Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Musings on Proctor

Expand Messages
  • James Yaworsky
    ... [snip] I also think it is hard for somebody today to put themselves in Proctor s shoes as regards the Native Allies. While his correspondence shows that
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 28 7:20 AM
    • 0 Attachment
      --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "Tom Fournier" <tom4141fournier@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > Good morning list!
      >
      > An interest exchange on Proctor.
      >
      > One thing that I have come to wonder about is what mental and
      > physical state was he in by the time of Moraviantown.
      >
      [snip]

      I also think it is hard for somebody today to put themselves in
      Proctor's shoes as regards the Native Allies. While his
      correspondence shows that he had a good idea of how critical their
      support was for his command, I suspect he was also facing the
      following "personal" problems in dealing effectively with them:

      1) he had seen them in action and observed the massacre in the ditch
      at Fort Miami, including an enraged warrior "chopping" a soldier of
      the 41st. So he was nervous of them and felt they were an unstable
      force that could "turn" on the white element of his command and on the
      local population...

      2) the "western" indians who formed a large part of the native forces
      with the Right Division were still relatively "uncontaminated" by
      white influence hence must have looked really "wild" to a middle-aged
      English gentleman like Proctor. He seems to have decided that they
      were like wayward children, and instead of being forthright with them,
      his interactions with them seem loaded with rather pathetic attempts
      to manipulate them. Think offering a kid a nice delicious chocolate
      bar if he rakes your lawn for you... and then imagine how a
      magnificent leader like Tecumseh would react...

      3) Proctor was a spit and polish by-the-book officer before the war,
      the sort of guy who could whip a unit in to regulation form. Perhaps
      not the best choice to be holding the "wildest" part of the line, and
      dealing with the natives. He complained a number of times about their
      lack of discipline, etc...

      In other wars, the Brits have found "unconventional" officers for
      "unconventional" roles - the annals of the Raj in India are full of
      such instances. Think Lawrence of Arabia. It's too bad a guy like
      Fitzgibbon was only a Lieutenant and promoting him to sufficiently
      high rank was "not on" in 1812!
      Proctor doesn't seem to have taken the advice of his Indian Department
      officers very often. Some of his actions also undermined their
      influence. At the Proctor court martial, there was evidence given
      that one of the Department officers was fearful that when he gave
      Tecumseh et al the news that Chatham was not going to be defended, the
      enraged allies would immediately "chop" him...

      Jim Yaworsky
      41st
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.