Military Subjects:  War of 1812


 

The War of 1812 Magazine

Issue 10: October 2008

Articles

 

Remember the Raisin! Anatomy of a Demon Myth

By Sandy Antal

After “Free Trade and Sailors’ Rights!” the most popular American slogan during the War of 1812 was “Remember the Raisin!” It refers to the circumstances associated with the battle of the Raisin River (22 January 1813), known to Canadians as the battle of Frenchtown.

The destruction of the fighting wing of the Northwest Army at this engagement derailed the overall American winter offensive against Upper Canada. Coming on the heels of the capture of Detroit, this second major defeat in the west prompted Washington to suspend offensive operations on that theatre for seven months, until mastery on Lake Erie was acquired.

But it was not the military defeat that Americans commemorated in the slogan. What they remembered was the “Raisin River Massacre.” A cursory glance at the legacy of this event reveals wide-spread inflammatory assertions that are notably short on substantive specifics. Only two American works examine the episode in detail, G. Glenn Clift’s Remember the Raisin and War on the Raisin by Dennis Au.[1] But as they focus on the American angle, allied (meaning Anglo-Native) actions have been consigned largely to the realm of speculation and conjecture.

The resulting murky image on this and other issues related to the western theatre prompted me to undertake twenty years of research aimed at preparing a comprehensive reconstruction of the events. The result was a book titled A Wampum Denied: Procter’s War of 1812.[2]

When it comes to the Anglo-Native alliance, American and Canadian writers have substituted a negative, personality-based approach for military history. But they differ in one important respect. Unlike Canadians who usually explain away a complicated series of events through the alleged incompetence of the British commander, Americans have persistently demonized Colonel (later Major-General) Henry Procter as a bloodthirsty commander who either directed or permitted the murder of defenceless American prisoners. It was these alleged atrocities that gave rise to the slogan, Remember the Raisin!

Given the primacy of the Napoleonic struggle, British commanders in North America found themselves seriously shorthanded during the first half of the conflict. They addressed their manpower shortages by resorting to irregular combatants. These included colonial militia and foreign mercenaries but also pirates, escaped American slaves, and Native warriors.

Eurocentric accounts frequently represent the warriors of the Native confederacy as British surrogates. In fact, the tribesmen had compelling reasons of their own for engaging in the hostilities. First and foremost, their aim was to recover lands south of the Great Lakes that had been lost to American encroachment. Their very role as British allies was a direct consequence of Major-General Isaac Brock’s promise that their lands would be recovered. Brock’s unilateral “cession” of Michigan (after the capture of Detroit) was the first step in fulfillment of that commitment.

When British objectives were consistent with the Native goal (as on the Detroit, Fort Wayne, Frenchtown and Forts Meigs campaigns) the warriors played significant, even crucial roles. But when they perceived British objectives as inconsistent with their interest (as on the Fort Stephenson and Thames campaigns), they abandoned their allies in droves. Thus, despite their significant impact, the warriors were not fully under British command in a military sense, nor did they readily accept British attempts to curb their misconduct.

 The tribesmen observed European rules of engagement selectively and with reluctance. When operating in close proximity to white centres and/or alongside a sizeable British force (as on the Detroit campaign), Native atrocities were minimal. But in the small and isolated backwoods settlements, the warriors became emboldened, especially when the British presence was small or non-existent. Under these circumstances, they scalped, butchered and even cannibalizing their victims, civilian and military alike. Such instances occurred at Fort Dearborn (15 August 1812), Queenston Heights (13 October 1812), Frenchtown (late-January 1813), Fort Meigs (5 May 1813) and Michilimackinac (4 August 1814). When they ran amok, the warriors were known to tomahawk even their British and colonial allies.

The notion of Native atrocities figured prominently in the American consciousness. During the American War of Independence, the massacres of Wyoming and Cherry Valley were very real. Moreover, American officials had maintained that since the tribesmen were allied to the British, senior commanders were responsible for any their misconduct. The first accusations of British collusion in atrocities during the War of 1812 surfaced after the slaughter of some of the garrison and dependents of Fort Dearborn. But this allegation gained little traction since there was no British presence in the area; nor did British commanders even learn of the incident until weeks later. 

