Horseshoe Bend National Military Park hosted the twelfth annual “Muster on the Tallapoosa” on Saturday, August 20th. This year’s event was the first in a series of annual events at the park focusing attention on the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the Creek War of 1813-4. This year’s event is the first known NPS War of 1812 bicentennial event. The day also marked the inauguration of the Friends of Horseshoe Bend National Military Park with a signing ceremony.
Saturday’s program highlighted the activities of 1811 beginning with Harold Youmans, editor of The Journal of the War of 1812, presenting “Moving toward War: The US Navy and the Little Belt Affair.” Rick Conwell of Tippecanoe Battlefield Park followed with “Old Enemies Meet Again: The US Army and Native Confederacies in the Struggle for the Old Northwest.” In the afternoon, Dr. Adam Jortner of Auburn University spoke on “Tenskwatawa and the Religious War of 1812.” Finally, Dr. Kathryn Braund, also of Auburn University, presented a talk entitled “Tecumseh and the Creeks.”
In addition to the four presentations, park visitors also experienced frontier life by touring a Tennessee militia camp and Creek hunting camps in the field directly behind the park visitor center. Flintlock musket and smoothbore cannon firing demonstrations were offered three times during the day. Over 600 people attended the day’s activities.
The culminating event for the day was also a new chapter in the park’s history of stewardship and education. Southeast Regional Director David Vela was on hand as Horseshoe Bend NMP Superintendent Doyle Sapp and Friends of Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, Inc. President Kathryn Braund signed the formal agreement initiating the partnership between the park and the Friends’ Group.
“This is a milestone event for Horseshoe Bend as we approach the Bicentennial of the War of 1812,” Vela said. “Having an active and involved Friends Group is an important part of any park’s engagement with its local community. I’m very pleased that this significant group of leaders has taken a stake in the future of this great resource.”
“A Friends Group is not just a partner, “said Sapp. “It is a recognition that the park and its stories have made a difference in the lives of people – enough difference that they care to help us take up the struggle to foster relevance of the park, foster a stewardship ethic for the park, and help to educate future generations on the significance of this special place.”