Thursday, January 31, 2013

The War of 1812 Begins

Continued from Jan. 25th.

More Events commemorating the bicentennial.

Fort Henry in Kingston--  the 1812 Overture will be performed by the Kingston Symphony.

Niagara-on-the-Lake will open exhibit "Petticoats, Boots and Muskets" and spy stories will be told.

Fort St. Joseph--  Richard's Landing, near the border of Michigan's Upper Peninsula--  encampment with soldiers, military and natives preparing to retake Fort Michimackinac

Old Fort Niagara, Youngstown, NY--  a period encampment in September

Queenstown will recreate the funeral of General Isaac Brock.

Erie, Pennsylvania--  visit the USS Niagara, a recreation of Perry's flagship at the Battle of Lake Erie.

Ottawa--  War Museum exhibit

Seaway Trail--  routes along NewYork and Pennsylvania's freshwater coast will have markers telling the war's story.

To the British, it should be noted, this war was just a footnote compared to their titanic struggle against Napoleon in Europe.

These events have already taken place, but just to show the war is not entirely forgotten.  Check about this year's events. 

Not So Forgotten, Like I Said.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Battle of the River Raisin

From the Jan. 23, 2013, WKAR "The War of 1812: Battle of the River Raisin" by Scott Pohl.

American commander James Winchester was a 61-year-old veteran of the American Revolution and acted against the orders have General W.H. Harrison and took 1500 men to today's Monroe, Michigan because he had heard the British had supplies there.

He won a victory in the first battle, January 17, 1813, but the British returned in force on the 22nd and with Indian allies and this time soundly defeated the Americans, capturing Winchester in the process.  Winchester surrendered his force after British General Proctor convinced him that he had 800 Indians with him and he feared they would get out of his control if the battle continued any longer.

Proctor then returned to Fort Malden, across the river from Detroit, taking those prisoners who were able to walk.  This left about 80 U.S. troops behind and several dozen were murdered by the Indians on the 23rd.

This became known as the River Raisin Massacre and became a major American battle cry, "Remember the River Raisin!"  This was heard at the Battle of the Thames near present-day Chatham in late 1813.

Before This Blog, I Had Never heard of the River Raisin.  --Brock-Perry

The River Raisin's Impact on Kentucky

As I've said before, many of the soldiers at the Battles of the River raisin were from Kentucky.

As a result of the battle, nine counties in the state were named for officers, eight of whom died.

County--  Officer named For

Allen--  Lt. Col. John Allen
Ballard--  Major Bland Ballard
Edmondson--  Capt. John Edmondson
Graves--  Major Benjamin Franklin Graves
Hart--  Capt. Nathaniel S. Hart

Hickman--  Capt. Paschal Hickman
McCracken-- Capt. Virgil McCracken
Meade--  Capt. James Meade
Simpson--  Capt. John Simpson

Only Capt. Ballard survived the battles. 

Impact Battle.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The River Raisin Massacre-- Part 2

The massacre soon overshadowed the battle and was particularly devastating to the state of Kentucky as many of the dead were from there.

Official counts of the Second Battle of River Raisin (Frenchtown) had 397 Americans killed (the most of any battle during the war) and 27 wounded. for the January 22, 1813 battle.  Two weeks later, general Winchester reported that 547 were taken prisoner and only 33 escaped alive.

Many of the prisoners were held at Fort Malden until the end of the war.

British losses were put at 24 killed and 161 wounded.  Indian casualties are not known.

As a result of the loss, General Harrison had to give up his plans to retake Detroit, which remained in British hands until it was captured after the September Battle of Lake Erie.


The River Raisin Massacre-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

This inspired the famous American battle cry "Remember the Raisin."

First reports from the Second Battle of the River Raisin (or Frenchtown) put at least 300 Americans killed and over 500 made prisoners.  British General Proctor was still unsure as to whether or not General Harrison would attack him and left the battlefield, marching north toward Detroit and then crossing the frozen Detroit River to Fort Malden, taking uninjured prisoners with him.  Injured prisoners were left in Frenchtown.

On the morning of January 23, 1813, Indians began robbing and pillaging wounded Americans in Frenchtown.  Those able to walk were sent on to Fort Malden.  Many of those left behind were murdered and some burned alive when the hospital was set afire. 

