Rum Raisin Battlefield
Because of the nature of war; people are killed who are not ready to die yet.
Rum Raisin Battlefield National Park is the only memorial national park dedicated to the soldiers who died in the War of 1812.
In 2007, Tom and I visited the Rum Raisin Battlefield when it was a state park. It was a small portion of the original battlefield; much like a regular two acre park. There was a visitors center and a walkway that took the visitor around to various places with signs telling about the battle that took place here so long ago.
As land became available, more of the actual battlefield was added to its modest acreage. As of 2021, it has become Rum Raisin National Park and is absolutely huge in acreage. We can’t wait to go back and see it. While not all of the acreage is open to the public, all of the land acquired is being transformed to what it looked like in 1812.
In the current Visitor’s Center, of great interest is “a Diorama of the River Raisin Settlement, orientation maps, ranger programs, basic park orientation and the Theater. In the brand new state of the art theater you can view the park’s new film ‘The Untold Legacy of the River Raisin.'”
The parts of the acreage that are open to the public and the great River raisin Heritage Trail starts in this national park. It has eight miles of paved, hike-bike trails “scenic routes” that are great to walk, run cycle and in-line skate. Pets are allowed on the trails but must be on a leash.”
To go along with this new huge national park, is a brand new Visitor and Education Center, that will open in 2022. It will offer “Interactive Exhibits pertaining to the Old Northwest Territory, Great Lakes History, Native-Americans, French settlement, Battles of the River Raisin and much more, that are currently under development.
Although the new Visitor and Education Center isn’t open as of 2021, this national park is offering interactive activities for the summer of 2021. There are interactive walking tours of the battlefield grounds. Programming for the weekend also includes Family Story Time and Craft Making classes. Check their website for more information. https://www.nps.gov/thingstodo/2021-interpretative-summer-program-schedule.htm
The War of 1812 was often called the second War of American Independence, which lasted three years. The British tried to retake the colonies, and even burned down the White House at one point, much to their shame and embarrassment today! Americans fought for their right to remain a free country with the right of not having the British shanghai Americans off merchant ships for their own military.
The American goal of freeing Canada didn’t happen, and the fears of the fur trading companies came true. As a result of the war, the flow of settlers to the Michigan area continued, the education of Native Americans continued and the fur trading industry as they knew it irrevocably changed, even before fashion styles did. Fur companies had to hire trappers to go to the western territories to get a fur supply.
River Raisin (or Frenchtown) was a settlement established by early pioneers on the north bank of the River Raisin. After the war, the city of Monroe was eventually built on the ruins of this settlement.
One of the biggest battles, which caused the biggest loss of American lives in the War of 1812, happened near River Raisin settlement (Frenchtown), on ground near and around the River Raisin on January 22nd, 1813. The British Forces were lead by Col. Henry Procter, with around 500 British soldiers. The Americans beat back the British and Indians at first.
The British planned a counter-attack. Fighting with the British troops were Roundhead First Nation warriors who preferred having the British in charge rather than Americans. Wyandot Chief Roundhead with 500 first nation warriors joined the British on this surprise counter-attack at dawn on the 1000 American troops, lead by Brigadier General James Winchester.
The Americans were routed in a counter attack in which 397 Americans were killed and 547 taken prisoner. Of the 547 captured soldiers, 300 of them were wounded. Out of the 1000 American soldiers involved in this battle, only 33 escaped.
Brigadier General James Winchester was one of the Americans that was captured. He quickly surrendered his entire army. I guess you had to be there at the time to justify doing this; perhaps it was hopeless and he had to think of the men who had survived.
Col. Henry Procter, fearing a strong counter attack from American reinforcements, retreated north to Brownstone with his own wounded and his 247 American prisoners, leaving the 300 American wounded left behind in the homes of the settlers, guarded/protected by British guards, as agreed to as a condition for the town militia, who had beaten back the British and Roundhead First Nation warriors earlier, to surrender as well.
A betrayal was in the works. The British guards betrayed the agreement and left in the morning, which allowed the Roundhead First Nation warriors to come into the town. UH OH … BAD IDEA.
The Roundhead First Nation warriors had other ideas on what to do with all these wounded, and the people living here. Not being trained with the British military’s moral values of war, they proceeded to do what they traditionally did with prisoners, and captured places. Take the perks of winning a battle, assess what other commodities were available, and do a scorched earth policy.
Captives were considered a commodity; not human beings with any rights at all by the Roundhead First Nation warriors. They knew that wounded captives that could walk to Detroit would bring ransom money into their pockets. The wounded that could walk at first but couldn’t keep up were killed along the way to Detroit.
