Saturday, October 5, 2013

Oct 5, 1813 :The Battle of the Thames

Battle of the Thames
     When we last discussed Elisha Gates' involvement in the War of 1812 and the Battle of the Thames1, he and the other members of the Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia were building a fence across the peninsula and preparing to leave for Canada on Commodore Perry's ships. The army landed in Ontario near Malden and after a skirmish they started marching after the British and their allies.   The Great Shawnee Chief, Tecumseh lead the coalition of Native Americans.  He had gotten a promise that the British would stand and fight.  The American Army caught up with the British near Moraviantown along the Thames River.  The battle lasted only a few hours.  The British under General Proctor retreated soon after the battle began. Tecumseh was killed and as soon as word of his death spread through the tribes, the Native Americans coalition dissolved and the battle was over. Click on the link to read a more detailed history of the battle.
     Based upon the positioning of Simrall's Unit in this old map, it would appear that the heavy fighting was away from Elisha.  At the time of the battle the many trees provideds ome cover for the troops.  The Battle of the Thames (or as Canadians refer to it - The Battle of Moraviantown) was a decisive victory for the United States against Britain and was near the end of action in the northwest.  Soon the military engagements shifted to the east coast near Washington, D.C. and later to the southern states. 
     This army had been formed on July 31, 1813 and the men enlisted for a period of ninety days.  In order to get back to Kentucky by Oct 31 the men had to begin their return march immediately.  This was a major reason why the American Army didn't continue the pursuit of the British.
     In the following map the red markers show the army's route to battle. The red star is the location of the Battle of the Thames.  The green markers display the route returning to Kentucky. 

1. Young, Bennett H., The Battle of the Thames, 1903 "File:Battle-of-the-Thames-array.jpg - Wikimedia Commons." 2011. 24 Sep. 2013 <>

2. "Google Maps Engine Lite." 2012. 23 Aug. 2013 <>

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