Guns Across the Lakes

5 people in War of 1812 uniforms fire a naval cannon mounted on a trailer park on a green lawn. Large fireball coming out of muzzle of gun. Text reads  Guns Across the Lake A Virtual Series of the Old Northwest in the War of 1812.

Program Description:

The War of 1812 is often treated as a minor skirmish in world history; however, it was a pivotal event for almost every nation involved. For early Americans it was a chance to solidify their independence and power as a new nation. Canadians view the conflict between the United States and Britain as a battle for their identity as Canadians. Indigenous peoples who fought in the War of 1812 on either side viewed it for a chance at protecting and preserving their ancestral lands, an endeavor that ultimately led to heartache and broken promises. Guns Across the Lakes series brings together historic sites and battlefields from two countries and three states to narrate the various aspects of the war waged on the Great Lakes from 1812 to 1815.
Guns Across the Lakes series will be a compilation of videos created by interpreters and educators from multiple historic sites based on a common theme. These videos will be compiled in a common page that can be linked and shared on the webpages and social media of all contributing sites. The participants anticipate that this series will result in a long-term collaboration between the sites resulting in multiple iterations of this program. The theme for the first iteration of this series will be “Telling Our Story.” Along the lines of this theme each site will produce a video highlighting the history of their location and its connection to the narrative of the War of 1812.

Mission:

Our overall mission is to provide quality content connecting viewers to the various historic sites and battlefields associated with the War of 1812 and provokes our audience to reflect on the effects of the war as important to the formation of their national identity. We aim to develop a holistic and connected narrative of these important battles fought on the Great Lakes by connecting sites and battlefields across three states and two countries through close communication and collaboration.
 

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Transcript

Welcome back to "Guns Across the Lakes: A Virtual Series of the Old Northwest in the War of 1812". My name is Rob Whitman and I'm a Park Ranger at Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial located at Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island in Lake Erie last week Eric Hemenway of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians shared the story of indigenous populations during the W ar of 1812. Today I'm here to talk about the second half of the park's name International Peace Memorial.

The War of 1812 ended for the US and the United Kingdom on February 17, 1815 when the Treaty of Ghent is ratified and exchanged in Washington DC, however the militaries of the US and the UK do not know of this peace and will continue planning for the 1815 campaign season.

On Lake Ontario for example the US is building the largest ships the US Navy would have a float. Ironically the treaty did not address the three reasons the US went to war: free trade, sailors rights, and indigenous tribes out here in the west. It should be noted that the indigenous tribes were not even part of these peace negotiations. The treaty was negotiated based on "status quo antebellum" This phrase was Latin for let's go back to the way things were before the war started. Immediately after the war peace was uneasy there was a certain palpable tension between the United States and the United Kingdom. Then in 1819 the Rush-Bagot Agreement was passed. The Rush-Bagot Agreement was important because it began the process of demilitarizing the Great Lakes. Both countries were limited in the number of naval vessels they could place in each Great Lake. The Rush-Bagot Agreement did not squash all tensions, however. In the decades following the agreement there would be several rebellions in Canada even though the United States would not officially become involved there were many Americans that supported or even assisted the events that unfolded in Canada during those rebellions. Furthermore in 1859 as the American Civil War loomed on the horizon the UK and the US almost confronted one another over a pig that was killed. An event that is commonly referred to as the Pig War in the San Juan Island. Cooler heads luckily prevailed and outright war was avoided. The matter will be settled by arbitration in 1872. During the American Civil War as a result of the Trent Affair the UK rushed troops to Canada to rebuild fortifications that had fallen into disrepair after the War of 1812. Although this happened many Canadians crossed the border to fight for the Union Army during the civil war. It will be in 1867 Canada started to form as a country as we know it today. Between 1912 and 1915 Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial was built to remember Oliver Hazard Perry, his men that fought in the Battle of Lake Erie. Equally important the memorial was to mark a century of peace between the United States, United Kingdom and then Canada. During the World Wars, prior to the US involvement in both many Americans will cross the border to enlist in the British and Canadian military. It is clear that old enemies were becoming friends and allies especially with the collaboration we saw between the three countries during the World Wars. When did this peace actually start? An argument could be made that peace might have been first realized on September 12, 1813 when Perry helped support the wounded Barclay at a joint funeral service for the six officers killed in the Battle of Lake Erie or it could have been realized after the battle of the Thames when Perry wrote passes for civilians to return to their homes. Perhaps it was when Perry gave financial assistance to some of the British subjects to make their way back home and now US occupied Canada. Maybe it was when Perry died of Yellow Fever in 1819 and the British gave him his funeral even though some of those men would have been at the Battle of the Thames or the Battle of Lake Erie. Or is there some other event that took place during the war that might have started this peace, this spark. The spirit of peace and friendship continues today. In 2001 September 11th when planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. There were many planes still in the air on their way to the US. There were 225 aircraft inbound into the United States they'd passed the point of no return. There was no going back to Asia, Europe wherever they were coming from. These planes had to land someplace and US airspace was closed. Canada our neighbor to the north took those planes in in places like Gander there were now more people visiting that town than there had been in years and these aircraft sat but there was no place for the people to go. The locals would end up providing places to stay in their own homes for these people trying to get to the US until they could reach their destination. Also because of this peace Canadians can cross the border into the US to help commemorate events of our shared history. In return people from the US can cross the border and commemorate those events in Canada as well. This has allowed this creation of this series "Guns Across the Lake". We'd like to thank all our viewers for coming along on this virtual adventure we hope you enjoyed this series and learn some more about the War of 1812. We sure did. If we cut a story short or completely missed your favorite part of the war we apologize. There was only so many stories we could include in so many places so in so little time this first time around. So this might be the end of this season of "Guns Across the Lakes" but as a group we hope to continue this collaborative video series in the future with the hope of gaining more partners to more fully tell the story of the War of 1812 in our part over the world around the Great Lakes. So, till next time Huzzah!

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Duration:
7 minutes, 19 seconds

This episode explores the end of the war and the peace that has lasted to this very day.

 

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Hello and welcome to the next episode of Guns Across the Lakes my name is Eric Hemenway and I am the director of Archives and Records for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. I am here today at the Mackinac Island Native American Museum at the Biddle House for the Mackinac State Historic Parks Mackinac Island Michigan and in this episode we will be discussing the repercussions the War of 1812 had on tribal nations in the Great Lakes.

Hello, Anii (Continues in native language to introduce himself.)

My native name is the Lynx my English name is Eric Hemenway I am Anishinaabe Odawa and I am from the place of the Prayer Tree aka Crossroads, Michigan and I'm of the Crane Clan. I'm the director of Archives and Records for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians as a historian as an Anishinaabe person, a native person, I have a great interest in the war of 1812. I've studied it not just because of the heroes that I see in the records and in the stories such as Tecumseh and Shingwakoonz and Assiginack other individuals who from my perspective were fighting for our rights to exist in our native lands to uphold our way of life. But then also the repercussions of this war what it had on my communities, on my tribe, on my people, on me as a native person to this very day and those repercussions are very far-reaching they're very strong. And it's something that I don't think the public is very aware of what this war meant after it was over for native peoples in the Great Lakes and not just for native peoples in the Great Lakes but native peoples across the United States. Many warriors from my villages of Middle Village Cross Village, Little Traverse from here in Mackinac they departed east and they departed west to fight they departed to uphold a way of life that had been here since time immemorial since creation. But after the war things changed very drastically for the Anishinaabe, the Odawa, the Potawatomi, and the Ojibwa after the war we couldn't take up arms to defend our ways we had to go into different negotiations and different agreements to keep what we had for thousands of years land, resources, our families. So the change was very quick it was very rapid and it was very severe for the Anishinaabe here in Michigan. Soon after the war more populations that were non-native starting to come onto our lands competing for resources such as land, food, and water and as these populations came in they started to enforce their way of life on us. There was forced assimilation there was this idea that native people were savages and uncivilized and it was the duty of the American Government, society to bring us into quote unquote a civilized state. That means our religion would change, our dress, our housing, our government, how we raised our kids, how we hunted how, he fished, every single thing that made us Anishinaabe

