A History of Fort Meigs
Fort Meigs, named after then Governor of Ohio, Return Jonathan Meigs, Jr., was first built as a reaction to British attacks on American forts in the Northwest Territory during the War of 1812. It was built in what is now Perrysburg, Ohio, on a bluff overlooking the Maumee River rapids. Ground was broken on February 2, 1813 under the orders of General William Henry Harrison, who wanted to fortify the region. Throughout the next three months professional soldiers and militiamen alike persevered through cold winter weather and mud that would at times be knee-deep. Despite horrid weather and disease in the camp, the American army was able to complete Fort Meigs by the end of April, 1813, just in time for a British attack.
In late April 1813 the British, under command of General Henry Proctor, arrived to begin a siege of Fort Meigs. Traveling down from Fort Malden, Upper Canada, they made camp in the ruins of old Fort Miamis on the north side of the Maumee River. On the morning of May 1, British artillery opened fire on the American installation. The bombardment carried on for five days, but the Americans within the fort held on until reinforcements, in the form of 1,200 Kentucky militia, arrived along the Maumee. These reinforcements fought several engagements on both sides of the river. Wednesday, May 5, 1813 marked the bloodiest day of the siege. During the course of the fighting, nearly 600 men were lost to a combined force of British regulars, Canadian militia, and Native American warriors. Despite this major loss to the Americans however, many Native Americans lost interest in the siege. After a few more days the British and their Native allies were forced to withdraw, leaving the Americans with a victory. The British and their allies would not return to Fort Meigs again for close to two months.