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Raisin River redirects here, for a Canadian river with the same name, see Raisin River
Boats on the River Raisin just downstream from Monroe, Michigan

The River Raisin is a river in southeastern Michiganmarker, United Statesmarker that flows through glacial sediments into Lake Eriemarker. The area today is an agricultural and industrial center of Michigan. The river was named La Riviere aux Raisin by Frenchmarker settlers because of the wild grapes growing along its banks, since the French word for grape is raisin.

During the winter of 1813 as part of the War of 1812, a battle occurred near the river between Britishmarker and Native American troops under the command of British General Henry Procter and Native American chief Tecumseh, and a small division of Kentuckymarker militia under command of General James Winchester. Outnumbered and facing total slaughter, Winchester surrendered with British assurances of safety of the prisoners, but the next day many were massacred and scalped by the Native Americans without British intervention. The slaughter was only ended by the return to the area of Tecumseh, who had been away. He admonished the British officers for not stopping such behavior.

The Massacre of the River Raisin became a rallying cry ("Remember the River Raisin") particularly for Kentuckians, and American troops returned in the spring to drive the British from Michigan forever. The original battlefield is now a park in Monroe, Michiganmarker and has a monument to the Kentucky soldiers who died there.

The river has been badly polluted by industrial wastes and agricultural runoff. While cleanup efforts have mitigated some of the pollution, there remains a problem with difficult-to-remove PCB. Environmental authorities advise people not to eat fish from the river, particularly below the outlet of the Ford Motor Company plant.

The river has many small dams to control water flow. While most of the dams are in Monroe, the most significant one is located in Dundee, Michiganmarker.


  1. A.C. Quisenberry, "A Hundred Years Ago: the River Raisin", Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, Sept 1913, p.18

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