Friday, December 28, 2012

Halifax's Role in the War

From the June 18, 2012, CBC News "Halifax celebrates its contribution to the War of 1812."

Monday afternoon, June 18th, the daily noon cannon on top of Citadel Hill fired three extra times to mark the three years of the War of 1812.  The United States declared war on Great Britain and the British colonies in today's central and eastern Canada.

The key battles between the two sides were in Central Canada, but Halifax, Nova Scotia,  played a role as the home base of the Royal Navy's North American Squadron.

Many British regiments which fought in Upper and Lower Canada passed through Halifax.  The city also had a sizable privateer fleet that operated from is harbor.  These ships made huge profits.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

How the War of 1812 Turned St. Joseph Island Into a Ghost Town

From the June 6, 2012, Sault (Can) Star by Michael Purvis.

Sandra Rousseau wrote a 100-page book based on the writings of officers stationed at Fort St. Joseph.

These mentioned the mandatory migration of St. Joseph Island residents early in the war in an effort to hold recently captured Mackinack Island and to protect the Sault Ste. Marie, which played a vital role in the fur trade.

If Mackinack was lost to the Americans, they could then easily capture Sault Ste. Marie which would have extreme recourse to the important Canadian fur-trade.

Many of the residents ended up on Drummond Island which became a part of the United States after the war.  By 1828, 75 families from St. Joseph Island had followed the British soldiers to Penetanguishene.

War on the Frontier.  --Brock-Perry

Fort Wayne's "Old Fort"

This past Monday and Saturday, I wrote about a re-enactment in that Indiana town being held at a place called "Old Fort."  I hadn't heard of it before so went to the town's parks and recreation site.  And it wasn't NBC's Pawnee, Indiana.

It is called "Historic Old Fort" and is a recreation of the original fort, primarily used as a living history museum these days.  Visitors get a first-person interpretation of life in the western 1816s.

Many events are held there each year.  Some upcoming ones in 1813:

January--  French garrison 1753

June 8-9 Siege of Fort Wayne, 1812

July 13th and 14th:  Revolutionary War, the Western Front.

So, Who Knew?  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Last Veteran of the War of 1812: Hiram Cronk

From the Sept. 2, 2012 Syracuse Post-Standard" by Debra Groom.

Hiram Cronk died May 5, 1905 and his death made the news all across the United States.  A major parade was held through Manhattan and 50,000 people paid their respects at the New York City hall.

Today, there is a New York State historical marker on Webster Hill Road in Ava, outside of Rome, New York, where he lived.  Betty Nash, 87, is his great-great granddaugheter.

Cronk joined the Army August 4, 1814, at age 14, shortly after the British burned down Fort Ontario in Oswego and were planning to move inland through New York.  He joined the 157th New York Regiment along with his brothers John and Casper and father James. They journeyed to Sackets Harbor where Hiram was made a drummer because of his young age.

His commanders were Captain Edmund Fuller and Lt. Col. Erastus Cleveland.

His service amounted to three months before he returned to his farm for Thanksgiving.

Cronk outlived his son, Van Rensselear, who was killed in the Civil War at the Battle of Shiloh and buried in an unmarked grave.

Until he was 100, he received a federal pension of $12 a month which was then raised to $25.  There are some that say he also had that pension upped to $72 a month by the NY legislature.  Then, considered a rich man, women from the ages of 21 to 70 wanted to marry him.

He is buried at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn.

The Last.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, December 24, 2012

Re-Enactment at Fort Wayne-- Part 2

The War of 1812 opened very badly for the United States.  First, Fort Michilimackinack, in upper Michigan fell in July.  Then came the fall of Fort Detroit and Fort Dearborn, leaving Fort Wayne as the only American fort in the upper Northwest Territory.

Fort Wayne's commander told his junior officers to evacuate the fort and then spent the rest of the time drunk in his quarters.  There were soon surrounded by Indians led by Tecumseh.  Two lieutenants put the commander under arrest and ordered the fifty soldiers to hold the post.

Indian attacks began in September and some of the soldiers were killed, but the fort remained in American hands.  The British commander in the Great Lakes area, Gen. Henry Proctor sent a force of 200 British, 400 Canadian troops and 800 Indians to take it, but U.S. Indiana Territory Governor William Henry Harrison sent militia to reinforce Fort Wayne and the two armies met near Defiance, Ohio, and the British were forced to retreat.

Fort Wayne Held.  --Brock-Perry

Re-Enactment at Indiana's Fort Wayne-- Part 1

From the Sept. 3, 2012, Fort Wayne (Ind) News-Sentinel "Ear of 1812's Siege of Fort Wayne comes to life in re-enactment this weekend at Old Fort" by Kevin Kilbane.

Back on Labor Day weekend, there were nearly 200 re-enactors at Old Fort at 1201 Spy Run Avenue in Fort Wayne.  (Must be an interesting story as to how that road got its name.)

Fort Wayne was named for General "Mad" Anthony Wayne and used to stand where Fire Station No. 1 is today at the intersection of Main and Lafayette streets.

It was one of a series of American frontier forts built to keep the British out of the Northwest territory, distribute treaty payments to the Indians and encourage settlement by people of European descent.


This treaty contributed to the start of the War of 1812 as it transferred 3 million acres of Indian land in what is now Indiana and Illinois to the U.S. government.  A lot of Indians refused to go along with, especially one from the Shawnee Nation called The Prophet who said that the recent New Madrid earthquake and a comet seen in the skies were a sign for the Indians to rise up against the U.S. soldiers and settlers.

Early War.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Commodore Isaac Hull: American Hero-- Part 2: The Hat

He was commissioned a 4th Lt. in the U.S. Navy in 1798 and eventually assigned to the USS Constitution.

The Constitution was designed by Quaker Joshua Humphreys of Pennsylvania and was a state-of-the-art war machine when launched in 1797 as one of the first six U.S. Navy ships, all named by George Washington.

In 1799, Hull became second in command of the ship as 1st Lt and in 1806, became its captain.

In 1812, it narrowly escaped a British squadron and then attained a historic defeat of the British 38-gun frigate HMS Guerriere off Nova Scotia August 19th.  During the battle, the Constitution's 25-inch thick wooden sides caused the British shot to bounce off.  A sailor saw this and yelled, "Huzza!  Her sides are made of iron!"

After half an hour, the outgunned Guerriere was forced to surrender in the mismatched battle.  Its captain, James Daores had known Hull before the war and once in the same port had bet his hat that if the two ships weer ever to fight, that he'd win.  When the two met, Hull refused the traditional surrender sword, but did want his hat.

Hull and his men became instant heroes.  Afterwards, Hull was ordered to Portsmouth's Navy Yard in Kittery where he served for the rest of the war.

After the war, he settled in Philadelphia where he died Feb. 13, 1843, with his last words, "I Strike my flag."  The house he was born in no longer stands.

American hero.  --Brock-Perry

Commodore Isaac Hull, American Hero-- Part 1: Younger Life

From the May 22, 2012, Valley (Ct) Independent Sentinel "Coomodore Hull. 200 years later" by Derby Shelton.

Isaac Hull was from Derby, Connecticut, Lower Naugatuck Valley, and became a star in 1812.

Today, in the valley, Route 8 has the Commodore Isaac Hull Bridge over the Housatonic River.  There is also a Commodore Hull Thanksgiving Day race for runners.

A pair of his pants are in the Derby Historical Society.

Isaac Hull was born in Derby on March 3, 1773 at a house near the Housatonic River.  His father, Joseph Hull made trading voyages to the West Indies and was a whaler.  Joseph was made a prisoner of the British during the American Revolution and after release commanded a flotilla of whale boats on Long Island Sound that harassed the enemy.

Joseph died in 1778, and young Isaac was adopted by his Uncle William, who was a war hero himself.  He wanted his nephew to go to college, but Isaac opted to go to sea and became a cabin boy on a merchant ship at age 14.

By 1793, at a young age, he commanded a ship sailing to the West Indies.

Road to Hero.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, December 21, 2012

Bits of War: Andover Streets-- Daughters of 1812-- Worth celebrating?

Bits of War--  New News About An Old War.

1.  ANDOVER STREETS-- From the June 1, 2012, Andover (Mass) Townsman.  The Andover streets of Poor, Frye, Chadler, Lovejoy, Stevens and Abbot are all named for locals who fought in the War of 1812.

2.  DAUGHTERS OF 1812--  From the June 5, 2012, Houston Chronicle.  The Thomas Bay Chapter of the United States Daughters of 1812 will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the US declaration of war on June 18th. 

3.  WORTH CELEBRATING--June 5, 2012, Macleans, Canada, ran a poll asking if the War of 1812 was worth celebrating.  The voting:

Yes, it helped create Canada  30.7%
No, it was long ago 13.6%
We should never glorify war 22.37%

Guess We Know Where They're Coming From.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Students Dig Into 1812 War Site: Fort Willow, Ontario

From the May 20, 2012, The Barrie Advance, Ontario, Canada.

St. Joseph's Catholic High School is excavating a site at Fort Willow using a $8500 federal grant.  Fort Willow was a supply depot on the Nine Mile Portage.  Troops stationed there helped the British retain control of Michilimackinac and the Northwest.

They have been doing the excavating since 2005 and students have unearthed over 20,000 artifacts which can be seen at the Simcoe County Museum.

The Royal Newfoundland Regiment arrived in the spring of 1814 after an epic march from Kingston with the goal of resupplying the garrison at Fort Michilimackinac.  They felled trees and built 30 batteaux, rowed down the Nottawasaga River and across Lake Huron, a trip of 360 miles and arrived without the loss of any of the supplies.

Getting Young Folks Involved.  A Good Thing.  --Brock-Perry

American and British Bases Around Maine-- Part 3

On the window in a home in Castine, Maine, probably in 1814, a British officer took his diamond ring and carved the phrase "Yankee Doodle Topsy-Turvey" along with the image of a British flag over an upside-down American flag.  That's a real piece of history I'd like to see.

The town was occupied at the time and British troops were garrisoned in private homes.

The house remains, but the window was removed in the early 1980s.  Awwww!

British ships dominated Penobscot Bay and much of the Maine coast.

Bangor and Hampden were sacked ruthlessly by British troops even though New Englanders were generally against the war which they saw as bad for trade.  Also, New Englanders favored the Federalists who were more elite than the commoners.

Tyler Shaw of Newport was paid to carry supplies by boat to Americans at Eastport.  Instead, he too the supplies to the British and sold to them.When the Federal government found out about it, Shaw was arrested.  Family members broke him out and he fled to Canada, never to return.

