The Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812

New Invasions in the West

Americans Fail to Retake Detroit

In 1813 the Americans would regroup, reorganize and augment their regular army, as well as strengthen their militias while pursuing their offensive against Canada. Their priority was to retake Detroit. At the end of 1812 a new army of approximately 7,000 men, many of whom were militiamen from Kentucky and Ohio, marched towards Michigan under the command of General William Henry Harrison. In January 1813 part of this army, under the command of General James Winchester, took Frenchtown (in Monroe, Michigan) on the Raisin River south of Detroit. The British commander in the region, Colonel Henry Procter, was, however, able to secretly surround Frenchtown. On January 22 he attacked Winchester's 1,000 men with 200 British soldiers, 300 Essex County militiamen and French-Canadian sailors, and 450 Amerindians. The 17th Regular Infantry Regiment and three regiments of the Kentucky militia were wiped out. The Amerindian warriors took cruel vengeance on these men, who had burned their dwellings and their crops not long before. The American losses totalled 958 men, 397 of whom were killed; only 33 soldiers were able to escape. Following this disaster, the Americans returned to the defensive.