Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Tale of the Two Sea Horses

There were two Seahorses involved with the Battle of Lake Borgne.  One was a British warship, the HMS Seahorse.  The other was the USS Sea Horse.


Battle of Lake Borgne, Louisiana-- Part 5: Aftermath

The overall battle lasted for two hours, but the hand-to-hand fighting just five minutes.

The British gained control of the lake, but the battle gave Andrew Jackson time to strengthen his defenses at New Orleans.

The five American warships captured were taken into British service and given new names.

Lake Borgne became the landing site for the British troops.  When news of the American defeat arrived in New Orleans, the city went into a panic and Jackson ordered martial law.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Battle of Borgne-- Part 4: The Battle

The British then rowed for 36 hours and found the American fleet and quickly captured the USS Alligator.

They then divided into three divisions and the battle began at 10:30 a.m.  The American ships opened fire and it caused casualties on the British longboats, but they were able to close quarters and board.  British commander Lockyer's boat boarded Jones' Gunboat No. 156 and, during hand-to-hand combat, both men were severely wounded.

They captured the 156 and turned its guns on the rest of the American fleet.  The other craft were captured.  The USS Tickler was not involved in the fight, but scuttled and burned to prevent capture.


Battle of Lake Borgne, Louisiana-- Part 3: Destruction of USS Sea Horse at Bay St. Louis

British Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane ordered the frigate HMS Seahorse, Armide and Sophie to proceed from Pensacola to Lake Borgne and en route, they were attacked by two American gunboats and mast lookouts reported seeing the masts from three more enemy ships.  This alerted the British to the American presence.

The British ships collected their ships' boats and sent out 42 longboats and barges mounting one 12, one 18 and one 24-pdr carronades.  There were also 3 gigs mounting long brass 12-pdr cannons.  Also included were 1200 sailors and Royal Marines.

They set off on the night of December 12 and encountered the one gun schooner USS Sea Horse on a mission to destroy a powder magazine at Bay St. Louis.  The schooner and a shore battery fought off two British attacks by the longboats, but was burnt later to prevent capture.


Monday, December 15, 2014

The Hartford Convention Begins

DECEMBER 15, 1814-JANUARY 5, 1815:

The Hartford Convention, meeting secretly in Hartford, Connecticut, began today, 200 years ago.  Twenty-six New England delegates gathered to address grievances of the Federal government's management of the war and especially its control of militia, conscription and the financial burden of defense.

They even went so far as to consider secession.

I always find this odd, because in the years leading up to the Civil War, these very same states were so much against Southern secession.


Battle of Lake Borgne, Louisiana-- Part 2

The British were defeated in September 1814 at Fort Bowyer and thusly denied the capture of Mobile, Alabama. As a result, the British determined to attack New Orleans.  American Commodore Daniel Patterson commanded the New Orleans Squadron and went on immediate alert.

The British fleet, under the command of Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane arrived on December 9, 1814, and Patterson dispatched Lt. Thomas ap Catesny Jones and a small flotilla to Lake Borgne to defend it and its back door entrance to New Orleans.  Jones had with him five Jeffersonian gunboats: Nos. 156, 163, 162, 5 and 23.  Also the schooner USS Sea Horse and two sloops of war, the USS Alligator and Tickler.

Gunboat No. 156 was the flagship of the squadron and mounted one long 24-pdr., four 12-pdr. carronades and four swivel guns with a crew of 41 men.  The whole squadron had 245 men and mounted 16 long guns, 14 carronades, 2 howitzers and 12 swivel guns.


Battle of Lake Borgne, Louisiana-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

I had never heard of this battle before Saturday, but was aware of the bigger campaign it was a part of, New Orleans.

The battle took place December 14, 1814 and was a part of the British advance on New Orleans.

The British force was commanded by Nicholas Lockyer and consisted of 42 armed boats.  Their loss was two boats sunk, and several severely damaged.  Also, 17 killed and 77 wounded.

