Hillsdale County & The War of 1812
In 1812 the newly established country of the United States of America were fed up with British. The impressment of American merchant sailors into the Royal Navy was an insult to national honor. The British imposition of trade restrictions because of their war with France limited commerce. In addition, the Americans were looking at Canada, owned by the British, as another direction for the expansion of their country. An alliance of Native American Tribes under Tecumseh sided with the British, who promised to preserve their lands. Their loyalty to the British was understandable, but the Americans were in expansion mode and didn't care who got in the way.
The Americans declared war on the British Empire.
Michigan Territory was on the western fringe of the young America, and a few trappers were the only white people in what would become Hillsdale County. Fort Detroit, on the border of Michigan Territory and Canada, stood at a critical point for the Americans to attempt to take Canada away from the British. Another inhabited area in Michigan Territory was Frenchtown, situated on the bank of the River Raisin. In later years it became Monroe. It was there that one of the largest battles of the War of 1812 occurred.
The British were highly trained and skilled in fighting. The Americans who volunteered for the American Army were not. From January 18 to January 22, 1813, in Frenchtown, 934 Americans faced the British forces and their Native American allies. At the end of the battle only 33 American escaped death or capture. However, it was the actions of the British soldiers after the battle that truly shocked and enraged Americans throughout the Old Northwest Territory. British soldiers waded through the battlefield, killing the American soldiers who were wounded. It was a terrible blow for the American cause, but it inspired a rallying cry: "Remember the Raisin!"
Eight veterans of the War of 1812 are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery.
JoAnne P. Miller