This hero in the War of 1812 joined the United States Army in 1805, receiving a commission as Lieutenant. His tours of duty included Fort Hawkins
on the Ocmulgee, Point Peter on the St. Mary's and a command on Amelia Island. While on escort duty on May 30, 1814, near Sandy Creek (A river that runs into Lake Ontario in northern New York near Oswego) Appling captured an English force of superior number after a brief engagement. This is known today as The Battle of Big Sandy. He was promoted to major for his actions in that battle. When General (Sir George) Provost crossed the Canadian frontier near Plattsburg, New York, Appling's riflemen rallied to attack the English. He received a brevet to colonel.