Battle of Fort Harrison

September 4-5, 1812 at Fort Harrison, Indiana Territory

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Battle of Fort Harrison
American Forces Commanded by
Capt. Zachary Taylor
Strength Killed Wounded Missing/Captured
15 3 3 ??
British Forces Commanded by
Joseph Lenar
Strength Killed Wounded Missing/Captured
600 ? ? ??
Conclusion: American Victory

The Battle of Fort Harrison was a decisive victory for the United States against an Indian force which greatly outnumbered thier own.

In 1811, when Gen. William Henry Harrison marched his army north to meet the Indians at the Battle of Tippecanoe, he ordered a fort constructed to protect the capitol of the Indiana Territory, at Vincennes. The fort was named in Harrison's honor and when the War of 1812 began, Capt. Zachary Taylor was in command of the post.

The United States suffered a series of defeats right after war was declared, at the hands of British, Canada and Indians. These victories helped motivate other Native tribes to take up campaigns against remote American outposts. A force of 600 Miami, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, and Winnebago warriors attacked Fort Harrison on September 4, 1812. Taylor had only 15 soldiers (5 of whom were sick) and the help of several civilians to defend the fort. Early on September 4, an Indian warrior crawled up and set the barracks on fire. This set the few defenders into a panic and the Indian warriors began firing upon the fort.

Taylor ordered the fort's surgeon and a handful of defenders to control the fire. The remaining few of the garrison returned the fire of the Indians so fiercely that they were able to hold off the attack. The Indian force withdrew later that day and when reinforcements arrived from Vincennes, the Indian force never ventured to return.

The Battle of Fort Harrison was a decisive victory and is considered the first land victory of the United States during the War of 1812. Shortly afterwards, American forces followed up by lifting the Siege of Fort Wayne, which eliminated the last Indian threat to the Indiana Territory for the remainder of the war.

For his services at Fort Harrison, Zachary Taylor received a brevet promotion to major.

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