Battle of the Mississinewa

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Battle of the Mississinewa
Part of the War of 1812
DateDecember 17–18, 1812
Location Jalapa, Indiana [1]
Result United States victory
Belligerents
Miami tribe Flag of the United States (1795-1818).svg  United States
Commanders and leaders
Francis Godfroy
Joseph Richardville
John B. Campbell
Strength
300 infantry 600 cavalry
Casualties and losses
38 killed (claimed)
8 men and 34 others captured [2]
12 killed
46 wounded [2]

The Battle of the Mississinewa, also known as Mississineway, was an expedition ordered by William Henry Harrison against Miami Indian villages in response to the attacks on Fort Wayne and Fort Harrison in the Indiana Territory. The site is near the city of Marion, Indiana.

William Henry Harrison 9th president of the United States

William Henry Harrison Sr. was a United States military officer and politician who served as the ninth president of the United States in 1841. He died of typhoid fever 31 days into his term, becoming the first U.S. president to die in office. His death sparked a brief constitutional crisis regarding succession to the presidency, as the U.S. Constitution was unclear as to whether Vice President John Tyler should assume the office of President or merely execute the duties of the vacant office. Tyler claimed a constitutional mandate to carry out the full powers and duties of the presidency and took the presidential oath of office, setting an important precedent for an orderly transfer of presidential power when a president leaves office intra-term.

Siege of Fort Wayne

The Siege of Fort Wayne was a battle that took place Sept. 5 - 12, 1812 during the War of 1812, between the United States military garrison at Fort Wayne and Potawatomi and Miami Indians, within what is now the modern city of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Indians suffered a severe loss and withdrew on Sept. 12. A vast force under Gen. William Henry Harrison arrived later that day to relieve the fort, ending the siege. The victory was one of two which secured Indiana Territory for the United States in the war.

Contents

Today, the location is the site of Mississinewa 1812, the largest War of 1812 reenactment in the United States, which is held every October. The annual festival draws thousands of visitors from all over the world. In 2004, a large memorial was unveiled and is currently on display near the Mississinewa River in downtown Marion. [3]

Historical reenactment activity where people recreate aspects of a historical event

Historical reenactment is an educational or entertainment activity in which people follow a plan to recreate aspects of a historical event or period. This may be as narrow as a specific moment from a battle, such as the reenactment of Pickett's Charge presented during the Great Reunion of 1913, or as broad as an entire period, such as Regency reenactment or The 1920s Berlin Project.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Mississinewa River river in the United States of America

The Mississinewa River is a tributary of the Wabash River in eastern Indiana and a small portion of western Ohio in the United States. It is 120 miles (190 km) long. Via the Wabash and Ohio rivers, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed.

Expedition

Encampment area of the American Troops, when they were attacked by the Miami Nation Battle of Mississinewa.JPG
Encampment area of the American Troops, when they were attacked by the Miami Nation
Memorial to the U.S. Soldiers who died at the Battle of Mississinewa Mississinewa US Troop Memorial 0213.jpg
Memorial to the U.S. Soldiers who died at the Battle of Mississinewa

After receiving permission from Secretary of War William Eustis, Harrison ordered Lieutenant Colonel John B. Campbell to lead an expedition into Indiana. Campbell's objective was to destroy the Miami villages along the Mississinewa River. If possible, he was to avoid harm to Miami chiefs Pacanne, Jean Baptiste Richardville, White Loon, or Lenape Chief Silver Heel. Campbell's force of 600 mounted troops departed from Fort Greenville on December 14 and traveled 80 miles (130 km) and reached Silver Heel's village on December 17 and took 42 Lenape prisoners. [4]

William Eustis Massachusetts-born physician, politician, and diplomat

William Eustis was an early American physician, politician, and statesman from Massachusetts. Trained in medicine, he served as a military surgeon during the American Revolutionary War, notably at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He resumed medical practice after the war, but soon entered politics.

John B. Campbell was an American soldier during the War of 1812, famous for his expedition to destroy the Miami Indian villages along the Mississinewa River and perhaps most infamous for ordering the destruction of private houses and other property in Dover, Canada, including the stocks of grain and mills, which led to a Court of Enquiry and an unprecedented letter to the enemy explaining himself. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Chippawa in July.

Pacanne Miami chief

Pacanne was a leading Miami chief during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Son of The Turtle (Aquenackqua), he was the brother of Tacumwah, who was the mother of Chief Jean Baptiste Richardville. Their family owned and controlled the Long Portage, an 8-mile strip of land between the Maumee and Wabash Rivers used by traders travelling between Canada and Louisiana. As such, they were one of the most influential families of Kekionga.

The mounted force then moved down the Mississinewa River, attacking at least two Miami villages. The Indians were taken by surprise and had not evacuated. A large number of Miami were killed, and 76 were taken prisoner, including 34 women and children. Later that day, having accomplished his objective, Campbell considered returning to Fort Greenville on account of severe frostbite among his troops.

Frostbite medical condition where localized damage is caused to skin and other tissues due to freezing

Frostbite occurs when exposure to low temperatures causes freezing of the skin or other tissues. The initial symptom is typically numbness. This may be followed by clumsiness with a white or bluish color to the skin. Swelling or blistering may occur following treatment. The hands, feet, and face are most commonly affected. Complications may include hypothermia or compartment syndrome.

The next morning, December 18, as Campbell returned to Silver Heel's village, a sizeable Native American force counterattacked. The American Indians were outnumbered, but fought fiercely to rescue the captured villagers being held by Campbell. A joint cavalry charge led by Major James McDowell and Captains Trotter and Johnston finally broke the attack. [5]

The American loss was 8 killed and 48 wounded (of whom 4 later died). Campbell claimed that 8 Indians were killed on December 17 and that at least 30 were killed on December 18. 8 warriors and thirty-four women and children were captured. [2]

One of the captured villagers told Campbell that Tecumseh was nearby and was coming with hundreds of men, so Campbell began the return march to Fort Greenville, taking with him the 42 prisoners. [6] It was a costly victory. During the return trek, the American force was plagued greatly by frostbite, and by the time they reached Fort Greenville on December 28, some 300 of Campbell's troops were suffering from frostbite and rendered unfit for duty. An entire regiment, under Colonel Simrale, was disbanded due to frostbite. [7]

Aftermath

Graves of soldiers who died at the battle. Mississinewa Battleground.jpg
Graves of soldiers who died at the battle.

The Indian force was only concerned with protecting their lives and winter food supplies. In order to ensure this, they needed to stop Cambell's expedition and force it to return to its base, which they did. Harrison claimed the expedition as a victory because of the prisoners that were taken, and he contemplated sending another expedition down the Mississinewa despite the fact that over half his cavalry was incapacitated either from battle wounds or frostbite. Harrison received approval and appointed Campbell a full colonel in the Regular Army.

Harrison ordered another attack on the Mississinewa villages the following July. Although crops and houses were again destroyed, the Miami had evacuated and escaped further casualties. [4]

Three active battalions of the Regular Army (1-3 Inf, 2-3 Inf and 4-3 Inf) perpetuate the lineages of the old 19th Infantry Regiment, which had elements that participated in the Battle of the Mississinewa.

See also

Notes

  1. Edward E. Moore (1910). A Century of Indiana. American Book Company. p. 108.
  2. 1 2 3 Gilpin, p. 154
  3. http://www.mississinewa1812.com/
  4. 1 2 Rafert, 75
  5. Allison, 224
  6. This was not an idle threat; Tecumseh was rapidly approaching with 600 men, intent on destroying the U.S. force. Allison, 226
  7. Allison, 227

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References