The Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812

American Fiascos

Britain Captures Fort Mackinac

Soldier, 10th Royal Veteran Battalion, circa 1812

Caption: Soldier, 10th Royal Veteran Battalion, circa 1812

While Hull hesitated, news of the war reached the commander of Fort St. Joseph, Captain Charles Roberts, who immediately decided to attack the American fort at Mackinac Island. On July 17, leading 45 soldiers of the 10th Royal Veterans Battalion, some 180 voyageurs and fur traders and approximately 400 Amerindians, he reached the fort. The surprise attack fooled everyone. Captain Porter Hanks and the 61 soldiers of the 1St American Artillery Regiment, which was the garrison, did not even know that war had been declared. With only muscle power, the Canadians managed to install a cannon on a neighbouring hillside. Roberts then asked Hanks to surrender, which he immediately did. From that point on, the British controlled the fur route all the way to lakes Michigan and Superior. This victory earned them prestige in the eyes of the Amerindians, who had been indecisive up to that time. Also, they were able, without firing a single shot, to take an essential strategic point. Immediately afterwards, the Americans were forced to abandon Fort Dearborn (present-day Chicago).

Additional Images

Model of Fort St Joseph