Friday, September 14, 2012

War of 1812 Road Trip, Day 6 - Part 2 . . . Remember the Raisin!

“Remember the River Raisin” became a national battle cry in the War of 1812 after settlers and Kentucky soldiers were massacred by Indians on the river’s banks in violation of  protection promised by the British.The stream here was the center of a sturdy French – American settlement which took form 1780 – 86.In the period of controversy after the War of Independence and until 1794 British – Canadian authorities sought to establish the River Raisin as the international boundary and thus to retain possession of Michigan and control of the Great Lakes. Indians called the stream “Numasepee,” or River of Sturgeon. French settlers changed the name to “Riviere aux Raisins” which means River of Grapes. Early records tell of great masses of wild grapes which festooned the trees along its banks.

 A 1937 monument erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution, and etc., etc. . . .
First American flag raised on Michigan soil in Frenchtown by Capt., Porter 1796.  Site of River Raisin block house occupied by American troops.  Burned by the British Capt., Elliott under order of Col. Proctor. Aug. 1812.
This monument is right across the street from the very impressive Custer statue.  Monroe was the boyhood home of Custer.   

This stone marks the headquarters of General Winchester, which was located at the home of Col. Francis Navarre.  That house no longer stands, but there is now in its place a beautiful Italian Villa.  A nearby historical marker states, "General Winchester made the Navarre house his headquarters before the disastrous Battle of the River Raisin in 1813 in which Winchester was taken prisoner." 

Here were buried unidentified remains of victims of the River Raisin Massacre of 1813. In 1872 surviving veterans of that war gathered in Monroe from Ohio and Kentucky. They headed a colorful civic pageant which halted solemnly at this spot while the old soldiers paid military honor to their fallen comrades. General George A. Custer, a member of the local welcoming committee, read the roll call of the veterans.In 1904-05 the ladies of the Monroe Civic improvement Society induced city officials to establish the old burial ground as a park. Appropriation was made by the State of Michigan for the monument which stands as a permanent tribute to Kentucky and her militiamen.
There are only two flags displayed in the park . . . the U.S. flag and the state flag of Kentucky.  That, plus the monument, speaks volumes about the sacrifices made by Kentucky troops at River Raisin. 

Michigan's Tribute to Kentucky . . . erected in 1904 by the state of Michigan, this substantial monument  is located in Memorial Place Park.  From the dedication speech given by notable Kentucky historian (and Civil War veteran) Col. Bennett H. Young . . . 
Long delayed, at last with lavish hand this mighty Commonwealth of Michigan recalls the courage, patriotism and the death of these gallant slain, and this beautiful monument declares that Michigan, for whom these fallen soldiers died, "Remembers the Raisin."
Kentucky herself has been recreant to the memory of her glorious dead, but her people to-day with grateful pride recognize this tribute by Michigan to her sons who perished here nearly ninety-one years ago, and as a loyal son of Kentucky I come to bring you greeting from Kentucky's 2,500,000, and to thank you in their name for this memorial to her heroic children.   
In case it is hard to read in the photo . . . "This Monument is dedicated to the Memory of the heroes who Lost their lives in our country's defense, in the Battle and Massacre of the River Raisin, January 22nd, and 23rd, 1813."

Monument marking the Old Hull Road . . . "The Old Hull Road" over which the American Troops were driven by the English & Indian allies Jan. 22, 1813." 

Located on Kentucky Avenue is this marker for the Capture of Gen. Winchester . . .
Under attack by the British and Indians before dawn on Jan. 22, 1813, in the second Battle of the River Raisin, the U.S. 17th Infantry soon broke and fled south across the frozen river. Gen. James Winchester, the American commander, tried several times to rally these troops but was swept up in the route. Here he and his staff surrendered to the Wyandot Indian Jack Brandy, who delivered them to the British Commander, Col. Henry Proctor.Surrender was no guarantee of safety, however. After giving up, a group of 40 men led by Ensign Isaac Baker found themselves at the mercy of Indians who killed half their number. Those who kept running were tomahawked by Indians on horseback if they fell behind.
Before Chief Roundhead transferred Winchester over to the British he was supposedly stripped and painted.  There is a British cartoon from the time period representing Winchester's capture and subsequent abuse all to the amusement of British General Henry Proctor. 
The Old Hull Road Monument and Gen. Winchester marker.  Kentuckians under Winchester's command were not particularly fond of him (by the way, he hailed from Tennessee), even before what transpired at Frenchtown.  Much of the animosity had to do with Winchester being a little more cultivated and uppity than the "Alligator Horses" of Kentucky.