was targeted for change and with this change was the idea of removal. The native people had to be removed from contact with whites it was for their best interests but we all know that wasn't for our best interests it was for our lands so this idea of Indian removal took legal form in 1830 with the Indian Removal Act. This is only 15 years after the war was concluded in 1815. So, within literally 15 years there's this legal mechanism that would effectively remove a hundred thousand native people from their homes east of the Mississippi to west of the Mississippi. These removal treks were often dubbed trail of tears, trail of death because that's just what they were people would die on the move westward and when they got out west they had no resources. You know they didn't know how to hunt they know how to grow so the hardships for many tribes continued on after they were removed so we are fighting to stay home we're fighting to keep our way of life and here in Northern Michigan we avoided removal. But we were targeted for removal in the 1830s they wanted to remove the Odawa, my community, to Kansas but we fought against that and one of the ways that we did fight against that was we got into treaty negotiations and the treaty that really was a hallmark for this area was the 1836 Treaty of Washington, DC and many of the tribal people who fought in the war shifted gears and took up the diplomatic mantle of being treaty negotiators. One such individual that didn't fight in the war for us but it was very influential was this individual here Augustin Hamlin and I very I strongly feel that if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be here on Mackinac Island today given this presentation. I would be in Kansas. He was an interpreter for our communities during the 1836 treaty because we needed that individual to honestly interpret what was being said and without him we would have been removed I feel but we were lucky because we had an Augustin some tribes didn't and they did get removed. Ohio, Indiana, Illinois was vacated of their native populations. An individual by the name of Blackhawk he fought in the War of 1812 alongside my ancestors who were Odawa and Ojibwa and Pottawatomie. His story is one of tragedy and sorrow where he was finally removed but after his own conflict called Blackhawks War where the entire tribe was almost extinguished. So here I stand today in the land of my ancestors but it's because of my ancestors I am able to stand here today. The War of 1812 had drastic and long-lasting repercussions for tribes that are still felt to this day. Forced assimilation, Indian boarding schools, reservations, loss of land, language, cultural traditions are all part of that legacy of the War of 1812. Tribes are rebounding they're regaining they're reclaiming. Here on Mackinac Island we have a new installation as part of the Mackinac State Historic Parks the Biddle House. It's the Native American Interpretive Center. Telling more story from a native perspective.

Join us next week for the final installation of Guns Across the Lake at Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial where you'll learn about the conclusion of the war and its repercussions for the United States, Canada, and Tribal Nations. Hello, My native name is the Lynx my English name is Eric Hemenway I am Anishinaabe Odawa and I am from the place of the Prayer Tree aka Crossroads, Michigan and I'm of the Crane Clan. I'm the director of Archives and Records for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians as a historian as an Anishinaabe person, a native person I have a great interest in the war of 1812. I've studied it not just because of the heroes that I see in the records and in the stories such as Tecumseh and ______ and _______ other individuals who from my perspective were fighting for our rights to exist in our native lands to uphold our way of life. But then also the repercussions of this war what it had on my communities on my tribe on my people on me as a native person to this very day and those repercussions are very far-reaching they're very strong. And it's something that I don't think the public is very aware of what this war meant after it was over for native peoples in the Great Lakes and not just for native peoples in the Great Lakes but native peoples across the United States. Many warriors from my villages of Middle Village Cross Village, Little Traverse from here in Mackinac they departed east and they departed west to fight they departed to uphold a way of life that had been here since time immemorial since creation. But after the war things changed very drastically for the Anishinaabe, the Odawa, the Potawatomi, and the Ojibwa after the war we couldn't take up arms to defend our ways we had to go into different negotiations and different agreements to keep what we had for thousands of years land, resources, our families. So the change was very quick it was very rapid and it was very severe for the Anishinaabe here in Michigan. Soon after the war more populations that were non-native starting to come onto our lands competing for resources such as land, food, and water and as these populations came in they started to enforce their way of life on us. There was forced assimilation there was this idea that native people were savages and uncivilized and it was the duty of the American Government, society to bring us into quote unquote a civilized state. That means our religion would change, our dress, our housing, our government, how we raised our kids, how we hunted how, he fished, every single thing that made us Anishinaabe

was targeted for change and with this change was the idea of removal. The native people had to be removed from contact with whites it was for their best interests but we all know that wasn't for our best interests it was for our lands so this idea of Indian removal took legal form in 1830 with the Indian Removal Act. This is only 15 years after the war was concluded in 1815. So, within literally 15 years there's this legal mechanism that would effectively remove a hundred thousand native people from their homes east of the Mississippi to west of the Mississippi. These removal treks were often dubbed trail of tears, trail of death because that's just what they were people would die on the move westward and when they got out west they had no resources. You know they didn't know how to hunt they know how to grow so the hardships for many tribes continued on after they were removed so we are fighting to stay home we're fighting to keep our way of life and here in Northern Michigan we avoided removal. But we were targeted for removal in the 1830s they wanted to remove the Odawa, my community, to Kansas but we fought against that and one of the ways that we did fight against that was we got into treaty negotiations and the treaty that really was a hallmark for this area was the 1836 Treaty of Washington DC and many of the tribal people who fought in the war shifted gears and took up the diplomatic mantle of being treaty negotiators. One such individual that didn't fight in the war for us but it was very influential was this individual here Augustin Hamlin and I very I strongly feel that if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be here on Mackinac Island today given this presentation. I would be in Kansas. He was an interpreter for our communities during the 1836 treaty because we needed that individual to honestly interpret what was being said and without him we would have been removed I feel but we were lucky because we had an Augustin some tribes didn't and they did get removed. Ohio, Indiana, Illinois was vacated of their native populations. An individual by the name of Blackhawk he fought in the War of 1812 alongside my ancestors who were Odawa and Ojibwa and Pottawatomie. His story is one of tragedy and sorrow where he was finally removed but after his own conflict called Blackhawks War where the intro time entire tribe was almost extinguished. So here I stand today in the land of my ancestors but it's because of my ancestors I am able to stand here today. The War of 1812 had drastic and long-lasting repercussions for tribes that are still felt to this day. Forced assimilation, Indian boarding schools, reservations, loss of land, language, cultural traditions are all part of that legacy of the War of 1812. Tribes are rebounding they're regaining they're reclaiming. Here on Mackinac Island we have a new installation as part of the Mackinac State Historic Parks the Biddle House. It's the Native American Interpretive Center. Telling more story from a native perspective.

Join us next week for the final installation of Guns Across the Lake at Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial where you'll learn about the conclusion of the war and its repercussions for the United States, Canada and Tribal Nations.

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Duration:
6 minutes, 54 seconds

For indigenous peoples the overall impact the War of 1812 on the original inhabitants of the Great Lakes region will be discussed in this week's episode of Guns Across the Lakes featuring Eric Hemenway the Director of Repatriation Archives and Records with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

 

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Welcome Back to Guns Across the Lakes a Virtual Series of the Old Northwest in the War of 1812. My name is David Harkleroad Interpretation Coordinator here at Fort Mackinac, Mackinac State Historic Parks on Mackinac Island Michigan. Last week our friends at the Erie Maritime Museum and US Brig Niagara discussed the impact of American victories at the Battles of Lake Erie and the Thames on American and British forces on the Great Lakes as well as on the operational planning on both for the onset of the campaign of 1814. In this episode I will be discussing how the American campaign to recapture British held Fort Mackinac unfolded.

