Colonel John B. Campbell

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About Colonel John B. Campbell

John B. Campbell (March 13, 1777– August 28, 1814) was a soldier during the War of 1812, most famous for his expedition to destroy the Miami Indian villages along the Mississinewa River and perhaps most infamous for destroying private houses and other property along with the stocks of grain and mills, which led to a Court of Enquiry and unprecedented letter to the enemy British Army explaining himself.

Early life and career

Born in Virginia his family moved to Kentucky about 1807, where he became a lawyer in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He was the son of Colonel Arthur Campbell, a soldier of the Revolutionary War and Indian Wars for whom Campbell County, Tennessee was named, as well as a nephew of General William Campbell. His brother James H. Campbell died also in the War of 1812 at Mobile, Alabama.

War of 1812

Western Frontier

On March 12, 1812, he was appointed from Kentucky as lieutenant-colonel of the 19th infantry. He was brevetted colonel on Dec. 18, 1812, for gallant conduct while commanding a detachment in the campaign against the Mississineway Indians. On April 9, 1814, he was promoted colonel and transferred to the 11th infantry.


After the Raid on Port Dover British Major General Phineas Riall addressed the commanding officer of the United States troops by letter, asking an explicit declaration, whether the landing and the acts of outrage on private property at port Dover, were authorised by the United States authorities. The answer was received under General Jacob Brown's seal, but without any communication from himself. It was a letter from colonel "John B. Campbell, of the 11th regiment United States troops," probably the one instance of the kind, in correspondence of this character, between officers of opposing armies in the time of war.

Sir,—I have the honour to receive your communication of the 9th current. I commanded the detachment of the United States army which lately made a landing at Dover on lake Erie. What was done at that place and its vicinity proceeded from my orders. The whole business was planned by myself and executed upon my own responsibility.

Colonel Campbell next commanded the 11th Infantry in the Capture of Fort Erie.

He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Chippewa, Canada, July 5, 1814, where he commanded the right wing of the army under Brigadier General Winfield Scott and died August 28, 1814.

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Colonel John B. Campbell's Timeline

Age 37