Our Story

Bombardment of Sandwich, Upper Canada – July 5, 1812
Hull arrived at Detroit and learned of the ship’s capture and sent a note to Brock asking for the return of his belongings, implying that a true gentleman would never read another’s personal documents. Brock decided to retreat as there would be no hope of holding Sandwich with Fort Detroit’s guns just over the river (eventually).

Hull occupies Sandwich, Upper Canada – July 12, 1812
Gen. Hull made the journey across the Detroit River with troops and occupied the town of Sandwich. Hull issued propaganda among the inhabitants of the area claiming that the Americans were there to emancipate them from British tyranny. He urged them to not rise up and fight and proclaimed that any man fighting alongside Native warriors would also be taken prisoner. American pillaging parties ravaged farms ranging from about 60miles, encountering a few skirmishes.

Skirmish at Canard River – July 16, 1812

An advance guard of Hull’s clashed with a patrol from Fort Malden and two British soldiers were killed (the first casualties of the war).

Capture of Fort Mackinac – July 17, 1812
On the morning of July 17, 1812, the fort was attacked by a combined British and Native American force of seventy war canoes and ten bateaux under the command of British Captain Charles Roberts.

Ambush at Brownstown – August 5, 1812
En route from Detroit to the River Raisin (now Monroe, Michigan) to accompany a supply train, Major Van Horne and the 2nd Regt. Ohio Volunteers are surprised by a native ambush while crossing Brownstown Creek (near Trenton, Michigan). The Americans withdraw to Detroit, having suffered 31 casualties; the aboriginals under Tecumseh suffer one.

Hull Returns to Detroit – August 7, 1812
Fearing a cut-off from supplies as Fort Michilimackinac fell and after the ambush at Brownstown Creek, General William Hull withdraws his men back to Fort Detroit.

Ambush of Maguaga – August 9, 1812
In another attempt to reach the River Raisin, an American military escort under Lt. Colonel Miller encounter British Captain Adam Muir and a mixed party of 400 soldiers and Natives. Despite considerable confusion in the British ranks, 82 American casualties are inflicted. The British withdraw to Fort Malden; The Americans return, once again, to Detroit.

Brock Meets Tecumseh – August 13, 1812
Major-General Isaac Brock, Commanding Officer and Governor of Upper Canada, arrives at Amherstburg. Brock immediately learned from Hull’s captured despatches that the morale of Hull and his army was low, that they feared the numbers of Indians which might be facing them, and that they were short of supplies. Brock also quickly established a rapport with Tecumseh, ensuring that the Indians would cooperate with his moves. Brock and Tecumseh met for the first and only time shortly after Brock arrived at Amherstburg. Legend has it that Tecumseh turned to his warriors and said, “Here is a man!”

Capture of Fort Detroit – August 16, 1812
Before dawn, the British troops under Brock and the Natives under Tecumseh land at Spring Wells and move into position around the walled town of Detroit. To deceive the Americans into believing there were more British troops than there actually were, Brock’s force carried out several bluffs. At the suggestion of Major Thomas Evans, the Brigade Major at Fort George, Brock gave his militia the cast-off uniforms of the 41st Regiment to make Hull believe most of the British force was regulars. The troops were told to light individual fires instead of one fire per unit, thereby creating the illusion of a much larger army. They marched to take up positions in plain sight of the Americans then quickly ducked behind entrenchments, and marched back out of sight to repeat the manoeuvre. The same trick was carried out during meals, where the line would dump their beans into a hidden pot, then return out of view to rejoin the end of the queue. The Native also participated in the bluffs, as they would change their attire and run in and out of the woods, making it seem that their forces were considerably larger. Brock had assisted the process of unnerving Hull by the Natives by remarking in a letter in which he demanded Hull’s surrender that, while he did not propose to “join in a war of extermination,” the Indians would be “beyond control the moment the contest commences.” General William Hull surrendered Fort Detroit without any major engagement taking place between the two forces. Brock returns immediately to Niagara, expecting action on that frontier at any time.