More allegations arose after the battle of Frenchtown. During this encounter, nearly the whole of Brigadier-General James Winchester’s wing of the Northwest Army had been rendered casualties. Only a handful of fugitives made their way back to Ohio to describe their impressions of what was indeed, a bloody encounter. From their statements, the embarrassed commander of the Northwest Army, William H. Harrison, was compelled to report that wing “entirely destroyed,” adding that their commander was not only cruelly “killed [and]scalped” but his “bowels taken out” for good measure.[3] Little came of this shocking revelation since it turned out that Winchester was quite unharmed, a prisoner of war at Fort Amherstburg.

But two weeks later, Harrison reported to Washington the “terrible fate” that had befallen the wounded American prisoners at Frenchtown. Although offering no details, he alluded to British intent in the atrocities, writing “[T]he British have no intention to conduct the war (at least in this quarter) upon those principles which have been held sacred by civilized nations.”

The term, “massacre,” surfaced soon afterward. It was based on the events that occurred the day after the battle when Native warriors descended on Frenchtown to wreak havoc among the wounded prisoners convalescing there.

Judge Woodward of Detroit learned of the atrocities from hysterical Frenchtown residents who had fled their village, fearful for their own safety. He approached Colonel Procter on the subject, expressing outrage over the murders and depredations. As the senior American official remaining in Michigan, he demanded that measures be taken to ensure the future safety of the Michigan residents, producing several “animated meetings” with Procter.

At this very time, Procter (in his dual capacity of British commander in the west and civil Governor of the “ceded” Michigan Territory) was investigating a reported fifth column conspiracy among the residents of Detroit which he termed, “that depot of treachery.” These had allegedly plotted to overpower the weak British garrison of Fort Detroit in the event of Procter’s defeat at Frenchtown. Moreover, he was bracing for another American advance at a time when his small force of regulars had been substantially weakened in the recent action.

Procter demanded that Woodward substantiate his assertions. The judge complied, producing sworn affidavits from the Frenchtown residents that included several eye-witness accounts of murdered prisoners, but no actual numbers. Procter conducted an investigation to ascertain the extent of the atrocities. In addition to the affidavits, he examined those officers of the Indian Department who had been left with the wounded at Frenchtown and directed an American prisoner, Ensign Isaac Baker to produce a list of the victims.

Procter documented his findings in a draft report that has gone virtually ignored for almost two centuries. In it, he acknowledged that five Americans had indeed been murdered on the 23rd, as was an additional Canadien resident in a dispute over a pig. But he flatly denied that a general slaughter had occurred.[4]

Baker identified the five men murdered at Frenchtown and listed four more killed outside of the village, shortly thereafter. Based on second-hand observations, “the best information I could collect,” he estimated an additional fifteen to eighteen prisoners killed by the Natives.

After being paroled back to the U.S., Baker raised his estimate to sixty, including those American soldiers killed while attempting to surrender to the Natives during the battle of the 22nd, those prisoners killed in the vicinity of Frenchtown on the 23rd, plus others on the 24th, 25th and 26th and even three weeks afterward. Beyond the nine men named, the remaining fifty-one in Baker’s estimate have never been identified; nor has his estimate itself been verified. In their detailed studies, Glen Clift and Dennis Au attempted to establish the numbers, once and for all. But both were confounded and concluded that a true count will never be known.[5]

The uncertainty over numbers has led many writers to conclude that most, if not all of the wounded prisoners at Frenchtown had been murdered on the 23rd. Yet, after the “massacre,” Baker personally observed thirty of them escorted in a body through the hamlet of Sandy Creek. Moreover, the number of prisoners at Fort Amherstburg increased by eighty-four in the three following weeks. These included survivors of the “massacre” as well as other Americans who had been abducted by the warriors during the battle, itself.

Those prisoners had been spirited off to the Native camps from either escaped to Fort Amherstburg or were ransomed into British custody, weeks, months and even years later. Some of the younger prisoners were never ransomed. Having been adopted into Native families, they chose to remain with them out of free choice. But others were certainly detained against their will and killed during political disputes or drunken camp orgies. This was the probable fate of the ranking Native captive, Major Benjamin Graves who was last seen on the River Rouge, near Detroit.

