THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (Sept. 9-Sept. 15)

September 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm Leave a comment

Relief of Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne at the confluence of the Maumee, St. Joseph and St. Marys rivers in northeast Indiana is still besieged by about 500 Native Americans siding with the British.

William Henry Harrison
(National Portrait Gallery)

Across what is now the Midwest Forts Dearborn (Illinois), Mackinac (Michigan) and Detroit (Michigan) have fallen to the Indians and several others have been attacked in Indiana and Iowa.

Five days into the siege, things are not looking too good for the 100 defenders of Fort Wayne. The Shawnee leader Tecumseh, who is trying to unite the tribes east of the Mississippi to resist encroaching American settlers and trappers, is leading a party of 500 Indians and British troops to join the attack against Fort Wayne.

Major Gen. William Henry Harrison at the head of a relief column consisting of 2,000 militiamen reaches the St, Marys River on Sept. 8, where he is joined by 800 Ohio militiamen.

As Harrison approaches, Chief Winamac of the Potawatomis mounts a final assault against the fort on Sept. 11. It fails and the Indians suffer heavy losses. Winamac and his men retreat across the Maumee the next day. Harrison’s relief column arrives a few hours later, ending the siege.

Besieged at Fort Harrison

Besieged since the night of Sept. 4, Fort Harrison comes under additional attacks this week from a force of 600 Potawatomi, Wea, Winnebago, Kickapoo and Shawnee warriors.

While Maj. Gen. William Henry Harrison is marching to relieve Fort Wayne far to the north, the fort founded by, and named for him is under the command of Capt. Zachary Taylor, who, like Harrison will one day be elected U.S. President.

In Vincennes, 60 miles south of Fort Harrison, Col. William Russell gathers a pick up force of about 1,000 men – including militiamen and Army regulars. His force reaches Fort Harrison on Sept. 12. The outnumbered Native Americans retreat. Fort Harrison’s garrison suffers three killed and three wounded.

Painting of Fort Harrison

But the fighting isn’t over. On Sept. 12 and again on Sept. 15, in a place called the Narrows, a band of Potawatomis ambushes two separate supply trains, plundering the wagons and killing a total of 18 U.S. troops. Two more are wounded. The Indians’ losses are unknown.

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Entry filed under: Counter Insurgency, National Security and Defense, SHAKO, THIS WEEK in the War of 1812, Traditions. Tags: , , , , , .

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