HORSESHOE BEND NATIONAL MILITARY PARK
In the spring of 1814, General Andrew Jackson and an army of 3,300 men attacked 1,000 Upper Creek warriors on the Tallapoosa River. Over 800 Upper Creeks died defending their homeland. Never before or since in the history of our country have so many American Indians lost their lives in a single battle. This 2040-acre park preserves the site of the battle.
The fields, forests, waterways and trails of Horseshoe Bend NMP offer excellent opportunities to observe animals in their natural habitat. While visiting the park, expect to see an abundance of White-tailed deer, wild turkey and squirrel, along with a diverse population of snakes, turtles and toads. The park is also home to armadillos, foxes and coyotes, although due to their nocturnal way of life are a rare yet exciting sight. We encourage visitors to observe with respect the wildlife at Horseshoe Bend NMP, keeping in mind that these animals play a vital role in the environment of the park. By protecting and respecting nature, places such as Horseshoe Bend NMP can continue to thrive.
Horseshoe Bend is home to a diverse range of flora; thousands of different species are present throughout the park. Our nature trail provides many opportunities to explore the trees, bushes and flowers, which range in diversity from common plants such as black-eyed Susan, river cane, dogwood trees and Goldenrod to rarities such as the yaupon holly. The vast population of trees at Horseshoe Bend provide ample shade, perfect for taking refuge from the Alabama heat to read a book, eat lunch or simply enjoy the scenery.
In March 1814, General Jackson's army left Fort Williams on the Coosa, cut a 52-mile trail through the forest in three days, and on the 26th made camp six miles north of Horseshoe Bend. The next morning, Jackson sent General John Coffee and 700 mounted infantry and 600 Cherokee and Lower Creek allies three miles down-stream to cross the Tallapoosa and surround the bend. He took the rest of the army - about 2000 men, consisting of East and West Tennessee militia and the Thirty-ninth U.S. Infantry - into the peninsula and at 10:30 a.m. began an ineffectual two-hour artillery bombardment of the Red Sticks' log barricade. At noon, some of Coffee's Cherokees crossed the river and assaulted the Red Sticks from the rear. Jackson quickly ordered a frontal bayonet charge, which poured over the barricade. Fighting ranged over the south end of the peninsula throughout the afternoon. By dark at least 800 of Chief Menawa's 1,000 Red Sticks were dead (557 slain on the field and 200-300 in the river). Menawa himself, although severely wounded, managed to escape. Jackson's losses in the battle were 49 killed and 154 wounded, many mortally.
Though the Red Sticks had been crushed at Tohopeka, the remnants of the hostile Creeks held out for several months. In August 1814, exhausted and starving, they surrendered to Jackson at Wetumpka, near the present city of Montgomery, Alabama. The Treaty of Fort Jackson ending the conflict required the Creeks to cede some 20 million acres of land - more than half of their ancestral territorial holdings - to the United States. The state of Alabama was carved out of this domain and admitted to the Union in 1819.
In 1829, partly as a result of his fame from the battles of Horseshoe Bend and New Orleans, Andrew Jackson was elected President of the United States; a year later he signed the Indian Removal Bill forcing all the tribes east of the Mississippi River to move to Oklahoma, a journey the Cherokees called the "Trail of Tears." The Southeast, cleared of most Indians and free from the threat of foreign intervention, thus became part of the United States and was opened for settlement.