HOME
The Info List - Siege Of Fort Harrison


--- Advertisement ---



Joseph Lenar Stone Eater Zachary Taylor

Strength

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[1] - 18 killed, 2 wounded in supply trains

v t e

Old Northwest

Tippecanoe River Canard 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

Fort Harrison[2]

The Siege of Fort Harrison
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, it was won by an outnumbered United States
United States
force garrisoned inside the fort against a combined Native American force near modern Terre Haute, Indiana.

Contents

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[edit] In 1811, while General William Henry Harrison
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
Terre Haute
and constructed a fort overlooking the Wabash River. Harrison had long advocated building a fort in the strategic location.[3] The fort protected the army's supply lines, as well as the capital of the Indiana Territory
Indiana Territory
downstream in Vincennes. The site, located in present-day Vigo County, Indiana, at the northern edge of Terre Haute, was only two miles from the Wea
Wea
village of Weauteno. It was said to be the location of a historic battle involving the Illiniwek, and was initially called Camp Bataille des Illinois.[4] Major Joseph Hamilton Daveiss proposed that the stockade be named Fort Harrison in General Harrison's honor. The fort was finished October 28, 1811, and had a 150 feet (46 m) stockade encircling the post.[4] Leaving the fort and a small garrison under Colonel James Miller, Harrison led his army to the Tippecanoe battleground, where it confronted an army led by the Shawnee
Shawnee
prophet, Tenskwatawa. When the army returned, Harrison left Captain Josiah Snelling
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.[4] 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, Captain Zachary Taylor, future President of the United States, was ordered by Harrison to leave Fort Knox and assume command of Fort Harrison.[5] The United States
United States
had suffered a series of defeats immediately after war was declared, at the hands of the British, Canadians, and Indians. These victories helped motivate other native tribes to take up campaigns against remote American outposts. Battle of Fort Harrison[edit] 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.[6] 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.[6] In the morning, a party was dispatched and discovered the bodies of two white settlers, the Doyle brothers.[6] 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.[7] That day, September 4, a force of 600 Potawatomi
Potawatomi
(under Chief Pa-koi-shee-can),[8] Wea
Wea
(under War Chief Stone Eater),[8] Shawnee, Kickapoo and Winnebago warriors approached Fort Harrison. A party of 40 men under command of Kickapoo Chief Namahtoha approached under a flag of truce and asked to parley with Taylor the next morning.[7] Taylor agreed, and the Indian force retreated to camp for the night.

Illustration showing the Battle of Fort Harrison

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.[7] 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.[9] Warning the fort that "Taylor never surrenders!", the captain organized a bucket brigade[10] 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.[8] 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.[10] 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.[8] 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.[11]

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.[12] 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,[11] 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[edit] 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 Potawatomi
Potawatomi
war party at a part of the trail known as The Narrows, an area near modern Fairbanks, Indiana, which has many ravines that serve as tributaries to Prairie Creek.[13] When the ambush was launched, the draft horses panicked and ran away with the wagon. Only two men – the wagoneer, John Black, and Private Edward Perdue – managed to escape back to Fort Knox alive, although Perdue was discharged due to the severe wounds he received.[14] Luckily for the two survivors, the Potawatomi
Potawatomi
gave chase to the runaway supply wagon. Eleven soldiers and all the provisions were lost to the United States,[15] and several Potawatomi
Potawatomi
warriors had been killed or wounded.[16] 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.[16] When the Potawatomi
Potawatomi
learned that a second supply wagon was approaching, they set up the same ambush. On September 15, after the initial attack, Richardson realized he was outmanned, and ordered a retreat. The wagons were left behind to be plundered, which may have saved the lives of the retreating soldiers. Even so, seven men had been killed, and another had been badly wounded.[16] 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.[17] The Potawatomi
Potawatomi
party left the Narrows, and attacked the house of a settler named Issac Hutson on September 16, in what became known as the Lamotte Prairie Massacre. Hutson was away, but his wife and four children were all killed.[16] Aftermath[edit]

Artwork for "Fort Harrison March," a campaign song for Zachary Taylor's successful 1848 presidential campaign[18]

The Battle of Fort Harrison is considered the first land victory of the United States
United States
during the War of 1812. Shortly afterwards, U.S. forces relieved Fort Wayne, which eliminated the last Indian threat to Indiana Territory
Indiana Territory
for the remainder of the war. 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, Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
received a brevet promotion to major.[1] Since both William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison
and Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
commanded Fort Harrison, Indiana historians later referred to it as "The Fort of Two Presidents." [19] Many years after the battle, a man found Lieutenant Fairbanks' sword stuck in a log. It was given to the Indiana State Museum.[17] In 1908, the Indiana Society of the Sons of the American Revolution attempted to make the site of Fort Harrison a National Historical Park.[20] 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. See also[edit]

