georgia were victorious in one, the other being somewhat of a draw. Of the six engagements fought by the Tennesseeans, four were victories and two draws. Although their stakes were of a different nature, both Tennessee and Georgia had about an equal interest in the war. Georgia played a minor part in the field because she was farther from the seat of operations of the Red Sticks than Tennessee, and her troops had to traverse a more difficult route. Besides, Georgia did not have Andrew Jackson. . . .

Since the long delay of the Georgians in coming to their assistance, the Chiefs' Party encamped at Coweta began making forays against the Red Sticks. A force under McIntosh destroyed the town of the chief Hoboheilthle Micco and began plundering in other parts. of the Upper Creek territory. Under this hammering, the Red Sticks fortified themselves at Auttossee on the Talapoosa River, twenty miles from its mouth. They were given only a brief respite here, for the belated Georgia army under General Floyd accompanied by McIntosh's Indians, stormed [Auttossee on the Talapoosa River,] on November 29, 1813. After burning the town Floyd fell back to his base. Soon after this the principal Red Stick stronghold in the western part of the nation was destroyed also. This town had been built at the beginning of the war. It was reputed by the Indians to be a charmed place within which no white man could venture and live, hence its name—the Holy Ground. Despite the sacred nature of the place, it proved to be as vulnerable to fire and sword as any ordinary town when Claiborne's Mississippians, supported by Pushmataha's Choctaws, stormed it. . . .

The wall against which the Red Sticks placed their backs was the Talapoosa River. Here, on a peninsula formed by a meander of the river, a number of the Upper towns had gathered their forces. The landward neck of the peninsula had been closed by a log breastwork. Within the enclosed area were nine hundred warriors and their families. Jackson advanced against this position with 2,000 men, including infantry, cavalry and mounted gunmen, Cherokees, and friendly Creeks; the largest army he had yet led against the Red Sticks. He attacked on March 27. . .The Red Sticks refused to surrender, asked for no quarter, and received none. Their total casualties in killed and drowned were 700. Three hundred prisoners, mostly women and children, were taken. The loss of the Tennesseeans and their Indian allies was 49 killed and 154 wounded. . .This terrible battle, known to the Creeks as Tohopeka and to the whites as the Horseshoe, brought the war in the Creek country proper to a close.

    Arthur H. Hall, "The Red Stick War," Chronicles of Oklahoma v. 12, no. 3, September 1934 <> 15 October 2004.

General Jackson's Account of the Campaign

A duplicate of General Jackson's dispatch of 28 January 1814 from his headquarters at Fort Strother to Maj. Gen. Tomas Pinckney was printed in the 'Clarion' of February 8, 1814 and was as follows:

. . .of an excursion I contemplated making still farther 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 inst. but they did arrive until the 13th. Their number including officers, was about 800; and on the 15th I marched them across the river to grass their horses on the next day I followed with the remainder of my force, consisting of the artillery company, with one six pounder; one company of Infantry of 48 men; two companies of spies, commanded by Capt. Gordon and Russell of about 30 each, and a company of volunteer officers, headed by Gen. Coffee, who had been abandoned by their men, and who still remained in the field awaiting the orders of the government; making my force exclusive Indians about 930.

The motive which influenced me to penetrate still further into the enemy's country, with this force were many and urgent--the time of service of the new raised volunteers was short, and a considerable part of it had 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 Talladega Fort, where I was joined by 2 to 300 friendly Indians. . .On the morning of the 20th. . .reached. . .the Hillabee Creek, and on that night I encamped at Enstackopee, one of the Hillabee villages about 12 miles from Emuckfaw. Here I began to perceive very clearly, how little knowledge my spies had of the country, of the situation of the enemy, or of the distances I was from them.

The insubordination of the new troops, and the want of skill in most of their officers, also became more and more apparent. But their ardor to meet the enemy was not diminished, and I had a firm reliance upon the guards, the company of old volunteer officers, & upon the spies. . . .

On the morning of the 21st, I marched from Enotachopee, as direct as I could for the bend of the Tallapoosee; and about 2p.m. my spies having discovered two of the enemy endeavored to overtake them but failed. In the evening I fell in upon a large trail which led to a new road, much beaten and lately traveled. Knowing that I must arrive within the neighborhood of a strong force, and it being late in the day, I determined to encamp and reconnitre (sic) the country in the night. I chose the best site the county would admit, and encamped in a hollow square, set out spies and pickets, doubled my sentinels, and made the necessary arrangements before dark, for a night attack. About 10 o'clock at night, one of the pickets fired at 3 of the enemy and killed one, but he was not found until the next day. At 11 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 apprised of our approach. One of the 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 to await their approach if they meditated an attack or to be in readiness if they did not pursue and attack them at day light. While we were in this state of readiness, the enemy about 6 o'clock in the morning commenced a vigorous attack on my left flank, which was as vigorously met.

