War of 1812Events and Locationsfrench

William Hull's Detroit Campaign:

Further Reading

The Capture of the Cuyahoga Packet

The British Capture Fort Mackinac

The Fall of Fort Detroit

The First Nations at Fort Detroit

Tecumseh at Detroit

The British at Fort Detroit

Brock at Fort Detroit

The Americans at Fort Detroit

Hull at Fort Detroit

The Fort Dearborn Massacre

Eyewitness accounts of Hull’s defeated army


The Capture of Detroit
by Pierre Berton


The Fall of Fort Detroit

Buoyed by the news that the British have easily taken Fort Mackinac and that Hull is hesitant to advance on Amherstburg from his position at Sandwich, Brock leaves York to direct operations on the Detroit front. Prior to his arrival, he learns that Hull has retreated back to Detroit. Brock interprets this as evidence of the American general's weakness of command - a weakness Brock will exploit and then attack.

The British begin an artillery barrage of Fort Detroit on August 15, 1812, after Hull refuses to surrender. Though the cannonade lasts well into the night, little physical damage is done to either side. Inside Fort Detroit, however, Hull's state of mind is quickly deteriorating. Hull is terrified of being attacked by Tecumseh's tribesmen. His worst nightmare comes true as 500 First Nations warriors cross the Detroit River under the cover of darkness and surround the fort.

As day breaks, the Americans realize that the warriors and 700 of Brock's troops are boldly marching on their position. From across the river, British guns are firing a deadly stream of fire into the overcrowded American stronghold. The atmosphere in the fort is descending into chaos.

Native war cries fill the air and have a devastating effect on Hull. His mind reeling with visions of a bloody massacre of soldiers and civilians, Hull surrenders despite vehement disagreement from his officers and troops. The British take the fort without a fight.

Isaac Brock becomes a hero throughout the British Empire and his army secures a windfall of bounty and supplies. The victory at Detroit provides much needed momentum to the British cause in Upper Canada. Besides inspiring confidence amongst the militia it convinces many neutral native tribes to join Tecumseh's alliance. For the Americans it is a tremendous setback. This is not the easy war the War Hawks had promised.


John Le Couteur, British Officer