Andrew Jackson 1767-1845 A brief biography

The Creek War 1813-1814

In August 30, 1813 a faction of the Creek Indian Nation called the Red Sticks under Red Eagle, slew nearly 250 Alabama settlers in a brutal manner, resulting in the calling out of two 2,500 man forces, one under Jackson to punish and stop the Indians. It was feared that the Indians, in close contact with the Spanish, would begin a cooperative campaign against the southern U.S.

Jackson in the interim had gotten his arm shattered by a slug in a shoot-out. Still he waged a very competent war of maneuvers and brutal attacks which crushed the rebellion. Had the rebellion not been stopped, it could have grown widespread, especially with the U.S. under attack from several directions.

The creek war led to Jackson's recognition by Madison's administration as a Major General in the U.S. army, in command of the Seventh Military District, a very big step up from being a state militia Major General. His territory included Louisiana, Tennessee, and the Mississippi Territory.

He was a very competent, extraordinarily driving and decisive general in a war characterized, on the American side, mostly by incompetence and paralysis.

The Creek nation (only a fraction of which had been in rebellion) was essentially crushed. They were forced to cede three fifths of the present state of Alabama and one fifth of Georgia.

It took all of Jackson's relentlessness and sometimes brutality just to keep the force from deserting en masse. One 18 year old soldier rebelled in a sudden wild impulse, drawing his gun on officers who had ordered him back to duty. Jackson ordered the young man, John Woods, shot. This would be used as anti-Jackson propaganda during the Presidential campaigns.

More Dueling, Horsewhips and Pistols

Jackson's shattered arm was an indirect result of a duel in which Jackson, reluctantly, had officiated. Jesse Benton, a fine shot, was the challenger. According to dueling etiquette, the man challenged, in this case a poor shot, had the right to choose terms, so he chose them to minimize the advantage of marksmanship. The two men started back-to-back at ten feet, and on a signal, whirled around and fired. A bullet raked both Benton's buttocks, causing pain and ridicule. 

Jesse's brother, future Senator Thomas Hart Benton and presently under Jackson as a Colonel, began a campaign of abusing and berating Jackson for his part in the affair, which lead Jackson to warn that he would horse- whip Thomas the first time he ran across him. When Jackson tried to carry out his threat, things escalated to a gunfight, in which a bullet shattering the bone in Jackson's left arm. All but one doctor consulted recommended amputation, but Jackson refused.

Only in 1831 was the bullet removed, and Jackson jokingly tried to present it to Benton, one of Jackson's strongest supporters in Congress.