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River Raisin National Battlefield Park, Monroe, Michigan | by Ken Lund
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River Raisin National Battlefield Park, Monroe, Michigan

The River Raisin National Battlefield Park was established as the 393rd unit of the United States National Park Service on March 30, 2009. The park is located in the city of Monroe in Monroe County, Michigan. It officially began operation as a national park unit on October 22, 2010 and is the only national battlefield park from the War of 1812.


The area was the site of the devastating Battle of Frenchtown, which saw hundreds of Americans fall at the hands of the British Army and Indian coalition during the War of 1812. The fighting took place from January 18–23, 1813. The first engagement, sometimes referred to as the “first” Battle of the River Raisin, was a success for the American forces against the British and Indian alliance. Angered by their forced retreat, the British and Native Americans counterattacked the unsuspecting American forces four days later on January 22 in the same location along the River Raisin. Many of the Americans were ill-prepared and were unable to even retreat from the surprise ambush.


During the Battle of Frenchtown, American brigadier general James Winchester reported that only 33 of his approximate 1,000 men escaped the battlefield. 397 were killed, and 547 were taken prisoner, which marked the deadliest conflict ever on Michigan soil and the worst single defeat the Americans suffered in the entire War of 1812. Dozens of defenseless and previously wounded Americans were killed by the Native Americans after the battle on January 23 in an act referred to as the River Raisin Massacre. The total casualties among the British and Native American alliance are unknown.


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Taken on May 16, 2014