Thursday, November 14, 2019

Cannonballs Flew Near Alewife Cove-- Part 3

The fighting carried on for much of the day and local commanders General Burbeck, Commodore Decatur and Captain Jones came to observe.

It was estimated that between the frigate Statira and the sloop of war HMS Loup Cervier, 20 broadsides were fired on the American defenders on the beach who were fully exposed to the fire, but they miraculously suffered no casualties.

The Gazette mocked that "the plowing Stackpole [Captain Hassard Stackpole of the HMS Statira] gave to Roger's land is a fair offset to the holes he has made in his barn, crib and back-house."


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Cannonballs Flew Near Alewife Cove, Ct.-- Part 2: The Fight

The Gazette reported that:  "A few inhabitants immediately assembled and from an adjacent wall so annoyed the marauders that they abandoned the vessel as soon as they could put fire to her."

According to the journal of Sylvanus  Griswold, ten men left the church service in New London and ran to Fort Trumbull, and "took two smart field pieces & hastened to the scene of Action & drove the three barges off."

A half hour of firing from both sides ensued as American reinforcements arrived.  Some of the locals boarded the vessel to try to retrieve what they could, but were driven off when the frigate Statira approached and fired two or three broadsides at the burning vessel.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Cannonballs Flew Near Alewife Cove, Connecticut-- Part 1

From the Alewife Cove Conservancy. 

Alewife Cove is named for the herring fish by that name which at one time were a problem in Chicago.  It is near the city of New London.

During the War of 1812, the British fleet blockading the Connecticut shoreline constantly.  One of the skirmishes took place off Goshen Point, present-day Harkness State Park which involved some 1,500 cannon balls being exchanged between the Americans and British.

On Sunday, November 28, 1813,  an action took place between Royal Navy ships and about 200 local defenders.  It started when the coasting sloop Roxana, bound from New York to Providence, was run ashore about a half mile west of the New London Light to escape three barges from the fleet that were in hot pursuit.

The alarm sounded immediately as the Roxana's crew rowed ashore and local residents grabbed their their weapons and rushed to to defend the vessel.


Monday, November 11, 2019

Five Places to Visit for Veterans Day-- Part 2: USS Constitution, Wright-Patterson AFB, National Museum of WW II

USS CONSTITUTION,  Boston.  The ship has the distinction of being  "the oldest commissioned warship in the world.  Launched in 1797.

Nicknamed "Old Ironsides" and defeated five British ships during the War of 1812.  Still manned by active duty U.S. Navy personnel and capable of sailing under her own power to this day.


Houses the National Museum of the United States Air Force with nearly 400 aircraft, missiles, several Presidential Planes,

Artifacts dating from the Wright Brothers to creation of NASA.

D-DAY MUSEUM, New Orleans

Now called the National Museum of World War II.  "Dedicated to remembering the American Experience during the war that changed the world."


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Five Places to Visit for Veterans Day-- Part 1: National Veterans Art Museum and Pearl Harbor

From the Nov. 8, 2019 Your Sun.

GOGROUP LLC,  has put together a list of five places to visit  in the next several days to honor our veterans:

1.  THE NATIONAL VETERANS ART MUSEUM,  Chicago.    (I'd never heard of this one.)    Over 2,500 works of art by veterans, including the Gulf War and War on Terror.

Paintings, sculpture and poetry.

2.  PEARL HARBOR NAVAL BASE,  Oahu, Hawaii.     A memorial to the 2,400 Americans killed that day and the thousands more killed in Pacific action.

Includes the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, USS Arizona Memorial and USS Missouri Memorial.


Saturday, November 9, 2019

Swords Seized in Connecticut May Be William Henry Harrison's-- Part 2: Real Or Not?

James Kochan, the sword's owner, said it was authentic and that it belonged to him, but he reluctantly turned it over to the police.  It is now in the custody of Hamilton County where the Harrison-Symmes Foundation says  they had donated it to the Hamilton County Probate Court in 1922.

Documents show the court loaned it to the Cincinnati Historical Society, which used it in their 1976 Bicentennial display,, but sometime in the next few years, it disappeared while in the society's storage in its museum.

The Society didn't publicize the  theft and the Harrison-Symmes Foundation became aware that it was gone when they asked for it back for a display in the 1993 celebration of the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Village of Cleves, 15 miles west of Cincinnati where John Simmes was a pioneering landowner.

So, Is It Or Isn't It The Real Deal?  --Brock-Perry

Friday, November 8, 2019

Sword Seized by Connecticut Cops May Have Been Wielded by President in the War of 1812-- Part 1

From the Nov. 7, 2019, Fox News by Frank Miles.

