JANUARY 22, 1813
A British force of 1,300 soldiers and Indians falls upon an American army at the River Raisin, near present-day Monroe. Against direct orders, U.S. Brigadier General James Winchester had moved his force of 700 Kentuckians and 200 regulars to the River Raisin. They encamped there in a poor defensive position. Their leaders had not investigated reports of an imminent British attack. The Americans repulsed several British assaults, but finally surrendered because Winchester feared a possible massacre by the Indians. The British withdrew after the battle, leaving behind 80 wounded Americans. The following day, the Indians murdered many of these soldiers. The Battle of the River Raisinthe largest battle ever fought on Michigan soilconcluded a series of U.S. setbacks in Michigan during the early months of the War of 1812. Earlier in mid-1812, Michigan Territorial Governor William Hull, who commanded U.S. forces in Michigan, had invaded Canada prematurely and then retreated, surrendering Detroit after only token resistance. About the same time, the U.S. garrison at Fort Mackinac was taken by surprise and surrendered without firing a shot. In September 1813, U.S. forces returned to Michigan and, amidst cries of "Remember the River Raisin," drove the British from Michigan soil. Michigan grew slowly after the war, but the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 precipitated a flood of migrants, especially from New York and New England.
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