Iroquois in the War of 1812


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He recounts a litany of problems and failures, such as state troops mobilizing slowly, lacking even the most rudimentary provisions, and refusing to cross national borders. These culminated in a series of American disasters, such as Detroit, Queenston Heights, and most notably, Bladensburg, "probably the worst example of militia performance in the war.

It illustrated in microcosm all the things wrong with the militia in the War of " p. Still, the author correctly notes that criticism of the militia may be somewhat overstated as poor conduct always attracts more attention than good. When properly led, American militia more than held its own against Indians, Canadians, and British regulars.

As evidence, Skeen cites Peter B. The latter engagement, the final battle of the war and an American victory, somewhat rehabilitated the militia's perception among the general public, but not among most national leaders.

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The Army Reduction Act of relegated "the militia to a secondary role in national defense" and this trend continued p. The ensuing years witnessed growing professionalism in the regular army and continued deterioration of the militia system. Citizen Soldier not only provides insights into the War of , but also into the broader American militia tradition.

Skeen's descriptions of regular-militia controversies over command and troops leaving when their enlistments expired, regardless of the military situation, corroborates the finding of others who have examined earlier periods of American history. Both the British and Continental Armies confronted similar difficulties when using American militia in the colonial and Revolutionary wars, respectively. It would also have been helpful if he had provided a stronger narrative of the military campaigns to set them into a broader context.

The book contains four detailed maps and a solid bibliographic essay. Skeen has obviously researched his topic thoroughly, with information culled from a wide array of local, state, and national archives and newspapers.


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Citizen Soldiers in the War of is a valuable resource to any scholar investigating the militia system or the United States' first declared war under the Constitution. David Curtis Skaggs and Gerard T. Copyright c by H-Net, all rights reserved. This work may be copied for non-profit educational use if proper credit is given to the author and the list. London therefore instructed Governor General Sir James Craig — to ensure the loyalty of the western nations. As the British were fighting Napoleon and his allies in Europe see Napoleonic Wars , they were convinced that Indigenous support would be vital in an American war.

To many First Nations and Native Americans, the unreliable British were still better allies than the expansionist Americans. After the death of Brant, a new Native American leader emerged, the Shawnee war chief Tecumseh — Tecumseh sided with the British, not because he fully trusted them, but because he saw them as a strategic ally with common interests. In his mission, Tecumseh was linked with a religious leader, his brother Tenskwatawa — Known as "the Prophet," Tenskwatawa's Indigenous-focused religious revival prepared the way for Tecumseh's political intertribal movement.

Tecumseh preached that the land belonged to all Indigenous peoples, not to specific groups, and that no tribe had the right to surrender any land. That could only be done with the agreement of all. In , Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa founded the village of Prophetstown at the junction of the Wabash and Tippecanoe Rivers. Their hope was that the village would become the centre of an Indigenous confederacy.

Lessons from the War of 1812: A Six Nations Perspective

After some heavy losses from an attack by Native Americans, Harrison burned Prophetstown to the ground and destroyed the food supply. Tecumseh was anxious for revenge and impatient in waiting for the British. Tecumseh was an imposing figure who combined a passionate concern for his people with an acute strategic military sense.

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The Iroquois in the War of 1812

During the War of , a large number of Indigenous groups fought under Tecumseh, who gained the alliance of the Potawatomi, Ojibwa , Shawnee, Odawa , Kickapoo and others, though not all groups supported him. The War of A Turning Point. The War of was a turning point for many Indigenous peoples, being the last conflict in north-eastern North America in which their participation was important, if not critical. After word of the victory at Michilimackinac, more Indigenous peoples flocked to the British cause.


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Tecumseh and General Brock rode side-by-side into the fallen fort. According to Mohawk leader John Norton, "the Caughnawagas fought the battle, the Mohawks got the plunder and Fitzgibbon got the credit. Yet, the fruits of early success began to wither as war continued.

The American naval victory on Lake Erie , 10 September, cut the British supply line to Amherstburg , thus endangering the support of Indigenous peoples. Procter was retreating from battle but decided, perhaps at Tecumseh's urging, to make a stand at Moraviantown on the Thames River. Tecumseh was killed and his Indigenous fighters were driven off. He just thought of it as something that would later help him in taking more of their land.

Later, during the outbreak of the American revolution, they tried to remain neutral, but many were pressured to join in combat.

Iroquois Battle Fellow Iroquois on the Niagara Frontier During the War of

Some groups of the Five Nations were pro-loyalists, some pro-rebel, and others still neutralist. Within months, they joined the battle. As time went on, more treaties were signed, wars were fought, and the population fell even more. When the War of began, the American and British officials were concerned about the Iroquois, whether they would join the war, and if they did, whose side they would take. This was a major loss for the Americans, because if they had not threatened the Iroquois, the results would have been different, and they would have won more than the control of Lake Erie.

Natives and the War of 1812

The techniques in war used by the Iroquois were both unique as well as smart. The key factor was culture, as they wanted to minimize casualties and create opportunities for individuals to demonstrate their audacity. The other was the Euro American technology which contributed to the change in native warfare. They were a little like guerilla warriors, not fighting in rigid linear formations but ambushing their enemies. Although the British gave them their muskets and rifles, the Iroquois adjusted them to allow their warriors to shoot more accurately.

Their dress had the same functionalities as the clothing worn by the British, theirs maybe even more flexible. So even though the British had better technology for war, the Iroquois used techniques to make up for their lack of modern technology. I believe that others should read this book. There are not enough books out there to fill the gap of the lack of scholarly attention of articles and written work in the perspective of the Native Americans.

I think that the author has conveyed his message clearly and well. I must applaud the fact that during the chapters, the author has not once, mentioned his opinion on anything.

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