Thursday, November 27, 2014

Update on Sandwich, Massachusetts: Sir Thomas Hardy and HMS Ramilles

The Commodore Harty referred to on Tuesday was most likely Sir Thomas Hardy (1769-1839) who served off the New England coast during the War of 1812.  He fought in the Napoleonic Wars and was at the battle of Trafalgar with Nelson before being sent to North America.

A 74-gun British warship was considered a 3rd Rate Ship-of-the-Line, not a frigate which usually didn't have more than 50 guns.

After Trafalgar, Hardy commanded the 3rd rate ship-of-the-line HMS Triumph and later the 3rd rate ship-of-the-line HMS Ramillies.  Most likely the ship off Sandwich was the Ramillies.

Hardy led the fleet that escorted the Army which captured significant portions of coastal Maine, then part of Massachusetts, including Fort Sullivan, Eastport, Machias, Bangor and Castine.

On 10 August 1814, a storming party from the Ramillies was defeated at Stonington Burrough.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Update on the Sandwich Beach Story from Yesterday

In yesterday's blog I mentioned that the story oft-told as to why Sandwich, Massachusetts, was not attacked by the British during the War of 1812 was because they thought a brick yard by the shore was a fort.  It further related that a British 74-gun frigate, the HMS Commodore Harty, had been "scared" off by the fort.

I was using the facts from the article and was somewhat dubious as to the ship.  First, the British didn't name their warships after a person.  Most likely, the Commodore Harty was the ship's commander.  Also, a 74-gun ship would be a ship-of-the-line, not a frigate.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sandwich Beach Erosion in Massachusetts Reveals War of 1812 Past

From the November 24, 2014, Boston Globe by Billy Baker.

There has been a theory as to why Sandwich escaped damage during the War of 1812.  And that had to do with a silly mistake by the British.

Today, beach erosion is revealing artifacts that cast a light on this theory.

During the War of 1812, an English frigate of 74 guns named the Commodore Harty was going up and down the coast offering communities the option of paying or being fired upon.  When it passed by Sandwich, it saw a brickyard that had once stood on Town Neck, mistook it for a fort and steered clear.

The workers going about their jobs were mistaken for soldiers.

A lot of old bricks have been revealed at the site by this beach erosion.

A Brick By Any Other Name.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Illinois Society of the War of 1812

From the October 29, 2013, Suburban Journals "Illinois Society of the War of 1812 holds business meeting."

And, I'd never heard of it.

Forty people attended the annual business meeting at Hill's Fort in Greenville, Illinois, on October 19th.

The group was recognized by the national organization for its growth and activity.

In the last year, they have participated in or sponsored 33 grave markings, presented eleven ROTC medals and were in flag programs and parades.

Many War of 1812 veterans were paid for their service in land grants in Illinois while it was still a territory.  This caused many to move to and settle in the state.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

200 Years Ago: British Fleet Sets Sail, No More "Utis Posseditis, Paper Money

NOVEMBER 25, 1814:  The British fleet sets sail from Jamaica, heading for New Orleans.

NOVEMBER 27, 1814:  The British negotiators in Ghent, Belgium, drop the "utis posseditis" offer during the peace negotiations.  They no longer insisted upon keep "captured territory."

NOVEMBER:  Unable to pay debts in specie (gold) as required by law, the U.S. government offers to pay wartime debts in paper.  Most banks refuse to accept treasury notes as security and war bonds fell to 60 cents on the dollar.


200 Years Ago: Secret Mission, Jackson Leaves for New Orleans and Sinking of HMS Fantome

NOVEMBER 17, 1814:  While on a secret mission to destroy the HMS St. Lawrence, Midshipman James McGowan discovers and captures two British gunboats on the upper St. Lawrence River and returns to Sackets Harbor, New York, with prisoners.

NOVEMBER 22, 1814:  Andrew Jackson leaves for New Orleans when he learns that there is an impending British attack ion that place.

