600 20 healthy, 30 sick
CASUALTIES AND LOSSES
Unknown – believed to be several killed or wounded
- 2 killed before battle (civilians) - 3 killed, 3 wounded during battle - 18 killed, 2 wounded in supply trains
* v * t * e
* Tippecanoe * Fort Mackinac (1812) * Brownstown * Maguaga * Fort Dearborn * Detroit * Fort Harrison * Fort Wayne * Wild Cat Creek * Mississinewa * Frenchtown * Africa Point * Fort Meigs * Fort Stephenson * Lake Erie * Thames * Longwoods * Prairie du Chien * Campbell Island * Mackinac Island (1814) * Lake Huron * Malcolm\'s Mills
The SIEGE OF FORT HARRISON was an engagement that lasted from
September 4 to 15, 1812. The first American land victory during the
War of 1812
* 1 Background – Fort Harrison
* 2 Battle of Fort Harrison
* 2.1 Attacks at the Narrows
* 3 Aftermath * 4 See also
* 5 References
* 5.1 Notes * 5.2 Sources
* 6 External links
BACKGROUND – FORT HARRISON
In 1811, while General William Henry Harrison marched his army north to meet the Indians at the Battle of Tippecanoe , the army encamped on the high grounds of Terre Haute and constructed a fort overlooking the Wabash River . Harrison had long advocated building a fort in the strategic location.
The fort protected the army's supply lines, as well as the capital of
Indiana Territory downstream in Vincennes . The site, located in
Vigo County, Indiana , at the northern edge of Terre Haute
, was only two miles from the
Wea village of Weauteno . It was said to
be the location of a historic battle involving the
When the army returned, Harrison left Captain Josiah Snelling in command of Fort Harrison, in reward for his performance at Tippecanoe. Snelling served as commandant of the fort from November 11, 1811 until May 1812. During that winter, the fort was shaken by the 1811–12 New Madrid earthquakes . Snelling was later transferred to Fort Detroit .
After the outbreak of the
War of 1812
BATTLE OF FORT HARRISON
On September 3, 1812, a band of Miami arrived and warned Captain Taylor that they would soon be attacked by a large force of Native Americans. That evening, shots were heard, but Taylor was hesitant to send a scout party. He only had 50 men in his garrison, and sickness had reduced the number of effective soldiers to only 15. In the morning, a party was dispatched and discovered the bodies of two white settlers, the Doyle brothers. The brothers were buried, and the party reported back to Fort Harrison.
Captain Taylor, with his 15 able soldiers and about 5 healthy
settlers, made ready for the expected attack. Each of the 20 men was
issued sixteen rounds to fire. That day, September 4, a force of 600
That night, a warrior crawled up and set the blockhouse on fire. When the sentries opened fire on the arsonist, the 600-strong Indian war party attacked the west side of the fort. Taylor ordered the fort's surgeon and a handful of defenders to control the fire. The blockhouse, which was attached to the barracks, had a store of whiskey, which soon ignited, and the fire raged out of control. Taylor admitted in his report that the situation looked hopeless, and two of his healthy men fled the fort. Warning the fort that "Taylor never surrenders!", the captain organized a bucket brigade to fight the fire before it destroyed the fort's picket walls. One woman, Julia Lambert, even lowered herself down into the fort's well to fill buckets more quickly.
The fire did serve one purpose, in that it illuminated the night, revealing the attackers. The fire left a 20-foot-wide (6.1 m) gap in the outer wall, which the garrison temporarily sealed with a 5-foot-high (1.5 m) breastwork. The remaining few of the garrison returned the fire of the Indians so fiercely that they were able to hold off the attack. All remaining invalids were armed to maintain defense, while healthy men were put to work repairing a hole left in the fort's walls. The fort was repaired by daybreak of September 5. The Indian force withdrew just beyond gun range and butchered area farm animals within sight of the fort. The garrison and settlers inside the fort, meanwhile, had lost most of their food in the fire, and had only a few bushels of corn, and faced starvation. Indiana in 1812
News of the siege arrived in Vincennes as Colonel William Russell was passing through with a company of regular infantry and a company of rangers , on their way to join Ninian Edwards , governor of Illinois Territory . Colonel Russell's companies joined with the local militia and 7th Infantry Regiment and marched to the relief of Fort Harrison. Over 1000 men arrived from Vincennes on September 12, and the Indian force departed. The next day, however, a supply train following Colonel Russell was attacked in what became known as the Attack at the Narrows in modern Sullivan County, Indiana .
ATTACKS AT THE NARROWS
Following the relief army to Fort Harrison was a party of thirteen
soldiers under Lieutenant Fairbanks of the Seventh Infantry escorting
a supply wagon loaded with flour and meat. On September 13, 1812, the
supply wagon was ambushed by a
A second column of two supply wagons and fifteen soldiers under
Lieutenant Richardson set out from Vincennes two days after the first
wagon, following the same trail, and unaware of the fate of the first.
A battalion under Major McGary discovered the bodies a few days later, and proceeded to Fort Harrison to inform Colonel Russell of the attacks and – more importantly to the half-starved survivors at Fort Harrison – the missing supply wagons.
Artwork for "Fort Harrison March ," a campaign song for Zachary Taylor's successful 1848 presidential campaign
The Battle of Fort Harrison is considered the first land victory of
In retaliation for the attack on Fort Harrison and the Pigeon Roost Massacre , Colonel Russell continued on to Illinois with the Indiana Rangers and led an expedition against the Kickapoo on Peoria Lake.
For his services at Fort Harrison,
Many years after the battle, a man found Lieutenant Fairbanks' sword stuck in a log. It was given to the Indiana State Museum .
In 1908, the Indiana Society of the Sons of the American Revolution attempted to make the site of Fort Harrison a National Historical Park .
Two active infantry battalions of the Regular Army (1-1 Inf and 2-1 Inf) perpetuate the lineages of detachments the old 7th Infantry that were at the Siege of Fort Harrison.
* ^ A B Allison, 187 * ^ Lossing, Benson (1868). The Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812. Harper & Brothers, Publishers. p. 197. * ^ Derlath, 178 * ^ A B C McCormick, 17 * ^ Allison, 181 * ^ A B C Allison, 182 * ^ A B C Allison, 183 * ^ A B C D Allison, 185 * ^ Allison, 184, 187. One of the men later returned to the fort with a broken arm. The other was found dead. * ^ A B Kaufmann, 160 * ^ A B Allison, 186 * ^ Derleth, 182 * ^ Allison, 188 * ^ Allison, 189 * ^ Dunn, 142 * ^ A B C D Allison, 190 * ^ A B Allison, 191 * ^ Library of Congress * ^ Greninger, Howard (October 30, 2007). "Incumbent eyes growth; challenger targets funds". Tribune Star. Terre Haute: CNHI. Retrieved January 8, 2009. * ^ Dunn, 143
* Allison, Harold (1986, Harold Allison). The Tragic Saga of the
Indiana Indians. Turner Publishing Company, Paducah. ISBN
0-938021-07-9 . Check date values in: date= (help )
* Derleth, August (1968). Vincennes: