Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ezra Dean and the Sept. 17, 1814, American Sortie at Fort Erie-- Part 3

From Wikipedia.

I was unable to find out exactly what Ezra Dean's brave and gallant service was at the battle, so looked up the battle and sortie to get an idea what Dean might have done.

The Battle of Fort Erie, Upper Canada, was one of the last and largest engagements of the War of 1812.


On September 15, the British completed work on their Battery No. 3 at the western end of their siege line against Fort Erie.  This battery would enable them to enfilade the American defenses of the fort.  They could not be allowed to stay in this new battery, so at noon September 17th, American Brigadier General Porter's force of volunteers from the militia and 23rd U.S. Infantry (Dean was in the 11th U.S. Infantry).

Altogether the force consisted of around 1600 men.  They moved along a trail that led behind the British fortifications under the cover of a heavy rain and surprised them, capturing Battery No. 3

At the same moment, recently promoted Brigadier General James Miller led a detachment from the 9th, 11th and 19th U.S. Infantry Regiments along a ravine and attacked the center of the British line.  Attacked from both front and back, the British in the center Battery No. 2 also were captured.

More to Come. --Brock-Perry

Friday, September 19, 2014

Ezra Dean's Brave Conduct At the Sortie-- Part 2

Ezra Dean was appointed an ensign in the Army at age 19.  (I thought ensign was a Navy rank.)    He received honors for his brave and gallant service at the September 17, 1814, sortie by Americans from  Fort Erie, Upper Canada.  He was also at the Battles of Chippawa and Bridgewater and his regiment was in the advance at Queenstown Heights later in September 1814.

All of this came before he was even at the age of 20.

At the close of the war, he was put in command of a revenue cutter in Lake Champlain for two years.

He resigned after that and was assigned to the corps of government engineers and spent several years establishing the boundary lines between Maine and the province of New Brunswick, Canada.


200 Years Ago: Part of British Invasion Force Leaves Maine

SEPTEMBER 18TH, 1814:  Half of the British invasion force departs from the District of Maine for Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ezra Dean's Brave Conduct at Yesterday's Sortie-- Part 1

From Find-A-Grave.

I accidentally came upon this name earlier this week while writing about the song "Lorena" in my Saw the Elephant Civil War blog.  "Lorena" was  a poem written by Henry DeLafayette Webster about his broken engagement to the love of his life Ella who later married an Ohio lawyer and Ohio Supreme Court justice.

She is buried at Woodland Cemetery in Ironton, Ohio.  When I went to the cemetery side on Find-A-Grave, I went through the notable burials and came across Ezra Dean's name who received a promotion to lieutenant in the American Army on October 11, 1814,  for his gallant service at the Battle of Fort Erie in Upper Canada (Ontario).

Further research showed his gallantry took place on the September 17th sortie against the British.

He had been appointed an ensign in the 11th U.S. Infantry earlier in the war.

After the war, he was elected a U.S. representative from Ohio's 18th District and served 1841-1845.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

American Sortie at Fort Erie 200 Years Ago Today.

September 17, 1814:  American attack of the British artillery batteries besieging Fort Erie, Upper Canada.

Heavy autumn rains made life miserable for the poorly sheltered British and Canadians besieging Fort Erie.  Sickness decimated their ranks.  On September 16th, Lt. Governor Gordon Drummond decided to end the siege, but the next day, the Americans attacked the British batteries.

After a fierce two hour battle, the Americans fell back to the fort.

Each side lost about 500 men.


Attack on Fort Bowyer (Mississippi Territory)

SEPTEMBER 15, 1814:  Unsuccessful British on American Fort Bowyer.  Two British sloops and a detachment of Royal Marines from Pensacola attacked the fort at the mouth of Mobile Bay, near where Fort Morgan of Civil War fame stands today.


John Cassin, USN-- Part 3

Near the turn of the century, it became necessary to increase the size of the U.S. Navy because of the Barbary Pirates and other threats to American shipping.  That meant, officers and sailors were needed.

John Cassin enlisted in the Navy as a lieutenant and on April 6, 1806, was promoted to master commandant and became the second to command the Washington Navy Yard.  On July 3, 1812, he became a captain, the then'highest naval rank.

In the War of 1812, he initially led naval forces in Delaware for the protection of Philadelphia and later became commanding officer of the Norfolk Navy Yard from August 10, 1812, to June 1, 1821.  On that date he became the commanding officer of the Southern Naval Station at Charleston, South Carolina.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

John Cassin, USN-- Part 2

From Find-A-Grave

John Cassin was born July 9, 1760 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and died March 24, 1822 in Charleston, S.C., and is buried at St. Mary of the Annunciation Cemetery in that city.

Cassin was a commodore in the U.S. Navy and fought in the Army during the American the Battle of Trenton.  On June 27, 1782, he became first mate on the Pennsylvania privateer Mayflower.  After the war he became a merchant seaman and was shipwrecked twice.

George Washington was a close personal friend of his and gave him a portrait but unfortunately, it was destroyed in a fire.


Monday, September 15, 2014

A Star-Spangled Celebration-- Part 2

There was a fire works display Saturday and Friiday, President Obama visited Fort McHenry and saw an original manuscript of the poem.

This weekend is the anniversary of the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812's Battle of Baltimore on Sept. 13-14, 1814.  At dawn on the 14th, Francis Scott Key was pretty proud to see the U.S. flag flting high and proud over the fort.  Being an amateur poet, he was moved to put his feelings down on paper.

Key was on a British ship at the time, part of an American delegation negotiating for the release of a prisoner.  He and the others were kept aboard a British ship until after the battle as they had learned of British plans.  They were allowed to return to Baltimore on Sept. 14 and he wrote the poem "Defence of Fort McHenry," which he published on Sept. 20, 1814.

And Jose Was Never the Same Afterwards.  --Brock-Perry

A Star-Spangled Celebration-- Part 1

From the September 14, 2014, Chicago Tribune "Unflagging tribute to battle and U.S. anthem" by Michael Muskal.

Americans celebrated this weekend as it was the 200th anniversary of the British attack on Baltimore's Fort McHenry which gave rise to the nation's National Anthem as written by Francis Scott Key and later put to music of a British song praising drinking and sex.

"Oh, say what?"

"Yes, the song that has been the nation's musical glue through war and peace and the song that has been the bane of singers of all ages and creeds and led to performances, both tragic and mesmerizing, yes, that songs is celebrating a milestone birthday."

And, Baltimore, the birthplace of the anthem, is having a celebratory even drawing lots of tourists and is in the middle of its seven-day "Star-Spangled Spectacular," with tall ships, re-enactments and fire works.  Hey, it was the "Rockets' Red Flare" after all.  By the way, back then these were Congreve Rockets, by the way.


Rutherford Rifle Returns to Hampton-- Part 2

Ensign James Banks, in a letter written in September 1813, wrote, "On the morning of the 25th of June last, when the alarm was given, I left my commission (rifle) in my tent and consequently, it fell into the hands of the Enemy."

It was another 150 years before the rifle was returned to America, stamped with the mark of the 115th Regiment which fought at Hampton.  However, historians can't be sure this is the same rifle Ensign Banks wrote about.  Either way, it is one of the few remnants still left from the battle.

The Hampton History Museum opened in 2003 and borrowed it from Richmond, Virginia, collector B. Giles Cromwell and is now on permanent exhibit.

Mike Cobb, curator of the museum, said, "The story is the odyssey.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Rutherford Rifle Returns to Hampton-- Part 1

From the July 25, 2004, Hampton Roads (Va,) Daily Press by Sanhita Sen.

On June 25, 1813, Hampton, Virginia, was under attack.  Cannons were firing and Congreve rockets filled the air.  It was 500 "loosely trained" Virginia militia facing 2,500 seasoned British.

But, the Americans had 75 Rutledge rifles which were far superior to the British muskets.  Even so, the Americans were still defeated.  The American commander, Captain Richard Servant, made every effort to take the 75 Rutledge rifles off the field, but, evidently, one eluded him.


Friday, September 12, 2014

200 Years Ago: Battle of North Point and Bombardment of Baltimore

SEPTEMBER 11, 1814:    British capture Fort O'Brien and Machias, District of Maine.

SEPTEMBER 12-15, 1814:  Also the death of British Major General Robert Ross.

After sacking Washington, D.C., British commanding officer Robert Ross led a force of roughly 4,000 men north to Baltimore.  On 12 September, during the Battle of North Point, Ross was mortally wounded;  Colonel Arthur Brooke then assumed command and defeated Brigadier General John Stricker's 3,200 American troops.

The British advanced until they came upon recently prepared fortifications around Baltimore.  Judging the defenses too strong to be attacked, the British withdrew.

Meanwhile, Vice-Admiral Alexander Cochrane led an unsuccessful naval attack on Fort McHenry.  The spectacle inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner."

As for Ross. his comrades preserved his body in rum and sent it to Halifax, Nova Scotia, for burial, where his remains received a hero's welcome.


John Cassin, USN-- Part 1

Earlier this week I wrote about the Battle of Newport News Point and mentioned the commander of the Norfolk Navy Yard, John Cassin.  I have a great interest on Pearl Harbor and remembered the famous photo of the destroyers Cassin and Downes wrecked in the drydock with the USS Pennsylvania after the attack.  Was this USS Cassins named after John Cassin..

It turns out it wasn't, it was named after his son, Stephen.


Battle of Craney Island Bicentennial Mural in Portsmouth, Virginia

From 2013 WAVY, NBC.

Cedar Grove Cemetery on Effingham Street in Portsmouth has the graves of 47 War of 1812 veterans and a mural is being painted along the cemetery wall depicting Captain Arthur Emmerson leading his soldiers to victory at the Battle of Craney Island.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Give Back on 9/11: Charities Honoring Those Who Died

From the Sept. 7, 2014, Parade Magazine.

These three charities honor victims of the attacks.

THE BETTY ANN ONG FOUNDATION:  Established in memory of a flight attendant on Flight 11, helps overweight kids gain confidence and lead healthier lives.

THE SHELLEY A. MARSHALL FOUNDATION:  Funds nursing home tea parties, children's story hours and other events to commemorate Marshall, who worked in the Pentagon.

THE MICHAEL LYNCH MEMORIAL FOUNDATION:  Had granted $4.6 million in scholarships in honor of Lynch. a New York firefighter who died in the south tower.

9-11, 200 Years Ago: Battle of the Bay of Plattsburg, New York

On this 13th anniversary of the tragedy of 9-11, another event took place in American history which was indeed a turning-point.  The Battle of Plattsburgh (Plattsburg) and Battle of Lake Champlain in New York.

Governor General Sir George Prevost's Lake Champlain Campaign, begun in late August 1814, culminated in a joint land and naval assault on Plattsburg, New York.

Complying with Prevost's orders, Captain George Downie sailed his squadron of ships into Lake Champlain to engage Captain Thomas Macdonough's fleet anchored in Plattsburg Bay.  Adverse winds prevented Downie's ships from maneuvering into position and put them in close range of the damaging U.S. broadsides.

Downie was killed and after fierce fighting, the British fleet surrendered.

Meanwhile, Prevost, commanding 10,351 of the Duke of Wellington's veterans, made a brief attack on Brigadier General Alexander Macomb's force of roughly 3,000 men, but quickly withdrew his troops to Lwer Canada.

The humiliating and costly defeat for the British resulted in Prevost being recalled to England to explain his actions.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

200 Years Ago: Ship of the Line HMS St. Lawrence Launched on Great Lakes

SEPTEMBER 9TH, 1814:  A British flotilla gathers near Chazy, New York, on Lake Champlain.  The pivotal Battle of Plattsburg was the two days later.

SEPTEMBER 10TH, 1814:  Launch of the ship of the line HMS St. Lawrence, the largest warship on the Great Lakes in the Age of Sail, at Kingston, Upper Canada.

The contest for supremacy on the Great Lakes continued to intensify as the British and American navies raced to construct the most powerful fleets.  Commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo gained undisputed control of
Lake Ontario in October when he sailed out of Kingston in his new flagship, the HMS St. Lawrence, launched this day.

It was a three-decked warship mounting 102 cannons.  This was a viable counter to three U.S. ships being built at Sackets Harbor.

The St. Lawrence epitomized the "shipbuilders war" and the extraordinary logistical and financial investments by the British since almost all materials and ordnance used to build warships at Kingston came across the Atlantic Ocean from England to Quebec City and Montreal, Lower Canada.  From there, supplies were transported by bateaux up the St. Lawrence River.


Battle Off Newport News-- Part 4

On Gunboat No. 139, a master's mate from the USS Constellation was killed by a cannonball.  Several of the other boats reported wounded as well as damaged oars and rigging.

Norfolk residents were awakened by this dawn battle and went to the waterfront to watch the action.

Having regular Navy men on the gunboats made a big difference in their handling and firing. (Evidently, the gunboats were usuallu manned by militia.)

Captain Joseph Tarbell broke off the action at 6 a.m..

On the British side, one Royal Marine was killed and several sailors wounded.  American newspapers reported 70 casualties.  The HMS Junon had several hull hits and its sails and rigging cut up.  Its commander, James Sanders ordered a pursuit, but the American gunboats got over the shoals and the British ship stopped.


Battle Off Newport News Point-- Part 3

Meanwhile the HMS Junon had become separated from the other British ships by a mile.  On the 19th, Cassin sent his gunboats out again, this time under the command of Captain Joseph Tarbell.

The gunboats split into two divisions and struggled against squalls, adding hours to the operation.  By the next morning, Tarbell was 3/4 mile from the Junon and opened fire, hitting the British ship four times in its hull.  The British ship was caught completely by surprise.

It slipped its cable to escape, but became becalmed, but the wind returned, turning the tables and the rest of the British fleet began sailing to aide the Junon.  The gunboats were outgunned, but fought on valiantly for more than an hour.

One American said his boat was hit three times and he counted "six or seven hundred shot" from the enemy guns.