Ldot Vets - The War of 1812
The Battle of Raisen River
January 21, 1813
The task of taking back Fort Detroit, which had been lost to the British, fell to General William Henry Harrison. His plan was to gather an army near the rapids of the Maumee River, and from there, to move against Detroit. While building an armed encampment, his subordinate, Brigadier General James Winchester, learned that a small garrison of British and Indians guarded provisions for the Fort Malden near the village of Raisen River. There were also reports that the British planned to destroy the pro-American village.
Winchester had orders from General Harrison to stay at his camp until the full army was assembled and ready to move on Detroit, but he felt he had to act immediately. He sent seven hundred men toward the Raison River under Colonel William Lewis, who defeated the British and Indians there and then sent back to Winchester asking for reinforcements to hold the place. Winchester sent three hundred regulars under Colonel Samuel Wells, and also proceeded by carriage himself. Upon arrival, Wells, pointed out to Winchester that the troops were in a highly exposed position, and recommended that scouts be sent out to learn what the British were doing. Winchester decided that the next day would be time enough to take care of these things, and went off to stay in the comfortable home of one of the community leaders, more than a mile away from his soldiers.
That night, Colonel Henry Proctor, who had succeeded General Brock as the British commander at Detroit, led six hundered soldiers and six hundred Indians against the Americans, attacking before dawn. Well's regulars formed behind a picket fence were able to kill or wound 185 of the attackers. The American militia, however, was taken by surprise in the open and quickly overcome. Winchester was captured By Chief Roundhead, and taken before Colonel Proctor. The British commander persuaded Winchester to order his regulars to surrender, supposedly to avoid a massacre by the Indians. The fighting over, Proctor withdrew to Fort Malden, taking his prisoners with him, except for sixty four wounded Americans he left at Raison River, intending to send sleds to get them the next day. That night the Indians returned and massacred thirty of the wounded men.
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