The remaining prisoners were forced to walk to Fort Malden with those unable to keep up on the march murdered.  An account by a survivor said, "The road was for miles strewed with the mangled bodies."

It is estimated that 30 to 100 Americans were killed that day.

Remember the Raisin.  --Brock-Perry

Musical Remembrance of War of 1812 and River Raisin

From the Monroe News.

There were two performances of the Bicentennial Concert at the Monroe County Community College.

These shows included songs, folk dances and the history of the 200th anniversary of the Battles of the River Raisin.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Second Battle of the River Raisin-- Part 2

The British and Indian force surprised the Americans before daybreak on January 22, 1813.  Winchester had quartered himself in a house south of Frenchtown and when he heard the sounds of battle, he hurried to the scene, only to be captured by Indians on the way.  They took his clothes, giving rise to the legend that he was captured in his bedclothes.

The 17th US Infantry consisted of mostly green troops and were caught out in the open by the onslaught.  They broke and fled with their Col. William Allen being shot dead and then scalped.  Dozens tried to surrender but were shot and tomahawked by the Indians.

The Kentucky Rifle Regiment continued to occupy the town despite being under heavy fire.  They killed many attackers but were running low on ammunition. 

The captured General Winchester was convinced to surrender his troops under the condition they be treated as prisoners of war.

The Kentucky troops continued to fight for another three hours before surrendering.

The British Take Back What They Lost.  --Brock-Perry

Second Battle of the River Raisin-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

The American force under General James Winchester had won a big victory on January 18th and the British had been forced out of Frenchtown in Michigan Territory.  However, he had acted without orders in the attack, but General Harrison was willing to forgive him due Io the success, but was greatly concerned of a British counter-attack.  He sent orders for Winchester to hold his ground and prepare for attack.  In addition, reinforcements of the 17th United States Infantry arrived.

The First battle of the River Raisin was the first combat most of Winchester's men had seen.  Locals warned Winchester of approaching British, but the general paid no heed.  there were no sentries or pickets on watch. 

British General proctor from Detroit had marched his troops southward to Frenchtown from Fort Malden.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Lincoln County, Kentucky's Role in War of 1812

From the Jan. 9, 2013, Lincoln County, Ky, Interior Journal by Ben Kleppinger.

Kentucky played a big role in the War.  Some 64% of U.S. casualties were from the state.  Kentucky's involvement did not begin until 1813, but continued until the Battle of New Orleans in early 1815.

One of the noted soldiers in the war was William Whitley and another native, Kentucky Governor Isaac Shelby went into battle at the advanced age of his mid-60s.

In commemoration, a War of 1812-era U.S. flag with 15 stars will be flown at the courthouse.

Even Kentucky.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, January 25, 2013

Then It Really Begins

Four months later, the Americans crossed again, upstream of Fort George at a place called Queenstown Heights.  General Isaac Brock, Canadian militia and First Nations warriors defeated them and Brock was killed.

In the months to come, such names as Laura Secord, Stoney Creek, Crysler's Farm, Tecumsah, Isaac Brock, Michilimacinac, Raisin River, Francis Scott Key and dozens of others entered history.

Events commemorating the bicentennial of the war are already under way.  The war at sea is well-represented by the Tall Ships in Operation Sail.  They were at New Orleans in April, New York City, Norfolk, Virginia and in Baltimore June 13-19.  After that, Boston June 30 to July 5 and New London, Connecticut, July 6 to 8.

Other events are planned:

Fort George will be hosting a military ball
Old Fort Erie, site of one of the war's bloodiest sieges, will be getting a new visitors centre.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

The War of 1812 Begins

From the June 6, 2012, Toronto Sun "war of 1812 bicentennial events will continue to 2014" by Mitchell Smith.

It was June 1812 and the meal was over cigars and port being smoked and uncorked at the officer's mess in British Fort George in Newark, now Niagara-On-the-Lake, Ontario.  They were entertaining their counterparts, the American officers from Fort Niagara across the Niagara River, about a kilometer away.  This was just one of many reciprocal visits between the two armies.

A messenger entered the room with a dispatch.  The fort's commander read it and announced that the United States and Britain were at war.  "But," he added, let us not allow bad news to ruin a good dinner," and the conversations continued into the wee hours.

That was the cordial start to the War of 1812 on the Niagara Frontier.

So It Begins.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The First Battle of the River Raisin

Parts of the battlefield have recently beed designated as the River raisin National Battlefield Park and is part of the National Park Service.

