New York. 1814. ,156,119,29pp. Original blue boards, paper spine with paper label. Front hinge cracked but holding; spine label chipped. Top corner of titlepage torn away, affecting one letter of text. Light scattered foxing. About very good, in unsophisticated original condition. In a half leather and cloth slipcase, spine gilt. Item #WRCAM44041
Account of the court martial of Brigadier General William Hull, tried for the surrender of Detroit during the War of 1812. The fall of Fort Detroit to the British and their Indian allies was a very important event in the early months of the War of 1812, as it emboldened the British and encouraged Indians in the northwest to take up arms against American settlers and outposts. It became quite clear to American leaders in the months leading up to the Congressional declaration of war against Great Britain on June 18, 1812, that a stronger defense was needed on the northwest frontier of the United States. The town of Detroit and the fort there was immediately recognized as a strategically important outpost, and President Madison sent hundreds of troops, led by Brig. Gen. William Hull, there in the summer. Hull arrived at Detroit on July 5, and discussed plans to take the offensive and attack the British in Canada, though his indecision stalled him. Meanwhile, the British took control of Mackinac Island on Lake Huron, and the British navy controlled Lake Erie. Hundreds of Indians from local tribes began to side with the British forces. At the same time, the British general, Isaac Brock, was leading a large force toward Detroit, and he formed an alliance with Tecumseh in mid-August. On August 15th Brock and his Indian allies attacked Fort Detroit and quickly subdued the poorly-supplied American forces. Hull's belief that he was greatly out-manned, and his concern for civilians in the fort led him to surrender the following day. The British held Detroit for more than a year, until the American victory at the Battle of Lake Erie. The defeat was tremendously dispiriting to American morale, and Hull faced a court martial, at which he was convicted (largely on the testimony of Ohio volunteer officers) and sentenced to be shot. Madison commuted Hull's sentence on the basis of his service during the Revolution, and he was dismissed from the army. A nice copy, in original condition. SHAW & SHOEMAKER 32628.