Sunday, January 8, 2012

Battle of Frenchtown (crosspost from Thunder in the Wilderness)

In January 1813, Major General William Henry Harrison ordered three seperate columns of American soldiers to converge on the Maumee River near present-day Toledo, Ohio. Their mission was to cross over 100 miles of sparsely settled or uninhabited wilderness to retake Detroit, which had surrendered to the British earlier in the War of 1812. Harrison's plans soon went awry, and one of these columns was surprised and defeated by the British forces of Colonel Henry Procter and the Indians led by Tecumseh (who was absent from this fight). The ensuing battle took place near modern-day Monroe Michigan with heavy loss of life on both sides...


Should the present Campaign fail when will the present war end? A little energy at first, would have conquered upper Canada… without firing a gun, but now we must fight every man in the country.
--Duncan McArthur, February 6 1813.

I.
The River Raisin Disaster

Brigadier General James Winchester’s occupation of Frenchtown (modern day Monroe, Michigan) had started off well enough. On January 17, in response to pleas of some of the inhabitants, he sent Lt. Colonel William Lewis with 550 Kentucky volunteers to recapture the village. Marching down the ice of Maumee Bay and north along the Lake Erie shoreline, they made landfall a few miles south of the River Raisin on the morning of the 18th. Two companies of the Canadian 2nd Essex militia held the town, along with four hundred Potawatomi and Wyandot warriors. A small, 3.3 inch howitzer manned by a single regular bombardier of the Royal Artillery rounded out the detachment.# By early afternoon, the Kentuckians had approached within a quarter of a mile of the British lines... (read more at Google Documents