The Places

  • Views: 50 Fort Meigs - Perrysburg

    On May 1, 1813, 1,200 British allied forces, under General Henry Proctor and Tecumseh, opened a bombardment of Fort Meigs and laid siege. Reinforcements reached the fort on May 4, increasing its militia to 2,800. Early on the morning of May 5, a detachment from Clay’s brigade under Colonel William Dudley landed from boats on the north bank of the river, stormed the British batteries on the north bank, and spiked the guns. Coming under fire from Indians in the woods, part of the Kentuckian force pursued Tecumseh’s men, who led them deeper into the forest. In the woods, the disorganized Kentuckians suffered heavy casualties in confused fighting. Nearly 550 were captured, and of Dudley’s 866 officers and men, only 150 returned to the fort. This became known as “Dudley’s Massacre” or “Dudley’s Defeat”.

    The Shawnee and other warriors attacked wood-gathering parties sent out from the fort. Harrison held out against the British by using a pair of 14-foot high embankments thrown up inside the walls along the length of the interior to absorb the incoming British shells. Proctor abandoned the siege on May 9, 1813 and retreated to Detroit.

    Having mobilized the garrison into an army, Harrison left General Green Clay in command of the fort, much reduced in size from its original layout. In July 1813, the British attempted to appease their allies by again besieging Fort Meigs. The Indians staged a mock battle to lure the garrison out. The Americans, however, saw through the ploy. After the failed siege attempt, the British moved on to Fort Stephenson, where Fremont, Ohio stands today. That attack also failed, causing heavy British losses and forcing their retreat to Canada.

  • Views: 55 Fort Miamis - Maumee

    British soldiers constructed Fort Miamis in 1794. British authorities feared that Anthony Wayne and his army planned to march against Fort Detroit, a major stronghold. Located fifty-five miles to the south of Detroit, Fort Miamis provided an additional obstacle to Wayne. Fort Miamis also afforded the British additional means to solidify Native American support against the white Americans moving into the Ohio Country.

    Although Fort Miamis was quite formidable, it had little impact on Wayne’s plans. His sole intention was to conquer Native Americans along the Maumee River. As Wayne marched against the natives in August 1794, the Indians pleaded for the British to assist them. The English refused. At the Battle of Fallen Timbers on August 20, Wayne’s army easily defeated the natives. The Indians fled to Fort Miamis for protection, but the British refused them entrance. England’s refusal greatly harmed its relationship with the Native Americans.

    On August 21, Wayne followed the natives to Fort Miamis. There, he ordered the British to surrender immediately. The English garrison refused. Realizing the fort would be difficult to attack, Wayne retreated to Fort Defiance. The fort remained under British control until the end of the War of 1812. At that point, England finally fulfilled its treaty obligations from the American Revolution and removed all of its soldiers from the United States.

  • Views: 48 Fort Stephenson - Fremont

    Not long after the War of 1812 began, George Croghan became commander of Fort Stephenson. Located on the Sandusky River, the fort was important to Ohio’s defense against the British. The fort consisted of three blockhouses inside a rectangular stockade. Croghan worked hard to increase the fort’s defensive capabilities. General William Henry Harrison believed that the fort was located at a difficult place to defend and ordered Croghan to abandon it. But Croghan argued that, if his forces withdrew, Native Americans would cut his men off from the rest of the army. Before the two men could resolve their differences, British troops attacked the fort in August 1813.

    Despite the fact that Croghan had only approximately 150 troops under his command, the Americans were successful in holding off the British assault. In fact, Croghan’s men were so successful that they crippled the British forces -- not one officer was left standing, and one-fifth of the British force was either killed, wounded, or missing in action. The Americans forced the enemy to withdraw from the area. The victory at Fort Stephenson came at an important time during the war, as the United States had few military successes. In addition to raising American morale, it also made Croghan famous across the country. President James Madison promoted him to the rank of lieutenant colonel as a reward for his service. Years later, the United States Congress voted to award him a gold medal for his success during the War of 1812.

