War of 1812people

James Winchester


The Battle at Frenchtown

James Winchester, a Kentuckian, was a brigadier general in the regular army. He was frustrated because William Henry Harrison, a political appointee to the rank of major general, outranked him. It was Harrison who eventually assumed command of the Army of the Northwest.

Like so many of his peers, Winchester was an aging relic of the Revolutionary War who seemed to have lost the fighting spirit which burned in the bellies of his men. He was unpopular with the troops and unable to inspire them with fiery rhetoric as Harrison could. His indecisiveness, and refusal to believe the intelligence reports of his own army, blinded him to British preparations to attack Frenchtown. He neither fortified the camp nor distributed ammunition. Many held him partially responsible for the magnitude of the ensuing massacre.