Tuesday, April 15, 2014

War of 1812 Timeline: April 1814

APRIL 15TH, 1814: Captain Arthur Sinclair receives orders to take command of the American squadron on Lake Erie, replacing Master Commandant Jesse Elliott who is given command of a warship on Lake Ontario. ///// APRIL 19TH, 1814: Lt.Col. Robert McDouall and a contingent of British soldiers and sailors depart Glengarry Landing, Upper Canada, to reinforce Fort Mackinac, Michigan Territory. //// --Brock-Perry

USS Saratoga and Battle of Plattsburgh-- Part 2

Thomas Macdonough sailed back south and anchored his fleet in a strategically superior position causing British ships to have a slow approach against the wind in such a fashion that they couldn't bring many of their guns to bear. //// He also dropped kedge anchors and arranged spring lines so he could turn his ships so alternately, his starboard and then port guns could be brought to bear. //// When the British assault began down Lake Champlain, crack British troops were rushed from Europe and were able to force American sokldiers southward on the west shore of Lake Champlain. //// The Saratoga primarily battled the Confiance and when her starboard huns were lost, swung around with its port guuns and forced the also battered Confiance to surrender. Next to surrender was the HMS Linnert. By then, the battle was over and an American victory. The British troops retreated and the U.S. was left in control of Lake Champlain. //// --Brock-Perry

Monday, April 14, 2014

Master Commandant: In Case You're Wondering

From Wikipedia. //// Everytime I see Thomas Macdonough's name, I also see him as a master commandant, a naval rank I am not very familiar with. Looked it up. //// A Master Commandant was a rank in the early U.S. Navy that was much higher that that of lieutenant and usually given command of warships much smaller than those for a full captain to command. In 1838, it was shortened to commander. (I had thought master comandant referred to the commander of a naval base.) //// The early U.S. Navy had tbree "grades" of officers in charge of warships: lieutenants, master commandants and captains. A master commandant was roughly the equivalent of a master or commander in the Royal Navy. //// So, Now You Know. --Brock-Perry

Macdonough's Flagship: the USS Saratoga-- Part 1

From Wikipedia. //// I mentioned that the USS Saratoga was launched April 11, 1814, at vergennes, Vermont, to be added to Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough's Lake Champlain fleet. //// A follow-up on the ship. //// The USS Saratoga was classified as a 143-foot corvette, mounting 26 guns with a crew of 212 and 734 tons. It didn't take long to build as it was just laid down March 7th. The addition of this ship put the American's ahead in the naval construction race on Lake Champlain. //// Macdonough took it to blockade Richilieu. //// The British fleet was upriver at Ile aux Noix where the 36-gun frigate HMS Confiance was rapidly built. This was the largest warship ever to sail on Lake Champlain. //// --Brock-Perry

Saturday, April 12, 2014

War of 1812 Timeline: April 1814: Ships Launched on Both Sides

APRIL 13TH, 1814: Americans launch the brig USS Jones at Sackets Harbor, New York, adding to Commodore Isaac Chauncey's Lake Ontario squadron. //// APRIL 14TH, 1814: HMS Prince Regent and HMS Charlotte are launched at Kingston, Upper Canada. These two frigates help Commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo gain control of Lake Ontario for a period during the 1814 navigation center. //// --Brock-Perry

USS Jefferson

Wikipedia. //// In the last post, I mentioned the USS Jefferson being launched at Sackets Harbor, NY, on April 7, 1814. Some more information on it. //// It was a brig with 160 crew, 117 feet long and 20 cannons. Its crew had formerly been on the USS Erie, which was blockaded in Baltimore, and captained by Cmdr. Charles G. Ridgely. //// After completion, it sailed with Isaac Chauncey and blockaded off Niagara and Kingston. While sailing to Kingston, a big storm on September 12th almost swamped the ship, forcing them to throw ten of its guns overboard. It remained off Kingston to November and then returned to Sackets Harbor and placed in ordinary where it remained because of the end of the war. It was sold in 1825. //// --Brock-Perry

Friday, April 11, 2014

War of 1812 Timeline for April 1814 Launch of the USS Jefferson and Saratoga

APRIL 7, 1814: Americans launch the brig USS Jefferson at Sackets Harbor, New York, adding to Commodore Isaac Chauncey's Lake Ontario squadron. //// APRIL 9, 1814: The remaining 98 men and officers of 2nd Battalion 8th (or king's) Regiment sail from New Brunswick to Quebec. //// APRIL 11TH, 1814: The American ship Saratoga (26 guns) is launched at Vergennes, Vermont, increasing Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough's Lake Champlain fleet. //// --Brock-Perry