Also called the First Battle of Frenchtown.

General James Winchester, second in command of the Army of the Northwest, led approximately 1,000 untrained regulars and militia, mostly from Kentucky.

He ignored orders from General William Henry Harrison to remain close and headed for Frenchtown where they surprised an outnumbered force of British soldiers and their Indian allies.

The British retreated.

During the retreat, the Indians looted and burned the nearby Sandy Creek settlement.

So, the first battle ended up as an American victory.

Fighting in the Winter.  I Don't Know.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

200th Anniversary of the River Raisin Massacre Today

This was the culmination of a series of battles that took place between January 18th and 23rd in 1813, involving British soldiers and their Indian allies versus American troops near Frenchtown, Michigan Territory, present day Monroe, Wisconsin.

On January 18th, a larger American force surprised the British and Indians and  forced them to retreat.  This was all part of an American effort to retake Detroit that had been lost the previous summer.

The British and Indians rallied and counterattacked four days later on the 22nd and this time chased off the Americans.  Some 397 U.S. troops lost their lives and hundreds were captured.  The next day, dozens of them were massacred by the Indians in what became known as the River Raisin Massacre.

This was the largest battle ever fought on Michigan soil and it was the highest number  of Americans killed in any War of 1812 action.

There Will Be More On the Battle.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The HMS Narcissus

I couldn't find too much about this ship.

It was the second Royal Navy ship by that name.  It was a 32-gun 5th Rate Ship of the Line, launched in 1801.  Besides capturing the USS Viper, it served in the Chesapeake Bay area.  On June 7, 1814, it and the HMS Loire were blockading the entrance to St. Leonard's Creek, but driven off on the 26th.

After 1823, it was used as a convict ship and sold in 1837.


January 17, 1813, the HMS Narcissus Captures the USS Viper

From Wikipedia.

Just over 200 years ago, the British ship HMS Narcissus pursued and captured the USS Viper in the Caribbean as it was trying to get back to New Orleans after it had become separated from its companion ship.  The Viper had a severe leak that enabled the British ship to overtake her.

The Viper was originally the revenue cutter USS Ferret, built between 1806 and 1809 at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Virginia.  It spent most of its first years in service enforcing the Embargo Act of 1807 and during this time it was renamed Viper.

Later, it operated in the Gulf of Mexico out of New Orleans.  The Narcissus captured her off the coast of present-day Belize.

The British took her into their service and it was renamed the HMS Mohawk and operated in the Chesapeake Bay under Admiral Sir John Warren.  It was in several actions including the Battle of the Rappahannock River where boat crews from the Mohawk and other British ships rowed fifteen miles up the river and captured American privateer schooners Dolphin, Lynx, Racer and Arab.

It was sold in 1814.

Never Heard of This Two-Service Ship.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, January 21, 2013

Marching Through Ohio in the War of 1812

From the Jan. 8, 2013, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch "Troops visit Worthington road to War of 1812."

On Jan. 1, 1813, Captain Daniel Cushing led 34 soldiers and 6 officers north of what is now High Street, then a buffalo trail, heading for Upper Sanduskey by way of Worthington.

It had been raining and wagons got stuck in the mud.  Making it worse, that rain turned into snow.

They made it to Worthington nonetheless where they got into a barroom brawl.  They reached Upper Sanduskey Jan. 14.

In May 1813, they went to Fort Meigs on the Maumee River where they were besieged by British troops and their Indian allies under Tecumseh.

Ohio's Involved.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Timeline for January 1813

January 12th--  William Jones becomes U.S. Secretary of the Navy

January 17th--  HMS Narcissus captures USS Viper

January 22nd--  US victory Battle of Frenchtown

January 23rd--  British victory at Battle of Raisin (also known as Battle of Frenchtown.  River raisin Massacre.


First Year of War Ends With U.S. in Turmoil-- Part 2

Then, in late December, the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Paul Hamilton, resigns after having served in that position since 1809.  He had wanted new ships, but that was not funded.

At this time, money became a huge problem for the government.

The British military was hardened after years of fighting France and Napoleon.  Along with the experience, the Army was 13 times larger than it had been during the American Revolution.

The British Navy had 1000 ships and 140,000 sailors.  To match that, the U.S. Navy had barely 20 ships.

