Two hundred years ago this week, during the War of 1812, an Ohio fort was front and center as American forces battled the British for control of Lake Erie and the region around it. If the British and their allies had prevailed, places like Toledo, Sandusky, Vermilion, Lorain, Cleveland and Conneaut might be on maps of Canada today.
This weekend in Perrysburg, historic Fort Meigs observes the 200th anniversary of the bloodiest day of fighting there during the three-year War of 1812 -- May 5, 1813, the First Siege of Fort Meigs.
Visit the fort this Friday, May 3, through Sunday, May 5, 2013, and meet hundreds of War of 1812 re-enactors from the United States and Canada portraying those who fought there. Explore authentic 1812-era military camps and see battle re-enactments, fife and drum concerts, musket and cannon firings and more.
A special display of War of 1812 artifacts never before shown at Fort Meigs will feature letters, weapons and equipment; a piece of the HMS Mindon, the ship Francis Scott Key was aboard in 1814 when he wrote the Star-Spangled Banner; the Greeneville Treaty wampum belt; and a fragment of the brig Niagara.
An exhibit from the Canadian War Museum examines the War of 1812 from the perspective of all combatants, and the Kentucky National Guard will be on hand with an exhibit that looks at Kentucky’s role in the War of 1812, especially in the fight for the Great Lakes.
Toledo Metroparks, Fallen Timbers Battlefield Preservation Commission and the Maumee Branch of Toledo-Lucas County Public Library will offer related programs this weekend, too, at the nearby Fallen Timbers Monument and Fort Miamis National Historic Site and the Maumee Branch Library.
Find a full schedule of this weekend’s First Siege events plus information about visiting Fort Meigs at www.fortmeigs.org/firstsiege.
Completed in April 1813, Fort Meigs covered 10 acres and withstood two British sieges. Gen. William Henry Harrison used it as a defensive checkpoint to prevent any further British advances into American territory and buy the U.S. time to build a naval force to meet the British in the September 1813 Battle of Lake Erie. Click here to learn more about the story of Fort Meigs at Ohio History Central, our online encyclopedia of Ohio history.
Reconstructed on its original site, today Fort Meigs appears much as it did in 1813. A visitors center houses a museum with exhibits exploring how historians and archaeologists learned what happened there and featuring War of 1812 weapons, uniforms and related items.
Planning Your Visit
Located at 29100 W. River Rd. in Perrysburg, midway between Toledo and Bowling Green, the reconstructed fort is open April through October Wednesdays-Saturdays 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays Noon-5 p.m. The adjacent museum and visitors center is open year-round, Wednesdays-Saturdays 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays Noon-5 p.m. Click here to learn more about visiting Fort Meigs.