Friday, July 3, 2015

Michigan's M-3, Gratiot Highway-- Part 2

Historically, Gratiot Highway was one of 13 main Indian trails in the area.  After the fire in 1805, Detroit created a 120-foot right-of-way for each of five main avenues, Gratiot being one of them.

Earlier, Gratiot Highway was called the Detroit-Port Huron Road and was authorized by the U.S. Congress on March 2, 1827, as a supply route between Detroit and Fort Gratiot at Port Huron.  Construction in Detroit began in 1829 and was completed that same year to Mount Clemens.  The rest was finished in 1833.

The road was named for the fort at Port Huron which was named for Col. Charles Gratiot, its supervising engineer.  This fort was built in the aftermath of the War of 1812.


Michigan's M-3, Gratiot Highway-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Michigan's M-3 is a north-south trunkline highway running 43 miles long in the Detroit Metro Area.  For most of its length, it is known as the Gratiot Highway.  It starts in downtown Detroit and runs northward along one of the city's five main avenues.  Along the way, it passes several historic landmarks and a historic district.

It is one of the original avenues laid out by Judge Augustus Woodward after the Detroit Fire of 1805.  Later, it became a supply road to Fort Gratiot in Port Huron.

It was included in the State Trunkline System of 1913 and was signposted in 1919.  After that, it was a part of US-25 before being replaced by I-94 in 1960.  It received its M-3 designation in 1973.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ceremony of the Three Flags-- Part 4

On November 30, 1803, Spain formally transferred the Louisiana Territory to France in New Orleans...On December 20, 1803, New Orleans and the rest of the Louisiana Territory was transferred to the United States.  The new governor of the territory was William C.C. Claiburne.

But navigation of the Mississippi River was closed for the winter by then and word did not reach St. Louis.

On March 9, 1804, Adam Stoddard, the lt.-governor of Upper Louisiana and Meriwether Lewis arrived in St. Louis by boat.  The Spanish flag was lowered that day and the French flag hoisted to fly for 24 hours..  The next morning, March 10, 1804, the U.S. flag was raised and the ceremony was complete.

The events of these two days are referred to as the Three Flags ceremony or the Ceremony of the Three Flags, which Charles Gratiot witnessed.

This is why the Lewis and Clark Expedition did not begin in 1803.



Ceremony of the Three Flags-- Part 3: Lewis and Clark Delayed

On April 30, 1803, the United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France, but did not take possession of it.  Spain continued to administer it as it had not officially turned it over to France.

President Thomas Jefferson ordered Lewis and Clark to explore the territory, but Spain would not allow them to do so.  So, Lewis and Clark spent the winter 1803-1804 at Camp Dubois in the then Indiana Territory (now Illinois), opposite the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ceremony of the Three Flags-- Part 2: France Had It, Spain Got It, France Got It Back

France had controlled the Louisiana Territory from its founding to the Treaty of Paris ending the Seven Years War (called the French and Indian War in North America).  As a result, Spain received French land west of the Mississippi River.  Spain officially took over control of it in 1769 after they suppressed the Rebellion of 1768 by residents who did not want to become part of the Spanish empire

The United States extended its borders to the east bank of the Mississippi River as a result of the Revolutionary War.

On October 1, 1800, Napoleon and France re-acquired the Louisiana Territory from Spain, but this was done in secrecy and Spain continued administrative control of the area.

You Got It, They Got It, Who Got It?  --Brock-Perry

Monday, June 29, 2015

Ceremony of the Three Flags-- Part 1: Charles Gratiot At It

From Wikipedia.

In the last post, I mentioned that Charles Gratiot was at the Ceremony of the Three Flags on St. Louis.It is also called Three Flags Day and took place on March 9 and 10, 1804, when Spain officially turned over Louisiana (New Spain) to France who then turned it over to the United States as per the Louisiana Purchase.

The ceremony took place in St. Louis and cleared the way for Lewis and Clark to begin their famous expedition of exploration.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Charles Chouteau Gratiot-- Part 5

From Find-A-Grave.Was the grandson of Madame Chouteau, mother of August Chouteau, founder of St. Louis.

As a boy, he was present at the Ceremony of the Three Flags where the Louisiana Territory became a part of the United States.


Some Confusion As to Whether It's Gratoit or Gratiot

But I think i have it squared away.  Apparently it is Gratiot.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Charles Chocteau Gratiot-- Part 3

It was Gratiot who assigned Robert E. Lee to engineer the Mississippi River at St. Louis.  There had been a shift in the Mississippi River channel there which threatened to wipe out river traffic there.  Lee engineered a series of jetties which controlled the flow.

