Friday, July 1, 2016

Andrew Holmes Captures Jean and Pierre Lafitte in 1812-- Part 1

From the U.S. Marshals Service "History-- A Pirate, a Marshal, and the Battle of New Orleans."

What exactly did Andrew Holmes have to do with the pirate Jean Lafitte?

New Orleans was "something of a political enigma at the onset of the War of 1812.  It exhibits the influence of several different cultures, including French, Spanish, Creole, African and British."

Territorial Governor William C.C. Claiborne had his hands full keeping these groups in line.  "Not the least of Governor Claiborne's worries was the powerful and ever-popular Jean Lafitte."


Andrew Hunter Holmes and the Lafitte Brothers in New Orleans

From the Pirates Lafitte by William C. Davis.

This book contains a statement made by Andrew Hunter Holmes made November 19, 1813 during the War of 1812 in the United States vs. Jean Lafitte, Case #0574, MAFW.

Holmes gave several statements, a deposition and submitted to cross-examination.

A copy of the November 19, 1813 deposition is at

Unfortunately, it wasn't transcribed to print and it was too hard to read, but evidently Holmes had dealings with the famous pirate.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Andrew Hunter Holmes and the "Great Rebellion" at Princeton, 1807-- Part 2

In 1816, the legislature of Virginia donated a gold sword in his memory to his oldest male relative.  The sword eventually came into the possession of Governor David Holmes, of Mississippi (but formerly of Virginia) who left it to Andrew Hunter Holmes Boyd ( a nephew), who left it to his son, Andrew Hunter Boyd, now of Cumberland, Maryland and Judge of the Court of Appeals of that state.

Andrew Hunter Holmes was dismissed from Princeton for his role in the "Great Rebellion."


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Andrew Hunter Holmes and the "Great Rebellion" at Princeton-- Part 1

From the William and Mary Quarterly Historical Magazine, Vol. 16, 1908.

The "Great Rebellion" at Princeton took place on March 31, 1807.  On April 1, 1807, one of the expelled students was one Abel P. Upshur, of Virginia, who later became Secretary of State of the United States.  Five other "rioters" were from Virginia like him, including Andrew Hunter Holmes.

Andrew Holmes was born in 1789, and attended Princeton and William and Mary.  he was a lawyer in New Orleans when the War of 1812 began and was killed at the 1814 Battle of Mackinac.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Richard Stockton, Jr-- Part 2: Father of Commodore Robert Stockton of USS Princeton Tragedy

The answer to yesterday's question as to whether Richard Stockton was the father of Robert F. Stockton, the commander of the USS Princeton when the cannon exploded killing Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur, who was one of the students disciplined for the "Great Rebellion" of 1807 and received the sermon from Richard Stockton, Jr. after the petition was delivered.  The answer is yes he was.

Richard Stockton, Jr. was a U.S. senator and representative from New Jersey.  he graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1779 and is buried at Princeton Cemetery.

He was the son of Richard Stockton, who signed the Declaration of Independence from New Jersey.

Small World.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, June 27, 2016

Richard Stockton, Jr.-- Part 1

I have to wonder whether this Richard Stockton, Jr., who delivered the sermon trying to get the student leaders to renounce their petition on behest of Princeton President Smith, was related to the commander of the USS Princeton on that fateful day the in the 1840s when the Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of State were killed and President Tyler came close to being killed as well.


Princeton's Nassau Hall

From Wikipedia.

The rebellious students in 1807, took refuge initially in Nassau Hall.  It is the oldest building at Princeton University.  When originally built in 1756, it was the largest building in colonial New Jersey and the largest academic building in all of the American colonies.

The university, then known as the College of New Jersey first held classes for a year in Elizabeth and then nine more at Newark before locating to Princeton.

During the American Revolution it was possessed both by the British and Americans and received considerable damage during the January 3, 1777, Battle of Princeton.

From July to October 1783, Princeton was the capital of the United States and Nassau Hall hosted the American government.  It presently houses the Princeton administration.


Friday, June 24, 2016

"The Great Rebellion" at Princeton in 1807-- Part 4: "Sign of Moral Decay"

From Wikipedia.

Princeton President Samuel Stanhope Smith's administration was characterized by little or no faculty-student rapport or communication, crowded conditions and strict adherence to rules.  These led to a student uprising during the winter semester 31 March-1 April 1807.

