Tuesday, April 30, 2013

USS Alligator (Gunboat No. 166)

From Wikipedia.

Yesterday, I mentioned three of the Jeffersonian gunboats built at Wilmington, NC, that served in the War of 1812.

One was No. 166, a 60 foot-long schooner with crew of 40 and mounting four cannons.It was built in 1809 and its first commander was Joseph Tarbell.  It was built and commissioned as part of the Democratic-Republican party's defensive "Gunboat Navy."  Not only considerably cheaper to build than the oversized frigates like the USS Constitution, they required far fewer men in their crews.  Its primary duty was to protect coastal commerce.

In 1812, it received the name Alligator.

It's biggest action during the War of 1812 came on the night of January 28, 1814, when, while anchored at the mouth of Stone River, SC, they were spotted by a British frigate and brig earlier in the day.  That night, the enemy approached with seven boats with muffled oars in an attempt to capture the Alligator. 

They were spotted and gunfire exchanged.  The Alligator raised sail to make a getaway, but ran aground.  However, the British had suffered heavy casualties and broke off the engagement.  The Alligator had two killed and two wounded.

It was refloated and returned to service, but in July was sunk in a storm in Port Royal Sound with a loss of 21 of her crew.

Refloated again, it served until sold June 12, 1815.


Monday, April 29, 2013

North Carolina in the War of 1812-- Part 2

Other big names from North Carolina include Otway Burns, a merchant turned privateer and Johnston Blakely who actually sailed to the English Channel and fought British ships.  I had never heard of Burns, but had come across Blakely back in March when I bought the copy of the Encyclopedia of North Carolina.  Along with his ship there is the story of how the Blakely tea service came to be.

North Carolina did send militiamen, infantrymen, dragoons, riflemen and artillerymen to fight, but few ever saw action.

The state did build three small gunboats to patrol the coast.  However, they would be little match for a British warship.

Wayne County sent more than 200 militiamen in their own companies to the war effort, but their service was mostly in fort garrison duty.

For more information go to the NC War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee's website at http://nc1812.ncdcr.gov.


North Carolina in the War of 1812-- Part 1

From the December 12, 2012, Goldsboro (NC) News-Argus "War of 1812 focus of talk at museum" by Josh Ellerbrock.

James Greathouse of Fayettevile asked the crowd at the Wayne County Historical Society,  "What's the first thing you think of when it comes to the war of 1812 and North Carolina?"  They were silent, which did not surprise the presenter.  Greathouse currently serves as a member of the North Carolina 1812 Bicentennial Commission and this is a problem they are trying to overcome.

Hey, even ask most people to name five things about the War of 1812 and you might get the USS Constitution, "Star-Spangled Banner,"  Francis Scott Key, the burning of Washington, DC, and maybe the Battle of New Orleans.  The war is often referred to as "The Forgotten War."

The fighting during the war took pace far from state soil, but there were some important people who came from North Carolina.

Probably the nest-known would be Dolley Madison, whose husband James, was president at the time.  Some Americans even went so far as to call it "Mr. Madison's War" as it was unpopular in some areas, especially New England which even threatened to secede from the United States.  Where have we heard that before?

Dolley, a North Carolinian,  is known for saving the portrait of George Washington when Washington, DC, was burned.  She also did a lot to get backers for her husband.  Her "Squeezes" (parties) at the White House were highly attended social balls.

Taking It to Carolina.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Canada's Bridge to Nationhood

From the July 20, 2012, Amherstburg (Can) Echo "Essex County council renames County Road 20 bridge after War of 1812 figures" by Ron Giofu.

The bridge is now called the "Hancock and Dean 1812 bridge to Nationhood" after earlier rejecting "War of 1812 Commemorative Bridge" as being too generic.

James Hancock and John Dean were two British sentries guarding the wooden bridge at the site when the Skirmishes at the Canard River took place July 16, 1812, generally considered the first action of the war when American forces invaded Canada.

The accounts of the skirmish vary.

I looked up pictures of the bridge and am not sure the one I have is of the bridge as it appears today.  If it is, this is a really beautiful Marsh Rainbow bridge, like the one on Route 66 in Kansas and is well preserved.

Either Way, Nice Bridge.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ceremony at Portland's Grand Trunk Cemetery

From the August 11, 2012, Portland (Maine) Press-Herald by Gilliam Graham.