What a Guy, That Tyler Shaw.  --Brock-Perry

American and British Bases Around Maine-- Part 2


Wiscasset, Maine
Castine, Maine
Salem, New Hampshire
Machias, Maine


Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Portland, Maine


HMS Shannon-- USS Chesapeake June 1, 1813
Battle of Hampden September 3, 1814
HMS Boxer-- USS Enterprise September 5, 1813


Penobscot Expedition Sept. 1, 1814
Machias Expedition September 10, 1814
Moose Island  July 18, 1814

More Going On Than You'd Think.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

American and British Bases Around Maine-- Part 1

From the May 31, 2012, MidCoast "Coastal Mainers defended and betrayed key front in War of 1812" by Tom Groening.

According to a map accompanying the article, from Boston to the northeast Maine border, there was one major US Navy base in Boston, two other secondary bases, five privateering ports and three battle sites.  American privateering bases were located at Glouchester, Bath, Belfast and two other sites.

In Nova Scotia, there is a major Royal Navy base at Halifax and two secondary bases.  Two British secndary bases were at St. John, New Brunswick and Liverpool, Nova Scotia.


War of 1812 Flag Being Restored

From the May 28, 2012, CBC News.

The flag was carried by the 104th Regiment of Foot from Frederickton and Kingston, Ontario, and will be exhibited at the New Brunswick Museum.  The regiment was composed of men from the maritime  provinces and from what then was Upper Canada and Lower Canada (Ontario and Quebec).

Gary Hughes, museum curator, said, "It's kind of almost like a Canadian regiment before there was a Canada."

The group is in the history books for its epic 1,100 kilometer march during the winter of 1813 to help defend Canada from an American invasion.  They were on the move for 52 days from February to April, using snowshoes and toboggans with temperatures below 27 degrees C.  Eight hundred men completed it through waist-high snow.

The flag is a 6 by 6 foot silk banner and being refurbished in Halifax thanks to the gift of an unknown donor.

Save the Flag.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the War of 1812-- Part 5


Few Americans know much about the war other than D.C. being burned, Fort McHenry and the Star-Spangled Banner, even if Jose can say.  The U.S. invaded Canada three times with the intentions of making it part of the country.  To Canadians, the memory of the war brings pride that runs deep.  It was David vs. Goliath.

American War Hawks (who wanted the war) believe Canada's conquest would be easy (even Jefferson believed it would be but the matter of a march).  They were under the misconceived idea that Canadians wanted to throw off the British yoke and become a part of the United States. 

Laura Secord and Isaac Brock are major Canadian heroes who most Americans have never heard of.  I had never heard of them before I started this blog.


Some Americans living today were alive when the last War of 1812 veteran died in 1905.  A grand parade was held in New York City to honor the life of Hiram Silas Cronk who died April 29th, two weeks after his 105th birthday.  he has cast his first presidential vote for Andrew Jackson and his last for Grover Cleveland.

He lived most of his life in obscurity at his farm in New York state, but became more and more famous as he approached his death.  New York City began planning his funeral months before he died.

So, Did You Know?  --Brock-Perry

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the War of 1812-- Part 4


Well, actually, it was Colonel Custer at the Little Big Horn.  The Battle of the River Raisin took place in Michigan in 1813 and resulted in a big defeat for the Americans.  The British Indian allies afterwards attacked the wounded and prisoners and it turned into a massacre which sparked the American battle cry "Remember the Raisin."

William Henry Harrison led Americans to later victories and on his tomb is inscribed "Avenger of the River Raisin."

George Armstrong Custer grew up in Monroe, Michigan, along the Raisin River.  There is an 1871 photograph of him standing with some War of 1812 veterans by a monument for the battle.  Five years later, he himself was killed at another massacre.  Of course, Custer was no stranger to massacres, having done it often in his Indian fighting.


The New England states came close to seceding from the Union because of the war, which they felt would hurt their economic interests.  The Hartford Convention of the states of New England came as close to secession as anything before South Carolina seceded in 1860.  The states viewed  it as a separation of two sovereign states.

These states had been considering such a move for the fifteen previous years, especially after southerner Thomas Jefferson was elected in 1800.  The New Englanders stood solidly against the Louisiana Purchase and the Embargo Act of 1807.  They felt this would help the Southern states at their expense.

Kind of strange that they would be on the other side of secession less than fifty years later.


Ten Things You Didn't Know About the War of 1812-- Part 3


To Americans, the burning of the White House and other public buildings by the British was a barbaric act.  But, in actuality, it was payback in kind for the American torching of York (today's Toronto) a year earlier.  It was then the capital of Upper Canada (today's Ontario).  Unites States troops plundered the town and then burned down the parliament building.

Perhaps the burning of the White House was for the better as the original one was very combustible and it was rebuilt much sturdier.    Plus, white paint replaced the white wash on the original, making for a much whiter building.  Plus, the British also burned Congress' library, which was replaced by Thomas Jefferson's own personal library, which became the foundation of the Library of Congress.


There was much combat with Indians along the frontier areas.  Andrew Jackson battled Creeks in the South and William Henry Harrison fought Indians allied with the British in the Old Northwest Territory.

Of course, by this time, the Indians knew exactly what the Americans intended for them and their land which led to their alliance with the British as their only help.  The British not winning the war opened the way for waves of American settlers pouring into Indian territory and the eventual Indian Removal.

Four More.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the War of 1812-- Part 2


The Congreve Rockets looked like giant bottle rockets.  They were canisters loaded with gunpowder, tar and shrapnel that spun in the air when fired, putting out a red glare.  They were essentially very inaccurate, but intimidating, kind of an 1814 version of "shock and awe."

The bombs bursting in air were 200 pound cannonballs designed to explode over a target and rain shrapnel down on the defenders

The British fired about 1500 rockets and bombs at Fort McHenry, but only four Americans died from the bombardment.

Of course, I have often heard the lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner," but had not known what the rockets were called.


In Troy, New York, a military supplier named Sam Wilson packed meat rations into barrels marked U.S..  According to local lore, a soldier inquiring as to what the initials stood for was told "Uncle Sam" Wilson who was feeding the American Army.

However, images of the white-bearded recruiter and symbol of the country did not appear until over a century later, during World War I.

I'd heard this story before.

Six More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the War of 1812-- Part 1

From the May 22, 2012, Smithsonian by Tony Horwitz and Brian Wolly.

I knew some of these, but not others.  Until I started this blog (and I didn't want to start it as I already had six blogs) I have to admit that I knew very little about the war as it turns out, but more than most Americans.


It was not just one year as the name suggests.  It was actually 39 months, longer than the Mexican, Spanish-American wars and the U.S. Involvement in World War I.

The Battle of New Orleans took place two weeks after the treaty to end  the war was signed, but even so, the war was not to officially end until Feb. 16, 1815 when the Senate and Madison ratified it.

Britain called it the American War of 1812 to differentiate it from their current war with Napoleon in Europe.

(I knew that the war lasted from 1812 to 1815 and that the Battle of New Orleans was fought after the war was over.)


One of the main reasons for the American declaration of war in June 1812 was the impressment of American sailors being forced into service in the Royal Navy.  The practice was fairly common at the time among the world's navies.

President Madison reported 6, 257 Americans impressed between 1807 and 1812.  there is some question as to the accuracy  of these numbers.

It was the British support of the Indians that led many South and West senators to lean toward war.

Obviously More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, December 14, 2012

Some Americans Held By the British As Prisoners

From Wikipedia.

Two went on to fame in the Civil War.

WILLIAM DAVIDSON (Pennsylvania representative)--  Captured at the fall of Detroit.

DAVID FARRAGUT went on to become a famous Civil War admiral, especially with his victories at New Orleans and Mobile Bay.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN GRAVES of Kentucky.  Commander.  Captured at the River Raisin Massacre.

NATHANIEL G.S. HART of Kentucky, under Graves' command.  Captain of Lexington Light Artillery.  Killed along with most of his men at the River Raisin Massacre.

WINFIELD SCOTT Commanded forces during War of 1812, Black Hawk War, Second Seminole War, Mexican War and the Civil War.

ROBERT YOUNG Hawaiian chief (of English and Hawaiian parents).  Taken prisoner at Battle of Lake Champlain.

A Civil War Connection.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The USS Washington, Ship-of-theLine

From Wikipedia.

Earlier this week, I wrote about Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and the war and mentioned the construction of the Ship-of-the-Line USS Washington that started in 1813 which kept a lot of people working.

I'd never heard of it, even though at one time it was the most powerful ship in the US Navy.

It was authorized by Congress Jan. 2, 1813, and laid down in May at the Portsmouth Navy Yard.  Launched Oct. 1, 1814 and commissioned August 26, 1815.  So it saw no action during the War of 1812.

Its measurements were 190 feet long, 54-foot beam, crew of 750 and carried 74 guns.

In May of 1816, it voyaged to Annapolis, Maryland and received many distinguished visitors, including the President and Mrs. James Madison.

Then, it was off to the Mediterranean Squadron where it served as the flagship of Commodore Isaac Chauncey.  It was placed in ordinary back the the United States in 1820 and remained there until broken up in 1843.

Now, I Know.  --Brock=Perry

Have Camera, Will Photograph

From the Dec. 10, 2012, Bryan (Ohio) Times.

The Ohio Society of the U.S. Daughters of 1812 is looking for volunteers with digital cameras to photograph the over 7,000 known War of 1812 veterans buried in Ohio.  The group plans to build a usable website which will be of great use to genealogists.

Persons interested can go to the group's website and find their country with the information already available.  I just typed in persons born in 1785 and found fifteen pages of names. 

The Daughters would like to have photos of the veterans grave, their wives and the cemetery signs for the website.

Sounds like a job for Denny Gibson, right?

Just a Tad Too Far Away.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The NPS' Road To War-- Part 2

Earlier this month, I wrote about the NPS vote as to whether or not the U.S. should have gone to war back in 1812.  I voted not to as there is no way we stood a chance against Britain if they managed to defeat Napoleon.   As it was, even their second-line troops were proving too much for us.  Our frigates were winning some battles with their frigates, but ours by far outclassed theirs, so that wasn't as big of a victory as it would seem.

Here is the 1812 Congressional vote.

In the House of Representatives:

For War: 79, or 62%
Against War: 49, or 38%

In the Senate:

For War: 19, or 59%
Against War:  13, or 41%

In the 2012 voting: 81% for war and 19% against.  The biggest gap occurred with my age group, 60 to 69 where 97% voted for and 3% against.

