« PreviousContinue »
the gallant troops under his command. While the sigh of humanity will escape for this profuse effusion of human blood, which results from the savage principle of our enemy, neither to give nor accept quarter, and while every American will deeply lament the loss of our meritorious fellow soldiers who have fallen in this contest, we have ample cause of gratitude to the giver of all victory for thus continuing his protection to our women and children, who would otherwise be exposed to the indiscriminate havoc of the tomahawk and all the horrors of savage warfare. I have the honour to be, &c.
His excellency Gov. Early.
ON THE BATTLE GROUND, IN THE BEND OF TIIE TALAPOOSIE, March 28th, 1814.
SIR, I feel particularly happy in being able to communicate to you the fortunate eventuation of my expedition to Talapoosie. I reached the head near Emucfau (called by the whites Horse Shoe) about 10 o'clock on the forenoon of yesterday, where I found the strength of the neighboring towns collected; expecting our approach, they had gathered in from Oakfuskee, Oakehoga, New Yorcau, Hillibees, the Fish Pond, and Eufalee towns, to the number it is said of 1000. It is difficult to conceive a situation more eligible for defence than the one they had chosen, or one rendered more secure by the skill with which they had ereted their breastwork. It was from 5 to 8 feet high, and extended across the point in such a direction, as that a force approaching it would be exposed to a double fire, while they lay in perfect security behind. A cannon planted at one extremity could have raked it to no advantage.
Determined to exterminate them, I detached general Coffee with the mounted, and nearly the whole of the Indian, force, early on the morning of yesterday, to cross the river about two miles below their encampment, and to surround the bend in such a manner, as that none of them should escape by attempting to cross the river. With the infantry I proceeded slowly and in order along the point of land which led to the front of their breastwork; having planted my cannon, (one six and one three pounder) on an eminence at the distance of 150 to 200 yards from it, I opened a very brisk fire, playing upon the enemy with the muskets and rifles whenever they shewd themselves beyond it; this was kept up, with short interruptions, for about two hours, when a part of the Indian force and captain Russell's, and lieutenant Bean's companies of spies, who had accompanied general Coffee, crossed over in canoes to the extremity of the bend, and set fire
to a few of the buildings which were there situated; they then advanced with great gallantry towards the breastwork, and commenced a spirited fire upon the enemy behind it. Finding that this force, notwithstanding the bravery thus displayed, was wholly insufficient to dislodge them, and that general Coffee had entirely secured the opposite bank of the river, I now determined to take their works by storm. The men by whom this was to be effected had been waiting with impatience to receive the order, and hailed it with acclamation. The spirit which animated them was a sure augury of the success which was to follow. The history of warfare I think furnishes few instances of a more brilliant attack; the regulars led on by their intrepid and skillful commander, colonel Williams, and by the gallant major Montgomery, soon gained possession of the works in the midst of a most tremendous fire from behind them, and the militia of the venerable general Doherty's brigade accompanied them in the charge with a vivacity and firmness which would have done honour to regulars. The enemy was completely routed. Five hundred and fifty-seven were left dead on the peninsula, and a great number were killed by the horse aen in attempting to cross the river. It is believed that not more than twenty have escaped.
The fighting continued with some severity about five hours, but we continued to destroy many of them, who had concealed themselves under the banks of the river, until we were prevented by the night. This morning we killed sixteen who had been concealed. We took about 250 prisoners, all women and children except two or three. Our loss is 106 wounded, and 25 killed. Major M'Intosh, the Cowetau, who joined my army with a part of his tribe, greatly distinguished himself. When I get a leisure hour I will send you a more detailed account.
According to my original purpose, I commenced my return march to Fort Williams to-day, and shall, if I find sufficient supplies there, hasten to the Hickory ground. The power of the Creeks is i think forever broken.
I have the honour to be, &c.
Major general Thomas Pinckney.
ANDREW JACKSON, Maj. Gen.
After the battle of the Horse Shoe general Jackson made the following address to the army, March 28th, 1814.
You have entitled yourselves to the gratitude of your country and your general. The expedition, from which you have just returned, has, by your good conduct, been rendered prosperous, beyond any example in the history of our warfare: it has redeemed the character of your state, and of that description of troops, of which the greater part of you are.
You have, within a few days, opened your way to the Tallapoo sie, and destroyed a confederacy of the enemy, ferocious by nature, and grown insolent from impunity. Relying on their numbers, the security of their situation, and the assurances of their prophets, they derided our approach, and already exulted, in anticipation of the victory they expected to obtain. But they were ignorant of the influence of government on the human powers, nor knew what brave men, and civilized, could effect. By their yells, they hoped to frighten us, and with their wooden fortifications to oppose us. Stupid mortals! their yells but designa ted their situation the more certainly; whilst their walls became a snare for their own destruction. So will it ever be when presumption and ignorance contend against bravery and prudence.
The fiends of the Tallapoosie will no longer murder our women and children, or disturb the quiet of our borders. Their midnight flambeaux will no more illumine their council-house, or shine upon the victim of their infernal orgies. In their places, a new generation will arise, who will know their duty better. The weapons of warfare will be exchanged for utensils of husbandry; and the wilderness, which now withers in sterility, and mourns the desolation which overspreads her, will blossom as the rose, and become the nursery of the arts. But before this happy day can arrive, other chastisements remain to be inflicted. It is indeed lamentable, that the path to peace should lead through blood, and over the bodies of the slain: but it is a dispensation of Providence, to inflict partial evils that good may be produced.
