Thursday, February 28, 2013

Jackson County, Florida, in the War of 1812

From the June 14, 2012, Jackson County (Fla) Times" by Sid Riley.

A British force of 4,000 occupied Pensacola, Florida in 1814 and then was reinforced by another 4,000 troops just before the army moved out to attack General Jackson at New Orleans.

Local historian Nadine Strickland researched and found that four War of 1812 veterans are buried in Jackson County.

1.  ISAAC AUSTIN ADAMS--  1st Lt., 4th US Artillery.  Died 1829.  Grave #8 at Riverside Cemetery in Marianna.

2.  HOMER VIRGIL MILTON--  Colonel, 3rd Infantry, born 1781, died 1822.  Grave #11, St. Luke's Episcopal Church Cemetery.

3.  JESSE ROBINSON--  Captain, 2nd Georgia Artillery.  Born 1759, died 1854.  Grave #15, St. Luke's Episcopal Church Cemetery.

4.  J.G. STRICKLAND--  (I wonder if any relation to the historian)  Private, 1st Georgia Militia, buried at Cow Pen Pond Cemetery, Grave #18.

You Don't Think of Florida Much When the War Comes Up.  It Wasn't Even a State Yet.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Kitchener Building Named for War of 1812 Hero

The Government Building of Canada at 15-29 Duke Street West is named the John Norton Building and a commemorative plaque was unveiled at it February 22nd.

John Norton was of Scottish-Cherokee descent and in the British Army.  He led Mohawk warriors at the Battle of Queenston Heights and drove the Americans back to the Niagara River and forced them to surrender.

He also led warriors at the battles of Fort George, Stoney Creek, Chippawa and Fort Erie.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Delaware in the War of 1812-- Part 4

Wilmington was a British target because of the Du Pont powder mills.  The war was a boom for that company as it really grew because of the government contracts.

Gunpowder orders soared from 204,046 pounds (2,850 from the government) in 1811 to 519,551 (374,000 from govt.) in 1814.

To protect Wilmington, numerous waterfront fortifications were built from Wilmington to south of New Castle.  Three militia units with about 350 men, were sent from Philadelphia.  In 1813, the Brandywine Rangers militia unit was established, composed mostly of mill workers.

Lewes' watermen and merchants suffered greatly during the war.

Some Folks Make Big Bucks Off War.  --Brock-Perry

Delaware in the War of 1812-- Part 3

The Americans had the Fulton torpedo, invented by steamboat pioneer Robert Fulton.  They consisted of gunpowder filled barrels with a timing device, the forerunners of today's naval mines.  This sort of weapon continued to be called torpedoes even through the Civil War.  When Admiral Farragut ordered his fleet "Damn the torpedoes!  Full speed ahead!" he was referring to these mine/torpedoes.

The Lewes bombardment ended up as a stand-off.  The town was not captured, nor did they give the British those 20 bullocks.  But the British fleet went after American shipping in the Delaware River and Bay, destroying about twenty ships.

A month later, Havre de Grace, Maryland, was looted and burned.

Most every Delaware town had some sort of fortifications.

No Bull for You!!  --Brock-Perry

Delaware in the War of 1812-- Part 2

On March 16, 1813, the British commander, Commodore John Beresford, demanded 20 live bullocks and other provisions from Lewes and said he'd destroy the town if they didn't comply.  Over the next three weeks, messages were exchanged between Beresford and the American commander, Col. Samuel Boyer Davis.

Twenty-two hours of bombardment started April 6th.  Some of the British shots fell short into the bay and on Lewes Beach.  Others went as far as where Beebe Medical Center is now.  Others damaged homes and businesses.  One remains lodged in the wall of McCracken House on Main Street, now better known as "The Cannonball House." (Hopefully a solid shot.)

The Americans stood their ground, even firing some of the British cannonballs back.

Some of the powder used by the Americans was manufactured at Brandywine, outside of Wilmington, at the powder yards of the 11-year-old Du Pont Company.

The bombardment of Lewes also marked the first time the British used Congreve rockets which could go two or more miles and put off a red glare.  This is the one Francis Scott Key wrote about "the rockets red glare."