The action continued to range on my left flank, and on the left of my rear for about an hour. The brave Gen. Coffee with Col. Sittler, the Adjutant General, and Col. Carroll the Inspector General, the moment the firing commenced mounted their horses and repaired to the lines 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 the action and being somewhat weakened, was reinforced by Capt. Terril's company of infantry and was ordered and led on the charge by Gen. Coffee, who was well supported by Col. Higgins and the Inspector General and by all the officers and privates composing 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 considerable loss.

This attack was launched against that portion of the hollow square that was defended by Colonel Higgins' 2nd Regiment and the heaviest losses were sustained by the company commanded by Capt. John Hill. In this one company, Captain Hill and three others were killed and ten men were wounded. The total losses of the force was 9 killed and 35 wounded of which two later died. In Colonel Perkins' regiment only two men were wounded and neither of these were in Capt. Philip Pipkin's company. One was Sergeant Thomas Reynolds of Capt. William Doak's company.

General Jackson's dispatch of 28 January continues with the story:

The chase being over, I immediately detached Gen. Coffee with four hundred men and all the Indian force to burn their encampment, 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 there. The wisdom of this step was soon discovered. In half an hour after their return to camp, a considerable body of the enemy made its appearance on my right flank and commenced a brisk fire on a party of men who had been on the 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 then did not 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 200 of the friendly Indians to fall in upon the right flank of the enemy and cooperate with the Gen. This order was promptly obeyed; and in the moment of this execution, what I expected was realized. The enemy had intended the attack on the right as a feint, and expecting to direct all my attention thither, meant to attack me again. And with their main force on the left flank which they hoped to find weakened and in disorder, they were disappointed. I had ordered the left flank to remain firm to its place; and the moment the alarm gun was fired in that quarter, I repaired thither and ordered Capt. Terrel, who composed a part of the reserve, to support it. The whole line met the approach of the enemy with astonishing intrepidity; and having given a few paces, they forthwith charged him with great vigor. The effect was immediate and inevitable. The enemy fled with precipitation and were pursued 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 meantime, Gen. Coffee was contending with a superior force of the enemy. The Indians whom I had ordered to his support, hearing the firing on the left, had returned there, and immediately entered into the chase. That being now over, I forthwith ordered Jim Fife, who was one of the principal commanders of the friendly Indians, with 100 of his warriors to execute my first order. They were pursued about three miles, and forty-five of them [were] slain. . .Gen. Coffee was wounded in the body, and his Aid-de-Camp A. [Alexander] Donelson [was] killed, together with three others.

The Right flank of General Jackson's force was composed of Colonel Perkins' first regiment during the action just described, and the left flank was composed of Colonel Higgins' second regiment. Capt. Pipkin's company had one man, Edward Tipton, killed and William Hughes was wounded. Other casualties from the first regiment were James Richards of Captain John B. Quarles' company and Samuel Marr of Captain George Elliott's company. . . .

General Jackson's dispatch continues:

Having brought in and buried the dead, [and] dressed the wounded, I ordered my camp [to] be fortified--to be better prepared to repel any attack, which might be made in the night--determined to commence a return to Fort Strother the following day. . .I commenced my return march, at half after 10 o'clock on the 22d, we [were] fortunate enough to reach Enotachopco before night, having passed without interruption a dangerous defile occasioned by a hurricane. I again fortified my camp. . .My expectations of an attack in the morning was increased by the signs of the night and with it my caution. Before I moved 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 (sic) in regular order, loading down a handsome ridge to Enotachopco Creek at a point which was clear of roads except immediately on its margin. I had previously issued a general order, pointing out the manner in which the men should be formed in the event of an attack on the front, or rear, or on the flanks, and had particularly cautioned the officers to halt and form, accordingly, the instant word should be given. The front guard had crossed with part of the flank columns; the wounded were over; and the artillery [was] in the act of entering the creek when the alarm gun was heard in the rear. I heard it without surprise, even with pleasure, calculating with confidence on the firmness of my troops from the manner in which I had seen them act on the 22nd. I had placed Col. Carroll at the head of the centre (sic) column of the rear guard, its right column was commanded by Col. Perkins and its left by Col. Stump. Having chosen the ground, I had expected then to have entirely cut off the enemy by wheeling the right and left columns on their pivots, re-crossing the creek above and below, and falling in upon their flanks and rear. But to my astonishment and mortification, when the word had been given by Col. Carroll to halt and form up and a few guns had been fired, I beheld the right and left columns of the rear guard precipitately give way. . .leaving not more than 25 men, who being formed by Col. Carroll, maintained their ground as long as it was possible to maintain it. . .then, left to repulse [was] the rear guard, the artillery company, and Capt. Russell's company of spies. . . .

