An Honourable and Impartial Tribunal
The Court Martial of Major General Henry Procter, Minutes of the Proceedings
“This way, General, this way!”
With these words, Major General Henry Procter was ushered off the field of battle. It was the 5th of October 1813, and the British commander—having abandoned his army and Indigenous allies—had just lost not only the Battle of Moraviantown (or the Battle of the Thames as it was known to the victorious Americans) but also a military career spanning more than three decades. Unwilling to take responsibility for the disastrous loss, Procter pressed for a court martial hoping that an “honourable and impartial tribunal” would vindicate his command decisions. He misjudged, however, and was forced to suffer the indignity of a public reprimand. Previously beyond the reach of most North American scholars, the minutes of Procter’s trial offer a wealth of historical detail about British imperial, Canadian pre-Confederation, and American frontier history. Transcribed and annotated here for the first time, they provide engrossing insights into Procter’s retreat from what is now southwestern Ontario in the early autumn of 1813. Interspersed are rare eyewitness accounts of the ensuing battle, which proved to be one of the worst reversals suffered by British arms during the War of 1812.
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