MAY 1, 1813

BRITISH & TECUMSEH COMMENCE THE SIEGE OF FT. MIEGS DURING THE WAR OF 1812

In northwestern Ohio, a British force under Major General Henry Proctor and Shawnee Chief Tecumseh attempted to capture the recently-constructed and imposing fort to prevent Major General William Henry Harrison’s expected offensive against British-held Detroit.  British bombardment began on May 1 with little impact.  On May 5, Kentuckians, under Colonel William Dudley, arrived by boat, stormed the British batteries, and spiked the guns.  However, part of the force pursued Tecumseh’s men into the forest where they suffered heavy casualties.  Of over 800, only 150 returned to the fort.  This became known as “Dudley’s Defeat.”  The prisoners from Dudley’s command, arriving at Fort Miami, were attacked by Native warriors who killed 12-14 prisoners.  Outraged, Tecumseh stopped them and berated Procter for not preventing the killings.  From May 6 onward, guns remained silent.  Procter abandoned the siege on May 9.  Harrison later stated that the Indians were the most efficient force of the enemy.

Sources:  James P. Averill, Fort Meigs: A Condensed History (Toledo, Ohio:  Slade Printing and Paper Co., 1886), pp. 7-30.  Retrieved 6/29/2019, https://archive.org/stream/cihm_02206#page/n35/mode/2up “Dudley’s Defeat,” Ohio History Central.  Retrieved 6/29/2019, http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Dudley%27s_Defeat
Sketch:  Benson J. Lossing, undated.  From Lossing’s Pictorial Field Book of the War of 1812 (New York:  Harper & Brothers, 1868), p. 488.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 100 years or less. 

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