Our enemies are not sufficiently humbled; they do not sue for peace. A collection of them awaits our approach, and remain to be dispersed. Buried in ignorance, and seduced by their prophets, they have the weakness to believe they will still be able to make a stand against us. They must be undeceived, and made to atone for their obstinacy and their crimes, by still further suffering. The hopes which have so long deluded them, must be driven from their last refuge. They must be made to know that their prophets are impostors, and that our strength is mighty, and will prevail. Then, and not till then, may we expect to make with them a peace that shall be lasting,
Extract of a letter from general Jackson to governor Blount. March 28th, 1814.
"I took up the line of march on the morning of the 24th instant, and having opened a passage of 52 miles over the ridges which divide the waters of the two rivers, I reached the bend of the Talapoosie three miles beyond where I had the engagement of the 22d January, and at the southern extremity of New Yorcau on
the morning of the 27th. This bend resembles in its curvature. that of a horse shoe, and is thence called by that name among the whites. Nature furnishes few situations as eligible for defence; and barbarians have never rendered one more secure by art. Across the neck of land which leads into it from the north, they have had erected a breast-work of the greatest compactness and strength, from five to eight feet high, and prepared with double rows of port holes very artfully arranged. The figure of this wall manifested no less skill in the projectors of it, than its construction: an army could not approach it, without being exposed to a double and cross fire from the enemy, who lay in perfect security behind it. The area of this peninsula, thus bounded by breast-works, includes, I conjecture, 80 or 100 acres.
"Having maintained for a few minutes a very obstinate conflict, muzzle to muzzle, through the port holes, in which many of the enemy's balls were welded to the bayonets of our muskets, our troops succeeded in gaining 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 routed and cut to pieces. The whole margin of the river which surrounded the peninsula, was strewed with the slain.
"Among the dead was found their famous prophet Monahooe, shot in the mouth by a grapeshot, as if Heaven designed to chastise his impostures by an appropriate punishment. Two other prophets were also killed; leaving no others, as I learn, on the Talapoosie. Our loss was 26 white men killed and 106 wounded. Cherokees 18 killed and 36 wounded. Friendly Creeks 5 killed and 11 wounded.
"The loss of colonel Williams's regiment of regulars is 17 killed and 55 wounded, two of whom have since died. Amongst the former were major Montgomery, lieutenant Somerville, and lieutenant Moulton, who fell in the charge made on the works. No men ever acted more gallantly or fell more gloriously.
Of the artillery company commanded by captain Parish, 11 were wounded, one of whom, Samuel Garner, has since died, Lieutenants Allen and Ridgely were both wounded. The whole company acted with its usual gallantry. Captain Bradford of the 17th United States' infantry, who acted as chief engineer, and superintended the firing of the cannon, has entitled himself, by his good conduct, to my warmest thanks.
"To say all in a word, the whole army who achieved this fortunate victory, have merited, by their good conduct, the gratitude of their country. So far as I saw or could learn, there was not an officer or soldier who did not perform his duty with the utmost fidelity. The conduct of the militia on this occasion has gone far towards redeeming the character of that description of troops. They have been as orderly in their encampments, and on their line of march, as they have been signally brave in the day of battle.
In a few days I shall take up the line of march for the Hickory ground; and have every thing to hope from such troops."
The following extract from the life of general Jackson, by his aid, John Reid, brevet major, United States' army, pourtrays the difficulties which surrounded the general prior to the battle of Tohopeka or the Horse Shoe.
Nothing was wanted now, to put the troops in motion, and actively to prosecute the war, but necessary supplies. Remonstance, entreaty, and threats, had long since been used, and exhausted. Every mean had been resorted to, to impress on the minds of the contractors the necessity of urging forward, in faithful discharge of their duty; but the same indifference and neglect were still persisted in. To ward off the effects of such great evils, evils which he foresaw would again eventuate in discontent and revolt, Jackson resolved to pursue a different course, and no longer depend on persons who had so frequently disappointed him. He accordingly despatched messengers to the nearest settlements, with directions to purchase provisions at whatever price they could be procured. This course, to these incumbents on the nation, afforded an argument much stronger than any to which he had before resorted. Thus assailed in a way they had not before thought of, by being held and made liable for the amount of the purchases, they exerted themselves in discharge of a duty they had hitherto shamefully neglected. Every expedient had been tried, to urge them to a compliance with the obligations they were under to their government; until present, none had proved effectual. In one of his letters, about this time, the general remarks: I have no doubt, but a combination has been formed, to starve us out, and defeat the objects of the campaign; but McGee ought to have recollected that he had disappointed and starved my army once; and now in return, it shall be amply provided for, at his expense. At this point, he was to have delivered the rations, and whatever they may cost, at this place, he will be required to pay; any price that will ensure their delivery, I have directed to be given.' The supplying an army by contractors, he had often objected to, as highly exceptionable and dangerous. His monitor, on this subject, was his own experience. Disappointment, mutiny, and abandonment by his troops, when in the full career of success, and an unnecessarily protracted campaign, were among the evils already experienced, and which he wished, if possible, to be in future avoided.
"Under these and other circumstances which seemed to involve much more serious consequences, the general had but little repose or quietness; every thing was working in opposition to his wishes. The East Tennessee brigade, ander the command of