If the wounded captives were too weak to make the trip, they were scalped. Scalps were valuable for bragging rights and maybe get a bounty for each scalp from the British; a practice they had with the French during the French and Indian Wars
“They plundered homes of settlers and the wounded for valuables, and then killed and scalped Americans who could not walk. Bodies were tossed into burning houses that the Roundhead First Nation warriors had set on fire. Those able to walk were claimed by the Roundhead First Nation warriors and taken to Detroit where they were ransomed.”
Over sixty unarmed American wounded were slaughtered along with some settlers who didn’t escape. This was later known as the “Massacre of the River Raisin.”
This bloody massacre produced so much anger that it became an inspirational rallying cry;”Remember the River Raisin!” This bloody event gave new energy to the war effort, and people remembered what the Roundhead First Nation warriors did here, and their future on their land was dim indeed. They were looked on as savages with no heart.
The British were also tarnished as heartless as they left the wounded and the militia members at the mercy of the Roundhead First Nation warriors to do what they normally did. It certainly poured gasoline on the fire and instilled in the Americans a fierce spirit to win.
The people who lived in the settlement who escaped fled to Detroit, abandoning the settlement, River Raisin. For eight months, the Indians used this abandoned place as a base of operations and supply depot. Even after the town of River Raisin was finally liberated on September 27, 1813, the town was in such a bad state that it took five years after the battles to even begin to recover.
Every year, the people gathered at Rum Raisin Battlefield and remembered the dead and their sacrifice for the United States.
While parts of the large battleground were sold off for other ventures during the 19th and 20th Century, a small section was saved to become a memorial for the massacre victims and their fallen brothers. The people of Michigan never forgot this travesty. Every year, the people gathered at Rum Raisin and remembered the dead and their sacrifice for the United States.
In 1959, this solemn acreage was designated as a Michigan Historic Site on February 18, 1956, which preserved it.
On December 10, 1982, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places, giving it even more honor and protection. In July of 1990, the Monroe County Historic Commission and the Monroe County Historic Society opened the first official River Raisin Battlefield Visitor Center within the house that was located at 1403 East Elm Avenue. This house turned Visitor Center was added to the National Register listing in 2019, giving it protection.
In 1995, the paper mill that sat on the adjacent land to the Rum Raisin historic site was closed. This was an opportunity to expand onto some of the original Rum Raisin Battleground. Enthusiasm and drive abounded, with the City of Monroe, The Monroe Historical Society, and property owner negotiating a price.
Expansion to the present-day park boundaries commenced when paper mill land was bought. A clean up of the former paper mill property and adjacent landfill area was pu into action; with the goal of being able to make a future donation to the park service.
On a roll, The city of Monroe also “transferred a large expanse of wetlands marsh to the state of Michigan for expansion of the adjacent Sterling State Park. Acquisitions were complete by 2006, the paper mill was demolished by 2009, the cleanup finished in 2010, and land transfers were completed in 2011.”
Rum Raisin National Battlefield Park officially opened as “a national park unit” on October 22, 2010. “It was established as the 393rd unit of the United States National Park Service under Title VII of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, which was signed into law on March 30, 2009.”
Remembered: American Dead and their foes as well.
The traditions of honoring those who died here have continued, though the dead from British and Roundhead warriors side of the conflict have been added; despite the betrayal and killing of the wounded men.
The Roundhead Native Americans and the British during that time were already punished by the consequences of their actions. Their dead died following their leaders on the field of battle and didn’t have anything to do with what happened afterward.
The soldiers and townspeople who died here are remembered and honored on the Saturday closest to Jan. 22nd of each year. The noon memorial includes Raising of the Flag, Reading the Names of the Fallen, Laying the Wreath and Firing a Salute. A speaker is scheduled for the afternoon.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
Despite this tribute to the fallen, many are still restless, seeking peace and perhaps a different outcome, or still agitated about the circumstances of their demise.
Being suddenly taken from your body on the battlefield, can cause restless spirits who have unfinished business, or are not ready to move on just yet.
Kolb Court, GA (Spirits who died on this battlefield during a Civil War skirmish have attached to the land where they died so suddenly, and have decided to move into the homes built there and keep the living company).
Gettysburg Battleground, PA (Confederate and Union soldiers who died here are still fighting the good fight and even interacting with Civil War Re-enactors).
Manassas National Battlefield Park, VA (The Manassas National Battlefield Park Visitors Center was built on top of a plateau where many men lost their lives. Spirits like to come inside and look at the exhibits there).
Rum Raisin National Battlefield Park,MI (Spirits from both sides of this conflict are seen and heard still wandering around, going about their business).
The trauma of being in terror and/or killed painfully can cause a spirit to be stuck in this world.
Little Bighorn Battlefield, MT (Spirits/ghosts of both sides can’t let go of the trauma of war. Custer’s troops were routed by the Native Americans; many were terrorized with fear before being scalped).
USS Levingston, TX (This World War 2 aircraft carrier was in one hot battle after another. A Komi Kazi pilot hit the deck and caused a huge fireball that burned many sailors to death).
