Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fort Meigs and the War of 1812

We are continuing our Ohio History via field trips 'program'. Today we went to Fort Meigs which was where the turning point battle in the War of 1812 occurred. Prior to the siege at Fort Meigs the US had lost nearly all the battles of the war. After that the tide went against the British and the US won.

Fort Meigs is the largest restored fort in the US. It is the size of over 8 football fields. It is in Perrysburg, OH.
We were blessed to be able to hook up with a tour of children from a day camp. The guide took us on a tour of the fort and also demonstrated how to shoot his gun. If you call ahead they will arrange a tour for you.

In the center of the fort is an obelisk that was built early in the 1900's as a memorial to all the men who died there. More men died from disease than from battle wounds. The area is right on the Maumee river and was very swamp like. In the spring of 1813 the mud came up to the men's knees.

They do have different displays and information in four of the blockhouses. It got us out of the sun. It was VERY hot today. (90+).

The breeze off the river was the only thing that made it tolerable. At least we didn't have to wear the linen shirt and pants, the wool vest and dark blue wool jacket of a regiment soldier. They wore the exact same uniform, summer and winter.

The inside of the block houses were painted white so that the light coming in the window was reflected. They were not allowed to use candles in them as there was so much gunpowder present.

Our guide shot his gun out the window. It really wasn't very loud as the explosion occurred at the end of the barrel which was outside. I was surprised how much light came in the loop windows.
The inside of the fort has a number of earth mounds that were built by the soldiers as a place for them to hide behind from the cannonballs. They actually built little shelters inside the mounds. The British called the Americans 'groundhogs' as they would pop up to check for incoming shells and then duck back down into their holes. Very few Americans were killed in the battle from British artillery.

Outside the fort is a very nice air conditioned museum. It describes the role of the fort in the War of 1812, artifacts they have found on the grounds, important men of the time and a memorial. I think you could go through the museum in 30-60 minutes depending on how much reading you want to do.

The museum and fort cost $8 for and adult and $5 for a child and children 5 and under are free. It is also free if you are a member of the Ohio Historical Society. It is open Wednesday through Sunday. It has many re-enactments and programs on the weekends. Check their schedule before coming.
I would say that the children found this a fascinating visit. They have talked about it pretty much non-stop since they came home (when they weren't arguing about who had dishes-ugh!). Younger children might be bored. There are not a lot of buttons to push or brightly colored displays in the fort. It is a mile walk through the fort. There is a smooth gravel path. It was a very informative afternoon.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool! I didn't even know this exsisted. When we make it back up there we will check it out. Have you made it to Perry's Monument on Put-in-Bay yet? They redid the visitors center a few years ago --- very nice!