Last summer during our visit to the inaugural Beers Across the Wabash, I was hoping for enough time to visit Tippecanoe Battlefield in the nearby town of Battleground. Alas, it was not to be, but this year we hit the road early and made the park just after it opened at 10:00 a.m. 19th-century military thinking is clearly on display; the triangular area upon which the 1811 clash took place is elevated, with a creek on one side and a depression on the other — an ideal defensive position.
The Indians commanded by The Prophet (Tecumseh’s younger brother) attacked, and William Henry Harrison’s troops defended. The outcome was no rout, and casualties were considerable given the small numbers engaged, but the attackers ran out of steam and melted away. The War of 1812 followed, Harrison eventually became president, and a mighty phallic obelisk was erected.
Therein lies the point, at least to me. I purposefully referred to “Indians” in the paragraph above, and for the first 170 years or so following the Battle of Tippecanoe, the objective was to celebrate the inevitable triumph of whiteness over red-skinned savagery. Only during the last generation or so have we come to view such events in a more nuanced perspective; the excellent museum on site commences with an overview of Native American culture before proceeding to the arrival of the Europeans.
It had been a foggy Friday morning, and we found the indistinct, hazy solitude beneath the trees to be quite thought-provoking. For those so inclined, as we may be in the future, a Wabash walking path begins at Tippecanoe Battlefield and leads to Lafayette and West Lafayette, roughly seven miles south. It mostly follows tributaries and the river itself, and the trail head provides ample proof of what can be made from such waterways when the will exists to act (see Falling Run, New Albany — NOT).
Lunch was taken at the always reliable Lafayette Brewing Company, and later our second annual evening meal at La Scala proved even better than the first time in 2012. It didn’t hurt to occupy the restaurant’s patio on a temperate August night and have a backdrop of the ornate county courthouse, but the food and drink are the lures.