Battle of Tippecanoe

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The Battle of Tippecanoe was fought on November 7, 1811, between United States forces led by Governor William Henry Harrison of the Indiana Territory and forces of Tecumseh's growing American Indian confederation led by his younger brother Tenskwatawa. In response to rising tensions with the tribes and threats of war, a United States force of militia and regulars set out to launch a preemptive strike on the headquarters of the confederacy. While camping outside Prophetstown, at the confluence of the Tippecanoe and Wabash Rivers, awaiting a meeting with tribal leaders, Harrison's army was attacked in the early morning hours by forces from the town. Although the tribal forces took the army by surprise, their attack was ultimately repulsed as their ammunition ran low.

Although the tribes attacked with fewer men and sustained fewer casualties, the United States was victorious both tactically and strategically. The immediate result of the battle allowed Harrison's army to destroy Prophetstown and scatter its inhabitants. In addition to serving as an important political and symbolic victory for the United States, the Tippecanoe defeat dealt a devastating blow to Tecumseh's confederacy, which never fully regained its former strength. The battle was the culmination of rising tensions in a period sometimes called Tecumseh's War, which continued until collapse of tribal resistance with Tecumseh's death in 1813. Public opinion in the United States blamed the Native American uprising on British interference; it was later revealed that the British leaders in Canada had supplied Tecumseh's force with firearms and munitions. This suspicion led to further deterioration of American relations with Great Britain and served as a catalyst to the War of 1812, which began only six months later.

Contents

Background

After being appointed as governor of the newly formed Indiana Territory in 1800, William Henry Harrison arrived in January 1801. Harrison sought to secure title to Native American lands to open more land for settlers; in particular, he hoped the Indiana Territory would attract enough settlers to qualify for statehood. Harrison negotiated numerous land cession treaties with American Indians, including the Treaty of Fort Wayne on September 30, 1809, in which Miami, Pottawatomie, Lenape and other tribal leaders sold 3,000,000 acres (approximately 12,000 km²) to the United States.[3][4]

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