Wednesday, October 22, 2014

200 Years Ago: McArthur's Raid Into Upper Canada, Last Major Battle Fought on Canadian Soil

OCTOBER 22, 1814:  American Brigadier General Duncan McArthur set out from Detroit, Michigan territory, with a force of Ohio and Kentucky militia and First Nations allies to raid communities in southwestern Upper Canada, a no-man's land following the British defeats at the Battles of Lake Erie and the Thames in the fall of 1813.

Rumored to be planning an attack on Burlington Heights, a major British base on lake Ontario, the marauders destroyed private property such as mills during their march.  Hampered by rainy weather and swollen rivers, McArthur's force assaulted the settlement of Malcom's Mills..  The town's defenders, Oxford and Norfolk County militia, were scattered by McArthur's troops, who returned to Detroit following the incident.

This was the last battle fought on Canadian soil during the war.


200 Years Ago: Battle of Cook's Mills, Upper Canada

OCTOBER 19, 1814:  After ending the unsuccessful siege of Fort Erie, British Lieutenant-General and Lieutenant Governor Gordon Drummond withdrew his forces to a position to protect Chippawa Creek.  U.S, Major General George Izzard followed Drummond, but did not attack the British defenses.

Learning of a supply of wheat at Cook's Mills, Izzard sent a force under Brigadier General Daniel Bissell to Lyon's Creek where he clashed with a smaller British detachment commanded by Lt.Col. Christopher Myers.  The larger American force drove the British back and burned the mills.

Outnumbered, General Drummond refused to be drawn into a major battle.  This was the final confrontation on the Niagara River frontier during the War of 1812.

An End to One Area of Conflict.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Royal Navy Dockyard at Point Frederick, Kingston-- Part 3: HMS St. Lawrence

A problem facing Yeo was getting supplies, equipment and reinforcements as they all had to come down the St. Lawrence River where they were exposed to American attack.

He had permission to build a large warship, but greatly increased its size until it became a ship-of-the-line, the HMS St. Lawrence.  Construction on it began April 12, 1814 and it became designated as a first rate ship-of-the-line since it mounted 100 guns and was crewed by 800 men.

Thousands of trees were needed.  Some 5,750 for the hull alone.  Pine and spruce were used for the masts and spars.  Then, there was need for a vast amount of sails and rope for rigging.

It cost $500,000 and was launched September 10, 1814, with a crew of 1837.


Royal Navy Dockyard at Point Frederick, Kingston-- Part 2

Continued from October 14th.

The dockyard was not attacked much by the Americans and never captured.

During the War of 1812, especially in 1814, there was a huge shipbuilding war going on between the Americans and British.  That involved Kingston and the British Naval Dockyard there and the Americans at Sackets Harbor, New York.  Whoever got the most and biggest ships out on Lake Ontario, thereby controlled the lake.

British Commodore James Lucas Yeo arrived in Kingston on May 15, 1813, and became commander of the Great Lakes Fleet.  He wanted to continue British domination of sea power but faced a problem in that his ships mostly had shorter range carronades to use against the American long guns.

In sea battles, Americans would try to keep the distance great between them and the British ships as far as they could in order to maintain their superior firepower.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Battle in Illinois: Rock Island Rapids

A fated American expedition was sent up the Mississippi River to destroy a village and crops at Saukenuk, in present day northwest Illinois.
The expedition was attacked by over 1000 warriors and forced to retreat.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

200 Years Ago: Upper Canada and Maryland

OCTOBER 19TH, 1814:  Fighting at Cook's Mills-Lyons Creek in Upper Canada.

Also British raid at Castle Haven, Dorchester County, Maryland.


New England Thinking of Secession?

OCTOBER 18TH, 1814:  The Massachusetts General Court calls for a convention of New England states whose livelihood depends on British trade to coordinate a regional grievance against the federal government.  From December 15 to January 5, delegates from some of the New England states met in Hartford, Connecticut to discuss grievances against Washington, D.C. and to provide alternative solutions to talk of secession from New England radicals.

And, yet, 46 years later, New England was against secession of the the Southern states.


Friday, October 17, 2014

200 Years Ago: Treasury Secretary Dallas Calls on Congress for a National Bank

OCTOBER 17TH, 1814:  Treasury Secretary Alexander Dallas calls for Congress to establish a national bank to finance the war and to increase taxes ti help pay for it.

The Senate passed the bill on December 9, 1814.


Gen. Izard's Cut Off

OCTOBER 16TH, 1814:  General George Izard wrote a letter to Armstrong expressing his concerns about being cut off from supplies and reinforcements now that the British control Lake Ontario after the launch of the HMS St. Lawrence.  he is also afraid that Yeo's control of the lake might enable larger forces to be brought against him.

At this point, Izard is seriously considering withdrawing from Fort Erie.


Launched of the Steam Frigate USS Fulton (Demologos)

OCTOBER 16, 1814,  Launch of the frigate USS Fulton the First, in New York.  Originally named Demologos, but renamed the Fulton after Robert Fulton's death on February 24, 1815.

Robert Fulton was commissioned to apply his engineering skills and expertise to the defense of that place an New Yorkers believed their harbor was inadequately protected.  He designed a 150-foot long steam frigate/floating fort and Congress authorized its construction in March 1814 at a cost of $320,000.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

200 Years Ago: Izard Takes Command and Goes on the Offensive

OCTOBER 11TH, 1814:  General George Izard arrives at Fort Erie and relieves General Jacob Brown of command.  He learns that British forces under Drummond have just 2,500 to oppose his 8,000 and begins an immediate advance.

