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

Another September 1812 Incident in Indiana: The Pigeon Roost Massacre-- Part 2

On September 3, 1812, Indians, mostly Shawnee, killed 24 settlers, including 15 children, in a massacre in the village.  Two children were kidnapped and four Indians killed.

They first attacked the cabin of Elias Payne.  His wife and seven children were killed and scalped.  The Indians then found Elias and his brother-in-law Isaac Coffman in the woods and killed Isaasc.  Elias Payne was wounded, but bled to death.  His grave was later destroyed by I-65 construction.

Militia from nearby Charlestown gave chase, but lost the Indians.

Pigeon Roost was rebuilt, but later abandoned.  The victims were buried in a mass grave.

In 1904, a $2,000, 44-foot obelisk was erected and in 1929, it became a state historic site.

More recently, markers of the event were placed on US-31.

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

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Another September Incident in Indiana: The Massacre at Pigeon Roost-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

This took place September 3, 1812, in southeast Indiana near the Ohio River as part of a coordinated attack on Fort Harrison and Fort Wayne.

The site is now an Indiana State Historic Site located between Scottsburg and Henryville, Indiana, near Underwood.  A one-lane road off US-31 takes the visitor to the site of a village where Indians massacred 24 white settlers.

Pigeon Roost was established in 1809 by William E. Collins, by settlers primarily from Kentucky.  It got the name Pigeon Roost from the great number of passenger pigeons living in the vicinity.  It essentially was a single line of cabins running north-south about one mile east of present-day Underwood.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, October 1, 2012

War of 1812 Timeline for October 1812

OCT. 4--  Battle of Ogdensburg, NY

OCT. 7--  US General James Winchester's army arrives bear Fort Defiance.

OCT.9--  US Navy Lt. Jesse Elliott captures the brigs Caledonia and Detroit.

OCT. 13--  Artillery duel between US Fort Niagara and British Fort George.

Battle of Queenstown Heights.  British General Isaac Brock Killed.

OCT. 18--  USS Wasp captures HMS Frolic

HMS Poictiers captures the USS Wasp.

OCT. 23--  Battle of St. Regis

OCT. 25--  The USS United States captures the HMS Macedonian.

Now You Know.  --Brock-Perry

Fort Wayne Today

The Fort Wayne site in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is at Clay and Berry streets and has a historical marker.  Another marker in town shows the location of Fort Miami, a French fort on the east bank of the St. Joseph River at Delaware Avenue and St. Joseph Boulevard.

AnotherPlace to Check Out.  --Brock-Perry

Fort Harrison Today

Without a doubt, the next time I'm in Terre Haute, I will go out to the site of Fort Harrison, "The Fort of the Two Presidents."

It is located north of the city in what is called The Landing at Fort Harrison, which has been built on the site of the old fort.

The Terre Haute Lodge #86 Benevolent & Protective Elks purchased the site in 1926 and established a country club there in 1925.  Today, there is an 18-hole golf course, a 22,000 square foot clubhouse with restaurant, lounge and banquet hall.  In 1959, they added an 8-lane bowling alley and in 1997, a swimming pool.

In 2008, it was sold to a group and it became The Landings at Fort Harrison, a no-membership required country club.

You can find it off North 7th Street and Fort Harrison Road, just off US-41 north of where it joins Ind-63.

In 1963, Fort Harrison was located and outlined by the William Henry Harrison Trail Commission.

The Tale of a Fort.  --Brock-Perry

Perry's Ship, the USS Revenge, Discovered Off Rhode Island

From Jan.7, 2011, Yahoo News.

A team of divers say they've discovered the remains of the USS Revenge, commanded by  U.S. Navy hero Oliver Hazard Perry, famous for his victory over the British at the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813 and his "I have met the enemy and they are ours."  During this battle, he flew the equally famous flag, "Don't Give Up the Ship."

Charles Buffum and Craig Harger say the wreck changed history.  Had it not sunk in 1811, Perry wouldn't have been sent to the backwaters of Lake Erie.

The Sunday was the 200th anniversary of the wreck.

Buffum has been interested in the USS Revenge ever since his mother gave him the book "Shipwrecks on the Shores of Westerly" which included Perry's account of the wreck where he hit a reef in a storm during a heavy fog off Watch Hill on Westerly.  Perry was bringing his ship from Newport to new London, Ct.

Buffum, Harger and Mike Fournier used a metal detector and after several dives, came across a cannon and then another.  They made their first discovery in August 2005 but kept it secret while continuing the search, finding four more 42-inch long cannons, an anchor, cannister shot and other metal objects.  All the wood is gone.

They are 99% sure the wreck is that of the Revenge, but have not found the ship's bell which would be conclusive proof.

Many of the found objects were just 15 feet deep and they fear other divers coming to the site now.

Perry was demoted after the incident.  His ship,the Revenge, was a schooner that had been purchased in New Orleans and mounted twelve 6-pdr. guns.  The Revenge had been plotting coastal waters and harbors when it sank.  The ship was initially pulled off the rocks, but the tow rope broke and the Revenge drifted into the rocks again and this time sank..

So, That's How He Got to lake Erie.  Arrive Dejected and Then Win Big.  --Brock-Perry