Monday, December 22, 2014

The Gulf Coast USS Alligator (1813)

From Wikipedia.

This is the one at Bay St. Louis.

The Navy purchased the ship in 1813 at New Orleans and commissioned as a tender to the other warships there.  It mounted one 4-pdr. gun.

After the capture of Pensacola, Florida, Andrew Jackson arrived in New Orleans to take over its defense and sent a flotilla to Lake Borgne to guard that strategic spot.  This is when the USS Sea Horse and Alligator were sent to Bay St. Louis.

There is some confusion about whether the Alligator was sunk at Bay St. Louis or captured at the Battle of Lake Borgne.


The East Coast USS Alligator (1809)

From Wikipedia.

60 feet long with 40 man crew, 4 guns.

Built as part of the Jefferson Gunboat Navy as launched as Gunboat 166.  Served off the coast of the Carolinas.  In 1812, it was renamed the USS Alligator.

On an. 1814, it was at the mouth of the Stono River, S.C., when it was spotted by a British frigate and brig and knew it would be cut out.  Eleven British longboats appeared and the Alligator opened fire, cut its cable and made a run for it but ran aground.  Fortunately, the enemy did not press its attack.

It was refloated and back in service.  During July 1814, it sank in Port Royal, South Carolina, during a bad storm with 21 of its crew drowning.

It was refloated and served the rest of the war and was sold 12 June 1815.


The U.S. Had Two USS Alligators During the War

I have been mentioning the Battle of Lake Borgne and the lead up to it, the action in Bay St. Louis over the past week.  One of the ships involved in it was the USS Alligator.  Further research on Wikipedia revealed there were two ships by that name in the U.S. Navy during the war, one that operated on he east coast.  The other was the one I was writing about on the Gulf of Mexico.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cannons Boomed in Bay St. Louis a Week Ago

From the December 13, 2014, Sun-Herald (Biloxi-Gulfport and Mississippi Gulf Coast "200th anniversary of the Battle of Bay St. Louis goes off with a bang" by James Skrmetto.

Cannons boomed in the harbor at 3 p.m. to pay homage to the bicentennial of this War or 1812 engagement in which 6 Americans and 17 British died.

Two Biloxi, Ms., schooners, the Mike Sekul and Glenn L. Swetman, played the parts of American ships at the battle USS Sea Horse and USS Alligator.

The battle has been commemorated before, but this was the first year with a cannon.

Just three years agter the battle, Mississippi became a state.


Friday, December 19, 2014

New Krewe Honors the USS Sea Horse

From the WLBT-WDBD MS News, March 3, 2014 "New Krewe rolls in downtown Bay St. Louis" by Jonathan Brannon.

A new Mardi Gras krewe, the Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse had its first Mardi Gras parade on Monday in Bay St. Louis and there were many more people on the streets in town than usual.  The group has only been in existence for a few months and was formed to honor the handful of Americans on the USS Sea Horse and shore who fought off an overwhelming British attack in 1814.

this could best be described as a "David vs. Goliath" fight.

However, even in victory, the USS Sea Horse, it became necessary to scuttle and burn the American ship at the foot of the street just down from where the parade started.  The parade back in March was considered the first event in a year-long bicentennial preparation to mark the battle, concluding in December.

The parade was described as a much more intimate (fewer people) than other ones in the area.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

USS Sea Horse (1812)

From Wikipedia.

As I mentioned earlier this week, this ship was destroyed by its crew in the bay St. Louis, Mississippi, right before the Battle of Lake Borgne.

It was a one-gun schooner purchased by the Navy in 1812 for service on Lake Borgne.

In 13 December 1814 it repelled two British attacks in long boats at Bay St. Louis and was beached and burned to prevent capture.


HMS Seahorse (1794)

From Wikipedia.

Was a 38-gun, fifth rate frigate launched in 1794 and broken up in 1819.  Fought in Europe against Napoleon and France.

Afterwards transferred to the North America Station in 1814 and operated along the Atlantic coast  At the Battle of the Potomac on August 17, 1814. It is estimated that the Sea Horse took over 100,000 pounds in prizes.  In September, it was at the attack on Baltimore made famous in the "Star-Spangled Banner."

Transferred to the Gulf of Mexico and was at the Battle of Lake Borgne in December.


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.