Historical Marker #507 in Newport commemorates the location where Kentucky volunteers crossed the Ohio River on their way to assist General William Hull against the British and Native American forces besieging Detroit during the War of 1812.
The War of 1812 broke out in the summer of that year due to unresolved conflicts between the newly-established United States of America and Great Britain. Until 1814, England was involved in the Napoleonic Wars against France and much of the country's resources went toward the fighting in Europe. Therefore, to increase military manpower, the British enlisted the help of Native Americans who were opposed to further American settlement of their land.
Kentucky played a significant role in the conflict. The state's Newport Barracks acted as a muster location for Kentucky volunteers to rally and then march to Detroit to aid General William Hull. As British and Native American troops gathered outside of Detroit's city walls, Hull surrendered in despair. The city was later recaptured by General William Henry Harrison, who used the Newport post to quarter troops and store supplies during his campaign.
In August 1813, Kentucky enlistees again met at this spot under Governor Isaac Shelby's command. The Kentuckians marched to Canada and defeated the British and Native American forces at the Battle of the Thames. It was there that Richard Mentor Johnson—a Kentuckian and future U.S. vice president under Martin Van Buren—was credited with killing the renowned Shawnee leader Tecumseh.