On Boxing Day, after Christmas, 1812, orders were sent to Admiral Sir John Warren and his 142 ships based in Newfoundland, Halifax, the Leeward Islands, Jamaica and Bermuda to enforce a full blockade of the Chesapeake and Delaware bays.

Perhaps a Young Country Had Bit Off More Than It Could Chew.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, January 18, 2013

Historians Fret the Fate of War of 1812 Sites-- Part 3

A group of historians were working on a patch of grass along Route 231, using metal detectors and marking potential targets with bright flags.

They found a Civil War musket ball, most likely from Camp Stanton, a training facility for black soldiers.

They had successfully fought off the erection of a 125-foot cell phone tower at the site.

There had been a brief battle there in 1812.  The area was fields at the time, but it is now wooded and Route 12 cuts through it now.

Saving Those Battlefields One At a Time.  --Brock-Perry

Historians Fret the Fate of War of 1812 Sites-- Part 2

Other Maryland sites at risk are several fields in Queen Ann's County where a small group of American militia held off a British force of 300 in 1813's Battle of Slipping Hill.  Also, Caulk's Field Battle in Kent County is regarded by some experts as the best-preserved sites from the war in the state.

During the British attack on Benedict, Francis Scott Key was involved on a scouting mission inthe area.  British ship sailed up the Patuxet River which was deep enough.  The British Army, led by General Robert Ross took advantage of the area's well-maintained roads and had easy access to Washington, D.C..

A separate diversionary British force moved up the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River.

Local loyalists provided Ross with information on American troop movements.

How to Lose Your Capital.  --Brock-Perry

Historians Fret Fate of War of 1812 Sites-- Part 1

From the May 27, 2012, Baltimore Sun.

There is a grassy hill a mile west of the Patuxent River.  British soldiers camped here after disembarking from ships in the summer of 1814, their first stop on the way to Washington, DC. 

There had been an earlier raid by the British on the site, but they had been repulsed by American militia.  This time, the 4,000 British soldiers met no resistance in southern Maryland on August 19th.  Four days later, they defeated a disorganized American Army at Bladensburg and then marched into the capital unopposed.

Lands west of Benedict where they camped are now privately owned.  This is one of seven War of 1812 and Revolutionary War sites in Maryland the U.S. Department of the Interior considers as facing medium to high risk of destruction by 2018.

More than 100 historical sites are already gone.

Since 1996, there has been much focus on Civil War sites, but fewer resources have been devoted to the War of 1812.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

First Year Ends With U.S. in Turmoil-- Part 1

From m the Dec. 29, 2012, Toronto Star "War of 1812: First year ends with U.S. in turmoil" by Kenneth Kidd.

A series of developments in December 1812 helped change the course  of events for the next year.

The U.S. was deeply divided over conquering Canada and stinging defeats at Michilimickinac, Detroit and Queenston Heights did not improve things.

Someone had to shoulder the blame, and that someone was U.S. Secretary of War William Eustis who was forced to resign.

The next month, January John Armstrong replaced him.  Armstrong fancied himself as a brilliant military strategist and even wrote a small book "Hints to Young Generals" where he focused on the twin principles of "concentration of force and celerity of movement."

As far as future Canadian invasions, he favored the scorched earth policy saying, "These settlements must be broken up and converted into a desert.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, January 14, 2013

Meeting Our Friends, the Enemy, Here in Florida-- Part 2

As I said in the last post, you go to Hollywood Beach, Florida, and that lace is full of the French-Canadians down from Quebec.  English is a second language.

But go to Panama City Beach here in the Florida Panhandle and it is a different story.  There are Canadians here, but of a different sort.  These would be the ones from what they call Upper Canada, mostly Ontario, but I have seen one British Columbia tag here at the Driftwood Lodge/Osprey where we are staying.

We ran into a bunch of them the first night at Reggae J's at Pier Point.  They, like their F-C brethren were sure having a great time.  Of course, with the price of booze in Canada, they must have been thinking we were giving it away.

We talked a lot with one guy from Sault Ste. Marie.  It turns out he is 100% First Nation (Indian).  We talked some about the War of 1812.  Since then, we have run into him another couple times at Reggae J's, then Friday at Hammerhead Fred's for the fish fry and again last night at Dusty's.  We must run in the same circles.

