Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 26 >> Thacher to The Cualnge Tam B6 >> Thames_2

Thames

harrison, british, detroit, battle, proctor and indians

THAMES, Battle of the, in the War of 1812. On 12 Sept. 1813 General Harrison, who was still at Seneca on the Sandusky River (see FRENCHTOWN, BATTLE OF), received word of Perry's victory on Lake Erie (see ERIE, LAKE, BATTLE OF; PERRY, O. H.) and began to pre pare for his campaign against Detroit. By dint of hard work Harrison recruited his army to 6,500 troops, commanded by Brig.-Gens. Dun can McArthur and Lewis Cass, Lieut.-Col. James V. Ball, Gov. Isaac Shelby of Kentucky. and Col. Richard M. Johnson (qq.v.). At Malden and Detroit Proctor had 983 British regulars and at Amherstburg were 3,500 In dians, but when Harrison landed at Middle Sister Island, Proctor burned the public prop erty at Detroit, and on 24 September withdrew to Sandwich. Three days later Harrison occu pied Malden, then entered Sandwich, Proctor having evacuated, and began energetically to pursue the retreating British, who on 5 October made a stand on the Thames River, a mile from the Moravian town and about 30 miles above Chatham. The British formed with their left near the road to Detroit, and their reserve with a six pounder between the road and the river, while the Indians were on the right near a swamp. Harrison divided his troops as follows: Gen. George Trotter's brigade of 500 men in front, with right on the road and left on the swamp; Gen. John E. King's brigade 150 yards to the rear; and still further in the rear David Chile's brigade as reserve, the whole under Maj.-Gen. William Henry. En potence on Trotter's left were Gen. Joseph Desha's three brigades, facing the In dians in the swamp. In front, directly facing the British, was R. M. Johnson's mounted regi ment. Johnson divided his regiment, sending half under his brother, James, to take the can non. So impetuous was the charge that James' cavalry broke through the first British line and penetrated to the rear of the second, almost capturing Proctor and taking many prisoners.

R. M. Johnson meanwhile crossed to attack the Indians hut owing to the underbrush was forced to dismount his men. He drove the Indians toward Shelby's Kentuckians who poured such a terrific fire into them that, after Tecumseh had fallen, they gave way on all sides and were pursued a considerable distance. This ended the battle. The Americans loss was 17 killed and 30 wounded; the British lost 48 killed and wounded and 33 Indians, besides 477 prisoners. Proctor's shattered army fled 100 miles to An caster where on 17 October the fugitives were stopped. This destroyed the Northwestern In dian Confederacy; broke the British power in Upper Canada; regained for the Americans all they had previously lost at Detroit, and enabled Harrison to reinforce the army at Buffalo,. then preparing to invade Canada from that point. ( See YORK; FORT GEORGE; STONY CREEK ; C H RY STLER'S FARM, etc.). Harrison returned to Detroit and later Cass was ap pointed by the President governor of Michigan Territory. Consult Wiley and Rines, 'The United States' (Vol. V, pp. 398-401); Adams, Henry, 'Administrations of Jefferson and Madi son' (Vol. VII, pp. 128-143) ; Young, Bennett H., 'Battle of the Thames,' in 'Fison Club Publications,' No. XVIII; 'American State Papers, Military Affairs' (Vol. I) ; Montgom ery, Henry, 'Life of Harrison' ; histories of the war by McAfee, Breckenridge, Richardson, Lossing, Ingersoll; Dawson, 'Battles of the United States' • Armstrong, John, Brown, S. R., 'CampaignsY; 111cMullen, 'His tory of Canada' ; Slocum, 'The Ohio Coun Brannan, 'Official Fay, Accounts' • biographies of Cass, by Hickman,, Smith and McLaughlin.