The notion of a “horrific massacre” gained momentum when Judge Woodward trekked to Washington with first-hand news from the conquered territory. He furnished major newspapers with the sordid accounts contained in the Frenchtown affidavits. The resulting uproar prompted the Madison administration to take an interest in the affair as a matter of national (and political) interest.

President Madison’s public assessment of the affair is indicative of War Hawk rhetoric that was long on inflammatory verbosity but short on substantive specifics (by this, I do not mean to imply that British officials could not hold their own in farcical rhetoric):

They [the British] have …lured them [Native warriors] into their service and carried them into battle by their side, eager to glut their savage thirst with the blood of the vanquished, and to finish the work of torture and death on maimed and defenceless captives and what had never been seen before, British commanders have exhorted victory over the unconquerable valour of our troops by presenting to the sympathy of their chiefs awaiting massacre from their savage allies.[6]

Increasingly, the term “massacre” crept into usage to imply that an indiscriminate, general slaughter had occurred. But given the dozens of first-hand survivor accounts, even some American newspapers expressed scepticism, declaring the ‘massacre” was “vaguely proved.” The Federal Republican further observed that Native atrocities were hardly surprising given like treatment meted out to the tribesmen by American troops.

Nonetheless, the “massacre” view prevailed and the first order of business of the Thirteenth Congress was a resolution to convene a committee charged with investigating the British conduct of the war. The committee findings not only accepted as fact, “The Raisin River Massacre,” but depicted it as having been conducted under British supervision. These findings received wide distribution through a publication entitled Barbarities of the Enemy. Although this document alleged Anglo-Native misconduct on all theatres, it was the grisly affair at Frenchtown that caught popular attention.

The War Hawk allegation of British complicity was further magnified in another pamphlet released by the U.S. government entitled “An Exposition of the Cause and Character of the War.” In it, British officers were pointedly depicted as sadistic spectators overseeing the slaughter: “While the British officers and soldiers silently and exultantly contemplated the scene, some of the American prisoners were tomahawked, some were shot and some were burnt.” This perception was graphically etched into the public mind through visual prints.

The above print received wide circulation through recruiting posters issued by the U.S. War Department. It clearly (and wrongly) shows the British camp in the background, seemingly looking on as Natives murder and scalp wounded Americans. The print caption reads: Massacre of American prisoners at Frenchtown on the River Raisin by the savages under the command of the British General Proctor, January 23rd 1813. (Clements Library, University of Michigan)

Kentucky had been foremost in vocalizing War Hawk sentiments and had provided most of the volunteers for Winchester’s army. But after the disaster at Frenchtown, volunteer numbers from that state fell off sharply. Governor Isaac Shelby now expressed serious doubts about Washington’s management of the war. He resolved that future Kentucky contingents would meet only the minimal state quota. Indeed, the next contingent from Kentucky was comprised entirely of conscripts, raised through an unpopular draft.

More broadly, the war in the west represented a complete reversal of War Hawk expectations. A mechanism was needed to divert attention from the poor organization and mismanagement that had produced successive defeats on that front. In order to restore enthusiasm for the war effort and stifle partisan discord, the War Hawks seized upon the slogan, “Remember the Raisin!” Their effort succeeded and when Harrison finally invaded Upper Canada eight months later, it was at the head of 5,500 men, predominantly volunteers from Kentucky.

Early American histories overwhelmingly reflect the War Hawk contention that a “massacre” had indeed occurred and that the British had instigated it. This view emerges clearly in the works of O’Conner, McAffee, Thomson, Perkins, Ingersoll and Lossing, to name a few. Moreover, they identify Procter as chiefly responsible, either through commission or omission. J.R Headley, for example, maintained “He [Procter] gave unbridled license to the soldiers and Indians to scalp and mutilate the dead and wounded.”[7] None offered actual proof of Procter’s alleged role; nor did they establish that a general slaughter had occurred, in the first place.