List of battles fought in Indiana

References[edit] Notes[edit]

^ 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. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2009.  ^ Dunn, 143

Sources[edit]

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: Portal
Portal
to the West. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. LCCN 68020537.  Dunn, Jacob Piatt (1908). True Indian Stories: With Glossary of Indiana Indian Names. Sentinel Printing Company. Retrieved January 9, 2009.  Kaufmann, J.E.; Kaufmann, H.W. (2004). Fortress America: The Forts that Defended America, 1600 to the Present. Idzikowski, Tomasz (illustrator). Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-81294-0.  McCormick, Mike (2005). Terre Haute: Queen City of the Wabash. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-2406-9. Retrieved January 9, 2009. 

External links[edit]

Indiana history National Park Service

v t e

Conflicts of the War of 1812

Battles of the War of 1812

United States

Washington, D.C.

Burning of Washington

Georgia

Battle of Fort Peter

Louisiana

Battle of New Orleans Siege of Fort St. Philip

Maryland

Battle of Baltimore Battle of Bladensburg Battle of Caulk's Field Battle of North Point Battle of St. Michaels Raid on Havre de Grace

Massachusetts

Battle of Hampden

New York

Battle of Big Sandy Creek Battle of Buffalo Battle of Ogdensburg Battle of Plattsburgh Capture of Fort Niagara Raid on Black Rock Second Battle of Sacket's Harbor

Ohio

Battle of Fort Stephenson Copus massacre Siege of Fort Meigs

Virginia

Battle of Craney Island Raid on Alexandria Skirmish at Farnham Church Battle of Rappahannock River

U.S. territories

Alabama

Battles of Fort Bowyer

Illinois

Battle of Fort Dearborn Battle of Rock Island Rapids Siege of Prairie du Chien

Indiana

Battle of the Mississinewa Battle of Tippecanoe Battle of Wild Cat Creek Siege of Fort Harrison Siege of Fort Wayne

Michigan

Battle of Brownstown Battle of Frenchtown Battle of Mackinac Island Battle of Maguaga Siege of Detroit Siege of Fort Mackinac

Mississippi

Battle of Burnt Corn Battle of Callabee Creek Canoe Fight Battle of Holy Ground Battle of Horseshoe Bend Battle of Talladega Battle of Tallushatchee Battles of Emuckfaw and Enotachopo Creek Fort Mims massacre Kimbell–James Massacre

Missouri

Battle of Credit Island Battle of the Sink Hole

British North America

Lower Canada

Battle of the Chateauguay First Battle of Lacolle Mills Second Battle of Lacolle Mills

Upper Canada

Battle of Beaver Dams Battle of Chippawa Battle of Cook's Mills Battle of Crysler's Farm Battle of Fort George Battle of Frenchman's Creek Battle of Longwoods Battle of Lundy's Lane Battle of Malcolm's Mills Battle of Queenston Heights Battle of Stoney Creek Battle of the Thames Battle of York Capture of Fort Erie Raid on Elizabethtown Raid on Port Dover Raid on Gananoque Siege of Fort Erie

Spanish Empire

Spanish Florida

Battle of Pensacola

Naval battles

Atlantic Ocean

Capture of HMS Boxer Capture of HMS Cyane Capture of HMS Epervier Capture of HMS Frolic Capture of HMS Penguin Capture of HMS Dominica Capture of USS Argus Capture of USS Chesapeake Capture of USS President Chesapeake Bay Flotilla USS Constitution vs HMS Java Sinking of HMS Avon Battle of Fayal Sinking of HMS Peacock Sinking of HMS Reindeer USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere USS United States
United States
vs HMS Macedonian

Caribbean Sea

Battle of La Guaira

Great Lakes

Battle of Lake Erie Battle of Fort Oswego Engagements on Lake Huron Engagements on Lake Ontario First Battle of Sacket's Harbor

Gulf Coast

Action of 13 December 1814 Battle of Lake Borgne

Pacific Ocean

Action off James Island Action off Charles Island Nuku Hiva Campaign Battle of Valparaiso (Capture of USS Essex)

See also: American Indian Wars, Creek War, Napoleonic Wars, and Tecumseh's War

Category Portal

 definition  textbooks  quotes  source texts  media  news stories

v t e

Indiana in the War of 1812

People

William Henry Harrison Zachary Taylor Tecumseh John Tipton William Wells Indiana Rangers

Places

Eel River Fort Knox Fort Wayne Fort Vallonia Pigeon Roost

Battles/Raids

Fort Harrison Fort Wayne Mississinewa Spur's Defeat Tipton's Island

See also: Tecumseh's War
Tecumseh's War
and Ba

.