  • Views: 96 Fort Mackinac

    Under the cover of darkness, a 300-man force of British soldiers and Native American allies embarked from Fort St. Joseph and landed on the north shore of Mackinac Island . They dragged their cannon to the high ground behind the fort, took positions in the woods and prepared to attack. American soldiers, about 30, were completely surprised and outnumbered by the British invasion. They quickly surrendered without a fight following a single warning shot by the British. This was the first land engagement of the War of 1812 in the United States . British troops garrisoned the fort and built a new fortification, named Fort George (later renamed Fort Holmes ) at the highest point on the island to act as defense on the weak north side. Two years later American soldiers tried to recapture Fort Mackinac.

    Invading from the north, they were met by British soldiers at the center of the island. The Americans were badly defeated in the only battle ever fought on Mackinac Island . Following the battle, British soldiers also captured two American vessels that were blockading the harbor.

  • Views: 65 Fort Dearborn - Chicago

    On July 29, 1812, General William Hull received news of the fall of Fort Mackinac and immediately sent orders to Captain Nathan Heald to evacuate Fort Dearborn, fearing that it could no longer be adequately supplied with provisions. General Hull ordered Heald to destroy all the arms and ammunition and give the remaining goods to friendly Indians in the hope of attaining an escort to Fort Wayne.

    Hull also sent a copy of these orders to Fort Wayne with additional instructions to provide Heald with all the information, advice and assistance within their power. In the following days the sub-Indian agent at Fort Wayne, Captain William Wells, assembled a group of about 30 Miami Indians. They traveled to Fort Dearborn to provide an escort to the evacuees. Wells arrived at Fort Dearborn on August 12 and on August 14 Captain Heald held a council with the Potawatomi leaders to inform them of his intention to evacuate the fort. The Indians believed that Heald told them that he would distribute the fire-arms, ammunition, provisions and whiskey amongst them, and that, if they would send a band of Potawatomis to escort them safely to Fort Wayne, he would pay them a large sum of money. However, Heald ordered all the surplus arms, ammunition and liquor destroyed.

    On August 15 the defence force left Fort Dearborn with the intention of marching to Fort Wayne. Captain Wells led the group with some of the Miami Indian escorts, while the rest of the Miamis were positioned at the rear. A few miles south of Fort Dearborn a band of Potawatomi warriors ambushed the garrison. Heald reported that, upon discovering that the Indians were preparing to ambush from behind a dune, the company marched to the top of the dune, fired off a round, and charged at the Indians. The battle lasted about 15 minutes, after which Healm and the surviving soldiers withdrew to an area of elevated ground in the prairie. They then surrendered to the Indians who took them as prisoners to their camp near Fort Dearborn.

  • Views: 76 Fort Detroit

    On August 15th, gunners of the British Canadian Provincial Marine set up a battery on the Canadian shore of the Detroit River and began bombarding Fort Detroit, joined by two armed vessels in the river. In the early hours of the morning of August 16th, Tecumseh’s warriors crossed the river about 5 miles south of Detroit. They were followed after daybreak by General Brock’s force, divided into three small brigades.

    Brock originally intended to occupy a fortified position astride Hull’s supply line and wait for starvation and bombardment to force the Americans to surrender or come out to fight, but he then learned that on the previous day, Hull had sent a detachment of 400 men under Colonels Cass and McArthur to escort a convoy to Detroit via a backwoods trail some distance from the lake and river, and this detachment was only a few miles from the British rear. Brock advanced immediately against the rear of Fort Detroit, the side furthest from the river where the defenses were weakest.

    As the British bombardment began to cause casualties, Hull despaired of holding out against a force which seemingly consisted of thousands of British soldiers and, hearing Indian war cries, began to fear a slaughter. Women and children still lived within the fort. Against the advice of his subordinates, Hull hoisted a white flag of surrender. He sent messengers to Brock asking for three days to agree on terms of surrender. Brock replied he would allow him three hours. Hull surrendered his entire force, including Cass’s and McArthur’s detachment and the supply convoy.

  • Views: 71 Amherstburg - Fort Malden

    It was from Fort Amherstburg that Britain launched its first major victory of the War of 1812. The American vessel Cuyahoga, filled with men and material as part of General William Hull’s North West Army, sailed close to the fort on July 2, 1812, unaware that war had been declared. Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas St. George, who commanded the fort, dispatched the provincial marines and Native American warriors under Lieutenant Frederick Rolette to take the American vessel.