Following the decisive American victories at the Battles of Lake Erie and Thames in the Fall of 1813 the American strategic objective shifted north to recapture Fort Mackinac which had been taken by the British at the outset of the War of 1812. The British anticipated this next move by the Americans and prepared for it by building Fort George, named after the king, a fortified block house located about a mile north of Fort Mackinac on the highest point of the island which would secure not only Fort Mackinac's back door but also give a vantage point to see enemy ships coming from any direction. The American fleet would arrive on July the 25th 1814 east of Round Island located behind me. Two days later the naval commander Captain Arthur Sinclair would attempt to bombard Fort Mackinac from the harbor below. Unfortunately for the Americans Sinclair would not be able to elevate the ship's guns high enough to effectively hit targets here on the fort walls. This would force Sinclair and US Army ground force commander Lieutenant Colonel George Croghan to plan a attack on the northwest end of the island and attempt to replay the British success there in 1812. So in the morning of August the 4th the Americans are going to initiate the attack against Mackinac Island using land forces. Around 11 o'clock in the morning they're going to begin with a bombardment of the beachhead from Sinclair's fleet and land over 700 troops on the northwest end of the island about a mile and a half from my location moving inland the British are going to observe this movement and McDouall is going to clear out all of his forces from Fort Mackinac as well as Fort George leaving about 20 odd militiamen there at each of those sites to defend them and march inland. The British are going to take a position here about in the middle of the island on the ridgeline that I'm standing on. Today this is the Wawashkamo Golf Course at the time of the battle would have been the Early Endowsman fields. Mostly would have been open like you see mostly it is today. McDouall will secure his center with two cannon and his two flanks will be secured on the wood lines uh both his left and his right flank. The Americans are going to arrive and the action is going to begin around 3:15 in the afternoon. There will be intermittent cannon and small arms fire from 3:15 to about 3:45 at which point McDouall is going to receive word, faulty reports, that the Americans are landing troops on the south end of the island while he's being distracted here thinking this is a ruse or a faint by the Americans McDouall is going to order most of his troops to disengage and start marching back south towards Fort Mackinac to defend his principal objective. We don't know for sure but likely inspired by this retrograde movement the Americans are going to initiate their own flanking maneuver under the command of Major Andrew Hunter Holmes, second in command, into the right flank wood line of the British position however unbeknownst to Holmes there are indigenous warriors situated inside the fort or inside the wood line. Holmes is going to be killed his second in command is going to be severely wounded and his aborted attack will retreat in disarray and confusion. The Americans ultimately are going to initiate an all-out assault across the field in attempt to drive the British off their position more likely to cover Holmes's retreating survivors. In the meantime McDouall who heard likely heard the increased firing is going to order a retrograde back here to the battlefield he will deploy his men in a flanking maneuver on the American left flank. Which will force the Americans to yield the field retreating back to their ships and leaving the Americans in possession of or leaving the British in possession of the battlefield. While this defeat led Sinclair to withdraw most of the American fleet back to Fort Detroit he left behind two ships the Scorpion and the Tigris to blockade Fort Mackinac into submission however this all this effort ultimately failed as well when Lieutenant Miller Worsley of the Royal Navy led a daring night attack as well as an early morning attack against both ships and capturing them. This ended what was a debacle of a campaign for the Americans and also a proud victory for McDouall who later had a painting commissioned of the two captured American vessels being sailed into Mackinac Harbor here. Ultimately what American arms could not accomplish diplomacy did with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in December of that year. With the signing of that treaty all previous possessions were returned to their original owners including Fort Mackinac leaving McDouall changing his attitude from one of a victorious feeling to one of bitterness where he remarked "as usual our negotiators have been egregiously duped."

While the end of the war had little postwar impact on territorial possessions of either the Americans or the British this would not be true for indigenous peoples the overall impact the War of 1812 on the original inhabitants of the Great Lakes region will be discussed in next week's episode of Guns Across the Lakes with Eric Hemenway the Director of Repatriation Archives and Records with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and we hope you can join us again.

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Duration:
7 minutes, 42 seconds

Croghan and Sinclair are getting ready to recapture Fort Mackinac and the island. What will happen? Find out in this episode.

 

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Ahoy and welcome back to another installment of Guns Across the Lakes. My name is Charles Johnson and I'm the educator here at the Erie Maritime Museum and US Brig Niagara. This week we focus on the US Navy's Presque Isle squadron after the Battle of Lake Erie through its 1814 campaign and onto the eve of the Battle of Mackinac Island. Following the Battle of Lake Erie Harrison's army followed suit in defeating the British at the Battle of the Thames. With these two engagements Lake Erie and Detroit were under sole possession of the United States. Almost overnight Oliver Perry was held as a hero in the eyes of citizens across the United States. Celebration within the ranks at Erie however quickly faded as the perceived inaction of Jesse Elliott, Perry's second in command at the Battle of Lake Erie quickly divided those who remained. At the battle Perry's Brig Lawrence sailed directly into the teeth of enemy fire whereas Niagara from much of the early portion of the engagement hung back away from the bulk of British firepower. Lawrence was all but destroyed however Elliott's Brig Niagara remained relatively untouched. Many members of the officer cadre believed that Elliott purposely held the brig back. Initially quiet on the subject Perry wrote that Elliott had served with his customary gallantry on that day. He then ordered that his fellow officers remain quiet on the subject as well. Unfortunately dissent had traveled out when Lieutenant John Yarnell wrote a letter that would eventually be published in an Ohio newspaper. Word travels quickly through the ranks of any military force especially one like the early 19th century American navy a letter such as Yarnell's could have severely tarnished Elliott's reputation. Ultimately Perry requested transfer from Erie and on October 25th 1813 he resigned his command turning over the Lake Erie squadron to none other than Jesse Elliott. Perry's trip home to Newport Rhode Island lasted three weeks and was prolonged due to being fed by enthusiastic crowds gifts and banquets every stop along the way. While Perry was beset by celebration what he left behind was quite the opposite. Presque Isle Naval Station fell into a state of disrepair and chaos. Ships were left tattered and even sunken in their mooring lines and on top of that the Perry-Elliott debate embroiled the men leading to intense squabbles duels and arrests across the station. Furthermore American losses on the border canceled out the previous season's gains throughout the winter. As the calendar flipped into 1814. The British captured Fort Niagara and destroyed the settlements at Buffalo and Blackrock. With the latter the Americans lost two of the prize vessels the Little Belt Chippawaas well as a sloop Trippe. Understanding the threat Elliott wrote to the Secretary of the Navy on the 5th of January 1814 requesting a force of 2000 militia in Erie until the middle of March as an added layer of precaution. British strategy continued to point toward increasing their presence on the lakes primarily to ensure their ability to control their holdings as well as supply lines out in the western end of the region. As well as their desire to create a buffer state of native allies along the American border. Furthermore they scheme to destroy or recapture the vessels they lost at Put-in-Bay and build a new shipyard in the lakes. Fortunately for the Americans of Presque Isle the winter of 1813-14 was a mild one preventing a British crossing the lake due to limited ice coverage. On the other side of the coin the winter was exceptionally difficult at Erie. Pneumonia and smallpox ravaged the station killing many resulting in the anchorage being nicknamed Misery Bay. In April, Chauncey ordered Elliott to prepare the Niagara and Lawrence and proceed into Lake Huron as soon as the ice would permit. For the United States the strategy was to press on following their supremacy on Lake Erie and retake Fort Mackinac. Severing British supply and communication lines with their western allies. Shortly after Chauncey penned this letter to Elliott the latter requested leave from Presque Isle and in his place the US Navy sent Captain Arthur Sinclair to oversee operations at the station. Upon arrival Sinclair immediately realized the challenge of the task ahead describing the situation at Erie's being a deplorable one. An audit of the officers and crews showed that there are very few that still remained and of those that did most were unfit for service. Expenses and accounts were out of control and the crime had forced the arrest of many throughout the station. As for the shipsthose at Erie were still in dismal shape nowhere being ready for the campaigning season ahead. Sinclair immediately ordered the remaining prize ships which were left behind at Put-in-Bay to return to Erie for repairs. Paying close attention to British operations American Secretary of War John Armstrong argued that due to the lack of supplies moving across British lines on Lake Erie the British are most likely focusing their efforts on the Niagara Peninsula. This resulted in the plans to launch an expedition into Lake Huron being delayed. Back in Erie, Sinclair continued to work diligently to repair the squadron as well as clean up the mess from the months prior. As well as obtain the appropriate amount of supplies and food to sustain the station. Intelligence pointed to a considerable amount of flour and bread stuff in five or six large manufacturing mills guarded by a small company at Port Dover in Ontario. He sent for Colonel John Campbell to prepare for a joint effort in striking the Port Dover mills. On May 14th American troops landed at Port Dover and encountering little resistance. Campbell ordered his landing party to destroy the stores in the area however the raid quickly fell into chaos as the landing party began destroying and ransacking homes in the port. Campbell declared the raid as retribution for the British attack on Buffalo four months earlier. The British and Canadians however were incensed. This raid served as justification for the attacks on the Chesapeake, Washington DC, and Baltimore later in the year. Campbell himself was court-martialed yet acquitted for his actions at Port Dover. Alongside ship repairs Sinclair began to combat issues with the books as well as personnel who arrested for trivial causes. Amongst those was Purser McGrath and another officer who threw a volunteer overboard prior to Sinclair's arrival. In late may Sinclair reported peaceful harmony across the station however rumors began to arise that Napoleon had been defeated in Europe allowing the British to send seasoned veterans to aid their war effort in North America. Focus shifted back to Lake Huron and the impact these reinforcements could have in securing British control of the Upper Great Lakes. On June 19, Sinclair departed Erie with Lawrence, Niagara, Caledonia, Scorpion, and Tigris and arrived at Detroit two days later. The passage into Lake Huron was a difficult one however the British lacked the manpower and resources necessary to meet the Americans as they entered the lake. For Sinclair and his partner in the army Colonel George Croghan three objectives were sent down seek out and destroy the shipyards at Matchedash, capture Saint Joseph Island and recapture Fort Mackinac. Of their objective at Matchedash, Secretary of War Armstrong stated that British shipbuilding operations must be brought to a halt as the safety of Detroit commanded the lakes and general security of the frontier depend on it. Sinclair wrote that he struggled with an overall lack of knowledge of the area as well as the flats of Lake Saint Claire being less depth than he was informed. The process lasted from the 3rd of July through the 12th he then remarked that he charted his course towards Matchedash. The issues continued at the fleet Sinclair reported a lake filled with islands sunken rocks and an impenetrable fog all without the aid of a local pilot. As time wore on the lack of food and inability to sail the lakes forced Sinclair and Croghan to abandon their search for the shipyards at Matchedash and point their course towards Saint Joseph Island. According to the diary of Usher Parsons the Americans found an abandoned fort. He writes that the fort public buildings were destroyed found some sheep and about 40 barrels of rosin were also found. The Americans burned all the structures and by the 26th of July set sail in the direction of Mackinac island. Parsons continued in his diary and pursuing the island we were fired upon by the enemy and returned off Mackinac Island about two and a half miles. The events that would ensue following that journal statement from Usher Parsons would become known to history as the Battle of Mackinac Island. For this we turn it over to our friends at Fort Mackinac State Park as they tell the tale of this pivotal battle in the War of 1812. Thank you so much for joining us here in Erie and we hope you enjoyed this episode of Guns Across the Lakes until next time. huzzah

