Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Battle of the Thames-- Part 11: A Family Affair for the Johnsons

Richard M. Johnson was the head of the 3rd Regiment Mounted Riflemen that he had organized.  His rank was colonel.  I have written a lot about him earlier.

Along with him in his regiment, he had his brother James Johnson.

And James Johnson had his two sons with him:  Edward, 17 and William, 15.


The Battle of the Thames-- Part 10: The Battle of Moraviantown and "Old King's Mountain"

**  Called the Battle of Moraviantown by the British and Canadians.

**  William Henry Harrison had with him in the campaign 120 regulars of the newly-formed 27th U.S. Infantry, 260 Indians and a corps of Kentucky volunteers consisting o foot soldiers and mounted infantry under the command of Major General Isaac Shelby.

**  Major General Isaac Shelby was 66-years-old and had the nickname "Old King's Mountain" because of his victory there during the American Revolution.

**  He led five brigades of buckskin-clad infantry men.

**  Also, technically under his command, but more often operating as an independent unit were the men of the 3rd Regiment Mounted Riflemen under the command of "War Hawk" Congressman Richard M. Johnson.


Battle of the Thames-- Part 9: Thamesville and Moraviantown

**  The site of the battle is near present-day Thamesville, Ontario.

**  During the battle, Henry Proctor fought with the Thames River on his left flank.

**  Moraviantown was established in 1729 by the Delaware Indians who had converted to Christianity by the Moravian missionaries.  By October 1813, it had 100 homes, a meeting house, school house and a common garden.


Monday, September 18, 2017

The Battle of the Thames-- Part 8: Tecumseh's Premonition

From History Net.

**  The night before the battle, Tecumseh told the other Indian leaders, "Brother warriors, we are about to enter into an engagement from which I shall  never return.  My body will remain on the field of battle.'

He then gave his sword Proctor had given him to another Indian and said, "When my son becomes a noted warrior, give him this."

He wore his buckskin outfit with ostrich feathers on his head and medal around his neck.


Friday, September 15, 2017

The Battle of the Thames-- Part 7: The Aftermath

The United States now had effective control of the Northwest Frontier for the rest of the war.

With Tecumseh's death, much of the Indian threat in the region also was eliminated.  William Henry Harrison was able to conclude truces with many of the tribes.

Harrison proved to be a skilled and popular leader, but he resigned the following summer after disagreements with Secretary of War John Armstrong.


Battle of the Thames-- Part 6: Who Killed Tecumseh?

The circumstances of Tecumseh's death are not known for sure.  Evidently, there were no people around the action that took his life.

Stories quickly circulated that Richard Johnson had killed him.  However, Johnson never personally claimed the credit, nor did he deny it.  But he definitely used it to his political advantage.

Credit for killing Tecumseh is also given to a Private William Whitley.  I'll see if I can find out some more information on him.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Battle of the Thames-- Part 5: Losses

The Americans pressed on after the retreating Indians and burned the Indian village of Moraviantown despite the fact that the Christian Munsee inhabitants had taken no part in the battle.

Despite the victory, Harrison did not follow Proctor's force and returned to Detroit, citing the fact that his troops' enlistments were beginning to end.

The Americans lost between 10-27 killed and 15-54 wounded.  British losses were between 12-18 killed, 22-35 wounded and 566-579 captured.  Tecumseh's Indians had between 16-33 killed including himself and Wyandot Chief Roundhead.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

And, All This Started With Ann Stokes, Black Nurse in the Civil War

I had never heard of Richard M. Johnson before, but he has a very interesting story as you have been reading over the last two weeks.

Ann Stokes was the reason I found him.  She was one of the first women ever to be in the U.S. Navy, noteworthy in itself.  But, she also was "contraband," a runaway slave.  So, not only was she one of the first women in the Navy, she was also one of the first black women.  She was also the first woman to receive a Navy pension for her service, not her husband's.

I wrote about her in several posts in my Running the Blockade Civil War Navy blog if you want to find out more.

She spent her latter years in the really small town of Belknap, Illinois, and died there.  I can't find out where she was buried.

