October in British History

October 5, 1813 The death of Tecumseh

In response to continuing conflict on the frontier and his ongoing struggle to create a secure independent homeland for a confederation of native groups, the great Shawnee chief, Tecumseh, threw in his lot with the British when the United States declared war and invaded Canada. Given the rank of brigadier general, he and his troops fought under (the unfortunately incompetent) Major General Henry Proctor as part of the Army of Upper Canada. Proctor, forced to retreat from Detroit, was soundly defeated at the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813. Tecumseh died that day and his body was taken away and hidden. William Henry (later President) Harrison, who feared Tecumseh could actually succeed in his efforts to unite native peoples against American expansion, described him as “one of those uncommon geniuses.” His death was a tragedy for First Nations.

The Death of Tecumseh, frieze in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, public domain

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