After that, he had a lengthy dispute with the War Department over benefits.  President Martin Van Buren dismissed him for failing to repay government funds entrusted to him.

Charles Gratiot died May 18, 1855, and his remains were interred at Section 13 of cavalry Cemetery in St. Louis.

The important Highway M-3 in Michigan, connecting Detroit and Port Huron is commonly called Gratiot Avenue..  Fort Gratiot in Michigan, which guards the mouth of the St. Clair River is named for him as well.

There are also towns named for him in Ohio and Michigan.

I Wonder If He's had a Book Written About Him?  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Charles Chocteau Gratiot-- Part 2: Builder of Forts

During the War of 1812, Gratiot served as General William Henry Harrison's chief of engineers.and distinguished himself in the construction of Fort Meigs in 1813.  He also rebuilt Fort St. Joseph, later named Fort Gratiot in his honor.  In 1814, he took part in the attack on Mackinac Island where he received the Thanks of Congress.

From 1817 to 1818, he was chief engineer of the Michigan Territory and superintending engineer 1819-1828 in the building of the defenses of Hampton Roads, Virginia.

On May 24, 1828, he was appointed colonel of engineers and brevetted to brigadier general.For the next ten years, he was chief administrator on river, harbor fortifications and road construction in the United States.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Charles Chocteau Gratiot-- Part 1: Rapid Rise in the Army

From Wikipedia.


Back on June 15th, I mentioned that Fort Hampton was engineered and built by Captain Charles Gratiot so decided to do some research on him.  Interesting fellow.

He was born in St. Louis to a rich fur-trading father and President Thomas Jefferson personally appointed him to the United States Military Academy at West Point in July 1804.  Gratoit was a member of the Class of 1806, the 4th graduating class.  (Back then cadets attended for varying numbers of years before graduation.)

Commissioned into the Corps of Engineers (which usually received the top graduates), he made captain by 1808, which was a remarkable rise in the peacetime army back then.  One of his first assignments was to assist Alexander Macomb in the construction of the Charleston, S.C. defenses.  It was during this time that he oversaw the construction of Fort Hampton.

Chales Gratiot returned to the USMA in 1810 and became commander of the Army garrison,  a post he held from 1810-1811.

A Rising Young Officer.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

N.C.'s Fort Hampton-- Part 10: Swept Into the Sea

The erosion continued and eventually Fort Hampton was swept into the sea.  There is no exact record record of when it met its end.  Local tradition has it disappearing virtually overnight during a summer storm. Regardless, it was definitely an early season hurricane on June 2-3, 1825, which finally did it in.

By February 1826, it was found that high tide had reaehed some 200 feet behind the fort's former location.

By 1834, the fort's site was entirely in the inlet.

The site of Fort Macon is roughly 1340 feet southwest of the site of the former Fort Hampton.  Fort Macon itself was saved by the construction of brick and stone sea jetties.

A couple of iron objects have been found on the beach by Fort Macon which had typical hardware which would have been used at Fort Hampton.


Monday, June 22, 2015

N.C.'s Fort Hampton-- Part 9: Facing a New Threat

By 1820, Fort Hampton had been completely abandoned by the federal government and now faced an even greater threat, the advance of the ocean.  The sea was eroding Bogue Point.

By 1820-1821 engineers found that the hide tide mark was at the base of the parapet.  But, Fort Hampton was ignored as the government was in the process of building its more permanent forts of the Third System.  One was scheduled to be built at Bogue Point to replace Fort Hampton.  That would be Fort Macon which still stands.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Fiort Hampton Had Some Major Problems-- Part 8

Besides having the problem of garrisoning it, there were other major problems with the fort.

In August 1813, North Carolina Gov. William Hawkins visited the fort and found pressing structural problems.  It and its sister forts of the Second System had been built quickly and cheaply with little thought to structural longevity.

The guns had been mounted on low carriages, so low they they couldn't be fired over the crest of the parapet.  So, the platforms were raised so the guns could be fired over the parapet, but now the gun crews were protected only from their knees down.  Hawkins immediately ordered the carriages raised and the platforms lowered.

Another problem was that the fort was vulnerable from land side attack and the guns faced seaward.

The fort was occupied intermittently  by small detachments from an artillery company Fort hampton shared with its sister fort, Fort Johnston, at Southport.

