Monday, December 14, 2009

War of 1812: The Battle of Mississinewa

December 18th will be the 197th anniversary of The Battle of Mississinewa which took place in Grant County Indiana. I actually stumbled on this battle through a Facebook post of a reenactment that was taking place on the actual Battlefiled (this reenactment is the largest one held on the War of 1812). I am planning on going up to the battlefield to get some pictures, hopefully sooner as opposed to later, but at least wanted to mention the anniversary now.

The battle was fought between the United States and what was thought to be mainly Miami Indians who were backed by the British along the Mississinewa River. The US’s force of 600 men was made up of largely militia and the 19th Infantry Regiment of the US army. The objective of the army was to destroy the Indian town and villages along the Mississinewa River. General William Henry Harrison thought the town and villages would be staging areas for future operations against Harrison’s supply lines. In reality this exposition was likely reprisals against the Miami for joining with Tecumseh and the British.

The US force left Greenville, OH on December 14th where they marched through the nigh of the 16th and 17th and reached the first village. There were a few warriors in the village who escaped across the river and the army took around 42 prisoners. The infantry stayed and garded the prisoners while the dragoons march two more miles and destroyed two more villages. The camp was set up at the first village and was attacked by the Indians just before dawn on the 18th. The US force was able to hold them off, but over 100 of their horses were killed which seemed to be intentional as the Indians most likely wanted to stop the advance. That afternoon the army started its difficult march back to Greeneville and finally made it on December 24th.

While Harrison spun the exposition as a success none of the major objectives were really completed as the main town of Mississinewa was still twenty miles from their camp on the 18th. The army was crippled badly as about half were suffering from frostbite. The Indians still occupied the main town, and most of their food stores were saved.

If you would like a more in depth account Murray Holliday published a small book (pamphlet) of the exposition for the Grant County Historical Society called The Battle of the Missinssinea, 1812. I was able to get this book through and inter library loan with the Hamilton County Library. Murray also wrote and article that I found online at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ingrant/missbat1.htm. A Keith Raynor also wrote and article titled The Battle of Mississinewa that can be found on the web here http://www.warof1812.ca/mississa.htm.

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