Tuesday, July 31, 2012

US Navy Bicentennial Commemoration Comes to Milwaukee

From the July 30th NBC26, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin "4 Ships to Visit Milwaukee Next Week."

The four ships come from the US Navy, the Royal Candian Navy and the Coast Guard and have been having ports-of-call in several US cities this summer, all part of the US Navy's commemoration of the war.

USS DeWert, frigate
USCG Hurricane, coastal patrol ship
USCG Neah Bay, cutter
HMCS Ville de Qubec

The DeWert and Canadian ship will be at Milwaukee's Liquid Pier 5.  The other two will be at the Discovery World Pier.

The ships will be available for tours Aug. 8-14.

And It is Not That Far for Us.  --Brock-Perry

The Star-Spangled Trail Opens

From the July 31st BmoreMedia.com "Star-Spanngled Trail Launches in Baltimore."

On Monday, July 30th, the National Park Service officially launched the Star-Spangled National Historic Trail, kicking off the event in Fells Point.  The trail covers 560 miles on both land and water in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC, encompassing many War of 1812 sites.

It follows the British 1813 and 1814 invasions.

Something I'd Definitely Like to Do.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, July 30, 2012

War of 1812 Landmarks in Central New York-- Part 2

**  Lake Ontario made Central New York a strategic area and much fighting took place there: Fort Ontario in May 1814, Sackett's Harbor in May 1813 and the Battle of Sandy Creek in May 1814.

**  In Auburn, at 187 Genesee Street (between Seymour Library and Schweinfurth Museum) there were barracks used by soldiers going between Fort Ontario and Buffalo.

**  A Route 5 historical marker on Quality Hill in Lenox shows where mounted troops practiced.

**  The State Arsenal, at the corner of Seneca Turnpike and South Salina Street in Syracuse, stocked munitions such as flints and muskets.  This is the story that got the last several posts started.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

War of 1812 Landmarks in Central New York-- Part 1

From the May 28th Syracuse Post-Standard.

**  The Seneca Turnpike (looks like I am going to have to do some research on this road) was the main east-west roadway in the area.  Soldiers heading for Fort Niagara marched west.  Captured British and Canadian prisoners would be marching east to prison camps at Albany.

**  A small cemetery off Seneca Pike (across from Upstate University Hospital at Community Green has the graves of two soldiers who died of illness while marching along the turnpike.  (This would be where the two captains I mentioned yesterday were buried.)

**  Armaments were made at a small foundry, Onondaga Furnace.  After the war, it made stoves and kettles for the salt industry.  Its site is now Syracuse's Elmwood Park.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Only War of 1812 Relics Remaining in Onondaga County, New York

From Rootsweb Ancestry.com.

Besides the arsenal, there are two graves and a monument at the top of the West Seneca Turnpike Hill.

One is the grave of Captain Benjamin Brand of the U.S. Light Artillery who died October 14, 1813, in Onondaga Hollow as his company was marching through the village.  He was from Virginia.

The other grave is that of Captain Henry Crouch who died in the spring of 1814.

I'm going to have to do some research on this Seneca Turnpike because of its 1812 connection, plus I am a big old road fan.  Before these recent articles, I'd never heard of it.

I didn't read anything about a War of 1812 monument of the hill, however.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

A History of Syracuse's Arsenal

Fllowing up on yesterday's story from  Rootsweb.ancestry.com "The Arsenal in Onondaga County" by Pamela Priest.  Many photos and postcards of the structure accompany the article.

In 1808, an act was passed authorizing the New York governor to deposit 500 stand of arms to protect the frontier and to provide a suitable place to store them.  In 1809, Cornelius Longstreet deeded land to the state to be used for the arsenal.  He was the father of Cornelius T. Longstreet, the builder of Yates Castle.

The two and a half story building was erected in 1810 and made out of Onondaga limestone from quarries at the House family farm.  Two huge wooden cannons were placed on the roof to state its purpose.

During the War of 1812, Nicholas  Mickles was commissioned by the government to cast shot and shell for the Army and Navy which was stored at the arsenal before being sent to Sackett's Harbor and Oswego.

The arsenal was abandoned in 1815 and the last time it was used was during the Civil War when General John A. Green of the state national guard stored arms there.

