General Henry Proctor
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General Henry Proctor

Henry Proctor was born in Ireland in 1763, the son of a British army surgeon who fought at Bunker Hill.  As a young lieutenant, he saw service towards the close of the same war.  He rose through the ranks, transferring into the 41st Regiment of Foot and joining it in Canada as its lieutenant colonel.

Proctor took command of Amherstburg shortly after the start of the War of 1812, sending forces to cut off General Hull in Detroit.  He served under General Brock at the capture of Detroit and was left in command of the area after Brock departed.

Upon learning that the Americans had taken and occupied French Town, Proctor launched a counterattack on January 22, 1813, resulting in the Battle of the River Raisin and the destruction of General Winchester’s army.  Although accused by the Americans of failing to prevent the massacre of some of their wounded, Proctor was promoted to brigadier general for his victory at the Raisin, and then to the rank of major general.

Proctor’s subsequent attempts to capture Fort Meigs and Fort Stephenson failed, and, after the British fleet was captured at the Battle of Lake Erie, Proctor abandoned Amherstburg and the Detroit area.  General William Henry Harrison’s troops pursued the retreating British and Indians, inflicting a decisive defeat on Proctor’s forces at the Battle of the Thames in October of 1813.

Proctor was officially reprimanded for his defeat, which effectively ended his career.  He returned to England in 1815 and lived in semi-retirement until his death in 1822.

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