A sword from the American Revolution that may have been used by a future president of the United States has been recovered in Connecticut.  Studies will be made to determine whether it is or not.  Is it the same one that disappeared from the Cincinnati Historical Society forty years ago?

It is believed that this sword was carried into battle by future President William Henry Harrison in the War of 1812, and before him, carried into battle in the American Revolution by  Continental Army Col. John Cleves Symmes, Harrison's future father-in-law.

Police in Windsor, Ct. seized the sword just before it was to be auctioned by James Kochan of Wiscasset, Maine.  Kochan, a collector, said he bought the sword in 2015 from a collection being sold by Christie's auction house in New York.

It was spotted online by Dave Sunberg, a member of the Harrison-Symmes Memorial Foundation who alerted police.


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Provincetown's Timothy Parker Johnson's Service in War of 1812 Recognized-- Part 2

Verifying Parker's War of 1812 and raising money for the new grave marker was the work of author Amy Whorf McGuiggan and Conwell Enterprises, which operates Conwell  Lumber in Provincetown, and others.    After months of research, Johnson's service as a soldier was confirmed  by the National Society United States Daughters of 1812.

During the 19th century, the Johnson family contributed greatly to the growth of Provincetown from a remote fishing village to a prominent  whaling, cod fishing and  mackeral port.

Johnson owned a wharf between Johnson and Arch streets.  His business interests were salt works, ships ballasts and ownership of Ocean Hall, later known as Central House and now Crown & Anchor.

Between 1841  and 1848, he was managing owner of the 162-ton brig gem, one of Provincetown's first whaling ships.  He influenced the  the building of a Universalist meeting house and was selectman for two years.

Johnson died in Provincetown in 1864.  His wife lived until 1892.

The War of 1812 was fought largely outside of New England, Charlotte  Line, president of the Massachusetts State Society of the United Daughters of 1812.  "However, we did send people," she said.

A portrait of Johnson hangs in the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum.


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Provincetown, Massachusetts' Timothy Parker Johnson Recognized for Service in 1812-- Part 1

From the Nov. 1. Provincetown Banner (Mass.) by Mary Ann Bragg.

A lot of research went into the life of a prominent 1800s Provincetown citizen Timothy Parker Johnson and the result was that his grave was marked Saturday in the Provincetown Cemetery for his service in the War of 1812.

Timothy Parker Johnson was a 15-year-old when he served as a private and drummer boy in the war and is the only Provincetown resident known to have served in that war.  He is buried in a prominent family plot in the cemetery but his credentials as a soldier have only recently been verified.

He served as a member of a military unit from his Connecticut home town and after the war, settled in Provincetown with his wife.

A relative of Johnson, Martha Jaxtimer, said, "It's such an honor," when a new grave marker was unveiled.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

World War II Vetaran and First U.S. Coast Guard Member Captured Since War of 1812, Laid to Rest in NY

From the Nov. 2, 2019, Spectrum News "WWII Veteran Laid to rest in WNY " by Brandon Lewis.

Lt. Thomas Crotty died in a Japanese POW camp in the Philippines in 1942 and his remains have finally been returned to his family and hometown of Buffalo.

He was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna

With American forces about to surrender in the Philippines, he went about his duty destroying supplies and facilities to prevent them falling into Japanese hands.

He served in four branches of the military and was the first Coast Guard member captured since the War of 1812.  I was unable to find out who the last member of the U.S. Coast Guard (then called Revenue Service) captured in the War of 1812 was.


Monday, November 4, 2019

Sackets Harbor Battlefield Museum Requires Roof Work-- Part 2

The Hall House is home to an exhibit that tells the story of the War of 1812 from a different perspective.  "It's about understanding the War of 1812 through archaeology," said Connie Barone.

Despite the damage to the building, as far as they can tell, there were no problems for its contents

"Metal objects, the archaeological materials, can be subjected to rust.  If, all of the sudden, their surface temperature is really cold, like your ice glass and you get condensation on that, condensation on metal items causes rust," said Chris Flagg.

Both Flagg and Barone will be monitoring the collection for the next two days.

If the heat isn't turned on by then, metal objects, paintings and textiles from the exhibit will be moved across the street to the Lieutenant's House.


Sackets Harbor Battlefield Museum Requires Roof Work from Recent Storm-- Part 1

 From the Nov. 2, 2019, WWNY TV 7 News  "Quick work to repair roof on Sackets Harbor museum" by Keir Chapman.

