The Creek War (1813-1814), Part Thirteen, Jackson Struggles

After his November victories, Andrew Jackson fought a battle–to keep his army intact. Many of his men’s enlistments had either expired or were about to expire, so they wanted to return home. He pleaded with them, threatened them, and assured them they’d get the needed supplies.

Albert J. Pickett writes: Since the battle of Talladega, Jackson had encountered innumerable difficulties and mortifications, owing to the failure of contractors and the mutiny of his troops, who were finally reduced to one hundred men by the expiration of their times of service.

Finally, he headed his army north, toward another supply base that was situated on the Tennessee River. Coming south, however, on the same road, were the supply wagons they’d been waiting for. After they met, Jackson returned to Fort Strother, warning his men that he’d shoot any, and all, deserters.

Upon the arrival of eight hundred reinforcements in early January, and upon hearing a rumor about a British plan to land troops in Spanish West Florida, Jackson set out again. Before he could defeat the British, he needed to eliminate the Red Sticks. And, he was determined to do just that.

Albert J. Pickett writes: Well understanding the character of minute men like these, who must constantly be employed, Jackson immediately marched them across the Coosa to the late battleground of Talladega, where he was joined by two hundred Cherokees and Creeks, who evinced great alarm at the weakness which the command presented.

Battle of Emukfau Creek

On January 16, Jackson camped at a Hillabee village. The next day, his army followed trails that indicated a large force ahead of him, toward the Tallapoosa River and the hostile village of Tohopeka. He halted on the twenty-first, on Emukfau Creek, to reconnoiter.

Albert J. Pickett writes: Before dark his (Jackson’s) encampment was formed, his army thrown into a hollow square, his pickets and spies sent out, his sentinels doubled, and fires lighted some distance outside of the lines … at the hour of eleven the spies reported a large encampment three miles distant, where the savages were whooping and dancing, and, being apprised of the approach of the Americans, were sending off their women and children.

The next day, close to sunrise, one thousand Red Sticks commanded by Peter McQueen attacked Jackson’s camp. For a half hour, they fought, General Coffee and his troopers leading the charge, chasing them for two miles. Although Coffee intended to burn the Red Sticks’ camp, he found it too strongly fortified, so he retreated to bring up the artillery–a six-pounder cannon.

Suddenly, McQueen launched another attack from all sides. More fierce fighting ensued, the hostiles withdrew and despite McQueen’s pleas, they refused to attack a third time.

Albert J. Pickett writes: The brave Creeks had now been repulsed in every attempt, but they exhibited a ferocity and courage which commanded the serious consideration of Jackson, whose force was weaker than he desired …..

The next day, Jackson buried his dead then marched back toward Fort Strother, his wounded carried on litters made of deer hide.

Fight at Enitachopca Creek

During his march back to Fort Strother, Jackson engaged in another battle on January 24 when he tried to cross Enitachopca Creek. His wounded and soldiers in the advance guard made it across safely, but then, the Red Sticks attacked. Jackson’s rear guard panicked before the painted warriors. A fierce struggle for Jackson’s artillery ensued.

Albert J. Pickett writes: Discovering that, in separating the gun from the limbers, the rammer and pricker had been left tied to the latter … while Indian bullets rattled like hail around them, Constantine Perkins and Craven Jackson, two of the gunners, supplied the deficiency. Perkins took off his bayonet and rammed the cartridge home with his musket, and Jackson, drawing his ramrod, employed it as a pricker, priming with a musket cartridge. The six-pounder was thus twice charged, pouring grape among the savages, then only a few yards distant … after the second fire, the little artillery company furiously charged on the assailants, who became more cautious in their approaches ….

Finally repelling the enemy and saving the cannon, Jackson’s men, at last, reached Fort Strother. The general allowed the sixty volunteers who’d participated to go back to Huntsville, in north Alabama, for an honorable discharge.

Jackson would soon receive reinforcements from the commander of the Sixth Military District, Major General Thomas Pinckney, and Tennessee’s governor, Blount. Among these men was Sam Houston, who’d later become famous in the Texas Revolution. With these men, Jackson prepared to fight his final and most decisive battle at Horseshoe Bend.


Bunn, Mike and Clay Williams. Battle for the Southern Frontier: The Creek War and the War of 1812. Fourth Printing. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2013.

Pickett, Albert J. The History of Alabama. Republished by Birmingham Book & Magazine Co. of Birmingham, Alabama, 1962. Copyright 1878 by Mrs. Sarah S. Pickett.

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