Decades later, survivors of the “massacre” published stirring accounts of their ordeal. Given official sanction to the notion of a British-directed “massacre” and the secondary works to the same effect, these primary accounts now incorporated that speculative view, as well. Pointedly describing their accounts as “unvarnished” they condemn Procter for sending savages bent on murdering the wounded instead of the promised sleighs for their removal. This point emerges prominently in the narratives of Ellias Darnell, William Atherton, Timothy Mallary and John Davenport. In Mallary’s words, “This sacred promise…was sacrificed on the altar of savage barbarity to the god of murder and cruelty!”[8]

The stories of Procter’s complicity grew with the telling as he came to be depicted as a monster of “fiend-like depravity.” Indeed, his very appearance assumed diabolical proportions. One of the more creative profiles appears in the account of Colonel William Stanley Hatch. Having met Procter at the surrender of Ft. Detroit, Hatch described him sixty years later as “one of the meanest looking men I ever saw. He had an expression of countenance in which the murder and cowardly assassin predominated; nor did he belie his words.”[9]

In contrast, contemporary British and colonial accounts made no mention of a “massacre,” although local observers expressed revulsion over individual murders that did occur. One resident, Dr. Robert Richardson father of author John Richardson), called the affair “a shameful transaction,” observing that a stronger guard would have averted Native misconduct. Captain William Merritt, a Canadian dragoon officer, acknowledged the incidence of “deliberate murder” but he considered the stories “much exaggerated.” John Norton shared this view, adding, “Some of the Americans accused of having been concerned in the [Detroit] conspiracy fabricated many stories of cruelties exercised by the Indians on the prisoners taken at Frenchtown.” [10]

For his part, Procter attributed the initial “massacre” stories to “two panic stricken female fugitives” from Frenchtown “whose imagination was more vivid than their judgment was correct.” He, too, declared them “much exaggerated,” concluding his report on the affair with “But what a strange tale!”

Modern Interpretations

American writers have been slow to separate fact from fiction on the Frenchtown affair. The two scholarly works by Clift and Au are noteworthy exceptions. They conducted the primary research and finding no proof of a general slaughter or British complicity in the atrocities; they simply presented the known facts and drew appropriate conclusions from them.

But more often than not, modern writings default overtly or indirectly to Procter’s role in a “massacre” through recycled interpretations found in the earlier ones. A prominent author on the war, Donald Hickey does not address the Frenchtown “massacre” issue in any depth. But his unqualified inclusion of a contemporary opinion lends indirect support to the traditional view: “[T]he savages were suffered to commit every depredation upon our wounded; many were tomahawked, and many were burned alive in the houses.”[11]

David C. Skaggs has produced several major works on American operations in the west. But he condemns Procter for “… leaving a number of prisoners at Frenchtown…in Indian custody… many of whom were executed by their guards,” his action, bringing “…severe censure by many of his own officers.”[12]

Such assessments are inconsistent with the facts since the British rendered no prisoners into Native custody; nor were any killed by their guards. Moreover, there is no evidence of any censure emanating from either Procter’s officers (or his superiors) over the incident.

If any of Procter’s officers were prone to pass adverse comment on Procter’s role, one would expect it to be his unsparing critic, John Richardson. But even Richardson rejects the notion of Procter’s role in atrocities, writing “[W]e had not power to prevent cruelties…perpetrated by an ally over who we had no control…Let it not be supposed that the atrocities were sanctioned either by the government or by individuals. On the contrary, every possible means were tried by the officer commanding at Amherstburg [i.e. Procter] and Colonel Elliott [of the Indian Department]…to soften down the warlike habits of the natives.”[13]

What actually happened at Frenchtown? The capture of Detroit (16 August 1812) and the cession of Michigan prompted President Madison to commit unlimited resources to reverse what was widely viewed as a national disgrace. By winter, three wings of a reconstituted Northwest Army under Major-General William H. Harrison advanced on the Detroit frontier. On 18 January 1813, the principal wing under Brigadier-General James Winchester rushed forward and occupied the British outpost at Frenchtown.

