Saturday, May 10, 2014

Zachary Taylor & the Defense of Fort Harrison

Defense of Fort Harrison
Zachary Taylor’s first test as a soldier occurred early in the War of 1812. No sooner had he taken command of Fort Harrison, a small stockade style fort on the Wabash River in Indiana, when a band of Indians from the Prophet’s town attacked.

The attack came about 11:00 pm. A shot rang out from a sentinel, and then a warning that the Indians had set fire to the lower blockhouse. Harrison ordered his men to water down the blockhouse to keep it from burning, and hurriedly built a breastwork so they could defend themselves when the Indians charged in. As daylight approached the defenders were able to return fire driving the Indians back.

When they discovered they couldn’t take the fort, the Indians faded away into the forests.

On the 16th the garrison was reinforced with six hundred mounted rangers and five hundred infantry led by Colonel Russell. Shortly after that Major General Hopkins arrived with another four thousand men.

On November 19th the army attacked the Prophet’s town, destroying everything – huts, cornfields, etc.

When he returned to Fort Harrison Taylor received notification President Madison had made him a brevet major for his services in the defense of the fort.