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The Fall of Detroit

The governor of Michigan Territory, William Hull (1753-1825) was nominated to command the American forces north of the Ohio River. A minor hero of the Revolution, Hull was almost 60 years old when he led his forces across the Detroit River into Canada on July 12, 1812. His objective was to take Fort Malden, which guarded the entrance to Lake Erie, but Hull believed himself outnumbered and delayed his assault, thereby providing enough time for the highly capable British commander, Major General Isaac Brock, to bring his regulars into position. While this maneuvering was going on, the American garrison at Fort Michilimackinac, guarding the Mackinac Straits between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, was overrun and surrendered without a fight on July 17. On August 2, Tecumseh chased Hull out of Canada and back to Fort Detroit. Now Brock united his men with Tecumseh’s warriors, and Hull surrendered Fort Detroit and some 1,500 men, without firing a shot, on August 16.

Farther south, just the day before Hull surrendered Detroit, Fort Dearborn (at the site of present-day Chicago) surrendered. As troops and settlers evacuated the fort, Potawatomi Indians attacked, killing 35 men, women, and children, mainly by torture.


Three-Pronged Flop | Complete Idiots Guide to American History | Defeat on the Niagara Frontier







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