Deerfield Burial Mound, MA (The townspeople were slaughtered by the French and their Indian counterparts, having no mercy even for babies or young children. They slaughtered a baby and two year old infant in front of their pregnant nanny, and then killed her and her unborn baby in a traumatic way. Once a year on the anniversary, this nanny cries in the burial mound graveyard for her charges, her baby and her lost future).
Rum Raisin National Battlefield Park, MI (Helpless wounded soldiers who couldn’t walk were scalped by their Roundhead warrior enemies).
Loosing your life because of a betrayal, can make it hard for spirits to let go and move onto the other side.
Mission San Miguel, CA (A family of innkeepers, who set up their inn here after Mexican Government sold it to them back in 1847, asked their inn guests to pay in gold, as this was a universal currency. A ruthless gang of robbers stayed the night, getting friendly with everyone, pretending to be what they were not. They learned about the gold, and came back the next evening and viciously murdered every breathing soul before finding out where the gold was kept).
The Alamo, TX (The brave defenders of the Alamo hung on as long as they could, while fighting the Mexican forces. The reinforcements that were supposed to come to help never showed and they were killed and the women and children inside were slaughtered).
Faithful Inn, WY (A bride who was on her honeymoon with a husband that she thought loved her, was brutally killed by him over her money).
Rum Raisin National Battlefield Park, MI (After promising the militia in Frenchtown that they would be protected by British guards if they surrendered, some were betrayed and murdered at the hands of the Roundhead warriors and all the townspeople lost their possessions and their homes. Some were taken for ransom, while others escaped with their lives).
Spirits of the Fallen/Murdered
Spirits of soldiers of both sides have been plainly seen in their uniforms
Still fighting in the battle.
Still Marching, still walking the battlefield, still reliving their deaths.
Disembodied voices have been heard and recorded.
Screams of the dying have been heard and recorded.
Spirit of a Young Girl
Dressed in 1812 attire she may have been a child of the Frenchtown settlement who was killed because she wouldn’t of been able to make it on the long journey to be ransomed.
Residents who live on Elm Street near the battlefield have spied her see-through apparition wearing a white billowing dress playing in the wooded areas and elsewhere on battlefield grounds.
This center is located in a house on Elm Street right on the edge of the battlefield.
Restless energy arising from the battlefield has created some poltergeist activity.
Former residents of this house and the Visitor Center’s staff have had the same startling experience.
“I was just working away, when I was startled to hear a violent crashing and running from the upstairs front room down the hall, down the stairs and out the back door. It sounded like whatever it was was slamming against the walls as it made its way out the back door.”
Personal experiences have been reported for years, even before this area was part of a state park or national park.
Besides the usual casualty entities; traumatized by their death and the death of others, wounded men and militia men and their families who lived in the settlement who were painfully killed by the Roundhead warriors are added to the mix, with the total effect of creating a “dream come true” for paranormal investigators, as the Rum Raisin National Battlefield Park has been proven with hard evidence to be a hot bed of paranormal activity caused by restless spirits.
Both visual and auditory EVPs have been caught by too many visitors and paranormal groups to count.
Orbs, unexplained lights on the battleground have been seen and recorded.
RIVER RAISIN National BATTLEFIELD Park EVPS: One voice says the word, HOME. Another voice says MAMA and a few other words not understandable. A third voice says, BREATHE, perhaps talking to another wounded.
A psychic experience was reported by a paranormal investigator, Richard Ellison of Dead Serious Paranormal, a Monroe-based paranormal group had a dramatic personal experience when his mind melded with a dead soldier who may have been too wounded to move, reliving his death at the hands of his captors. in an article posted in the monroenews.com, Ellison shares;”As soon as I stepped onto the battleground, I felt gloomy and depressed.”
He fell into a daydream state of mind. “I could still notice my surroundings, but what I was seeing is very hard to describe. I could hear screaming and loud chant-like noises, but my vision was a blur. It was like watching something while being underwater. I remember snapping out of it, but I don’t know how long I was doing this.”
Yes indeed in spades!
The Rum Raisin National Battlefield Park is considered the most haunted place in Michigan. The restless dead are appearing in various forms as well as apparitions, walking, reliving, and speaking trying to work through their trauma, their anger, and their other feelings that all keep them here in limbo in this world.
River Raisin Battlefield Visitor Center Museum
1403 East Elm Avenue
River Raisin Battlefield is located in what is now called the city of Monroe on land near the lovely River Raisin, behind the River Raisin Battlefield Visitor Center Museum. The Monroe area is nationally known as the site of the Battles and Massacre of the River Raisin, among the largest engagements of the War of 1812.
- Stories of unexplained happenings at battlefield,
By Charles Slat, monroe.com, Posted Oct 31, 2013
- Some photos from Web-Site: https://www.monroeccc.edu/
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr
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