7. The Unexpected Surrender of Fort Detroit Derailed America’s Strategy for the War of 1812
General Hull asked Brock for three days to negotiate the terms of surrender. Brock gave him only three hours before he would attack. Hull caved in, and surrendered his entire command of nearly 2500 men, three dozen cannons, 300 rifles, 2500 muskets, and the only American warship in the Upper Lakes. The British cost was two men wounded. The unexpected surrender of Fort Detroit was a military disaster for the US. It derailed American plans to invade and seize Canada early in the war before the British had time to rush in reinforcements.
It also reinvigorated the Canadians, who had been pessimistic about the prospects of defending Canada from forcible annexation by the US. Simultaneously, it fired up Native Americans in the Northwest Territory to war against American outposts and settlers. An American invasion of Canada was attempted later on, but by then the British and loyal Canadians were better prepared and more confident, and the invasion was beaten back. After General Hull was released from British captivity, he faced an American court-martial that tried, convicted, and sentenced him to be shot to death. However, his life was spared because of his heroism decades earlier, during America’s War of Independence.
Related: Greatest Military Bluffs in History.