Mar. 24, 1824 Little River Baldwin County Alabama, USA
Native American Historical Figure. It is believed that he was born in what is now the state of Alabama into a wealthy family that consisted of his father, a Scottish trader, and his mother, a Creek Indian also of mixed heritage. As a result of this mixed lineage, he was only one-eighth Creek Indian. In the Creek nation descent was determined by the mother and his white father was of no concern to the other Creeks. He was therefore able to rise to become a chief of the Creeks. His war name was Hopnicafutsahia, or "Truth Teller," and was commonly referred to as Lamochattee, or "Red Eagle." Chief Red Eagle was reluctant to go to war, but once in battle he was a fierce warrior. During the war of 1812 he led the Creek nation against the Americans. He led his people in an attack on Fort Mims, a temporary stockade near the confluence of the Tombigbee and Alabama Rivers. The battle raged for about four hours and became known as the Fort Mims Massacre. The loss for the Creeks may have reached into the hundreds, but the loss for the Americans was complete. Weatherford may have made an attempt to halt the massacre but his warriors were like "famished wolves" he reported later. American losses were estimated as high as five hundred. News of the massacre spread quickly and galvanized the southwest. Andrew Jackson who was hampered by a wound he received in a recent dual, with the bullet still in his body, his arm in a sling, and so weak that at times he had to be helped on his horse headed south. Jackson dispatched a force of 500 troops under his trusted lieutenant John Coffee to the Creek village of Tallushatchee. The troops lured the Creek warriors into a trap and fought as long as a single warrior existed. In the end all 180 warriors were slain and only 5 troops were killed. No sooner had Coffee returned than Jackson received word that Weatherford and a thousand of his braves were attacking Talladega, thirty miles to the south. Jackson headed south with 1200 infantry and 800 cavalry. Jackson surrounded Talladega, but his efforts to emulate the Tallushatchee success failed and Weatherford and 700 of his warriors escaped. That left 300 of his people dead and Talladega saved. The American losses were 15 dead and 85 wounded. On December 23, 1813 General William Claiborne surprised Weatherford in the village of Oconochaca. Weatherford escaped only by urging his horse to make a legendary, and often recounted, jump off a bluff into the river. Weatherford and about 3000 warriors were hold up in an encampment known as Tohopeka, or Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River. This time Weatherford brought the battle to Jackson as he approached Horseshoe Bend. The Indians attempted to attack in three places simultaneously. Unfortunately for them, one of the forces failed to engage and Jackson was just barely able to hold them off., but was forced to retreat. Weatherford's forces struck again and once more the attack was furious; Jackson rallied his troops and prevented them from being routed. Jackson could not claim victory, but the Creek losses far outweighed his. Jackson managed to piece together a larger force and with about four thousand men, including some Creek, Cherokee, and Choctaw allies marched again toward Horseshoe Bend. Weatherford and about 1000 braves and 300 women and children were fortified there. They were almost completely surrounded by the river and had enclosed the rest of the camp with a breastwork of logs five to eight feet high with many portholes. At about 10:00 in the morning of March 27, 1814 Jackson began his attack. The Battle was fierce and raged on through the afternoon. Jackson later told his wife, "The carnage was terrible." Jackson sent out a flag of truce and it was fired upon. By night fall only a few warriors had escaped across the river. Jackson counted 500 dead on the ground and an estimated 300 more in the river. But their leader William Weatherford, Chief Red Eagle, had been absent from Horseshoe Bend. Word went out to the Creek to surrender and sever ties with the British or be annihilated. Many turned themselves in, but Weatherford's whereabouts remained a mystery. Jackson demanded they turn their leader in to show good faith. But before they were forced to do so he walked boldly into camp. This was exactly the sort of brave act that would impress Jackson. Weatherford said, "My warriors no longer hear my voice. Their bones are at Talladega, Tallushatchee, and Tohopeka. … I now ask for peace for my nation, and for myself." He set about convincing the remaining holdouts to surrender and the Creek War came to an end. He was pardoned by Jackson and became a prominent citizen and wealthy planter in Monroe County, Alabama.