Bombs Burst in Air.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, February 25, 2013

Delaware in the War of 1812-- Part 1

From the June 6, 2012, Delaware First Media News:  "The War of 1812: Dealware's Role in 'America's Second War for Independence'" by Larry Nagengast.

Lewes,Delaware has a sign on a house reading "The CANNONBALL HOUSE."  This is the last remaining Lewes home bearing a mark from that long-ago war.  A patch on the foundation shows where a cannonball struck it on April 6th or 7th in the year 1813.  It was restored by the Lewes Historical Society.

Chuck Fithian, curator of archaeology for the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, says the declaration of war by the United States on June 18, 1812 "was not one of our better moments."  The two main reason s for it was British impressment of American sailors and their support of the Indians in the Northwest Terrotory.

In December 1812, the British fleet began its blockade of the Chesapeake Bay (which I've been writing about).  In February 1813, some of those ships moved to the Delaware Bay.  Lewes had some 800 residents at the time.  In March, the British fleet appeared off Cape Henlopen.

And, that's when the war really came to Delaware.

British Ships in Delaware!!  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The War in Real Time, Feb. 9, 1813-- Part 2: Reporting the Battle of River Raisin

From the War of 1812 Blog.  New York City.

FROM ALBANY, Feb. 4  "Governor Tompkins has just received the following extract of a letter from Major Noon, commanding at Buffalo, of the defeat of Gen. Winchester of the North-Western Army.  It is reported that Gen. Winchester is among the slain."

"Buffalo, Feb. 3-- It is with extreme pain I inform you, that on Saturday last a flag came across from the British side with Capt. Fitzgerald of the 49th reg. informing the commanding officer on our side that General Winchester, and about 1,000 men, were killed and taken prisoners at the Miami Rapids, that is a dear bought victory for the British.  He adds, that 600 of our men were killed, and 400 taken prisoners."


Follow-Up: HMS Acasta-- Part 2

The Acasta was a 40-gun fifth-rate frigate which saw action during the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars and War of 1812.  It never saw any major single-ship action or a major battle was but was at the Battle of San Domingo.  Launched 1797 and broken up 1821.

It had quite a long list of merchant ship and privateer captures against the U.S., starting with the 16-gun privateer Curlew July 24, 1812.

Another notable capture was the 5-gun privateer Highflyer which was later taken into British service.

It participated in many captures while part of the blockading fleet, including capturing American brigs Gustavo and Staunch, Feb. 24, 1813, 200 years ago, tomorrow.


Follow-Up: British Ships HMS San Domingo, Maidstone-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Yesterday, I wrote about the British blockade coming to the Chesapeake Bay and the Captain Burr being stopped by the HMS San Domingo, Maidstone, Acasta.  I'd never heard of these ships, so looked them up in good old Wiki.

HMS SAN DOMINGO--  74-gun third-rate ship-of-the-line launched 1809 and sold 1816.  the 180-foot long vessel was the flagship of Sir John Borlase Warren.

HMS MAIDSTONE--  36-gun fifth-rate frigate launched 1811.  Used as a receiving ship from 1832 and hulked in 1839.  Broken up in 1865.



Delaware's War Heroes

From the June 11, 2012, Delaware First Media News "War of 1812: Delaware's native sons, war heroes" by Larry Nagengast.

Delaware was the site of a major bombardment and powder mill during the war, but also home to many significant men.

COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH--  born near Middleton in 1783, joined Navy in 1800.  Forced British from Lake Champlain.

COL. SAMUEL BOYER DAVIS--  born in Lewes in 1766.  Commanded at Lewes during the bombardment in April 1813.

COMMODORE JACOB JONES--  born in Smyrna in 1768.  Joined Navy 1799.  Commanded USS Wasp when it captured the HMS Frolic (hardly a war-like name).

SENATOR JAMES A. BAYARD--  June 1812, voted against declaration of war, saying (rightfully so) that U.S. not ready to fight Britain.  He was also the only Federalist on the team to negotiate the Treaty of Ghent to end the war.