Missing marker for the Death of Col. John Allen . . .
Col. Allen tried vainly to rally the retreating Americans at the second Battle of the River Raisin, Jan. 22, 1813. Exhausted and disabled by a thigh wound, he faced the pursuing Indians near here. The colonel desperately defended himself at swordpoint before being killed.Col. Allen was one of the most influential men in Kentucky. He organized and then led the elite first rifle regiment, Kentucky volunteer militia. Allen had unsuccessfully run for the governorship of Kentucky in 1808 and was a member of its Senate at the time of his death. Counties in several states were later named in his honor.
Another missing marker.  This one marked the site of the First Battle of Frenchtown, or River Raisin . . .
Over this ground, Jan. 18, 1813, 667 Kentuckians and nearly 100 local Frenchmen charged across the frozen river toward the British and Indian positions. The 63 British and Canadian soldiers and 200 Potawatomi Indians made a brief stand there, then retreated with their cannon into a wooded area a mile to the north where the fighting raged for several hours...Across this ground during the second battle, Jan. 22, the Indians closely pursued the retreating U.S. 17th Infantry and its reinforcements. They tried to reform on the south bank, but became disorganized among farm lot buildings and fence rows. Constantly out flanked by mounted Indians, they fled south along a narrow lane, being fired on from both sides.
You can just see in the background the River Raisin, and just beyond that is the visitor center for the River Raisin Battlefield.

Indian Attack (also situated along Kentucky Avenue) . . .
The Second Battle of the River Raisin Jan. 22, 1813, found nearly 400 American soldiers caught in retreat down this old road to Ohio. Those few who made it to this point, over a mile south of their camp, were ambushed by hidden Indians. The 40 American bodies found here bore witness to the ferocity of the attack.The retreat was a disaster for the American army at Frenchtown. Out of the 400 men who fled, only 33 escaped, about 147 were captured and as many as 220 were killed by the pursuing Indians.
The American Surrender . . .
Protected only by a picket fence, nearly 500 Kentucky militiamen fought off three British charges on their camp along the river and silenced the British cannon with their long rifles in the second Battle of the River Raisin, Jan. 22, 1813.They fought for three hours until they saw a white flag approaching from the British lines. They were sure it was a plea for truce. To their surprise it was a message from their captured General. Unaware of their strong position and the approach of Gen. Harrison's reinforcements, Gen. Winchester called for surrender.
The Murder of Captain Hart . . .
Captain Nathaniel G. T. Hart, brother-in-law of Henry Clay and inspector general of American Army of the Northwest under Harrison, was killed here during the massacre of the River Raisin January 22 - 23, 1813.Captain Hart, wounded in battle, was rescued by a doctor from a log cabin field hospital just before the Indians set fire to it. Under escort of a friendly Pottawattamie and on horseback, he was about to make his escape when shot down by a Wyandot savage.Captain Hart was one of many sons of well known Kentucky families who sacrificed their lives in desperate effort to extend American protection to the pioneer settlers of the River Raisin.
Hart County, Kentucky was named after him.

British Victory at Frenchtown . . .
From near this spot on Jan. 22, 1813, 525 British soldiers and Canadian militiamen from Fort Malden under Col. Henry Proctor and some 800 Indians under Chiefs Roundhead and Walk-In-The-Water launched a pre-dawn attack on the sleeping American camp a mile south on the River Raisin. The British firepower included six small sled-mounted artillery pieces.The British soldiers, mostly from the 41st Regiment of Foot and Royal Newfoundland Regiment, suffered heavy casualties in three vain attempts to storm the main camp, protected by a picket fence and the skill of the Kentucky riflemen. The Canadian militiamen and the Indians, however, routed the unprotected American eastern camp which led to the American Army's defeat at this Second Battle of the River Raisin.
A historical marker just on the northern outskirts of Monroe that relates a bit more information about the Old Hull Road . . .
General Hull's army hewed out of the wilderness the first Michigan road when it advanced from the River Raisin to Detroit at the beginning of the War of 1812.In Monroe the original crossing of the river by Hull's Army was at a ford near the present Winchester bridge.North of Monroe, Hull's road followed an old Indian trail which is now the course of M-56, long known as the Old Dixie, which courses the shore line of Lake Erie and which, northwest of Oldport runs into the Old River Road, thence into Jefferson Avenue, Detroit.Hull's army engineers were the first to bridge the Huron River in anticipation of the movement to Detroit of men and supplies from Monroe where a quartermaster depot had been established.
"Hewed out of the wilderness" for a Burger King.

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