To War or Not to War.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The NPS' Road to War

These were some of the major reasons leading to the War of 1812:

MARITIME ISSUES  Since 1803, the British Navy impressed 6,000 American merchant sailors which violated our neutrality.  Britain and France were at war and making American trade with Europe difficult.  Between 1807 and 1812, some 900 American merchant ships were seized.

POLITICS  The Democratic Republican Party was in power, but had split into factions.  A war would rally the party together and stifle the anti-war Federalists.

NATIONAL HONOR  Americans were outraged by the trampling of perceived national rights.

WESTERN EXPANSION  The British were an obstacle to land opportunities in the West and on the northern borders..  Plus, there was the tempting prize of British Canada just waiting for annexation.  A victory in a war would also stop British support of Indian resistance to westward expansion.

Possibly Biting Off More Than One Could Chew In This Case.  --Brock-Perry

War of 1812 December 1812 Timeline

Dec. 3rd--  James Monroe serves as Secretary of War.

Dec. 18th-- Battle of Misissinewa

Dec. 26th--  Britain declares blockade of Chesapeake and Delaware bays.

Dec. 29th--  Paul Hamilton resigns as Secretary of the Navy.

Dec. 29th--  The USS Constitution defeats the HMS Java.


Monday, December 10, 2012

What the War of 1812 Meant to Portsmouth, N.H.-- Part 2

Captain Isaac Hull, who commanded the USS Constitution in the battle with the HMS Guerriere on August 18, 1812, took command of the shipyard in Portsmouth in 1813.  Construction was soon begun on "the 74," later named the USS Washington, a ship of the Line.  This provided work for many in the town and surrounding area.

Forts were built and fortified around Portsmouth to protect the shipyard.

On December 22, 1813, a great fire wiped out most of Portsmouth's commercial district.  British threats in the summer of 1814 caused some 3,000 New Hampshire militia to be stationed around the city.


What the War of 1812 Meant to Portsmouth, NH-- Part 1

From the May 23, 2012, Foster's Daily Democrat (NH).

The John Paul Jones House museum has a new exhibit with this title.

There is a copy of the June 27, 1812, Portsmouth Oracle with the headlines: "War!  Horrid War!  The Die Is Cast--  The Scene Changed--and the curtain of madness drawn between us and the national happiness and commercial prosperity."

Most of New England, stood against the war and New Hampshire essentially divided.  The anti-war Oracle stood in opposition of the pro-war New Hampshire Gazette.

Portsmouth's merchant economy was decimated by war restrictions and blockades.  Many merchants were forced into privateering where rewards could be great, but risks huge.  Reliance on this led to a boom-bust mentality.

It's a Privateer's Life For Me.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Some Bicentennial Events

From the May 23, 2012, Philadelphia CBS.  "Guide to Local War of 1812 Bicentennial Events" by Jay Lloyd.

1.  JUNE 13-19th Baltimore's Inner Harbor- Tall ships and warships.

2.  Until the end of MAY, New York City Fleet Week featuring ships from several navies and the US Coast Guard.

3.  CANNNBALL HOUSE on Ship carpenter Street in Lewes, Delaware.  Bombarded by the British fleet.

4.  "The Home of the Brave" exhibit at PENN'S LANDING.

FORT MIFFLIN at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuykill rivers will have a living history exhibition June 2nd.

5.  ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA is where Commodore Perry's fleet was built.  The rebuilt USS Niagara is home ported there.

Things Are Happening Commemorating the Forgotten War.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, December 7, 2012

The 71st Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

Lest we forget that event that changed the lives of every American in a matter of hours 71 years ago.

Not Forgetting Pearl Harbor Either.

Medal for First Nations on British Side

From the May 22, 2012, Wall Street Journal "Commemoration War of 1812 Medal for Aboriginal Canadians."

John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development has announced medals will be given to the 44 First Nations who fought on the British-Canadian side during the War of 1812.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Last War of 1812 Survivor Died in 1905-- Part 2

After the war, he was a shoemaker until he saved up enough to buy a farm.  In 1825, he married Mary Thornton and had seven children in their 60 years of marriage.  Mary died in 1885.  They also had 14 grandchildren.  Hiram Cronk lived in Herkimer County and in 1901 was the last War of 1812 pensioner.

"At age 101 years Mr. Cronk is still hale and hearty and, all things considered remarkably active.  He lives within a short distance of his birthplace.  Except for his absence during the war, he has seldom left the vicinity."

His family was noted for longevity.  Four brothers and a sister lived to be over 90.  From an early age, he  was a habitual user of tobacco, both chewing and smoking it.  Also, he drank strong liquor, but in moderation.

Maybe There Is Hope For Most Of Us.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Letters and Documents from the War of 1812 Up for Auction

From the Nov. 24, 2012, Art

An auction December 12th will feature three drafts of letters/reports from the summer of 1814 written by Alexander Dobbs, commander of a squadron of British ships, to his commander, Commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo.  One of them is a personal account of the Battle of Lundy's Lane.

Also included is Dobbs' account of the HMS Magnet which was blown up to prevent capture and his experience at the Siege of Fort Erie, where he said, "our losses have been very severe: 10 Seamen and 11 Marines killed, 15 Seamen and 18 Marines wounded and missing.. I fear that a number of the latter were blown up.  Lieut. Stevenson, Mr. Harris Master and myself were wounded. 

Mr. Hinde, Master's mate, had his thigh broke and was left in the Ditch where I fear he must have perished.  If there is any inaccuracy in this I trust you will excuse it, as my head aches so intolerably I can scarce hold it up."

Another letter from Yeo to Dobbs warns him not to get involved in any attack of the Army on the Americans.  This was essentially a warning to stay off the lake which was under the command of the Americans.

Some Primary Source Materials.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Quebec Force Repelled American Attack in Critical Battle

From the Nov. 24, 2012, National Post by James Careless.

In October 1813, 3,00 Americans under General Wade Hampton marched north from Plattsburgh, New York, with the goal of capturing Montreal, a vital supply stop for Upper Canada (now Ontario).  Its fall would cause the surrender of Upper Canada.  To stop them, a force of 1,600 French-Canadians and 172 Indians were deployed, including 110 Voltigeurs, British-trained French Lower Canadians under the command of Lt. Col. Charles de Salaberrry.

These troops harassed the Americans along the way, ambushing and felling trees.  At the Battle of Chateauguay, by the river of the same name, southwest of Montreal, the two forces fought.  Hampton attacked 400 fortified Canadians and de Salaberry mowed them down and made them think there were even more of them by having men with bugles wander around and blow them from various points.

This unnerved the Americans who retreated, ending a very serious threat.

Those Tricky Canadians.  --Brock-Perry

Last War of 1812 Survivor Died in 1905-- Part 1

From the Genealogy Bank. 

Hiram Cronk died May 13, 1905 after turning 105 just two weeks earlier.  After his death a whiskey company, Duffy's Pure Malt Whiskey, used his longevity to market its product.

Cronk lived and died on his farm in New York and his death was reported all across the United States.  New York City staged a lavish state funeral as tens of thousands paid their respects passing the body in the rotunda of the city hall.

His life embraced almost the whole history of the country when he died, having been born in 1800.  Until near his end, he received little publicity or fame.

After the war he became a shoemaker, earning enough money to buy land and become a farmer.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Now, You Can Vote for War or Not

The National Park Service has a new online activity giving you the ability to vote for or against of war.  It was set to end June 18th, the day the United States declared war against Britain.  Voting started back in May and evidently is still going on as I voted.

Go to

You can hear 8 Americans from the era giving their perspectives and after voting, you can see all sorts of interesting statistical breakdowns.

I voted against war, as there was no way we could match the British if we had their undivided attention.

To Fight or Not to Fight?  --Brock-Perry

War of 1812 Ticket Packages Offered in Baltimore

From the May 21, 2012, Baltimore Business Journal by Jim Bach.

Just in time for increased tourism due to the bicentennial of the war, the city of Baltimore, where the really big "Rockets Red Glare" thing took place, is jumping on the band wagon and offering discounted ticket packages.

For $18.12 (get it) adults can purchase a five-ticket pass.

Gotta Get Me One of Those.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bicentennial Commemoration To Bring History to Life

From the May 21, 2012, Chattanoogan by Melanie Beauchamp.

The Natchez trace Parkway will have a "muster" May 26th at the Gordon House Historic Site.

Tensions were high in the spring of 1812 in the Tennessee and Mississippi Territories because of deterioration with relations with the British and Creek Indians.  Many "musters" took place where militia gathered to practice the art of war.

John Gordon, the home's owner, was the captain of one of Jackson's companies of spies and operated the ferry over the Duck River which he began operating in 1803.

Ferry Across the River.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Plattsburgh, NY, Planning Bicentennial Events

From the November 18, 2012, Plattsburgh (NY) Press-Republican "Activities to Focus on War of 1812."

For the next 22 months, real time events of 1812 leading to the 1814 Battle of Plattsburgh will be featured in a series of articles by Colin Read culminating in September 2014 on the 200th anniversary of the battle. 

He has extensively researched the Plattsburgh Republican newspapers from 1812 to 1814.  He will be summarizing battles of the war and translating the language of the era into what present-day readers can easily understand.

Read was very surprised by the negative attitudes of townspeople toward Native Americans such as the St. Regis tribe, who lived near the present-day Akwasasne.  Some Americans back then wondered whether the Indians would side with the British or Americans.

Looking Forward to Reading Those Accounts.  --Brock-Perry

War Holds Key to Native American Banishment

From the Nov. 2, 2012, Wilton (Ct) Bulletin by Joan Lowandy.

It may be "The Forgotten War" to most Americans, but it was anything but that to Native Americans.  "It marks an indelible turning point in their history."  They siding with the British which "made clear what every Indian and colonist already knew, that there could be no peace until one side or the other was completely destroyed,"  according to David Koch, associate professor of history at the Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport.

The U.S. victory in the war began the serious expansion westward.  Indians sided with the British because they considered the Americans a greater threat.  They already knew Americans were land-hungry.

No Connecticut tribes were involved in the war, with the last time the Indians in the state fighting whites in the King Philip's War, 1675-1676.

With the Indians siding with the british, this gave Americans the excuse to kill any natives standing in their way.  In addition, against this onslaught, Indians further compounded their problems by often fighting each other instead of uniting.

Bad Times for Indians.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Naval Pictoral of the War

From the Nov. 5, 2012, Niagara This Week "A Visual History of Naval Engagement"

A pictoral history of War of 1812 naval engagements consisting of more than 40 prints will be on display at the Grimsby Museum.  Most are by renowned marine artist Peter Rindlisbacher.