Lieut. Armstrong, who commanded the Artillery company. . .ordered to form and advance to the top of the hill. . .Amist a mast galling fire from the enemy, more than ten times their number, they ascended the hill and maintained their positions until their piece was hauled up. When having leveled it, they poured upon the enemy a fire of grape, re-loaded, fired again, charged and repulsed them. The most deliberate bravery was displayed by Constant Perkins and Cravin Jackson of the artillery, acting as gunners. . .The brave Lieut. Armstrong, just after the first fire of the cannon, with Capt. Hamilton of East Tenn., Bradford and M'Gavock all fell. The Lieut. exclaimed as he lay, 'My brave fellows, some of you may fall but you must save the cannon.

About this time, a number crossed the creek and entered into the chase. The brave Captain Gordon of the spies, who had rushed from the front, endeavored to turn the left flank of the enemy, in which he partially succeeded; and Colonel Higgins, Col. Carroll and Captains Elliott and Pipkin pursued the enemy for more than two miles who fled in consternation, throwing away their packs and leaving 26 of their warriors dead on the field. This last defeat was decisive and we were no more disturbed by their yells. . . .

In the several engagements our loss was 20 killed and 75 wounded, four of whom have since died. . .The loss of the enemy cannot be accurately ascertained. One hundred and eighty nine of their warriors were found dead; but this must fall considerably short of the number really killed & the wounded [which] can only be guessed at. . . .

 The enemy's country had been explored and a road cut to the point where their forces will probably be concentrated when they shall be drawn from the country below. . .the excursion, unless I am greatly mistaken, it will be found to have hastened the termination of the Creek War more effectively that any measure I could have taken with the troops then under my command

Andrew Jackson

Narration continues:

In the last engagement at Enotachopco Creek, Captain Philip Pipkin's company which joined in the chase had the following wounded: 1st Lieut. Isaac Watkins, 2nd Lieut. John Demoss, Private Bright M'Clelland and Private David Eakin. David Eakin later died from his wounds. The force returned to Fort Strother on the 27th of January 1814; and on the 28th of January, General Jackson ordered Colonel Perkins to surrender his sword and to immediately stand trial for Disobedience of Orders, Cowardice, and Abandoning his post. The court-martial set two hours after Colonel Perkins surrendered his sword.

The court which deliberated on the 28th and 29th of January was composed of; President, Colonel Wm. Y. Higgins, Members, Lt. Col. John Doak, Captian John Gordon, Captain Mitchell, Captain Philip Pipkin, Captain Russell, Captain Matthew Patterson and Captain John B. Cheatham. Captain Louis Winston was the Judge Advocate. It was interesting that Lt. Col. Doak, Major Maury and Captains Doak, Elliott, Pipkin, and Patterson were all members of Colonel Perkins' regiment and are also sitting in judgment on his actions in battle. The court found Colonel Perkins Not Guilty of Cowardice, but Guilty of Disobeying a General Order and of Abandoning his post, but stated they believed he was Justified in doing so. On 30 January Col. Perkins was returned his sword, and reassumed command of his regiment.

On 31 January 1814 General Jackson issued the following order:

Brigadier General Isaac Roberts, will, on the morning of the first day of Feb. next, take up the line of march with Col. Nicholas T. Perkins and Col. Wm. Y. Higgins' Regiments of Volunteer gunmen, from West Tennessee, whose term of service expires in sixty days from the time they first mustered. You will march them by Fort Deposit (Alabama); from thence the nearest route that provisions for the Officers and men can be plentifully obtained, to Fayetteville, Tennessee. When you reach Fayetteville, you will please to have them regularly mustered out of service and discharged. . .Those brave men tendered their services at a very important crisis when their services were much wanted; at a time when I was left almost without men, and the Magazine Stores exposed to the enemy for the want of men to protect them. For their patriotism the deserve well of their country; they formed a junction with me on the 14th of this instant, marched with me on the return march at Enotachopco, many of them again distinguished themselves. They have done important service to their country, they merit and receive the thanks of their General. You are required as far as the supplies in the county will afford, to have them well supplied with forage [for] their horses and supplies for themselves on their return march. After they are mustered out of the service, they will be entitled to one days pay and ration for every 20 miles, until they reach their homes. . . .

