Tohopeka broke down the organized resistance of the Indians. When Jackson, a few days later, turned southward, he was able to march on to the Hickory Ground without fighting another battle. The Red Sticks for the most part fled to their kindred, the Seminoles, in Florida; but some came in and submitted to the iron hand which had crushed them. Jackson had been at the Hickory Ground but a short time when Weatherford himself came in and surrendered. Some of the men, remembering Fort Mims, woidd have done violence to the fallen chief, but Jackson protected him. Soon afterwards, General Pinckney, of the regular army, arrived at Fort Jackson, which had been built in the river fork, and took command. When he ordered the Tennesseans to return to their homes, Jackson went with them, and his fellow citizens at Nashville gave him the first of many triumphal receptions. His eight months' work in the wilderness had made him easily the first man of Tennessee. Georgia had had abetter chance than Tennessee to crush the Indians, for the distance and the natural obstacles were less ; but Georgia had no such leader as Andrew J ackson. Another reward soon reached him.
In May, General William Henry Harrison resigned his commission, and in his place Jackson was appointed major-general in the army of the United States. He was put in command of the southwestern district, including Mobile and New Orleans.
But on his way to his post he had to stop again at Fort J ackson and complete his work among the Creeks. Acting under orders from the government, he compelled the chiefs there assembled, practically all of whom had been friendly to the United States during the war, to sign an " agreement and capitulation" by which they ceded to the United States all the land which they had claimed to the west of the Coosa. He carried the matter through with a high hand, but the Creeks themselves admired him and put into the agreement a cession of land to himself. It was, of course, not permissible for a negotiator to accept such a gift from the other party. However, the land was part of the region claimed by the United States and surrendered by the Creeks, and as a matter of fact, Jackson never got possession of it. This " treaty," as it was improperly called, was signed August 9,1814, and then Jackson was free to take up his new duties as the defender of the Southwest against the British.
Up to this time, except for the war with the Creeks and the bloodless capture of Mobile, the Southwest had taken little part in the contest. On land, the war had been mainly an affair of the North, where the Americans had been trying to wrest Canada from the mother country, and of the Northwest, where the British and the Indians had taken the offensive. The death of Tecumseh at the battle of the Thames, in November, 1813, had made an end of that combination, and General William Henry Harrison had won some honor by his management of the campaign. But the several attempts at invading Canada were neither successful nor glorious. On the whole, the land campaigns of the Americans had been utterly disappointing. The little American navy had indeed covered itself with glory, both on the high seas and on the Great Lakes ; but from the seas, where it was vastly overmatched by Great Britain's immense naval resources, it had practically disappeared by the autumn of 1814. Only a few privateers still preyed on British commerce. And now, by the overthrow of Napoleon, Great Britain was left free to employ against America all those ships with which Nelson had won for her the empire of the sea, and those superb soldiers who, under Wellington, had driven the French out of Spain. Regiments of these veterans were sent to Canada. In August, an expedition under General Ross landed on the coast of Chesapeake Bay, defeated an American force at Bladensburg, took Washington, and burned the capitol and the President's mansion. The enemy was stronger than ever, and the United States were at the point of exhaustion.
Moreover, the ruling class in one important section of the country was rather inclined to weaken than to help the government. The Federalist leaders in New England were against the French, against President Madison, against the war. They had been in opposition ever since President Jefferson went into office in 1801. Distrusting the Southwest, and opposing the expansion of the country in that direction, they had talked about a breaking up of the Union when Louisiana was purchased in 1803, and again when the State of Louisiana was admitted in 1811-12. When the war began, the governors of several New England States refused to turn their militia over to the Union generals. In 1814, several legislatures, the Massachusetts legislature in the lead, were arranging a convention to propose far-reaching changes in the Constitution of the United States, and many feared that the outcome would be the disruption of the Union and a separate New England confederation. True, New England men were fighting bravely by land and sea for then country, but the leading Federalists of New England were, as a rule, disaffected. A notable exception was John Quincy Adams, who, distrusting the leaders of his own party, had gone over to the party of Jefferson. The time was now come for the Southwest, the region so long distrusted, to show whether or not it was loyal to the Union. The British were aiming at that quarter a powerful military and naval force. Evidently believing the stories of disaffection in the Southwest, they had sent ahead of their expedition printed invitations to the Southwestern people to throw off the yoke of the Union. The Spaniards of the Gulf coast, probably not ignorant of the American designs on both the Floridas, and resenting the seizure of Mobile, were no better than passive allies of the British, who were thus enabled to use Pensacola as a base for their campaign against Mobile, New Orleans, and the great Mississippi Valley beyond.
When Jackson reached Mobile, in the middle of August, he was already thoroughly angered with the Spaniards for harboring refugee Creeks and giving them arms. He had always been in favor of seizing the Moridas; that had been the real object of the expedition down the Mississippi in 1813 which he had commanded. The true reason why he and his army were dismissed at Natchez was that the authorities at Washington had changed their mind about seizing West Florida. In July, 1814, he wrote to Washington for permission to take Pensacola, but no reply came, for the War Department was occupied with General Ross. The absurd conduct of a British officer, Colonel Nichols, who was at Pensacola with a force of British and Indians, occupying one of the two Spanish forts there, and issuing fiery proclamations, was enough to make Jackson act at once, even if he had hesitated before. He answered the colonel's proclamations with others equally fiery. But he had to wait for troops, which were to come from the neighboring States of Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, and Louisiana. Meantime, in September, a British squadron made a determined attack on Fort Bowyer, at the entrance to Mobile Bay, and was repulsed, with the loss of its flagship, by Major Lawrence and a small garrison, - a gallant achievement, which made a good beginning of the campaign. At the end of October, Coffee, now a general officer, with nearly three thousand Tennesseans, reached the neighborhood of Mobile. With these, and about a thousand of the regulars he had already, Jackson promptly marched on Pensacola. One of the forts, and the city itself, he took; the other fort, Barrancas, was blown up by the British before he could reach it. The enterprise kept him but a week. It was all over before he received, in reply to his own letter of July, a letter from the Secretary of War forbidding him to attack Pensacola. Once again he had taken the responsibility to do what he felt to be necessary.
By this time the government at Washington was alive to the great danger of the Southwest. Hurried orders were sent to the governors of the various States whose militia must be the main reliance for defence. It was suspected that New Orleans would be the first objective of the enemy, and a warning came to the city from Jean Lafitte, the leader of a gang of smugglers, whom the British had tried to win over. But the warning was not properly heeded, and Jackson himself was slow to make up his mind where the enemy would strike. He lingered at Mobile until November 22, and four days later Sir Edward Pakenham, with a large army and a great fleet, sailed from Jamaica for New Orleans. It was not until December 2 that a worn, thin man, tired and ill, whom nobody, failing to observe the look in his eyes, would have taken for the conqueror of the Creeks, rode into the curious little city that had been the French and then the Spanish capital of Louisiana, and which was not yet half like an American town. The bulk of its population was still French Creole and African; but among the Americans there was at least one man who already knew something of Andrew Jackson, and who was to know a great deal more. The leader of the New Orleans bar, and the most active of all the citizens in making ready for the enemy, was no other than that Edward Livingston, who, with Duane and Burr, had been friendly to the Tennessee Congressman eighteen years before at Philadelphia. *He invited the new commander to his house, where Mrs. Livingston, a social leader in the town, soon discovered that the Indian fighter knew perfectly well how to deport himself in a drawing-room.