River Raisin Massacre

January 22, 1813, Frenchtown, Michigan

American Forces Commanded by
Gen. James Winchester
Strength Killed Wounded/Missing/Captured
1,000 397 561
British / Indian Forces Commanded by
Henry Proctor and Chief Tecumseh
Strength Killed Wounded Missing/Captured
950 24 158 ??
Conclusion: British Victory

The second part of the Battle of Frenchtown was known as the "River Raisin Massacre". It was a severe defeat for the Americans during the war while attempting to retake Detroit early in 1813.

On January 22, the main British/Indian force arrived at Frenchtown. Winchester's headquarters were far away from the main American lines and was no where near his troops when the British attacked.

The British/Indian attack surprised the American camp but they took their positions quickly and returned fire.

However, when the right flank gave way the main line began to retreat, even though the left flank anchored in a fort still held. Winchester, attempting to join the front lines, was captured en route by Chief Roundhead. The American retreat quickly became a rout and only 33 of the 400 engaged escaped the battlefield.

Proctor feared that Harrison's force might close in on him and made a hasty withdrawal to Brownstown on January 23. Proctor did not have enough sleighs to carry the wounded American prisoners and left them behind under the guard of the First Nations Indians along the River Raisin. The Indians then proceeded to execute 60 American prisoners and ransom off the few unharmed prisoners in Detroit. This action became known as the "River Raisin Massacre."

Because of the poor state of readiness of the American troops, they suffered such vast losses, and thus the battle is also known as the "River Raisin Massacre." Harrison retreated up the Maumee River, but when he learned that the British did not pursue, he returned to the shore of Lake Erie and built a fort which he named Fort Meigs.

The defeat at Frenchtown ended Harrison's campaign against Detroit. He instead assumed a defensive position in Ohio and built Fort Meigs. The phrase "Remember the River Raisin" became a rallying cry for Kentucky militiamen.

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