Colonel Procter assembled all available combatants to meet this threat before the other wings could be brought up. Assembling some 1,100 combatants (half being regulars, militia and provincial mariners and the other half, Native warriors), he marched on Frenchtown. On 22 January 1813, after a fierce engagement, most of Winchester’s force of 934 men was captured; only thirty-three members managed to escape to the American lines. Initial casualty counts reflected 218 Kentuckians killed in action and 495 taken prisoner. Within the next three weeks, the number of prisoners rose to 589 with additional numbers dribbling in afterward.[14]

Accounts frequently point out that if Procter had not withdrawn immediately after the battle, the ensuing “massacre” might have been averted. Procter’s official report offers little illumination on this point beyond a short statement to the effect that he had been “deceived” by a report of second American army advancing. Lacking adequate sleighs, he quartered the most severely injured prisoners in two homes at Frenchtown and withdrew to Fort Amherstburg.

What of the reported American army advancing on Frenchtown when Harrison was actually hastening south to Ohio? American survivors were unanimous in the opinion that Harrison’s army was expected shortly at Frenchtown. But Procter also received independent confirmation to that effect immediately after the battle through a report (false, as it turned out) of an American army just eight miles distant. John Norton recorded the bizarre circumstances:

An inconsiderable party of Wyandot having collected together a drove of cattle and hogs belonging to the army of General Winchester…were discovered approaching the Raisin River on the ice [of Lake Erie] by the militia on the lookout. Apprehension, or the reflection of the sun changing the appearance of the objects, the hogs were mistaken for infantry, the horned cattle for cavalry, and the Wyandot who were mounted and were observed to be riding from one extremity of the line to the other were allowed to be General Harrison and his staff as they appeared to be preoccupied in preserving regularity and order in the line of march…[T]he express had been dispatched by the zealous and vigilant observer and he to who it was entrusted traveled in such haste that the eclairissement never overtook him.[15]

Did Procter abandon the wounded prisoners to the warriors? Being short of sleighs, Procter quartered sixty-four of the most severely wounded prisoners in the village. He left them under the care of two American surgeons and their attendants, the whole comprising a staff of about thirty. Two Canadian militia officers and three interpreters remained with them, also. To prevent the warriors from molesting the wounded, the Indian Department drew them off to Stoney Creek, six miles distant, for their traditional victory celebration. Given the reported proximity of Harrison’s army, the prisoners were probably expected to fall into his hands.

Why did Procter not leave a stronger guard? Procter’s small force of regulars had borne the brunt of allied casualties in the battle (18 killed and 127 wounded out of 336 all ranks). With more prisoners than able-bodied white men (regulars and militia) to guard them, Procter observed that these “…could not be expected to remain idle” during renewed fighting. Also, he was encumbered with the numerous wounded from both armies. The warriors were drifting off, eager to conduct their customary victory “frolick.” Given these circumstances and the perceived American threat, Procter considered his situation “embarrassed.” He judged it advisable to concentrate his force in the shelter of Fort Amherstburg and brace for the impending attack. In hind-sight, it is evident that he could have remained at Frenchtown or left a significant guard. But then, hind-sight is far clearer than the perceptions of the moment.

Why did the promised sleighs not arrive for the wounded prisoners? American survivor accounts consistently assert that Procter had promised to send sleighs for the wounded, next day. The British made Fort Amherstburg at midnight on the evening of the 22nd, thoroughly exhausted after a gruelling battle and a forced march of 18 miles through deep snow in sub-freezing temperatures. Time simply did not allow for the sleighs to pick up the wounded next day since the warriors had already descended on Frenchtown at daybreak.

Did Procter direct or permit the atrocities? Procter did not know of the murders until after they had occurred. Like other British observers, he expressed “shock” and “regret” that such a thing could happen. Learning that survivors were still in Native hands, he directed his officers to ransom them but reported “great difficulties” in this regard. John Norton witnesses a case in which Procter intervened personally to secure the release of a young officer from the Potawatomi. Although Procter was contemptuous of the Kentuckians foul fighting, his letters reveal no particular animosity against the Kentuckians, themselves who he called “unfortunates” and “misguided people.”[16]

Winchester’s official reports made no reference to the maltreatment of American prisoners. On the contrary, he (and other survivors) pointedly commented on Procter’s “humanity and kindness.” It should also be noted that Procter was under standing orders to restrain warrior misconduct, a matter that strained his relations with both Indian Department and Native chiefs.