Held August 11th at 69 Presumpscot St.  This was the cumulation of a two-year project.

The grave of Crispus Groves, a RevolutionaryWar veteran in the 31st Regiment under Colonel Edmund Phinney, was dedicated.

Also decorated were the graves of War of 1813 veterans Andrew Graves (was he related to Crispus Graves?), John Sawyer, Joseph Sawyer, William Sawyer (must have been a family) and Samuel Blake.

WILLIAM SAWYER: Private Moody's Co., 3rd Massachusetts Militia, War of 1812, 1763-1825.

All six veterans have new white government-issue gravestones.

The cemetery started as a family one but got the name when the Grand Trunk Railroad began using the land to bury people who had died on their trains.

There is a Friends of the Grand Trunk Cemetery group.  Their efforts have greatly improved the cemetery which was once overgrown and spray-painted.

The cemetery was used from 1763-1893.  Documents confirm 74 burials, but it is believed that number is closer to 100.  A total of eight veterans are buried there.

The cemetery is located behind Presumpscot School, whose students were also involved in the clean up.

Glad the Cemetery Has been Saved.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Battle of Cook's Mill (s)--Part 2

On the 16th of October, there was an artillery duel over Chippawa Creek. General Izard then sent 1200 men of the 5th, 14th, 15th and 16th U.S. Infantry to capture the British supply depot at Cook's Mills on Lyons Creek.

British general Gordon Drummond sent 750 men out to reconnoiter the American force and a half hour battle was fought on the 19th at the mills.

The outnumbered British withdrew and were pursued a short distance by the Americans who then returned and destroyed all the grain and flour they found at the mill.

Later, Izard destroyed Fort Erie and retreated to the U.S. side of the Niagara River.

The site was made a National Historic Site of Canada in 1921.

Now, You Know.  --Brock-Perry

Battle of Cook's Mill (s)-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Like I said in the last post, I'd never heard of this battle, so Wiki here I come.

The battle was part of the Niagara Campaign and the next-to-last one fought on Canadian soil during the war (the last one was the battle of Malcolm's Mills.

This one was fought October 19, 1814 in Upper Canada, present-day Welland, Ontario.  It ended as an American victory, but strategic British win as the Americans withdrew across the Niagara River.

The 750 British troops in the battle were led by Christopher Myers and fought against 1200 U.S. soldiers led by General George Izard and Daniel Bissell.  British losses were 1 killed, 35 wounded.  American: 12 killed and 55 wounded.

Setting the stage for this battle was the American successful defense of Fort Erie (which was later abandoned because of lack of supplies).  George Izard marched his army from Plattsburgh, NY and was hoping to draw British general Gordon Drummand into a fight outside of his defenses.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Five Witnesses to a 200-Year-Old War Still Living

From the April 4, 2013, Welland (Can) Tribune by Allan Banner.

Cooks Mill.  And one is still in the middle of the battlefield near the intersection of Pearson and Lyons Creek roads.  This witness is a white oak.

The government wants plaques identifying each tree, its species and local history.

Another tree is in a nearby cemetery and the others on private property.

These trees were there when the Battle of Cook's Mill was fought in 1814.

Never Heard of This Battle.  --Brock- Perry

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Walk in Laura Secord's Footsteps

From the Niagara Now News "1812 Bicentennial: Walk in the footsteps of Laura Secord this June" by Jeff Johnston.


June 21-23rd the Friends of Laura Secord will retrace the twenty miles walked by her from Homestead to Queenston to the Decew House in Thorold.

There will be 5 stages of the walk and  6 way stations.  Shuttle buses will be running between the areas.

The organization is using the best approximation of the path Secord took.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

California's Mare Island'sWar of 1812 Connections

From the April 15, 2013, Solano and Napa Valley (Ca) Times-Herald "Mare Island ties to War of 1812 include Francis Scott Key descendant" by Sarah Rohrs.

Mare Island Naval Shipyard wasn't even around during the War of 1812, but it did have some connections.

Mare Island's first commanding officer was David Farragut who joined the Navy at age 9 and served in the war as a sailor on the USS Essex which captured several British whalers.  Of course, he went on to gain some notoriety during the Civil War.