War of 1812 Timeline for April, 1814: Napoleon's Abdication Really Bad News for Americans

APRIL 1, 1814: Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane was appointed to command the Royal Navy's North American Station. //// APRIL 4TH: French emperor Napoleon abdicates, enabling the British to send more men and ships to North America. This was a really bad thing for the United States. //// After Napolean's defeat, Britain picked up its pace on all North American fronts. With more ships available, Cochrane increased pressure on the Chesapeake and extended the blockade northward to include all of the New England states. This extension stiffled the licensed trade and Halifax merchants loudly protested. Meanwhile, New Brunswick counteroparts were deeply involved in smuggling with Americans. //// Cochrane ignored the protests, but, even with more ships, was unable to effectively seal the increased blockaded areas, especially in New England where smuggling was rampant. //// --Brock-Perry

Whitehall, New York: Birthplaceof the U.S. Navy

From Wikipedia. //// In the last post, I mentioned that after its capture, the HMS Linnert was taken to Whitehall, New York, repaired and taken into the U,S, Navy. Later, it was placed inordinary there before being sold. I have, on occasion, come across the name of this place in the War of 1812. //// It is located just south of the point where the Vermont border connects to the south end of Lake Champlain and founded in 1759. //// In 1776, American General Philip Schuyler built a small fleet of ships here which were used by General Benedict Arnold at the Battle of Valcour Island in October. Ever since then, Whitehall has claimed the title of Birthplace of the U.S. Navy. //// The vessels that survived the battle were destroyed here to prevent capture. Later, British General John Burgoyne led his forces through the area during his Saratoga Campaign. //// During the War of 1812, the American ships which fought at the famous Battle of Lake Champlain were built here. //// --Brock-Perry

Thursday, April 10, 2014

HMS Linnert

From Wikipedia. //// As mewntioned in the previous post, the HMS Linnert was launched this month in 1814. It was a 16-gun brig launched at Ile aux Noir, Lower Canada under the command of Cmdr. Daniel Pring, RN. It was originally to have been named the HMS Niagara and served in Lake Champlain. //// At the September 1814 Battle of Lake Champlain where it engaged and heavily damaged the American 18-gun brig USS Eagle before Macdonough's flagship, USS Saratoga raked her and forced a surrender with 10 killed and 15 wounded. //// It was repaired and taken into American service as the USS Linnert, but by then the war had ended and it was placed in ordinary in Whitehall, New York, and later sold in 1825. //// --Brock-Perry

War of 1812 Timeline-- April 1814: Launch of HMS Linnet

OTHER APRIL 1814 EVENTS. //// Major General James Wilkinson's army retreats to Plattsburg, New York. ///// The HMS Linnet is launched at the navy yard at Ile aux Noix, Lower Canada. //// --Brock-Perry

War of 1812 Timeline, April 1814-- Part 3: Construction of Fort Mississauga

In April 1814, the British commenced construction on Fort Mississauga in Niagara, Upper Canada. //// After capturing American Fort Niagara, the British built a new fort across the Niagara River on Mississauga Point. Together, these two forts commanded the mouth of the river. //// Fort Mississauga was a small star-shaped earthwork surrounded by a dry ditch and a log palisade. It was armed with four 24-pounder cannons and equipped with a hot-shot furnace and it was stronger than the badly damaged Fort George. //// Stone and brick rubble from the destroyed town of Niagara was used to begin construction of a central brick tower inside Fort Mississauga. //// Also, the first lighthouse built on the Great Lakes before the war on Mississauga Point was demolsihed. //// By July, the fort was deemed defensible, just in time as an American invading army once again crossed the Niagara River. //// --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

War of 1812: Spring Timeline-- Part 2

After the American victory at the Battle of the Chippawa, Major General Phineas Riall retreated to Twelve Mile Creek, Upper Canada, and abandoned Fort Drummond 10 July 1814. Fort Drummond was then occupied by American forces for two weeks before the Battle of Lundy's Lane. //// --Brock-Perry

War of 1812 Spring Timeline

From www.historicplaces.ca. //// This is by far the best timeline I have found for the War of 1812. //// Some events going on during the spring of the third year of the war. //// Fortifications at Lacolle, Lower Canada, are repaired and strengthened. //// British commence construction of Fort Drummond at Queenston Heights, Upper Canada. It was named after Lt. Governor Sir George Drummond. They were earthworks surrounding a blockhouse built for 100 men. It also had a u-shaped advance battery facing the Niagara River and a redan battery overlooking the village of Queenston and Portage Road. //// --Brock-Perry