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Duration:
8 minutes, 10 seconds

The US end the 1813 Campaign on a high note with the Battle of Lake Erie and the Thames. This week we move in 1814 where the US hopes to continue the war in their favor on Lake Huron.

 

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Hi my name is Ranger Sarah and today i'm standing in what is now Hopewell Culture National Historical Park. Around 2000 years ago this area was surrounded by miles of earthen walls built by the Hopewell Culture. A vast network of prehistoric American Indian groups practicing a religious tradition that spanned all across the eastern half of the United States. However, just 200 years ago during the War of 1812 this area was farmland and just down the road from where I'm standing now was a two-acre encampment on the bank of this Scioto River known as Camp Bull. This was one of a few prisoner of war camps in the United States during the War of 1812. Join me in this episode of Guns Across the Lakes to explore what life was like in a prisoner of war camp. Camp Bull gets its name from a figure similar to Uncle Sam called John Bull who was a personification of England. The camp served as one of few British prisoners of war camps in the United States of America during the War of 1812. Other camps were established in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New Orleans as well as several others along the east coast. Many of these camps were informal prisoners were housed in jails and warehouses. Private residences as well as any other establishment that would provide adequate housing for prisoners. Standard protocols and formal encampments for prisoners of war were not firmly established until late 1813. Camp Bull was hastily built followed following Commodore Perry's victory on Lake Erie and the American victory at the Battle of Thames which we learned about in the last installment of Guns Across the Lakes.The land that Camp Bull was built on was owned by Thomas Worthington one of Ohio's first governors. The land was located just outside the town of Chillicothe. Chillicothe has had close connections to federal military campaigns for most of its history. The city was Ohio's state capital during the War of 1812 and served as the staging ground for the 19th in regiment of the infantry during the War of 1812. Almost every family in Ross county had a son, father, or uncle go to battle against the British. Later on during World War One Chillicothe was also home to Camp Sherman, a large training camp that served over 40,000 soldiers but nearly 100 years before the Great War from 1813 to 1814 300 prisoners were held at Camp Bull as well as in the city of Chillicothe. After Commodore Perry's victory and the American victory at the battle of Thames the defeated British were ordered by General William Henry Harrison to march the nearly 200 miles from Sandusky, Ohio to Chillicothe. They finally reached Camp Bull in mid-October. The prisoners who made this long journey were primarily officers, privates, and seamen. Camp Bull enclosed roughly two acres of land. Four square wooden walls enclosed the prisoners detained in the camp. Their barracks were small wooden cabins that jutted up against the three of the four walls. A picketed wall that faced the Scioto River formed the fourth and final wall that completely enclosed the prisoners. Some British prisoners were able to work and roam freely around Chillicothe. Prisoners could receive parole if they were trained as craftsmen one British pow was trained as a glass maker and another as a carpenter. Officers often did not stay at camp at all. They had the privilege to live alongside Chillicothe families receiving three shillings a day for food and lodging. Captured British officers were often invited to dinner parties and had servants leading to mixed feelings among Chillicothe locals. While many Chillicothe locals enjoyed the company of the British others resented how well they were treated. The loose arrangement between the British and the Americans regarding prisoners of war led to very laxs rules. For instance escapes were common and repercussions were few and far between. Yet that did not hold true for American deserters. Before the British prisoners ended their time at Camp Bull they witnessed the execution of six American soldiers for desertion along the bank of the Sciota river. in 1814 following the end of the hostilities the British prisoners made their way back to Sandusky and then along the Niagara to make their way home. Camp Bull no longer stands in Chillicothe, Ohio but is commemorated in Pat Medert's book Raw Recruits and Bullish Prisoners Ohio's Capital in the War of 1812 and up until recently a commemorative marker on route 104. Join us for our next installment of Guns Across the Lakes where we join Lake Erie Maritime Museum and explore the campaign of 1814.

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Duration:
7 minutes, 1 second

This week we travel to Southern Ohio to learn what happen to the POW captured at the Battle of Lake Erie and the Thames.

 

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This video looks at the War of 1812 more specifically the fall of 1813 where we see the British army vacate Amherstburg, Sandwich, and Detroit to retreat up the Thames river in Upper Canada. The American pursuit will culminate in what has been known as the Battle of the Thames or the Battle of Moraviantown. Through this series of events and actions we will see a future president of the United States, a future vice president, the ruination of a long-standing military career, and the death of a famous Shawnee leader and warrior.

Hi i'm Tom Fournier from the Crown Forces staff. Also I used to command the 41st regiment of Foote military reenacting group. So you're going to find this perspective is going to have a decided British look to it. I've drawn heavily upon the court martial transcripts from Major General Henry Proctor. Behind me you'll see the Thames river or as the French called it the River Tranchée literally the trench. So this is a big topic covering nearly two weeks in time lots of big names and personalities. The retreat covered 90 miles in distance and we got a whole lot to fit into a very small segment. I'm sure there's going to be parts we overlook or skim over but please bear with me we'll do the best we can.

The British army under the command of Major General Henry Proctor were in three garrisons Amherstburg, Sandwich, and Detroit. They also had a considerable number of indigenous warriors and their families to support and feed. They had no money. Soldiers were six months in arrears in their pay. This was literally the end of the road. With limited roads often in very poor condition control of the lake and access to shipping was vital to support and sustain their position. With the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813 it meant a difficult situation had become untenable. Not only was there the loss of the fleet but also a loss of a considerable number of soldiers of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and the 41st Regiment who were pressed into action on the badly undermanned fleet.

Proctor felt he had to make a retreat he had planned to retreat to the Thames River hoping to preserve the alliance with the indigenous warriors and their families. The retreat did not begin until September 22nd nearly two weeks later. The initial plans were to ready the area around Dolson's just before Chatham for a stand. While defenses were being prepared at the forks of the Thames in Chatham. September 27th William Henry Harrison and the American forces landed near Amherstburg and marched into town unopposed. At the same time a large mounted contingent was also moving along the opposite shore towards Detroit.

On the retreat a debate arose as to whether to make a stand at the forks or at Dolson's. Dolson's was chosen with the idea that ground could be used to throw up a battery and loopholes could be cut into the wooden buildings. But the tools could not be found. They were upriver somewhere in the boats. Tecumseh pressed for a retreat to the fork of the Thames. Where he was led to believe that there would be fortifications. Upon arrival the forks it was found that no fortifications had been established. Tecumseh was extremely upset.

