Sunday, September 15, 2013

Elisha Gates - Part V: A Really Big Corral

The Peninsula as it is today

     Two hundred years ago the Kentucky Volunteer Mounted Militia, including Elisha Gates were riding towards Detroit along with the rest of an army of the Kentuckians.  However, when news of Commodore Perry's victory in the Battle of Lake Erie reached the army, a decision was made to change direction to the Portage River.  There the plan was to have the soldiers board Commodore Perry's ships and get ferried to Canada.
     The army arrived on Sept 15 and the men set about building a fence across across the peninsula to create a large corral.  The fence was built across the narrowest section of the peninsula, about one and a half miles.  Each regiment was given a section of fence to construct and the job was finished in a few hours.  About 70,000 acres were enclosed; This was about fifteen acres per horse.  The fence was 6 to 8 feet high and then covered with brush.  Shortly after the fence was completed, the horses stampeded for some unknown reason.  Many men were injured, while some men and some horses were killed before everything calmed down1.
      Then the men readied themselves so that they could be ferried across.  On September 21st and 22nd the men were transported to the Bass Islands.  Then the ships moved the men on to Ontario.  They were headed towards a showdown with the British and their Native American allies.

1.Young, Bennett Henderson, The Battle of The Thames, J. P. Morton and Company, Louisville, Kentucky, 1903

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