Stepping Back 200 Years - Mississenewa 1812

Updated on May 31, 2016

An Indiana Premier Fall Event

Mississinewa 1812 is an annual event occurring every October in Grant county, five miles north of Marion, Indiana.

Being a native Hoosier in addition to being a history buff, it would seem that one would be a little more astute regarding state history, but I had never even heard of the events surrounding the annual festival until 2011, the year prior to the bi-centennial of the actual battle.

Video from the Mississinewa Battlefield Society


The event depicts the day-to-day life of all types of people of the era as the participants spend the entire 3 days existing on the grounds as the folks did during the period. The level of detail is impeccable, right down to the clothing, music, blacksmiths, gunsmiths, jugs of sassafrass "root" beer, pit grilled pork chops and corn on the cob roasted over an open fire.

Historical Overview

The Battle of Mississenewa marked the first American victory of the War of 1812. Many Indians were supported, armed and coerced by the British while many sided with the Americans who were still in the struggling infancy of their new nation. There were also those Indians who stayed neutral to either side.

During this period, there were many facets to the tensions in the area around the Great Lakes between the still newly formed United States, Great Britain, France and many different nations, tribes and clans of the native Americans.

Early in the war and even prior to it, Indians were raiding American settlements, installations, and supply convoys all along the frontier of the Northwest Territory, which consisted of what later became the states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois.

From Fort Greenville, Ohio Territory, American General William Henry Harrison ordered a detachment of 600 mounted troops led by Col. John B. Campbell to direct an expedition to root out Chief Tecumseh's and other groups of native Americans from the surrounding areas to the west and from along the Mississenewa River to it's juncture with the Wabash River.

Winter had set in by mid-December as Campbell's forces departed Fort Greenville through knee-deep snow in bitterly cold conditions.

Campbell's troops advanced approximately 80 miles to the location of present day Jalapa on the North bank of the Mississenewa. Multiple exchanges occurred with various tribes camped along the river in the area resulting in a few casualties and several natives taken prisoner.

One of the captured Indians informed the questioning officers [1] that Chief Tecumseh was nearby and was planning a night attack soon. This concerned the American commanders and provoked the decision by Col. Campbell to retreat back to Fort Greenville.

Just before dawn on December 18, 1812, a force of 300 Miami Indians counterattacked the American camp resulting in 8 soldiers killed, 48 wounded and 109 horses killed. At least 15 Indians were reported killed, though that was likely an understated figure due to the Miami's tradition of carrying off their casualties. Campbell then began his withdrawal to Fort Greenville.

Though recorded as the first American victory of the war, it turned-out to have had detrimental consequences as the entire regiment was rendered out of commission for the remainder of the war due to wounds, disease and frostbite.

About "Mississinewa 1812" the Historical Event

For 3 days, the activities at Mississenewa 1812 provide an enjoyable experience for practically anyone. It is educational, entertaining and is for individuals, couples, families and children of all ages though maybe a little over-bearing for infants and toddlers.

The site spreads over several square miles situated along the north side of the Mississenewa River with walkways traversing the 3 different camps involved in the production - Indians, settlers and U.S. Army regulars.

Indiana State Historical Marker

Historical Marker near the battle site.
Historical Marker near the battle site. | Source

With all of the sights, smells and sounds, the blazing campfires cooking, the smell of fresh apple cider and the turning leaves that Indiana Autumn is so well known for, all of the senses come alive.

There are 2 re-enactments which are scheduled at multiple times daily. The primary battle is reconstructed in the field north of the river near where the actual conflict occurred followed by a smaller skirmish in the river itself which consists of warriors in canoes, shore batteries and bands of hostiles firing from a small river islet.

The main re-enactment at Mississenewa 1812 has an historic inaccuracy which is acknowledged at the beginning of the show, in that the actual battle did not include British or Canadian Infantry Regulars, but consisted of militia members, mercenaries, various clans of Indians on both sides, and American mounted regulars. The show is meant to depict a typical confrontation between the opposing sides of the War of 1812.

Volley of flintlock musketry from American regular infantry and militia.
Volley of flintlock musketry from American regular infantry and militia. | Source

Plan Your October

As an award winning, living history event in Indiana and the finest War of 1812-era re-enactment in North America, Mississenewa 1812 would be a great way to spend a few hours or a couple of days If you happen to be in East Central Indiana during the second week of October.


Footnotes


[1] - Assigned to Campbell's unit as a trapper, guide and interpreter, was a man named William Conner. Conner is prominent in state history for settling Hamilton County and it's county seat of Noblesville, which is a Northern suburb of Indianapolis in Marion County. His original property in Fishers, also in Hamilton County, is now the living history museum Conner Prairie Settlement.