OCTOBER 15TH, 1864:  General Izard skirmished with Drummond at Chippawa Creek and establishes camp at Street's Creek.  While here, he learns that the American Navy under Chauncey had lost control of Lake Ontario because of the launch of the HMS St. Lawrence.

He then stops his advance and returns to Fort Erie, Upper Canada (Ontario).


200 Years Ago: Launch of the HMS St. Lawrence

OCTOBER 10, 1814:  Kingston Navy Dockyard launched the 3-deck ship-of-the-line HMS St. Lawrence, but it was too late to see action during the war.  Well, it could have, but the Americans would not challenge it.

It was bigger than Nelson's HMS Victory and the largest sailing warship ever on fresh water.  It gave the British control of Lake Ontario.


200 Years Ago: Skirmish at Chippawa Creek

OCTOBER 15TH, 1814:  Skirmish at Chippawa Creek, Upper Canada.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Royal Naval Dockyard at Point Frederick-- Part 1

The HMS St. Lawrence was a magnificent ship, the largest warship ever to see the Great Lakes during the Age of Sail.  It was built at Kingston, Upper Canada, at the Royal Navy Dockyard and was too large for the Americans to attack and gave the British undeniable control of Lake Ontario.

The Naval Dockyard was established in 1789 as the Provincial Marine and then became the Royal Naval Dockyard at Point Frederick.  Warships such as sloops, frigates and gunboats were built there as well as the ship-of-the-line St. Lawrence.

The RMC is now located at the dockyard.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, October 13, 2014

USS Wasp (1814)-- Part 4: Battle With the HMS Reindeer

On 28 June 1814, the USS Wasp met up with and fought the HMS Reindeer some 225 miles west of Plymouth, England.  The Reindeer was a Cruizer-class brig-sloop like the HMS Nimrod.

The fight only lasted a hard-fought 19 minutes with both ships exchanging murderous grape and solid shot at short distance.  The Reindeer's crew tried to board the Wasp on two occasions, but were repulsed.  Then the Wasp's crew did the same and carried the day.

The Wasp received six hits to its hull and had damage to its rigging but was still able to sail.  The Reindeer had 25 killed, including its captain, Commander William Manner and 42 wounded.  The prisoners were taken on board and the Reindeer set on fire and eventually exploded.

The Wasp then sailed for L'Orient, France and captured the Regulator on July 4th and the Jenny and July 6th.

--Still Another Voyage to Come.  --Brock-Perry

USS Wasp (1814)-- Part 3: First Raiding Voyage


The USS Wasp (1814) captured five ships before engaging the HMS Reindeer in a really hard-fought battle.


June 2, 1814:  Neptune-- burned
June 13: William--  burned
June 18:  Pallas--  scuttled
June 23:  Henrietta--  put prisoners on board
June 26:  Orange Boven--  scuttled

It met and fought the HMS Reindeer on 28 June 1814.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ships By the Name USS Wasp

From Wikipedia.

There have been eleven ships serving in the U.S, Navy by the name USS Wasp.  One is still serving.  Four of them were in the War of 1812.

**  First USS Wasp (1775)--  merchant schooner purchased by the Continental Navy in late 1775.  destroyed in 1777.

The USS Wasps of the War of 1812:

**  Second USS Wasp (1807)--  Sloop constructed in 1806 and captured by the British.

**  Third USS Wasp (1810)--  Schooner built in 1810 and sold in 1814.

**  Fourth USS Wasp (1813)  Sloop chartered in 1813 and returned to her owners in 1814.

**  Fifth USS Wasp (1814)  Rigged Sloop-of-War constructed in 1813 and lost at sea in a storm.  This is the one I'll be writing about next week.

There have been six USS Wasps since the War of 1812, including two famous aorcraft carriers and there is one still serving.

Altogether, there have been eleven ships in the I.S. Navy to bear the illustrious name.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Ships By the Name USS Wasp

From Wikipedia.

There is bound to be some confusion as to my labels for the USS Wasp as there were three other USS Wasps during the War of 1812.  I will be using the date of 1814 to delineate this particular one.

Many of the earlier labels refer to USS Wasp (1807) which defeated the HMS Frolic but then was captured by a ship-of-the-line which arrived at the battle.  It later became the HMS Loup Cervier and later te HMS Peacock.


USS Wasp (1814)-- Part 2

The USS Wasp was constructed in 1813 in Newburyport, Massachusetts by Cross & Merrill and commissioned in early 1814, commanded by Master Commandant Johnston Blakely.

The ship remained at Portsmouth, New Hampshire until late spring then put to sea May 1, 1814, to cruise to the western approaches to the English Channel to attack British shipping.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

One Ship, Several Owners

An interesting account from the Niles Register concerning a ship captured by the American privateer brig General Armstrong.

"SHIFTING OWNERS!:  The prize schooner to the General Armstrong (lately arrived at an Eastern Port) was formerly the Matilda, American privateer.  She was captured on the Brazil coast, some months since, by the Lion. British privateer ship of 28 guns, after severe action, recaptured going into England by the late U.S. Brig Argus, recaptured going into France by a British 74 (74-gun ship-of-the-line), and again recaptured by the American privateer Armstrong."

One Owner, two owner, Four.  --Brock-Perry