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The Battle of Tippecanoe


Facts about the battle of tippecanoe:

Tecumseh and the Prophet were two Shawnee Indians. They also were brothers. During the early 1800s, they devised separate plans to deal with the white settlers flooding into Ohio and Indiana. According to the Prophet, the Master of Life told him that the Indians must give up all white customs and products. If they did not change their ways, the Master of Life would not send the Indians to their equivalent of heaven. If they did reject these items and return to traditional ways, the Master of Life would reward them by driving the white settlers from the Indians' land. Tecumseh believed that, if the natives put aside their traditional differences and worked together, that they would be able to stop white encroachment onto the Indians' land. Tecumseh's Confederation became inextricably linked with his brother's religious movement.

In 1808, the brothers moved their respective followers to Prophetstown near the Tippecanoe River in the Indiana Territory. The two men continued to espouse their messages, and their followers continued to grow in number. By 1811, such a large number of natives lived at Prophetstown that white settlers in Ohio and the Indiana Territory demanded that the government do something to protect them. William Henry Harrison led an army against Prophetstown in the fall of 1811. He stopped his force a short distance from the Indian village. Tecumseh was away, recruiting other Indians to join his confederation. The Prophet, lacking the military skills of his brother, decided to attack the Americans. He claimed that the Master of Life had come to him and told him that the Indians would succeed in defeating the Americans. He also stated that the whites' bullets would not harm the natives. The Indians attacked Harrison's men before daybreak on the morning of November 7, 1811. Harrison's army had approximately a thousand troops, including infantry and cavalry. The American army defeated the Indians, but they suffered heavy losses: sixty-two men killed and 126 wounded. The Indian's losses are impossible to know because they carried off most of their dead and wounded. Harrison guessed that at least forty Indians were killed. This battle became known as the Battle of Tippecanoe.

The American army drove off the Indians and burned Prophetstown to the ground during the battle of tippecanoe. Most Indians no longer believed in the Prophet. Many returned to their own villages after the defeat. Tecumseh tried to resurrect his confederation, but many natives refused to join him again. Unfortunately for Tecumseh, to gain followers he allied himself with his brother. The Prophet, by making such bold statements before the battle, led Tecumseh's followers to reject the alliance. Divided, it was now only a matter of time before the Indians fell to the Americans, during the battle of tippecanoe.

While Tecumseh's confederation collapsed at the Battle of Tippecanoe, Harrison's fortunes only increased. He used his popularity as a successful Indian fighter to run for President of the United States. His campaign slogan was "Tippecanoe and Tyler too!"

This article is based on information collected to provide education regarding the battle of tippecanoe.





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