The Creek War (1813-1814): Part Nine, Fort Mims Aftermath/Andrew Jackson Gets Involved

During the massacre at Fort Mims, Chief William McIntosh wasn’t idle. The Indian agent to the Creeks, Benjamin Hawkins, sent him to the northern part of Alabama to recruit Cherokees to join the war. McIntosh succeeded in his task.

One consequence of the massacre at Fort Mims was that the Choctaw chief, Pushmataha, traveled to Mobile with George Gaines from St. Stephens, where he offered his warriors to General Thomas Flournoy, commander of the Seventh Military District. At first, Flournoy refused the chief’s offer. Enraged, Pushmataha headed back to St. Stephens with Gaines when a courier overtook them on the road and said the general had changed his mind. At a council, Pushmataha gave an impassioned speech to some five thousand braves.  He’d lost many friends at Fort Mims. He said they needed to avenge their deaths. Almost all of them responded in the affirmative – war! So now, the Americans had another ally.


Credit: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1964

When word of the massacre reached Nashville, demands for vengeance spread throughout Tennessee. The month before, the federal government had authorized the governors of Tennessee and Georgia to raise troops to fight the Red Sticks, and the Nashville Courier used Fort Mims as a reason to “exterminate the Creek nation.” Soon, four armies took to the field.

Armies and Commanders

Andrew Jackson: West Tennessee // John Cocke:: East Tennessee

John Floyd: Georgia// Ferdinand Claiborne:   U.S. Army regulars & militiamen

Allies: Friendly Creeks, Choctaws, and Cherokees

Jackson Marches South

One of Jackson’s closest friends was John Coffee, in command of his cavalry. In October Colonel Coffee’s men rode to Huntsville, in north Alabama. A few days later, Major General Jackson and his militia joined him. They built two supply depots, one of them at the end of the fifty-mile road they cut in six days. Then Jackson continued his march south, determined to destroy every Red Stick village he encountered and cut a highway through their country clear down to Mobile.

For a time, his march stopped on the Coosa River, where he built Fort Strother. Upon learning of a nearby Red Stick town, Tallushatchee, he dispatched Coffee and their Cherokee allies to destroy it. To distinguish themselves from the Red Sticks, the Cherokees wore white feathers and deer tails on their heads. The future hero of the Alamo, Davy Crockett, also participated in this battle.

In the predawn hours of November 3, Coffee’s nine hundred troopers and the Cherokees advanced on Tallushatchee within a mile, and then surrounded it. Detachments of scouts were sent in to draw the Red Sticks out.

The Red Sticks took the bait and charged out of their village, where Coffee’s men caught them in a crossfire. Remembering this fight, Crockett reported that he and others chased forty-six warriors into a house. He wrote: “We shot them like dogs, and then set the house on fire, and burned it up with the forty-six warriors in it.”

Within a mere half hour, 186 Indians were killed, including women and children.

Coffee regretted the deaths of the women and their children, saying in his report that killing them had been an accident due to the warriors fleeing into their homes.

A few days later, Jackson received word from a friendly chief that Weatherford’s 1,000 warriors had surrounded, and was besieging, the village of Talladega some thirty miles from Fort Strother. To slip through Weatherford’s lines, the chief had disguised himself as a hog—put on hogskin, grunted, and walked on his hands and feet in the evening till he made it through the Red Sticks’ camps.

When Jackson learned of this threat to Talladega he, due to his sick and wounded which had depleted his force, first wanted to be reinforced by John Cocke’s men but then decided he couldn’t wait. So, while leaving a token force to guard Fort Strother, Jackson marched to Talladega’s rescue and defeated Weatherford in a decisive victory using Coffee’s tactics. Jackson’s men also captured a Spanish flag at Talladega–evidence of Spain’s alliance with England in supporting the Red Sticks, some seven hundred of whom escaped Jackson’s army. So, the fighting continued.

After this battle, Jackson spent the winter doing battle on a different front: the hunger his troops suffered, many of them now mutinous, and a massacre led by General Cocke’s men that made life ever more difficult for him.


Bunn, Mike and Clay Williams. Battle for the Southern Frontier: The Creek War and the War of 1812. First Printing. Charleston: The History Press, 2008.

Griffith, Benjamin W. Jr. McIntosh and Weatherford, Creek Indian Leaders, Tuscaloosa and London: The University of Alabama Press, 1988.

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