Battle of the Thames
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The Battle of the Thames was a pivotal U.S. 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 U.S. 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 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 U.S. army won a total victory. As soon as the U.S. 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 Northwest. Since the early 1800s, Tecumseh had sought to form a confederacy of Native American tribes to stop white settlers from seizing Native American lands. 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, natives 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.