Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bicentennial of the Fall of Detroit

Today, 16 August, in 1812AD, the American controlled fort and town of Detroit, in the Michigan Territory, surrendered to a British force, and the Union Jack replaced the Stars and Stripes over Detroit.

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The Plan of Fort Detroit, circa 1790AD.

The American force, under the command of Governor William Hull of the Michigan Territory, numbering about 2,200, had earlier, in July, first invaded into British Canada in what is now Ontario.  The British capture of Mackinac in the north of the Michigan Territory, however, convinced Hull and the American army to fall back to the comparative safety of Detroit and give up the invasion.  There he requested reinforcements, deeply concerned about the native tribes in the area.

Governor William Hull of the Michigan Territory & Commander at Detroit

An attempt to resupply the Americans at Detroit had failed in early August, adding to the concern of the force there.
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"The Hero of Upper Canada," Major General Isaac Brock (Left) & Tecumseh of the Shawnee (Right).

The British commander in the area, Isaac Brock, arrived on the Detroit River on 13 August with a contingent that included British redcoats, Canadian militia, and Indian allies -- numbering some 1,300 men in total.  Joining Brock was none other than the famous Shawnee, Tecumseh.  On the feast of the Assumption, Brock demanded the capitulation of Detroit, warning Hull, "it is far from my intention to join in a war of extermination, but you must be aware, that the numerous body of Indians who have attached themselves to my troops will be beyond control the moment the contest commences."  Hull rejected the demand, but an artillery bombardment and the approach of the British host broke the American resolve the next day.

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The Surrender of Detroit by John Forster (+1938AD)

On 16 August 1812AD, Gov. William Hull surrendered not only the fort and town of Detroit, but his entire force, supplies, an American Naval Vessel (the Brig Adams), and the whole Michigan Territory to General Isaac Brock.  Brock would receive a knighthood and the title of "the Hero of Upper Canada" for his victory at Detroit.

The opening phases of the War of 1812 along the northern border of the United States had, thus far, been a disaster for America.

That autumn, in October, American initiative would take the war back to Ontario, Canada, and this time around the Niagara River.  Sir Isaac Brock would be waiting for them...

Live well!

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