Thursday, May 14, 2015

Old Alabama Stuff (5): Eggleston's Red Eagle & the Alabama Creek Indian Wars

William Weatherford or "Red Eagle" is an important figure in early Alabama history. He was a major leader of the Red Stick faction in the Creek War of 1813-14. On August 30, 1813, he and others led some 700 warriors in the attack on Fort Mims in what is today Baldwin County. The Red Sticks killed over half the 400 settlers who had taken refuge in the fort and captured 100 more. The resulting national outrage brought Andrew Jackson and his forces to Alabama; the decisive battle was fought at Horseshoe Bend the following March.

Alexander Meek, a major literary figure in Alabama before the Civil War, wrote a narrative poem about Weatherford, The Red Eagle: A Poem of the South. The Fort Mims battle is reenacted every year.   

In 1878 a man who probably never visited Alabama wrote a book about Weatherford and these events, Red Eagle and the Wars with the Creek Indians of Alabama. George Cary Eggleston was born in Vevay, Indiana, in November 1839. At seventeen he inherited the family plantation in Virginia, attended college in Richmond and at the outbreak of the Civil War joined the Confederate Army. He was present for the surrender at Appomattox. He wrote about his wartime experiences in A Rebel's Recollections, published in book form in 1875.

Before his death in 1911 Eggleston wrote several novels and other non-fiction works. His book on Red Eagle was published in the "Famous American Indians" series by Dodd, Mead and Company. His older brother Edward Eggleston, also a writer, published books in the series as well. George Eggleston did live in Mississippi for some period after the Civil War. Below are various materials from his book on Red Eagle.

As the Encyclopedia of Alabama entry on Weatherford notes, "Weatherford is nearly universally called Red Eagle by writers. The sobriquet has no basis in fact. According to a family friend, Thomas Woodward, Weatherford was known by two Creek names, Hoponika Fulsahi (Truth Maker) and Billy Larney, which translates as Yellow Billy. The name "Red Eagle" did not appear in print until the 1855 publication of A. B. Meek's poem "The Red Eagle: A Poem of the South," a lengthy romanticized tale based loosely on Weatherford and his exploits."

George Cary Eggleston
Source: Wikipedia




751 Broadway.



CHAPTER I. Showing, by way of Introduction, how Red Eagle happened to be a Man of Consequence in History
CHAPTER II. Red Eagle's People
CHAPTER III. Red Eagle's Birth and Boyhood
CHAPTER IV. The Beginning of Trouble
CHAPTER V. Red Eagle as an Advocate of War—The Civil War in the Creek Nation
CHAPTER VI. The Battle of Burnt Corn
CHAPTER VII. Red Eagle's Attempt to abandon his Party
CHAPTER VIII. Claiborne and Red Eagle
CHAPTER IX. Red Eagle before Fort Mims
CHAPTER X. The Massacre at Fort Mims
CHAPTER XI. Romantic Incidents of the Fort Mims Affair
CHAPTER XII. The Dog Charge at Fort Sinquefield and Affairs on the Peninsula
CHAPTER XIII. Pushmatahaw and his Warriors
CHAPTER XIV. Jackson is helped into his Saddle
CHAPTER XV. The March into the Enemy's Country
CHAPTER XVI. The Battle of Tallushatchee
CHAPTER XVII. The Battle of Talladega
CHAPTER XVIII. General Cocke's Conduct and its Consequences
CHAPTER XIX. The Canoe Fight
CHAPTER XX. The Advance of the Georgians—The Battle of Autosse
CHAPTER XXI. How Claiborne executed his Orders—The Battle of the Holy Ground—Red Eagle's Famous Leap
CHAPTER XXII. How Jackson lost his Army
CHAPTER XXIII. A New Plan of the Mutineers
CHAPTER XXIV. Jackson's Second Battle with his own Men
CHAPTER XXV. Jackson dismisses his Volunteers without a Benediction
CHAPTER XXVI. How Jackson lost the rest of his Army
CHAPTER XXVII. Battles of Emuckfau and Enotachopco—How the Creeks "whipped Captain Jackson"
CHAPTER XXVIII. How Red Eagle "whipped Captain Floyd"—The Battle of Calebee Creek
CHAPTER XXIX. Red Eagle's Strategy
CHAPTER XXX. Jackson with an Army at last
CHAPTER XXXI. The Great Battle of the War
CHAPTER XXXII. Red Eagle's Surrender
CHAPTER XXXIII. Red Eagle after the War

List Of Illustrations


A work of this kind necessarily makes no pretension to originality in its materials; but while all that is here related is to be found in books, there is no one book devoted exclusively to the history of the Creek war or to the life of William Weatherford, the Red Eagle. The materials here used have been gathered from many sources—some of them from books which only incidentally mention the matters here treated, touching them as a part of larger subjects, and many of them from books which have been long out of print, and are therefore inaccessible to readers generally.
The author has made frequent acknowledgments, in his text, of his obligations to the writers from whose works he has drawn information upon various subjects. By way of further acknowledgment, and for the information of readers who may be tempted to enlarge their reading in the interesting history of the South-west, he appends the following list of the principal books that have been consulted in the preparation of this volume:
Parton's "Life of Andrew Jackson."
Eaton's "Life of Andrew Jackson."
Pickett's "History of Alabama."
Drake's "Book of the Indians."
McAfee's "History of the Late War in the Western Country."
Claiborne's "Notes on the War in the South."
Meek's "Romantic Passages in South-western History."
"Indian Affairs, American State Papers."
Kendall's "Life of Jackson."
Waldo's "Life of Jackson."
Russell's "History of the Late War."
Brackenridge's "History of the Late War."


  1. Weatherford did not lead the attack on Fort Mims. There is good reason to doubt that he was even present. His role in the overall Red Stick rebellion was probably embellished because the first Creek Indian to write down a surviving history happened to be Weatherford's brother-in-law, George Stiggins. Stiggins was hostile to the Red Sticks but gives his relative a glowing report, providing a basis for much of the future treatment of Weatherford as a romantic hero of Alabama history.

  2. Thanks for your comments! Sources for these views would be of interest...