War of 1812

Tecumseh and The ProphetThis section is composed of a large number of primary sources, such as speeches made by Native Americans and letters of British and American military commanders, as well as several secondary sources. Documents relate to the alliances created and destroyed by the conflict, the involvement of Indians in battles and military movements, and the relationship between the war and the religious revitalization/revolt that was led by Tecumseh and his brother, the Shawnee Prophet.


"Affadavit of Frances Gandon Concerning Massacres, etc., Committed by Indians at Sandy Creek." 1834. Vol. 8, (1886): 642-644.

An 1834 retelling of events that transpired in August 1812 in Monroe County, Michigan, during the war of 1812.

Elmer, Josephine. "The River Raisin Massacre and Dedication of Monuments." Vol. 35, (1907): 200-236.

Several accounts of the Indians' actions against the Americans during the War of 1812, including the Battle of River Raisin and the death of Tecumseh.

Miller, Albert. "Detroit in 1814." Vol. 13, (1888): 503-507.

Account of armed conflict in 1814 which took place between white settlers under General Cass and Ojibwe Indians under Chief Kish-kaw-ko.


Entries are listed chronologically.

Claus, W. "Political Position of the Indians." February 27, 1808. Vol. 15, (1890): 44-45.

Claus describes the alliance of the various nations to the British and Americans. Also briefly discusses maple sugar production and gift-giving.

"Gov. Hull's Address to the Indians." August 28, 1809. Vol. 8, (1886): 567-571.

Hull's speech to Ojibwe and Odawa nations at Michilimackinac is both a pledge of friendship and a warning not to become allies of the British or the Shawnee Prophet, Tenskwatawa.

William Eustis to the Indians. October 8, 1811. Vol. 8, (1886): 601.

Eustis encourages the Indians to form a council to establish the specific proportion of goods and money each part of their tribe should receive from the government. Also, he warns them that all those who ally themselves to "the Pottawatomie who calls himself a prophet" will be destroyed.

"Memorial to Congress by Citizens of Michigan Territory." December 10, 1811. Vol. 40, (1929): 346-353.

Memorial from Michigan demanding extra troops to defend the territory against the Indians.

Elliot, M. "Indian Losses in 1812." January 12, 1812. Vol. 15, (1890): 66-68.

Elliot describes one battle in which various Indians under "the prophet's brother" fought against the Americans. Includes numbers lost on each side.

Hull, William. Proclamation to the Inhabitants of Canada. July 13, 1812. Vol. 40, (1929): 409-411.

Hull assures Canadian citizens he will respect their property if they stay neutral. Also warns that no whites fighting alongside Indians will be taken, prisoner.

Askin, John. "Michilimackinac 18th July 1812." Vol. 15, (1890): 112-113.

Report describing which Indians fought under Dixon in the capitulation of the fort in 1812.

William Hull to William Eustis. July 21, 1812. Vol. 40, (1929): 419-421.

Reports on a council of Odawa, Ojibwe, Potawatomi , Wyandot, Delaware, Muncie, Kickapoo, Sauk, and Iroquois. All vow to remain neutral and convince other nations to leave the British. The Crane, Walkinthewater, Blackhoof are chiefs supporting the US; only Tecumseh and Marpot are still with the British.

William Hull to William Eustis. July 29, 1812. Vol. 40, (1929): 424-426.

Report of the loss of Michilimackinac to the British including 1000 northern Indians.

William Hull to William Eustis. August 4, 1812. Vol. 40, (1929): 433-435.

Hull is worried about the fall of Michilimackinac, and fears that 2000 "savages" will fall on Detroit.

Isaac Brock to William Hull. August 15, 1812. Vol. 40, (1929): 451.

Brock, commander of the British at Malden, demands the surrender of Detroit. He warns that he will not be able to control the Indians in his command once the fighting starts.

William Hull to William Eustis. August 26, 1812. Vol. 40, (1929): 460-469.

Hull explains to the Secretary of War why he surrendered Detroit without a shot. He says that all "loyal" Indians had joined the British, including Tecumseh, Marpot, Logan, Walkinthewater, and Split Log.

"Letter Concerning Indians in the War of 1812." September 30, 1812. Vol. 15, (1890): 151-154.

Discusses the dreams of "Indian Conjurors" in regards to battles to be fought in the future.

"Massacre at Fort Dearborn, Territory of Michigan, October 8, 1812." Vol. 15, (1890): 159-161.

Chief Justice Woodward describes the attack and provides specifics on those who survived and those who were killed.

Captain Slegg to Colonel Baynes. November 11, 1812. Vol. 15, (1890): 180-182.

Explains the excellent character of Robert Dickson as well as his strong influence with the Indians.

Dickson, Robert. "Statement of Expenses." Montreal, December 3, 1812. Vol. 15, (1889): 193-195.

Dickson provides the British government with a list of expenses he incurred while persuading Indian nations not to ally with the Americans.

Boileau, N. "Letter to the Great Chief of the Ouinibagoes." December 10, 1812. Vol. 15, (1890): 197-198.

US Indian Agent urges the Winnebagoes and other Indians to remain loyal to the US.

"Importance of Robert Dickson." December 19, 1812. Vol. 15, (1890): 202-204.

British citizens suggest that Dickson be given a commission to promote peace between Britain and the Indian nations which have great respect for him.

Dickson, Robert. "Letter to the Commander in Chief of British Forces, Quebec, Dec. 23rd 1812." Vol. 15, (1889): 208-209.

Dickson lists the items and actions that will be necessary to secure the loyalty of various Indian nations.