    The Cuyahoga was boarded and its crew seized, but the stunning prize lay below decks: all of General Hull’s private papers, including notes on his coming offensive against Amherstburg. With this valuable intelligence, the forces at Amherstburg prepared for their assault, and the information would be critical to the offensive of Major General Isaac Brock at Detroit. Hull’s 2500 men marched on Amherstburg, making short work of the Essex Militia before stopping. Concerned about his exposed supply lines and worried he did not have enough artillery to make a proper siege, Hull called off the advance. The British rallied with harassing action on Hull’s supply lines with great success.

    With Hull abandoning his initiative, Amherstburg became the scene of the war planning of the two great captains of the war: Brock, and the Shawnee chief Tecumseh. Safe within the walls of the fort, they sketched the plan to take Fort Detroit, the first decisive victory for the British in the war.

    But doom lay in wait for Amherstburg as the Americans rebounded to a stunning victory in the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813. With American control of the lake, the British position at Amherstburg was dicey and the order was given to burn the fort and retreat. The guns were spiked and the buildings set aflame. The Americans would rebuild on the ashes, calling it Fort Malden.

  • Views: 53 Fort Wayne

    In September 1812, Indians from the Potawatomi and Miami tribes, led by Chief Winamac, undertook a campaign against Fort Wayne, commanded by Captain James Rhea.

    The siege began on September 5 when Chief Winamac assaulted the fort from the east side and burned the homes of the surrounding village. The Indians constructed two wooden cannons and were able to trick the garrison into thinking they had artillery besieging the fort as well. When Rhea began to discuss ideas of surrender, two of his lieutenants decided he was unfit to continue his duties and relieved him of command. These two lieutenants then assumed command and continued to hold out in the fort until reinforcements arrived.

    General William Henry Harrison, the newly appointed commander of the Northwest frontier, led a relief force of 2,200 soldiers to Fort Wayne, arriving on September 12. Harrison attacked and defeated the Indian force, lifting the siege. The Potawatami/Miami force retreated into Ohio and Michigan Territory. Harrison had originally arrested Rhea but allowed him to resign instead. He then placed Lieutenant Philip Ostander (one of the two lieutenants who had relieved Rhea) in command of the fort.

    The siege of Fort Wayne prompted Harrison to order punitive expeditions against the Miami which culminated in the Battle of the Mississinewa. This Miami defeat at Fort Wayne, as well as that in Battle of Fort Harrison, caused the Miami warriors to lose confidence in their chiefs. Many of them turned instead to the influential leadership of Tecumseh and joined his confederacy.

  • Views: 42 Fort Defiance

    In August 1794, Anthony Wayne ordered the construction of Fort Defiance at the confluence of the Auglaize and Maumee Rivers. Wayne had the fort built during his campaign against Ohio Native Americans to provide his men with protection and as a staging ground for future operations. The fort was a rough square with a blockhouse located on each corner. In addition to the stockade, a wall of earth eight feet thick and a ditch eight feet deep and fifteen feet wide protected the fortifications. Lieutenant John Boyer, an officer in Wayne’s army, claimed that the fort could protect the American soldiers from “the English, the Indians, and all the devils in hell.”

    Following the Battle of Fallen Timbers, Wayne utilized Fort Defiance as his base of operations. He ordered the destruction of all Native American villages and crops within a fifty-mile radius of the fort. With the signing of the Treaty of Greeneville in 1795, the natives permitted the Americans to maintain a trading post and fort at Fort Defiance, although the United States had ceded the right to settle this portion of Ohio. Until the War of 1812, Fort Defiance served as one of America’s western-most outposts in the Ohio Country and helped protect local citizens from native attacks. William Henry Harrison utilized the fort in his campaigns against Native Americans in the early 1810s as well as a staging area against the British in the War of 1812. Modern-day Defiance, Ohio, was founded at the fort’s location.

  • Views: 42 Presque Isle - Erie Shipyard

    In response to Great Britain's successful advances, President James Madison ordered the construction of a U.S. naval fleet to regain control of the strategically located Lake Erie.
    Daniel Dobbins, a Great Lakes ship master living in Erie, was assigned by the Navy to begin building until more experienced engineers arrived. Commander of the U.S. Navy on the Great Lakes, Commodore Isaac Chauncey, soon assigned Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry to take charge of the operation in the Spring of 1813.

