My first several articles about the War of 1812 had dealt with the plan of the Kentuckians who were determined to get revenge for the Raisen River Massacre. Kentucky Governor Shelby had been authorized to raise an army to march north to deal with the British and their Native American allies. When we last looked at Elisha Gates he had answered the call of Governor Shelby and showed up at Newport, Kentucky on July 31, 1813. Elisha Gates had answered the call along with three to four thousand other Kentuckians. Many came unprepared, without rifles or ammunition but ready to fight.
As might have been expected it would be quite a task to have that many men fill out the appropriate paperwork (enlisting for three months), to organize the men into proper militia units, to arm all the men, and to obtain and organize provisions for everyone. So the men slowly began their march north through Ohio. They passed through Fort Hamilton, Franklin, Dayton, and Springfield before arriving at Fort Urbana. Most of the organization and preparation took place near Fort Urbana. The army didn't leave Fort Urbana until the second week in September.
Elisha Gates became a Private in the Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia1. He was assigned to serve in Captain Presley C. Smith's Company, commanded by Colonel James Simrall.
Two-hundred years ago Elisha Gates traveled through these locations:
On September 92 - the army finally left Fort Urbana and began to march north in earnest towards Detroit.
September 10 - they passed through Bellafontaine camping near the line of Hardin and Logan counties.
September 11 - Near Fort MacArthur
September12 - they reached Upper Sandusky. As they learned about the victory in the Battle of Lake Eire, plans changed and the army headed towards Lake Eire instead of Detroit.
September 13 - they reached Fort Ball, near line of Wyandot and Seneca counties.
September 14 - the column reached Lower Sandusky (Fremont). Ammunition was distributed during the march on the 14th.
September 15 - the men reached the Portage River.
Once the army reached the Portage River site, the plan was to leave the horses at that site and take a ship across Lake Erie to Canada. The men took several days building a fence across the narrowest portion of the peninsula to form a horse corral.
1. Clift, G. Glenn. Kentucky Soldiers of the War of 1812. Frankfort, Kentucky: Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky, 1891
2. Young, Bennett Henderson, The Battle of The Thames, J. P. Morton and Company, Louisville, Kentucky, 1903