Why the War of 1812? Why not? Actually, there are many good reasons to study the War of 1812. It was the war that, in the minds of many of Europe's elite, established the US as an independent nation. It also ended years of British intrigue among the Indians of the old Northwestern frontier (Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin). It was not until after this war, that the bulk of Indiana, Illinois, and parts of Ohio were safe for settlement. Our friends to the north have an entire mythology bui lt about this war. So, it's at least worth ONE web site!
It also happened mostly in the US, and lower Canada, so almost all the battlefields are within easy reach of large parts of the US population. It is my intention to list the major sites, and, as I personally visit them, rate them for students of this war. I will also include a bibliography of good sources. I hope this becomes a useful site for people interested in the War of 1812.
N.B. Since I do have a job, family, dog, and other pretentious to a
real life, the sites visited section will increase rather slowly.
Take the exit for St. Road 43. Follow the signs on the exit. Watch carefully for signs to Battle Ground (the town!). They are easy to miss.
The site is very well preserved. An excellent museum is there, and the staff are quite knowledgeable and friendly.
You can note the wet prairie area to the south. (Just across the road.) The main Indian village was located on the rise across the prairie and stretching to the east towards the confluence of the Wabash and Tippecanoe. The area across the creek to the nor th was the location of the main Indian attack, especially the flatter area on the northeast side.
While the location of the village and the battle site are marked, the site marked as Prophet's rock is almost certainly NOT where the Prophet weaved his spells and awaited the battle's outcome. For one thing, it is to the north of the battle site, and about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile away. If the Prophet could chart that far, and make himself heard over the din of battle, ( as Judge Naylor stated in his account) then his persuasive powers were not the only outstanding attribute of this unusual man.
I think it much more likely that he was on the same rise, but farther north than the marker, or even to the south of Prophet's rock road, on a small rise where a home now stands. He would be close, but not too close, with the bulk of the Indians between h im and the US forces. This is the direction that the Indians retreated after the battle, as Shabbona stated. Another possible location is a slight rise before Prophet's Rock road, that is currently overgrown with shrubs and small trees. This is in line with the marked Prophet's rock, but a lot closer to the battle. The Prophet may have fled to the marked location when it became clear the battle was lost, and he was taken at that location by the angry warriors.
Fought the night of November 6-7, 1811.
A few words about 19th century documents. They can be hard to read.
In these reports, I have not been able to clearly
discern what words were written. These are noted by "XX" in the documents. I can often guess a word that would fit, and
keep the sense of the original, but I don't want to do that. I want to record the original report. I have made the spelling conform
to our current standards. In these accounts, a word with a double ss is often written with a single f. An example is "successful". In
the original it looks like succefful. The first "f" looks like a combination between a large "p" and a "f".
William Henry Harrison's first report on the battle of Tippecanoe. He wrote this Nov. 8th.
Part of William Henry Harrsion's official account.
The Full Reporton the battle of Tippecanoe.
He wrote this at Vincennes, Nov. 18th.
Please note that as this report is, well, rather long, I will add it as I get it transcribed. It may take a while,
please be patient.
Written many years after the battle, when Shabbona had become reconciled
to the Americans. Given the aggressive
hostility shown by the Potawatomis during the period 1805~1812, it almost certainly does not reflect his views
at the time of the battle.
Judge Issac Naylor's
Fought the morning of August 15, 1812
Later in the War, George Rogers Croghan (nephew to GR Clark, of Vincennes fame) led an expedition to retake the island. The British, knowing there was a war, and having a large number of men available, had garrisoned both the fort and the high ground above it. A short, sharp action took place, the Americans retired, leaving Mackinaw (and Forts in Illinois and Wisconsin) in British hands until the peace treaties. The rather unfortunate thing (from the US side) is that the regulars used on this expedition might have made the difference on the Niagara frontier.
The Fort is only slightly changed from how it was then. The various sections are marked as to when they date. So, some of the blockhouses, parts of the wall, etc. were there that fateful day in 1812. The later changes are marked. It is difficult to see th e hill that the British set their artillery on from the Fort. You can see (to the north) that the ground rises. If you take one of the horse drawn tours (I recommend it, but not if you have a two year old along!) you will go past this hill, and can easil y look down into the fort.
The Michigan State Parks have an interpretive service here during the May-September tourist season. They concentrate on the Fort during the period 1870~1890. Too bad they don't too 1812, but it is well worth a visit, especially if you see Fort Michilimaci naw, on the lower penninsula, very close to the Straits bridge. This was the location of the original French fort in the area. Afraid that George Rogers Clark might pay a visit during the Revolutionary War, the British moved to the Island location. Look o ut the gates of this earlier fort, and you see clear blue Lake, and the forest across the lake. You can easily pretend it is 1780, and you are hastily moving out before that red headed rebel shows up to ship you off in chains to Williamsburg, VA!
Fought in August 15, 1812
Fought the morning of 1814