BOWEN, A[bel] (1790-1850)
A view of Col. Johnson's engagement with the savages (commanded by Tecumseh) near Moravian Town, October 5th 1812 [i.e., 1813]
[Boston: J. P. Peaslee, 1828]. Hand-colored woodcut, sheet 9 x 16 inches.Published in: History of the discovery of America ... and their most remarkable engagements with the Indians by Henry Trumbull. Boston : Published by J.P. Peaslee, 1828, fold-out woodcut illustration.
Early American version of the Battle of the Thames
The print shows in a very stylized way the battle between American forces under the command of Colonel Richard M. Johnson and Natives allied with the British under the command of Tecumseh. At center is Johnson on horseback engaged with a Native wielding a tomahawk, a soldier shooting a Native in the face, and a Native scalping a fallen soldier, with Tecumseh standing on the far right. Prominent features are numbered and there is a corresponding key printed below. Interestingly, the fact that Tecumseh was killed at this battle is neither mentioned nor depicted.
Tecumseh had allied with the British in his effort to establish a Native American confederacy east of the Mississippi under British protection. He traveled around trying to recruit other tribes to the cause. When the War of 1812 broke out, Chief Tecumseh and the Shawnees joined the British effort. When the Americans took Lake Erie, the British and Native Americans retreated, however General Harrison caught up with them near Chatham, Ontario, on the River Thames, 50 miles east of Detroit. with a much larger force, and in what later came to be called the Battle of the Thames, they were badly defeated. Colonel Richard Johnson (mentioned in the title) was in charge of a regiment of mounted Kentucky volunteers. It was said that Johnson personally killed Tecumseh, and he used this later to political advantage when running for Vice President.