The Americans were commanded by Thomas ap Catesby Jones and consisted of 5 gunboats and 2 sloops of war.  Losses were one sloop scuttled and the rest captured.  Six men were killed, 35 wounded and 86 captured.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

200 Years Ago: The Battle of Lake Borgne, Louisiana

DECEMBER 14, 1814:

The Battle of Lake Borgne, Louisiana.  Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines in open boats capture, after heavy fighting, a flotilla of American gunboats.

The battle took place east of New Orleans.  Flotillas of American and British ships from Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane's fleet met in this battle.

The British eventually won this hard-fought battle, thereby enabling a landing near New Orleans.


Friday, December 12, 2014

The Forgotten War of 1812 in Newark, Upper Canada

From the Dec. 17, 2013, "The Mercury Columns" by David Shriban: The Forgotten War of 1812.

Two hundred years ago, American troops had occupied Newark, Upper Canada (now Niagara-On-the-Lake, Ontario) for seven months.  Most of its inhabitants were women and children since the men had left to serve in the Canadian militia.  Then, the Americans, as they left,  burned the town down, right as winter approached.

On December 10, 1813, residents of the Loyalist village were forced into the snow while their homes and buildings were burned.  A year later, in retribution, British forces had no restraint when they pillaged and burned Buffalo and other western New York towns.

Captain William Hamilton Merritt, who arrived in Newark a day later reported seeing "[n]othing but heaps of coals and the streets full of furniture that the inhabitants were fortunate enough to get out of their houses.  Only one or two houses were undamaged.


Oswego Bicentennial Commemoration Salutes the USS Oneida

From the Dec. 18, 2013, Oswego (NY) County Today "War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration Continues in the Port City."

An interpretive panel for the brig USS Oneida, part of the history-themed Great Lakes Seaway Trail Outdoor Storyteller sign series was unveiled recently at the north end of the Riverwalk West in West Linear Parl.

The Uneida saw more action during the war than any other warship.  It was built on the east bank of Oswego Harbor between 1808 and 1809 and was later moored on the west side where it was equipped and armed for battle.

It was in the 1st Battle of Sackets Harbor and captured the British schooner Lord Nelson in June 1812.  It was also involved with the capture of York, Upper Canada, (now Toronto) in April 1813.  The next month it was at Fort George and participated in the Niagara River blockade in 1814.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

200 Years Ago: British Land Near New Orleans

DECEMBER 10, 1814:  British naval and military expedition under Vice-Admiral  Alexander Cochrane and Major General Sir Edward Pakenham land near New Orleans, Louisiana.

Setting the Stage for You Know What.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tuscarora Monument Unveiled in New Yorl

From the Dec. 19, 2013, WKBW 7 Eyewitness News "Tuscarora Heroes Monument to Be Unveiled."

Lewiston, NY  December 19th marks the the 200th anniversary of the British capture of Fort Niagara and burning of Youngstown and Lewiston.  What was happening in Lewiston was turning into a massacre until Tuscarora Nation warriors created a diversion and helped rescue some of the residents.

A three piece, larger-than-life bronze monument depicting 2 Tuscarora men saving a woman and child is to be dedicated, the result of years of planning by the Historical Association of Lewiston and local sculptor Susan Geissler.


Colonial Marines-- Part 2

Colonial Marines were offered their freedom for service.  Of course, former slaves being armed and opposed to the United States posed a huge threat to the slave-holding areas of the country.

After the War of 1812, the Florida post of Colonial Marines was paid off and disbanded.  Some moved to Bermuda but others continued to live around the former post leading to the Battle of Negro Fort in July 1816.  Negro Fort was on prospect Bluff on the Spanish side of the Appalachicola River.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Colonial Marines-- Part 1

From Wikipedia

Two units were raised consisting of former American slaves.  This was started by Admiral Alexander Cochrane.  They were actually formed on two different occasions, but disbanded the first time after Loyalist militia threatened to leave service.

1ST CORPS--  smaller group.  Served in the Caribbean from 1808-1810.

2ND CORPS--  larger group served from 18 May 1814 to 20 August 1816.  Stationed mostly along the Atlantic Coast but one company served at a Gulf Coast fort in Florida.

They did not regard themselves as "slave soldiers."


Gordon Drummond-- Part 2

Gordon Drummond, unlike Isaac Brock, ruled through intimidation with executions imprisonment of anyone suspected of having American ties, but other than that was respectful of citizens' rights other than that.