Daniel Turner is buried at the Mare Island Cemetery.  He served in the war as an assistant engineer and held the rank of second lieutenant.  He was married to Anna Arnold Key who is also buried at the cemetery.  She was the daughter of one Francis Scott Key of "Star-Spangled Banner" fame.

Mare Island was also the station of the frigate USS Independence, built near the end of the war in Boston though it never fought.  It remained at the island for 54 years and served as living quarters  for sailors and Marines, a sick bay and chapel.

In commemoration of the war, Mare Island has an exhibition of War of 1812 ships painted by Hans Skalagard at the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum at 734 Marin Street running until June 29th.  "War of 1812: Ships from the Age of Fighting Sail."

If You're in the Area.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, April 22, 2013

Commemorating Ohio's Fort Meigs

Fort Meigs is near Toledo and two battles were fought there which went a long way toward preserving Ohio and the Midwest as part of the Union.  Two hundred years ago, American forces withstood attacks from the British and their Indian allies twice.  It turned the tide and foreshadowed the even bigger Battle of Lake Erie in September, which effectively ended the war in the region.

The First Battle of Fort Meigs took place over several days in early May 1813 and next month there will be a three-day reenactment at the reconstructed fort.  It  licks off May 3rd with a nighttime artillery battle over Maumee River.  Activities continue until Sunday afternoon.

Offsite activities include a tour of the Fallen Timbers Battlefield

Over Labor Day weekend, there will also be a commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie.

And, I Had Never Heard of Fort Meigs.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, April 19, 2013

War Hero Commodore Joshua Barney Honored at Alleghenny Cemetery

From the August 4, 2012, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Len Barcousky.

Commodore Joshua Barney of Maryland died and is buried in Pittsburgh in 1818 while en route to his home in Kentucky. In 1848, his remains were moved to the newly opened Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville.

The commemoration was sponsored by the Maryland Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Sons of the American Revolution and the U.S. Daughters of 1812.

Four of Barney's descendants also took part when a 10 X24-inch marker was dedicated.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bits of War: Warships-- American Girl-- Olympics

Bits of War

1.  WARSHIPS--Five warships were on the Great Lakes last summer to commemorate the War of 1812.  There were three Royal Canadian Navy ships and two U.S. Navy ships.  They took a ten-week cruise.

2.  AMERICAN GIRL--  introduced a new historical doll last summer.  She was named Carolina and would represent a girl from Sackets Harbor, New York.

3.  OLYMPICS--  There was some discussion about how much the Canadian government spent on Bicentennial ads this past summer.  Some said the ads were contrary to the spirit of the Olympics which is supposed to bring countries together.


Bombs Over Detroit-- Part 2

William Hull left the service in 1784 and practiced law in Massachusetts.  Back in the service, he had a hard time relating to the people of Detroit who were primarily French, Indian and British.  He especially distrusted and really feared the Indians.

At the time he took over the territory, it had 4,700 whites and 65,000 Indians.  The Indians had a leader named Tecumseh.  Just his name struck great fear among the settlers.  Plus, Fort Detroit had but 94 soldiers in its garrison.

All these things led up to Detroit's surrender.

The invasion of Canada by the Americans was to take place on three fronts: Lake Champlain, Niagara Peninsula and Detroit.

And, Hull was chosen as the overall leader.

Bad Choice.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bombs Over Detroit-- Part 1

From the August 5, 2012, Detroit News by Bill Loomis.

Maybe it is a good thing there is not a lot of commemorating of Detroit's role in the war as it "wasn't the city's finest hour."

A combination of poor leadership, outnumbered and inexperienced troops, limited supplies, a fierce bombardment and imminent threat of an Indian attack, led to the city's surrender two hundred years ago.  All those, and one courageous British commander who was not afraid to take chances.

As a result, Detroit became the only American city to surrender to a foreign power.

William Hull was appointed Michigan Territory's first governor in 1805.  He had been a militia captain during the Revolutionary War where he was cited twice for bravery and promoted to Lt-Col. in the Regualr Army.  More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fort Conde in Mobile

From Wikipedia.

This is a follow up to my April 12th post about the War of 1812's Bicentennial in Mobile, Alabama.

This is an impressive, although not original, fort located in downtown Mobile, Alabama.  It was the main guard of Mobile before the War of 1812.  Built by the French, it was known as Fort Carlota when the Spanish held the the territory.

