After we left Tuscaloosa, AL last Monday, we drove under Birmingham and over to the Horseshoe Bend National Military Park. The kids (from Thomas down) and I had taken a day trip there while my big builders were doing Samaritan’s Purse last April, but Vaughn, Eli, Beth, and Jake had not been there yet. The park is so beautiful that I wanted them to see it before we were out of the area.
The first thing that we did after pulling in was to make lunch – I love to take my house with me!!! When we are on the move, we always try to do cold, finger-foods. I try to do prep work when we are parked with hookups; doing things like cleaning carrots (did you know that baby carrots are soaked in chlorine to keep them that pretty, bright orange color?), hard boiling eggs, and washing apples while we have fhu saves our fresh water and waste tanks while we are traveling without sites.
After lunch, we went in and watched the short flick on the history of the Horseshoe Bend park.
from the park website: In March 1814, General Jackson’s army left Fort Williams on the Coosa, cut a 52-mile trail through the forest in three days, and on the 26th made camp six miles north of Horseshoe Bend. The next morning, Jackson sent General John Coffee and 700 mounted infantry and 600 Cherokee and Creek allies three miles down-stream to cross the Tallapoosa and surround the bend. He took the rest of the army – about 2000 men, consisting of East and West Tennessee militia and the Thirty-ninth U.S. Infantry – into the peninsula and at 10:30 a.m. began an ineffectual two-hour artillery bombardment of the Red Sticks’ log barricade. At noon, Coffee’s Cherokee allies crossed the river and assaulted the Red Sticks from the rear. Jackson quickly ordered a frontal bayonet charge, which poured over the barricade. Fighting ranged over the south end of the peninsula throughout the afternoon. By dark at least 800 of Chief Menawa’s 1,000 Red Sticks were dead (557 slain on the field and 200-300 in the river). Menawa himself, although severely wounded, managed to escape. Jackson’s losses in the battle were 49 killed and 154 wounded, many mortally.
Though the Red Sticks had been crushed at Tohopeka, remnants of the war party held out for several months. In August 1814, a treaty between the United States and the Creek Nation was signed at Fort Jackson near the present day city of Wetumpka, Alabama. The Treaty of Fort Jackson ended the conflict and required the Creeks to cede 23 million acres of land to the United States. The state of Alabama was carved out of this domain and admitted to the Union in 1819.
In 1828, partly as a result of his fame from the battles of Horseshoe Bend and New Orleans, Andrew Jackson was elected the seventh President of the United States.
While most of us found the film interesting, Molly did not! -she was more interested in her shadow, and some of us forgot about the movie; we were trying too hard to stifle laughs while watching her. We were the only ones at the park or we would have never let her stand in front making shadows
We checked out their small museum – where we did NOT do the Jr. Ranger program because we had gotten the books the year before. Last year, Thomas, Daniel, Joel, and Emma, had gotten the books, but since we arrived just 45 minutes before the museum closed, we had watched the movie and looked at the museum, doing just what we had to in the books. The drive closes later than the museum, so we had then driven the loop, and the kids did their booklets later; we mailed them back to the park, and the park mailed the kids their badges. We haven’t had to do that very often, but those times that we haven’t been able to finish the program while still at the park, we sure have appreciated that some parks do this!
The littles favorite display in the museum is a diorama of the famous battle of Horseshoe Bend. In the very front of the scene is Sam Houston, with an Indian arrow in his leg.
Horseshoe Bend is called that because the river snakes around in a U shape, and there is a rounded point of land that is surrounded on 3 sides by water. The Indians surely thought that this would be a great place to fortify- being protected on 3 sides by water, but instead, they were boxed in on 3 sides by water. Every one of the Indians that tried to escape by swimming the river, was shot before they reached the other side.Across the top of the U, the Indians had built a fortification that was up to 8 feet in height in some places. It was nearly impenetrable; it was made of solid logs and had rifle holes carved in it.
I wish that the park service would build at least a partial reconstruction of the fence – the pictures of it are amazing, but it’s hard to fathom how massive it was, and how stout it must have been that, while the cannon balls could go through it in places, it did not fall.
The white poles signify where the fortification was:The river is beautiful; this a picture from the main road, looking away from the park.We are pretty sure that we picked up a bolt in one of our tires on our drive through the park (we could hear it hissing when we came back from our drive). We made it down to Auburn, where Walmart fixed our tire for free (that’s why we bought them there – there are Walmarts everywhere!). We stayed the night in their parking lot, which was quiet and clean.
While it was great to be volunteering in Tuscaloosa for 2 weeks, it is also great to be back on the road visiting new places and seeing new sites!