Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What the Hull?-- Part 1: "Fame and Infamy

From the December15, 2015, Valley Independent Sentinel by Patricia Villers.

The War of 1812 was a mixed bag for the Hulls of the Valley.

Derby native Commodore Isaac Hull became famous as the commander of the frigate USS Constitution, but a campaign led by his uncle William Hull to take Canada from the British culminated in debacle and nearly got him hanged.

A presentation was made at the Derby Historical Society by Carolyn Ivanoff titled "Fame and Infamy for the Hulls of Derby in 1812."

Isaac Hull was born in Derby in 1773 on Commerce Street.  He received great acclaim for his battle with the British frigate HMS Guerriere.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Fort Washington-- Part 4: Use in World War II

A concrete platform in front of the fort directed the fire of cannons built on disappearing carriages.  Many of these were later removed and shipped to France to be used as railroad artillery during World War I.

In 1939, Fort Washington was classified as obsolete without guns.  It was transferred to the Department of the Interior to be developed as a park.  But during World War II the fort was temporarily put back into military service.

In 1946, the temporary World War II-era administrative buildings were torn down and visitor facilities expanded.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fort Washington-- Part 3: Mines and Mortars

Due to ironclad battleship design in the 1870s and 1880s, Secretary of War William Endicott lobbied for a new system of coastal defense.  In 1890, a casemate was added alongside the fort.  Technicians in this reinforced bunker could electronically fire off underwater mines strung across the Potomac.

New offensive armament was also installed.  New 12-inch mortars were installed at Battery Meigs which could direct a plunging fire at the thinly protected decks of the new warships.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Fort Washington-- Part 2: A Progression of Fort Architecture

It was quickly rebuilt after the war at the request of President Monroe.

Famed architect Pierre L'Enfant oversaw construction of the new brick and masonry fort in the shape of a star.  It had two layers of triangular bastions for overlapping cannon and musket fire.   Its guns were either inside the walls or on the top of the parapet.

The fort remained that way through the Civil War.

It was continually expanded upon in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Looking at the fort, one can see the continuous progression of generations of military fort defensive architecture.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Fort Washington-- Part 1: Defender of Washington, D.C.

From the December 30, 2016, Atlas Obscura.

Built on the Potomac River downriver from Washington, D.C. to guard the southern approaches to the U.S. capital city.  At one time, it was the only defensive fort for that city.

In the War of 1812, 4,000 British soldiers (so-called Waterloo Men for their recent service against Napoleon) landed on the Patuxent River and marched in a wide arc around Fort Washington.

Three days later, British warships bombarded the fort.  Its commander, Captain Dyson and his small garrison retreated and blew up the fort's magazine thus destroying the fort.  He later received a court martial for this action.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Battle of New Orleans' Ephraim Brank-- Part 9: "The Ballad of Ephraim Brank"

Ephraim McLean Brank

Even though the British officer evidently took Ephraim Brank to be a man of the frontier, and one used to hard living, Brank actually lived in a very comfortable house in Greenville.

He was promoted to lieutenant after the battle.  The very spot he stood upon at the Battle of New Orleans is not known as Line Jackson was completely dismantled.

"The Ballad of Ephrain Brank" was composed in his honor.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Anniversary of Isaac Hull's Death Today

While doing research of William Hull and Isaac Hull today, I found that War of 1812 American hero Isaac Hull died on February 13, 1843, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

He was the commander of the USS Constitution in her famous battle with the HMS Guerriere.


Battle of New Orleans' Ephraim Brank-- Part 8: That British Killer

As the British soldiers got closer to Line Jackson, the battlefield increasingly became shrouded with smoke and they felt great pleasure in knowing at least they were also could not be seen by Brank.

One of their officers described Ephrain Brank as "...a tall man standing on the breastworks, dressed in linsey-woolsey, with buckskin leggings and a broad-brimmed hat that fell around his face almost concealing his features.

"He was standing in one of those picturesque graceful attitudes peculiar in those natural men dwelling in forests."


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Battle of New Orleans' Ephraim Brank-- Part 7: "Some Great Spirit of Death"

It is not known how many of the British casualties were the result of Ephraim Brank's deadly rifle fire.

After the battle, a British officer said that Brank was clearly visible, standing alone on the American breastworks where, "He seemed to grown, phantom-like, higher and higher, assuming, through the smoke, the supernatural appearance of some great spirit of death.

"Again did he reload and discharge and reload and discharge his rifle, with the same unfailing unfailing aim, and the same unfailing result."

A British Soldiers' Worst Nightmare.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, February 10, 2017

Battle of New Orleans' Ephraim Brank-- Part 6: A British Disaster

Five thousand British soldiers charged the American line with fixed bayonets and were mowed down by fire.  they regrouped, charged again and again were mowed down.

In just 30 minutes, the British lost 285 killed, 1,265 wounded and 484 captured or missing.

The British commander, General Sir Edward Pakenham was among the dead.  His body was sealed in a barrel of rum and transported to London for burial at St. Paul's Cathedral.

Meanwhile, American losses were 13 dead, 30 wounded and 19 captured or missing.


The Battle of New Orleans' Ephraim Brank-- Part 5: Standing at "Line Jackson"

Ephraim Brank was one of several Kentukians in Andrew Jackson's hodge-podge army made up of Louisiana, Tennessee and Kentucky militiamen, frontiersmen, regular soldiers, sailors, Marines, free blacks, Indians, local volunteers, inmates from city jails and pirates, who stood to fight a larger force of trained British soldiers intent on capturing New Orleans in January 1815.

