November 30, This day during the War of 1812

November 30, 1813 – Battle of Typee Valley The Nuku Hiva Campaign refers to an armed conflict between the United States and the Polynesian inhabitants of Nuku Hiva during the Pacific Ocean theater of the War of 1812. It occurred in 1813 and following Captain David Porter’s decision to sail his fleet to the island for repairs before continuing his raid against British shipping. Upon arrival, the Americans became involved in a tribal war and allied themselves with the Te I’i people against the Happah and Tai Pi clans. Once word spread that Porter and his allies had been defeated, the Te I’i and the Happah warriors began to turn on the Americans which led them to fear that Madisonville would be overrun and the inhabitants massacred. Porter wrote; “I had now no alternative, but to prove our superiority by a successful attack upon the Typees.” Porter organized and led most of his men on a second mission into enemy territory, this time overland to Typee Valley and with limited assistance from the Te I’i. The valley is a dense nine miles across by three miles and was the heartland of the Tai Pi where their villages were located and where they harvested coconut and breadfruit. By making a detour to avoid the heavily defended fort near the coast, Porter could make a surprise attack and use terrain and his superior weapons to their advantage. During one night the column marched to the top of a ridge overlooking the valley but because the Americans were exhausted from a long march, Porter decided to wait until the next morning to attack. The following day was rainy and windy according to reports, moisture had temporarily ruined the gunpowder, so the expedition spent another day resting and waiting for the powder to dry. Finally on November 30, the expedition launched their attack and soon after the Americans and Te I’is found themselves in another ambush which they fought off. After that Captain Porter sent the Tai Pi leaders a message advising them to cease hostilities at once or else their villages would be burned. The captain waited for some time and when it became apparent that the message had been ignored, the advance was continued. American forces and the Te I’is eventually won the day when night came and the enemy disengaged. There were no American casualties. Porter claimed he took no pleasure in conquering a “happy and heroic people” and he described the aftermath of the battle as “a scene of desolation and horror”. The captain also wrote that he left behind a “line of smoking ruins” when he started the return march to Madisonville. Tai Pi emissaries were not far behind and they brought the Americans “countless” hogs as a peace offering. 




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