Smith denounced the students as a sign of moral decay.

Also, back then Princeton was called the College of New Jersey.

Geez, Even back Then.  --Brock-Perry

"The Great Rebellion" at Princeton in 1807-- Part 3: Aftermath

The students then barricaded themselves into Nassau Hall.  The trustees called on the militia to evict them, but the students beat the soldiers back with stones and broken banisters.  President Smith then shut down the college.

The protesting students then moved to the town and vowed never to return to school  One of the protesters was John C. Breckinridge.  He was the son of U.S. Attorney general John Breckinridge and father of U.S. vice president John C. Breckinridge.

Taking a piece of the American Revolution, they formed a Committee of Correspondence to address their grievances.

Eventually it all calmed down and 55 of the rebels returned, but the main leaders were expelled.

Student Unrest, Even back Then.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, June 23, 2016

"The Great Rebellion" at Princeton in 1807-- Part 2: Renounce the Petition

That day, March 30th, eight students submitted a petition to Princeton President Smith with 160 signatures of other students demanding that he reconsider his suspensions of the three students.

Smith refused to even read the petition.  How dare these students "demand" he change his mind.  He had trustee Richard Stockton, Jr., deliver a sermon to the protesters and student body at the chapel in an attempt to get them to renounce their petition.  Even before he was finished, the students began scraping their shoes noisily on the floor.

Then, one conspirator "jumped up, gave a signal, and charged out of the room with two-thirds of the college's two hundred students behind him.  Everyone of them was immediately suspended."

And, It Wasn't Over Yet.  --Brock-Perry

"The Great Rebellion" at Princeton in 1807-- Part 1: Suspended for Going to Tavern

From the Princeton Alumni Weekly, Vol. 91.  "Princeton Riot of 1807."

I had to find out more about this student rebellion back in 1807, having gone through the anti-Vietnam War protests and Kent State riots as a freshman at Northern Illinois University my freshman year, 1969-1970.

Trouble began between Princeton's leaders and students on March 24, 1807, when the faculty suspended Francis D. Cummins, a senior, for harassing townspeople and visiting a tavern.  (Evidently he got into a fight at the tavern, imagine that.)  Two other suspensions followed and discontent among students grew until March 30, the day before final examinations for the winter term began.


Andrew Hunter Holmes- Part 2: "The Great Rebellion" at Princeton.

From the William and Mary Quarterly Historical Magazine, Vol. 16, 1908.

Evidently, Andrew Holmes had a part in it as he was disciplined.

"The Great Rebellion" at Princeton took place on March 31, 1807.  During discipline hearings the next month, several were expelled, many of whom were Virginians.  One of them was Abel P. Upshur, who later became U.S. Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of State.

Upshur would later be killed by the cannon explosion of the USS Princeton in 1844.

Five other of the "rioters" were Virginians, including one Andrew Hunter Holmes.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Andrew Hunter Holmes-- Part 1: A Lawyer in New Orleans Before the War

From Wiki Tree

A Pennsylvania veteran of the War of 1812.  Younger brother of David Holmes (1769-1832), U.S. Congressman from Virginia, governor of the Mississippi Territory 1809, governor of Mississippi in 1817.  then U.S. senator and later governor again.

Andrew Holmes was a lawyer in New Orleans when the War of 1812 broke out.  he went into the Army and distinguished himself in several battles, especially in the Battle of the Thames where he led an attack that defeated part of a Highland regiment.

He fell leading his wing of Colonel Croghan's force against Mackinac in an unsuccessful attack on 1814.  Holmes was killed in the attack on British Fort George in that action along with several others.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mackinac Island's Fort Holmes-- Part 2: Andrew Hunter Holmes

From Wikipedia.

Was captain in the 24th United States Infantry during the War of 1812..  Promoted to major June 8, 1813.  On April 18, 1814, he was a major in the 32nd U.S. Infantry and was victorious at the Battle of Longwoods in Upper Canada, but was killed on August 4, 1814, in the American attack on Fort Mackinac.
This attack was led by George Croghan.

Holmes County, Ohio, and Holmesville, Mississippi as well as Fort Holmes are named for him.


Mackinac Island's Fort Holmes-- Part 1: Originally Built by the British

From Mackinac Parks site.

