War of 1812Events and Locationsfrench

The Seige of Fort Meigs

Fort Meigs and Vicinity

The Seige of Fort Meigs

After the January 1813, defeat at Frenchtown, William Henry Harrison ordered the building of Fort Meigs at the rapids of the Maumee River. The fort had just been completed in early May, when it was attacked by British Colonel Procter, with 2000 regulars and militia, and 1000 First Nations warriors under Tecumseh.

On May 5, 1600, American troops under General Green Clay approached the fort in bateaux, when Harrison’s messenger reached them with orders to split into two equal columns. One was to land on the right bank and fight their way through Tecumseh’s warriors to the fort; the other was to land on the left bank to capture and spike a battery of guns before crossing back and following the other column into the fort.

Clay apparently forgot to tell the soldiers of the left column what they were supposed to do once they had destroyed the British guns. With the attack of the American soldiers, the British gunners fled in disorder and the guns were soon spiked, and no one seemed to know what they should do next.

A small number of warriors began harassing their flank. Over half the American column lit after them, unaware that they were Tecumseh’s warriors sent by their leader to lure them deep into the forest where others were waiting to ambush. A great many Americans were killed before the rest fled back towards the river. They ran into their fellows who were themselves fleeing before a British counter-attack. Caught in a deadly crossfire, less than 150 of the original 800 escaped death or capture.