They cover actions in the Great Lakes Basin: Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and were on display until November 25th. 

The museum is located at 6 Murray Street in Grimsby, Canada.

Oops, missed It.  Maybe the artist has a website?

Always Very Interested in the Naval Actions of Any War.  --Brock-Perry

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Did the Town Fool the British? Probably Not.

From the Nov. 20, 2012, Star Democrat.

St. Michaels is the town that claims it fooled the British during the War of 1812, but author Christopeher George things probably not.  During the war, the British attacked the town on the Chesapeake and according to legend, the townspeople hung lights from trees to cause them to fire their rockets too high and miss the town.

However, it was the British plan all along to attack at dawn, which would have caused the use of lights in trees to be moot.  During the attack, the British captured a battery, but failed to do the same with the shipyards in the area.

Plus, the story of the lights was first recorded in the 1880s.

Somebody Made Up a Big Story?  --Brock-Perry

$4 Million Spent on Olympics

The Canadian government spent over $4 million of its $28 million budget advertising the War of 1812 during last summer's Olympic games in Britain.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

The War in Indiana Along the Wabash

On my way back from North Carolina in a couple weeks, I plan on taking US-41from Evansville to Terre Haute in the state.

I plan on visiting the locations of both Fort Knoxs in Vincennes and Fort Harrison in Terre Haute.  Also, there was the site of the ambushes at Attack At the Narrows in between the two towns.  At Vincennes, I always knew the story of Fort Sackville and george Rogers Clark, but nothing about Fort Knox and I had no knowledge of Fort harrison at Terre Haute.

That will be of interest since a lot of operations at the three places took place 200 years ago, so it will be my bicentennial thing.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

USS Oneida-- Part 4

On April 25, 1813, the American fleet, led by the Oneida, sailed to York, Upper Canada (now Toronto) and on the 27th, the troops of Gen. Zebulon Pike disembarked and captured the town.  On May 27th, the Americans took Fort George.

On July 27th, the fleet sailed back to York to liberate prisoners and seize provisions.

The following year, July 31, the Oneida went to the Niagara River and with the USS Jefferson and USS Sylph and other ships, blockaded Kingston.

One of the Oneida's cannons is at Clayton, New York, and another is at the French Creek Bay Marina.

And, you never heard of the USS Oneida.  I hadn't either.


Friday, November 16, 2012

The USS Oneida-- Part 3

From Wikipedia.

The Oneida was a brig mounting sixteen 24-pdrs and with a crew of 100.  On June 5, 1812, before the declaration of war, the Oheida captured the British schooner Lord Nelson while enforcing the Embargo Law.  (This ship became the USS Scourge.)

On July 19th, the British squadron sailed into Sacket's Harbor to recapture it.  The Oneida anchored in position to rake the enemy ships and mounted guns from the other side on shore into a battery.  After a two hour battle, the British ships withdrew.

Then, it became a major antagonist of the HMS Royal George, the two most-powerful ships on Lake Ontario.

On November 8, 1812, it sailed out of Sacket's Harbor under the command of Commodore Isaac Chauncey, to intercept a British ship carrying supplies to Kingston.  It, and the American fleet, chased the Royal George into the Bay of Quinte where they lost sight of the British ship.  The Americans found the Royal George the next day and cannon fire was exchanged, but a gale ended the battle and the Royal George escaped again.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Drummer Boy of Fort McHenry-- Part 2

Elaine Sauer found that John Michael Lightner, Henry's father, was a drummer boy in the American Revolution and had bequeathed the weathered drum he had played at Valley Forge under General Washington to Henry who carried it with him when he joined Captain John Berry's Washington Artillery of the First Regiment.

The wooden drum stayed with the family until 1961, when Henry Lightner McCulloh, namesake and grandson, donated it to the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House in Baltimore where it is on permanent display.  He figured it was safer there as family children went up into the attic for generations and played with it.

The ropes and leather have been replaced on the drum, but the wooden cylinder and drumhead are original.

Sauer used old records to locate the grave site.

October 13th was designated Henry Lightner Day.

I am so glad that the family has done right by their ancestor.  I had never heard of the Drummer Boy of Fort McHenry before this.

Now, That Is One Drum With a Lot of History.  --

The Drummer Boy of Fort McHenry-- Part 1

From the Nov. 11, 2012, Baltimore Sun "Family honors War of 1812 hero with headstone" by Mary Gail Hare.

Henry Lightner's unmarked grave was found and after 130 years, got a proper monument.  Called "The Drummer Boy of Fort McHenry" at 16 years of age, he joined a militia unit and drummed along the march to defend Fort McHenry.  On September 11, 1814, he helped sound the alarm that the British were coming and continued his drumming throughout the night of the "Rocket's Red Glare, Bombs Bursting in Air."

He died in 1883 at the age of 84 and was buried without a marker in a Baltimore cemetery.

That has now been corrected as he now has a new headstone from the Veterans Administration with hjis name, rank, service in the Maryland militia, birth and death.  The family added the words "Drummer Boy of Fort McHenry" a flag and a drum.

After the war, he had worked as a roofer, fathered 12 children and was always called by that name.

His story was passed down through the generations until Elaine Sauer, 5 generations removed, started doing some online research about him and found many distant relatives along with where he was buried.

A Pounding On That Drum.  More to Come.  --Brock=Perry

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Privateering and Boatbuilding in Talbot County

From the April 29, 2012, Easton (Md) Star Democrat by Jean Griffith.

The British Navy far outnumbered that of the United States.  The Congress Act of 1812 provided "letters of marque" for those interesting in using a private ship to attack British shipping.  They would be known as privateers.  This set off a frenzy of activity in Talbot County building privateers.

Pilot Schooners were very useful and would be armed with a long gun called a "Long Tom" and had large crews for boarding with muskets, cutlasses and boarding pikes.

There were 25 shipbuilders in Talbot County at Harris Creek, Easton, St. Michaels, Hopkins Neck, Broad Creek, San Domingo Creek and Third Haven Creek.  None of them were naval architects, but all had practical knowledge of the craft.

Congress required each captain to keep a journal and turn it over to the collector of customs when arriving at a U.S. port.  The journals would include the value of prizes taken, their disposition and any useful information on the enemy.

Of interest, US Navy purser Samuel Hambleton of Martingham, Talbot County, achieved renown for designing the battle flag with the slogan "Don't Give Up the Ship" flown during the Battle of Lake Erie, September 1813.  He was on Perry's flagship and operated two guns.

Aye, It's a Privateer's Life for Me.  --Brock-Perry

It Was a Mudball Attack!!

From the April 29, 2012, Buffalo (NY) "Lewiston boys' attack on warship with mudballs authenticated by letter" by Richard E. Baldwin, News Niagara Reporter.

Lewiston boys built a homemade cannon out of a log and rolled mud into the shape of cannonballs according to a local folk legend.  Now, the Historical Society of Lewiston says it has evidence that this actually happened and that a British schooner reversed course and retreated down the river after seeing it.

They have a copy of an 1865 letter by Alexander Miller, who was 15 years old in 1810 when he led his friends on the "Mudball Attack."  He and a dozen boys built a makeshift fort on the bank of the Niagara River and cut down some maple trees and turned them into ten cannons.  They then brought up barrels of clay from the river bed and fashioned them into cannonballs and let them dry after which they stacked them.

When Miller ordered his boys to fire, two split apart and two others dislodged, but two "mudball cannonballs" splashed into the river by the schooner and it turned tail.

Legend has it that British officers later came to Lewiston to complain but were told the boys were simply firing a salute.

Not Sure How They Fired Anything From a Log, But a Good Story Nonetheless.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sorting Out Laura Secord's Role

From the April 29, 2012, Niagara Gazette by Don Glynn.

Laura Secord is credited for putting her life at risk after overhearing American officers dining at her house in Queenstown that they intended to surprise the British outpost at Beaver Dam and also capture the British officer Lt. James Fitzgibbon.

She walked twenty miles and was captured by British Indian allies, the Caughnawaga and then taken to Fitzgibbon.

The Americans did not attack February 23rd as she had said and she was questioned.

Three hundred Caughnawaga and 100 Mohawks attacked Lt. Col. C.G. Boerstler's rear guard and they surrendered.

Laura Secord's American counterpart, Betsy Doyle, escaped the fall of Fort Niagara in December 1813 and walked 300 miles to the American camp near Albany where she worked as a nurse.

Filling in the Blanks.  --Brock-Perry

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The USS Oneida-- Part 2

Part of the contract for the ship involved 110 gallons of liquor.  Exactly what that has to do with building a ship I don't know.

One of the young officers assisting Melancton Woolsey was midshipman James Fennimore Cooper, who went on to some notoriety afterwards.

The group arrived in Oswego and after a few weeks the frame began to take shape.  By the end of 1808, the ship's deck was in place and by the end of February 1809, most of the outside work had been completed.  And, by the end of March, most of the rigging was complete.

The Oneida played a key role in several battles, including Sacket's Harbor, Kingston and the capture of York (now Toronto).

Historians are not sure what happened to the Oneida after the war.  Some think it might have been used to haul lumber for several years, beached near Clayton and allowed to rot.

Others say it was at Sacket's Harbor until 1825 and then broken up.

What Happened to It?   --Brock-Perry

The USS Oneida-- Part 1

From the March 28, 2009, Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard "USS Oneida, first warship on the Great Lakes, was completed 200 years ago in Oswego" by John Doherty.

Again, a ship I had never heard of before, but very much involved in what I have been writing about of late, some action around Lake Ontario.  The Oneida was one of the ships after the HMS Royal George that I wrote about yesterday.

Two hundred years ago, Oswego was getting ready to celebrate the launch of the USS Oneida, built from area hardwood.  At that time, Oswego really wasn't much, consisting of just a few buildings, two old forts and a few people.  It was so bad that the people had to go out and look for women to dance at the ball they had planned.

Throughout the early 1800s, tension between the new nation, the United States, and Britain and France had been increasing.  In 1808, the federal government had decided to build a warship for duty on the Great Lakes and assigned Lt. Melancton Taylor Woolsey to do it.

He negotiated a $20,500 contract with New York City shipbuilders Henry Eckford and Christian Burgh and gathered carpenters and  blacksmiths and headed to Oswego.

Out Into the Wilds to Build a Ship.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, November 9, 2012

The HMS Royal George

This date 200 years ago, the HMS Royal George escaped from an American fleet.  Again, I had never heard of this ship, even though it it was the largest ship on Lake Ontario, mounting twenty guns and  with a crew of 200.  On this date in 1812, it managed to escape from a seven-ship American fleet into Kingston.  In 1814, it was renamed the HMS Niagara and sold in 1827.

