Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Siege of Fort Meigs, 201 Years Ago


On May 1, 1813 British siege guns, heavy-calibre 24- and 12-pounders as well as 8-inch and 5.5-inch howitzers and mortars opened fire on the wooden stockades at Fort Meigs. For a week, the American fortified camp resisted the bombardment in a siege that presaged the muddy trenches and bunkers of Petersburgh, Virginia and the Western Front. 

Letter from General Harrison to Governor Meigs:

Head Quarters Camp Meigs 28 April 1813:
Dr Sir:The enemy are determined to put their threats in execution, their columns are now in sight and their Gun Boats with their artillery &c. about two miles from us and the woods on both sides of the river are full of Indians. I send this by a confidential person, Mr. William Oliver, who will take it on as far as he thinks proper.Be pleased to write immediately to the Governor of Kentucky--my men are in fine spirits, do not my dear sir doubt the results--the enemy little dream of the bitter pill I have prepared for them. In a little time I hope to be able to inform you of their complete discomfiture. The additional men whom you have ordered out were very acceptable.Yours truly,William Henry Harrison
His Excellency Govr. Meigs

Letter from General Vincent's HQ to General Proctor:

28 April 1813
 We look with confident hope for the report of your success--and brigadier-general Vincent, (who is here, and by whose directions I am writing to you,) has desired me to impress upon you, what essential aid could be rendered to us by the timely arrival here of five hundred Indians; should you have secured Harrison's army, it is the brigadier-general's desire, and in which I most earnestly join, that you forward to us in the king's vessels to Point Abino, that number with as great expedition as possible. In the event of you having captured Harrison's army, you will see the impossiblity under existing circumstances of our taking charge of them here, and therefore brigadier-general Vincent requests you will make the best arrangements in your power to dispose of them, either by securing them at one or the other of your own posts, or passing them on parole into the United States by way of Cleveland or other routes, as you may find expedient; the latter line of conduct is perhaps the most preferable, on account of the state of your supplies of provisions.Sincerely wishing every success, and hoping to send you, and receive from you, good accounts, I have the honor to be, etc.
 Christo Myers, Col. Act. Q.M.G.
 Brig. Gen Proctor