The Battle of Moraviantown (The Battle of the Thames)
An Overview of the Battle of Moraviantown
At the Battle of Moraviantown - also known as the Battle of the Thames - American troops came as close as they ever would, to their goal of conquering Canada. The rout of the British-Native army on October 5, 1813, was the first decisive land victory of the war for the United States. Along with the success of U.S. naval forces at the Battle of Put-in-Bay less than a month earlier, it provided a tremendous boost to American morale. The great Indian leader Tecumseh was slain in hand-to-hand combat and his Native Alliance shattered. The retreating British troops were left in complete disarray. After the battle, British officials faced the prospect of losing all of Upper Canada west of Kingston.
The Battle of Moraviantown played a central role in the creation of the myths surrounding the three commanders involved in the conflict. Tecumseh was perceived to have heroically sacrificed his life in defense of his people while his British ally Major General Henry Procter, became known as an ineffective, if not outright cowardly, leader. While the American general William Henry Harrison used the popular acclaim which followed his success at the Thames to galvanize a long political career. He went on to become president of the United States.
Although the British continued to occupy Fort Mackinac, the defeat at Moraviantown effectively ended their control west of Lake Ontario. The Detroit Frontier, coveted in the first year of the war, ceased to be a major theatre of conflict. With the death of Tecumseh and Procter's retreat, British support of the First Nations in the Old Northwest dried up. The Native Alliance collapsed and the lands Tecumseh fought so hard to protect were opened up for settlement.