By 15 February, 1813, Procter did manage to free most of the Americans from Native hands since the prisoner count increased by 84. Of the new total of 547 Frenchtown prisoners, 512 fit men were paroled back to the U.S. on 10-11 February 1813, the remainder, later. Procter had them escorted to the Niagara frontier rather than through Native territory in Michigan and Ohio.

Why did the interpreters not intervene? By dawn of the 23rd, the three interpreters had left Frenchtown. In his report, Procter said they attributed their departure to fear of the increasing numbers of warriors and their threatening manner. But Procter added his own suspicion that they might have gotten drunk and feared capture in their besotted state. Either way, all three had disappeared by morning, along with the two militia officers.

Why did Tecumseh not halt the killings? Some writings have Tecumseh wandering about the village, anticipating Native mischief and mysteriously disappearing just prior to the “massacre.”[17] In fact, he had been in Indiana since the fall of 1812 since Governor-General Prevost’s armistice. He remained absent for seven months, suspicious of the British commitment to the Native cause.

After receiving news of the allied victory at Frenchtown, he rejoined the alliance in time to participate in the siege of Fort Meigs (5 May 1813). Despite his best efforts, his presence did not prevent another spate of murders during that siege. Nor could he halt the warriors’ subsequent abduction of prisoners.

Procter appreciated the warriors’ instrumental role in allied victories but he held reservations about undue reliance on them because of the limited controls that they observed. Yet, his chronic weakness in regulars left him no option but to continue using them. By the summer of 1813, the ratio of warriors to his regular troops was six to one.

Why did the murders occur in the first place? The Frenchtown residents maintained that the warriors had gotten drunk and belligerent but American survivors deny this, arguing that the warriors were methodical and organized in their work.

British Indian Department officials suggested that the murders were in keeping with the Native custom of taking the life of an enemy in honour of a slain warrior. But Procter dismissed that reasoning since the warriors had sustained very few casualties in the battle. His explanation was that they expected the prisoners would be liberated by the anticipated American advance. Therefore, they removed them, murdering those who could not walk or maintain the march.

Judge Woodward offered another plausible explanation, perceiving the Native conduct as acts of vengeance for previous atrocities perpetrated by the Americans upon the tribesmen.

Conclusions

The notion of a general slaughter implicit in the term “massacre” was misplaced from the beginning. The initial misconception might have arisen, in part, from Baker’s own incorrect terminology in describing individual prisoners as being “massacred” when he probably meant “slaughtered.” An indeterminate number of prisoners had certainly been murdered but most of them survived Native captivity and were ransomed into British custody to return home.

The War Hawks certainly demonstrated a willingness to showcase the worst possible interpretation of the Frenchtown story. They exploited the propaganda value of the “Raisin River Massacre” to depict the British as “unprincipled” in allying with “savagery.” By so doing, they successfully harnessed emotional support for an unpopular war by elevating the episode into a cause celebre. When the Kentuckians charged the allied lines at the battle of the Thames (Moraviantown), it would be to the cry, “Remember the Raisin!”

Procter did not direct any atrocities; nor did he have anything to gain by allowing them to occur. His circumstance was manifolding unlucky. Governor Prevost’s priorities left him with pitifully few regular troops with which to meet persistent enemy assaults. Forced to rely on Native warriors, he was then subjected to personal accusations of “savagery and barbarism” for their misconduct. As Judge Woodward correctly predicted in his self-fulfilling prophesy, “The Indians will plant a thorn in his heart.”[18]

“Remember the Raisin!” is an instructive example of the potent effects of wartime disinformation and its far-reaching effects, centuries thereafter.

Notes:

[1] Clift, G. Glenn. Remember the Raisin! Frankfurt: Kentucky Historical Society, 1961; Au, Dennis M. War on the Raisin. Monroe, Mich.: Monroe County Historical Commission, 1981.

[2] Antal, Sandy. A Wampum Denied: Procter’s War of 1812. Ottawa and Lansing Mich.: Carleton University Press and Michigan State University Press; 1997.

[3] Harrison to Acting Secretary of War Monroe, 24 January 1813, in Esaray, Logan, Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison, Volume I. New York: Arno Press, 1975. p. 334.

