Ohio History Journal

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Ohio State University.

The War of 1812 furnishes perhaps a fewer number of

notable achievements accomplished on land than any other of our

wars. The lack of a regular army, and the consequent de-

pendence upon militia would have made it difficult for an effi-

cient general to execute a prolonged campaign, while the posi-

tion which a section of the country took against the war ren-

dered success still more difficult.

Despite ill preparation and sectional opposition, there were

a few events signally successful in result, if not unusually bril-

liant in execution. The conquest of the Northwest was only

accomplished with the assistance of Perry's squadron on Lake

Erie, yet the protection of the frontier and the supply posts

was equally important and essential to final victory.

General Hull had marched from Dayton to Detroit, where

he issued a proclamation promising protection to the Canadians;

shortly after he surrendered Detroit and the Michigan territory

-an episode familiar to all readers of history. Several months

later, General Winchester encamped in the snow at French-

town, hoping soon to win a brilliant victory. Instead, he met

with a crushing defeat, a large part of his men were massacred,

and he made a prisoner. This made further offensive opera-

tions impossible and caused General Harrison to take a course

almost entirely defensive.

When General Winchester's defeat became known to Har-

rison, he determined to succor the American prisoners at Mal-

den, many of whom were wounded. Hither he dispatched a phy-

sician named Samuel McKeehan, attended by a Frenchman and

a militiaman. Holding a letter of explanation from General

Harrison to any British officer whom he might meet, McKeehan

sallied forth in his cariole on his errand of mercy. Starting from