DR. JAMES TILTON--  native of Dover.  Head of military hospitals for Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.  June  1813, became Army's first surgeon general.

I'd Only Heard of Macdonough.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, February 22, 2013

The War in Real Time: Feb 9, 1813: Blockade Enacted on the Chesapeake

From the Blog of 1812 "A running documentary of the War of 1812.

Feb. 9, 1813.

"Captain Burr arrived last night in 48 hours from the Chesapeake, was boarded by a British squadron there and ordered off.  The squadron consists of the San Domingo, Maidston, Acosta and others, and they keep the bay in a state of rigorous blockade."

In order for a blockade to be legal, it must be enforced and evidently it was just starting.


A New War of 1812 Trail Planned in Maryland-- Part 2

More than 2,000 British came ashore at Broad Creek (near present-day Bay Bridge Airport and set up camp.  A local house was occupied as headquarters.  They hoisted the Union Jack high enough so that sentries on the nearby Maryland capital building in Annapolis could see it.

A smaller British force of 300, led by Col. Sir Thomas Sydney Beckwith left camp and crossed the Kent Narrows on their way to Queenstown, taking a dirt road, now State Route 18.

On August 13, two miles from Queenstown, they met 20 local militia near a farm on Slippery Hill (an interesting name), who repelled their advance (20 militia versus 300 regulars, a big surprise there) and the British returned to their camp after Beckwith's horse was killed under him.

There is a park being built at the corner of Nesbitt Road and Route 18 to commemorate the battle which was fought close by.  There will be three signs there,two more in Queenstown (which will be dedicated April 6th), two  more in Centreville and one at Church Hill.

Commemorating the Past. I Like It.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A New War of 1812 Trail Planned in Maryland-- Part 1

Queen Anne's County in Maryland is planning a trail with fourteen sites stretching from Kent Island to Sudlersville.  It is expected to join the new statewide Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail.

Originally, there were just 3 sites in the county on the National Trail, but people in Queen Anne's felt the county had more to offer.  Each of the sites will have a marker explaining what happened there.  Most are located between Kent Island and Queenstown to commemorate the little-known Battle of Slippery Hill.

On August 5, 1813, boats with British Marines from ships out in the Chesapeake Bay, landed at Kent Island for a march on Queenstown in order to get into a better position from which to attack Baltimore.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Most Popular Canadian War of 1812 Website Page After Entry? The Exit

From the Feb. 2, 2013, Edmonton (Can) Journal by Stepahnie Levitz.

The Canadian government's War of 1812 Bicentennial website got a big push from monies spent to advertise it during the Olympics July 27 to Aug. 12th during which it averaged 6.052 visits a day.  Before that it averaged 1,741 and afterwards 2,463.

The English home page had 83,458 visits from July 22 to Aug. 19th, the French 22,897.

The most visited page is the entry one and second most, the exit.

Just Some Numbers.  --Brock-Perry

The State of the War February 19, 1813-- Part 2

From the Feb. 19, 1813, Raleigh (NC) Register.

News from Washington, DC from Feb. 13th.

**  Several letters from Buffalo report that General Winchester was not killed at the Battle of the River Raisin as previously reported from Ohio, but had been taken prisoner.

Letters from General William Henry Harrison to Ohio Governor Meigs "giving a much more cheering account of the late disaster (River Raisin) say U.S. soldiers "fought like heroes" and the British lost as many killed as the U.S..  They were defeated because of "greatly superior numbers of the Indians and British" and lack of ammunition.  "600 said to have been taken prisoner."

**  Have learned from Richmond "that the British have landed on Smith's Island (at the mouth of Cape Charles) and have erected a fortification, and established telegraphic communication with the squadron in the Bay."

Keeping Up With the News.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The State of the War February 19, 1813-- Part 1

From the Andrew Jackson War of 1812 Blog.

From the Feb. 19, 1913, Raleigh (NC) Register "Notes from Washington City, February 13, 1812.

There was a bill for the exclusion of foreign seamen from serving on Navy vessels and merchant service which had passed a third reading in the House of Representatives,  "Many gentlemen from the federal side of the House voted for the bill and some against it."