Great Folks, Those Canadians.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Meeting Our Friends, the Enemy, Here in Florida-- Part 1

And, we've met them before, but this is the first time during the War of 1812's bicentennial.

First, it was all of the French Canadians from what I now know to be Lower Canada, in the Hollywood, Florida, area.  As of yet, I am not sure whose side they were on during the War of 1812.  I'm sure they didn't like the British, but also don't think they would have liked to be a part of the United States either.

In Hollywood, I like to say that English is a second language, with a lot of stuff posted in both French and English.  The motels are sure to post that they speak French.

You see a lot of Quebec license plates.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Follow Up on the USS Ticonderoga-- Part 2

Continued from Jan. 5th.

The Ticonderoga was originally a merchant steamer that was bought by the US Navy while it was under construction.  It was completed as a schooner and armed with twelve heavy cannons before being launched in May 1814.

A few months later, on September 11, 1814, it helped defeat the British at the Battle of Plattsburgh at Lake Champlain's northern end.  This stopped a British invasion of New York state.

After the war, it was used at Whitehall by East Bay.  Later, it became a hulk and sank until raised in the 1950s.

Other ships with the name Ticonderoga name included a World War II aircraft carrier.  Unfortunately, New York has no plans for the Ticonderoga's preservation.

The locations of other British and American Revolutionary War and War of 1812 sunken ships are known, but still underwater, making this the only really accessible one to the general public.

The Story of a Ship.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fort Gasden

And, while we were on Florida's Forgotten Coast as the locals refer to the stretch of Gulf Coast either side of Apalachicola, I did come across mention of a War of 1812 fort called Fort Gasden to the north of Apalachicola.

I heard several conflicting stories about it from locals so will do some research on it when I get back home.  Wiki'd it and it does have a war connection.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Follow Up On the USS Ticonderoga-- Part 1

From the Dec. 30, 2012, Fox News "War of 1812 naval relic still stored in New York shed" by AP.

Coming up in 2013 will be the 200th anniversary of the battle in which the Ticonderoga gained fame.  However, the hull is in serious danger as it sits outside in an open shed at the mercy of the elements. 

It needs to be moved into a climate-controlled facility and this will be way too much money for small town of Whitehall with its 3000 population, located 65 miles northeast of Albany, near the Vermont border.

Whitehall claims to be the birthplace of the U/S. Navy because in 1776, during the American Revolution, Benedict Arnold (yes, that Benedict) oversaw construction of a small fleet at what is now Whitehall.  In October of that year, the fleet sailed to Valcour Island, off Plattsburgh, and engaged a British squadron.  The Americans lost, but delayed the British invasion of New York until the following year.

It should be noted that several New England communities also lay claim to  the birthplace.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, January 4, 2013

"Remember the Raisin" Events Announced

From the Dec. 21, 2012, Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources.

Commemoration is planned for Jan. 19-20, 2013, in Monroe, Michigan.

This will remember two battles that took place 200 years earlier in the War of 1812.  On January 18, 1813, American forces drove the British out of Frenchtown, current Monroe.  And four days later, the British returned with their Indian allies and defeated the Americans. 

A massacre took place, giving rise to the later American battle cry "Remember the Raisin."

Some of the events:
Jan. 19th at 10 AM--  retrace American General James Winchester's march to the battlefield.

11:15  Re-enactors

Too Far.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Apparently, I Had Written About the USS Ticonderoga

When I typed in the Ticonderoga on the labels, it came up after a few letters.  So, I had written about it before.

There is some confusion, though, as the previous entry mentioned it as being a steamship (I didn't even know we had steamships back then). and that the USS Saratoga had been raised from the bottom of Lake Champlain.

Like I said, I will have to do more research.

Wiki, Here i Come.  --DaCoot

USS Ticonderoga Lies Falling Apart in a New York Shed

From the Dec. 30, 2012, Fox News.

Whitehall Village in New York State bills itself as the Birthplace of the U.S. Navy, but, they haven't done much to preserve one of the Navy's oldest warship relics, the hull of the schooner USS Ticonderoga, the first of many ships to have that name.

It was raised back in the 1950s, before much was known of sunken ship preservation. It is still stored in an open-sided shed on the grounds of the Skenesborough Museum. 

There is a movement to improve the ship's condition as we approach the 200th anniversary of its sinking.

I'll definitely be doing more research on it as I had never heard of it before.

Save the Ticonderoga.  --Brock-Perry