Thursday, August 23, 2012

War of 1812 Road Trip, Day 2 . . . Tippecanoe and Prophet Too

This recreation of Prophet's Town is located at the Woodland Indian Settlement in Prophetstown State Park.  The original settlement was founded in 1808 by Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa (The Prophet).

William Henry Harrison, feeling a bit antsy about all of the "increased Native American presence at Prophetstown," moved his troops within half a mile of the settlement.

The Prophet, feeling a bit antsy about having all of those troops so near, (Tecumseh was away) decided for a preemptive strike into Harrison's camp on November 7, 1811.

All of the above resulted in the Battle of Tippecanoe; afterwards Harrison's troops razed Prophetstown to the ground.

Dudeboy feeling a bit of family angst . . . his gr-gr-gr-gr-gr grandfather Benjamin Shacklett was part of Major-General Samuel Hopkins second destruction of Prophet's Town (it was being rebuilt at the time) in November of 1812.  They apparently encountered some fairly ghastly sights from the year before.  Benjamin Shacklett is mentioned specifically by Major-General Samuel Hopkins in a letter to Kentucky Governor Isaac Shelby (November 26, 1812 near Fort Harrison) ". . . my thanks are due, as also to colonels Miller and Wilcox, and to major Hughes and Shacklet(t)."   

The battlefield mainly encompasses the encampment of Harrison's troops.  A wrought-iron fence marks the position of the the lines and encampment.

The fence next to Dudeboy is the approximate location of most of the Kentucky riflemen.

One of a few monuments marking a deathsite of a particular officer . . . this one is for Captain William C. Baen of the Fourth Regiment.

The Battle of Tippecanoe was not the decisive victory that Harrison claimed.  The natives did leave the battlefield, but they suffered fewer casualties.  Of course, one major result of the battle was the public outcry, particularly from warhawks like Kentucky's Henry Clay, which in turn fueled the oncoming War of 1812.  
Variously called the Battle of Wildcat Creek, The Second Battle of Tippecanoe, or Spur's Defeat* this engagement was part of the Major-General Samuel Hopkins expedition to sack the settlements at Tippecanoe, Wabash and Eel River.  I have found no evidence that our Benjamin Shacklett participated in this fiasco (he was busy laying waste to Prophet's Town).  A group of about 60 scouts were ambushed . . . as one man reported, "We retreated in every kind of disorder the best way we could."  Hence the name Spur's Defeat, which refers to the spurs the soldiers put to their horses.
*The old sign shown in this link no longer exists.  We went to the location and got confirmation from a local . . . who looked at me like I was crazy for asking about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Had forgotten about Shacklett's tie-in to Prophets Town...pretty neat.