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The Creek War of 1813 and 1814
Inter-Tribal Councils of the Creeks and the Choctaws
by Halbert, H. S. and Ball, T. H.


The Creek confederacy, in undertaking war against the Federal Government, was entering upon a conflict, that, for disparity of numbers and resources, never had a parallel in the annals of savage warfare. However little the ignorant and deluded warriors may have reflected over the magnitude of this undertaking,, the wiser of their chiefs knew that the confederacy, even with British and Spanish aid could not successfully cope with the Federal power, unless they secured the alliance of the powerful nation of the Choctaws on their western border Many efforts were made to accomplish this object.

It was at some period in July that a council was held between the two nations, at or near the present town of Pushmataha, in Choctaw County, Alabama. The Choctaws were chiefly represented by Pushmataha, Moshulitubbee, and Huanna Mingo. It is not known what Creek chiefs represented the confederacy. During the conference there were regular communications between the Choctaws and the whites, then in the fort at Winchester. About midway between the two places, lived a citizen, a white man, named Robert McLaughlin. Every event occurring at the council was conveyed to McLaughlin by a Choctaw messenger, and thence by McLaughlin through a white messenger to the whites at Winchester. The council lasted several days, the Creeks urging the Choctaws to join them in war against the whites, the Choctaws, on the contrary, contending for peace and appealing to their national tradition that they had never shed the blood of white men in war and they must not begin it now. Pushmataha was the principal speaker on the part of the Choctaws. It is said that he spoke the greater part of two days endeavoring to dissuade the Creeks from war. The council at last terminated with the Creeks bent on war, and the Choctaws firmly resolved that they would not co-operate with them in the impending conflict.

A tradition states that another attempt was likewise made by the Creeks to secure the alliance of at least a portion of the Choctaw people by means of a conference which Weatherford and another Muscogee chief, named Ochillie Hadjo, had with Mingo Moshulitubbee. But it, too, resulted in failure. It can not now be determined whether this conference occurred before or after the inter-tribal council, of which we have given some account above.

Both history and tradition agree that much interest was manifested by the Choctaws in the war impending with the Creek confederacy, and that they were resolved to maintain their peaceful relations with the Americans. During this exciting period, before the actual clash of arms had begun, councils were held at various places in the Choctaw nation, in which the most noted Mingoes made talks expressing their sympathy for the American cause and urging upon their warriors the duty of living at peace with the whites; and in every council was iterated the national tradition that the Choctaws had never shed the blood of white men in war.

No apprehension of Choctaw hostility was felt by the frontier people living along the Choctaw border, in the old counties of Wayne and Hancock. It is true that there were two forts built in Wayne county, Patton's Fort, at Winchester, and Roger's Fort. seven miles above. But the whites had taken temporary shelter in these forts, not on account of their Choctaw neighbors, with whom they lived daily in perfect concord, but from the fear of a possible inroad from the dreaded Creek warriors to the east of the Tombigbee.

But the case was somewhat different in the fork of the Tombigee and Alabama, where the people lived on the border of the Creek nation. Some solicitude prevailed there, for a brief period, among the new settlers in regard to Choctaw fidelity. The older settlers, however, who had been acquainted with the Choctaws for many years, did not share in this solicitude, but were confident that the Choctaw people would not deviate from that long-tried and unwavering friendship, which they had ever manifested toward the Americans.

Had the Choctaws united with the Creeks at the inception of the war of 1813, as has been truly said, in less than thirty days, the whole Southern frontier would have been drenched in blood; and the Federal Government, hampered, as it was with war else where, would have been forced to put forth its mightiest effort to retain a hold upon the territory of the South-west. But the Choctaws, true to the old tradition, did not break their record as steadfast friends of the whites; nay, even more, for as the war progressed, hundreds of their warriors enlisted in the armies of Claiborne and Jackson. No lapse of time should ever permit the people of Mississippi and Alabama, the old historic South-west, to forget this action of the Choctaw people. The story of their fidelity to the American cause should never be permitted to pass into oblivion.

As a fitting close to this chapter, we quote from Claiborne's Mississippi the following eulogium upon this race of Southern red men: "Honesty on the part of the men and chastity of the women were characteristic of the Choctaw people, the real proprietors of the domain of Mississippi, whose traditions have been preserved in the names of our streams and our counties, which should ever remind us and our posterity, that, when we were but a feeble people, they fought for us the martial Muscogee; and when we had become numerous and opulent, in the darkest days of our history, when pressed to the earth by a superior adversary, when we had no reward to hold out, only our broken lances and shattered shields, they came to our aid and shared with us the doom of the vanquished. Mississippi, if she survives for a thousand years, as God grant she may, should never forget the brotherhood that binds her to this noble race, born under her own stars and skies."

NOTES

THE AUTHORITIES FOR THE STATEMENTS IN THIS CHAPTER.

The account of the international council of the Creeks and the Choctaws rests upon the authority of the late venerable Edmund Chapman of Newton County, Mississippi, who was an inmate of the fort at Winchester, at the time the council occurred

The tradition in regard to Weatherford and Moshulitubbee was related to the writer in 1877, by the late Mr. G. W. Campbell of Noxubee County, Mississippi, he receiving the statement in early life from one of Moshulitubbee's noted captains, named Stonie Hadjo, who died in Noxubee County, about 1838.

The statement in regard to the attitude of the Choctaws towards the whites is based upon conversations and correspondence with several aged frontiersmen, now dead a number of years, who lived in Wayne and Jefferson counties during the Creek War. These informants, without exception, were unanimous in their statements, that nowhere along the Choctaw border, and at no time, were there the slightest manifestations of hostility towards the Americans. One of these informants was the late venerable Mr. Archibald McArthur, of Winston County, Mississippi, whose early life was passed among the Choctaws, and who was for several years connected with the Presbyterian Choctaw Mission at Emmaus. The statements of these trustworthy informants, who had every opportunity to know the real facts, are utterly at variance with the statements in Claiborne's Mississippi, page 396, in regard to the Choctaws, and that "the Chickasahay towns began to paint and to chant their war-songs." This sentence strikes us as a mere rhetorical flourish. We are compelled to accept the evidence of these old frontiersmen as conclusive. H. S. H.

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