Preparations were made for a stand to be made at the forks but after a council with his chiefs Tecumseh said he would like to retreat to Moraviantown. With the Americans now in close pursuit the retreat continued with boats being scuttled to block the river boats and stores being abandoned or destroyed and stragglers being captured by the Americans. By October 4th the soldiers had no bread and if meat was available it was raw with no means to cook it.

We are at the site where Moraviantown stood. As the retreat was being mismanaged and chaos ensued it became apparent that Moraviantown is where the British army was going to make a stand. The initial plan was to cut loopholes in the buildings like this. This ravine stood at the end of the Longwoods Road as a cut through Moraviantown. The plan was and actually they did have the British guns sighted at the top end of the ravine. So the idea was soldiers would defend the huts and fight have a fighting withdrawal back through the ravine where the Americans would face the battery of guns. Why this never occurred is impossible to tell. As the column approached Moraviantown it was suddenly stopped and halted. Some testimony indicates that it was actually turned and marched back half half a mile towards the Americans.

The expectation was that the Americans were close and the stand was going to be prepared. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Evans of the 41st regiment estimated that he had 280 men of the 41st to stand. Why such a low number well quite a number were lost in the Battle of Lake Erie. Then there were men with the baggage guarding that. There was quite a number of sick ahead of the column on the road between Moraviantown and Delaware and also there were quite quite a few men still with the boats with their supplies in the rivers. The men were not issued bread that day they were given raw meat but they had no kettles to cook it in and no time to cook. As all of a sudden the column was up and moving as they prepared to stand to fight word came back that 150 men were captured with the boats and with the boats was captured all of their ammunition.

We stand here on the battlefield this is the ground chosen by the British to stand and fight the British line would be anchored on its left by the river. To its right was a swamp where the indigenous warriors were situated with the march to Moraviantown, the halt, and counter-march back to this ground the formations were hopelessly jumbled. The grenadiers and light company normally on the flanks of the line were in the center. There are reports that the rear rank stood in front of the front rank. At this point it was decided to adjust the defensive position. The grenadier company and the light company were pulled from the second line and moved considerably back to form a second line. Now neither line had enough men to cover the space. The files were extended considerably. This is not how these soldiers were trained to drill and fight. Tired, hungry, confused, short of ammunition, and reportedly considerably outnumbered the British soldiers stood and waited for an attack that was imminent.

Only the attack was not coming they stood in position for two or three hours awaiting the Americans. No attempt was made to create defensive works like felling trees in front of their positions. Likely the tools were unknown as to their location. A distant bugle sounded. Then the bugle sounded again even closer. The Americans attacked with mounted riflemen. They targeted the right of the British line hitting it with heavy fire and charging their horses through the gaps. Soon there were riflemen between the two lines rounding up survivors of the first lines other soldiers were running desperately back to and through the second line. The rifleman hit the second line it fired but very quickly fell apart. Eighteen men were killed 22 were wounded in mere moments the battle was over. Cavalry and mounted staff including Henry Proctor fled away on horseback. So now the Americans can turn their attention to Tecumseh and indigenous warriors. It's really confusing, there's a lot of mixed accounts just how many were there. Quite a few melted away during the course of the retreat. There were also a significant number back in Moraviantown seeing to the safety and security of their families. The best estimates were maybe 500 warriors stood against the Americans. The Americans organized a forlorn hope, that is a small group of men who were going to rush the indians soak up their fire and before they could reload then the main attack would happen. The forlorn hope occurred, the attack ensued and then reportedly Richard Mentor Johnson, a future vice president of the United States killed Tecumseh. With the death of Tecumseh the indigenous forces melted away. It was a dramatic American victory under William Henry Harrison, a future president of the United States. With the victory effectively the pursuit of the British had ended. The Americans had over 600 British captives. Those from the battle, those captured along the route of the retreat, and then stragglers that continue to come in at the end of the battle. With the battle Tecumseh died along with his dreams of an indigenous confederacy. Henry Proctor would see his military career in ruins. He would face a court martial and was found guilty of a want of energy and judgment. He was suspended six months without pay. But this effectively ended his military career.

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Duration:
10 minutes, 57 seconds

This week we travel to the north side of Lake Erie to follow the UK and their natives allies as they retreat up the Thames River.

 

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My name is Rob Whitman I am a National Park Service Park Ranger here at the Memorial. On August 19 1813 General Harrison and his officers met with Perry and his naval officers over in Sandusky Bay to discuss strategy for the war between the army and the navy. This is a rare meeting and a beginning of a successful partnership between Perry and Harrison. A couple important things come out of this meeting besides details of how to fight the war. First Perry did not have enough men to fight and sail his vessels for battle. Harrison offers his army up and over a hundred men from his army volunteered to be attached to the navy. Second important thing was Put-in-Bay was chosen to be the base of operation for the US squadron under Perry when it was in the western end of the lake. They chose here for three reasons. First from here you'd be able to watch the Royal Navy if they decide to leave the safety of the Detroit River. Here Perry would also stay in contact with General Harrison and third the bay provided a safe harbor in case of bad weather.

The battle of Lake Erie is one of the most pivotal battles of the war in the old northwest and takes place just about in the middle of the war. The battle was important foremost because whoever controlled the lake controlled the ground around it. Control of the lake meant that you could move men and supplies easier than if only relying on land-based transportation. On September 9, 1813 with the US squadron at Put-in-Bay the main supply route for the British had been cut off. The British military was now running low on supplies at Fort Malden. They had two choices retreat or send their squadron out and open the supply route. They chose to fight. Now back at Put-in-Bay 87 out of the 540 men of the US squadron were sick with lake fever including Perry and the squadron's two surgeons.

The morning of September 10th the US squadron spots the Royal Navy on the horizon. The US will spend several hours fighting the wind to gain the weather gauge from the British whoever held the weather gauge would have an advantage in the coming battle. After several hours Perry will finally issue the order to turn around and give up his attempt to get the weather gauge but before the order can be followed the wind shifts 180 degrees giving Perry the advantage. During the time it takes to close the distance final preparations for battle are made and Perry stops and talks to his gun crews about the coming battle. Also during this time Perry will bring out his battle flag "Dont Give Up The Ship" the final command of his friend Captain James Lawrence who was mortally wounded in the naval battle with the British in June of 1813.

The Royal Navy opens the battle about 11:45 for roughly the next two hours the Lawrence Perry's flagship takes on the whole British squadron with the help of just a few smaller US vessels. After those two hours Perry has lost close to 80 percent of his men killed or wounded. All of his carronades on the engaged side are disabled. At this point the British are winning. What is Perry to do? At this low point someone then spots the Niagara moving forward Perry decides to jump in one of the long boats and have a few men roll them over to the Niagara where he takes command and adds more sail. This is the oh shoot moment for the British. Perry just got a brand new boat. As Perry and the Niagara bears down on the British squadron the Detroit and the Queen Charlotte decided to wear ship, turn around, so their unengaged side can now fight the US. At this point the British are feeling the toll the US fire power. Every captain and first officer of every British vessel is killed or wounded. Junior officers are now in command of damaged ships, that are crewed by a large number of soldiers rather than sailors. The Detroit and the Queen Charlotte collide opening a hole in the line for the Niagara to sail into. Perry claims at half pistol range, about 30 yards, he double shots his carronades. The British soldiers and sailors take this pounding fire at close range for about 15 minutes as they work to cut their vessels apart. Barclay wounded comes back to take command but is wounded a second time and is taken below again. The British get their vessels cut apart but the damage is done. At this point the British start surrendering one by one. after the victory Perry writes a quick note to General Harrison. "Dear General, We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop. Yours with great respect and esteem, O.H. Perry." That night the two squadrons lay together off west sister island to care for the wounded and bury the enlisted men at sea. The six officers three American and three British killed in the battle will be buried together on South Bass Island in the days following the battle. This is not the end of the army navy cooperation under Perry and Harrison we'll leave the rest of the story to our friends and neighbors across the lake to continue the tale. Make sure to tune in next week to hear the next segment of Guns Across the Lakes.

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Duration:
6 minutes, 29 seconds

This week we travel to the island of South Bass/Put-in-Bay to hear the story of a Signal Victory.

