The Battle of Tippecanoe: 200-year Anniversary

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by civfanatic, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

    Sep 8, 2009
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    The Battle of Tippecanoe, fought on 7 November 1811, was one of the most important battles in the history of North America. Fought between the United States and a Shawnee-led confederacy of Native American tribes, it marked the end of organised Native American resistance to U.S. encroachment east of the Mississippi, and was one of the major factors leading to the War of 1812.


    Since the mid-18th century, European settlers had been steadily expanding into the areas west of the Appalachian Mountains. This process was greatly accelerated after the American Colonies declared their independence from Britain, and scrapped the stipulations of the Proclamation of 1763 (a colonial proclamation that restricted settlement of Western lands).

    Expansion of the American frontier, 1750-1810

    In 1800, William Harrison was appointed governor of the Indiana Territory, a vast territory that covered most of what was known as the "Old Northwest", the lands located north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi. Harrison was determined to acquire more land from Native American tribes to encourage settlement of the territory, and thus qualify for statehood. To this end, Harrison negotiated the Treaty of Fort Wayne in 1809, in which roughly 12,000 of tribal land was acquired by the U.S.

    The treaty angered many Native Americans. It was in this atmosphere that the Shawnee leader Tecumseh rose to political prominence. Advocating a return to their ancestral ways of life, common ownership of land, and inter-tribal unity, the Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa (known as the "Prophet") were able to quickly spread their message across. Through a combination of force, charisma, and diplomacy, Tecumseh was able to unite several Native American tribes under his banner, among them the Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Creeks. The capital of this new confederation was named "Prophetstown", in honor of Tenskwatawa.

    Portrait of Tecumseh

    Tecumseh's War and the Battle of Tippecanoe:

    Tensions between Harrison and Tecumseh continued to mount throughout 1810 and 1811. Despite meeting at the city of Vincennes in 1810 and again in 1811, neither side refused to give an inch. Tecumseh continued to give impassioned speeches, encouraging many Native Americans to join his cause. Matters came to a head in the winter of 1811, when Tecumseh was on a recruiting mission in the South. Fearing his growing influence among the Native American tribes, Harrison decided it was time to strike, knowing that the Confederacy's warriors would not be able to fight effectively without Tecumseh's leadership. Harrison organised an expeditionary force consisting of U.S. Army regulars and volunteer militia, and arrived outside of Prophetstown on 6 November, 1811. Tenskwataka, fearing that Harrison intended to destroy the city, made a critical strategic error: the next day, he launched a preemptive strike on the American army at the confluence of the Tippecanoe and Wabash rivers with a smaller force. The hard-fought battle ended with the routing of the Native American warriors, and the victorious Americans burned Prophetstown, effectively ending the short-lived Confederacy.

    LETHALFORCE and W.G.Ewald like this.
  3. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Sep 28, 2011
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    North Carolina, USA

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