NOVEMBER 24, 1814:  Shipwreck of the HMS Fantome near Prospect, Nova Scotia, while escorting a convoy from Castine, District of Maine to Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Penetanguishene Road Steeped in History-- Part 3

Impetus to the road really picked up with the War of 1812 and the fall of Detroit.  With supplies cit, Fort Michilmackinac began to starve.  Gordon Drummond saw the urgency of building the new road.

The planned road would be 30 miles long and it was estimated that it would take 200 men at least three weeks to build it.

In December 1814, William Dunlop was pl;aced in charge of the project.  When finished, it was not much of a road by today's standards.  It was uneven, stump-ridden and essentially impassable in heavy rain.

Even so, this road which was originally built for military purposes, promoted settlement in Huronia.

On the Lake Simcoe end of it, a village originally named Kempenfelt (now northeast Barrie) began in 1819.

The Story of a Road.  --Brock-Perry

Penetanguishene Road Steeped in History-- Part 2

Yonge Street became the first leg of the new road, but there is still debate as to the second leg.  Originally, John Simcoe intended to follow the Severn River to Matchedash Bay Lake Simcoe, but a combination of nine portages and the shallow Lake Couchiching with its rocks and shoals ruled against it.

In 1808, Samuel Wilmot, the deputy surveyor, was ordered to lay out a line for a road near the old Indian path from Kempenfelt Bay on Lake Simcoe to Penetanguishene Bay.  In addition, he was also told to lay out town lots at each end of this new road.  They eventually became today's towns of Barrie and Penetanguishene.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Penetanguishene Road: A Road Steeped in History-- Part 1

From the April 8, 2010, by Barrie Advance.

The Penetanguishene Road (I finally remembered how to spell it without looking) is one of the most historical roads in Canada, tracing its roots back to the first days of Ontario and playing a vital role in the province's (Ontario) development.

John Graves Simcoe became Lt.Governor of Upper Canada (Ontario) in 1791 and became immediately preoccupied with the threat of the highly expansionist Americans.  he was only to aware that they could easily take the British force at Detroit and thus block all shipping on the Upper Great Lakes.

One of the most strategic sites in North America was British Fort Michilmackinac at the northern extreme of Lake Huron which was very important to the British fur trade and was a good base for improving relations with Indians (and especially steer them away from alliances with the Americans).

Should Detroit fall, Fort Michilmackinac would be isolated and British interests threatened.

He wanted a naval base at Penetanguishene and an alternate route linking lakes Huron and Ontario.


Ontario's Highway 93: Penetanguishene Road

From Wikipedia.

King's Highway 93, provincially maintained in Ontario is located entirely in Simcoe County, all 14.9 miles of it.

It follows the Penetanguishene Road, an early colonization road built to connect Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay.  It provides an overland route from Lake Huron to Lake Ontario via Yonge Street.

Prior to 1993, it was nearly 15 kilometers longer.

The Penetanguishene Road was built between 1814 and 1815 to the naval station established at Penetahnguishene.  Prior to that this base had been called the Penetanguishene Military Post.

It was surveyed in 1808 by Samuel Wilmot.  After the British capture of Fort Michilimackinac in 1812, there was a need for supplies.  The decision to cut the road was made in November 1814 by General Gordon Drummond and completed the following spring, but too late for use during the war.


Thomas Macdonough's Wife: Lucy Ann Schaler Macdonough

From Find-a-Grave.

1790-1825.  Died of tuberculosis three months prior to Thomas.  Born and died in Middletown, Connecticut

She and Thomas had nine children, four of whom died before age 3.

Lucy is buried at Riverside Cemetery next to her husband.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

War of 1812 Fort in Sag Harbor, N.Y. Dedicated-- Part 2

The fort opened fire and set fire to one British barge and heavily damaged two others.  The British retreated and there were no American losses.

David Thommen has marked the fort's site with a replica of the Fort McHenry flag.

A stone was placed at the fort's site by the local historical society, but there was no dedication. The stone only reads "On this spot stood an American fort 1812." The land where the fort once stood is presently a village green.

There also had been a Revolutionary War battle fought there.

Thomman's home is located near where the old fort stood which is on Turkey Hill, the highest point in the Sag Harbor historic district.


War of 1812 Fort in Sag Harbor, N.Y. Dedicated-- Part 1

From the July 12, 2013, Newsday (NY) by Mitchell Freedman.

Sag Harbor history buff David Thommen says there isn't much information available on the action that took place at this largely forgotten fort.  As such, he is doing his own research and because of that, there will be a dedication for a no-longer existing fort on High Street in Sag Harbor.

The Battle of Sag Harbor took place on July 11, 1813.

Several vessels carrying 100 British troops heading for Sag Harbor were spotted by a 16-year-old from Amagansett who warned the Americans at the fort (which may have been called Turkey Hill).  The fort was manned by 60 troops and a cannon (or perhaps more).


Friday, November 14, 2014

200 Years Ago Today: HMS Julia Launched

NOVEMBER 14TH, 1814:  The British schooner HMS Julia is launched at the navy yard in Kingston, Upper Canada.

-- Brock-Perry

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thomas Macdonough After the Battle of Lake Champlain-- Part 2

Macdonough's next assignment was to relieve Isaac Hull at the Portsmouth Navy Yard 1815-1818 and after that he was appointed commander of the 44-gun frigate USS Guerriere (the former HMS Guerriere captured by Hull and the USS Constitution in 1812).

From 1818 to 1823, he was captain of the ship-of-the-line USS Ohio.

In 1824, he became commander of the USS Constitution, but by then his health had begun to fail and he died while overseas and his body was returned to the United States and buried at Middletown, Connecticut.


Thomas Macdonough After the Battle of Lake Champlain-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Thomas Macdonough was born in 1783.  His victory at the Battle of Lake Champlain on September 11, 1814, not only stopped the British incursion on that lake, but, with their retiring to Canada, also eliminated any land claims in New York state that they might have presented at the Treaty of Ghent peace negotiations.

For his success, he was promoted to captain and awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

The State of New York also gave him a thousand acres of land in Cayuga County and Vermont gave him another 100 acres, making him a wealthy man.


USS Preble (1813)

From Wikipedia.

On Monday I wrote about Lt. Charles A. Budd commanding the USS Preble at the Battle of Lake Champlain.

The USS Preble, sometimes called the Commodore Preble, was the first U.S. ship named for Commodore Edward Preble.  It was purchased on Lake Champlain in 1813 and converted into a warship.

Commissioned 8 August 1813, with Lt. Charles Augustus Budd in command.

It had a crew of 30 and mounted seven 12-pdrs. and two 18-pdrs..

Fought at the Battle of Lake Champlain  11 September 1814.  After the battle it was laid up and sold at Whitehall, New York, in July 1815.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day: Civil War Trust to Preserve War of 1812 Battlefields

Today, the nation's largest Civil War battlefield preservation group will announce that they will be expanding their mission to include preserving War of 1812 battlefields.

The announcement will be made at the Revolutionary War Princeton Battle Memorial in New Jersey.  Too bad they didn't also make an announcement at a War of 1812 battlefield as well.  But, anyway, I'm glad to hear it.

Thanks CWT.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lt. Charles A. Budd, USN

Charles Budd was commissioned lieutenant on June 18, 1814, and sent to Lake Champlain.  He commanded the sloop USS Preble at the Battle of Lake Champlain.  The USS Preble was about 80 tons and mounted seven long 9 pounder cannon.

Thomas Macdonough, the hero of the Battle of Lake Champlain, took his fleet to Whitehall, New York, on November 18th and turned it over to Lt. Budd.

He may have had a brother who was also a lieutenant, George Budd, commissioned May 23, 1812, and furloughed May 29, 1815.


November 10, 1814: New Commander of Lake Champlain Squadron

NOVEMBER 10, 1814:  Lieutenant Charles Budd, USN, received orders to replace Captain Thomas Macdonough as commander of the Lake Champlain Squadron.