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Battle of the Raisen River

William Henry Harrison planned to gather an army near the rapids of the Maumee River and to move against Detroit from there. In January 1813 one of his subordinate commanders, General James Winchester, arrived at the rapids and began to build an armed camp. Soon after his arrival two Frenchmen from the village of Raisin River (also called Frenchtown because of the background of it's inhabitants), a settlement halfway between the mouth of the Maumee and Detroit, came to Winchester and told him that a small group of Indians and British soldiers at that place guarded three thousand barrels of flour and a considerable amount of corn and wheat intended for the British garrison at Fort malden. On the heels of these men came others to say that the British had discovered their friendship for the Americans and were going to destroy the village.

Winchester had orders from General Harrison to stay at his camp until the full army was assembled and ready to move on Detroit, but he felt he had to act now. He sent about seven hundred men toward the Raison River under Colonel William Lewis, who handily defeated the British and Indians there and sent back to Winchester asking for reinforcements to hold the place. Winchester sent three hundred regulars under Colonel Samuel Wells, and also proceeded by carriage himself, arriving at the village even before the reinforcements got there. Wells, then arrived, pointed out to Winchester that the troops were in a highly exposed position, and suggested that scouts be sent out to learn what the British were doing. Winchester, no doubt weary from his long carriage ride over bad roads, said that tommorow would be time enough to take care of these things, and went off to stay in the comfortable home of one of the community leaders, more than a mile away from his soldiers.

Colonel Henry Proctor, who had succeeded General Brock as the British commander at Detroit, that night led six hundered soldiers and six hundred Indians against the Americans, attacking before dawn. Well's regulars formed behind a picket fence were able to kill or wound 185 of the attackers. The American militia, however, were taken by surprise in the open and quickly overcome. In the general confusion, Winchester was captured By Chief Roundhead, who took him to Colonel Proctor. The British commander persuaded the shaken Winchester that he should order his regulars to surrender, supposedly to avoid a massacre by the Indians. The fighting over, Proctor withdrew to Fort Malden, taking his prisoners with him, except sixty four wounded Americans he left at Raison River, intending to send sleds to get them the next day. That night about two hundred Indians returned and massacred thirty of the wounded men.

Harrison, his campaign against Detroit aborted by Winchester's blundering, then began to build Fort Meig, named after Governor Return J. Meigs of Ohio.