I tuned into the web cast of the Creek War Symposium at Auburn University
The Creek War can be considered either part of the War of 1812 as a separate theater of operations, or a whole different war within a war.
Unfortunately many fort and battle sites are not preserved in Alabama. And some landowners are absolutely hostile over the notion to preserve them. Hopefully this will change for the bicentennial of the war coming up.
Below: General Floyd's attack on Autosee, one of the major battles of the war. From what I have been told, the town and battle site at Autosee is one of the places that are not preserved, and the landowner is not willing to seek preservation.
Dr. Kathryn Braund from Auburn gave a good presentation on Creek warfare ritual practices. She emphasized that this was a Creek Civil War that split the nation. Red Stick became identified with those who fought against the United States, and destroyed their nation and culture because of it. After the war was over, remaining Muskogees strongly emphasized that they were not Red Sticks who had fought and lost against the United States; that they were peaceful.
Below: Natives in the southeast in 1814. It includes former slaves who became allies.
Jim Parker's presentation had an excellent picture of Steve Abolt, large as life.
The failure of the British to take Fort Bowyer at Mobile Bay in September 1814 caused the British to lose all interest and support with the natives when their Seminole and Miccosukee allies failed to attack the fort as land forces. This ended the British notion that the Natives would rise up, stand behind the King, and fully support them. The Natives did not volunteer to become cannon fodder!
Below: On the map of the battle of Fort Bowyer in Sept. 1814, on the bottom right behind the British battery, is "600 Indians." And 130 Royal Marines.
The treaty of Ghent saved New Orleans, because the British went back to Plan A, which was to attack by land from Mobile. The end of the war stopped that plan, which would have succeeded since they captured Fort Bowyer one month after the Battle of New Orleans. The next day word came in about the treaty being signed, and the forces stood down and prisoners returned.
Below: February 11th, 1814; Colonel Lawrence surrenders Ft. Bowyer to the British when the British batteries took up a position on the sand dunes above the fort ramparts.
The most interesting part of the talk that I found was the Native attitudes and attitudes of the Creek descendants. Ted Isham said it really isn't a subject they can talk about, especially not when they are at the ceremonial ground and need to maintain a different attitude towards the ceremonial functions. But even almost 200 years later, feeling are still strong, and it is difficult to talk about Horseshoe Bend and the 1,000 Creeks who died there.
Although many of the Creek descendants might not know much about the details of the war and events, they have these lingering questions that shape their opinions. Why were we attacked? Why did Jackson come down and fight against us that killed many of our people and destroyed our nation? Why were we removed from our homeland?
Below: Battle of Horseshoe Bend diorama from the museum at the national park.
The Creeks are still struggling with these questions 195 years later.
Today, the Muskogee Nation is the fourth largest Native American tribe in the U.S.