“This Is A Man!”

16 Aug
English: Possibly a painting of Tecumseh, the ...

Possibly a painting of Tecumseh, the Shawnee Indian who tried to unite all Native Americans to defend themselves from the growing United States of America. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

General Hull‘s invasion of Canada was described on July 12 (see my post First At Baby’s Farm!.)  He retreated to Detroit when he heard about the capture of Mackinac and Fort Dearborn a few days later.  In the meantime, General Brock, who had the difficult job of guarding both the Niagara and Detroit sectors, rushed to Amherstburg to join forces with Indian Chief Tecumseh.

Tecumseh, who radiated cheerfulness, energy and decision, impressed Brock and the British officers.  He wore a neat uniform with a tanned deerskin jacket, and ornamented leather moccasins.  Suspended from his nose was a strange ornament of three small crowns.

It was known that Hull had 2,500 troops, some of whom were mounted.  Brock had 300 regulars, 400 militia and Tecumseh’s 600 Indians.  It was a desperate undertaking to cross the river with such a small force and attack a much stronger army in a fortified position.  Tecumseh was greatly pleased when Brock decided to do it, and said to the other chief: “This is a man!”

Tecumseh’s warriors crossed the river in canoes during the early morning hours of August 16.  When daylight came the guns at Sandwich and those of the armed schooner Queen Charlotte opened fire on Detroit.  One of the first mortar shells killed three officers on Hull’s staff.  British troops had now crossed the river and were approaching Detroit, with Brock and Tecumseh riding side by side.  The 600 Indians hidden in the woods began screeching their eerie war cries.  The shells continued to explode in the fort.

Hull had his son, married daughter and two small grandchildren  with him.  Many of his men had brought along their families.  As the redcoats began to form for the attack, Hull decided to surrender.  The white flag went up and half an hour later the fort was in British hands.  The Americans were allowed to return home on condition that they would not fight again in the war.  Great quantities of supplies were captured.

Brock took off his tasselled scarlet sash and put it around Tecumseh in the presence of the troops and Indians.  Tecumseh then returned the compliment, wrapping his gaudy arrow-patterned sash around Brock, who wore it until he was killed two months later.

This is probably one of my favourite anecdotes of the War of 1812 — the association between Brock and Tecumseh. What a team they made! To read more about the siege at Detroit, I certainly recommend a few places. For instance, there is The War of 1812 Website by R. Taylor. And then there is the 1812now blog. You may also enjoy War of 1812 Southwest Ontario Region – while you are there, take a look around, as it is truly an exceptional site with multimedia!


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18 responses to ““This Is A Man!”

  1. sheafferhistorian

    August 17, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    Reblogged this on Practically Historical.

  2. L. Marie

    August 16, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Tecumseh is always interesting to read about.

    • tkmorin

      August 17, 2013 at 10:13 am

      Isn’t he though? I think I would have liked to meet him … 🙂

  3. seeker

    August 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    This is one good story between Indians and white men. Thank you, Tk. 😛

    • tkmorin

      August 16, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      You are welcome, P! Tecumseh is a very interesting character! 🙂

  4. sheafferhistorian

    August 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    The Harrison-Tecumseh feud is great stuff.

    • tkmorin

      August 16, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Anything Tecumseh is interesting. LOL 🙂

  5. Hera

    August 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Tecumseh is one of my favorite people in history. If any of the native tribes had a chance of stopping the british it was Tecumseh and his men. Sometimes I wonder how it would have been if he had succeeded.
    Thanks for sharing this story 🙂

    • tkmorin

      August 16, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      You are welcome. Yes, I have to agree that he is one of my favourite Canadian characters as well. And his brother, the “Prophet” is interesting also.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment! 🙂

  6. Debb Stanton

    August 16, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I like how you tell about history. 🙂 I’m from Michigan orginally so this is very interesting to me. Thanks, Debb

    • tkmorin

      August 16, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Thank you! I appreciate the positive feedback!

      I am glad you enjoy the blog, Debb! I’m also hoping it’ll keep you entertained in the future, too!! 🙂

      • Debb Stanton

        August 16, 2013 at 11:37 am

        Thank YOU! Yup, I am following you now, yes indeed. 🙂

        • tkmorin

          August 16, 2013 at 5:32 pm

          🙂 Let me know if you are curious about something in particular that I haven’t touched here …

          • Debb Stanton

            August 16, 2013 at 5:58 pm

            OK – well, I haven’t read your blog thoroughly yet like I want to, so maybe you’ve covered this already: 1) North American Indian tribes in Canada, but those especially around the Sault Ste. Marie, Mich/Ontario area. Also, did the particular tribes in that area have roots with the ones in the Saginaw Valley of Michigan? My forefathers were missionaries to the Chippewa Indians in 1845. If I’m not mistaken, they’re also called Ojibwe. Thanks for your help!

          • tkmorin

            August 16, 2013 at 8:33 pm

            Ooh, Debb, I love a challenge! I’ll see what I can find out! 🙂

          • Debb Stanton

            August 16, 2013 at 10:11 pm

            You sound just like me! How wonderful we have met! 🙂

          • tkmorin

            August 17, 2013 at 10:13 am



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