What stands at the fort's site today is a 4/5 scale reconstruction that opened July 4, 1976, as part of Mobile's U.S. Bicentennial celebration.  It is located at 150 South Royal Street.

Mobile was founded by the French in 1702 at the upper end of the bay, but flooding caused the town to be moved to its current site.  Construction of Fort Conde began in 1723 and it remained as the city's main protection until 1820.  Originally the fort and its surrounding buildings covered 11 acres.  It resembles St. Augustine's Castillo de San Marcos in design.

In 1820, it was decided to build a new fort at the site of the old Fort Bowyers, build during the War of 1812 at the mouth of Mobile Bay and Fort Conde was no longer needed, so Congress authorized is sale and removal.  By 1823, most traces of it had been removed.

There You Have It.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mobile's Fort Bowyer

On April 12th, I blogged about bicentennial events happening around Mobile, Alabama, including the surrender of that city to the United States as well as the September 2014 celebration for the First Battle of Fort Bowyer.  I'd never heard of this fort, so Wikipedia here I come.

Fort Bowyer was a short-lived earthwork and stockade fort erected by the U.S. Army in 1813 at Mobile Point, near the mouth of Mobile Bay. It was twive attacked by the British during the War of 1812, failing in the first attempt and then succeeding in its capture the second time which took place after the war was over in February 1815.

Mobile was technically under Spanish control when the war broke out, but Congress soon declared it was a part of the United States after war began.

Fort Bowyer was completed by Colonel John Bowyer and initially it mounted 14 guns.

The first attack on the fort, led by Royal Navy Captain William Percy and his four ships, took place in 1814.  British sailors and Marines were landed along with some Indians, but both the land and sea attacks failed.  Losing this changed the way the British conducted the New Orleans campaign.

The second attack involved a much larger British fleet and land attack against a much-strengthened Fort Bowyer, and this one succeeded, the last land engagement of the war.  The fort and Mobile were turned over to the U.S..

The fort, however, is no longer there, having been replaced by the much stronger Fort Morgan which made a name for itself during the Civil War.  I've visited this fort and don't remember hearing anything about the former Fort Bowyer.

Stuff I Didn't Know.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The HMS Levant

From Wikipedia.

I originally wrote about the HMS Levant back on March 12, 2013, in connection to its capture by the USS Constitution and recapture by the British.  Here is a follow up to the story.

The HMS Levant was a 20-gun Cyrus-class 6th rate and one of five vessels that the Constitution captured or destroyed during the war.

While escorting two British convoys along with the HMS Cyane, both ships were captured by the Constitution February 20, 1815.  This occurred after the war had ended, but the USS Constitution was unaware of it.  It was recaptured March 11, 1815.

After 1817, it was reclassified as a sloop-of-war and broken up in 1820.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Dauphin Island, Alabama, to Commemorate 200th Anniversary

From the March 10, 2013, All Alabama "Dauphin Island ready to celebrate 200 years as 'first seaport' on Gulf" by Michael Dumas.

Back then, what is now the Florida panhandle and Mobile was under Spanish rule.

Two hundred years ago, U.S. troops liberated this island by the mouth of Mobile Bay.  On April 11th, a ceremony was held in front of the Town Hall to commemorated it.  It was captured by soldiers under Captain Atkinson of April 11, 1813.  The island was known by the Spanish as Isla Delfina.

On April 13th, the Spanish ambassador Ramon Gil-Casares, will be at Fort Conde in Mobile as part of the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the surrender of that town to the U.S..

In September 1814, there will be a celebration to recognize the First battle of Fort Bowyer which will be held at what is now Fort Morgan.  The fort fell February 14, 1815.

Alabama's Role in the War.  --Brock-Perry

Cape May Saw Its Share of Action-- Part 2" "We Will Surely Suffer Their Vengeance"

Several months later, another $150 was spent to make cannon balls, gun powder and material to make cartridges.

A good thing, too, as in 1813, a British fleet appeared at the mouth of the Delaware River.

William Douglas painted logs to look like cannons and placed them in the Goshen Creek area.

