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Martin Land, past president of the Old Northwest Military History Association, Thursday gave a presentation, The March to the Rapids, at the Fort Meigs visitor center as part of the Bentley Lecture series' Sixty Years War for Great Lakes.
The program was sponsored by the Anderton Bentley Fund in memory of Christopher Perky, who served at Fort Meigs during the War of 1812.
Mr. Land of Northwood is a long-time student, researcher, and lecturer on the War of 1812. His expertise includes the history of Fort Meigs as well as the role of artillery in the War of 1812. In addition to his fulltime position with the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant, Mr. Land is an historical interpreter at Fort Meigs and participates in War of 1812 reenactments throughout the United States and Canada.
The War of 1812 started poorly for American forces in the Western Theater of War. What was thought to be a quick march into Upper Canada resulted in a major defeat with the surrender of Detroit in the summer of 1812. After the fall of Detroit, a new Army of the Northwest was organized and William Henry Harrison placed in its command, and he was determined to build a large fortification at the foot of the Maumee River rapids in anticipation of an eventual invasion into Canada, but to do this, his forces would have to converge from three cardinal directions in the middle of a rough Ohio winter.
During his presentation, Mr. Land discussed the hardships these soldiers endured on their march to the rapids to build what would become the largest wooden-walled fort in the country.
Bentley Lecture series guest speakers discuss various aspects of early North American military history. Lectures are free and open to the public. Doors open at 7 p.m.; the presentations begin at 7:30 p.m. in the visitor center.
Upcoming Bentley series lectures will feature:
- Larry Nelson, of Bowling Green State University, on the War of 1812 Soldier Life on Feb. 21
- Matt Wulff, historian and author, on Ranger: North America's Frontier Soldiers, on March 21
- Bill Pickard, archaeologist, on a Tale of Two Horses: The Horse Burials at Fort Meigs, on April 18
- John Winkler, historian and author, on the Battle of Fallen Timbers, on May 16.
After a summer break, the series continues into the fall and winter.