Federalists would be primarily from New England.  North Carolina would be more of a Democrat-Republican state.  I'm not sure exactly why there would be a split in Federalist voting.


Monday, February 18, 2013

War of 1812 Geneaolgy Now Available Online-- Part 2

I went to the site to take a quick look at what they had.

There are approximately 180,000 pension and bounty land warrant applications that will be available once all 7.2 million pages are digitalized.  I'll have to find out what the bounty land warrants are, but would guess it would be western land in return for military service.

Other items:

**First War of 1812 applications based on disability or death of a soldier, beginning in 1871 and based on service.  (Does this mean that pensions to these veterans were not available until 1871?)

**  Prize cases, Southern District Court, New York: documents relating to captured ships, their owners and cargoes.  (Lots of privateers operating out there.)

**  Letters received by the Adjutant General from officers and enlisted men of the Army, Secretary of War, President, government officials, Members of Congress, civilians and business firms.

**  Service Records.

Worth a Look.  --Brock-Perry

War of 1812 Geneaology Now Available-- Part 1

From the February 7, 2013, "Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems."

The National Archives reports that pension files for the War of 1812 are among the most-requested materials now available to people online.  Once they were only available at the site in Washington, DC, or, you had to order copies from them.

But now, The Federation of Genealogical Societies, the National Archives, and Fold3 have partnered up to digitalize some 7.2 million pages of War of 1812 Pension Records online.

It is an ongoing process, but some of it is already online and can be viewed for free at

This Is Called Getting Right Down With Your Primary Source Material.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Some More On Fort Madison

I have looked, but can't find any picture of the fort.


On August 27, 1814, the Maryland State Armory delivered 28 muskets and 28 cartridge boxes to Fort Madison.


The 6th New York Regiment reported that armed men (Confederates) had been seen around Fort Madison.  Two armed vessels were placed in the Severn River and 200 men positioned in the hills behind the fort.

In the early days of the Civil War, there was great worry about Maryland becoming a Confederate state.


Fort Madison: Lost and Found?

From the April 25, 2012, Military Times "Possible remains of Army fort found at USNA" by Tina Reed.

There is a giant slab of marble in the middle of the firing range at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  It is a piece of a fort long buried.  Records show Fort Madison was built of 100,000 bricks and likely had a dry moat around it.

Today, it is completely flattened with just that slab of marble to show its former existence.  Nearby Fort Severn is much-better known even though today it is beneath a wing of Bancroft Hall of the Academy.

Fort Madison was built at the request of President Thomas Jefferson and among 62 forts built along the US Atlantic coast between Maine and Florida.

It was razed in the 1930s for the firing range.

So, That's What Happened to It.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fort Madison in Annapolis, Maryland-- Part 2

From the Maryland in the War of 1812 Blog.  This is an excellent site and I've gotten quite a bit of Peter Parker information from it.

Fort Madison (1809-1909) as described by U.S. secretary of War William Eustis on December 10, 1809:  "An enclosed work of masonry with semi-elliptical face, circular flanks, calculated for 13-guns with brick magazine and barracks for one company."

On April 19, 1813, it fired an alarm gun when several Maryland privateers being chased by Royal Navy ships sought shelter there.

So, It Must Have Been garrisoned At One Time.  --Brock-Perry

Fort Madison in Annapolis, Maryland-- Part 1

On February 8th, I wrote about Captain Peter Parker having two officers go ashore from his HMS Menelaus and reconnoiter Annapolis, Maryland.  It sounded like they essentially just walked around the town and even American Fort Madison guarding the town.  This would lead me to believe that it wasn't garrisoned at the time; well, hopefully.

I'd never heard of Fort Madison, so that meant a little research on it.  And, there is not much on the fort, which doesn't even exist now.  But, it was definitely there, on the grounds of the present day U.S. Naval Academy.

From the North American Forts Site:

1808-1873/1896.  Was a 13-gun elliptical fort located at Carr Point in Annapolis.  Rebuilt in the early 1850s and abandoned after the Civil War.  Transferred to the Navy in 1873 for the Naval Experimental Battery for training USNA midshipmen.

