United States and American History: 1813

About the history of the United States in 1813, where despite the name, the War of 1812 raged on between the British, the Americans and the Indians, and craps comes to America.


--During Americanization of the French game "hazards" by a wealthy New Orleans playboy named de Marigny, the game became "Crapaud," later shortened to "craps." "Johnny Crapaud" was a common term for Louisiana Creoles.

Jan. Battle at the River Raisin. The almost starved U.S. troops under General Winchester took Frenchtown when the inhabitants begged for protection from the British and the Indians. The Kentucks gorged themselves and enjoyed the comforts of the village after 5 months in the wilderness. Most of Winchester's army was within the sturdy 8' fence surrounding the village, but Winchester-anxious to get away from his discontented troops-stayed at a house about a quarter mile from the village. Some of the regulars also stayed outside the general camp.

Jan. 22 The British attacked and captured Winchester, who was forced to witness atrocities committed by the Indians. General Winchester surrendered his troops, much to their dismay, but word was received that the British Colonel Procter had threatened to "let loose" the Indians on the troops if Winchester did not do so. Further, Procter, was said to have guaranteed Winchester's men protection from the Indians. The wounded were to be taken care of, the dead collected and buried, and private property respected. However, Procter, fearing American reinforcements were on their way, moved out of Raisin River hurriedly, leaving only a handful of British and the Indians in charge. Once the British had gone, Indians raided the camp and massacred the wounded. Tecumseh, upon hearing of the barbarism at Raisin River, was enraged. He blamed Procter for the massacre and said, "I conquer to save, and you [Procter] to murder."

Some of the American prisoners in charge of the wounded, and the wounded who were able to march, were "adopted" by the Indians in place of sons lost in battle. Later these captives told of the "adoption" ceremony, their ordeals as prisoners, and of offers from Detroit citizens to "buy" them, which the Indians refused, preferring to keep their "Yankees" for the cooking chores and hard labor. One captive said that after the Indians finished the stores purchased in Detroit, they ate fragments of dog or horsemeat, not caring whether the animal had been killed that day or whether it had died of unknown causes 7 or 8 days prior. Intelligence gleaned from the Indians indicated that 2,500 Indians and 1,000 British had engaged in the January 22nd battle. Historians have estimated 500 British and 600 Indians were involved in the battle. The American forces numbered about 1,000.

Apr. 15 U.S. occupied west Florida.

Apr. 27 The destruction of York (Toronto) during the U.S. effort to take Lake Ontario gave the British their excuse for the later burning of Washington.

June 1 "Don't give up the ship" were the dying words of 32-year-old Capt. James Lawrence when the British frigate Shannon disabled the U.S. frigate Chesapeake and captured its crew off Boston's shore.

It is uncertain whether the words were actually spoken by Lawrence or if they were coined by Benjamin Russell, editor of the Boston Centinel. At any rate, the phrase became popular and some ladies of Presque Isle presented 27-year-old Lieut. Oliver Hazard Perry, (called "Commodore" because of his responsibility for a fleet of 9 ships) with a flag bearing that inscription for his flagship, the Lawrence. During the battle, Perry transferred from the Lawrence when it was disabled and took the flag with him aboard the Niagara. The young naval officer then captured an entire British fleet, the 1st time the Americans had accomplished such a feat. "Don't give up the ship" became an even more popular slogan after this decisive naval battle.

Sept. 10 Lieut. Oliver Hazard Perry sent a terse, often quoted message to Gen. William Henry Harrison after the successful Battle of Lake Erie: "We have met the enemy and they are ours." As a result of this American naval victory, the British vacated Detroit.

Oct. 5 General Harrison defeated British general Procter at the Battle of the Thames in Canada. Tecumseh was killed in this battle, thus ending the Indian confederation in the Northwest. The British thereby lost an important ally.

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