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Raisin River
Rivière Aux Raisin
The River Raisin passing through Monroe, Michigan
Country Flag of the United States.svg United States
State Flag of Michigan.svg Michigan
Cities Blissfield, Brooklyn, Clinton, Deerfield, Dundee, Manchester, Monroe, Petersburg, Tecumseh
 - location Rollin Township, Michigan
 - elevation 1,043 ft (318 m)
 - coordinates 42°01′29″N 84°16′05″W / 42.02472°N 84.26806°W / 42.02472; -84.26806
Mouth Lake Erie
 - location Monroe, Michigan
 - elevation 571 ft (174 m)
 - coordinates 41°53′31″N 83°20′12″W / 41.89194°N 83.33667°W / 41.89194; -83.33667
Length 135 mi (217 km)
Location of the River Raisin in Michigan

The River Raisin is a river in southeastern Michigan, United States that flows through glacial sediments into Lake Erie. The area today is an agricultural and industrial center of Michigan. The river was named La Riviere aux Raisin by French settlers because of the wild grapes growing along its banks, since the French word for grape is raisin.[1]

During the winter of 1813 as part of the War of 1812, a battle occurred near the river between British and Native American troops under the command of British General Henry Procter and Native American chief Tecumseh, and a small division of Kentucky 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, Michigan 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 PCBs. 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, Michigan.


  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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