Tippecanoe Military Campaign

 

Shawnee Chief Tecumseh

Shawnee Chief Tecumseh

The Tippecanoe military campaign, from September 21 – November 18, 1811, was led by Governor William Henry Harrison of the Indiana Territory against Indian forces associated with Shawnee leader Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa, leaders of a confederacy of various tribes who opposed settlement in their area.

The spread of settlements in the “Old Northwest” created additional tension with various tribes and in 1804, Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, along with 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.

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, Indiana, 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 battle 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.

 

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated February 2020.

Source: U.S. Army Center of Military History

 

Also See:

Battles and Massacres of the Indian Wars

Indian War List and Timeline

Indian Wars

Three Indian Campaigns

Indian Wars of the Frontier West by Emerson Hough