Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pontiac’s War ~ The Battle of Point Pelee

In the early hours of May 29, 1763, the guns of Fort Detroit fired a salvo. It was not, however, directed at the Native besiegers. Rather, it was intended to warn the British schooner anchored down the Detroit River of a rumored attack by Pontiac’s forces. As it happened, the schooner had already set sail and was out of danger.

The schooner had set sail in an effort to met and protect a British flotilla filled with supplies for Fort Detroit. However, the schooner would be too late. Traveling across Lake Erie from Fort Niagra, the supply flotilla consisted of twenty bateaux, lead by Lieutenant John Cuyler, and manned by a sergeant and 96 men. On the night of May 27, they camped on Point Pelee on the lake’s northern shore.

The next morning, Native warriors attacked the camp. Only two bateaux escaped. The rest - along with the supplies – were taken to Pontiac’s camp north of Detroit. On May 30, indignity was added to defeat as the British defenders of Detroit had to watch the much-needed food, military supplies, and their captured comrades sail passed them.

However, there was one bright spot for the British. One of the Bateau drifted closed to the British controlled shore, and the captured British soldiers took the opportunity to push their Native guards overboard and row the bateau to shore. This effort not only gave the soldiers their freedom, but it also brought seven barrels of pork and one barrel of flour to the hungry defenders of Detroit.

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