Reenactors “fighting” the Battle of Burnt Corn Creek, not far from the site of the actual battle. Photo Credit: The author of this blog.
In the spring of 1813, the Creeks’ civil war was drawing to a close with the Red Sticks on the verge of winning. Meanwhile, the United States was fighting Great Britain a second time and Britain’s ally, Spain, threatened settlers from West Florida. Though Mobile was now in American hands, the Spanish still held Pensacola as West Florida’s capital. Along the Tensaw, Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers, settlers began building stockades.
The Red Sticks, encouraged by their prophets and the earth’s tremors Tecumseh had prophesied would hit their land, raided the farms of those who opposed them. A party of hostiles under the leadership of Peter McQueen, head warrior of Tallassee, headed for Pensacola, the second such party that went to that town. On the way, when McQueen’s warriors burned plantations owned by métis planters Sam Moniac and James Cornells, word spread like a forest fire—the Red Sticks were going to get ammunition from the Spaniards to fight them!
Colonel James Caller, commander of the region’s territorial militia, called his men to action. Six companies of riflemen and Captain Dixon Bailey’s thirty métis from the Tensaw, a total of 180 militiamen, marched to find the enemy.
On July 26, they encountered McQueen’s men returning from Pensacola with their packhorses. At eleven o’clock, during the Creeks’ meal, Caller mounted a surprise attack.
McQueen’s warriors fled across Burnt Corn Creek into a marsh, but then counterattacked while the militiamen plundered what they’d captured. The undisciplined volunteers scattered. Not long after this, they disbanded.
Not many casualties to report in this brief battle but because of Burnt Corn Creek, panicked settlers fled into their stockades. One of these was built on an acre of land around the home of Samuel Mims. His fort, aptly named Fort Mims, would go down in history as one of America’s bloodiest massacres … and the bloodiest one in America’s Old Southwest.
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.
Waselkov, Gregory A. A Conquering Spirit: Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-1814, Tuscaloosa, AL: The University of Alabama Press, 2006
 This was the New Madrid earthquake that hit New Madrid, Missouri in December 1811. It was a coincidence, and it frightened settlers and Indians alike. Tecumseh also prophesied about a comet, something he knew would come because British scientists in Canada had told him he and others would see it. It came over Alabama in September of 1811.