Archive for May 1, 2013

SHAKO: War on the Frontier, 1813

Siege Begins

Today (May 1) marks the bicentennial of the siege of Fort Meigs on northern Ohio during the War of 1812.

Photo courtesy of Fort Meigs Museum

Photo courtesy of Fort Meigs Museum

In the first year of the war, the U.S. Navy has been scoring one-on-one victories against the Royal Navy but several attempts to invade Canada have ended in failure. Meanwhile, conflict has been constant on the frontier of the Old Northwest – which now makes up the Midwest states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin .

The previous year, the U.S. Army posts of Forts Detroit, Dearborn, Harrison, Madison and Wayne all came under attack by Native Americans – largely unaided by British troops or Canadian militia. Detroit and Dearborn both fell to the British and their native American allies.

Fort Meigs, built in early 1813 by Major Gen. William Henry Harrison on the Maumee River in Ohio, has come under attack by about 400 British regulars, 450 Canadian militiamen and more than 1,200 Indians. The British and Canadians are commanded by Major Gen. Henry Procter, while the Native Americans follow Shawnee leader Tecumseh and the Wyandot chief Roundhead.

Massacre of Kentucky Militia

Massacre of Kentucky Militia

About 1,100 men are bottled up in the huge – eight-acre – fort, commanded by Harrison. A brigade of Kentucky militia numbering about 1,200 is on its way to reinforce the American garrison. About 700 Kentuckians attack British positions in the siege lines on May 2. But the Kentuckians are lured into the woods by fleeing Indians who then spring an ambush. Hundreds of Kentucky militia men are killed and wounded. About a dozen more taken prisoner are tortured and killed by the Indians until Tecumseh and two Brisith officers intervene.

The siege of Fort Miegs continues until May 9 when the Indians and Canadians withdraw. They try to mount another siege in July 1813 but fail.


SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.


May 1, 2013 at 1:10 am Leave a comment


May 2013


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