I started writing about this fort on June 10, 2016.

Fort Holmes sits atop the highest elevation on the island and was recently reconstructed and free and open to the public during normal operating hours from May to October.  It is a small wooden and earthen fortification.

When the U.S. reoccupied Mackinac Island after the War of 1812, the name was changed from Fort George (the British built the fort and named it in honor of Britain's King George III) to Fort Holmes in honor of Major Andrew Hunter Holmes who was killed in the 1814 Battle of Mackinac Island.

After the war, the fort was also the site of at least two different viewing towers.

In 1936, the WPA (Works Progress Administration) used the original 1817 blueprints to rebuilt the fort, but it later fell into disrepair.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

George Croghan, Tragic Hero of Fort Stephenson-- Part 2: Mexican War

When Andrew Jackson became president, he appointed George Croghan as inspector general of the army, which post he held from 1829 to his death twenty years later.  He was much respected but drank very heavily.  His wife got a legal separation from him to keep him from selling her possessions.  But Jackson continued to support Croghan.

In 1846, at the age of  54, George Croghan was called to serve on the staff of General Zachary Taylor in the Mexican War.  Taylor had grown up next door to Croghan in Louisville at Locust Grove.

While in Mexico, like many soldiers, George Croghan got dysentery  and his weight dropped from 168 to 145 pounds.

At the Battle of Monterrey, the soldiers of a Tennessee regiment recalled Croghan riding ahead of them at the enemy, with his gray hair tossing in the wind and yelling:  "Men of Tennessee, your fathers conquered with Jackson at New Orleans-- Follow Me!"

He was never able to shake his illness and died at New Orleans on January 8, 1849, the 35th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

George Coghan: Tragic Hero fo Fort Stephenson-- Part 1: A Spiral Downward for the Hero

From Frances Hunter's American Hero Blog.

Old General George Rogers Clark, severely disabled by 1813, was living with Coghan's mother Lucy in Louisville is said to have muttered proudly,  "The little game cock, he shall have my sword."

Geirge Coghan married Sarah Livingston of the famous New York family and became postmaster of New Orleans.  By the time he was 30, Croghan was ending up much more like wild Uncle George than William Clark (of the Lewis and Clark expedition).  He had terrible financial problems and wife Sarah grew to loathe him.

Just as bad, Croghan feuded publicly and constantly with William Henry Harrison about their roles in the War of 1812.

The ladies of Chillicothe, Ohio, had commemorated the great victory at the Battle of Fort Stephenson by presenting Croghan with a sword and sent Harrison a petticoat.  The general was not amused in the least.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Fort Holmes Rebuilt Atop Michigan's Mackinac Island-- Part 2

There were major American casualties during the unsuccessful attempt to regain control over Fort Mackinac on August 4, 1814.  This was led by Col. George Croghan, hero of Fort Stephenson in Ohio.

After the war, Fort Holmes was abandoned and fell into ruin.  A public works effort in the 1930s reconstructed the fort, but it again fell into disrepair until state legislation appropriated money in 2014 to rebuild it.  By then it had become a weedy mound of earth with scattered wood.

Reconstruction used the original plans housed in the National Archives.

It cost $500,000, part of the war's Bicentennial and is now open to visitors year round.


Fort Holmes Rebuilt Atop Mackinac Island-- Part 1

From the August 17, 2015, M Live "Historic War of 1812 redoubt Fort Holmes built atop Mackinac Island" by Garrett Ellison.

The reconstructed Fort Holmes was dedicated August 15, 2015,  The earthen redoubt (fort) was built by the British and is one of Michigan's few War of 1812 sites.  It sits atop Mackinac Island and offers great views.

It was built to defend the vulnerable north side of Fort Mackinac.

The British built it and named it Fort George, but the United States changed the name to Holmes after it returned to the island July 18, 1815.


West Point Graduates Killed in Action in the War of 1812: Class of 1812

JOSEPH M. WILCOX--  1st Lt. 3rd U.S. Infantry in the Creek Campaign on the Alabama River.  Tomahawked and scalped January 15, 1814.

WILLIAM WALLACE SMITH--  1st Lt Light Artillery.  Wounded in the Battle of Crysler's Field "while serving a cannon."  Died of his wounds December 3, 1813, at Fort Prescott, Upper Canada.