"Robert Dickson's Involvement with Native Americans, 1813." January 14, 1813. Vol. 15, (1890): 217-223.

Letters which describe Captain Dickson's expenses in dealing with Native Americans in 1813.

Dudley, Thomas P. "Battle and Massacre at Frenchtown, Michigan, January, 1813." Vol. 22, (1893): 436-443.

Account of Battle of River Raisin (January 19-23, 1813) between British with their Indian allies and the Americans written by an American survivor. When the Americans surrendered, they left behind eighty wounded soldiers, most of which were killed by the Indians. Writer was taken prisoner instead and sold to the British in Detroit.

John Askin to William Claus. January 24, 1813. Vol. 15, (1890): 225-226.

Discusses the quality and quantity of their Indian allies' firearms.

Robert Dickson to Secretary Freer. March 12, 1813. Vol. 15, (1890): 258-259.

Dickson describes the problems that the American armies had caused to the western Indian nations.

"Indian Nations Allied with the British." June 23, 1813. Vol. 15, (1890): 321-323.

A series of letters that discuss the movements and changing sizes of Dickson's Indian armies.

Duncan McArthur to John Armstrong. October 6, 1813. Vol. 40, (1929): 535-536.

McArthur is US Brigadier General, Armstrong is US Secretary of War. Reports that Odawa, Ojibwe, Potawatomi , Miami, and Kickapoo have all pressed for peace. He informed them that they would have to go to war against the British and leave their family members as hostages.

Lewis Cass to John Armstrong. October 28, 1813. Vol. 40, (1929): 540-542.

Report on the state of affairs in Detroit, saying that the British were encouraging the Indians to commit depredations against the Americans. Also a report on the death of Tecumseh.

Harrison, William Henry. "Reports of Indian Barbarity." November 3, 1813. Vol. 15, (1890): 436-439.

Harrison writes to Major General Vincent, commander of the British forces at Burlington Heights, complaining of three massacres committed by Indians allied with the British.

Lewis Cass to John Armstrong. December 4, 1813. Vol. 40, (1929): 544-546.

An outsider's view of the British method of maintaining the loyalty of the Indians. He thinks that the Indians who profess loyalty to the US are lying. He also requests money to pay for more interpreters.

Lewis Cass to John Armstrong. December 17, 1813. Vol. 40, (1929): 550-554.

Discussion of the state of Indian affairs. Reports that they are restless, that the British are trying to convince them to stay at war, and that the US should attempt to befriend them with a treaty.

Hull, William. "Hull's Defence." March 16, 1814. Vol. 40, (1929): 557-741.

Hull's version of the events that transpired before he surrendered Detroit. Includes his reasoning for surrendering relating to the possibility of a massacre at the hands of the Indians.

Claus, William. "Report from the Indian Department, May 1814." Vol. 15, (1890): 553-554.

Relates the movements of Robert Dickson and a story about a British/Indian movement on Detroit which was called off because it was found that earlier intelligence had been faulty.

W. McKay to Robert McDonall. July 27, 1814. Vol. 15, (1890): 623-628.

McKay describes the relationships he has fostered with the Indian nations near Prairie du Chien.

Robert Dickson to Lieut. Gen. Drummond. Jan. 17, 1815. Vol. 16, (1890): 41-42.

Dickson writes from Green Bay, explaining that the number of goods to be used as presents is not sufficient due to the great demand for supplies and the high quantity of goods that had been damaged or ruined. He suggests an attack on St. Louis to stop the Americans from inciting a revolt of Indians in Missouri.

Lieut. Gen. Drummond to George Prevost. February 8, 1815. Vol. 16, (1890): 47

Suggests route by which the Lake Ontario Indians can be moved to territory along the Mississippi River, fears they will think the English are trying to get out of giving them gifts

Robert McDonall to Bulger. March 19, 1815. Vol. 23, (1893): 503-506.

Urges Bulger to attempt to prevent the Indians from committing depredations against the US because of their anger over the terms of the Treaty of Paris.

Laframbois. Speech to Judge B. Parke. May 17, 1815. Vol. 16, (1890): 112-113.

Speeches by chiefs of the Weas/Ouitonanons saying that the Kickapoos and Potawatomi have gone to accept presents from the British at Mackinac, and that the Kickapoos have been lying to the US.

Robert McDonall to Frederick Robinson. September 1815. Vol. 16, (1890): 287-290.

Refers to a Sauk attack on the US under Black Hawk, the US desire to build forts in violation of the Treaty of Ghent, the intimidation of the British and Indians at Mackinac, the suspicion that US agents are cheating Indians of their presents, and US charges that the British are prompting the Sauk attacks.

Robert McDonall to Major Foster. October 10, 1815. Vol. 16, (1890): 325-327.

McDonall is worried that the Americans' intention to build forts in violation of the Treaty of Ghent will lead to further war with the Indians.

McDonall. "Report from Court of Inquiry." October 6-10, 1815. Vol. 16, (1890): 290-302.

Deciding if the British ordered the Sauks under Black Hawk to attack the US two days after the Treaty was signed. They decide that the Indians did not know about the peace, that they thought the US agents were lying about it, and that the British had attempted to halt the attack.

McDonall, Robert. "Proceedings of Court of Inquiry." October 10, 1815. Vol. 16, (1890): 327-341.

Investigating charges against Joseph Cadot of the British Indian Department that he offered money for US scalps and told the Indians that Mackinac would be destroyed by the British. The court finds him not guilty on both charges because he thought the war was still in progress and thought the US was lying about the treaty.