There were two Battles of Mackinac Island during the War of , fought in and ; both were British victories over American forces. It became a British outpost in after the British abandoned Fort Michilimackinac , which occupied a similarly strategic position at the confluence of the two lakes, but in an exposed position on the northern tip of the Michigan peninsula.
The names "Mackinac" and "Michilimackinac" are often used interchangeably, though they are actually names of two distinct places. Mackinac Island was strategically located to control navigation between Lakes Huron and Michigan and access to the northwest, and in maintaining First Nations alliances. Major-General Brock , the commander of Upper Canada , declared that he would seize the island if war broke out with the US.
Joseph , who interpreted them as instructions to attack Fort Mackinac. Taking 46 officers and men of the 10th Royal Veteran Battalion, several gunners of the Royal Artillery, fur traders and Aboriginals, Roberts left for the American post by bateaux and canoe on 16 July Roberts' men landed the following day and then marched the three kilometres to the fort. The American commander, Lieutenant Porter Hanks, was offered an opportunity to surrender, which he accepted.
Hanks and the garrison of 61 men were taken prisoner and sent to Detroit on parole. The victory allowed the British to cement their alliance with the local First Nations groups. The loss of Mackinac and the subsequent defeat at Detroit were serious setbacks for the American war effort. Almost immediately, plans were put in place to gain control of Lake Erie, regain Detroit and capture Fort Mackinac. While the first two objectives were achieved in , the third could not be attempted until In early , Lieutenant General Sir George Prevost , the commander-in-chief of British North America , ordered the establishment of a new communication route from York to Nottawasaga Bay, the reinforcement of Fort Mackinac and the establishment of a naval base on Georgian Bay.
Prevost saw these initiatives as crucial to maintaining the British presence in the northwest and preserving Aboriginal alliances, and as a prelude to retaking Lake Erie in The reinforcements arrived at Fort Mackinac before the Americans arrived. In the spring of , Captain Arthur Sinclair of the US Navy was ordered to seize control of the upper lakes by recapturing Fort Mackinac and destroying the British naval presence on the lakes.
Sinclair's force included two sloops, two schooners and men from three regular army regiments, several artillerymen and Ohio militia. The army contingent was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George Croghan. Sinclair arrived off Mackinac Island on 26 July. The main American landing began at pm on 4 August.
A marine detachment was also sent to the northwestern side of the island. MacDouall had been expecting the Americans and had constructed a new blockhouse and a palisade on a rise to the north of Fort Mackinac, which he named Fort George. Carter, Henry Kendall. Carter, John Stewart. Castle, Henry Northrup. Castle, Mabel Wing. Cate, James Lea. Catterall, Helen Tunnicliff and Ralph C.
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