On the morning of March 27, 1814, in what is now Tallapoosa County, General Andrew Jackson and an army consisting of Tennessee militia, United States regulars, and Cherokee and Lower Creek allies attacked Chief Menawa and his Upper Creek, or Red Stick, warriors fortified in the Horseshoe Bend of the Tallapoosa River. Facing overwhelming odds, the Red Sticks fought bravely yet ultimately lost the battle. More than 800 Upper Creek warriors died at Horseshoe Bend defending their homeland. This was the final battle of the Creek War of 1813–14. The victory at Horseshoe Bend brought Andrew Jackson national attention and helped elect him president in 1828. In a peace treaty signed after the battle, the Creeks ceded nearly 23 million acres of land to the United States.
Long before the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, the Creek (also known as Muskogee) people lived in a loose confederation of towns along the rivers of Georgia and Alabama. Anglo-American settlers divided the Creek towns geographically into two groups: the Lower Towns along the Chattahoochee, Flint, and Ocmulgee Rivers; and the Upper Towns along the Tallapoosa, Coosa, and Alabama Rivers. In 1811, Shawnee military leader Tecumseh visited the southeastern tribes hoping to encourage them to return to their ancient traditions as well as drive the Americans from their ancestral lands. Many individuals in the Upper Creek Towns responded favorably to Tecumseh. When war broke out between the United States and Great Britain in 1812, a few Creek warriors joined Tecumseh and the British in fighting the Americans. The War of 1812 in turn brought on the Creek War of 1813–14 (also known as the Creek Civil War), a struggle between Creeks in both the Upper and Lower towns friendly to the United States and a faction in the Upper Towns called the Red Sticks, hostile towards the Americans. Many scholars believe that the Red Sticks took their name from their red-painted war clubs.