The historic Hall House at the Sackets  Harbor Battlefield is missing half of its roof after heavy winds on Friday morning (Nov. 1).

"The side toward the village  is the portion that blew off in two large pieces, said Connie Barone, site manager of the Sackets Harbor Battlefield,  "This is not the time of the year when you want the roof off a building."

The roof is expected to be patched up by Sunday.  Crews were already on site Saturday morning working on it.

However, the upcoming wet weather is a threat to the artifacts in the house which serves as a museum.  "I believe there's rain in the forecast tomorrow, possibly Monday, Tuesday.  So with the roof wide open like that, you want to keep water out of the building.  Water is your worst enemy," said Chris Flagg, director for the Bureau of Historic Sites.


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Ohio's War of 1812 Forts-- Part 1: The Land and Rivers Were Different Back Then

Since I have been writing about Fort Stephenson and Meigs in Ohio during the war, I came across this on all of the state's forts during the war.

From the Touring Ohio site "Ohio's forts during the War of 1812."

When the war broke out and after the surrender of Hull at Detroit, Ohio's new commander, William Henry Harrison began preparing for the expected invasion of northwest Ohio by the British

At that time, northwest Ohio was often called the Black swamp.  It was a mucky ware-logged area that made travel by land very difficult.  Harrison decided to build a number of forts and supply depots along the rivers.

The rivers of northwestern Ohio back then were different than they are today.  They were mostly slow-moving, deep water rivers that retained their levels most of the year. thanks to the swampy land supplying them with water.

Even during hard rains the rivers would remain relatively level since the water had to flow through the swamps before entering the river.  Later, as the land was cleared and turned into farmland, came the wide fluctuations in water level we have today.


Saturday, November 2, 2019

Battle of Fort Stephenson-- Part 5: Honors and Reburial

Once the British and General Proctor were defeated at Fort Stephenson, he withdrew back to Fort Detroit, with the Americans under Gen. Harrison following closely.  Shortly after Fort Stephenson, Commodore Perry would defeat the British fleet at the Battle of Lake Erie near Put-In-Bay.

The Americans now had complete control of Lake Erie and British prospects of supplies and reinforcements essentially ceased.

For his exploit, despite disobeying orders, George Croghan was brevetted to lieutenant colonel by the President of the United States.  In 1835, the U.S. Congress awarded him the Gold Medal.  later, he was made Inspector general with the rank of colonel.

During the Mexican War, he served with General Taylor.  Two years later, he died in New Orleans.  In 1906, he remains were disinterred from his family plot in Kentucky and  moved to Fremont, Ohio (site of Fort Stephenson) and placed in a special crypt at the base of the Soldiers' Monument honoring Fremont's veterans and specifically the Battle of Fort Stephenson, 1813.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Battle of Fort Stephenson-- Part 4: An American Victory

When the British grenadiers arrived at the south at the south gate, they were met with a destructive volley that quickly sent them back into the woods  This marked the end of the attack.

Storm clouds were brewing to the west and breezes blew the smoke away  All that was left were the dead, dying and wounded in the ditch  As twilight descended, Major Croghan addressed his troops with words of praise and thanks for service well rendered.  As night came, the cries and groans of the wounded could be heard inside the fort.

Buckets filled with water were let down from the fort's walls.  The gates could not be opened because of means of safety during the night, so Croghan ordered his men to dig a ditch out to them so the wounded could be brought in.for treatment.

On August 2, 1813, 21-year-old George Croghan against a vastly superior force, won a victory that proved to be a turning point of the War of 1812.


Battle of Fort Stephenson-- Part 3: "Old Betsy" Speaks and the British Listen

It was at this moment that the single cannon the Americans had,which Major Croghan had named "Old Betsy,"  was once again heard from.  Slugs and grapeshot roared through the ditch spreading havoc and terror among the troops in it.  British troops observing the attack could not see the carnage and assumed the attack had been successful.

They sent a second column which also met the same welcome from "Old Betsy" along with more shots from the Kentuckians.  Lt. Col. Short and Lt. Gordon were dead in that ditch along with 25 dead and another 25 wounded.

Only three of those advancing were able to escape and make it back to their lines.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Battle of Fort Stephenson-- Part 2: The Attack Begins

The British bombardment continues, but Gen. Proctor hears rifle fire out to the east of his position, and, fearing they might be American reinforcements, orders an assault.  But what he was hearing was actually his Indian allies firing at a farmer after he came upon their position.  The farmer manages to escape uninjured.