The Coast Guard acquired the site in 1896 for the Annapolis Lighthouse Depot.  The fort's remains were evident until World War II construction eradicated them.

Where Is the Fort?  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Why It Takes So Long to Do These Darn Blog Entries

This all started with a article about the Battle of Caulk's Field in Maryland.  Then, it led to his ship, the HMS Menelaus and then on his various raids and expeditions in Maryland.  Then to the ship's commander, Captain Peter Parker. 

I found more information about his pre-Menelaus life as well as his family which consisted of several Royal Navy officers.  Then, at one point, I found that he had sent two men to walk around American Annapolis and they evidently walked right through Fort Madison there.

This fort will be the subject of the next several entries.

One Thing Leads to Another.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sir Captain Peter Parker-- Part 2

Lt. Henry Crease reported that Captain Parker had been wounded while leading his men and carried off the field where he died in a few minutes.  Back at the Menelaus, the body was placed in a coffin filled with whiskey.  The next morning, his right show was found with a great deal of blood inside it. (So, was he placed in a coffin or a barrel?)

On September 3rd, the Menelaus carried off another raid, this time at the home of Thomas Mitchell, Commissary of Supplies for the Kent County Militia.

On September 7th, the HMS Menelaus sailed down the Chesapeake Bay with its pennant at half-mast in honor of its fallen commander.

It anchored with other British ships in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Baltimore. (Wonder if this is the ship where Francis Scott Key was held?) 

Parker's remains were transferred to the frigate HMS Hebrus and taken to Bermuda and buried at St. George's Church.  In the spring of 1815, the body was exhumed and taken to St. Margaret Church at Westminster, London, and buried again.

Quite the Hero.  --Brock-Perry

Sir Captain Peter Parker-- Part 1

From the Maryland In the War of 1812 Blog.

This all started out as a newspaper article about the Battle of Caulk's Field, but has expanded a bit.

Sir Captain Peter Parker (1785-1814) was the descendant of several Royal Navy flag officers and received the command of the HMS Menelaus when it was launched in 1810.

The story is often told that when Parker was mortally wounded that he was carried to the Thomas Mitchell home (on the Maryland Parkway, off Route 21) and that he died in the kitchen and his men "got a blanket and sheet to wrap Sir Peter in."

Today, the house is a popular Bed and Breakfast, but Parker was never there, but taken directly back to the Menelaus, which was laying off today's Parker Point (named after him?).

Lt. Henry Crease assumed command of the ship after Parker died.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, February 11, 2013

War of 1812 Veteran Gets Headstone in Illinois

From the June 10, 2012, Pekin (Ill) Daily Times, AP.

Mike Rowley, great-great-great grandson of War of 1812 veteran Ashbel Rowley, had a headstone installed at the Sugar Grove Township Cemetery in Sugar Grove, Illinois, the only-known 1812 veteran buried in the cemetery in west suburban Chicago.

This was done in time for the bicentennial of the beginning of the war, June 18, 1812.  The granite marker lists Ashbel Rowlwy's name and company.

The war veteran had a homestead near what is now Kaneville and lived there until he died in 1864.

Always a Great Thing to memorialize Those of the Past.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Congreve Rocket Burns Henry Waller's Farmhouse

From the Maryland in the War of 1812 Blog.

This took place August 28, 1814, two days before the Battle of Caulk's Field.

On this date, Royal Marines and sailors from the HMS Menelaus, under Captain Peter Parker, landed at Fairlee Creek, in Kent County, Maryland.  At 10:30 AM, they encountered militia cavalry near the bayside home of Henry Waller's 308 acre farm.

The British officer, Lt. Henry Crease, aboard the Menelaus, ordered Congreve rockets and an 18-pdr carronade fired at them.  One rocket failed to launch and burned furiously on the deck before they were able to throw it overboard.

Later that afternoon, there was a second British landing made.  The farmhouse was set afire as were the corn fields and musket volleys exchanged with the American militia  It is a bit confusing as to whether the British set fire to the house on land or whether a Concreve rocket hit it, causing the flames.

