|Fort Meigs, Toledo, Ohio|
The War of 1812, sometimes called the Second War of Independence, was
fought for sailor's rights and western expansion. Great Britain was
stopping American merchant ships on the Atlantic Ocean and impressing
sailors into the Royal Navy. In response, the United States declared
war on June 18, 1812. Fort Meigs stood at the center of American
military operations in the Northwest Territory. Between June, 1812 and
February, 1813, the United States lost Fort Mackinac and Fort Detroit
in the Michigan Territory and Fort Dearborn in the Illinois Territory,
as well as a major defeat at the Battle of the River Raisin in
Michigan. Only Fort Wayne, in the Indiana Territory, had withstood a
Fort Meigs was established by Gen. William Harrison, on the south side of the Maumee River, February 2, 1813. It was to serve as a temporary supply depot and staging area for an invasion of Canada. Named for the Governor of Ohio, Return Jonathan Meigs, the garrison was a home for U.S. regulars and militia from Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
General Henry Procter, prodded by Tecumseh and his followers, assembled a army of 900 regulars and 1,200 Indians to attack Fort Meigs.
With a strongly built fort, 550 troops under Harrison, 20-30 pieces of artillery, and knowledge of re-enforcements on their way, the garrison dug in.
Procter hoped to bring the garrison to their knees by using his artillery and mounting a seige starting May 1st, 1813. The bombardment, lasting 4 days, ending after the arrival of 1,200 Kentucky militia, under General green Clay. The Kentuckians drove some of the British units from their positions, but disorganized in their pursuit, almost half of the force was killed, wounded, or captured. Some of the captured were massacred , even over Tecumseh's protests.
Believing the seige a failure, the most of the Indians deserted with their plunder, and then Canadian militia informed Gen. Proctor they had to return home to plant their crops.
The seige was lifted on May 9, with Proctor marching his troops back to Canada.
In July, 1813, the British attempted to appease their allies by again besieging Fort Meigs. The Indians staged a mock battle to lure the garrison out. The Americans, however, saw through the ploy. After the failed siege attempt, the British moved on to Fort Stephenson, where Fremont, Ohio stands today. That attack also failed, causing heavy British losses and forcing their retreat to Canada.
May 5, 1815, the United States formally abandoned Fort Meigs. Shortly afterwards, the fort burned to the ground.
Reconstructed by the Ohio Hisorical Society, Fort Meigs was opened to the public in 1974.
Inside the top room
of a block house ->
|View toward the river from
|The Little Battery||Crogham's Battery, named in honor of
Captain George Croghan, who oversaw
the construction of the Battery, and served
with distinction at Fort Meigs.
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