Fort Mackinac Has A New Owner … Again!

17 Jul
English: Topographic map in English of Mackina...

Topographic map in English of Mackinac Island, Lake Huron, Michigan, USA. Note: The shaded relief is a raster image embedded in the SVG file. Lambert conformal conic projection – NAD83 datum Scales: topography: 1:124,000 (precision: 31 m) bathymetry: 1:368,000 (precision: 92 m) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On July 17, 1812, a small British force from St. Joseph’s Island captured Fort Mackinac (Michilimackinac) from the Americans.  Strangely enough the British had also captured it on the same date in 1777, during the American Revolutionary War.

The capture of Fort Mackinac in 1812 was a colourful affair.  The British had only 45 regular soldiers on St. Joseph’s Island, but they recruited 180 Canadians and 400 Native Indians and travelled to Fort Mackinac in canoes!   It was a journey of 50 miles, but they made it in good time and managed to get a cannon up the island’s cliffs without being detected.  The 60 American “blue coats” in the garrison surrendered immediately, giving up seven cannons and valuable supplies.  This action and the later massacre at Fort Dearhorn (Chicago) were responsible for General Hull’s retreat to Detroit after his invasion of Canada on July 12.

Two great figures in Canadian history then came on the scene.  They were General Isaac Brock, and Indian Chief Tecumseh.  George M. Wrong, in his book The Canadians, says that Brock ranks in the fame next only to Wolfe.  Some of his exploits will be recounted in future stories.  Tecumseh was an American Shawnee chief and had an almost equally famous brother known as “the Prophet.”  They had a plan to combine all the Indians from Canada to Florida to resist encroachment on their hunting grounds.  Tecumseh and “the Prophet” tried to do this peacefully by making a deal with the United States that no purchases of land would be made without the consent of the Indian tribes affected.  The Americans would not agree to this and General Harrison defeated “the Prophet” in the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.

Now Tecumseh wanted revenge but waited until war broke out between Britain and the United States.  Tecumseh, who was commissioned a brigadier-general in the British army, was the symbol of all the Indians’ hopes  of recovering their lands.  When he joined the British on the Canadian side of the Detroit River, hundreds of Indians followed him.  They played a vital and colourful part in the capture of Fort Meigs, and in all the skirmishes around the Detroit area.

To read more, I suggest 1812Now, and then History Sites & Museumat the Official War of 1812 Bicentennial. And then I suggest Suite 101. You can also visit for their page on the British Capture Fort Mackinac, and then lastly, I suggest visiting the History of, for their piece on the Battle of Mackinac Island.


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12 responses to “Fort Mackinac Has A New Owner … Again!

  1. michaelmulholland

    July 17, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Tecumseh was a great warrior…

    • tkmorin

      July 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Yes, and he was loyal too! 🙂

      • michaelmulholland

        July 17, 2013 at 4:43 pm

        He is very well honored by us eastern band Cherokees…

  2. Mark Armstrong

    July 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    First captured in 1777, then again on the same date in 1812??

    Huh. I didn’t realize they had reruns back then… : )

    A fascinating bit of history, T.K., especially the part about the Indians throwing in their lot with the British, hoping it would be a means of recovering their lands. A humbling reminder that U.S. history has had some dark moments indeed.

    Excellent post, well done.

    • tkmorin

      July 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Thank you, Mark, I’m glad you enjoyed the post! And thank you for dropping by and commenting … I always appreciate that!
      I think I’d be safe if I said that all countries have had its dark moments! 🙂

  3. seeker

    July 17, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Tecumseh, I didn’t know that he was American? The Board has one school named after him. Would you be posting about his brother, The Prophet?

    • tkmorin

      July 17, 2013 at 11:11 am

      Yes, “the Prophet” was an interesting character on his own. I will certainly look into writing a post about him … Yep … 🙂

      • seeker

        July 17, 2013 at 11:12 am

        danka, mi amiga. 😛

  4. L. Marie

    July 17, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I remember reading about Tecumseh ages ago. I’d love to travel to Mackinac Island.

    • tkmorin

      July 17, 2013 at 9:48 am

      I hear it’s really beautiful there … 🙂

  5. peachyteachy

    July 17, 2013 at 8:16 am

    You can visit Fort Mackinac (pronounced “Mackinaw,” for the uninitiated) on Mackinac Island, and Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City on the mainland of Michigan’s lower peninsula, so the names aren’t interchangeable. My old stomping grounds.

    • tkmorin

      July 17, 2013 at 9:48 am

      My brought-up French mouth as trouble with this pronunciation ! But thank you for the info, it’s much appreciated! 🙂


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