The More You Know.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Syracuse's 1812 Remnant

From the May 6th Syracuse (NY) Post "Future uncertain for ruins of stone arsenal built in Syracuse for War of 1812" by Dick Case.

Syracuse's only remnant of the War of 1812 is hidden in a grove of trees off East Seneca Turnpike.  The Onondaga Arsenal is crumbling.  Only one section of its limestone walls, the northeast corner, remain standing.  The rest has fallen or been pulled down.

It is located behind Tim Ryan's home on Arsenal Drive and he is one of only a few in the area who even know about it.  He and his son have spent the past five years excavating the hidden basement in what had been a three-story building.

Lucy House lived in it (called the "Cannon House) until she died in 1971 at the age of 102.  No one knows who owns the property.  The Syracuse Assessment commission says the 1.5 acres is "a vacant parcel of land" and $14,500 tax is owed on it.

Of Course.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Another Battle

On this date, July 19, 1812, the First battle of Sackets Harbor in Lake Ontario resulted in an American victory as US naval forces repelled a British attack.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

And Brock Didn't Even Want to Be There

From the July 4th Canada News.

The hero of Upper Canada during the War of 1812, General Isaac Brock, didn't even want to be stationed in Canada.  He considered the country he died for a backwater and that the "real British Army" was in Europe fighting Napoleon.

From the time he was posted to Canada in 1806, he continually petitioned for a return to Europe.  He also didn't think much of the Canadian fighting ability, but these soldiers were instrumental in the capture of Detroit.  After that his belief in Canadian fighting ability improved.

On August 16, 1812, Detroit fell to Brock with some words and a few cannonballs.  He gave discarded British ubiforms to the Canadian militia who then appeared to be regular troops which scared the Americans.  And then Brock wrote American General Hull that many Indians were with him and if it came to a fight he couldn't promise to keep them under control.

Even though outnumbered 2-to-1, Brock got the Americans to surrender.

Some More British Trickery.  --Brock-Perry

Major British Victory at Fort Michilmackinac Today

On this date in 1812, 200 years ago, British forces captured the almost unspellable and unpronounceable Fort Michilmackinac (mihsh-ih-lih-mak-in-naw) on Mackinac Island during the War of 1812.  This gave the British control of a major part of the Great Lakes.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Windsor's Baby House Is Site of British Trick

From the July 13th Canada.com.

In 1812, the Baby House in Windsor, Canada, across from Detroit, had a clear view of the Detroit River and, at the same time, could be easily seen by American forces across the river.  British General Isaac Brock was successful in convincing the Americans he had more troops than he actually had by marching them back and forth in front of the house.

Today, it is Windsor's Community Museum at 254 Pitt Street West.

The event from 200 years ago will be commemorated this coming Thursday, July 19th from 2 to 4 PM.

Sneaky British Subterfuge.  --Borck-Perry

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Action Begins 200 Years Ago

U.S. forces crossed under General Hull crossed into Canada near the city of Windsor in the first action of the war since the United States declared war on Britain back on June 18th.

Even so, Hull and his forces retreated shortly afterwards to Detroit.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The War of 1812: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young-Style

From the May 6th Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Crosby, Stills and Nash to boost Erie celebration" by Virginia Linn.

After reading this article, it struck me that this venerable old group from the 60s-70s and still together from time to time pretty well sums up the sides during the War of 1812 with Crosby and Stills being from the U.S., Nash from England and Young from Canada.

Anyway, the 18-month-long celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie has begun.  The previous week there had been cannon-firings and flag-raising.  The big event planned took place June 23rd on Presque Isle Beach where "The Best Summer Night" outdoor concert featuring the Crosby, Stills and Nash version of the band took place to raise money to upgrade the  Perry Monument at Misery Bay.  Concert organizers hope to replace the pavilion and install 30 picnic tables.  Tickets are $100 apiece.

The 3,200-acre Presque Isle Park is the most-visited state park in Pennsylvania.  Four million a year visit, including many from Pittsburgh.

On September 10, 1813, nine small U..S, ships, six of which were built at Erie including the brig Niagara met the British fleet near Put-In-Bay.  Perry was on his flagship, the USS Lawrence which was destroyed and transferred to the Niagara.

The British surrendered after 15 minutes.

The reconstructed Niagara is on display at the Erie Maritime Museum when it is not cruising the Great Lakes.