Population of Belknap in 2000 was 133.  It is in Johnson County, pop. 2010 12,382.  But what got me was that it was named after Richard M. Johnson in 1812, who was then a Kentucky Congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives and commanded a Kentucky regiment in the War of 1812 and at the Battle of the Thames and claimed to have killed Indian leader Tecumseh in hand-to-hand combat.  He later became U.S. vice president.

Well, I just had to find out more about this interesting fellow.

And, So It Was.  --Brock-Perry

Battle of the Thames-- Part 4: British Regulars and Tecumseh's Indians Overwhelmed

James Johnson's force quickly overwhelmed the British regulars in less than ten minutes.  The Kentuckians and Paull's regulars drove the British off and captured Proctor's one cannon.  Proctor was among those who fled.

To the north, Richard Johnson attacked Tecumseh and led a forlorn hope of 20 men to draw Indian fire.  He ordered his men to dismount, but he remained in the saddle and became a perfect target.  He was wounded five times and Tecumseh was killed.  Shelby ordered his men to advance to Johnson's aid.

As Shelby came up, Indian resistance collapsed as word of Tecumseh's death spread among his warriors.  They fled into the woods, pursued closely by cavalry under Major David Thompson.

This was a far different result than what took place back in August 1812 at Detroit.

The Commander Leading the Retreat.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Battle of the Thames-- Part 3: Johnson Splits His Force

William Henry Harrison placed Richard Johnson's troops along the river and his regulars inland.  He initially intended to launch his main attack with his infantry, but changed his plans when he discovered men of the British 41st Foot deployed as skirmishers.  He had some infantry defend his left flank from attack by Tecumseh's Indians.

Richard Johnson was ordered to attack the British main line.  Johnson split his force into two battalions and planned to lead one against Tecumseh, while his younger brother, Lt. Col. James Johnson led the other against the British regulars

James Johnson's men charged down the River Road with Colonel George Paull's 27th U.S. Infantry in support.


The Battle of the Thames-- Part 2: Major General Isaac Shelby

Proctor's line was interrupted by a small swamp between the British regulars and Tecumseh's men.  Tecumseh lengthened his line into he swamp and pushed it forward so they could fire into the flank of the American force if it advanced on the regulars.

On October 5, Harrison approached with the U.S. 27th Infantry Regiment and a large corps of Kentucky volunteers led by Major General Isaac Shelby.  Shelby was a veteran of the American Revolution and had commanded troops at the Battle of King's Mountain in 1780 during that war.

There were also five brigades of infantry as well as Richard Johnson's 3rd Regiment of Mounted Riflemen.


Monday, September 11, 2017

In Observance of 9-11

In observance of 9-11, all seven of my working blogs will be dedicated to this sad moment in United States history.  (I still can't get my Second Civil War Again blog working.)

Sixteen years later, lest we forget.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Battle of the Thames-- Part 1: Chasing Proctor

With all the writing about Richard M. Johnson at this battle and other references, here is the Thought Co.  account of the battle.

After the Battle of Lake Erie, the British withdrew from Fort Malden, Upper Canada (near Detroit).  William Henry Harrison reoccupied Detroit and Sandwich.  He left garrisons at each and took his 3,700 men in pursuit of Proctor's British forces, pressing hard after him.

Proctor reached the Christian Native American settlement of Moraviantown on October 4, 1813, and turned to fight.  He had with him 1,300 men.  He placed his regulars, mostly of the 41st Regiment of Foot and one cannon on the left along the Thames River.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Richard M. Johnson-- Part 11: Honor For War Service

On April 4, 1818, by an Act of Congress, it was requested that the president of the United States present Richard Johnson with a sword in honor of his "daring and distinguished valor" at the Battle of the Thames.  This made him one of only 14 military officers presented a sword by Congress before the Civil War.

In August 1814, the British attacked, captured and burned down many buildings in Washington, D.C..  Congress formed a committee to investigate the circumstances and Richard Johnson became the chairman of it.  he delivered the committee's final report.

The Treaty of Ghent ended the war, even as Johnson was preparing to return to Kentucky to raise another military unit.

After the war, he turned his attention to issues like securing pensions for widows and orphans of the War of 1812 and funding internal improvements in the West.

