Fort Meigs is not linked to the Indian Wars of the 1790s. The fort was built by William Henry Harrison in 1813 in this spot because it overlooks rapids in the Maumee River which was a "choke point" that would slow up the British. In the grand scheme of things, the British wanted a continuous waterway from Detroit to New Orleans (which they had already taken). The itinerary was to run from Lake Erie, the Maumee, Wabash, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers, portaging around rapids where necessary.
There were two unsuccessful sieges on the fort in May of 1813. The British had gun batteries with 12 and 24-pounders across the river, now in present-day Maumee. The Americans had 6 and 12-pounders. Some of the 12-pound cannonballs that the British shot into the fort were picked up and fired back at them. Also the British dug three barbette enclosures (for mortar emplacements) on the same side of the river as the fort.
In September of the same year on Lake Erie, The British Navy, which had a dominant presence on the lakes, did battle against a hastily- built squadron of U.S. warships commanded by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. They engaged about eight miles west of South Bass Island. Perry stated "We have met the enemy and they our ours". Outmaneuvering the British, his tactics proved to be too much and the British surrendered. Then Perry said "Let us put into the bay and bury our sailors that perished" (a bay on South Bass Island). That is how the village of Put-in-Bay got its name. In 1913, a tall monument was built there, called the International Peace Monument, which is visible from the Canadian waters of Lake Erie.
The visitor center at reconstructed Fort Meigs has a small but informative historical museum, gift shop, meeting/conference room, and public rest rooms. The museum is free but there is a charge to go into the fort, which has ten acres inside the stockade fence. In the warm months of the year, there may be military reinactments with cannon firing, craft shows, fife and drum groups marching. Check local newspapers for schedule.
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