Four Dead in Ohio.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, July 9, 2012

Walking and 1812 History in Ogdensburg, NY

From the May 6th North Country Now "Volkswalks combine walking, War of 1812 history in Odgensburg"

Five and ten kilometer walks around town begin at 100 Riverside Drive.

During the War of 1812, Americans under Major Benjamin Forsyth made several raids on British supplies across the frozen St. Lawrence River in the winter of 1813.  On Feb. 22, 1813, the British attacked Ogdensburg to remove the American threat.

The Americans initially held them off, but the larger British forces threatened to surround them and they had to retreat.  The British then burned American boats and schooners frozen in the ice and carried off artillery and other military supplies.

The walks cover parts of the battlefield.

On a side note, I'm a big Civil War buff, particularly about Fort Fisher.  One of the men responsible for the fort's fall, who also earned a Medal of Honor there, Newton Curtis, is buried in Odgensburg.  We might go to Ogdensburg on our way back from the NIU-Army football game in September.  Take the walk and then visit the cemetery.

So Get Your Exercise and History At the Same Time.  --Brock-Perry

Vergennes, Vermont's Key Role in the War-- Part 3

Macdonough had one final trick up his sleeve.  The American ships had spring lines that in cocert with anchors, allowed the ships to quickly turn around for a second broadside after firing the first one.  They cut the much more powerful British fleet to pieces.  I can just hear the British commander saying "What the hell?"

The Britsh fleet surrendered, causing advancing British troops to retreat to Canada.

Volunteer forces from Vermont, commanded by Samuel Strong of Vergennes, also played a role. 

A four month tour begins in Burlington and will end in Vergennes to commemorate Vermont's role in the war.

Those Sneaky American Chaps.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Vergennes, Vermont's Key Role in the War-- Part 2

Macdonough had spent the previous several months building his fleet at the Vergennes shipyard with Addison County labor and assistance from the Monkton Iron Works.  The fleet included the Ticonderoga, a steamboat converted into a 17-gun warship.  Another six ships were 75-footers, including one found at the bottom of Lake Champlain, his flagship, the USS Saratoga.

He also ordered the construction of the 120-foot long USS Eagle which was designed to carry twenty guns.  This warship took just 19 days to launch from the time the keel was laid.

For protection of his endeavor, Macdonough ordered cannons placed along Otter Creek to prevent a British attack.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, July 6, 2012

Vergennes, Vermont's Key Role in the War-- Part 1

From the May 7th Addison County (Vt) Independent "Museum will tell story of city's key tole in War of 1812" by John Flowers.

Vergennes is known as "The Little City."  It played a huge role in the US Navy victory that saved the Champlain Valley from British invasion and helped end the war.

There is a stone monument in the city park dedicated to the town's part in  it.

US Navy First Lt. Thomas Macdonough was hastily organizing a small fleet built in the Vergennes shipyard along Otter Creek.  The fleet beat a superior British fleet at the Battle of Plattsburgh.

The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum will have an exhibit on the town's role.  Art Cohn, in charge of special projects for the museum, will lead a four-month tour aboard the canal schooner Lois McClure to tell the story.

Included will be War of 1812 artifacts found in Lake Champlain and its tributaries.  Many more will be from the museum's 4,000 artifact collection connected with the Battle of Plattsburgh, including the anchor from the HMS Confiance, a 36-gun British frigate and the main ship at the September 11, 1814, battle.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

The Battle of Crysler's Farm

From the May 10th Recorder & Times "A War of 1812 battle retreat" by Alicia Wanless.

She suggests tourism to some of the lesser-known battles of the war, one of which is the one that took place at Crysler's Farm fought Nov. 11, 1813.  Had the Canadians and British lost it, the St.Lawrence River would have fallen to the Americans, cutting off British supply lines to Upper Canada.  It also ended the American campaign to capture Montreal by the largest army ever to invade Canada.  In short, it saved the entire country.

In 1895, the Canadian Department of Militia and Defence began erecting monuments at the site.

A plaque was added in 1921 and it was designated a national historic site.

The battlefield was flooded with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway and in 1955, the monuments were moved to a manmade knoll created by earth removed from the original battlefield located near Morrisbury.


Not many battles were fought along the St. Lawrence River, but there were many raids in 1812 and early 1813.  There would be a raid, followed by a retaliatory strike.  Raids were conducted on Prescott and what is now Brocksville in 1813.