Andrew Jackson Major General

    "Philip Pipkin, a Tennessee Militiaman," Pipkin Family Association, No date <> 30 October 2004.

Lt. Lewis of the Company of Spies

A Lt. Lewis was in charge of "the Company of Spies" during the Red Stick War. As information on enemy dispositions is a strategic asset, the senior scout would have received his assignments from the commander of the campaign. Oral history from this Lewis Family states that Walden Lewis served with Gen. Thomas Pinckney during the Indian War. Of note, descendants of Walden Lewis were named Pinckney, reportedly in honor of the general.

The following is a transcription of military correspondence to Gov. Peter Early of Georgia from Col. Benjamin Hawkins of the Creek Indian Agency, November 1813:

14. Nov. from Lt. Lewis at Tookaubatche of the 7th. 
"We have information from a Tal,esee Indian who has just returned from Perrymans settlement, that those in that quarter intend to commence hostility in a short time. Ten of the British had just arrived in that neighbourhood with most of the hostile Indians who were at Pensacola with the View of building a fort near the confluence of the waters of Chattohochee and Flint rivers. -- He also states there has been spies on us for some time cloaked by persons who come from there with the pretense of remaining in their towns. two or three has lately gone back to the places from whence they came, and give the lower towns to understand those forts are [illegible] garrisoned and can easily be taken. -- He states that they were ready to march against us at a short notice."

additional paragraph in Lt. Lewis letter 
Information has been received that General Jackson was to have marched for Pensacola 1st. with a force of 5000 men. General Taylor with the Tennessee Militia [who] has been [illegible] for some time at Fort Jackson is yet at Fort Strother waiting for provisions [and] a state of information of appearances of hostile movement among the Indians in our Southern borders.

From Mr. Limbaugh at Cowetau 10 Nov. 
"Yesterday I attended the Grand Council at the friendly Chiefs on this river as far as Eufaulau were present. I had your several talks and Genl. Jackson's letter interpreted to them. The Little Princes Eyes are opened, and his politics, when they all heard your Talks and General Jackson's, he made a lengthy speech to all the chiefs. "You have now heared (sic) the Talks all those who are not now willing to protect their own nation will be considered as hostile to the U: S: I have now thrown away the Seminoles we shall now have to go to war against them. I do not understand what you Cussetaus are about, or what you intend to do, you must now say quickly what you mean to do, there is no time to be considering on it now; If you are for the British say so." He spoke about an hour." "I have sent Dayle [Daily] Express for Majr. McIntosh and his Warriors and expect all the warriors will come forward & enrol (sic) themselves. In a few days all the Warriors on this river will be enroled (sic) and ready for service." 

From the same 12. Nov.
The Chiefs have unanimously agreed to assist the U. S. I consulted Majr. Wootten on sending some of his men with a party of Indians to cut off those who are gone against the frontiers. He says he would do it with the greatest pleasure but his garrisson (sic) is too weak to spare any men at present.

15 Nov.
Enrolment of Indians at their several dates:
up to the 14 Uchees by Colo. Hawkins 80
up to the 14 Lower Creeks by Mr. Limbaugh 112. 
12 Lt. Lewis 
Tookuabatchee. 71, 7, 263

    "War of 1812 Correspondence (Col. Benjamin Hawkins)," RootsWeb Gen Web Page, No date <> 21 November 2004.

The Moseley Brothers at War

Why did the Moseley's fight in the Red Stick War? From the remarkable reminiscences of Thomas Woodward of Alabama, we learn many things. First, the wife of Benjamin Moseley had been captured by hostile Indians, probably in late 1813. This, of itself, would be enough to send the Moseley Brothers off to war. Second, we learn that Robert of the Indians had abandoned his White family to live among the Creek. And third, we learn that Robert of the Indians and Rev. Elisha Moseley were brothers.

Letter from Wheeling Par LA on December 20, 1858 to J.J. Hooper, Esq.

