Surrender of Fort Detroit


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Fort Detroit

Surrender of Detroit – August 15-16, 1813

The surrender of Detroit was a humiliating loss for the Americans at the start of the War of 1812. After Isaac Brock and British forces took Fort Mackinac, Brock decided to make an attempt at Fort Detroit near the western edge of Lake Erie, which was occupied by the Americans under William Hull. Hull had plans to raid the British fort at Amherstburg, but elected to retreat to Fort Detroit after the defeat at Fort Mackinac.

Brock, along with the native chief Tecumseh, formulated a plan in which they made their small force seem much larger than it was by lighting many fires and lining troops in strategic formations. Fearing an onslaught, and completely fooled by the British, Hull quickly surrendered the entire fort, including 39 cannons and 2,500 muskets. Two large detachments of soldiers were also surrendered. The American defeat prevented them from invading Canada and gave the British a stronghold in Michigan.