Drummond was always pressing Governor General Sir George Prevost for reinforcements.  Prevost liked to keep many troops at Quebec City despite it rarely being threatened.

By the end of te winter 1813-1814, Drummond's campaigning had driven the Americans from the Niagara Frontier

In July 1814, Drummond led his troops from York to Fort George which campaign resulted in the inconclusive Battle of Lundy's Lane., but the British retained control of the road.  Drummond was seriously wounded in the neck at this battle.

On 14 August he had the failed attack on Fort Erie with big losses and in September was forced to withdraw.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Gordon Drummond-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Born 27 September 1772.  Died 10 October 1854.  First Canadian-born officer in command of its militia and civilian governor of the country.

He distinguished himself on the Niagara Front and later became Governor General and Administrator of Canada.

Born in Quebec City and entered the British Army in 1789.  saw service in the Mediterranean, then Ulster before being sent to Upper Canada as lieutenant governor in late 1813..  Drummond proved to be as aggressive a hero as Isaac Brock.  In December, he launched a surprise attack on Fort Niagara and captured it.


Troop Support Provides Copper for "Old Ironsides" Hull

From the November 15, 2013, DVIDS "News: DLA Troop Support provides copper to 'Old Ironsides'" by Michael Tuttle.

The USS Constitutions underwater hull needs to be recovered and the Defense Logistics Agency troop Support will be providing that cooper for the ship.  They are making 800 custom pieces of copper for the world's oldest commissioned warship.  It was launched way back in 1797 in response to threats and actions of the Barbary Pirates in North Africa.

Each piece has to be run through a machine a machine that punches more than 30 holes for bolts arranged in the same original pattern.

The DLA's Construction & Engineering (C&E) also is providing custom wood items for the ship over the last ten years.

The ship features 25-inch oak sides..  In battle, a sailor saw British cannonballs bouncing off the Constitution's sides and cried out: "Huzza! Her sides are made of iron!"  This gave the ship her famous nickname.

During the Civil War, there was a Union Navy ship launched named the USS New Ironsides which actually was made of iron.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

On Board the USS St. Louis at Pearl Harbor: John Tait

Continued from today's Cooter's History Thing blog.

John Tait, of Concord, California, was below deck on the cruiser USS St. Louis when the skipper decided to leave Pearl Harbor and head to deeper water to maneuver.  "There was a two man submarine waiting for a ship and fired two torpedoes at us, but there was a coral reef between us and the coral reef took the hit," Tait said.

They were at sea for three days after that, chasing down any and all reported Japanese sightings.  When they returned to Pearl, it was a scene of carnage.

Said Tait, "We just didn't think the Japanese would be that bold to come all that way.  We thought we were impregnable."

After the war, Tait and his family were stationed in Japan and got along very well with the people.  "They're a wonderful people and it's their warlords and our warlords I don't like."

Saturday, December 6, 2014

200 Years Ago:Action in Virginia

DECEMBER 6TH, 1814:  Virginia militiamen drive back the last British raid in the state during a skirmish at Farnham Church, Virginia.

The church still stands and bullet holes are visible in it.


Captain William Henry Allen, Rhode Island Naval Hero-- Part 3

Next, William Allen was given command of the brig USS Argus, a two-masted, 95 1/2 foot ship mounting eighteen 24-pounders and two 12-pdr. guns.

Naval historian Ira Dye, in his book, "The Fatal Cruise of the Argus: Two Captains in the War of 1812," wrote that Allen sailed his ship to the British Isles and in the summer of 1813, attacked 20 vessels, burning, sinking and destroying all but two.  This was more victims than any other U.S. ship of its size during the War of 1812.

On August 14, 1813, the Argus fought the much larges HMS Pelican under the command of Captain John Maples.  The Argus was beaten and 97 prisoners captured.  Twelve Americans were killed and Allen was badly wounded, but didn't die until four days later.

He was given a huge military funeral in Plymouth, England, and buried at St. Andrew's Churchyard.

Allen's family wanted the body brought back to Rhode Island like Perry's body was brought back from Trinidad in 1826.