I entered the army on the first day of July, 1812, and accompanied Gen. Daniel Newnan to East Florida. . .I know as much about that fight an any man living or dead. Barney Riley, a half breed, that killed John Lucas, and myself accompanied Captain Harvey one night from Fort Hall to Milly's Creek, just above the Federal Crossing, and took the wife of Ben. Moseley from the hostile Indians -- killed three and crippled a few more. This trip to Milly's Creek was in February, 1814; the Caleebe fight was on the 27th Jan., 1814. The army returned home, and I remained, as I have before informed you, to take charge of Fort Hull.

    "Thomas S. Woodward's Reminiscences, Part 6," RootsWeb Gen Web Page, No date <> 20 January 2006.

Woodward's Reminiscences of the Creek, or Muscogee Indians by Thomas S. Woodward of Louisiana, formerly of Alabama, 1859.

I [Thomas J. Woodward] became acquainted with an Indian countryman by the name of John Ward; and the first time I ever visited the Creek agency, which was then on Flint river, was in company with Ward, an old uncle of mine and one Andrew McDougald. Col. was then holding a council with some chiefs from various parts of the nation. I met with Ward occasionally from that time until the war commenced. When Gen. Floyd moved his troops to Flint River, Ward was the interpreter for the officer that was in command at Fort Manning. He then came into Gen. Floyd's camp, and remained with the army until it reached the Chattahoochee, and commenced building Fort Mitchell.

He was often sent out with Nimrod Doyle as a spy. Christian Limbo, John Ward, Bob Walton and Nimrod Doyle saw Tecumseh at the Tallassee Square, opposite Tuckabatchy, and the reason why they were permitted to see him, was, that Walton and Doyle had known him in his younger days. . . .

There was also an Indian countryman along by the name of Bob Moseley. Moseley's wife was the niece of Peter McQueen. Ward's wife was a relation of Daniel McDonald, more generally known to the whites as Daniel McGillivray, and both of their wives were then with the hostile Indians. Ward and Moseley seemed willing to risk any and everything to forward the movement of the army, in order to reach the neighborhood of their families. There was a detachment of soldiers sent out to Uchee creek, to throw up a breast-work. I was one of the party, and among the rest was a Baptist preacher by the name of Elisha Moseley, a very sensible and most excellent man at that, as grave as men ever get to be; for he could pray all night and fight all day, or pray all day and fight all night, just as it came to his turn to do either; and this preacher was a brother to Bob Moseley, the Indian countryman. While at this breast-work, one night, by a campfire, I listened to Elijah Moseley inquiring into his brother's motives for leaving a white family and making his home among a tribe of savages. Bob's reply was, as well as I now recollect, that there was no false swearing among Indians. The preacher then commenced making some enquiry into Ward's history. Ward informed him that his father had taken him into the Creek nation near where Oweatumka or Wetumpka now stands, when he (Ward) was a child, and shortly after died. He recollected very little of his father; that he had been raised by Daniel McDonald, or McGillivray, as he was commonly called; that he heard McDonald say that his father was a Georgian, and had left a wife and children in that State. Ward's history, as far as it went, soon became known in the camp. and some one in the camp, that had heard of Ward's father quitting his family and disappearing with one of his children, and knowing something of the Wards in Georgia, looked at John Ward and said, from the near resemblance of him and a Georgia Ward, they must be brothers.

The Georgia brother was written to, and in a few weeks, made his appearance in camp. In this time, the Indian Ward, from exposure, had fallen sick, and was very low. The Georgia brother came into camp one night, and the next morning John Ward was a corpse--though John was perfectly rational on the arrival of his brother and, before he died, knew who he was. They proved to be twin brothers. A very intimate acquaintance of your messed with me at the time, and Ward frequently messed with us. It was Capt. Arnold Seals, of Macon County, Ala. Ward died in one of the tents of Adams' riflemen, and Elijah Moseley was his nurse. The most feeling pulpit talk I ever heard dropped from the lips of Elijah Moseley, in a soldier's tent, on the death of John Ward. John, though raised among Indians, spoke our language very well. He was enrolled among the Tuskegees. He was a floater, under the treaty, but by the permission of Col. Albert Nat. Collins, of Macon county, and myself, he located him a tract in the fork of Coosa and Tallapoosa. I think he sold to Col. George Taylor. The Indian countryman, John Ward, died in 1813. His remains rest on the hill just above old Fort Mitchell...

    "Among the Creeks," RootsWeb Gen Web Page, No date <> 30 October 2004.


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