Battle of the Thames
Engraved portrait of William Henry Harrison, by R.W. Dodson from an original portrait by J.R. Lambdin painted for the National Portrait Gallery.
The Battle of the Thames was a pivotal American victory during the War of 1812.
On October 5, 1813, General William Henry Harrison, who also was the governor of the Indiana Territory and a future president of the United States of America, led an army of 3,500 American troops against a combined force of eight hundred British soldiers and five hundred Native American warriors at Moraviantown, along the Thames River in Ontario, Canada. The British troops were under the command of Colonel Henry Procter. Tecumseh, a Shawnee Native American chief, commanded many of the Native American warriors. The British army was retreating from Fort Malden, Ontario after Oliver Hazard Perry's victory in the Battle of Lake Erie in September 1813. Tecumseh convinced Colonel Procter to make a stand at Moraviantown.
The American army won a total victory. As soon as the American troops advanced, the British soldiers fled or surrendered. The Native Americans fought fiercely, but lost heart and scattered after Tecumseh died on the battlefield. The identity of the person who killed Tecumseh is still vigorously debated.
The Battle of the Thames was an important land battle of the War of 1812 in the American Northwest. Since the early 1800s, Tecumseh had sought to form a confederacy of Native American tribes to stop white Americans from seizing Native American land. Tecumseh's death and General Harrison's victory marked the end of Tecumseh's Confederacy, as the natives now lacked a strong, unifying leader. Over the next three decades, Native Americans in the old Northwest signed treaties, forsaking claims to the land in this region.
- Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.