This past Friday the River Raisin National Battlefield Park in Monroe, Michigan, was officially announced as the 393rd park in the National Park System. The War of 1812 battlefield was set aside by Congress with legislation and signed on March 30, 2009.
NPS Director Jon Jarvis called the new park “an important addition to the National Park System. The War of 1812 is often forgotten, remembered only for the birth of our national anthem, but it was as significant as any war in our history,” said Jarvis. “At the Battle of the River Raisin in January, 1813, American forces suffered one of the worst defeats of the War of 1812. When the battle was over, Indian allies of the British killed wounded American prisoners, so enraging Americans that the phrase "Remember the Raisin" became a rallying cry for future engagements in the war. We should all know about this engagement for its significance and now as the newest park in the National Park System.”
Fought along the north bank of the River Raisin in Monroe, Michigan, from January 18th to January 23rd, 1813, the battle pitted American and British troops against each other in a contest for control of all of Michigan and the Lower Great Lakes. At stake were America’s independence and the futures of Frenchtown (known today as Monroe, Michigan), Canada, and Tecumseh's alliance of Native American tribes.
The British and their Indian allies destroyed an entire American army at the River Raisin and in the process raised Native Americans’ hopes that their alliance with the British would result in the preservation of their land. Frenchtown was laid waste, and the Ohio frontier was exposed to invasion and raids by the British and Indians. The Battle of the River Raisin was not a decisive turning point of the war, but it did have significant effects on the campaign for the Great Lakes. Following the defeat at River Raisin, American forces would struggle for nine months before they could regain their momentum.
The park visitor center is open from June through October on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. While the visitor center is closed November through May, the park grounds are open to visitors year-round. National Park Service personnel are already on site and will continue to work closely with the Monroe County Historical Society to make the battlefield more available to the public.
For more historical information on the battle, please click here.