Battle of Lake Erie – September 10, 1813
On the morning of 10 September, the Americans saw Barclay’s vessels heading for them, and got under way from their anchorage at Put-in-Bay. The wind was light. Barclay initially held the weather gauge, but the wind shifted and allowed Perry to close and attack. Both squadrons were in line of battle, with their heaviest vessels near the centre of the line. Practically ignoring the smaller American support vessels, the Detroit, Queen Charlotte, and General Hunter focused their broadsides, pounding the Lawrence while the Niagara remained a spectator. Fighting desperately the American flagship inflicted considerable damage upon the British, but the Lawrence was overwhelmed by superior firepower. By 2:30 p.m. the flagship was a floating wreck; every gun on her engaged side was disabled and four of every five men fit for duty were either killed or wounded. Perry was facing the dismal prospect of surrender. Then, as he gazed across to the Niagara, still out of range and relatively undamaged, the commodore made a fateful decision. Collecting four unwounded men Perry manned the flagship’s first cutter and rowed through a hail of shot to the Niagara. During the engagement Barclay was severely wounded, plus the captain and first lieutenant of every British vessel was incapacitated. The English fleet was now commanded by junior officers – brave men, but with little or no experience manoeuvring ships in the chaos of combat. Orders were issued, but amidst the tumult of battle the battered British ships, the Detroit and Queen Charlotte collided, becoming helplessly entangled. A few minutes after 3:00 p.m. the British bowed to the inevitable, the four largest vessels surrendering one by one. The Battle of Lake Erie proved one of the most resounding triumphs of the War of 1812. The victory secured control of the lake, forcing the British to abandon Fort Malden and retreat up the Thames River.

Council Announcing Procter’s Retreat – September 18, 1813
Procter called a council at the council house of the Amherstburg Indian Agency. He rose to state his plans. Being that in the dire situation in which they were, which the defeat at the Battle of Lake Erie was which meant Harrison’s force of five thousands could penetrate Upper Canada. Not having enough ammunition or man power Procter wished to retreat and burn the fort at Amherstburg. Tecumseh initially resisting and after giving a great speech in which he referred to Procter and the other officers as “cowardly animals, withdrawing with their tails between their legs” he finally consented to retreat, but stipulated that the retreat should go no further than the Moravian village.

Battle of the Forks – October 4, 1813
The Forks is located where McGregor’s Creek meets with the Thames River. This is where it was originally agreed upon that the retreated British force would stage a defensive battle. Tecumseh is enraged when he is told that this is not to happen and he and some of his warriors decide to fight the advancing American troops at the forks of the Thames. Tecumseh and his Indians take up position near the bridge in which the Americans would have to cross. The Natives fought so well and determined that Harrison concluded that the entire British and Native force had to be in the vicinity. He halted until his artillery could be brought up. Once it was, it began firing, in which Tecumseh and his warriors withdrew, to return to the main retreating force.

Battle of the Thames – October 5, 1813
As British fortunes went on the Niagara Frontier the situation at Detroit had become very serious, Procter had enjoyed successes at first against the Americans, but, there was the problem of getting supplies and it was wearing down his resolve. Added to his supply problems was William Henry Harrison (future President of the United States) who had just arrived with a very large force. Harrison’s arrival forced General Procter to pull his troops back to the river at Detroit. The defeat of the British Lake Erie Squadron made the situation grave. American control of the lake made the supply problem much, much worse. General Procter was nothing like General Brock at all, he had no bold plan to change this situation around. Against the protests of the great Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, Procter planned to withdraw to the western part of Upper Canada. To abandon the Detroit Frontier was to abandon the Western Indians who had fought beside the British since the beginning of the war. On 27 September, Procter evacuated Detroit and Amherstburg and began the long march up the Thames River toward far off Burlington. Along with the British troops were the disillusioned Tecumseh and one thousand warriors. Tecumseh was furious, and he pleaded with General Procter to make a stand at Matthew Dolson’s farm and then again at McGregor’s Creek, but Procter would have none of it. The column pushed on mile after mile, with the British morale dropping with every step. The wagons were moving slowly even know the enemy was in rapid pursuit. It was obvious Procter was losing control of his small army. Procter spent almost all of his time with his family leaving the day to day command of the army to Lieutenant Colonel Augustus Warburton. Procter failed to give orders to destroy the bridges after they had crossed them and only the presence of mind of the Indians kept the bridge at McGregor’s Creek from falling into enemy hands.