 

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Welcome back to Fort Meig's Historic Site in Northwest Ohio. If you viewed last week's installment of Guns Across the Lakes you learn from our friends at the Erie Maritime Museum that it was shaping up to be a busy summer In the upper lakes theater of the War of 1812. And indeed Fort Meigs would be subjected to further attacks and a second great siege.

In June of 1813 came one of the most grand and awesome spectacles of the entire war the arrival of the far northwestern First Nations people into the Detroit River. Governor General of British Canada George Prevost had hatched a plan of reinforcing Henry Proctor at Fort Malden entirely with an American Indian army. Instead of his demanded redcoats from further down the lakes. Provost had appointed Robert Dixon a Scottish born fur trader to the British Indian Department in early 1813 for the purpose of securing this untapped resource of fighting prowess and under Dixon's leadership as a highly influential member of these communities the far northwestern tribes of Lakes Michigan and Superior came down to link with the British war effort. American Indian numbers would reach their zenith with an armed force of nearly 4000 that high summer. Outnumbering the British regulars of the right division nearly six to one and what a mind-blowing sight it must have been for these Europeans. For these new tribes included members of the Sioux, the Fox, the Sauk, the Minominee, and Winnebago. All joining with the Ottawa, Ojibwa, Pottawatomie, Kickapoo, Wyandot, and a few Shawnee already fighting in Michigan Territory and beyond. Well these new warriors had yet to feel the encroachment of the Americans. Indeed they had scarcely ever seen a white person, but their fighting prowess and their commitment to securing their homeland would be tested in July at Fort Meigs.

Proctor couldn't let this huge force including women and children lay idle as his rations dwindled. But Fort Meigs was not his ideal target the Royal Navy was occupied blockading and harassing the American shipyard at Erie. Therefore there would be no way to move the heavy siege guns that would be required. But with his redcoats so outnumbered by the natives. Why it would be Tecumseh who decided the next move. And Fort Meigs it would be.

The Americans first sighted the British on July 20th entering the mouth of the Maumee River but they didn't know the battle was on. Until the following morning when the main guard from Fort Meigs was captured in the forest immediately upon exiting the fort's gates and these would be the first casualties of the second siege. Small arms fire and sleepless nights would come to dominate the second siege until July 26th when Tecumseh played his hand. A rouse-de-guerre or sham battle would be staged here just south of the fort. The idea being that British light infantry and native warriors would stage a mock battle with intense firing and war chants just out of sight of the fort. Making it seem that an American relief column were being annihilated out here. It was then hoped that a sortie would venture forth from the fort to provide aid to these troops and a huge body of american indian shock troops would be waiting just to the west of this position. Not only to capture this sortie but then storm through the south gates and take the camp from within. But just then a violent thunderstorm would come roaring through here with a deluge of rain the lightning and thunder so close the sham battle is silenced and so ends the second siege.

General Proctor had to keep going his new first nations army had traveled so far he had to find them victory in order to keep this very delicate alliance upheld. A second smaller target was selected, Fort Stephenson 30 miles to the southeast. The British moved deeper into Ohio with Americans on their line of retreat. Major George Croghan, a veteran of the first siege of Fort Meigs but now in command at Fort Stephenson, had missed the dispatch from William Henry Harrison ordering him to abandon this position. He was determined to hold this outpost with 150 or so Americans inside and a single piece of ordinance. The British would surround Fort Stephenson late in the afternoon of August 1st and demand its surrender. The Americans truculently refused. But with only a few small field pieces and shots from the gunboats on the river the next day Proctor reluctantly settled on taking the fort by storm and a direly direct infantry assault. The fort was to be taken by attacking both the north and the south side simultaneously. The warriors to the south only half-heartedly started across the battlefield before retiring to the woods. Direct infantry assaults are not in the warrior playbook for war. The accompanying grenadiers on the south side were late getting into position and pinned down 20 yards from the walls. On the north side the British officers had underestimated the depth of the ditch surrounding Fort Stephenson no scaling ladders had been brought forward and no breaches in the stockade were found. Helplessly trapped in the ditch the lone American cannon opened fire at point-blank range accompanied by a massive volley of musketry from the fort's walls.

The Battle of Fort Stephenson was over. Nearly trapped deep in Ohio Proctor barely makes his escape by cover of darkness aided by the British shipping. An encircling General Harrison is camped only a few miles away but the two armies pass like ships in the night. And the now near desperate situation the British right division is in will force their hand in an all out do or die naval battle we'll fight next week.

Huzzah!

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Duration:
7 minutes, 26 seconds

This week we move back to Northwest Ohio to hear about the British and their allies attempt on Fort Meigs and then Fort Stephenson.

 
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Duration:
6 minutes, 29 seconds

This week we travel to the other end of Lake Erie to Erie, PA. Home of the Erie Maritime Museum and the US Brig Niagara to learn about the building the squadron to claim the lake for the US.

 

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Major General William Henry Harrison, commander of the United States Army of the Northwest was trying to rapidly move more troops forward to reinforce Gen Winchester at the RR community when his army encountered the straggling, desperate, thirty or so survivors of the River Raisin moving south in the wake of the crushing defeat the Americans would suffer on Jan. 22 we learned about last week. With the shocking news these men brought, Harrison had lost the offensive punching power he would need to retake Detroit. Harrison begins fortifying his army in an advanced, yet defensive position at the Rapids of the Maumee River, now Northwest Ohio, a crucial chokepoint for travel in the Old Northwest. Slowly, crawling forward through the Great Black Swamp to our south, the American army begins collecting itself here – on this ground- the first week of February, 1813 – felling trees and digging trenches in the frozen earth.

What would become Fort Meigs was intended to be a supply base where Harrison could stockpile rations, artillery, train a young army, then use this ground as the springboard to retake the Michigan Territory. Really Fort Meigs is more of a fortified camp than a true fortification – a high plateau on the south side of the river – the men would stay in tents (camp shot) on the cleared land using the felled trees to throw up a stockade around them for better defense, then eventually seven blockhouses and five artillery batteries. So the Americans are building through the snow and ice of February, building through the rain and mud of March and April, expecting a new invasion every day. For once the ice on Lake Erie melts, the campaign season begins anew. (Portraits) Promoted to Brigadier General after his success at the River Raisin, Henry Proctor is continuing the aggressive attitude of his predecessor Gen. Isaac Brock – and in conjunction with the action minded Tecumseh- will spill down to annihilate the American threat here before they can take action.

The British would sail down from Fort Malden the final week of April, 1813. The American Indian warriors spearheaded by Tecumseh the Shawnee and Roundhead the Wyandotte would take the land route down from Detroit, arriving a few days later, the strategy being to surround and lay siege to Fort Meigs. Based at a former outpost a few miles downriver and on the opposite bank, the British set up artillery position just opposite Fort Meigs to the north, the Native warriors roaming the forest to the west and south. The bombardment began in the early morning hours of May 1 and built throughout the day. On May 3rd, addition batteries were established to the east of the American position. What came to be called the First Siege of Fort Meigs would last a full nine days with thousands of artillery shells ripping holes in the stockade and destroying blockhouses among mounting American casualties.

The heaviest fighting would take place on May 5th when three separate land engagements would be fought in the morning in an attempt to break the siege. 1200 arriving reinforcements from Kentucky would land up stream, dividing to the two banks of the river – sweeping the forest free of the allied army. Meanwhile a detachment from the fort would steal down a ravine in the southeast and remove the British threat nearby the American fortification. Designed to be executed simultaneously, the southwestern attack was an American success, a hole was opened and the Kentuckians safely re-enforced the fort clearing the western woods of the Native forces. The American attack in the southeast was also a success though bought at great cost. What is called “Miller’s Charge” captured the British Artillery and then a fighting retreat ensued, the British counterattack aided by a flanking action from their allies. What happened on the north side of the river is now known as “Dudley’s Defeat” or “Dudley’s Massacre” to the Americans. Of the 800 troops involved in the American attack here, only 150 would make it back to the safety of the fort, all others killed or captured by an enveloping Native war party. Those captured were marched back to the British camp where the violence continued.

Both sides would claim victory for the first great siege and battle. The British for the high degree of casualties inflicted on their enemies, the United States for the successful repulse of invasion and the continued security of the Ohio country. The battle would prove to be a turning point for the American Army of the Northwest, previously knowing only defeat. Part of the reason and the importance of Harrison making a stand on the Maumee and refusing to give additional territory was to keep the British army from sweeping around the southern shore of Lake Erie and threatening a new American Naval base being established at Erie, Pennsylvania. Harrison would come to develop an excellent and rare partnership with the navy as the year unfolded. But for this we move to the Erie Maritime Museum to shore up our story there. We’ll see you again – Huzzah!