Monday, April 7, 2014

Discovery Harbour, Ontario: "The Blood Boat"

Now located at the site of the Penetanguishene Navy Yard on Lake Huron has several replicas of War of 1812-era warships to explore. //// HMS BEE is a full-scale replica 79-foot supply schooner that was stationed at the navy base from 1817-1830. //// The HMS TECUMSETH is also a full-scale replica. The 124-foot ship was built at Chippewa in 1815 and transferred to Penetanguishene Navy Yard in 1817. The original Tecumseth rotted and sank by 1828. Its remains were raised in 1953 and are on display. //// They also have a 19-foot JOLLY BOAT called "The Blood Boat." It is a general purpose boat used by the Royal Navy during the era. These boats were often used to procure fresh meat and that is how they earned the name "Blood Boat." //// --

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Penetaguishene Bay Naval Shipyard

From Discovery Hatbour Site. //// In 1812, the British command in Canada decided that it was imporatnt to build and outpost and shipyard at Penetanguishene Bay on Lake Huron. //// It was established late in the war in 1814. On November 12th, Lt. Newdigate Poyntz, Royal Navy, surveyed the harbour and decided to build a 36-gun frigate with equipment shipped from Kingston. //// In December, the Canadian Fencibles and militia began work on a road to it. But, after news of peace arrived March 10, 1815, work on the frigate ended. //// Britain still needed naval a presence on Lake Huron, though, and two 124-foot transport ships, the HMS Tecumseth and HMS Newash were built. After the Rush-Bagot Agreement was signed, limiting the size and armament of warships on the Great Lakes, these two ships were decommissioned and placed in ordinary. In 1820, it had over 70 perseonnel and its captain, Samuel Roberts had fought Americans in Virginia, Baltimore and New Orleans. The assistant surgeon of the base, Clement Todd had received a wound at the Battle of Lake Champlain. //// Never Heard of It. --Brock-Perry

Friday, April 4, 2014

Naval Action: War of 1812-- Part 3: Comparing the Two Battles

Perry's victory at Lake Erie is best remembered though, even though it didn't have as big an impact. The reason was timing. The war was going badly for the Americans at the time. //// Then there was his famous after-action report: "We have met the enemy and they are our; two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop." //// Perry received the Congressional Gold Medal and both received the thanks of Congress and promotion to the rank of captain. //// Sadly, both died of disease with ten years, depriving the Navy of two of its most aggressive and brilliant commanders. //// --Brock-Perry

Naval Action: War of 1812-- Part 2: Battle of Lake Champlain

The Battle of Lake Champlain, fought a year later, September 10, 1814, was fought for a body of water that historically had been a path of invasion. It was a joint operation for the British whose success depended upon keeping Lake Champlain open for supplies. //// The British had a slight firepower advantage and had moored in a position so as to protect General Alexander Macomb's army. //// American commander, Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough, in his USS Saratoga, was able to bring both his port and starboard guns to bear on the British ships who tried in vain to compensate. //// As a result of the American victory, Britain was forced to reconsider their military and diplomatic objectives which led to the Dec. 24, 1814 Treaty of Ghent, ending the war. //// -- Brock-Perry

Naval Action: War of 1812-- Part 1: Battle of Lake Erie

From the February 2013 U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island "War of 1812 Discussed. //// At the February 14th meeting, Professor David Skaggs gave a comparison of the two defining American naval victories: the Battle of Lake Erie and the Battle of Lake Champlain. //// At the September 10, 1813, Battle of Lake Erie, American commander Oliver Hazard Perry had superior fire power and more experiences sailors. //// The British were fighting at the extreme limits of their logistical support and suffering from a lack of resources. Many of the British sailors were soldiers drafted into the Navy and lacked the necessary training. //// The victory gave the United States control of lower Michigan and superiority on Lakes Erie and Ontario.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

War of 1812 Privateers

From the April 2014 Naval History Magazine.

O bought this at Books-A-Million in Goldsboro, NC, a couple days ago and found that it had three articles on privateers.  "Yes, Privateers Mattered" by Frederick C. Leiner; "Obstinate and Audacious" by Kevin D. McCrane and "A Daring Defense in the Azores" by Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin Armstrong.

The first article mentioned that the role of privateers in the War of 1812 has been largely overlooked.  It has.  I'd always heard of the victories of our Navy (USS Constitution), but never heard much about privateers.  But as I continue with this blog, I find that the privateers really mattered and that these ships were not just American, but a lot of Canadian ones operated as well.

It is kind of strange that less than fifty years later, the U.S. government had such huge problems with Confederate privateers, even after it had issued so many letters of marque during the War of 1812.

--Brock-Perry