[4] National Archives of the United States, “Miscellaneous Captured Correspondence, 16 July -10 September 1813” Microcopy 588, Roll 7: Procter Papers, Note to file.  pp. 146-48.

[5] Isaac Baker Narrative cited in Russell, J. Jr. History of the War (a compilation). Hartford: B. and J. Russell, 1815. p. 230.

[6] President Madison’s Address, 4 March 1813 cited in The Annual Register for the Year 1813. London: Otridge and Sons, 1814. p. 395.

[7] O’Connor, Thomas, An Impartial and Correct History of the War, New York: John Low, 1815; McAfee, Robert Brackenbridge, History of the Late War in the Western Country, Lexington, Ky.: Worsley and Smith, 1816; Thomson, John Lewis, Historical Sketches of the Late War, Philadelphia: John Bioren, 1816; Perkins, Samuel, A History of the Political and Military Events of the Late War, New Haven: S. Converse, 1825; Ingersoll, Charles J. Historical Sketch of the Second War between the United States of America and Great Britain. Philadelphia, Pa.: Lea and Blanchard, 1845; Headley, J.T., The Second War with England, New York: Charles Scribener, 1815; Lossing, Benson, The Pictorial Field Book of the War of 1812. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1868.

[8] Narratives of Elias Darnell, Timothy Mallary and John Davenport in Darnell, Elias. A Journal. Philadelphia, Pa.: Lippincott, Grambo and Co., 1854; Atherton, William. The Suffering and Defeat of the Northwest Army. Frankfort: A. G. Hodges, 1842.

[9] Hatch, Colonel William Stanley. A Chapter in the History of the Northwest. Cincinnati: Miami Printing and Publishing Co., 1872. pp.16-17.

[10] “The Merritt Journal” cited in Wood, William, ed. Select British Documents of the War of 1812 Volume III, Part II. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1920, p.567; Klinck, Carl F. and Talman, James J., eds. The Journal of Major John Norton Toronto: Champlain Society, 1970. pp. 314-15.

[11] Hickey, Donald. The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict. Champagne, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1989. p. 86. In a later work (Don’t Give Up the Ship! Toronto: Robin Brass Studio, 2006.), Hickey addresses many of the myths associated with the War of 1812 but not those associated with “River Raisin Massacre.”

[12] Skaggs, David C. book review, Ohio History, Vol. 108, p. 109 and “Battles of Frenchtown” in Heidler, David and Heidler, Jeanne. Encyclopedia of the War of 1812. Oxford U.K.: ABC-CLIO, 1997; Skaggs, David. C. and Altoff, Gerard T.. A Signal Victory. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1997. p. 47.

[13] Casselman, Alexander, ed. Richardson’s War of 1812 Toronto: Historical Publishing Co., 1902. pp. 6-7.

[14] American estimates of warrior numbers engaged at the battle of Frenchtown vary significantly from British ones. Procter reported his numbers at Brownstown, his staging area, as consisting mainly of Wyandot who had assembled promptly from their nearby villages. But he also mentioned additional warriors assembling while the battle was already in progress. These had arrived from their more distant camps (such as the Potawatomi on the upper Raisin River and the Chippewa from the St. Clair Rapids). Since Americans estimates are based on the numbers they saw after the battle, both estimates might well be correct.

[15] Klinck and Tallman, eds. The Journal of Major John Norton. p. 314.

[16]  Regulations allowed Procter five dollars for each ransomed prisoner. But the Natives demanded more and the Detroit residents unwittingly contributed to Procter’s difficulties by obliging them. When the warriors paraded their captives through Detroit, the townspeople offered up to a hundred dollars for their release. To halt the inflationary spiral, Procter forbade the Detroiters from ransoming prisoners.

[17] Catlin, George B. The Story of Detroit. Detroit: Detroit News, 1923. p. 158.

[18] Woodward to A/Secretary of War MonroeMichigan Pioneer and Historical Association, Volume 15. Lansing Mich.: State Printers, 1909. p. 234.



Search the Series

© Copyright 1995-2012, The Napoleon Series, All Rights Reserved.

Top | Home ]