The Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812

The Battle for the Northwest

The American 1814 invasion plan called for them to take Fort Mackinac. But the British proved to be more aggressive and they took the small post at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, on the Mississippi. The Americans surrendered on July 17 without fighting. During this time, a corps of approximately 700 American regular soldiers and militiamen, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel George Croghan, reached the vicinity of Mackinac Island. After razing the small undefended post of Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario), they decided to attack Fort Mackinac. Croghan disembarked his troops, but Lieutenant-Colonel Robert McDouall did not wait for him in the fort itself, and he had hidden his garrison in the woods surrounding a clearing. The Americans entered confidently and McDouall's men opened fire on these easy targets, killing 15 and wounding 51. The Americans re-embarked the next day for Detroit, leaving two gunboats behind, the Scorpion and the Tigress, to prevent the garrison from receiving supplies. On the return trip the rest of the American flotilla destroyed the only British ship on Lake Huron, the schooner Nancy. Its commander, Lieutenant Miller Worsley, nevertheless managed to escape with his sailors and reach Fort Mackinac. In early September, with the help of the latter and the soldiers of the Michigan Fencibles, Worsley captured the Scorpion and the Tigress, thereby giving the British some naval strength on Lake Huron.