The Indian scouts appeared running through the woods bringing news of the proximity of Harrison’s army. Colonel Warburton orders the 41st regiment to form across the road. The distance to be defended was so great, that the men were spaced apart by four or five feet. The second line extended in the same manner at some distance in rear of the first. The ground between the small swamp and another larger swamp was occupied by the remainder of the 41st and a few of the Royal Veterans and the Newfoundland regiments. The Indians, under the command of Tecumseh took up position on the extreme right. The total British troops, including volunteers, number 394. The Indians numbers being reduced by desertion was near one thousand.

The army remained in this position for two hours. Within that time, Tecumseh travelled up and down the lines addressing the men to “be brave, stand firm and shoot certain.”

American Colonel Johnson’s cavalry, twelve hundred strong, came barrelling out of the woods. The British fired a volley but were charged upon before having enough time to reload. The second line stood and fired but then they were charged upon, as the cavalry broke through the first line.

After sight of the first volley Procter sought safety in flight.

While the British centre was being crushed, the Indians on the extreme right were giving a good account for themselves. Concealed in the high marsh grass and behind clumps of fallen logs, the Indians lay In wait until the Americans were almost upon them, and then fire was poured into the American ranks. After decimating the British regulars and volunteers, Colonel Johnson’s cavalry were ordered to attack Tecumseh and his men, however Tecumseh’s warriors fired a devastating volley, in which made Johnson order his men to attack on foot. Tecumseh for the purpose of encouraging his followers, as the Americans kept pushing on, exposed himself fearlessly. He was seen to stagger and fall. Supposedly William Caldwell and Tecumseh’s eyes met. Tecumseh moved his arm revealing a gaping chest wound. He stumbled slightly and Caldwell signalled to two of the chief’s warriors who rushed to his side. They carried Tecumseh deep into the swamp with the rest of the warriors following. Nothing lay between the American General Harrison and the Niagara Peninsula but open country; however the season and his extended supply line forced him to turn his army back to Detroit. He then pushed on to Fort George before leaving for Sacket’s Harbour

Battle of Longwoods – March 4, 1814
Lieutenant Colonel Butler was in command of the American forces at Detroit. He orders Captain Andrew Hunter Holmes of the 24th Tennessee Regiment to assemble a force for a raid into the British Western District of Upper Canada. The objective of this mission was to capture one of two British posts in the area, Port Talbot or Delaware. Captain Holmes force consisted of his own regiment, and members of the 26th Vermont, 27th New York and 28th Kentucky Regiments. The total amount of men in this force was about 180. The American force all on horse back moved quickly, on March 3rd they were only 15 miles from Delaware when they learned from a local inhabitant that a British force was on it’s way to meet them. The Americans moved back to Twenty Mile Creek, and took up a strong position on the far side of the creek. (Known today as Battle Hill) Captain James Lewis Basden was in command of the British force sent to intercept the Americans. His force consisted of light companies from the 89th and Royal Scots Regiments, a company of rangers, a detachment of the Kent militia, and some native warriors. The total amount of men in this force was about 250.The Americans had a strong position and made it even stronger by constructing an abatis the night before. They also watered down the sides of the ravine which made them very slippery. The Kent militia under the command of Captain Caldwell were sent to outflank the Americans to the north. The native warriors took the American right flank, and the regulars under the command of Captain Basden would try a frontal assault on the American position. This plan proved to be a disaster. The British force was cut down by rifle fire. When night fell the British retreated. The American commander knew that he could no longer take the British post at Delaware. That same night Captain Holmes having defended his position on the ravine withdrew his force to Detroit. The British force had 14 men killed and 52 wounded. The American force had 4 men killed and 3 men wounded.