Wednesday, August 29, 2012

War of 1812 Road Trip, Day 3 . . . Mississinewa and A Few Forts

This is the day we started rockin.'  We covered a lot of ground and said goodbye to Indiana and hello to Ohio.  These remaining posts related to our tour of War of 1812 sites should be action packed!

Our first destination of the third day was the Mississinewa Battlefield located just north of Marion, In.  These early engagements (December 17-18, 1812) were basically a continuation of what Harrison had done at Tippecanoe.  Harrison ordered Lieutenant Colonel John B. Campbell to move against the Miami villages located in this area.    

Campbell's force of around 600 troops attacked a couple of surprised villages razing one to the ground, killing several Indian warriors and capturing many others, including many women and children.  However, the next morning, on December 18, the Miami and Delaware forces counter-attacked, and a short but fierce engagement ensued.  The monument above is inscribed . . . "Here on December 17-18, 1812, approximately 48 members of the Miami and Delaware Indian Nations gave their lives in defense of their homes, families and lands."

The monument in the foreground states . . . "Here on December 17-18, 1812, twelve members of Lt. Col. John B. Campbell's command gave their lives in the campaign against the Indian villages of the Mississinewa in the War of 1812."  I guess it is a matter of perspective.

Gravestone markers for the 12 soldiers under Campbell . . . six of them were from Kentucky.  Leaving the battlefield, the survivors then had to endure a long retreat coupled with extreme cold . . . about half of the men suffered from frostbite.    

Harrison claimed the campaign as a success, but we are talking about the consummate self-promoter.  Three villages were destroyed, but Campbell was forced to withdraw.  Today, the Battle of Mississinewa is the largest War of 1812 living history event in the United States.  Hopefully, Dudeboy and I can entice Screamin' Killer Davis to join us on a road-trip in October to witness the big doings.
The Battle of Eel River . . . located near Columbia City, In.  The marker reads:
After General William Henry Harrison relieved Fort Wayne, he ordered Colonel James Simrall in September 1812 to prevent further Miami Indian attacks in the area.  The Miamis fled as troops destroyed villages, crops, and supplies along Eel River; Miamis then stood to fight a losing battle on this site.

Above is a recreation of Old Fort Wayne (within a quarter a mile of the actual location) representing the years 1815 to 1816.  The original fort (in yet another location) was established by General "Mad" Anthony Wayne in 1794 before the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

In the War of 1812, Native Americans, bolstered by the fall of Detroit, Fort Dearborn, and Fort Mackinac, lay siege to Fort Wayne.  The fort, which was in a somewhat state of disrepair, was commanded by Captain John Rhea who was apparently inebriated for much of the time.

Starting on the morning of September 5, 1812 the Native Americans began a series of attacks.  News of relief troops emboldened another attack on September 11, but was called off as Harrison's reinforcements began to arrive.

The actions at Ft. Wayne prompted Harrison to take the initiative at places like Mississinewa and Eel River.  In September there will be a living history event to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the siege.

Located within yards of Ft. Defiance, Harrison ordered the construction of the more substantial Fort Winchester in October of 1812.  While on the frontline of defense, the fort was never seriously threatened.  However, it was used extensively as a staging area, and Col. Richard M. Johnson trained his Kentucky Mounted Regiment here.

This sign states: "Fort Winchester . . . Built by Gen. Wm. Harrison in Oct., 1812 and named for General Winchester.  For a time it was the only defensive work against the British and Indians in North-western Ohio."

Fort Defiance in Defiance, Ohio.

While rightly associated with General "Mad" Anthony Wayne and the Battle of Fallen Timbers, the deteriorated Fort Defiance was used as a staging area during the War of 1812.   

By the way, the name Fort Defiance was derived from the declaration of the commander of some Kentucky militiamen under Wayne.  He stated that "I defy the English, Indians, and all the devils of hell to take it."  But then again, I have also seen that quote attributed to Wayne.

Monument erected by the Ohio Daughters of the American Revolution.  It reads:
Fort Defiance was erected upon this site by General Anthony Wayne August 9-17, 1794 and thus "the grand emporium of the hostile Indians of the west was gained without loss of blood."  From this point General Wayne advanced against the Indians and signally defeated them in the Battle of Fallen Timbers, August 20, 1794.  At this strategic center, in October, 1792, convened the largest Indian council ever held on the American continent.  Fort Defiance was an important military post in the War of 1812. 

Gravestone and historical marker for Spemica Lawba . . . Captain Logan.  The text reads:
In September 1786, Captain Benjamin Logan of Kentucky captured a young Indian boy during a raid across the Ohio River on the Machachac tribe towns of the Shawnee nation. Upon returning to Kentucky, Captain Logan made the 14 year old boy part of his family until he was forced by treaty to return him to his native people. From the period of residence in Kentucky to the time of his death, Johnny Logan, as he was named, was a friend of the United States. Following the declaration of war against England in 1812, he joined the American service. He was employed by the Indian Agent John Johnston at Piqua to help evacuate Ohio women and children living near Fort Wayne. The siege of that fort was later lifted by the combined force of Kentucky and Ohio troops under the command of General William Henry Harrison.  In November 1812, General Harrison directed Logan to take a small party ahead of General James Winchester's left wing to scout the area near the Rapids of the Maumee River. Encountering a larger enemy force, Logan's party retreated and was accused of disloyalty by General Price, second in command to Winchester. Indignant, Logan left with Captain Johnny and Bright Horn to prove his innocence. They were, however, captured near Turkeyfoot Creek by British sympathizer Potawatamie Chief Winnemac and Matthew Elliot, son of a British Indian Agent. During their escape, four of the enemy, including Winnemac and Elliot were killed. Bright Horn and Logan were wounded, but Logan's wound was severe. He died on November 25, 1812. Army officers carried Logan's body six miles to Fort Defiance where he was buried with full military honors, the only Indian to receive that recognition in Ohio. 


Anonymous said...

What a great story about Johnny Logan.

Anonymous said...

Count me in the Mississinewa re-enactment, it sounds like a big time. Hopefully, I can talk the fellas into going.
Screamin' Killer Davis