Henry Dearborn

Dearborn, Henry, 1751–1829, American general and cabinet member, b. Hampton, N.H. He was a physician and became a captain of militia. When the American Revolution broke out, he led his company in the battle of Bunker Hill. Later he saw distinguished service, accompanying Benedict Arnold in the march against Quebec (where he was captured, but later exchanged), serving in the Saratoga campaign in 1777, wintering at Valley Forge, and fighting in the battle of Monmouth. He led (1779) a regiment in John Sullivan's campaign against Loyalists and Native Americans in New York and was on General Washington's staff at Yorktown. After the war he settled in Maine, and represented (1793–97) the District of Maine in Congress. As secretary of war (1801–9) under President Thomas Jefferson he helped form the plan for removal of the Native Americans beyond the Mississippi River. At the outbreak of the War of 1812, he became major general in command of the northern frontier from Niagara to the Atlantic coast. His inaction contributed to the British capture of Detroit. Several plans to invade Canada were not even attempted, and although, in 1813, Dearborn took York (now Toronto) and Fort George on the Niagara River, he lost many men and exposed Sackett's Harbor to an almost successful British attack. He was relieved of command in 1813. From 1822 to 1824 he served as minister to Portugal. Fort Dearborn (around which grew the city of Chicago) was named for him.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies