Friday, December 14, 2018
The second fort was constructed of stone and brick between 1807 and 1811 and was finished just as war broke out between the United Stares and Britain.
The fort was armed with around thirteen cannons and garrisoned with 182 soldiers.
It was also used by Union soldiers fifty years later during the Civil War.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
To most people today, the name Ellis Island invokes thoughts of immigrants coming to a new land.
An area has been cleared off at Ellis Island revealing the remains of Fort Gibson.
Ir was one of the earliest forts built after the American Revolution to protect the new country and New York Harbor. They were discovered during the excavations for the American Immigrant Wall of Honor. These evidence the nearly 100 years when Ellis Island was used to ward off enemies rather than to welcome immigrants.
Two forts stood on this site. The first was a crescent-shaped structure of wood and sod built in 1794 on the edge of what then was the island's shoreline.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
The man mostly responsible for the defenses of New York Harbor, Colonel Jonathan Williams, was so sure his defense was near impregnable that he had this to say:
"It would be difficult to go into either the North or East River. without passing within point blank shot ... of some of them ... it is not a very bold assertion to say that no ship that sails on the Ocean would engage on such terms."
Fort Gibson, on Ellis Island in New York Harbor, was part of two defensive triangles which made it virtually impossible for enemy ships (especially British) to approach New York City.
Any ship approaching would first have to pass through the crossfire between Fort Wood on today's Liberty Island, Fort Gibson on the west and from Castle Williams on Governors Island to the east.
In the unlikely event a ship or ships would get through that triangle it would face an even bigger challenge, passing through the second triangle formed by Ellis Island, Governors Island and the Battery of Lower Manhattan.
Within this second triangle, the farthest a ship could be at any time from the guns of one of these harbor defenses would be 1,000 yards.
No enemy ever attempted to penetrate this extraordinary defense system.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Colonel Jonathan Williams, a grandnephew of Benjamin Franklin, oversaw the construction of the brick and stone fortification. Some of the remains of the fort are still there.
During the war, British prisoners were housed on Ellis Island, but since the British never made an attempt to take New York City, it saw no action.
In 1814, the fort was named for Colonel James Gibson, a 33-year-old officer killed at the Battle of Fort Erie during the War of 1812.
Monday, December 10, 2018
Fort Gibson: Oyster Banks to Batteries
The earliest fort at this site was built in 1794. Britain's navy had begun seizing American merchant vessels and forcing sailors to serve on their warships. (Impressment) Congress decided that America's most important harbors should be defended in case of war.
Charles Vincent, a French engineer, was hired to construct defenses in New York Harbor. He chose tiny Oyster Island (as Ellis Island was then called), known only for its ouster banks and shad fishing as the location of an eight-gun battery.
Tensions between Britain and the United States continued to worsen and in 1807, a British frigate attacked the frigate USS Chesapeake. This led President Jefferson to further improve the nation's defenses and many of the earlier forts were rebuilt.
From the HMdb.
Fort Gibson was one of 40 forts constructed between 1794 and 1812 in the United States. All were built during threats of war resulting from attacks in American shipping by Great Britain and France.
Many of the forts in the New York area were constructed in this period, including Castle Williams on Governors Island, Castle Clinton in lower Manhattan, and the star-shaped Fort Wood, which now forms the base of the Statue of Liberty.
Together these forts and batteries of the lower and upper harbor deterred attacks on one of the new nation's largest cities and most important ports. Most of these historic fortifications still exist; some, such as Fort Wadsworth and Staten Island, are preserved by the National Park Service.
Sunday, December 9, 2018
In 1861, Fort Gibson was dismantled and a naval magazine put in its place. It was used as an ammunition depot during the Civil War.
In 1890, the Ellis Island and remains of Fort Gibson were selected for a new immigration station. The munitions station was removed and the Immigration Station built.
A temporary Coast Guard training station was established there in 1939 and operated through 1946 in the Immigration Station part of the structure. This was during World War II.
Friday, December 7, 2018
Every year I write about Pearl Harbor on December 7.
From the November 29, 2018, Harrison Daily "Museum Musings: Pearl Harbor survivor recalls the Day of Infamy" by Dave Holsted.
Unfortunately, the article never referred to him as anything other than Wade so I am not sure if that was his first or last name. I also do not know if he is still alive.
Wade was on the USS Nevada that day and was tossed out of his bunk. When he looked out the porthole he saw a plane with the Rising Sun on the underside of its wing and then he knew what was going on.
He had been a student at Bergen High School. In August 1940 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy for six years and earned $21 a month.
Continued in today's Tattooed On Your Soul: World War II blog.
Thursday, December 6, 2018
Yesterday, I watched the removal of the coffin from the U.S. Capitol and the service held at the National Cathedral. Today the burial took place at College Station, Texas, at his presidential library.
I am writing about his World War II service in each of my blogs today.
In November 1944, George Bush returned to the USS San Jacinto and participated in operations in the Philippines until his unit was replaced and sent home to the United States. Through that time, he flew 58 missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to the San Jacinto.
In September 1813, Americans built Fort Clark in Peoria. In June 1814, William Clark built Fort Shelby at Prairie du Chien in Wisconsin Territory. This was the William Clark who was in the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
The British captured Fort Shelby in July and renamed it Fort McKay. Two American attempts to recapture it were turned back at Rock Island Rapids and Credit Island, which I have written about before. Click on the labels. These were the final actions of the War of 1812 in this area.