In 1829, Henry Waller made a claim to the federal government and retained a Georgetown attorney by the name of Francis Scott Key (wonder where we've heard that name before?)  He received his compensation.

One of the Congreve rockets that set fire to his house is at the Fort McHenry National Monument. (I would think it would have burned up had it hit Waller's house.)  If Crease was on the Menelaus and I believe he was second in command, was Peter Parker leading the landing party?

Just Some More Raiding.  --Brock-Perry

Digging for Answers at the Battle of Caulk's Field-- Part 5

Sure is a lot about a battle I'd never heard of before.

Three cadaver dogs zeroed in on three sites that most likely were used to bury the British dead, except for Parker whose body was returned to England.  Those sites will not be touched.

Julie Schablitsky's next step is to put together the story of the battle.  They will continue to work with the property owners, Tulip Forest Farming Corporation, to insure that the battlefield will continue to be an untouched resource.

And, there are not too many War of 1812 battlefields preserved as well as this.


Friday, February 8, 2013

British Spies in Annapolis

From the Maryland in the War of 1812 Blog.

Before the Battle of Caulk's Field, Captain Parker had anchored his HMS Menelaus undetected near Annapolis, Maryland.  Two of his officers rowed a boat six miles to the city and reconnoitered it.

They even walked around the American Fort Madison without even a challenge.

This led Captain Peter Parker to report to his superiors that Annapolis could easily be taken by even a token force.

This Peter Parker kind of reminds me of William Cushing of the US Navy during the Civil War.  Obviously, he was afraid to take chances and led by example and without fear for his life.  Also reminds me of British General Isaac Brock.

A Hero.  --Brock-Perry

Digging for Answers at the Battle of Caulk's Field-- Part 4

Archaeologists are hoping to determine the opponents' battle lines by surveying dropped artifacts.  According to Julie Schablitsky, during the height of battle, soldiers were "shedding metal."  The pattern of these brass buttons, spent munitions and coins will show where they stood.

Also knowing that American musket shot was smaller than the British helped draw the battle lines.  There is also unfired ammunition that was dropped in the heat of battle as soldiers hurried to reload.

And, Schablitsky says she sees definite patterns emerging.  A sweep of 40 acres last fall shows clearly that the fighting occurred over a larger area than originally thought.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Digging for Answers at Caulk's Field-- Part 3

The Americans ambushed the British and in an hour-long battle, 14 British soldiers (actually Marines and sailors), died, including Captain Peter Parker, the expedition leader and captain of the HMS Menelaus.  He bled to death from a gunshot wound.  You would not generally expect a ship's commander to lead an onshore expedition like this.  Normally that job would fall to junior officers.  Three Americans were wounded.

With their commander dead and the Americans holding the high ground, the Brits retreated back to the ship.

The ship then participated in the Battle of Baltimore (Fort McHenry) and left the Chesapeake after that failed.  Fort McHenry, of course, is what inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Archaeologists are looking for where the forces actually stood and where camp was made.  According to Julie Schablitsky, "It's really like a crime scene.  You have to let the artifacts-- the evidence-- tell you what was going on."

Two sets of post-battle reports exist, one British, one American.  She enlisted the help of the New Jersey-based Battlefield Restoration and Archaeological Volunteer Organization to scour the field and mark each artifact with a flag.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

HMS Menelaus: Peter Parker's Ship

From Wikipedia.

The HMS Menelaus was a 38-gun fifth-rate frigate of 1,071 tons, 154 feet long, 39.5 foot beam with 285 crew carrying twenty-eight 18-pdr, four 9-pdr and fourteen 32-pdr carronade guns.

It was built at Plymouth Dockyard and launched in 1810, entering service under Captain Peter Parker who commanded it until his death in battle at Caulk's Field on August 30, 1814.  With the article, I was under the impression that Parker was the commander of the Marines on the ship, not the whole ship.

Within a week of being commissioned, it was involved in the suppression of a mutiny on the HMS Africaine, then later in 1810 was stationed in the Indian Ocean.  In 1812, it was blockading the French port of Toulon in the Mediterranean during the Napoleonic Wars.  It cruised the south France coast keeping an eye out for privateers.

