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Timeline Leading to the Battle of Missisinewa

1808, late April

Tecumseh and his brother, The Prophet, move their followers from western Ohio. To escape white settlers, they travel down the Mississinewa River to north of present day Lafayette of the Tippecanoe River near the mouth of the Wabash River. Their village, named Prophetstown, poses a major threat to Gov. William Henry Harrison's line of communication between Vincennes and Fort Wayne.

1809, September 30

Gov. Harrison negotiates the Treaty of Fort Wayne with the Delaware, Potawatomi, Miami, Wea, Kickapoo and the Eel River tribes, giving the United States title to more than 2 million acres in the southern third of Indiana. Tecumseh is angry at the tribal chiefs' land giveaway.

1811, November 7

Prophetstown Indians attack Gen. William Henry Harrison's force of 760, killing 60 and injuring 128 people. Harrison estimates more than 100 Indians are killed. The Kickapoos say 25 of their tribe are killed. Harrison destroys the stronghold and cornfields at Prophetstown, angering and scattering Tecumseh's followers.

1812, May 15

Twelve Indian nations hold grand council with Tecumseh at Mississinewa village at the junction of the Wabash and Mississinewa rivers near present-day Peru. The Wyandots, Miami, Potawatomies, Delaware and Kickapoos urge Tecumseh to restrain his young warriors lest all tribes suffer at the hands of the whites. Tecumseh denies that his followers are a threat to the whites and rebukes the chiefs for selling their people out at the Treaty of Fort Wayne.

1812, June 19

The United States declares war on Great Britain.

1812, July 14

Miami war chief Little Turtle dies and with his death United States' influence upon the Miami Indians and other tribes in Indian territory evaporates.

1812, July 17

The British capture the fort on Mackinac Island with the aid of the Indian tribes. For all practical purposes, the United States loses control of lakes Michigan and Huron.

1812, August 15

Potawatomi force the surrender of Fort Dearborn (Chicago) and massacre most of the garrison being evacuated by William Wells, adopted son of Little Turtle.

1812, August 16

In a devastating blow to the United States, Gen. William Hull surrenders Fort Detroit and the Army of the Northwest to forces led by British Major General Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh. Most tribal chiefs lose control over their young warriors as Tecumseh emerges as the new Indiana leader in the Northwest Territory. Armed whites and Indians attack each other throughout Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Killing becomes commonplace among the two peoples.

1812, August 18

Unable to control their warriors, tribal chiefs refuse Harrison's invitation to attend a peace council at Piqua, Ohio.

1812, September 3

The Shawnees led by Missilimeta ravage the Pigeon Roost settlement in southern Indiana, killing 20 whites.

1812, September 6

Indians attack Fort Wayne and Fort Harrison (Terre Haute). The Americans successfully withstand the attacks. In turn, the Americans raid and destroy Indian villages north of the Wabash River.

1812, September 24

Harrison is given command of the second Army of the Northwest, replacing Gen. James Winchester.

1812, October 11

Indiana Agent B. F. Stickney passes along information from trader John Conner to Harrison. From Sept. 13 to Oct. 2, the Miamis have sent nine messengers to the Delawares, inviting them to join them in war against the United States.

1812, October 26

Harrison seeks approval from Secretary of War William Eustis to attack the Indian towns on the Mississinewa River.

1812, November 5

Secretary Eustis advises Harrison that "the Miamis, as well as the other Indians, must be dealt with as their merits and demerits may in your judgment require."

1812, November 15

Informed of Gen. Samuel Hopkins' defeat in Illinois and the growing confidence of the Indians in attacking the Army's supply lines, Harrison advises Eustis that he will command Col. John B. Campbell to direct an expedition against the Miami town of Mississinewa. It will be the rendezvous where the Indians are certain to receive provisions and assistance in launching attacks on every military convoy in Ohio between St. Mary's and the Miami Rapids (present-day Maumee).

1812, November 22

Gen. Hopkin's force destroys Prophetstown along with deserted Winnebago and Kickapoo villages along the Tippecanoe River. The Indians ambush and kill 16 of Hopkins' force on Wildcat Creek, north-west of present-day Kokomo.

1812, November 25

Harrison orders Campbell to attack and destroy the Miami village at Mississinewa. Campbell is advised to try to spare chiefs Richardville, Silver Heels, White Loon, Charley and Pecon, and the sons and daughters of Little Turtle if it can be done without risk to his force. He is also advised to guarantee the safety of the Indian women and children who are to be captured and conducted back to settlements in Ohio--a condition that will eventually cost Campbell severe losses among his troops.

1812, December 14

Campbell's force of nearly 600 mounted troops, guided by William Conner, departs Fort Greenville, Ohio, on an 80-mile forced march to the Miami towns on the Mississinewa River. The snow is knee deep, and the weather is bitter cold.

1812, December 17

Campbell's force surprises and attacks the first of four Indian villages on the Mississinewa River near present-day Jalapa. Eight Indians and one African-American are killed. Forty-two Indians, including 34 women and children, are captured. Two American solders lose their lives.

1812, December 18

Just before dawn, a force of about 300 Indians counterattack, killing eight soldiers and wounding 48, Fifteen Indians are killed. Faced with bitter cold weather, mounting casualties due to frostbite and the loss of 109 horses killed in battle, Campbell withdraws his forces to Greenville.

1812, December 24

His troops decimated by freezing weather, Campbell's force arrives at Greenville, More than 300 of his troops are victims of frostbite when Campbell allows the Indian women and children to ride captured Indian horses on the return trip. The captives are escorted in Indian settlements at Piqua.


1812 Timeline Copyright © 1998 by Chronicle-Tribune, Marion, Indiana, Friday, October 16, 1998. All Rights Reserved

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