Of interest, June 30 and July 1st, 2012 there was a re-enactment of the flight of the Royal George held from Bath, Ontario to Kingston.  Ironically, the role of the Royal George was played by the brig USS Niagara.

The Royal George was one of the ships of the Provincial Marine based in Kingston along with the HMS Wolfe, HMS Duke of Gloucester, HMS Earl of Mora and Governor Simcoe.

Giddy-Up Boat and Go.  --Brock-Perry

War Events Planned for the Bicentennial-- Part 2

THE WHITE HOUSE--  Burned August 24, 1814.  Dolley Madison save the Gilbert Stuart painting of George Washington from the White House where it still hangs.

USS CONSTITUTION--  Britain had a fleet of 600 warships, the US had 17.  This is the only remaining ship from either side and still can be seen at Charleston, Massachusetts if you can stand the lines.

ALABAMA--  One of the biggest US victories was at Horsehshoe Bend, now a National Park, 100 miles southwest of Atlanta.  Andrew Jackson slaughtered the Creek Red Sticks tribe and secured 23 million acres.

NEW ORLEANS--  Famous for the battle at Chalmette referred to as the Battle of New Orleans.

GREAT LAKES--  Much fighting in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio.

Fort Dearborn, Chicago--destroyed during the war and the massacre.
Fort Mackinac--  captured by the British and still standing.
Battle of Lake Erie 1813.  The Peace Monument at Put-In-Bay, Ohio. 352-feet high to commemorate Perry's victory and the peace along the US-Canadian border since the war.  Perry's reconstructed flagship, the brig USS Niagara is based at Erie, Pennsylvania.

SACKET'S HARBOR, NY, major US Naval base that fended off a British attack in 1813.

OLD FORT NIAGARA--  base for US invasions of Canada.  Captured by the British in 1813.

BATTLE OF PLATTSBURGH, NY--  A US victory here Sept. 14, 1814, thwarted a British invasion.

More Than You Thought.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, November 8, 2012

War Events Planned for the Bicentennial-- Part 1

From the May 20, 2012, Fort Wayne (In) News=Sentinel "Variety of War of 1812 events planned for its bicentennial" by Beth J. Harper.

Some historians consider it as England's last effort to regain control over its former colonies.  Others call it the Second War for Independence.  Canada regards it as a U.S. land grab.

And, there were parallel wars going on at the same time.  The big one was Britain's war with napoleon in Europe (the main reason Britain didn't easily crush the U.S.).  There was also the Indian effort to keep their land from the encroaching Americans (why they allied with Britain).


Francis Scott Key wrote the words to "The Star Spangled Banner" September 14, 1814, after witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry, protecting Baltimore.  The fort is now a National Park and the original manuscript of the song can be seen at the Maryland Historical Society at 201 W. Mon St. in Baltimore.

You can see the very same flag Key was writing about at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C..


June 13-19, the Star-Spangled Sailabration will be in town with 40 Tall Ships.  Other ports for the ships:
May 23-30 in New York City
June 1-12 in Norfolk, Virginia
July 6-8 New London, Connecticut

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

USS Constitution Cannon Restored

From the October 20, 2012, "USS Constitution's cannon restored, dedication Sunday" by Phil Attinger.

The 2,000 pound cannon was not damaged when a motorist ran into the side of the trailer it was in a half block from its destination at the Lake Wales, Florida, Depot Museum at 325 S. Scenic Highway.

It is not an actual cannon from the ship, but a replica that was on the ship from 1906-1927 that had been donated to the City of Lake Wales and had been at the city library until 1993 when it was moved to a concrete pad outside the Lake Wales Depot Museum.

It was not covered and the wooden carriage rotted away and it was then moved to a storage area.  Recently it became a Daughters of the American revolution project and it was sent away for a new replica gun carriage made of concrete and steel.


War Hero Rests in Pauper's Grave-- Part 3

First Nation warriors attacked the advancing Americans from the woods.  FitzGibbon and his 50 men arrived and under a white flag, suggested the Americans surrender saying his forces was the vanguard of a much larger one and he got their surrender.

After the war, he remained in Canada and restored peace among rival factions in Upper Canada and also broke up fighting between Tories and Reformers in York.  In 1837, he organized troops who participated in the eventual route of William Lyon Mackenzie.  He finally attained the rank of Lt. Colonel.

After facing some financial problems, James FitzGibbon retired to Windsor Castle in England where he lived on a small pension as a "military knight" in quarters provided by the Crown.

He died at age 83 and is buried in the Catacombs of St. George's Chapel at the castle.

I'd Never Heard of Him Before.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day, 1812: 200 Years Ago

I was unable to find the exact day of the 1812 presidential election, but will write about it today since it is vote day.

And the election was kind of mean back in 1812 as it is today.  And, there was also this war going on.

It was the incumbent Democratic-Republican President James Madison and VP Elbridge Gerry (he of gerrymandering fame) against the dissident Democratic-Republicans backing DeWitt Clinton, the nephew of Madison's vice president, and his VP candidate Jared Ingersol.

The Federalists generally supported Clinton.

Big campaign issues were the French and the British impressment.  American expansionists wanted to take over British Canada and Florida.

It was close, like today's election, with Madison getting 50.4% of the popular vote with 140,431 and 128 electoral votes to Clinton's 89.  The states of: Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Vermont voted for him.

DeWitt Clinton got 47.6% popular with 132,781 votes and 89 electoral votes, mostly in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states:  New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Of course, the New England states threatened to secede from the United States over the War of 1812, and by-an-large, didn't support it.  Of course, these same states did not believe the Southern states had the right to secede in later years.

Another Tight Election.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, November 5, 2012

War Hero Rests in Pauper's Grave-- Part 2

From the May 17th Hamilton (Canada) Spectator.

Continued from September 14th.

James Fitzgibbon was an Irish farmer's son and was a special protegee of Sir Isaac Brock until his 1812 death.  He rose through the ranks by merit rather than by buuying commissions as was the common practice.

During the early days of the War of 1812, he ran supplies along the St. Lawrence River from Montreal to Kingston, past American forces. 

His group used guerrilla tactics they learned from their First Nation (Indian) allies and wore gray-green uniforms and earned the name Bloody Boys, the Green 'Uns or the Bully Boys.  There is a story about how they captured two Americans in a tavern with the help of the owner's wife.

Americans at Fort George decided they were going to destroy the Bloody Boys and 600 set off to Queenstown.  Several officers stayed at the home of James and Laura Secord who overheard them boasting about a surprise attack on Fitzgibbons.  James was recovering from wounds, so Laura began her "legendary overnight trek" to warn the British.

The Story of Laura Secord's Night Trek.  --Brock-Perry

200th Post on 200th Anniversary

The last post was the 200th in this blog.  Not bad considering it just started in April as a salute to these events of 200 years ago. And, there was that off-line period back in May.

I sure am learning a whole lot about the war that I didn't know.

Very informative.


The USS Hamilton


The other ship that sank in the August 8, 1813, by Hamilton, Canada.  A schooner built in Oswego, New York as the  merchant ship Diana.  Purchased by the US Navy Oct. 21, 1812 for use in Lake Ontario based out of Sacket's Harbor.  Named after US Secretary of Navy Paul Hamilton.

Weighed 76 tons and mounted eight 12-pdr. carronade, one 24-pdr. and one 32-pdr.

Both ships contain human remains and are considered war graves.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

The USS Scourge

From Wikipedia.

Wednesday, I wrote about sailors from the USS Scourge and USS Hamilton which sank in a storm in Lake Ontarion, being honored.

I never heard of either ship, so Wiki here I come.

The USS Scourge was converted into a warship from a captured merchant schooner. It had been boarded and taken by the USS Oneida June 5, 1812 and confiscated under the Embargo Act of 1809.  This was two weeks before war was declared.

It was taken to Sackets Harbor and refitted with four 6-pdr guns and joined Captain Isaac Chauncey's squadron on Lake Ontario.

On Aug. 18, 1813, it was sunk in a sudden squall that hit at 2 AM near Fourteen Mile Creek near present-day Hamilton, Canada.  More than 80 died between it and the Hamilton.  Only 16 survived, eight from the Scourge.

In 1976, the wreck was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

Of interest, the original owners of the ship when it was captured by the Oneida demanded compensation for its seizure and on July 11, 1817, the Court of the Northern District of New York decided that it was seized illegally, but the money to pay for it was embezzled by the clerk of the court and the owners got nothing.

Ninety-five years later, the owners' descendants again pursued compensation and received $50,000 plus 93 years interest.

Never Give Up the Ship.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, November 2, 2012

Commodore Jacob Nicholas Jones, USN

From Wikipedia.

(March 1768-August 3, 1850.  An American officer in the Quasi-War with France, the Barbary Wars and War of 1812.  Born in Kent County, Delaware.

He was definitely involved with some of the ships I wrote about last month on their 200th anniversaries.

Strangely, however, he didn't join the Navy as a midshipman until he was 31, that when some midshipmen were as young as 10.  Some think the death of his wife prompted him to do it.During the Quasi War, he served on the USS United States under Commodore John Barry and was promoted to 2nd Lt. in 1801.

On Oct. 31, 1803, during the Barbary War, he was taken prisoner on the USS Philadelphia in the Bay of Tripoli, but freed in 1805. 

In 1810, he was given command of the USS Wasp and during the War of 1812, on Oct. 18, 1812, captured the HMS Frolic and that same day he was again captured, this time by the HMS Poictiers.

He was widely acclaimed after his prisoner exchange despite losing his ship.  He then was given command of the USS Macedonian, a captured British ship before getting bottled up with the USS United States in New London, CT. in 1814.  He was then transferred to Lake Ontario and given command of the USS Mohawk during the last year of the war..

During the Second Barbary War, he again commanded the USS Macedonian and later captained the USS Guerriere, another captured British ship.  From 1821-1823, he commanded the Mediterranean Squadron, then the Pacific Squadron 1826-1829 and then was Navy Commissioner in Washington, DC. 

He commanded the Philadelphia Navy Yard from 1847 until his death.

So here was a guy captured twice and then who commanded two captured ships.

