O'Brien explores the conflicts that paved the way for the removal of southeastern Native American tribes, which set the stage for the Cotton Kingdom and slavery-based economy to come.
The seldom-recalled Creek War of 1813-1814 and its extension, the First Seminole War of 1818, had significant consequences for the growth of the United States. Beginning as a civil war between Muscogee factions, the struggle escalated into a war between the Moscogees and the United States after insurgent Red Sticks massacred over 250 whites and mixed-bloods at Fort Mims on the Alabama River on August 30, 1813—the worst frontier massacre in U.S. history. After seven months of bloody fighting, U.S. forces inflicted a devastating defeat on the Red Sticks at Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River on March 27, 1814—the most disastrous defeat ever suffered by Native Americans.
The defeat of the Muscogees (Creeks), the only serious impediments to U.S. westward expansion, opened millions of acres of land to the white settlers and firmly established the Cotton Kingdom and slavery in the Deep South. For southeastern Native Americans, the war resulted in the destruction of their civilization and forced removal west of the Mississippi: The Trail of Tears. O'Brien presents both the American and Native American perspectives of this important chapter of U.S. history. He also examines the roles of the neighboring tribes and African Americans who lived in the Muscogee nation.