Touring War of 1812 Sites.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The War That Changed Canada

From the May 10th Frontenac EMC "1812: the war that changed Canada" by Mark Bergin.

Neither side won the war.  If there was a real big loser, it would have to be the Indians of North America and particularly those living in the United States.  They were decimated fortheir perceived support of the British.

The war was somewhat of a non-issue for Britain which was more concerned with their conflict with Napoleon and France.

Kingston's original Fort Henry was built because of the war.  canada became a pawn in the conflict.  In the early 19th century, British warships took thousands off US merchant ships which was one of the stated reasons for the US declaration of war.

There were three main theaters of the war:  Chesapeake/Atlantic, Canada and the Gulf of Mexico.

The battles fought at New Orleans and Baltimore had nothing to do with Canada.

Some Background For You.  --Brock-Perrt

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Brock and Tecumseh Stamps Issued in Canada

From the May 7th Canada.com "Brock and Tecumseh reunited in 1812 commemorative stamps" by Randy Boswell.

Sie Isaac Brock and Tecumseh, who "died as allies thwarting an American invasion of Canada" will have stamps in their honor issued in June.  These are the first in a series of commemorative stamps for the War of 1812's bicentennial to be issued overthe next three years. (I know of no American stamps being issued.)

They will come out June 15th, three days before the U.S. declaration of war.  The Royal Canadian Mint has already begun selling commemorative coins. 

Tecumseh was a Shawnee chief killed at the Battle of the Thames, October 1813.

Memorial for 300 Unveiled in Buffalo

From the May 6th Buffalo News "Monument will honor 300 soldiers who gave their lives in the War of 1812" by Phil Fairbanks.

Steve Cichon always felt the small plaque on the fourth hole of the golf course, the only evidence of a mass War of 1812 burial site, was an insufficient honor to the fallen, so, he did something about it.

This past Memorial Day, a new monument to "The Tomb of the Unknowns" was dedicated by the Buffalo, New York, Zoo near Ring Road.

After the failure of an attempt to cross the Niagara River and attack Fort Erie on the Canadian side, the Americans fell back to the Flint Hills Encampment which covered an area from what is now Forest Lawn to Jewett Parkway and Main Street, much of it now in Delaware Park.

It was winter and the men had warm weather uniforms, inadequate tents and a lack of food and many died and were buried in shallow graves in the frozen ground.  When spring came, Dr. Daniel Chapin, who owned the land,  had them dug up and reburied in a mass grave.  He marked it with willows which later died.

In 1896, a boulder with a plaque was installed at the site.  Parks Commissioner David F. Day remarked at the dedication, "May their noble example and this tribute to their honor and memory prove an incentive to future generations to emulate their unselfish loyalty and patriotism."

The new memorial is much more visible and fitting.

Always Glad to Have heroes Commemorated.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

1812 Books

From the April 22nd Halifax (Canada) Herald "An American view of the War of 1812" by John Boilen.

Reviewing the book "1812: The Navy's War" by George C. Daughan, Basic Books, t12 pages, $37.50).

Lots of books are being issued on the War of 1812 as well as reissues.

The war was when a small group of battle tested American Naval commanders took on the world'sstrongest foe, the British Royal Navy.  Ex-president Thomas Jefferson believed the war would just involve some small invading.  Americans believed that Canadians were only looking for an excuse to rid themselves of British control.


Monday, July 2, 2012

War of 1812 Commemorated in North Carolina

From the June 26th Civil War Navy, the History Profession, and Other Historical Musings "War of 1812 Bicentennial kick Off in North Carolina" by Andrew Duppstadt.

The past weekend, War of 1812 re-enactors were at Raleigh and Mordecai Historical Park to re-enact the U.S. declaration of war.  The declaration was read at the state capitol by the Wake Volunteer Guards and later a ball with folks in era-dress was held at the Raleigh City Museum.

This last weekend, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources' War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission official began observations with a day-long symposium on the naval war June 29th at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort.  On Saturday, there was a living history presentation on the grounds of the Beaufort Historical Association featuring U.S. regular, militia and British military re-emactors.

Also there were to be activities at New Bern's Tryon Palace where Mr. Duppstadt gave a lecture on the state's role in the war.

I would have liked to attend that as I know very little about it.