A History of Fort Meigs
Fort Meigs was first built as a reaction to British attacks on American forts in the Northwest Territories during the War of 1812. It was built in what is today Perrysburg, Ohio, on a bluff overlooking the Maumee River rapids. Ground was first 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 army attempted a siege of Fort Meigs. Traveling down from Fort Malden, Canada, they made camp in the ruins of an old fort on the opposite side of the Maumee River from Fort Meigs. After a few days of preparation, British artillery fire opened up 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 Kentucky militia, arrived along the Maumee. These reinforcements fought several engagements on both sides of the river. During the course of these battles, nearly 600 men were lost to a combined force of British regulars, Canadian militia, and Native American warriors. Despite this major loss however, many Native Americans lost interest in the siege. After a few more days the British and their Native American allies were forced to withdraw, leading to an American victory. They would not return to Fort Meigs again for close to two months.