Published on February 10, 2013 by Carol
The spread of settlements in the “Old Northwest” created additional tension with other tribes. In 1804, Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, along with his his medicine man brother, the Prophet, gained British backing and began serious efforts to form a new Indian confederacy in the Northwest. Governor William Henry Harrison of the Indiana Territory rejected Tecumseh’s demand that settlers be kept out of the region. In the summer of 1811 Harrison, with the approval of the War Department, undertook to break up the confederacy before it could organize a major attack against the settlements.
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In September, 1811 Harrison led a well-trained force of nearly 1,000 troops up the Wabash River. After building Fort Harrison at Terre Haute, Harrison marched with 800 men toward the main Indian village on Tippecanoe Creek. On November 6, 1811, Harrison encamped near the village and tried to negotiate a peace settlement with the Prophet, as Chief Tecumseh was absent. However, at dawn the next morning, the Shawnee attacked Harrison’s forces. Though the battled ended in an indecisive victory, with both sides having about the same amount of casualties, the U.S. forces were able to destroy the Indian village and cause them to flee.
Though this battle temporarily reduced the Indian threat in the region, the battle did not solve the area “Indian problems” in the Old Northwest. Instead, the Indians were to make common cause with the British in the War of 1812.