The War of 1812

As a result of the Battle of Fallen Timbers, the Indians signed the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, which ceded strategic areas, including Detroit, and control of most of the river crossings in the Old Northwest Territory to the United States. This essentially guaranteed U.S. domination over the Indian tribes. The 1796 Jay Treaty formally ended the British presence in the Old Northwest Territory, and troops withdrew from Fort Miamis and the other forts. However, these treaties did not resolve the underlying issue. British naval power continued to dominate Lake Erie and the lower Maumee River, while the Americans controlled the interior. The War of 1812 finally settled the boundary and jurisdictional disputes.

In 1813 General William Henry Harrison had Fort Meigs constructed as a winter encampment and supply base for the U.S. Army on the south bank of the Maumee River, at present-day Perrysburg, Ohio. In the spring of 1813 the British landed troops and artillery at Fort Miamis; while the fort was too deteriorated to be reoccupied, the British camped at the site and used it as a base of operations. The Indians who gathered in support of the British were led by the Shawnee chief Tecumseh. An army of British soldiers and Indians attacked Fort Meigs in April 1813, but the Americans held firm, and the attackers withdrew in early May. During this battle Tecumseh is credited with saving the lives of American soldiers caught in an ambush.

In July the Indians persuaded the British to attack again, but this attack also failed. Britain's failure to drive the Americans from the region convinced Harrison to go on the offensive. In October 1813 Harrison defeated a joint English and Indian army at the Battle of the Thames. British occupation of the American Northwest ended as a result, and with the death of Tecumseh in the battle, hopes of building an Indian confederation ended.

The Treaty of Ghent in 1815 ended the war, the British withdrew from American Territory, and Fort Meigs was abandoned.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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