During the early 1800s, United States’ settlers began pushing west, and they began encroaching on Native American territory. Under pressure to cede their territory to the United States, some tribes in the Creek nation did so readily, while other tribes rebelled. This set off a civil war within the Creek nation, and the United States military under General Andrew Jackson was sent to help quell the war. Horseshoe Bend National Military Park preserves the site where Jackson’s army defeated the Red Stick Creeks, a battle that ended the Creek War. As a result, the Creek nation was forced to cede much of its land to the United States government and Jackson became a national hero, helping him eventually rise to the presidency of the United States.
A visit to Horseshoe Bend National Military Park allows visitors to get a better grasp of this little talked about era of American history. First, visitors should stop at the visitors center, where they will see a very informative video that talks about the Creek War and the Battle of Horseshoe Bend specifically. After the video, visitors can walk through the small museum that goes into a bit more detail than the video on the battle.
As visitors learn during the film, the Battle of Horseshoe Bend occurred at, as the name suggests, a horseshoe looking bend in the Tallapoosa River. The Red Stick Creeks were entrenched in the narrow bend of the horseshoe. Jackson’s army assaulted the Red Sticks from the front, but Jackson also sent some men to surround the opposite bank of the river in case the Red Sticks attempted to flee. However, the men were able to cross the river, burn the Red Sticks camp, and assault the Red Sticks from behind. Visitors to the battlefield are able to drive on a road along the inside of the river and stop at a few different places along the road to see where Jackson was stationed during his assault, where the Red Sticks were entrenched, where Jackson’s army crossed the Tallapoosa, and where the Red Stick camp was. By going to the visitor center and touring the battlefield site, visitors can learn about this tragic era of American history.