    Construction of Perry's fleet was mostly conducted by hand in Erie, a remote hamlet of five hundred inhabitants. Sawmills were non-existent in the area, which meant long and tedious efforts of hand-cutting lumber. Much of Perry's experienced trade help, including boat builders, shipwrights, and laborers were mostly brought in from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Iron, sail canvas, rigging and cannon shot also had to be imported from regions of Pennsylvania.

    In February 1813, Commander Chauncey hired Noah Brown, a New York shipbuilder, to complete the work. Brown also designed two of four schooners and two brigs, Lawrence and Niagara.

  • Views: 37 Lake Erie Islands

    Prior to the War of 1812, the Lake Erie Island region had been occupied by Ottawa and Huron (Wyandot) Indian tribes at different times throughout the years. The Ottawa and Huron were eventually moved out by European settlers. The War of 1812 ended the last Indian threat to the European settlement of Ohio. One decisive naval battle of that war was fought in Put-In-Bay, off the shores of South Bass Island. Oliver Hazard Perry with an inferior fleet defeated the British making famous his saying, “We have met the enemy and they are ours.” The victory gave the Americans control of Lake Erie and led to the ultimate defeat of the British in the War of 1812.

  • Views: 71 Frenchtown - River Raisin

    During the winter of 1813 as part of the War of 1812, the Battle of Frenchtown occurred near the river between British and Native American troops under the command of British General Henry Proctor and Native American chiefs Roundhead, Walks in Water, and Split Log, and a division of Kentucky infantry and militia under command of General James Winchester. Cut off and surrounded and facing total slaughter, Winchester surrendered with British assurances of safety of the prisoners, but the next day many were killed by the Native Americans without British intervention.

    The needless slaughter of the American wounded became known as the River Raisin Massacre, which became a rallying cry "Remember the Raisin!" particularly for Kentuckians, and American troops returned in the spring to drive the British from Michigan forever.

  • Views: 40 Tippecanoe - Prophet’s Town

    As tensions and violence increased, Governor Harrison marched with an army of about 1,000 men to disperse the confederacy's headquarters at Prophetstown, near the confluence of the Tippecanoe and Wabash Rivers.

    Tecumseh, not yet ready to oppose the United States by force, was away recruiting allies when Harrison's army arrived. Tenskwatawa, a spiritual leader  and Tecumseh’s brother, but not a military man, was in charge. Harrison camped near Prophetstown on November 6 and arranged to meet with Tenskwatawa the following day. Early the next morning, warriors from Prophetstown attacked Harrison's army. Although the outnumbered attackers took Harrison's army by surprise, Harrison and his men stood their ground for more than two hours. The Natives were ultimately repulsed when their ammunition ran low. After the battle, the Natives abandoned Prophetstown. Harrison's men burned the town and returned home.

  • Views: 36 Vincennes - Grouseland

    Vincennes, Indiana, is located on the Wabash River in the southwestern part of the state. Founded in 1732, Vincennes is the oldest continually inhabited European settlement in Indiana and one of the oldest settlements west of the Appalachians. Vincennes served as capital of the Indiana Territory from 1800 until 1813.

    Grouseland is a large, two-story red brick home built for William Henry Harrison in Vincennes, Indiana, during his term as Governor of the Indiana Territory. The mansion was completed in 1804.

    During Harrison's governorship of the Indiana Territory, Grouseland was the focal point of the social and official life of the territory. As the capital of the Northwest Territory, more territory was governed from Vincennes than any city outside Washington, D.C. Grouseland was home to Harrison until 1812. It remained in the Harrison family until the late 1840s.

    The mansion includes the council chamber where Harrison met with representatives from various American Indian tribes. In 1805, Harrison negotiated the Treaty of Grouseland with a number of important Indian leaders. Harrison had two confrontations with the Shawnee leader Tecumseh at Grouseland in 1810 and 1811. Harrison's thirteen treaties with Native American leaders resulted in millions of acres of land being acquired by the United States.