They dug in behind the 15-foot wide, 8 feet deep, 3,010 foot long Rodriguez Canal running from a swamp to the Mississippi River at Chalmette.

From this line, Jackson's men had a clear line of fire and called their position Line Jackson.  Their works consisted of dirt, barrels of sugar, cotton bales and timbers.


The Battle of New Orleans' Ephraim Brank-- Part 4: Greatly Honored in Greenville, Kentucky

There is a Brank Historic Exhibit at the county public Genealogy and Local History Annex.   There is a historically accurate Kentucky long rifle and powder horn as well as a cardboard cutout of Brank.

He is buried on an honored spot at the Old Greenville Cemetery, close to city hall and the state has a historic marker there.  In addition, there is a "Lt. Ephraim Brank Memorial Trail."

Brank was born in North Carolina in 1791 and settled in Muhlenberg County about 1808 and was regarded as a crack shot.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Battle of New Orleans' Ephraim Brank-- Part 3

After the battle, Ephraim Brank returned to Greenville, the county seat of Muhlenberg, Kentucky.  His comrades from the battle told of him standing atop the battlements of Chalmette plantation, southeast of New Orleans and gunning down the British as calmly as if he were bagging squirrels in western Kentucky.

Two soldiers kept loading and reloading rifles and handing them to the 24-year-old soldier.  He never missed, or so it is told.

Branl later became a lawyer, land surveyor and a farmer.

There is a Brank Street in Greenville and a live-sized bronze statue at the veterans Mall at the court.  His rifle reportedly used that day outside of New Orleans is also there.

His statue is the only War of 1812 one in Kentucky.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Battle of New Orleans' Ephraim Brank-- Part 2: War Hawks

Even though the Treaty of Ghent, ending the war, had been signed near the end of 1814, the war wasn't officially over until the United States Senate ratified it and it was signed by President Madison.  Because of the slowness of travel, that didn't happen until February 16, when the Senate ratified it.  President Madison signed it the next day.

The war ended, essentially, in a tie.  Both sides were where they were at the beginning.

But, it was over.

Kentucky's Henry Clay was a leader of Congress's War Hawks, meaning those pushing for a war with Britain.  They were especially strong on the western states where the British stood in the way of expansion plans with their backing of the Indian resistance.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Battle of New Orleans' Ephraim Brank-- Part 1: The War Is Over, Or Was It?

From the January 9, 2017, Ky Forward "Old Time Kentucky: Bluegrass sharpshooter Ephraim Brank hero of New Orleans, never missed his mark" by Berry Craig.

This is another War of 1812 person I'd never heard of before.

Ephraim Brank, from Muhlenberg County, Kentucky was a hero to the Americans at the Battle of New Orleans.  But to the British, he was "Some Great Spirit of Death."

A British officer recalled:  "We lost the battle, and to my mind, that Kentucky rifleman contributed more to our defeat than anything else."

The Battle of New Orleans was fought on January 8, 1815.  The bloodiest battle in the war and fought even after it was over.  The Treaty of Ghent had been signed on Christmas Eve, 1814, in Belgium and Henry Clay of Kentucky had been a part of it.


War of 1812 Battlesite Cleared

From the January 24, 2017, Fort Madison (Iowa) Daily democrat "Volunteers move earth at War of 1812 battlefield site" by Jeff Hunt.

Right now, volunteers are hauling asphalt, but eventually, the cost of the project is expected to be $500,000.  This is the second phase of the North Lee County Historical Society's plan to restore Old Fort Madison.

Trucking firms have volunteered to remove the asphalt from the site.  After that, a lot of dirt will be needed.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Five Things About President Andrew Jackson-- Part 2: For "The Common Man"

1.  The Battle of New Orleans made him famous.

2.  He preached about helping "the common man."  He also rode a populist wave into office.

3.  Wasn't interested in helping Indians.  he was ruthless against them and caused the Indian Removal Act.

4.  He was very much against a national banking system.

5.  He was lucky to be alive, often injured in duels and had many diseases.


Andrew Jackson to Come Off $20 Bill, But Goes Up in Oval Office-- Part 1

From the January 25, 2017, Time "5 Things to Know About the President Whose Portrait Donald Trump Chose for the Oval Office" by Olivia B. Waxman.

On January 21, 2017, President Donald Trump picked the portrait of Andrew Jackson to be hung in the Oval Office in the White House.  President Trump has expressed an admiration for the 7th president whom he has called "an amazing figure in American history, very unique in so many ways."

Jackson is the only president to have served in both the American Revolution and War of 1812.  He is a military hero, slave owner, lawyer, judge and planter.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Hull's Trail

There is another marker a half mile away from the one I mentioned in the last post.

"This Tablet Marks Hull's Trail, 1812."

"On-half mile south of this site is the site of Old Fort McArthur.  Built in 1812 on yonder hillside.  General Tupper and 1,000 men camped the entire winter of 1812-1813.

"At the foot  of the hill is their "Spring of Good Water."  near here are buried sixteen soldiers who died in camp."

This marker was constructed by the Fort McArthur Daughters of the American Revolution.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Fort McArthur, Ohio

From HMdb. org.

Marker:  "Approximately 1000 feet east of this marker lles the graves of sixteen soldiers from Fort McArthur who gave their lives during the War of 1812.  The fort, a one-half acre timber stockade containing huts, was built in the summer of 1812 to guard the Scioto River crossing of General Hull's "Trace" to Detroit.

"Construction of the fort was under command of future Ohio governor, Colonel Duncan McArthur."