Fort Meigs to celebrate 200 years PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Friday, 19 April 2013 10:31
PERRYSBURG - Two centuries ago, in one of the darkest periods of American history, the Northwest Territory, including Ohio, was facing invasion from the British as they advanced south out of Canada.
It was the War of 1812, and in the Western Theater of war the American forces had suffered defeat after defeat.
On the rapids of the Maumee, to prepare for a counterassault, Gen. William Henry Harrison ordered the construction of a fort to better their chances.
In April of 1813, that fort became Fort Meigs.
In observance of its 200th anniversary, Fort Meigs will host a wide variety of events throughout the area next month to commemorate the First Siege, which occurred in May, 1813.
"Her gates are creaking a little bit, but she's still going strong," said Rick Finch, the fort's site director. He spoke about the bicentennial before the Perrysburg Area Chamber of Commerce on April 18.
"We are going to have a massive event, May 3, 4 and 5," he said, featuring more than 300 re-enactors, and including the dedication of the first permanent memorial at the fort since 1923.
"We have tons of stuff going on on both sides of the river. 
British forces on the north side of the Maumee, headquartered in their stronghold of Fort Miamis about two miles down the river, began a siege of the fort on May 1, 1813, lobbing more than 400 cannonballs and other explosives at, and over, the walls of Fort Meigs each day in hopes of driving the approximately 1,500 Americans out. Despite the barrage, and some disastrous luck - including the infamous Dudley's Massacre, in which more than 600 of the 800 Kentucky militiamen sent to stop the shelling were killed or captured in an ambush near present-day downtown Maumee - the Americans outlasted the assault of the British and their Native American allies and claimed victory. The siege was lifted on May 9. Fort Meigs also survived another, very brief siege in July, 1813, before being reconstructed as a much smaller supply depot that September.
After burning down under unclear circumstances after the war in 1815, the fort was reconstructed in 1974 and is the nation's largest wooden fort. More than 825 people are believed to be buried on-site.
It is the success at Fort Meigs "that really turns our fortunes in the Western Theater," said Finch. The fort, and the victorious prosecution of the rest of the war, set the current geographic and cultural boundaries of the Great Lakes region.
Festivities planned to commemorate the bicentennial include:
May 3
• 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Educational programs for students with re-enactors. Pre-registration at 800-282-8916.
• 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. - Fallen Timbers Battlefield walk and tour, Fallen Timbers Monument, Maumee. Pre-register at (419) 407-9701.
• 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. - Nighttime artillery duel across the Maumee River.
May 4
• 10 a.m. - Morning formation and parade.
• 10 a.m. - Indian Lore, Fallen Timbers Monument.
• 10 a.m. - 1812 Fashion Show, Speakers' Tent.
• 10:30 a.m. - Musket demonstration and company level drill.
• 11 a.m. - Dedication of Kentucky Memorial.
• 12 p.m. - "Join the Militia" recruiting program (kid-friendly).
• 12 p.m. - Kentucky in the War of 1812, Speakers' Tent.
• 12:30 p.m. - "Mini-Militia" Drill with U.S. Soldiers (kid-friendly).
• 12:45 p.m. - Artillery demonstration.
• 12:45 p.m. - War of 1812 in Northwest Ohio, Speakers' Tent.
• 1 p.m. - Rifle demonstration by the 1st Rifle Regiment.
• 2 p.m. - Battle tactics recreation.
• 4 p.m. - Dedication of Ohio Historical Marker to the 41st Regiment of Foot, Fort Miamis, Maumee.
• 5 p.m. - Site closes.
May 5
• 10:30 a.m. - Dudley's Defeat and U.S. Forces Memorial Service, Maumee Library.
• 12 p.m. - Artillery demonstration.
• 12:30 p.m. - "Mini-Militia" Program with British Soldiers (Kid friendly).
• 12:30 p.m. - Tour of Fort Miamis, Maumee.
• 1 p.m. - Rifle demonstration by the 1st Rifle Regiment.
• 1 p.m. - Ladies' Tea, Speakers' Tent (kid-friendly).
• 2 p.m. - Battle tactics recreation.
• 3 p.m. - Battalion musket demonstration.
• 3 p.m. - War of 1812 from a British Perspective, Speakers' Tent.
• 4 p.m. - Battery fire artillery demonstration.
• 4:30 p.m. - Event ends. Site remains open until 5 p.m.
Admission during the bicentennial events at the fort is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for students, and $1 for Ohio Historical Society members. Students 5 and under are free.
Last Updated on Friday, 19 April 2013 10:40

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