David Curtis Skaggs
William Henry Harrison and the Conquest of the Ohio Country
Frontier Fighting in the War of 1812
Johns Hopkins University Press 2014
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in BiographyNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Military HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in the American WestNew Books Network February 14, 2017 Mark Klobas
Though best remembered today for his brief tenure as the ninth president of the United States, William Henry Harrison’s most significant contribution to American history was his service as a general in the War of 1812. In William Henry Harrison and the Conquest of the Ohio Country: Frontier Fighting in the War of 1812 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014), David Curtis Skaggs recounts Harrison’s military career and the lessons he learned that brought him national acclaim. The son of a Virginia aristocrat, Harrison rejected a medical career in favor of service in the United States Army. While serving as an aide to General Anthony Wayne in the 1790s, he learned the challenges of campaigning in what was then the northwestern frontier of the United States. These lessons stood him in good stead later when, as governor of Indiana Territory, he faced the growing challenge of Tecumseh’s confederacy, the defeat of which became his claim to fame. Yet as Skaggs demonstrates it was his subsequent victory over British forces at the Battle of the Thames which was his greatest achievement, as it ensured that the territories that became Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan would return to American control at the end of the War of 1812.