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03.09.01 Waselkov, Gregory A., A Conquering Spirit, Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-1814, published in 2006 by U. of Alabama Press

A Conquering Spirit, Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-1814, by Gregory A. Waselkov, published in 2006 by The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, consists of 414 pages.

This must be lucidly the ne plus ultra for this fascinating conflict.  The research is indefatigable, thorough, and multi-faceted.  The author has utilized the skills of historian, archaeologist, anthropologist, ethnologist, and genealogist. It is only after his melding these elements all together that the trees become clearly delineated from the woods.  His explication of family relationships and interactions sheds light on otherwise difficult to understand actions by the participants.  His explanation of the clan and kinship systems used by the Creeks and the inevitable cultural conflicts that arose with the Americans are invaluable.

Probably few Americans grasp that the Ft. Mims Massacre of 30 August 1813 was presumably the greatest massacre of cultural non-Indians of the many Indian Wars in our four hundred years of history.  Even fewer grasp that of the hundreds killed, many were not white but included large numbers of cross-breeds of Indian and white (the author interestingly refers to them as métis which is a French derived word for “mixed” similar to the Spanish mestizo) and blacks – not to mention that these included numerous women and children.  Ultimately the fight descended into a massacre of civilians by the Creek Indians many of whom themselves were métis and therefore related to those whom they were killing.  There is great academic debate on exactly how many were killed but most historians agree that the number is between 350 and 530.  It was not pretty!

This exhaustively end-noted volume details the story of this fierce fight at the fortified plantation home of Samuel Mims in the Tensaw District in what is today Baldwin County, Alabama, north of Mobile.  Essentially this massacre triggered the Creek War of 1813-1814 that had been incubating for some time with the many social forces that conflated to spark the massacre and war.  Ultimately it was Andrew Jackson that terminated this sanguinary war with his historic victory at Horseshoe Bend.  The Creeks never really recovered after this war that they initiated with the great massacre at Samuel Mims plantation.

This magnus opus of the Fort Mims massacre in the Redstick War is strongly recommended.  It presents the many different perspectives of the protagonists with equity.