Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Battle of Horseshoe Bend 27 March 1814

Americans troops circa 1814
A very famous day in Scots-Irish history is 27 March which is the anniversary of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.  On this day in 1814 General Andrew Jackson led force consisting of 2,600 American soldiers, 500 Cherokee, and 100 Lower Creek allies to attach the Red Stick Creek fort  defended by 1,000 warriors on Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River.  The majority of Jackson’s men were Scots-Irish.

The battle began in full at 10:30 that morning with an artillery barrage which consisted of two cannons firing for about two hours.  However, the Red Stick Creek fort was expertly constructed of heavy timber and earth.  Very little damage was done to fortifications and the Red Stick Creek were entirely safe and well supplied behind their walls.
Horseshoe Bend today
Jackson ordered a bayonet charge and the 39th US Infantry led by Colonel John Williams charged the breastworks and engaged the Red Sticks in hand to hand combat.  Sam Houston was an officer that participated in the battle.  He distinguished himself greatly; he was the first man to survive going over the log barricade into the Red Stick lines.  He was wounded by an arrow, a wound that troubled him the rest of his life.  David Crockett was a scout for Jackson’s army, he was scouting when the engagement took place, and while was in the vicinity, did not participate in the fighting of that day.   

More of Jackson's army under General John Coffee crossed the river and joined in the battle.  The fighting was extremely intense and lasted over five hours.  Eventfully Jackson got the upper hand and the Red Stick defenses collapsed.  The Red Stick losses were heavy, between 800 to 1000 dead.  Their Chief, Menawa, was wounded, but survived and led a party of his warriors across the river to safety and escaped to Spanish Florida.  The Scots-Irish losses were between 30 to 40 killed and around 150 wounded. The victory made the area safe for the Scots-Irish settlers.

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