In 1813, it started escorting convoys across the Atlantic to Canada during the War of 1812.  Later that year, it raided positions along the Maryland coast and destroyed an American convoy.

In 1814, it was ordered to operate against French ships in the Atlantic.  After the French surrender, it returned to the U.S., where the captain was killed in Maryland and just after that, the ship took part in the Battle of Baltimore (Fort McHenry).

Edward Dix took command of the Menelaus and continued in that position until the ship was laid up in 1818.  In 1832, it became a hospital ship and later a quarantine ship.  It was finally scrapped in 1897, 87 years after its launch.

The Story of a Ship and a Busy One at That.  --Brock-Perry

Some More Information On the Battle of Caulk's Field

I'd never heard of it the engagement, small as it was, before so did some Wiki-ing and found out these items:

**  Caulk's house still stands on the battlefield.

**  A monument was erected to the battle in 1902.

**  Captain Parker's body was preserved in a barrel of whiskey and sent back to England.  (Talk about your pickling.)

**  The British suffered 14 Marines killed and 27 wounded.

**  One of the Kent County American militia men was Ezekial Foreman Chambers who was later a judge and a U.S. senator.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Digging for Answers At Caulk's Field-- Part 2

The dig is a project of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, which secured a $40,000 federal grant to do it.  Julie Schablitsky, 43, has been involved in other digs related to the war, but is most famous for her work the Donner Party campsite in the Sierra Nevada and John Paul Jones' birthplace in Scotland.

Caulk's Field is close to the town of Fairlee, on Maryland's east shore Chesapeake Bay.  Executive director of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, Bill Pencek says, "This is easily the best-preserved 1812 battlefield in the Mid-Atlantic, thanks to the excellent stewardship of the owners, Tulip Forest Farming Corp., who understood its importance and protected it."


Late on August 30, 1814, Parker's troops came ashore from the HMS Menelaus with plans to get information about Baltimore's defenses.  Washington had already been burned and they were preparing to lay siege to Baltimore..

But, the Americans knew the British were coming and ambushed them in an hour-long battle.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Digging for Answers at Caulk's Field-- Part 1

From the Jan. 23, 2013, Chicago Tribune "Digging for answers from 1814 battle" by Candy Thomson.

They're looking for the DNA of a battle that helped turn the tide of the war and lay just 6 inches below a Maryland corn field.  For nearly two centuries musket balls, cannister and other artifacts waited to tell the story of that August night when a British raiding party battle American militia.

Cadaver sniffing dogs and history buffs with metal detectors are sweeping the field to discover what happened.

According to archaeologist Julie Schablitsky: "This battlefield is frozen in time.  It was a pasture 200 years ago, and its a pasture now.  If Capt. Parker or Col. Reed came by today, they'd know exactly where they were."

Sir Peter Parker, a British Marine captain led around 170 troops who fought a group of American militia of about the same number led by Col. Philip Reed.

From mid-August to mid-September, Maryland was a war zone.  People lived in terror, houses were burned, people taken away, Washington burned and Fort McHenry attacked..

I'd Never heard of This Battle Before the Article.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Some War of 1812 Facts-- Part 2

**  Women often traveled with their husbands' military units and sometimes acted as spies.  Canadian Laura Secord walked 20 miles in the winter to warn British troops of an American attack in the Niagara Falls area.  Many Canadians now recognize her name in connection with a chain of candy stores named in her honor.

I wonder if any women served in the capacity of soldiers or sailors?

**  The Treaty of Ghent, named after the Belgian city it was signed in, ended the war.  This treaty essentially ended the war about where it started.  The British still took American sailors off ships and Canada was still a British colony.

**  The final fight, the Battle of New Orleans, took pace January 8, 1815, after the Treaty of Ghent was signed Dec. 24, 1814.  Hey, news traveled much, much slower back then.


Some War of 1812 Facts

From the June 8, 2012, Washington Post for Kids "War of 1812 Fun Facts."  Well, if you can have fun facts about a war.  But, bet some of you didn't know some of this stuff.  I sure didn't.

