War of 1812

Siege of Fort Meigs
Siege of Fort Meigs ©C.S.Forster
1813 Apr 28 - May 9

Siege of Fort Meigs

Perrysburg, Ohio, USA

The Siege of Fort Meigs in late April to early May 1813 was a pivotal event during the War of 1812, occurring in present-day Perrysburg, Ohio. It marked the British Army's attempt to capture Fort Meigs, a newly constructed American fort, to thwart an American offensive aimed at reclaiming Detroit, which the British had captured the previous year. Following the surrender of General William Hull in Detroit, General William Henry Harrison took command of the American forces and began fortifying the region, including the construction of Fort Meigs. The siege unfolded when British forces, led by Major General Henry Procter and supported by Native American warriors, arrived at the Maumee River.

The siege began with British forces setting up batteries on both sides of the river, while Native American allies encircled the fort. The American garrison, under Harrison's command, faced intense shelling, but the fort's earthen defenses absorbed much of the damage. On May 5, 1813, an American sortie took place, with Colonel William Dudley leading an attack on British batteries on the north bank of the river. However, the mission ended in disaster, with Dudley's men facing heavy casualties, including being captured by the British and their Native American allies. On the south bank, American forces managed to capture a British battery temporarily, but the British counterattacked, driving them back into the fort.

Ultimately, the siege was lifted on May 9, 1813, as Procter's forces, including Canadian militia and Native American allies, dwindled due to desertion and a lack of supplies. Terms were arranged for the exchange of prisoners, and the siege came to an end. The casualty count for the entire siege included 160 Americans killed, 190 wounded, 100 wounded prisoners, 530 other prisoners, and 6 missing, totaling 986 in all. The siege of Fort Meigs was a significant episode in the War of 1812, and while the British failed to capture the fort, it showcased the determination and resilience of both American and British forces in the Great Lakes region.