Having settled among the tribes of the White River area, William married a Delaware woman named Mekinges, or "Dancing Feather", who's father was Chief Kikthawenund, aka Chief William Anderson, of whom the city of Anderson, Indiana, is named.

Conner also platted the town of Connersville, named after Williams' brother John, in East Central Indiana.

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    • profile image

      movers in mississauga 

      6 years ago

      wow,

      I really Congratulations on Hub of the day! This is an excellent hub and it is no wonder why this was picked as the hub of the day. You sure know your history. Thanks for sharing your own idea.....

    • stevarino profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Dowell 

      6 years ago from East Central Indiana

      Thanks to all for the great comments! I'm greatly flattered to be a "Hub of the Day" recipient and plan to get back to writing once I revisit my first hub regarding "Writer's Block" and get a break in the activities that have consumed me so far this year.

      Thanks again Hubbers!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Congratulations on Hub of the Day!

      Well done, and well presented article about a fascinating slice of American history. If I had the funds for travel, I'd definitely plan to put this into my itinerary based upon your hub.

      Voted up, interesting, useful, awesome and shared.

    • profile image

      susanm23b 

      6 years ago

      Congratulations on your Hub of the Day! I love history and have attended many battle re-enactments and encampments in my area (the south), but have never been to Indiana. This sounds like a great event--especially for kids. Great hub!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Finally! A Hub of the Day that is not a "How To" !!! This was a refreshing change and a great subject. Congratulations

    • kerryfine profile image

      kerryfine 

      6 years ago from Columbus, IN

      I am a Hoosier and had never heard of this - I will have to check it out. Thanks for sharing :)

    • JamesPoppell profile image

      JamesPoppell 

      6 years ago

      This is an excellent hub and it is no wonder why this was picked as the hub of the day. You sure know your history. I'm a little embarrassed that I know little about this. Your presentation with the video, the footnotes and the recommended reading is awesome. I have never heard of Chief Tecumseh or the story of the captured Indian. Thank you for making this an exciting hub and Thanks for SHARING.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 

      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Very interesting. My folks lived in Tennessee for a while, and once we went to visit a Civil War re-enactment. It's very exciting and profoundly moving. You have to be there to really appreciate it.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from sunny Florida

      Congratulations on hub of the day...there is so much history that needs highlighting as you have done here. Thank you for sharing this.

    • borneo profile image

      borneo 

      6 years ago from Austria

      Hi there! Reading about historic events is extremly interesting. There is always a lot to learn for anyone of us.

      Thanks for this hub!

    • stevarino profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Dowell 

      6 years ago from East Central Indiana

      Just to clarify the previous comment; I thought the "congratulations on the Hubnuggets nomination" mentioned by ripplemaker was referring to the "Somerton Mystery" hub of which I was recently notified had been nominated in the "Politics and Social Issues". Now I realize that this hub has been nominated as well. Wow!

      Thanks again!

    • stevarino profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Dowell 

      6 years ago from East Central Indiana

      Your comments are greatly appreciated mary615 and ripplemaker. There is certainly no shortage of hub topics when it comes to local (to me) historical factoids, but I'm enthralled with the Somerton Beach case, half a world away and in a completely different category. There is something of profound interest about an "historic" event that still has no conclusion - that seems to tie the past and present with the future.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Stevarino, I was smiling when you mentioned in your comment that you are contemplating on being a re-enactor! Why don't you? I know it'll be fun! History does become alive through this type of events!

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! To read and vote please click on this link: http://koffeeklatchgals.hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/h...

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      This Hub was very interesting and informative. Thanks for the info. I voted you UP, etc.

    • stevarino profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Dowell 

      6 years ago from East Central Indiana

      Thanks for your feedback Simone! It's amazing how much history can be found practically in your own backyard.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      What a cool event this is! I've heard of battle reenactments, but did not realize that some reenacted MORE than just battles. I hope I can go to something like this someday!

    • stevarino profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Dowell 

      7 years ago from East Central Indiana

      Thanks WesternHistory!

      Being fortunate enough to have experienced living history re-enactments from an early age, I've been a history buff all of my life. Lately, I've been entertaining the idea of getting involved as a re-enactor myself.

    • WesternHistory profile image

      WesternHistory 

      7 years ago from California

      Thank you for a great hub. There are so many sites in this country that have significant historical value and I believe that more people should take a road trip to see them. The reenactments are also a lot of fun and you get to learn things at the same time.

    • stevarino profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Dowell 

      7 years ago from East Central Indiana

      Thank you Greensleeves for your input and the "thumbs up".

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 

      7 years ago from Essex, UK

      Historic battles are always interesting to read about (especially ones I've never heard of!) so thanks for the page. It's good also to link the history with the modern day attraction of the re-enactment. Voted up.

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