The Battle of the Mississinewa, 1812

It was cold, that much we know. A decade plus two centuries ago, the War of 1812 made its violent impact on the Myaamia and Delaware families living along the Nimacihsinwi Siipiiwi ‘Mississinewa River.’

It happened along a stretch of the river near where Meshingomesia and his band would put their schoolhouse a couple of generations later. An American force arrived in order to destroy Native American towns. Why?

George Ironstrack and I wrote this post because we noticed that much of the public perception of the War of 1812 in Indiana lacked (or assumed) information about the Myaamia choices in that era. Not only that, but we had an opportunity, through research, to reveal some of the motivations of Americans and Miamis–what really caused the violence now called the Battle of the Mississinewa? And why was it important?

Below the image, you can see how we interpreted the evidence to answer those questions. What follows is not only a description of a battle, but an explanation of escalation, and the decisions leading to what 20th century Myaamia storyteller Clarence Godfroy called “Campbells army of distruction.”

“Map of the camp of Lt Col. John B Campbell, Dec. 18, 1812” courtesy Library of Congress, Maps Division.

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