I am only taking his story up to here, but it continues to be of interest after that.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Richard M. Johnson-- Part 10: The Battle of the Thames Marked the End of the War in the Northwest

Richard Johnson fell unconscious after the duel with Tecumseh and was taken from the battlefield,  He had been wounded five times and twenty other bullet hit his horse and gear.

But, the War in the Northwest was over after that.

William Henry Harrison withdrew to Detroit instead of following Henry Proctor's British force.  Johnson recovered from his battle scars except for a crippled hand.

He was still suffering from his wounds when he returned to the U.S. House of Representatives in February 1814.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Richard M. Johnson-- Part 9: Who Killed Tecumseh?

The Indians eventually broke and fled into the swamp.  During this time Tecumseh was killed.  Some say that Richard Johnson killed him, but others believe that someone else did.

Richard Johnson, though, was credited with killing Tecumseh and used that reputation to further his political career.  Indian reports after the battle had Tecumseh being killed by a man on horseback and Richard Johnson was one of the few men mounted in that part of the battlefield (he had his men dismount and Shelby's men were infantry.

Johnson had been wounded four times and had been shot in the shoulder by an Indian chief advancing toward him to tomahawk him (Tecumseh?).

But, Johnson then fired his pistol, killing the Indian instantly.  After the battle Tecumseh's body was found near Johnson's hat and scabbard and had been shot from above (from horseback) and hit by a round of what Johnson usually loaded into his pistol: 2 buckshot and a pistol ball.


Richard M. Johnson-- Part 8: The Battle of the Thames

Johnson's force was the first to attack at the Battle of the Thames.  One battalion under Johnson's older brother, James Johnson, engaged the 800 British regulars.  At the same time, the rest of Richard Johnson's battalion attacked 1500 Indians led by Tecumseh.

James Johnson's attack was aided by a heavy tree cover which broke up the British volley.  Three-fourths of the British regulars were killed or captured.

The Indians put up a much harder fight.  Richard Johnson ordered a suicide squad attack by 20 men who were to ride forward, draw the Indian fire and then Johnson would attack with the rest of his force as they were reloading.  But the ground in front of the Indians was too swampy for a cavalry attack so he ordered his men to dismount and hold the Indians where they were until Shelby's infantry came up and attacked.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Richard M. Johnson-- Part 7: Leading Up to the Battle of the Thames

The British, under General Henry Proctor withdrew to the northeast from Fort Malden.  Tecumseh and his warriors covered the British retreat.  Gen. Harrison's American troops stayed after him, with Richard Johnson's soldiers keeping the Indians occupied.

Johnson had been called back from a raid on the Kaskaskia Indians.  Johnson's cavalry defeated Tecumseh's main force on September 29 and captured the British supply trains on October 3 and this became one of the factors that caused Proctor to stop his retreat and make a stand and fight at the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813.

One of Johnson's slaves, Daniel Chinn, accompanied him.  I can't find out much about him, but he might have been Johnson's common-law wife's brother.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Richard M. Johnson-- Part 6: New Indian Fighting Tactics

He also developed a new tactical system for his troops.  Whenever a group of them encountered the enemy, they would dismount, take cover and hold the enemy in place.  All groups of his men not in contact with the enemy would then ride as quickly as possible to the sound of firing, dismount and surround the enemy.

Between May and September 1813, they raided throughout the Northwest, burning war supplies in Indian villages and surrounding Indian warriors and either killing and scattering them.

In September 1813, the Battle of Lake Erie took place and afterwards the Americans had control of Lake Erie.  The British Army was at Fort Malden (now Amherstville, Ontario) and out of supplies and cut off.


Richard M. Johnson-- Part 5: His Mounted Riflemen

Johnson returned to Congress in late fall 1812, after his unit was disbanded.  With his military experience fresh in his mind, he proposed a plan to defeat  the British Indian allies with mounted riflemen.  They could move quickly, carry their own supplies and live off the land and woods.

He submitted these plans to President Madison and Secretary of War John Armstrong.  They approved the plan and referred it to General William Henry Harrison.

He left Washington, D.C., just before Congress adjourned, went to Kentucky and raised 1,000 men for his mounted force.  These men and Johnson were officially under control of Kentucky Governor Isaac Shelby, but essentially operated independently.

Johnson put his force through much training, drill and discipline.