Friday, January 9, 2015

Creek chief gives account of the Battle of New Orleans

Fanciful drawing of the capture of the Prophet Francis in 1818
Louisiana is commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans this weekend (1/8-1/11), with yesterday marking the bicentennial of Andrew Jackson's stunning victory. 

Over the next couple of days I will share some little known bits of history associated with the battle that I think you might fight to be of interest. Be sure to watch for them on the main page at

While much has been written about the significance of the monumental battle, few historians have done more than note that a delegation of Seminole and Red Stick Creek chiefs and warriors were among those that observed the fighting from behind the British lines.

Lt. Col. Edward Nicolls, Royal Marines
He accompanied the chiefs and warriors at New Orleans.
The Royal Navy had transported the American Indians to New Orleans from the Apalachicola River in Florida, believing that it would impress upon them the might of the King's forces if they could view firsthand the expected destruction of Jackson's army and the capture of the city. Things did not go as anticipated, with the British suffering more than 3,200 casualties compared to only 19 by Jackson's army (yes, that's 19). Please click here to learn more.

Among the Florida chiefs and warriors watching the battle were the Seminole leaders Cappachimico and Hopoi Micco of Miccasukee and the Red Stick Creek prophet, Josiah Francis. Several other chiefs and warriors were also there.  While he never specified which of these individuals spoke with him about the battle, U.S. Agent for Indian Affairs Benjamin Hawkins described a conversation with one of them in a letter to Governor Peter Early of Georgia:

Living history demonstrators Christopher Kimbell (L) and
Lionel Young (R) represent the Prophet Francis and Col.
Bennjamin Hawins at a recent marker unveiling.
An Indian I know a “Red Stick” chief sent me word he was with the British in their battles against Jackson. “They were beaten in every battle by night and by day. Their large Vessels could not come near the land, they sent their troops in barges who were attacked as they were landing, and at night after landing. He saw the decisive battle on the 8th. The Americans had double ditches which were not discovered til they got up to the first, the first who attempted to storm the works were driven back with great loss. A second attempt was made, which met a similar fate, when the Commander in Chief went forward with his best troops, who met with a greater loss, he was killed and the next in command. The ground appeared to him covered with dead wounded and the British had many wounded who retreated in action or were carried off. - Col. Benjamin Hawkins to Gov. Peter Early, February 12, 1815.

The British brought the stunned chiefs and warriors back to the Apalachicola River after the battle. They had witnessed a slaughter even greater than the one Jackson had inflicted on their own countrymen at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Alabama.

They remained loyal to the British during the months following the Battle of New Orleans, but with less enthusiasm than before. 

Please click here to learn more about the Battle of New Orleans:

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