Hostilities between Indians and Americans would continue, reigniting in the Winnebago War of 1827 and the Black Hawk War of 1832.
Five million acres of land in the Illinois Territory between the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, below Rock Island were set aside as the Military Tract of 1812 to pay soldiers land grants for their War of 1812 service.This is over one-eighth of the land in present-day Illinois and some of it was in Indian occupied area, causing many to side with Black Hawk in the forthcoming hostilities.
Monday, December 3, 2018
The first major engagement in the war in the Illinois Territory took place at Fort Dearborn in present-day Chicago. In August 1812, a force of Indians, primarily Potawatomis, attacked soldiers and civilians as they evacuated the fort in what is generally called the Fort Dearborn Massacre.
In October 1812, Americans launched and expedition against the Indian center in the Peoria area. It wa sled by Governor Ninian Edwards and Colonel William Russell. They attacked and destroyed Potawatomi and Kickapoo villages, prompting the Indians to leave the area.
Raids between the two sides, however, continued.
I'll be taking a few days' break to write about the bicentennial of Illinois becoming a state in 1818.
During the War of 1812, the Illinois Territory was the scene of fighting between American settlers and soldiers and Indians. At the time, the Illinois Territory consisted of modern Illinois and parts of Minnesota and Michigan.
Tensions between Americans and Indians had been increasing in the years before the war. Present-day Peoria was the site of a major Indian concentration and the chief there was a big supporter of Shawnee Prophet Tenskwatawa and his brother Tecumseh.
There were few U.S. soldiers in the area which was the far frontier at the time. Ninian Edwards, Illinois Territorial governor directed militia operations.
Sunday, December 2, 2018
From New York State Military Museum.
Fort Gibson, 1795, New York County, Ellis Island.
New York State acquired Oyster Island, by then known as Ellis Island, from the City of New York in 1794 Shortly thereafter the War Department established a twenty-gun battery there as well as a magazine and barracks.
During the War of 1812 it did not see action since the British did not attack New York City. However, it was used as a garrison post and held POWs.
Friday, November 30, 2018
I have also written about Fort Wood in my Cooter's History Thing and Tattooed On Your Soul World War II blogs.
The first blog tells about the fort's role before and during World War I. The second blog is about its role in World War II.
Click on My Blogs to the right of this to read more.
From National Park Service.
These are forts that are located on Liberty (formerly Bedloe's Island) and Ellis Island. Fort Wood still exists as the base of the Statue of Liberty, upon which the pedestal sits. Fort Gibson protected Ellis Island which served for many years as the entry to the United States for hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
Bedloe's Island was a strategic spot in New York Harbor and a massive stone fort was constructed in 1807 and named for American Army engineer who died in the siege of Fort Erie in the War of 1812. The remnants of the eleven-pointed star fort are still visible today at the base of the Statue of Liberty. The whole interior has been filled in though.
It was built to defend against a British attack which never came.
Fort Gibson was built on nearby Ellis Island in 1795, but renamed in honor of Colonel James Gibson who also died in the Siege of Fort Erie.
Only a portion of the foundation of the fort remains today.
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Today I wrote about the removal of the torch of the Statue of Liberty to a museum on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. The base of the statue is the old Fort Wood which gives the base the pedestal sits on the many pointed star shape.
This is a fort dating to the War of 1812.
You can read about the torches removal in my Cooter's History Thing blog. Just click on that site on the My Blogs area to the right of this.
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
DUVALL, COL. JOHN. Scott County. Died at his residence in Scott, 7 Sept. 1859, in his 77th year.
He was a citizen of Scott for 67 years and had represented that county in the Legislature, besides filling various other civil offices in it.
He commanded a company in the last war with Britain and served in a campaign under General Harrison.
C, 23 Sept. 1859.
Monday, November 26, 2018
From "Soldiers of the War of 1812, State of Kentucky; Roster of Volunteer Officers and Soldiers from Kentucky in the War of 1812-1815."
Roll of Captain John DuVall's Company, Boswell's Regiment, Kentucky Detached Militia." The toll indicates that the regiment had approximately sixty men.
Also, "Roll of Field and Staff, Williams Regiment, Kentucky Volunteers, of the War of 1812, and notes in organization and record of service, raised in pursuance of the address of 31st of July, of Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky, and rendezvoused at Newport, Kentucky, August 31st, 1812 -- Commanded by Colonel William Williams.
It appears that DuVall served under both Boswell and Williams.
So, There You Have It. --Brock-Perry
Friday, November 23, 2018
From Genealogy.com by Walter Lynch.
Morris C. LeFever was inquiring about the roster of Captain John Pope Du Vall's 20th Infantry in Kentucky Militia War of 1812. In particular, he wanted to know the kinship between DuVall, Stout, Jackson and some others. Also, did the unit fight in Ohio?
Walter Lynch replied that he had found the name DuVall in two books on Kentucky soldiers in the War of 1812. There was no reference to a 20th Infantry or battles the unit may have fought in.
From "Kentucky In the War of 1812" by Anderson Chenault Quisenberry.
"Boswell's Regiment, Kentucky Volunteer Light Infantry; 6th Company - Captain John DuVall; Lieut., Richard Tyner; Ensign, James Stewart."
On another page he found: "Captain John DuVall's company of Kentucky Detached Militia, organized March 4, 1813. Lieutenant William Brown; Ensigns Richard Tyner and Daniel Johnson."
So, the rank of colonel came after 1813.