Today we visited the River Basin National Battlefield Park in Monroe, Michigan at the site of the River Raisin battlefield from the War of 1812. It is the only National Battlefield Park in the U.S. that commemorates the War of 1812.The park interprets the violent convergence of cultures, languages, traditions & political policies that unexpectedly overtook the people of Frenchtown forcing them to choose a side in defense of their families & way of life. The resulting battles left behind the largest number of American combat fatalities in any single day’s battle during the entire war.
The battle was described as a “national calamity.” In one of the worst defeats Americans experienced in the War of 1812, as many as 357 American soldiers were killed in combat or the violent aftermath. Approximately 500 British troops & 800 of their Indian allies overwhelmed American forces. Only 33 of the nearly 1000 American soldiers who fought in the battles escaped death or capture. The killing of wounded soldiers by the Indians shocked people throughout the Nation. The battle became a furious rallying cry for the rest of the war, “Remember the Raisin.”
Visiting this Battlefield also awarded me the opportunity to collect my first stamp in my National Parks Passport. I was so excited! Collecting passport stamps as we travel throughout this beautiful country of ours is my new hobby, & who knows, I may even learn something in the process.
After taking the walking tour of the battlefield, we headed to downtown Monroe’s Historic District to the Monroe County Historical Museum to take in the Custer exhibit since Don & I both are Civil War buffs. George Armstrong “Autie” Custer was born in New Rumley, Ohio but came to Monroe as a young lad to live with his older half-sister & brother-in-law to attend school. It was here that Custer met & married a local judges’ daughter, Elizabeth “Libbie” Bacon.
The exhibit walked us through George & Libbie’s years in Monroe. It depicted Custer’s rise to national fame during the Civil War to his crushing defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Don & I were especially interested in this part of the exhibit as Don had already read the book I am presently reading entitled, “Sacred Ties” by Tom Carhart. It is a true story about Custer & 5 other West Point cadets who were friends at the academy. These friends served on both sides of the Civil War & did indeed have to take up arms against each other on the battlefield. We also have plans to visit the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana.
We came away with a new perspective of General George Armstrong Custer as a leader, a man & a devoted husband.
Here’s lookin’ at you kid…………………………..