Battle of Brownstown – Rockwood, Michigan - Atlas Obscura

Battle of Brownstown

Rockwood, Michigan

Although outnumbered, the Tecumseh Confederacy defeated a large regiment of United States troops.  

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Hidden down a long path in the Lake Erie Metropark is the site of the Battle of Brownstown, a little-known War of 1812 conflict. 

On August 5, 1812, Major Thomas Van Horne while leading 200 United States soldiers to River Raisin, was ambushed by roughly 25 Native Americans led by Chief Tecumseh of the Shawnee, leader of the Native American Confederacy allied with the British. 

The U.S. soldiers greatly overestimated the strength and skill of the attackers and retreated back towards Detroit. Tecumseh and his forces pursued them for miles and the retreat became a well-known route. 

The location of the site is along a paved path in the beautiful Lake Erie Metropark. It includes a historical marker, cannons, and a description of the battle. From the closest parking lot in the park, it’s roughly a mile walk or bike ride. 

The Lake Erie Metropark has several other things to see as well. It sits on Lake Erie and includes trails along marshes and forests. It’s a popular location among birders and includes an educational nature center. Recovering birds are housed here until release. 

For those that do not want to make the mile walk, visitors can see the battlefield field monument from South Gibraltar Road, roughly a quarter-mile east of where it intersects with Jefferson Road.

Know Before You Go

Lake Erie Metropark has an entrance fee. The day pass cost $10. It is open year-round usually from dawn to dusk.  

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