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July 26 1812: Hull Learns of Fall of Fort Mackinac


On July 26 1812, General Hull in Sandwich, Upper Canada learns that Fort Mackinac on the Mackinac Island has fallen on July 17 to a British and Native force. The fort was strategically important controlling navigation between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. It also controlled access to the northwest. The fall of the fort allowed the British to cement their alliances with Native nations.  The effect on Hull was devastating. He begins to be paralyzed with a fear that he will be encircled by "savage" Natives.  It does not help that  his forces suffered some of their first casualties the day before to Native warriors. 


On the 26th, Hull is also burying Avery Powers, perhaps the first American soldier to die in combat as a result of the War of 1812 [1]. Powers was the son of Avery and Dorothy Powers and wasborn on January 22, 1772 in Norwich, Connecticut. On April 29 1812,  he had prepared his last will and testament and on his death he left behind him 485 acres, his wife Prudence, and three children Benjamin, Mary, and Hiram. Robert Lucas briefly notes his funeral in his Journal:  
[Sunday, July the Twenty -sixth]

26 This morning we inter [r]ed our mes[s]mate, Avery powers with the honours of warr — there was a vessel Seen Coming down the River with British Coulors she was fired upon and brought to She proved to be one of the american vessels that had be[e]n taken at Michil[l]imac[k]a-nac[k] 1 and had been Cartailed as private property she.  had on board Som[e] of the prisoners that was taken when the garrison at Miohil[l]imackin[ack] was taken, she was ordered under our Battery and there to remain —
Meanwhile, General Dearborn, the senior major general in the United States Army in command of the northeast sector from the Niagara River to the New England coast arrives in Albany unsure if he has authority to go into Canada. Hull is truly alone. 

Notes
1. If not the first, he was among the first.

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