Diplomat and Warrior in the War of 1812

By Irene Ternier Gordon

Amazing Stories Series
Published by James Lorimer & Company Ltd., 2009, Toronto, ON

This is the biography of Tecumseh, a legendary nineteenth century Shawnee warrior, a hero of the War of 1812 and a man who spent most of his life trying to build a Native confederacy to withstand the pressure on native lands from American settlement.

It also tells the story of his younger brother Lalawethika and of Lalawethika’s transformation from a drunken ne’er-do-well to the charismatic spiritual leader known as The Prophet.

As a diplomat, Tecumseh dealt with the British and American authorities, with settlers and with First Nations peoples on both sides of the border. He fought with the British in the War of 1812, and lost his life at the Battle of Moraviantown


Tecumseh opened his eyes and stretched his cramped muscles as he woke from an uneasy sleep. He was lying in the tangled mass of uprooted trees and broken branches left by a recent tornado.  The motionless air was hot and heavy with moisture, and insects buzzed annoyingly about his head. Dense, leaden grey clouds hung close to the ground like fog.  Although it was barely daylight, he suspected it was several hours past sunrise.

Adding to his discomfort was hunger. Warriors were used to fasting and lying in wait before a battle, but this was his third day without food. Many of the other warriors had gone looking for food the previous day, but Tecumseh had promised that none of the small advance party he led would leave their post before the enemy appeared.  Surely the enemy would come today. If they didn’t, Tecumseh realized that his men would have to break cover to find food before nightfall.

Within a few minutes, a thunderstorm blew up. Scouts brought word that it was unlikely that the enemy would march that day, so many of the remaining warriors sought food and shelter in the camp which had grown up around the nearby British post of Fort Miami. Tecumseh was tempted to follow them, but he decided to wait until noon in case the storm blew over quickly. It was a good decision .  One hundred and fifty mounted American militiamen came into view about mid morning. The long wait was over. The Battle of Fallen Timbers was about to begin.

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