**  It lasted long after 1812.  The final battle was fought in 1815.  You know, "Took a little trip."

**  The British Navy at the time was the largest and most powerful in the world with 600 ships.  The US Navy had just 18.  It was a real NIU vs, FSU thing.

**  The expression "Don't Give Up the Ship" came from 1812.  These were the dying words of Captain James Lawrence of the USS Chesapeake as his ship was captured by the HMS Shannon.  It is now the US Navy motto.

**  Francis Scott Key's song was originally called "Defence of Fort McHenry" and the tune comes from an old British drinking song.  It did not become the official national anthem until 1931.  Wonder what they sang before games before that time?  OK, let's all rise, remove those hats and sing "The Defence of Fort McHenry.

"Jose Can You Sing?"  --Brock-Perry

A Barn's War of 1812 Tales-- Part 2

Horse Landing got its name in 1812 when the British came to the Patuxent and Potomac rivers.  They raided waterfront properties such as Sotterly, Chaptico, Cedar Point and Leonardtown.  They brought their horses in at Horse Landing where the river was shallow.

On August 19, 1814, they landed at Benedict.  Someone took a potshot at British Admiral George Cockburn's barge from St. Clement's Island and he ordered Royal Marines to land and sweep it bare, burning all farmhouses they encountered.

Gettin' Ya Back.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Barn's War of 1812 Tales-- Part 1

From the March 21, 2012, SoMd "19th century barn shelters tales of War of 1812" by Jason Babcock.

On top of a hill overlooking the Patuxent River, there is a barn that long-told tales say was used as cover while American militia were firing at British soldiers.  Leonard Copsey, 91, remembers stories and wants the barn to be preserved.  His house if just down the hill from it.

A storm blew its roof off and Copsey replaced it, but its cedar logs are original.

However, the Maryland Trust dates the barn to around 1840 as "Murray's Log Tobacco Barn.  That makes it one of the few-surviving examples of the 19th century single-crib tobacco barns which were common from the 1860s to 1870s. 

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, February 2, 2013

1812 Mill Stone Rededicated-- Part 2

The Christian Zavitz Mill was built in 1790 on the northeast side of the Eagle Marsh Drain and shut down operations sometime in 1834.  All evidence of its existence is long gone as the mill was torn down in the 1880s.  That is, except for the mill stone.

The mill housed British and Canadian forces in the Sugarloaf settlement (now Port Colborne).

On October 28, 1814, American soldier John Dixon, retreating back to Buffalo after a skirmish in Norfolk where British and Canadian soldiers were killed, was shot by militia guard while trying to raid a store for guns near Zavitz Mill.

It was the last shot fired in the peninsula during the war...and the last death.  Dixon did make it back to Buffalo before dying from his wound.

Just a Little Aspect of the War.  --Brock-Perry

1812 Mill Stone Rededicated-- Part 1

From the June 5, 2012, St. Catherines Review by Dave Johnson.

Members of the Port Colbourne-Wainfleet War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee will meet at H.H. Knoll Lakeview Park to rededicate a grist stone from the Christian Zavitz Mill on June 17th.

The stone stood for years in front of Newport Centre, near the site of Christian Zavitz's grist mill which was captured three times during 1812, but was the only mill on the Niagara Peninsula not torched by American forces.

Three times, forces led by Captain Cyrenias Chapin captured it, but did not burn it because the grain inside was not tied to British government stores.

Don't Burn My Mill!!  --Brock-Perry

Friday, February 1, 2013

War of 1812 Timeline: February 1813

From various sources.

5th--  John Armstrong becomes U.S. Secretary of War.
6th-7th--  American raid on Elizabethtown (Brocksville) on the St. Lawrence River.

16th--  104th Regiment begins march to Upper Canada.
22nd--  Battle of Ogdensburg, NY.  Ends American attempt to endanger British supply lines.  British captured Ogdensburg as retaliation for Elizabethtown Raid.

24th--  USS Hornet sinks HMS Peacock.

That's the Month.  --Brock-Perry