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American loss was eighty-one killed, two hundred and sixty-nine wounded, and four hundred and sixty-seven prisoners.
As Kentucky alone suffered in this battle, this, taken in connection with the massacre at the River Raisin, had produced tremendous public excitement and a high state of indignation throughout the entire Commonwealth.
The period for which the Kentucky volunteers had enlisted—who had gone forward with General Clay and had been at the siege of Fort Meigs—would expire late in September or early in October. The operations for the year had not bettered the condition of the American forces in the Northwest, and in Ohio and Michigan the condition was worse if anything than at the beginning of the year. II
THE MATERIAL, ORGANIZATION, AND MARCH
The American forces under General Harrison had, with difficulty, held their own in Ohio and Michigan. After the second siege of Fort Meigs and the conflict at Fort Stevenson neither side was very aggressive. The term of service of most of the troops at Fort Meigs, and in the parts of Ohio and Michigan where service was active, had expired. Governor Shelby had endeavored to secure the consent of the troops for re-enlistment, and offered a bounty of seven dollars per month extra to persuade the troops to remain for a little while longer. Following up written communications to accomplish this purpose, he had Colonel Anthony Crockett, from Franklin County, Kentucky, an old Revolutionary soldier of great courage, sent to urge these troops to engage for an additional sixty days' service, but even with Colonel Crockett's imposing presence no better results had been obtained. The garrison duty, and necessary inactivity of the infantry in that section of Ohio, had produced a very high degree of discontent. Rations had not been served with the regularity or abundance which the men expected. It looked as if the Army of the Northwest had disintegrated, and that the forts would be abandoned and the territory lost . It was therefore necessary to have new enlistments as well as to have new men, if the war was to be carried on successfully, the positions of the forces maintained, and the territory held. The reverses elsewhere had produced a spirit of dissatisfaction with all the operations of the war. News traveled slowly; there were not many newspapers, and those that were published did not give any very great detail of the military operations. In this emergency General Harrison appealed to Governor Shelby to come to his aid, and he had doubtless heard of the Governor's willingness, if necessity demanded it, to take part in the war. The Kentucky heart was filled with indignation, not only at the misfortunes of the war, but particularly at the disasters that had befallen Kentuckians. The public mind, therefore, was ripe for action, and when Governor Shelby issued his proclamation of July 13, 1813, there was an enthusiastic response to the demand for troops. Twice as many volunteered as were expected, and had it not been for Governor Shelby's persistence and his broad views of the necessities of the occasion the results obtained would have been impossible; enlisting twice as many men as were allowed by the call and, in defiance of General Harrison's suggestion, moving the militia on horseback to the scene of hostilities were the two things which made the Battle of the Thames a grand victory. The proclamation was printed on hand-bills and posted at all the public places throughout the State. It required in some localities as much as eight or ten days to get the hand-bills distributed, but no sooner were the contents known, no sooner did they realize that their country's honor and their State's good name demanded services, than the State became one vast camp of enlistment. While it was understood that only sixty days of service would be required, the men who were enlisting this time were doing so with the full determination to remain as long as war's emergencies should demand. They came with the calm and deliberate purpose, under the leadership of Shelby, of doing whatever patriotism and courage required. A large majority of the men who accepted this service were those whose business and families required their presence. In many localities of the State they had not more than ten or fifteen days for preparation; they knew they would be compelled to make a march of several hundred miles, surrounded by many difficulties affecting ammunition, food, and clothing, and it is extremely creditable to the men who thus aligned themselves under Shelby's standard that in so short a time they were willing and able to arrange the details for a campaign fraught with such danger and controlled by such uncertainties as to the period of enlistment and service.
TheCommonwealth of Kentucky had very few good roads at that period, and the men who came from the west as far as Henderson and Glasgow donned their hunting shirts and made the best provision possible for the campaign upon which they were entering. In squads and companies they began to move from all parts of the State. Those whose arrangements were not completed promised their comrades to follow with rapidity and to meet them at Newport, the place of rendezvous, in time to start for the seat of war on the first of September.
To a large proportion of the men thus answering so patriotic a summons, absence from home at this period involved tremendous sacrifices, but nothing could stay the generous impulse which warmed and animated their souls, and rendered them willing to do all and abide all which the sense of their country's honor and right required at their hands. And so from the great valleys where the Cumberland and the Tennessee pour their waters into the Ohio; from the hills which overshadow the Green and the Barren; from the mountains that feed the rippling Rockcastle; from the head waters of the Cumberland; from the picturesque land where the Kentucky cuts its deep way through the limestone rocks, and finds for its waters an outlet in the bosom of the Ohio; from the places which feed the Licking and the Big Sandy — patriots everywhere made response