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Duration:
6 minutes, 17 seconds

In this episode we travel just a short distance from River Raisin to the banks of the Maumee River to Fort Meigs.

 

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Hello and welcome to Guns Across the Lakes I'm Joseph Dowd interpretive ranger here at River Raisin National Battlefield Park. The River Raisin battlefield was the site of one of the most significant battles of the war of 1812. It was a crushing defeat for the United States there was tremendous loss of American lives. Wounded Americans were executed inspiring the United States' first war cry "Remember the Raisin." In August of 1812 the war with Britain was only two months old but the Michigan Territory had already been taken over by the British and their native allies. American Brigadier General James Winchester departed from Kentucky with 1,000 Kentucky militiamen and 400 regulars from the 17th and 19th US Infantries. His mission march to Michigan Territory rendezvous with Major General William Henry Harrison and his troops liberate Detroit and invade Canada. It was not an easy journey. In Ohio and Indiana Winchester's troops fought frequently with natives who sided with the British. Disease thinned the ranks. Food and clothing were scarce. In January of 1813 they finally arrived in northwest Ohio they would meet here with Harrison and their combined forces would sweep into Michigan. But before Harrison arrived Winchester met with several fearful citizens of the River Raisin settlement which was just a few miles in Michigan Territory. Canadian occupation troops and their native allies were threatening to burn the settlement. Winchester dispatched forces to save the River Raisin. On January 18, 1813 550 Kentucky militia arrived just outside the River Raisin settlement they were joined by as many as a hundred residents. The Americans attacked forcing the enemy to retreat. The River Raisin settlement had been liberated. General Winchester and his remaining troops then marched from Ohio to the River Raisin settlement. The Kentucky militia set up camp in settlement homes within the protection of a shoulder high sturdy fence. The regular soldiers of the 17th and 19th infantries camped in an unprotected area General Winchester established his headquarters in a home about three quarters of a mile from his troops. Winchester expected no further engagements with the enemy. The enemy however had a different strategy British Colonel Henry Proctor and Wyandotte nation's chiefs Roundhead, Walk in the Water, and Split Log commanded a force of close to 600 soldiers and 800 native warriors from at least a dozen tribal nations. They gathered less than 20 miles away from the settlement. On the morning of January 22nd they advanced to the settlement the british artillery opened fire and the infantry and native warriors attacked. The Kentucky militia were well protected and held fast the vulnerable US 17th and 19th Infantries struggled to hold their ground but were forced to retreat. The retreat became a route. General Winchester was captured. Fearing total annihilation of his troops Winchester sent a message to the still fiercely resisting Kentuckians urging them to surrender. Faced with the overwhelming enemy numbers and dwindling ammunition the Kentuckians surrendered. Of the 934 American troops who heard that morning's revelry only 33 escaped. Roughly 400 were dead and almost 500 were prisoners of war most of them marched off to Canada under guard. Approximately 60 of the wounded who were unable to walk remained at the River Raisin under the care of a few abled-bodied prisoners. On the morning of January 23rd more than 100 native warriors arrived at the River Raisin. For them the battles were not over. They plundered and then they burned the settlers homes they took abled body prisoners captive and methodically they killed the wounded who could not walk. This event was used as propaganda to rally the fledgling nation with the nation's first war cry "Remember the Raisin" a cry that led to tribal nations forced removal and still resonates with tribal nations today. And the story isn't over come learn more at the River Raising National Battlefield Park in Monroe, Michigan. This is Ranger Joseph Dowd hoping that you Remember the Raisin.

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Duration:
5 minutes, 35 seconds

Last week at Fort Wayne we witnessed American forces halting the tide of the American Indians. This week River Raisin National Battlefield Park picks up the story.

 

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The area at the headwaters of the Maumee River in northeastern Indiana was once known as Kekionga. What is now the city of Fort Wayne was once the home of the great Miami chief Meshekinnoquah, Little Turtle who led his people in war and in peace. July 14th of 1812 Little Turtle died and was buried with military honors on the farm of his son-in-law Captain William Wells. Wells would die just over a month later at the Battle of Fort Dearborn August 15th of 1812. Parties escaping the battle hastened to Fort Wayne with the news of an impending attack. The women and children were evacuated to the safety of Piqua, Ohio and preparations were made for the coming storm. I'm Quartermaster Sergeant Cory Balkenbusch a volunteer here at historic Fort Wayne in Fort Wayne Indiana. The siege of Fort Wayne in September of 1812 is another in a series of programs Guns Across the Lakes highlighting the unfolding of events that are the War of 1812. Lieutenant Daniel Curtis played by our volunteer William O' Brien submitted a detailed account of the events of August and September of 1812. On the 28th Mr. Johnson attempting to go through the Piqua Ohio was shot and killed. The next day an Indian came within hearing of our sentinels and hailed and by our interpreter requested to see our captain and a white flag that some of the Chiefs might come and speak with him. On the evening of the 4th a flag was returned by Winnemac, five medals, Long Days of June, Cappune and two others. When asked if they had intended to remain at peace or to declare themselves in an open state of warfare Winnemac being the principal chief among them observed I don't know what to tell you other than Mackinac is taken, Detroit is in the hands of the British, and you are expected to fall probably within the next few days. At about 8 p.m. general shout was heard from an Indian succeeded by a small firing arms of every direction. The enemy had not time to fire a second time before we open to broadside upon them at the same time. We exchanged general shot when discovered the flash of their guns. Mr. Ostrander having charge of the block rooms above as soon as the enemy had collected in a body sent a few shells among them which caused them to soon disperse. As we have heard of old caution is the mother of safety and in apprehension we have filled every kettle bucket and barrel at the most convenient places and we are to soak the roofs of our buildings. The siege continued from the morning of the 5th to the morning of the 10th without secession. The fears and troubles of our worthy commander continually drowned in the excessive use of audited spirits. After the 10th we remained in tranquillity but could see frequently large parties of Indians running across the river and the prairies. About 3 p.m. on the 12th to our great joy we beheld the approach of an army of about 3,000 men commanded by General Harrison. And so ended the siege of Fort Wayne. Subsequently an inquiry was held which exonerated both Lieutenants Daniel Curtis and Philip Ostrander for their successful prosecution of the siege of Fort Wayne in September of 1812. The successful defense of Fort Wayne halted the string of British and Native American victories on the frontier. In October General Harrison marched north to meet general Winchester and together the two armies would advance at Fort Malden.

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Duration:
6 minutes, 9 seconds

Episode three takes us to the head waters of the Maumee River to learn the story of Fort Wayne.

 

