Ldot Vets - The War of 1812
The Battle of Fort Detroit
August 16, 1812
On July 12, 1812, forces under American Major-General Hull crossed into Canada at Sandwich. The invasion was quickly stopped by the British, and American forces were forced to withdraw.
In an effort to put an end to the growing number of Americans at Fort Detroit, British Major-General Isaac Brock, commanding Fort Amherstburg (Malden), decided to capture the fort with his small army. To do this he had some companies of the York Militia, the 41st Regiment of Foot, a company of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and about 1,000 Indians under the leadership of Chief Tecumseh. To oppose the British force, Hull had under his command at Detroit the 4th US Infantry Regiment, detachments from the 1st and 3rd US Infantry Regiments, two squadrons of cavalry, one company of artillery and the 1st, 2nd, 3rd Ohio Militia and the 1st Michigan Militia.
Before launching his attack, Brock constructed a battery that would hold an 18 pounder, two 12 pounders and a couple of mortars. To be diplomatic, Major-General Brock sent two aides to negotiate the surrender of the fort, but Hull refused. Brock began the bombardment that night and ended it just as the sun began to rise and as the British crossed the river. Finding the landing unopposed, Tecumseh had his warriors, who had crossed the previous night, run in and out of the woods surrounding Detroit five times. While the Indians fooled their enemy, Brock positioned his troops in an orchard in anticipation of an American weapons barrage.
Hull feared the Indians and was convinced a massacre of the civilian population would occur. On August 16, having been fooled by Tecumseh's trick, Hull surrendered saying that he had observed 5,000 Indians. It was a major victory for the British, howeverTecumseh has often been overlooked for his role in saving Canada from invasion.
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