Harrison Wins Important Victory at Battle of the Thames

U.S. #814 – William Henry Harrison later used his victory at the Thames, as well as other battles to bolster his presidential campaign.

Harrison Wins Important Victory at Battle of the Thames

On October 5, 1813, future President William Henry Harrison won the Battle of the Thames, securing American control of the Northwest frontier for the remainder of the War of 1812.

A year earlier, the British captured the port city of Detroit. The Americans sought to re-take it, but couldn’t as the British also controlled Lake Erie. In September 1813, Oliver Perry won an important victory on Lake Erie, capturing an entire British squadron. With Lake Erie firmly under U.S. control, William Henry Harrison, commander of the Army of the Northwest, prepared to re-capture Detroit.

Item #47069A – Harrison claimed to be the “vanquisher of Tecumseh” when he ran for public office.

However, following the loss of Lake Erie, British commander Henry Procter quickly abandoned Detroit. Even with their Native American support (including Shawnee chief Tecumseh and his warriors), they were outnumbered and running out of supplies. By late September, they were retreating up the Thames River, with Procter’s men growing dissatisfied with his leadership.

After occupying Detroit, Harrison took 3,700 of his men to pursue the British up the Thames. The retreating British were tired, so the Americans caught up quickly. Then, on October 4, Procter turned his men around to strategically position them to battle the Americans.

Item #121152 – No one knows who killed Tecumseh at the Thames. But 24 different people have taken credit, including ninth Vice President Richard Mentor Johnson.

Harrison and his men arrived the next day. Splitting his forces, they attacked the British and Native Americans head-on. They drove many of them off in a matter of minutes, including commander Procter. During the fighting, Chief Tecumseh was killed – it’s never been discovered how or by whom. As word of his death spread, the Native Americans also retreated into the woods. Harrison won a clear victory, essentially destroying Procter’s army.

The victory at the Thames gave the Americans permanent control of the Northwest frontier. Additionally, the Native Americans were no longer a threat in the area and Harrison went on to establish truces with several of the local tribes.

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8 responses to "Harrison Wins Important Victory at Battle of the Thames"

8 thoughts on “Harrison Wins Important Victory at Battle of the Thames”

  1. Thank you for the daily history lessons. I believe it is paramount that people strive to learn and remember as much of history as they can get their hands on. Keep up the great job.

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    • Thanks for the history lesson, but don’t forget that Native Americans were NEVER treated well by any American commanders, so to say they were never again a threat only came to mean they had been so mistreated that they never had much strength against the government at all except isolated battles like Custer’s last stand etc. So as part native American (not really Indian) I don’t take much pride in this battle. The British did use the Americans as a way to boost their forces but unlike the Americans they never got to make such lopsided treaties and land grabs as U.S. government did.

      Reply
  2. I resent Native Americans not being of much import here. Who can blame them for helping the British who were never as abusive as US forces were.

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  3. Lots of interesting history stuff about President Harrison, Lake Erie, the British, Shawnee Chief Tecumseh and Detroit that I didn’t know!

    Reply

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