In 1762, Pontiac the Ottawa chief, began to organize the many tribes in the region to fight the newcomers. It was probably the most far-reaching alliance ever attempted in North America. In 1763, Pontiac's forces seized every English post between the straits of Mackinac and western New York except Detroit and Fort Pitt. They besieged the fort at Detroit for about five months, but finally had to withdraw to their hunting grounds in October partly because the French cut off supplies.
Indians in the southern Ohio river valley were alarmed when in the 1770's a wave of traders and settlers arrived. These tribes included the Delaware, the Wyandot, the Shawnee and the Cayuga Iroquois. They gave Kentucky the name of "the dark and bloody ground". Virginia claimed the area and its governor, Lord Dunmore, sent troops to restore order. On October 10,1774, about 3,000 soldiers defeated 1,000 Indians at what is now Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The Indians then gave up their hunting lands south of the Ohio river.
During the Revolutionary War, the English encouraged the Indians to fight the American colonists. Henry Hamilton, the English Lieutenant Governor at Detroit, was called the "hair buyer" because he was said to have bought many American scalps from Indians. After the Revolutionary War, during which the Northwest Territory was won from the English, the english hoped to regain the area and again encouraged the tribes to fight the Americans. In an area of the Northwest Territory that later became Indiana, Miami Indians under Chief Little Turtle defeated troops led by Brigadier General Josiah Harmar in 1790. A year later, an inexperienced army under Major General Arthur St. Clair retreated after a surprise attack.
The tribes then formed a confederacy that included the Shawnee under Black Wolf and the Ottawa, Chippewa and Potawatomi under Blue Jacket. Nearly 2,000 warriors gathered along the Maumee river in Ohio as Major General "Mad Anthony" Wayne marched against them in August 1794. The two forces met in a field strewn with fallen trees near what is now Toledo Ohio. In the 40-minute battle of Fallen Timbers, the American forces dealt the tribes a crushing blow from which they never recovered.
In the early 1800's, the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh and his brother, known as the Shawnee Prophet, tried to form another alliance against the whites. Tecumseh traveled through-out the Middle West and the South and won many Indians to his cause. While Tecumseh was in the South, the prophet stirred up trouble in Indiana. William Henry Harrison, Governor of the Indian Territory organized the Militia and marched to the Indians' village on the Wabash and Tippecanoe rivers. The Prophet's men attacked Harrison's army before dawn on November 7, 1811, at present Battle Ground, Indiana. The two forces fought hand-to-hand in a chilly drizzle, and the Prophet's men fled just after daylight. Harrison's victory at Tippecanoe helped him win the presidency in 1840. He and his running mate, John Tyler, rallied American voters with the slogan, Tippecanoe and Tyler too.
Many tribes in Tecumseh's alliance fought against the Americans in the War of 1812. Indian resistance crumbled after Tecumseh's death in 1813. The last Indian War in the area, the Black Hawk War in 1832, was an unsuccessful attempt by the Sauk and Fox Indians to regain one of their villages, now Rock Island, Illinois, and it became well known because Abraham Lincoln took part in it, although he saw no action.
Tecumseh had stirred up the Creeks who "took up the hatchet" throughout Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. In 1813 they attacked Fort Mims in Alabama, and killed more than 350 settlers. Panic seized the entire southern frontier so, Andrew Jackson rallied a force of militiamen with the slogan, "Remember Fort Mims". They broke the power of the Creek in 1814 at the battle of Horseshoe Bend in Alabama. More than 1,000 Creeks were killed and they were forced to give up 20 million acres of land.
In the first Seminole War, the Seminole were one of the five civilized tribes, which the leaders in southern states wanted removed from their rich lands to facilitate expanded cotton production. Jackson attacked a former British fort in northern Florida that was the home of the Seminole chief, Neamathla Jackson burned and destroyed Seminole villages and farms in northern Florida before retreating back into Georgia. The goal was to remove the Seminole from their fertile homelands on the border of Georgia and Florida which were still Spanish possessions and to force the Spanish to cede Florida to the U.S.
The Seminole began fighting again in 1835. In this second Seminole War, they struggled desperately for seven years. The whites captured their chief, Osceola in 1837, but the Seminole fought on until they were nearly wiped out. Many surviving Seminole moved west, but some who had retreated into the Everglades remained there. More to come in Homeland Security-Part 3.