allison

As stated in a past column, the Battle of Tippecanoe has been called the most savage and well fought battle ever waged between the white and red races. The Indians charged again and again into the blazing rifles of the soldiers and they had kept their composure as few other Indians ever had under such conditions. The army of Harrison, even the raw militia, had fought with gallantry and courage. Harrison was later criticized for being taken by surprise and attacked in his camp, but he had apparently taken every precaution possible to make his camp aware of the danger they faced.

His orders of the day were if you are attacked to hold your position until relieved and to sleep with your rifle, bayonet and cartridge both by your side. To show what the Americans though of the fighting ability of the Indians they used to boast one of them could take on two Britishers, three Frenchmen or four Spaniards, but they also had to admit they wanted to outnumber the Indians by two to one before they did battle with them. At Tippecanoe Harrison had around 950 men while the Indians had at the most around 700.

While Harrison at first report had a list of 57 killed and 151 wounded, 29 of the wounded died before or soon after the army returned to Vincennes. Thus the final casualty count was 68 killed and 122 wounded. The Indians, from what the whites could learn from the Indians who took part in the battle, had 45 killed and over 60 more wounded. The whites believed the Indians had poisoned their rifle balls or chewed on them to make them more deadly. This might or might not have been true. Just as the battle ended an Indian grabbed The Prophet and pulled him down from the rock where he had stayed during the battle in an effort to make is so-called magic work. The Indians were very mad at The Prophet for his duplicity and they bound him up with a rope and took him like a sack of flour to their new camp on nearby Wildcat Creek as Prophetstown had been deserted by the Indians.

When Tecumseh learned what had happened at Tippecanoe he wanted to kill his brother. After all he had left him in charge while he was in the south with orders not to take any hostile action against the whites until he could form his confederation of Indian tribes with the English in Canada. A number of counties and towns in Indiana were later named for the men who took part in the Battle of Tippecanoe. Among the counties are Daviess, Bartholomew, Owen, Dubois, Randolph, Tipton, Warrick, White, Harrison, and both a county and the town of Spencer.

Tecumseh was never able to form his confederation. He became a brigadier general in the British army and served with gallantry and distinction in several battles during the War of 1812 and was killed leading the Indians at the Battle of the Thames in Canada. The Prophet could never again be known as a great prophet and was shamed for his part in having the Indians fight Harrison at Tippecanoe. He finally died in Kansas in 1836, a bitter and mostly forgotten old man. Harrison became one of the heroes of the War in 1812. He was only one of a few who took part in this war who really did serve with any distinction in a war that saw us burn the capitol of Canada and the British retaliate by burning our capitol in Washington, D.C., causing our President Monroe to flee in terror and his wife stay behind to save what she could of their precious paintings and documents.

Our army lost more battles than they won, but our navy did serve with distinction and the most remembered battle of the war, the Battle of New Orleans, was found after the peace treaty had been signed. Harrison rode the slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” to the presidency where he died an early death from what was said to be the curse of Tecumseh.

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