Must Have Been In His Blood.  --Brock-Perry

War of 1812 Timeline: November 1812

November--  James Madison re-elected president
November--  British blockade the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina

Nov. 9--  Escape of the HMS Royal George
Nov. 10--  Commodore Isaac Chauncey blockades Kingston Harbor
Nov. 13--  Second Battle of Queenstown Heights

Nov. 19--  Destruction of Prophetstwon
Nov. 20--  Skirmish at Lacolle

Nov. 22--  Spur's defeat, Second Battle of Tippecanoe
Nov. 22--  USS Vixen vs. HMS Southampton
Nov.  22--  Skirmish at Maumee River, Ohio

Nov. 23--  Americans retreat from Upper Canada
Nov. 23--  Raid at St. Regis
Nov. 23--  Raid at French Mills, New York

Nov. 27--  Americans attack Fort Erie redoubts

Nov. 28--  Skirmish at Frenchman's Creek
Nov. 28--Dec. 1--  Smyth's failed invasion of Upper Canada

We'll See What Happened.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

War of 1812 Sailors Honored

From the September 26, 2012, Sachem & Glanbrook Gazette.

On September 20th, the HMCS Star, HMCS Ville de Quebec and USS Hurricane were in the background as 53 sailors who died when the ships Hamilton and Scourge sank in Lake Ontario, the largest loss of US Naval personnel during the war.

On August 8, 1813, a sudden squall sank the ships within minutes.

The wrecks were discovered using side sonar in 1973, 290 feet deep.  Dives were made on the ships in 1980, 1982 and 1990.

The Canadian city of Hamilton took ownership in 1980 after the US Navy passed ownership to the Royal Museum in Toronto.

A Fitting Memorial.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Current U.S. Warship With War of 1812 Connection

From the Oct. 5, 2012 Ho'okele:Pearl Harbor-Hickam News.

The USS Reuben James (FFG 57) has ties with the War of 1812 and is home-ported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam is an Oliver Hazard Perry Class guided missile frigate.  It was commissioned in 1986 and is scheduled to be decommissioned in August 2013. The 453 foot long ship has a beam of 45 feet and crew of a little over 200.

Along with missiles, and anti-aircraft batteries, it also carries two helicopters.

The class of ships is named after the hero of the War of 1812 Battle of Lake Erie "We have met the enemy and they are ours" Oliver Hazard Perry.

The ship was named for boatswain's mate Ruben James who fought during the war as well as the Quasi War with France and the two Barbary Wars and saved the life of Lt. Stephen Decatur in the Philadelphia operation in the First Barbary War.

A previous destroyer named Ruben James was the firt US Naval ship sunk during World War II.

Now, You Know.  --Brock=Perry

Monday, October 29, 2012

HMS Macedonian/USS Macedonian

The HMS Macedonian was a 38-gun Lively-Class frigate launched in 1810 and as I earlier blogged, captured in a one-sided battle versus the frigate USS United States on October 25, 1812. 

The ship was repaired and purchased by the US Navy and commissioned the USS Macedonian and participated on the American side in the War of 1812 after that.  But, she spent much of the time bottled up by the British with the American fleet at New London, Connecticut.  Its first American commander was John Jacobs, who had commanded the hapless USS Wasp when it was captured by the Poictiers.

Later, in 1815, it participated in the Second Barbary War in the Mediterranean.  It later patrolled the US East Coast for three years and then was sent to the Pacific Station.  Decommissioned in 1828, it was then broken up at the Norfolk Navy Yard.

Serving Both Sides.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The USS United States vs. HMS Macedonian-- Part 3: A Literary and Civil War Connection

Ordinary seaman Herman Melville served on the United States in 1843.  Great Moby Dick!!

The United States was at Norfolk, Virginia and was not burned by retreating Union forces when the Confederates advanced on the naval yard April 20, 1861, but it was scuttled.  The Confederates raised it and made it into a 19-gun receiving ship and known as the CSS United States.  Kind of a strange name for a Confederate ship if you ask me.  It was also referred to as the CSS Confederate States (better).

It was sunk in the Elizabeth River in May 1862 as an obstruction to advancing Union ships.  It was raised and towed to Norfolk where it remained until March 1864 when it was broken up and sold for its wood.

But, What Happened to the Macedonian?  --Brock-Perry

Friday, October 26, 2012

USS United States vs. HMS Macedonian-- Part 2

October 25, 1812, the two ships cleared decks for action and commenced battle maneuvers at 0900.  The Macedonian pulled parallel to the United States and Decatur intended to stay at a distance to allow his longer-range and heavier guns to blast the British ship..  At 0920, the United States fired an inaccurate broadside and the Macedonian returned the favor and brought down a small spar.

Decatur's next broadside destroyed the British ship's mizzen topmast and with it, much of the steering.  The United States took position on the Macedonian's quarter and riddled her.  By noon, the Macedonian was a dismasted hulk and forced to surrender with 104 casualties compared with 12 on the American ship, which, for the most part was undamaged.

The two ships lay alongside each other for two weeks as repairs were made and in December they entered New York Harbor.

The Macedonian was purchased by the US Navy, repaired and placed in service.

On June 1, 1813, the Macedonian, United States and sloop Hornet were driven into New London, Ct., by a powerful fleet and remained there until the end of the war.

Big Naval Victory.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, October 25, 2012

200th Aniversary of the Battle Between the USS United States and HMS Macedonian to Settle a Bet-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Two hundred years ago, the USS United States squared off against the HMS Macedonian to settle a bet.

The USS United States was a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate, the first of six constructed by Congressional authorization (including the USS Constitution) according to the Naval Act of 1794.  These ships were larger and more heavily-armed than the frigates of other countries, kind of like Germany's pocket battleships during World War II. 

Thus giving the American ships a big advantage in fighting British frigates.  Plus, the American ship could outrun the heavily-armed British ships of the line, the most powerful ships afloat back then.

The United States cost $299,336 and was launched May 10, 1797 and abandoned by US forces to advancing Confederate troops in April 1861.  So, it had a Civil War connection as well.  The 15776 ton ship was 175-feet long, had a 43.6-foot beam, carried a complement of 400-600 and a 50-man Marine detachment.  The "Old Wagon" as it was nicknamed carried 32 X long 24-pdrs, and 24 X 42-pdr. carronades and took part in the Quasi-War with France but did not participate in the First Barbary War.

It was decommissioned in ordinary up until near the beginning of the War of 1812.  Recommissioned June 1810 and under the command of Stephen Decatur, the ship sailed to Norfolk, Virginia for refitting.

While there Captain John S. Carden of the new British frigate HMS Macedonian wagered a bet for a new beaver hat with Decatur that he could take the United States should the two ever fight.  One of Marines in the detachment assigned to the United States was named Ichabod Crane, whose name was used in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

At the outbreak of the War of 1812, the United States joined a fleet under Commodore John Rodgers and cruised off the U.S. coast before a fruitless chase of a British convoy almost to England.

Returning to home water, on this date 200 years ago, the United States engaged that very same HMS Macedonian.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Henry Dearborn

Like I said, I couldn't find out much about the Battle of St. Regis, but looked up General Dearborn, who had been in charge of the American forces poised for a possible attack on Montreal, which evidently had to do with the battle.

Using Wikipedia, it turns out that he was Jefferson's Secretary of War for whom Chicago's Fort Dearborn was named.  He was an officer in the Revolutionary War and at the beginning of the War of 1812, he was named senior major general of the U.S. Army.  In 1812, he planned a simultaneous assault on Montreal, Kingston, Fort Niagara and Amherstburg.  Evidently it never came to be.  However, in 1813, he captured the Canadian town of York (now Toronto) and Fort George.

Tomorrow is the 200th anniversary of the capture of the HMS Macedonian by the USS United States.  I'll be writing about it.

A Little More Information on This Mystery Battle.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Battle of St. Regis? Today 200 Years Ago

I had come across mention of this battle taking place on Oct. 23, 1812, but have had a real problem finding out anything about it.

It is located in what was called Lower Canada, today's Quebec, Canada.  The American Army had gathered at the head of Lake Champlain under the command of General Dearborn (Fort Dearborn?).

British companies were placed at spots where the American attack seemed most likely between St. Regis and the Yamaska River with a larger force taking position position at Lacudie to guard Montreal.

I came across one source saying the Americans didn't attack in 1812.

And that was about all I found out.

If anyone finds out more, please let me know.

Was There a Battle or Not?  --Brock-Perry

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bits of War: First Nations at Queenstown-- War Flag Unveiled

Some recent news about a very old war.

1.  FIRST NATIONS AT QUEENSTOWN--  From the Oct. 14, 2012, Indian Country "The Battle of Queenston Heights Was the Shining Hour for Natives in War of 1812" by David P. Ball. 

Eight First nation warriors besieged 1300 Americans until they were forced to withdraw by reinforcement troops.  They did this by themselves with no help.  Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario, is located near where this took place.

2.  WAR FLAG UNVEILED--  From the Oct. 13, 2012, Ottawa Citizen "Canadian War Museum to Unveil Recently Restored War of 1812 Flag." 

The silk Regimental Colour of the 104th Regiment of Foot was carried by a military unit from New Brunswick.  It is on loan from the New Brunswick Museum following a long and painstaking restoration.

Some Some Bits About an Old War.  --Brock=Perry

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Brock Died a "Pointless Death"-- Part 4

Evidence suggest there were no last words spoken by Sir Isaac Brock.  The body was carried to Queenston and the attack failed.

Eight hundred regula and militia reinforcements arrived from Fort George under Major General Roger Sheaffe along with a force of Iroquois warriors under John Norton and outflanked the Americans and by early afternoon, they surrendered.

The American attack had been doomed from the very beginning as they did not have enough men to hold what they had captured and no reinforcements were forthcoming.

Said the writer: "Brock died needlessley in a reckless act doing a captain's job.  As much as we revere him, if you isolate his behavior at Queenston, it was an irresponsible act.  It is tantalizing to speculate what might have happened had Brock survived."

Plus, Brock's loss was a huge blow to the First Nations (Indians) as Brock understood and symphathized with their plight.

As I said before, I am learning about the war in this blog.  From what I've read so far, it seems that the Americans did not have a general anywhere near the class of Brock, even when he was being stupid as indicated in this article.  I'm sure some of the problems Brock had at Queenstown (or Queenston) were the result of his not respecting the Americans.

A Sad Loss for Canada and the British.  --Brock-Perry

HMS Poictiers

From Wikipedia.

This was the ship that arrived on the scene after the USS Wasp had defeated the HMS Frolic and then recaptured the British ship and captured the USS Wasp on Oct. 18, 2012, 200 years ago.