Friday, June 19, 2015

N.C.'s Fort Hampton-- Part 7: Militia Replaced

The militia remained at the fort for the remainder of 1813.  Meanwhile, the fort's armament was increased by two 6-pdrs. and a 4-pdr..

In 1814, the enlistments of the N.C. militia was expiring and other militia from the state replaced them.

The State of North Carolina protested the federal government's lack of protection and the militia was replaced by elements of the 43rd U.S. Infantry who remained at the fort until the end of the war.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

10th U.S. Infantry Regiment: Some Stationed at Fort Hampton

In the last entry, I mentioned troops from the 10th U.S. Infantry being stationed for a time at Fort Hampton in North Carolina.

From the N.C. War of 1812: The Known Military Units From North Carolina.

Most North Carolinians were folded into the U.S. Army's 10th Regiment under the command of Col. James Welborn of Wilkes County, who resigned his commission as general in the N.C. militia in order to join the regular army..

Although North Carolinians served in rifle companies and in the 12th, 13th, 15th and 43rd Infantry Regiments of the U.S. Army, the majority were in the 10th.

In the winter of 1813-1814, the 10th was moved to the war;s Northern Frontier.

The 10th was destined for the Canadian Front under Col. Welborn but never took part in the fighting as the war ended while they were enroute.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

N.C.'s Fort Hampton-- Part 6: British Never Attacked

The British never attacked Fort Hampton during the War of 1812.  However, a landing at nearby Ocracoke Island did cause some serious consternation.

And, this was a good things as there were definite problems with the fort.

One was the difficulty of keeping it garrisoned.  In July 1812, the Army withdrew its regulars posted there.  North Carolina Governor William Hawkins rushed militia in to take their place.  There was no attacks and they were withdrawn in November and replaced by a company of regulars from the 10th U.S. Infantry Regiment who stayed there nine months.

In July 1813, the British raided Ocracoke Inlet which set off a near-panic in the state, but even then the regulars were withdrawn and again militia was rushed in. and stayed there for the remainder of 1813.  The British later withdrew from Ocracoke of their own accord.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

North Carolina's Fort Hampton-- Part 5: A Description of the Fort

At the rear of the fort, the walls of the two prongs of the horseshoe were 18-inches thick at the top and loop-holed for rifle fire.  Connecting the two prongs was a two-story barracks about 82-feet long by 30-feet wide.  Each story had five 13-by-16-foot rooms, 3 for enlisted men and two for officers.  These barracks could accommodate one company of 50 men.

Beside the right hand prong was a 15-by-16-foot magazine.

From the rear wall (barracks) to the front of the fort was 90 feet.  The fort was 123-feet wide and had a perimeter of about 440 feet.

During the next several years Fort Hampton was garrisoned by small detachments.


Monday, June 15, 2015

North Carolina's Fort Hampton-- Part 4: A Tabby Fort

In November 1807, North Carolina's General Assembly took steps to encourage the federal government to protect Beaufort.  A tract of land at the point was purchased by the state and ceded to the U.S. government for this fort.

In early 1808, the Army's Engineer Department authorized a small fort and work began the following year. Captain Charles Gratiot supervised construction at a cost of $8,863.62 and it was named for N.C. Revolutionary War hero Col. Andrew Hampton ((1713-1805).

It was the smallest Second System fort built at the time, but typical of their design, consisting of a horse-shaped parapet seven feet high and made of an oyster shell cement called tabby, or tapia.

The walls were 14-feet thick at the base and tapered to 8-feet at the top..  The gun platform was 23-feet wide on which there were to be mounted five 18-pdr. cannons capable of throwing an 18 pound cannon ball a mile.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

North Carolina's Fort Hampton-- Part 3: Protecting Beaufort, N.C.

From the NC1812 site "A History of Fort Hampton" by Paul Branch.  A lot of research went into this piece as there is not a lot of information about the fort available over the internet.  It was not a major player in the war or its history and has been completely erased by nature.

People know about Fort Macon, N.C., but not its predecessor, Fort Hampton which once stood near it.  Like Fort Macon, it was built to defend Beaufort harbor.  Beaufort, N.C., was captured twice before Fort Hampton and the residents of the state put pressure on the U.S. government to defend it.

The first capture took place in 1756, after which the colonists got the construction of a battery named Fort Dobbs, but it was never completed.  Beaufort remained defenseless during the American Revolution. (I am not sure about what happened in 1756 or the second capture of Beaufort.)

The second attempt to defend the town began in 1807 with possible war with Britain looming.  A chain of coastal forts were built to protect the nation's shore.  These forts are referred to as the Second System.