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Letter The post at Detroit was of vital importance to both sides as the war opened. The United States selected the Detroit Frontier as the main point of invasion following the declaration of war as a means of severing communications between the British and the First Nations to the west.

The initial British successes at Detroit and Fort Michilimackinac in 1812 encouraged the First Nations to maintain an alliance with the British. General Proctor managed to fight a relatively successful campaign in the Michigan Territory in the winter and spring of 1813 which delayed American attempts to retake Detroit.

But, as 1813 progressed, the tenuous line of communications and other military priorities combined to make the British relatively weaker in the region.

Illustration: Map of Detroit River and Vicinity, 1869

Click to see a larger image (169K)
Map of Detroit River and Vicinity, 1869
Benson J. Lossing in
The Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812

An illustration
Reference Code: 971 .034 LOS, page 266
Archives of Ontario Library

Chronology of the War in the Upper Lakes region


  • July 12, General Hull invades Upper Canada at Sandwich (Detroit River)

  • July 17, Captain Charles Roberts captures Fort Michilimackinac from the United States (Lake Huron)

  • August 15, Americans evacuate Fort Dearborn (Chicago), post destroyed by First Nations

  • August 16, General Brock and Tecumseh capture Detroit with combination of militia, First Nations and British regulars



  • January 19, Battle of Frenchtown - Colonel Proctor with mixed force of regulars, militia and First Nations defeats U.S. General Winchester and compels surrender

  • April 28-May 10, Siege of Fort Meigs on the Maumee (Ohio) fails to capture the American post

  • August 2, Attack on Fort Stephenson on the Sandusky River (Ohio) repulsed with heavy losses, Proctor retreats to Detroit

  • September 10, Battle of Lake Erie, British squadron captured. Proctor decides to evacuate Detroit and eventually withdraws completely from the area due to failing supplies

  • October 5, Battle of the Thames, British defeated, Tecumseh killed, General Proctor retreats on Burlington



  • March 4, Battle of Long Woods or Battle Hill near Thamesville - American raiders from Detroit repulse attack by British regulars and Upper Canadian militia

  • August 4-5, Successful British defence of Michilimackinac

  • August 14, British supply ship Nancy destroyed in engagement in Nottawasaga Bay

  • September 3, American war vessel Tigress captured off Mackinaw Island by British gunboats (renamed the Surprise)

  • September 5, American war vessel Scorpion captured by Tigress (renamed the Confiance)

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Details of the Conflicts