It was a 74-gun ship of the line launched in 1809, and most of its war record involved capturing some 20 merchant ships of the U.S. coast  It also captured three U.S. armed privateers: Herald, 10 guns; Highflyer, 5 guns and Yorktown, 20 guns.

On March 16, 1813, the ship's commander demanded that the town of Lewes, Delaware give him 20 live bulls, vegetables and hay, to which he would pay a fair price.  If not, he would destroy the town.  The town refused and on April 6th and 7th, the town was shelled with the killing of a chicken and wounding of a pig.

There is a cannonball fired from the Poictiers lodged in the stone foundation of the Lewes Marine Museum.

In 1857, the Poictiers was sold and broken up.


Friday, October 19, 2012

The USS Wasp/HMS Peacock

From Wikipedia.

The USS Wasp was a sloop of war commissioned in 1807.  After its capture yesterday, 200 years ago, it served in the British Navy, first as the HMS Loup Cervier and then the HMS Peacock.  It was lost in 1814, presumably with all hands.

While part of the US Navy, it operated off the coast of the middle states in 1812 and had also been damaged by the gale that had battered the HMS Frolic.  Shortly after the battle with the Frolic, the 74-gun ship of the line Poictiers appeared on the scene and the Wasp, damaged from the gale and battle, was in no condition to fight ar run and forced to surrender the same day it captured the Frolic.

It taken into British service as the HMS Loup Cervier, but had its name changed to the HMS Peacock after the USS Hornet captured and sank the original HMS Peacock in Feb. 1813.  From April to May it captured two Swedish ships and one from Russia.  It sank off the Virginia Capes in 1814 with all its crew.

The Story of a Ship.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The 200th Anniversary of the HMS Frolic, USS Wasp, HMS Poictiers Battle

From Wikipedia.

Two hundred years ago, there was a naval action off the coast of Virginia involving the capture of the HMS Frolic by the USS Wasp and subsequent recapture of the Frolic and capture of the Wasp by the HMS Poictiers.

The HMS Frolic was an 18-gun Cruizer-class brig-sloop with a 121-man crew. In October 1812, it was on the North American Station protecting a convoy of six merchantmen off Virgina.  A gale had dispersed the fleet and damaged the Frolic's sails and masts.  On October 18th, the USS Wasp hove into view an opened an engagement.  The Frolic fired more shots, but inaccurately. 

Unfortunately for her, the gale damage had made her unmanageable and after being raked fore-aft for 40 minutes, she was boarded and captured.  Out of her crew, 15 were killed and 43 wounded.  American losses were put at 5 killed and 5 wounded.

Later that day, the 74-gun ship of the line HMS Poictiers appeared and easily recaptured the Wasp as well, which had been damaged by the aforementioned gale and the battle.

Later, the HMS Frolic was one of four British ships that captured the American ship Fame.  The Frolic was broken up in Portsmouth in November 1813.

A Little-Known Battle.  --Brock-Perry

Brock Died a "Pointless Death"-- Part 3

General Brock made his second mistake four hours later, about dawn, while aware that a full-scale invasion was underway.  About 160 American regulars had followed a little-known fisherman's path from the river and had taken a position above the main British artillery battery. 

Without knowing their strength, Brock led an impromptu charge of 40 men to drive them out before they could take the artillery.  They met a hail of fire and were driven back, after which the Americans took the battery.

Knowing that it would be turned on the remaining British forces, Brock resolved to lead a counter-attack and led a frontal assault up the hill over open ground, still against an enemy of unknown strength.  He gathered a mixed force of 49th regiment and parts of the 5th Lincoln and 2nd York flank companies, including pioneers of Ancaster and Halton.  This was his third and final mistake

Brock had no business personally leading the attack  The British force immediately came under American fire, much of it directed at the tall officer leading the charge, Brock.

A bullet grazed his hand, but on he went, until an American stepped forward, aimed, and hit Brock in the chest.  The Hero of Upper Canada collapsed and died almost immediately.

A Sad Day for Upper Canada.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Brock Died a "Pointless Death"-- Part 2

Americans crossing the Niagara River couldn't have been a surprise.  The 43-year-old general knew the Americans had amassed a force of 6.700 regulars and militia along the river, nearly three times what the British could muster.  The only unknown thing was where the attack would occur.

Three days earlier, there had been a dismal American effort to cross the Niagara at Queenstown that was completely inept.  Brock considered it to be a feint and believed Fort George was the real American target so he did not reinforce the troops at Queenstown.

Sir Isaac Brock left Fort George on his own and left no orders for troops to follow, going the 25 kilometers up the river to Queenstown.  By the book, he should have sent a junior officer if he believed Fort George was the real target.  He should have been there instead of making the 3-4 hour round trip.

"Known to be impulsive, this was his first mistake of the morning."

And, Another Mistake.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Brock Died a "Pointless Death"-- Part 1

From the Oct. 6, 2012, Hamilton (Can) Spectator "The myth of Sir Isaac Brock and Queenstown Heights" by James Elliott.

An interesting look at Canada's War of 1812 hero.

Brock "died a pointless death" after winning his first big battle at Detroit through a mix of gall and guise at Detroit which enabled a take over of the entire Michigan Territory.  However, his second battle, two months later, was not.

"Upper Canada lost its most capable general officer at the moment he was needed the most.  The Crown's native allies lost their strongest advocate."

"It needn't have happened.  In fact, double irony is at work here--Brock died needlessly in a battle that decided nothing."

Some pretty strong comments in this article.

On Isaac Brock's last day, he was awakened four hours before dawn at Fort George by a dragoon who came bearing news that Americans were crossing the Niagara River at Queenstown.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

War of 1812 Veterans Buried at Chalmette National Cemetery in New Orleans

Section  Grave  Name Death  Comments

107,       8795,   Franks, James A.,  Jan. 27, 1847

135        11094  Procter, Stephen,   June 10, 1841  From Yeloskey, Louisiana

23          12540  Unknown,  From Lewis Creek, Tennessee

46A     13151A  Wells, Nathaniel,  October 16, 1843  Also Elizabeth S. Wells,wife.  Also served in the Mexican War.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Forgotten Hero of the Forgotten War: Sir Roger Sheaffe

From the Oct. 6, 2012, Hamilton (Can) Spectator "Sie Roger Sheaffe: Forgotten War of 1812 hero."

Two Australian cousins, Stephen Shaeffe and Paul Shaeffe are touring Ontario talking about the pivotal Battle of Queenstown Heights 200 years ago that saved Upper Canada from a large American invasion force.

They have a direct connection to that long-ago battle, Oct. 13, 1812, as they are descendants of Sir Roger Shaeffe, whose deeds were largely forgotten with the death of Sir Isaac Brock whose deeds are well-known.

The cousins also went to Boston, Massachusetts where their ancestor was born July 15, 1863.  They are descended from Sir Roger's nephew William Shaeffe, a lieutenant in the British Army who was sent to Australia in 1814.

Stephen Shaeffe pointed out, Sir Roger won the Battle of Queenstown Heights."  There were two parts to the battle.  "Brock lost the one in the morning.  Sir Roger won the one in the afternoon."

Sir Roger Shaeffe was a major general and second in command, remaining at Fort George when Borck hurried to Queenstown Heights, dying with these words reportedly on his lips, "Push on, brave York volunteers!"

Then, command of the British force fell to Shaeffe.  Whereas Brock was more of an adventurer, Shaeffe was "careful" and "conservative."  He devised a plan to outflank the American invaders with his Indian allies.  As a result of his move, 1010 Americans were captured causing the American commander on the other side of the Niagara River not to commit the additional 6,000 troops that he had.

Shaeffe was criticized for later military decisions and relieved of his duties.  He died in Edinburgh in 1851.

The Australian Shaeffes believe their ancestor was eclipsed because of Brock's death.

A Forgotten Hero.  --Brock-Perry.  Perhaps I Ought to Change the sign-off to Shaeffe-Perry.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

200th Anniversary of the Battle of Queenstown Heights Today

One of the major battles of the war, which I had never heard of before until I started doing this blog.  Nor had I ever heard of Sir Isaac Brock.

And, I am a history nut.

I just didn't know a lot about the War of 1812.

For ten years I taught US History from Exploration up to the Civil War, but never got much beyond 1800.  Sure wish I had as this is a fascinating war.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Kickoff to Battle of Queenstown Heights: American Side-- Part 2

Tomorrow, Oct. 13th, there will be a second bombardment.

Also, tomorrow, British troops will ransack Center Street businesses looking for deserters.  Local citizens and merchants will be harassed and bullied.

Hundreds of re-enactors from Canada and the U.S. will be on hand.

"The revered British general Isaac Brock was shot and killed by an American sniper.  Brock is buried underneath the 185-foot monument that bears his name that was first constructed in 1824 to honor him as 'The Savior of Upper Canada.'"  Canadians believe that if it wasn't for Brock's cunning and energetic defense of Canada during the War of 1812, Canada would have been conquered and annexed to the U.S., though no evidence exists that America had any intention of actually taking over Canada.

I kind of pick up an anti-Canadian tone for some reason.


Kickoff to Battle of Queenstown Comemoration: American Side-- Part 1

From the October 6, 2012 Niagara Frontier Publications: Town of Niagara "Unprecedented Battle of Queenstown Heights Includes Cannon Bombardment of Canada" by jmaloni.

The largest binational 1812 event in America is scheduled from October 12-14th in Lewistown.

The 100th anniversary of this battle in 1912 was celebrated with just the installation of a plaque in front of Barton Hall.  The 200th observance will be much more grandiose.

Today, "Lewistown will see something never seen before: The largest battery of 1812-period artillery ever assembled in one place, at one time, will bombard Canada in a dramatic nighttime cannonade, accompanied by music and fireworks.

This is part of a week long bicentennial celebration called "Battle of Queenstown heights Commemoration and Re-enactment."

The cannons are working ones, but, of course, will not be firing cannonballs, just powder.  The fireworks, however, will be launched toward Canada.

The Cannon bombardment will be preceded an "Off to War" procession down Center Street.  re-enactors will manually convey the cannons from Academy Park to the riverfront.

Marines will escort President Madison and his wife Dolley in a horsedrawn carriage during the procession and he will address the public and troops.

I Should be There, But Won't.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Got My Library Card for the War of 1812

Well, and World War II as well.  I had allowed my library card to lapse at the local Nippersink Library serving Spring Grove and Richmond, Illinois.  Well, also, I had lost it at some point in the last five years.

I found that I had been booted off the user list so didn't have to pay the $1 lost card fee.  "Ain't life wunnerful??"

One reason I got it was to get War of 1812 books.  I have to admit that I have really become interested in the war since I've started this blog and feel that I am becoming somewhat of an expert on it.

