JUNE 1812 - FEBRUARY 12, 1815
1,500 DEATH IN SERVICE
ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES
|11,097 Warriors||6,918 Warriors|
1 081 Haudenosaunee (Unknown exact Nation)
17 Huron Wendat
36 Lower Cayuga
30 Upper Cayuga
38 reported Unknown nation
173 Haudenosaunee (Exact match unknown)
292 reported Unknown Nation
On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war on Great Britain. US leaders were confident: "The conquest of Canada this year will be a simple walk," ex-President Thomas Jefferson said.
At the time, Britain had only a regular regiment of 900 men in the garrisons of Upper Canada. The only chance for the British to defend themselves from the Americans was the support of their native allies on both sides of the border.
On the northern border, some Indians rallied to the vision of Shawnee chief Tecumseh, who called on the tribes to unite against the United States. Tecumseh, a general in the British army, died for his cause at the Battle of Thames during the fighting in the northwest.
In the south, the powerful Creek nation became so divided over allegiances between the United States and England that a civil war broke out between "red sticks" and "white sticks". The dissolution of tribal groups in the south presaged the kind of bitter fraticide that occurred during the civil war.
When the British and Americans returned to war in 1812, the Creek nation decided to remain neutral. This resolution changed, however, when American settlers began to move aggressively on their tribal lands in violation of existing treaties.
The tribes hoped that the British would honor their treaties better than the Americans, and they offered their allegiance. But promises were made on the other side too. American pro and members of other tribes, including some six hundred Cherokee were recruited to fight under General Andrew Jackson, future president, declaring that they were "all the fights for a single cause".
Andrew Jackson with the help of a Cherokee regiment of white troops and the support of the Choctaws led by leader Pushmataha defeated the red sticks at the Battle of Horseshoed Bend in Alabama. At the end of the battle, only seventy of the nine hundred red clubs were still alive. Half of the victims of Jackson's troops were Indian auxiliaries.
Tecumseh is a Shawnee chief born in 1768. Native American leader of the Shawnee tribe, he led a great confederation of tribes that opposed the United States during the War of 1812. Tecumseh tried to stop the advance of colonization by Whites in the North West. He believes that the Indians must return to their traditions, that they must forget the intertribal rivalries and preserve the lands that belong in common to all Indians.
Tecumseh joins the British against the Americans in the War of 1812. His support for Major-General Sir Isaac Brock is decisive for the capture of Detroit. Before the British approach, the warriors of Tecumseh show themselves in an endless queue to the Americans. The warriors at the head of the line retrace their steps to stand at the tail, so that the American general is convinced that he is besieged by an innumerable force of Indians. This maneuver encouraged him to surrender in order to avoid a massacre after Major-General Brock had allegedly warned him that Tecumseh's broad support of the warriors would escape his control once the conflict began.
Legend has it that Tecumseh entered Detroit riding alongside Brock, and that Brock gave him his scarf as a sign of respect. On the subject of Tecumseh, Brock wrote that there was no warrior in his opinion wiser or more courageous, and that he aroused the admiration of all who conversed with him. As brigadier-general, Tecumseh led more than 2,000 warriors. He fought at the headquarters of Fort Meigs and Fort Stephenson, and his last battle was at the Thames in Chatham, Ontario, where, in his traditional Indian deerskin clothing, he was killed while commanding his warriors. in a last effort of resistance against the American invaders.
Pushmataha (Push-Ma-Ta-Ha) (1764 - 24 December 1824) was a warrior and Native American leader of the Choctaw people. Born around 1764 in present-day Mississippi, Pushmataha is a respected warrior when fighting the Osages and Caddos.
He became leader of his nation in 1805. Pushmataha supports the United States against Tecumseh who wants to integrate the Choctaws in his confederation.
Later, he opposed the Creeks Red Sticks under William Weatherford and fought during the Anglo-American War of 1812 against the British Empire.
During his service in the US Army, he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel. He was given the nickname General Indian. He participated with his comrade in arms, Louis LeFleur, in the creation of the military post, called French Camp, in Mississippi. His niece Rebecca Cravat (daughter of Jean Cravat, French soldier stationed in Fort Rosalie and Nehotima sister of Pushmataha) married Louis LeFleur.
Member of the large delegation of Indian tribes who went to Washington in 1824, he met General Lafayette during the triumphal return of the latter in America.
While staying at the Tennison Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, he died suddenly of a throat affection on December 24, 1824.
His eulogy is pronounced in the United States Senate and he is buried at the Congressional Cemetery with military honors.
In August 1814, peace negotiations were undertaken on neutral ground in the Dutch city of Ghent. Recognizing the disastrous omission of indigenous peoples in the Paris Treaty that ended the American war of independence, British negotiators demanded that Britain's indigenous allies be included in the treaty and "that a precise border be be established as to their territory ". The British government attached such importance to this provision that its negotiators informed their American counterparts that "they were not authorized to conclude a treaty which did not include the Indians as allies of His Britannic Majesty; and that the establishment of Indian territory was necessary for the conclusion of a permanent peace.
The Americans were even more stunned to learn that "the goal of the British government was that Indians should be a permanent barrier between our settlements in the west and the adjacent British province," and that neither country "should now to have the right to purchase or acquire any part of the territory so recognized as belonging to the Indians ". When the Americans pointed out that about a hundred thousand of their citizens lived in the area that the British proposed to establish as an aboriginal country and inquired, with good reason, about the "intentions of the British government towards them," they were told replied, rather uncomfortably, that "these inhabitants, who would be understood in Indian territory, must make their own arrangements and fend for themselves." The British position was totally unacceptable to the Americans and the negotiations stalled. After much discussion on this subject, the American delegates proposed that the treaty should include, rather than the creation of an Indian border in the north-west of their republic, "a general and reciprocal amnesty clause, guaranteeing to all persons, red as well as white, the exercise of the rights they enjoyed before the outbreak of war. The British negotiators rejected this proposal but, after consultation with London, were ordered to abandon the requirement for the creation of a border state and to propose instead to bring the following article to the treaty:
The United States of America undertakes to terminate, immediately after the ratification of this Treaty, hostilities against all Indian tribes or nations with whom they might have been at war at the time of such ratification and to surrender - to such tribes or nations, respectively, all the possessions, rights and privileges which they might have enjoyed or to which they would have been entitled in 1811, before the hostilities. It being understood, always, that said tribes and nations will agree to renounce all hostilities against the United States of America, their citizens and their subjects, as soon as the ratification of the present treaty has been notified to said tribes and nations, which will cease hostilities Consequently.
After much discussion, the American delegates accepted the proposal which became Article IX of the Treaty of Ghent, signed on December 24, 1814.
|Photo taken in studio in July 1882 of the last survivors among the Six Nations warriors who fought with the British in the War of 1812.
Throughout the rest of the 19th century, the exemplary presence and very good reputation of veterans such as these ensured the survival of the tradition of military service in Aboriginal communities in central and eastern Canada. From left to right, veterans of the Great River War in 1812 are Jacob Warner (92), John Tutlee (91) and John Smoke Johnson (93). The photo was taken in Brantford in 1882.