| 501 River Road | Dudley's defeat or “Dudley's Massacre,” occurred during the first siege of Fort Meigs during the War of 1812. On the night of May 4th, about 1,200 reinforcements, consisting mostly of new Kentucky recruits under the command of General Green Clay, approached the fort. The fort's commander, General William Henry Harrison sent instructions to Clay to send a detachment of 800 men to surprise-attack the British batteries at dawn the following morning and have the rest of the troops enter the fort to reinforce the garrison.
The objective was to spike the cannons and hurry to the safety of Fort Meigs before British reinforcements could arrive from Fort Miamis. The detachment, led by Colonel William Dudley, attacked the British battery at dawn, carrying out their mission successfully. However, instead of returning to the fort as planned, the raw recruits, exhilarated by their success, pursued some straggling Native Americans into the forest. Dudley and his officers tried vainly to stop them but their efforts were futile and they joined in the fray. Once they reached the area where the Maumee Library now stands, the British and Native Americans set their trap and counterattacked. A fierce battle ensued, lasting several hours. The Americans attempted to retreat toward the river but found themselves cut off.
When the battle was over, about 220 of Dudley's men lay dead, while 350 were captured. About 200 managed to make their way across river and back to Fort Meigs. Colonel Dudley was killed during the battle and scalped. Many of the Kentucky soldiers who survived the trap were taken prisoner and marched back to Fort Miamis where they were forced to run a gauntlet until Tecumseh stopped the carnage and had his famous exchange with Proctor.