They only had two books on it, one being Walter Lord's "By the Dawn's Early Light."  I skimmed through it and apparently it does not cover the whole war, but rather just the segment leading to the burning of Washington, DC, and the attack on Fort McHenry.  The other book was a short one.

However, with the card, I can order books from other libraries so can get some research material.

A Library Card Is a Good Thing and I'm Already Paying For It.  --Brock-Perry

The Four Wars of 1812

From the Oct. 6, 2012, Ottawa (Can) Citizen "Canadian War Museum Delves Into the Four Wars of 1812-Free Lecture."

Today, at 7 PM at the Barney Danson Theatre, there will be a free lecture, but ticket required.  (English debate with simultaneous translation.)  This is something you don't see much in the U.S..

Four historians will transform the stage into a battlefield with each presenting a different perspective of the war.

Dr. Sid Hart will give the American side.
Dr. Andrew Lambert the British side.
Mr. Alan Corbiere the Native American
Dr. peter MacLeod the Canadian side.

Should be interesting, but think I wouldn't make it in time.

Some Other Time, Perhaps.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sir Roger Schaeffe's Uniform and Sword Coming to Canada

From the Sept. 27, 2012, Toronto City News "War of 1812 uniform returned to Canada" by Erin Criger.

The uniform and sword of Sir Roger Hale Schaeffe is being returned to Canada.  Schaeffe was second in command at the Battle of Queenstown Heights and took command after Sir Isaaac Brock was mortally wounded.  Schaeffe then rallied the British and Canadian troops and turned the tide in what is considered to be a key battle of the war.

His belongings have been with his family in Australia for almost 200 years.  His descendants will be on hand as Shaeffe's uniform, regimental sword and related documents are permanently loaned to Ontario.

This comes right before the 200th anniversary of the battle this weekend.

Schaeffe was also lt. governor of Upper Canada.

Someone Else I Had Not Heard Of.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

200th Anniversary of the Capture of HMS Caledonia and HMS Detroit

From Wikipedia

This took place during the night of October 8-9th.

The Caledonia was a brig built by the Canadian North West Company in Upper Canada in 1807 for use in the fur trade on the Great Lakes.  In 1812, it was taken into military service by the British and commissioned the HMS Caledonia and played a major role in the capture of Fort Mackinac by transporting artillery.

After the surrender of Detroit, the Caledonia and brig Adams which had been captured there and renamed HMS Detroit were busy transporting troops and supplies from Detroit and Amherstburg to the Niagara River where an American attack was expected.

On October 8th, the two ships were anchored near Fort Erie at the head of the Niagara River.  The Caledonia had two 4-pdr. guns on pivot and a crew of 12 as well as ten American prisoners along with a cargo of furs worth $200,000, when an American boarding party under Lt. Jesse D. Elliott and soldiers under Capt. Nathan Towson captured both brigs.

The Detroit ran aground and was set afire to prevent recapture and the Caledonia taken to the navy yard at Black Rock, New York and later became an American ship.

One sailor was killed and four wounded.  The 12 Canadians on board were made prisoner.

An American Victory.  --Brock-Perry

Coming Up On the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Queenstown Heights

This is often considered to be the first really big battle of the war, although the numbers engaged certainly did not compare with battles in the Civil War.  I figure less than a thousand on both sides.

A lot of plans have been made to commemorate it on both sides of the border.  Of course, this is where Canada and the British lost probably their best-known soldier, Sir Isaac Brock.  He is the reason I sign off with the "Brock" in Brock-Perry.

I will be doing a lot of entries on it.


Isaac Chauncey

From Wikipedia.

Feb. 20, 1779-Jan. 27, 1840.

Became a lieutenant in the Navy in 1798 and fought in the Quasi-War with France and the First Barbary War.

During the War of 1812 commanded US naval forces on Lake Ontario and conducted many amphibious operations in cooperation with the Army and contained the much larger British fleet under Sir James Yeo.

Also served twice as the commandant of the New York Navy Yard.


Back to Fort Johnson

From Waymarking

In 1816, Fort Johnson at Warsaw, Illinois, was replaced by Fort Edwards, named for Ninian Edwards, governor of Illinois Territory and third governor of the state.

An obelisk was erected on the site with four bronze panels at the base.  The first depicts the fort, the second Ninian Edwards, the third Zachary Taylor and the fourth reads "Erected September 1914, to commemorate the establishment of Fort Edwards built by Major Zachary Taylor, 3rd U.S. Infantry September, 1814.  Abandoned July, 1824.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Commodore Isaac Chauncey Plaque To Be Unveiled

From the Oct. 5, 2012, Bridgeport (Ct) News.

The official unveiling of a plaque dedicated to this naval officer will be at his boyhood home at 150 Seabright Avenue in Black Rock on Saturday Oct. 13th and the day has been declared to be the "Isaac Chauncey Day" in Bridgeport.

Commodore Chauncey was born in 1772 in Black Rock and was a Great Lakes naval commander during the Wat ro f1812 after also fighting against the Barbary Pirates.  He was later Presdienet of the Board of U.S. Naval Commissioners from 1837 to his death in 1840.

Never Heard of Him.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Some More on Illinois' Fort Johnson

From Wikipedia

Built on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.  Construction began in September 1814 by Zachary Taylor near present-day Warsaw, after he retreated following the Battle of Credit Island, by Davenport, Iowa.  It had a commanding view of the Mississippi River, the mouth of the Des Moines River and the foot of the Des Moines Rapids.

The fort could hold a company of soldiers, but was abandoned in late October 1814 when the company retreated to Cap au Gris near St. Louis.

In October 1815, the site was reoccupied and Cantonment Davis established.  Troops from it helped build Fort Edwards by the site which was occupied by the army until 1824 and until 1832 by traders.

Build the Fort and They Will Come.  --Brock-Perry

200 Years Ago: Oct. 7th-- Winchester Arrives

OCTOBER 7, 1812

General James Winchester's army arrives at Fort Defiance, located in present-day Defiance, Ohio, in the northwest corner of the state.

Fort Defiance was built in 1794 at the confluence of the Auglaize and Maumee rivers by Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne and for many years was the forward American base against the Indians and their British allies.

Fort Winchester construction began in early October 1812 and was completed on Oct. 15th by troops under Gen. William Henry Winchester and named after Brigadier General James Winchester who had also been an officer during the Revolutionary War.

Some More Forts.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, October 5, 2012

Illinois' Fort Johnson and Cantonment Davis

From the Sept. 15, 2012 Quincy (Il) Herald-Whig "Warsaw fort highlighted during Archaeology Awareness Month."

For years, archaeologists have been looking to find the long lost sites of Fort Johnson and Cantonment Davis, both established by future president Zachary Taylor when he was in Warsaw.  However, an Illinois State Archaeological Survey recently located both and found 318 military buttons, gun flints, musket balls and cooking items.

The fort was built starting around September 7, 1814, but was burned to the ground the same year when Taylor and troops ran out of provisions and moved to St. Louis.  While at the fort, the Americans had been continually harassed by the Sauk Indians and the British.

About 1500 troops returned in 1815 and built Cantonment Davis, which housed soldiers who built a series of military trading posts, including Fort Edward in Warsaw.

The Fort Johnson site was first sought in 1983.

Stuff I Didn't Know.  Well, Actually, Most War of 1812 Stuff I Didn't Know About, But I'm Learning.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The First Battle of Ogdensburg 200 Years Ago Today

Or, perhaps yesterday, I found conflicting reports.

From Wikipedia.

After the war broke out, there was much illicit trade between Ogdensburg and Prescott, Upper Canada (now Ontario) across the St. Lawrence River.

This trade was checked in early October when the local militia was reinforced with a detachment of the 1st U.S. Rifle Regiment under Major Benjamin Forsyth.

On October 3, 1812, British militia attacked, but were quickly repulsed and dispersed.  During the next few months, Forsyth made several raids across the river, sniped at british troops and occasionally captured boatloads of supplies on their way to Kingston, Upper Canada.

Not All That Much.  --Brock-Perry

Fort Knox I and II At Vincennes, Indiana-- Part 3

In 1813, it was determined that Fort Knox II was too far from Vincennes to be of defense, so the fort was disassembled and floated down the Wabash River and rebuilt a few yards from where Fort Knox I had been.  So, technically, this would be Fort Knox III, I guess.

After the warm, friction again became an issue between the garrison and townspeople.  Native Americans had moved to the north, so the garrison was moved to Fort Harrison in Terre Haute, Indiana,  in 1816.

Within weeks, Vincennes residents had stripped the fort of anything useful and it ceased to exist.

The Story of a Bunch of Forts.  --Brock-Perry

Fort Knox I and II At Vincennes, Indiana-- Part 2


A new fort was built a few blocks north of St. Patrick and named after the U.S. Secretary of War William Knox, at the intersection of present-day First and Buntin streets.  From 1787 to 1803, it was the western-most military post of the country.  However, the garrison and townspeople did not get along.

Territory Governor William Henry Harrison petition Secretary of War Henry Dearborn to build a new fort and in 1803, the federal government authorized $200 to build a new fort three miles north of town at Petit Rocher.


It too was named Fort Knox, but generally referred to as Fort Knox II.  The fort had no better luck than the original and became known for duels and desertions.  In 1811, Captain Zachary Taylor (later president) was put in charge with Indian problems rising.

The fort was used as a muster point for the US Army and militia during the Indian Wars and War of 1812.

Today, it is a state historic site and the outlines of the fort have been marked with short posts.

Back to I.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fort Knox I and II at Vincennes, Indiana-- Part 1

I had also never heard of a Fort Knox at Vincennes, Indiana.  I thought they might be referring to Fort Knox in Kentucky where the gold is stores, but thought that might be far for the survivors of the Attack at the Narrows to go.

I was already familiar with the George Rogers Clark Memorial at the site of Fort Sackville in Vincinnes, but not Fort Knox.

From Wikipedia.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the French, British and United States built several forts at Vincennes overlooking the Wabash River.

TRADING POST, 1702, France

FORT VINCENNES,  1731, France

FORT SACKVILLE, Replaced Fort Vincennes in 1761 and named after Lord George Sackville, the site was at the intersection of First and Main streets.  It fell into disrepair after the French and Indian War.

U.S. forces seized it in 1778, but the British retook it.  U.S. Lt. Col. George Rogers Clark captured it in February 1779 and renamed it Fort Patrick Henry.  It was abandoned in 1787.

Fort Knox Up next.  --Brock-Perry