By 4 p.m. August 2, the British have formed into two columns led by Brevet Colonel  Short and Lt. Gordon.  They began to advance toward Fort Stephenson's northwest corner.  At the same time, another 200 British grenadiers under Lt. Col. Warburton are making a wide sweep to the west and feigning an attack on the fort's  southern front.

Cannon fire and smoke continues and the group under Col.Short are able to get within 15 feet of the walls before being seen.  Kentucky sharpshooters start picking off  some of the advancing men, causing the group to temporarily be thrown into disorder.

British axe men push forward, over the glacis and into the ditch where Croghan had his men dig in preparation for such an attack.  Lt. Col. Short was with these men, whose job was to chop their way through the damaged walls with axes so that the next wave of men could enter the fort.

Lt. Col. Short could be heard shouting  from the ditch:  "Cut away the pickets, my brave boys, , and show the damned Yankees no quarter."


Battle of Fort Stephenson (Fremont, Ohio)-- Part 1: A Standoff Ensued

Continuing from the last post.  From the Touring Ohio site.

Lt. Shipp and his group ran back to Fort Stephenson just as the British  opened fire from their gunboats.  The firing continued sporadically throughout the night.  The Americans occasionally returned fire.  Because they only had one cannon, after each firing they would relocate it to confuse the British.    This continued throughout the  night of August 1.

During the night, the British moved three of their six 6-pounder cannons to positions in the woods northwest of the fort.  This was slightly higher ground than the fort.  Today, there is a sign marking their position.

Towards sunrise, the British increased their rate of fire, but the Americans remained quiet.  The standoff continued throughout the day  It became clear to Major Croghan that the British were concentrating their fire on the northwest corner of the fort.  He ordered bags of sand and sacks of flour to be stacked up against those walls to help  deaden the impact of cannonballs striking those walls.


Last Major Action in Ohio-- Part 3: Greetings, Salutations and Demands, Defending "The Post to the Last Extremity"

British officers Colonel Elliott and Captain Chambers, along with a group of Indians under a flag of truce approached the fort.  Major Croghan sent out 2nd Lt. Shipp along with 15 others to meet them.

After the usual salutations, Col. Elliott is reported as saying:  "I am instructed to demand the instant surrender of the fort, to spare the effusion of blood, which we cannot do should we be under the necessity of  reducing it by our powerful force of regulars, Indians and artillery."

Lt. Shipp replied:  "My commandant and garrison are determined to defend  the post to the last extremity, and, bury themselves in its ruins, rather than surrender it to any force whatever."

The British colonel then replied:  "Look at our immense body of Indians.  They cannot be restraining from massacring  the whole garrison in the event of our undoubted success.  It is a great  pity that so fine a young man as you and your commander, should fall into the hands  of the savages.  Sir, for God's sake, surrender, and prevent the dreadful massacre that will be caused by your resistance!"

Shipp then calmly replied:  "When the fort shall be taken,  there will be none to massacre.  It will not be given up  while a man is able to resist."  With these words, Shipp and his men turned to return to the fort.  But as they did, an Indian jumped forward from some bushes and tried to grab Shipp's sword.  The British captain stopped Shipp from killing the Indian on the spot.

Major Croghan had been watching from the fort and yelled,  "Shipp come in , and we'll blow them all to hell!!"

Croghan and the Americans did not fall for the Indian threat like William Hull did at Detroit.

The Battle Is On.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, October 25, 2019

Last Major Action in Ohio-- Part 2: Confrontation at Fort Stephenson

British plans called for a demonstration toward Fort Seneca, which they expected William Harrison would reinforce with troops from heavily defended Fort Meigs.  Tecumseh and his warriors had been left by Fort Meigs and as soon as the Americans left the fort to defend Fort Seneca, they were to attack.

The British were not expecting any problems at Fort Stephenson as related in the last post.  However, they hadn't figured on the fort's commander, 21-year-old Major George Croghan.

British ships came up the Sanduskey River from Sanduskey Bay in Lake Erie and their scouts reported that Fort Stephenson was just ahead and was occupied.  British General Proctor hadn't expected Harrison to defend such a weak post and determined to capture it and its garrison,  (Harrison had actually ordered Croghan to abandon the fort,)

When Croghan received the word that the British were on their way, he immediately alerted Harrison of the situation.  Harrison ordered him to abandon Fort Stephenson (where present-day Fremont is located) and burn it.  However, before those orders could arrive, Croghan had decided to defend his fort.  He ignored Harrison's orders.

He had but one cannon operating.  The British arrived and took up position to the north of the fort.  They sent messengers under a flag of truce to demand he surrender his fort.

What did Major Croghan tell the British?

Here's Where It Gets Interesting.  --Brock-Perry