SPRINGFIELD — On December 10, at 2 p.m., the George Rogers Clark Heritage Association will present “Fort Meigs and the War of 1812 in the Old Northwest.” This program, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the auditorium on the campus of the Ohio Masonic Home in Springfield. The speaker will be Daniel Woodward, program manager from Fort Meigs—which is near Toledo and is the site of two major battles fought in the War of 1812.
In 1812, Ohio was still a wilderness, a new state on the northwest edge of the nascent United States. Great Britain still had designs on its former colonies—and what better place to make inroads than in Ohio, where the British Army and its Native American allies still carried so much influence? Thus it was that Ohio became the front line in what some call the second American Revolution: the War of 1812.
Built to defend Ohio and the Northwest Territory from British attacks, Fort Meigs became the focal point of the British invasion. Program manager Woodward will give us a blow-by-blow report on the battles fought there, as well as how the war affected the people who were just beginning to build new communities the Miami Valley. What did it mean to the local farmers and businessmen who picked up their arms, joined militia units, and went off to war to defend their homes? How did it affect the families they left behind, waiting and vulnerable to attack?
The program will also feature some special guests: Captain John Linigle’s Company of Ohio Militia, a group of local re-enactors who portray citizen soldiers from the Springfield and Urbana area who participated in the War of 1812. The men of Linigles will be in full period attire with period-correct accoutrements—a great opportunity to see what the men who defended Fort Meigs were really like.
Our speaker, Daniel Woodward, began his career at Fort Meigs in 1998 as volunteer historical interpreter. His duties consisted of dressing in period attire as a War of 1812 soldier, conducting cannon and musket firing demonstrations, and discussing the history of Fort Meigs with visitors to the site.