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Hello Bonjour welcome back to Guns Across the Lakes: a Virtual Series of the Old Northwest in the War of 1812. Last week our friends in Fort Mackinac began with the epic tale of the capture of the fort on Mackinac island by British, Canadian, First Nation forces, the first significant action of the War of 1812. Today we continue the story from the banks of the Detroit riverat Fort Malden National Historic Site in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada. My name is Alex Dale and I'm an Interpretation Officer with Parks Canada at Fort Malden National Historic Site. Originally called Fort AmHerstburg it was a headquarters of the British army's right division of Upper Canada and the garrison here was involved in many of the actions in the Old Northwest during the War of 1812. News of war arrived fairly quickly in Amherstburg within days of learning that the state of war now existed an American mail ship the Cuyahoga sailed up the Detroit River on the afternoon of July 2nd. The detachment of the Provincial Marine under the command of Lieutenant Frederick Roulette approached the Cuyahoga. Lieutenant Roulette fired one pistol into the air and aimed his second one at the skipper ordering them to stop. The unfortunate American commander did not yet know the war being declared. Lieutenant Roulette took command of the ship but in his hast to overcome the American vessel he did not bring a British Flag. Fearing that the fort's guns might fire on the now captured vessel Roulette instructed the American bandsman to play "God Save the King" so that the music would drift over the river to the fort. Among the items captured included the American General William Hull's invasion plans and army records. As well as his personal diary and which really outlined his fears of defeat and generally his fear of a massacre of his garrison. This was to become invaluable in the upcoming campaign. At dawn of July 12th the American army under Hull crossed the Detroit River and occupied the town of Sandwich modern-day Windsor, Ontario. A proclamation dated July 13th was issued offering personal and property protection to the Canadians. On July 16th an advance guard from Hull's army met a patrol from Fort Amherstburg at the River Canard. In this brief encounter one British soldier was killed and another wounded thus shedding the first flood of the War of 1812. However General Hull recalled the advanced guard back to Sandwich losing the strategic location of the River Canard. On July 22nd the US forces returned to the River Canard only to find that the British had removed the planks of the bridge and stationed the brig HMS General Hunter to cover the bridge with covering the fire. That summer General Hull also found his supply route under constant threat of attack. Hull sent a force of 200 men to escort a supply train at the River Raisin Michigan Territory. On the way they were ambushed on August 5th at Brownstown by 25 warriors under Tecumseh, Shawnee chief and a leader of the first nations confederacy. On August 9th 600 american soldiers were attacked in Monguagon by about 200 men comprised of British soldiers Tecumseh's warriors and Canadian militia. After a fierce firefight the US troops forced the British and allies to withdraw and following this engagement and upon learning of the capture of Mackinac Island General Hull retired his forces from the Canadian side to the relative safety of Fort Detroit. British Major General Isaac Brock arrived in Amherstburg on August 13th and assumed command the next day. He met with Tecumseh to plan their military strategy. After bombarding Detroit from sandwich on August 15th the British crossed the river the next morning. Brock ordered the 41st regiment soldiers who had arrived from Niagara to provide the local Canadian militia with their old used red coats. The idea was to give the appearance that there were twice as many regular soldiers. Meanwhile Tecumseh employed his own ruse with the First Nations warriors approaching the fort actually running in full view on the morning of August 16th they circled into a forested gully came down through a ravine and reappeared at the start to continue the circuit over and over and over again. Seeing this General Hull was convinced that the First Nations groups who had attacked Mackinac Island had amassed in Detroit and that there were now several thousand warriors in the vicinity. Fearing that he could not withstand a major assault and not wanting to be responsible for a massacre of his own army Genneral Hull surrendered Detroit the whole of the Northwestern Army and Michigan Territory to the British. Hull was court-martialed for his conduct and Brock was knighted though he never would live to know it as he was eventually killed two months later at the Battle of Queenston Heights. But the story certainly does not end there. This is really only the beginning I will now pass this off to our friends and neighbors on the other side of the river make sure to tune in next week to Old Fort Wayne in Indiana. To hear another edition of Guns Across the Lakes.

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Duration:
5 minutes, 59 seconds

Today, we continue the story from the banks of the Detroit River, at Fort Malden National Historic Site in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada.

 

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Good Morning and welcome to the opening episode of Guns Across the Lakes: A Virtual Series of the Old Northwest in the War of 1812. My name is David Harkelroad Interpretation Coordinator here at Fort Mackinac State Historic Site on historic Mackinac Island Michigan. In this episode I will be discussing the opening of the war of 1812 in the Straits of Mackinac and the upper great lakes with the pre-emptive British, Canadian, and Native capture of here at Fort Mackinac and the larger implications of this opening action on the overall theater of operations in the upper great lakes.

Fort Mackinac itself was actually built by the British not the Americans between 1779 and 1781 at the tail end of the American Revolution, however; at the end of the American revolution belatedly the British would turn over the fort to the Americans in 1796 as part of the larger treaty negotiations that ended the war as part of the Treaty of Paris. The American concern with Fort Mackinac was as a post to defend the British-Canadian and American border. As well as maintaining oversight of America's strategic fur trade interests in the upper great lakes. However tensions never really completely went away between the two countries. After the American Revolution and these tensions are going to be escalated with the Napoleonic wars between Britain and France. During this time period Britain is seizing neutral American merchantmen and even warships taking sailors off that they suspect as being deserters from the British Royal Navy. In addition to that outrage perceived by Americans at least the British Canadians are suspected of supplying the natives in the Great Lakes region and the western territories in general with muskets to defend their traditional homelands and to act as a buffer between British Canada and the Americas. The Americans of course see this as the British interfering with their right to move westward and expand into these western territories. So with these repeated outrages perceived by the Americans the Americans will declare war on Great Britain on 18 June 1812. Under President James Madison with this declaration of war, The War Department the American War Department will notify its commanders that the two nations are at war unfortunately for the American side they will make the choice of sending these dispatchers through the regular mail service. The British military professionals will notify their commanders through official military dispatches. So the British commander captain Charles Roberts located at Fort St Joseph about 40 miles northeast of Mackinac island will receive word actually before the American commander Lieutenant Porter Hanks here at Fort Mackinac. In addition to receiving word first the British had also preemptively been planning for a possible declaration of war between their two countries so Captain Charles Roberts had been uh working on relations with the local natives the Odawa, the Chippewa, as well as other natives further out to include the Wyandotte uh the nominee and even the Sioux to uh recruit them to come support the British war effort against America if war was declared which of course it was. So the British commander when war is declared is able to quickly gather up uh Canadian militia over 150 as well as over 400 native allies along with his men from the 10th Royal Veterans Battalion around 41 soldiers in that company. They will form a united front and depart from Fort St. Joseph on the night of July the 16th 1812. The American garrison has no idea that the two countries are even at war let alone an attack is imminent on the morning early morning hours around three in the morning of July the 17th the British allied force will land on the north end of Mackinac Island in the middle of the night. They're going to move the two miles from the north end to the south end where Fort Mackinac is located and they will form a position on the rising ground to my rear. The trees that you see back there actually would not have been there at the time of the battle the entire hillside had been denuded which gave the British and their allies a clear field of fire line of sight on the American position.

The Americans are shocked to see the British and their native allies surrounding the fort. They will very quickly receive a surrender demand to quote "avoid the effusion of blood" from Captain Charles Roberts Before he commences uh his bombardment with his one six-pound smoothbore that he brought along. The most intimidating sight was just the size of the British troop strength with their allies that really intimidated the Americans into quickly accepting those terms of surrender without even firing a shot. The fort will be surrendered around noon on the afternoon of July the 17th the entire American garrison of 61 soldiers including their commander Lieutenant Porter Hanks will accept terms that allows them to move south to Fort Detroit not as prisoners of war but as parolees. Which means that they will have to cease fighting until they can be properly exchanged for British prisoners of war. This is seen as a very humiliating defeat for Lieutenant Porter Hanks. He will actually be brought up on charges however; he will never have time to respond to those charges because the British command will then follow up with their victory here at Fort Mackinac with an attack on Fort Detroit. In which Porter Hanks will be killed in the opening act in that opening action. So the larger consequences of this uh first engagement which is a British victory of a war declared by the United States ironically is that it will give the British initiative to launch their subsequent attack on Fort Detroit.

This campaign will be discussed in the next week's episode of Guns Across the Lakes by our friends with Parks Canada at Fort Malden Historic Site and hope you can join us again.

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Duration:
7 minutes, 30 seconds

In this episode will be discuss the opening of the War of 1812 in the Straits of Mackinac and the Upper Great Lakes with the-preemptive British, Canadian, and Native capture of the US army garrison here at Fort Mackinac and the larger implications of this opening action on the overall theater of operations in the Upper Great Lakes.

 

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Hello, I am Ranger Rob from Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial in Ohio with an exciting announcement. Over the past several months a group of War of 1812 sites have combined our efforts for a new and engaging collaborative project. This organization covers 4 US states and a province of Canada, including historic sites on a national, state and local level, along with an indigenous tribes' perspective. The result of this collaborative salvo is "Guns Across the Lakes: A Virtual Series of the Old Northwest in the War of 1812". (Insert video montage of iconic pictures of each site.

This year, we hope is the start of many seasons in a series; you will get to virtually travel to all of our sites in a timeline fashion learning many avenues of the war. Our overall mission is to provide quality content connecting viewers to the various historic sites and battlefields associated with the War of 1812 and provoke our audience to reflect on the effects of the war as important to the formation of their national identity. We aim to develop a holistic and connected narrative of these important battles fought on the Great Lakes by linking sites across North America.

First up on July 17 will be Fort Mackinac with the beginning of the war in the west. We hope you come back for each installment and enjoy this series as much as we did while putting it together. Thank you!

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Duration:
4 minutes, 22 seconds

Introduction video for the Guns Across the Lakes project and those involved.

Last updated: October 16, 2020

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