Saturday, June 12, 2010

Michigan History

Often when I'm sharing bits of history, like sprinkles on a delicious cake, people ask my why I don't share more bits of Michigan history. Usually I counter their requests with the truth that there is very little that happens in Michigan and even less that occurred in Michigan's long and boring history. But to allay readers, I will share a small tale of failure and lack of triumph.

As many people have chosen to forget, the Revolutionary War did not result in complete evacuation of British defenses and bullies in the U.S. After roughly 31 years of taking it in the rear, so to speak, the Americans got fed up and decided to duke it out with the British yet again. This prompted the easily distinguishable among other wars, War of 1812. What year was it fought in? 1811, j/k 1812. What year did it end? 1815. Sorry, I'll get back on track.

So in August of 1812, some fine young military men were chillin' at fort Detroit. Just hangin' and doin' as we Michiganders do. Then BAM! the British were upon us! Taken by surprise, with soldiers low and family high (who brings family to a war? Really.) General William Hull declined to fight and surrendered the Fort claiming that the Native American war cries made him afraid for his wife and children. Really. It's been suggested that he might have been heavily drinking prior to the engagement, and he's quoted saying that the Native Americans Indians were “numerous beyond example,” and “more greedy of violence… than the Vikings or Huns." Because he totally met the Vikings and the Huns to compare them to and I think if someone was all up in your business and trying to take your land you'd fight for it too, oh wait not you Billy Hull.

The best part of the entire tale is that Billy Hull was Michigan's first territorial governor in 1805, what a legacy for the state. But to commemorate the event known as the "Siege of Detroit" or what I like to call the Epic failure of one Billy Hull, I made this image:

The best part of this tale is that the surrender of Fort Detroit was the first and only time a U.S. fort has been surrendered to a foreign enemy. I salute you General Hull for believing that no amount of failure was too great to accomplish.

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