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Document History

Many American Indians were at first skeptical of Tenskwatawa, but most in the area eventually accepted his message.

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His following grew throughout He formed a village for his followers at Greenville in Ohio. He met with the various tribes living in the State of Ohio and the Indiana Territory. Among these groups were the Seneca, the Wyandot, and the Ottawa.

His fame grew even more in when he predicted an eclipse of the sun. William Henry Harrison, the governor of the Indiana Territory, feared the Prophet's growing number of followers. He dared the Prophet to prove his power by carrying out some miracle. The Prophet had his chance with the eclipse. Many scholars believe that his brother, Tecumseh, had learned of the eclipse from American scientists who had been coming to Ohio to view it.

Courting victory: British, Native and American alliances (U.S. National Park Service)

Tecumseh urged his brother to predict the eclipse. Tecumseh was trying to form a united front of American Indian nations west of the Appalachian Mountains. He believed that, if the American Indians worked together, they would be able to stop white encroachment onto the their western lands.

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Tecumseh's Confederation became linked with his brother's religious movement. As one's position strengthened or weakened, so did that of the other. Tecumseh and the Prophet moved their respective followers to Prophetstown near the Tippecanoe River in the Indiana Territory in The two men continued to espouse their message, and their followers continued to grow in number. By , such a large number of American Indians lived at Prophetstown that white settlers in Ohio and the Indiana Territory demanded that the government do something to protect them.

William Henry Harrison led an army against Prophetstown in the fall of He stopped his force a short distance from the village. Tecumseh was away, recruiting other American Indians to join his confederation.

After Tippecanoe: Some Aspects of the War of 1812

The Prophet, lacking the military skills of his brother, decided to attack the Anglo settlers. He claimed that the Master of Life had come to him and told him that the American Indians would succeed in defeating the Americans. He also stated that the whites' bullets would not harm the American Indian forces. The American Indians attacked Harrison's men before daybreak on the morning of November 7, Harrison's army had about one thousand troops, including infantry and cavalry.

The American army suffered heavy losses: sixty-two men killed and wounded. The American Indians' losses are impossible to know because they carried off most of their dead and wounded.


Harrison guessed that at least forty American Indians were killed. This battle became known as the Battle of Tippecanoe. The American army drove off the American Indians and burned Prophetstown to the ground.

The War of 1812 - Crash Course US History #11

Many American Indians lost faith in the Prophet and returned to their own villages after the defeat. Tecumseh tried to resurrect his confederation, but many refused to join him again. Unfortunately for Tecumseh, to gain followers he had allied himself with his brother. The Prophet, by making such bold statements before the battle, led Tecumseh's followers to reject the alliance. Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa continued in their resistance efforts. His job was to negotiate treaties with Indian tribes in the area and to obtain as much land as possible for the United States.

He was also working to build a confederacy of tribes to stand together against these treaty-making efforts of Americans such as Harrison. One such treaty, the Treaty of Fort Wayne , really pushed Tecumseh over the edge! By the terms of the treaty, the United States purchased 3 million acres of land from several Indian tribes. Tecumseh and Harrison met in Neither side would give. Tecumseh felt they were invalid without the consent of all other Indian tribes. Tecumseh left for the south, intending to bring more tribes into his confederation.

He left behind his brother, known as the Prophet, with strict instructions not to attack American settlers. At least not yet. Harrison, too, had been instructed to avoid conflict if possible; however, he decided to try and resolve matters while Tecumseh was gone.

After Tippecanoe : some aspects of the war of 1812

He led a force of about 1, men toward Prophetstown, where the Prophet was staying. Harrison arrived on November 6. The Prophet sent several men to speak with Harrison. They indicated that the Prophet would meet with Harrison the next day, and they recommended a campsite nearby.