Abigail Hughes, a grandmother, saw British barges heading for the Cape May County shore and placed herself in front of the militia cannon, pleading for them not to fire, saying, "You shall not fire! We may not be disturbed if we don't, but we will surely suffer their vengeance if we do."  The militia held their fire and the English proceeded past them.

Some farmers hid their cattle and sheep in local swamps.

The British discover that Lake Lily had potable water so it is said that Americans dug a channel to it so salt water would enter it.

No Big Battles Here, But Activity.  __Brock-Perry

Cape May Saw Its Share of Action-- Part 1

From the August 8, 2012,  Shore News (NJ) Today "Bizarre History of Cape May--  Cape May County saw its share of action in War of 1812" by Jacob Schaad Jr..

The ocean was on one side, a bay and a wide river on the other two sides pretty-well meant that this area would become a British target.  English land parties came ashore and took cattle and fresh water.  They reportedly took several residents prisoner, including two women and set fire to some vessels.

The county's Board of Freeholders authorized the placement of two antiquated Revolutionary War cannons for defense.

In March 1813, the same board appropriated $300 for the purchase of equipment, gunpowder and buckshot.  Dr. John Dickinson, a Revolutionary War colonel and then-county tax collector, ordered this to be distributed to various militia units.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

A Follow Up on the U.S. Privateer Governor Thompkins

From Footnotes to War of 1812 Blockade by Thomas R. Bayles.

I'd never heard of this particular privateer. which I wrote about yesterday, so looked it up.  I found mention of it at several places.  According to yesterday's account, the ship had had a run-in with a British frigate while under a Captain Shaler and the actions of two black sailors helped save the outgunned American ship.

In this other account, the ship was under command of a Captain Smith and had captured several British merchant ships and was on the way back to New York when it encountered and fought a British brig-of-war.  The two ships fought until dark and the Thompkins had slipped away by morning, but had been severely damaged with 5 men killed or wounded.  Its bowsprit had been carried away by a 32-pdr. shot.

New York was blockaded upon arrival all the way to Sandy Hook, so the Governor Thompkins tried to make for New London and would have been captured except for a Daniel Winters on board who knew the way through the narrow, rock strewn Plum Gut connecting Long Island Sound and Gardiner's Bay.

Didn't Know That.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Black Sailors Played a Key Role in War of 1812-- Part 2

Isaac Hull continued that they were "utterly insensible to danger and to be possessed with a determination to outfight the white sailors."

Blacks also comprised an important part of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's Lake Erie fleet.

Commodore Isaac Chauncey, over all commander on the Great Lakes, wrote, "I have nearly 50 blacks (on my ships) and many of them are among my best men."

Captain Nathaniel Shaler, commander of the privateer Governor Thompkins, was almost captured by a British frigate and lauded his black sailors John Davis and John Johnson.

Not So Forgotten.  --Brock-Perry

Black Sailors Played a Key Role in War of 1812-- Part 1

From the March 28, 2013, GoErie.com "Guest Voice: Black sailors played key role in War of 1812" by Ayodele Osibodu and John Paul Rossi.

Blacks during the war typically made up between 15-20% of crews on US Naval vessels during the war and had roughly an equality with white sailors.  Blacks were also pressed into the British Navy.

During the USS Constitution-HMS Guerriere battle, blacks performed so ably, that Captain Isaac Hull, the Constitution's commander, wrote, "They stripped to the waist and fought like devils."

All Pulling for the United States.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Veteran From War of 1812 Remembered

August 1, 2012, Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard" by Mike Greenlar.

Betty Nash, 87, is a direct descendant of Hiram Cronk, the last War of 1812.  He lived on Western Hill Road on a farm in Oneida County.

Cronk served as a drummer boy and was 105 when he died and his body was taken to New York City where he lay in state.  His final resting place is in Cyprus Hills Cemetery with the other War of 1812 veterans.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Honoring the Victims of Fort Dearborn-- Part 2

On August 15, 1812, General William Hull, commander of U.S. troops in the Northwest Territory gave the order to evacuate Fort Dearborn.  About 150 occupants of the fort was to be accompanied to safety at Fort Wayne (Indiana) by the Potawatomi Indians in exchange for the fort's supplies.

At the last moment, the decision was made to burn the supply of ammunition and alcohol instead of giving it to the Indians.

Two miles out of the fort, the Indians attacked.  Eighty-six were killed and the fort was burned to the ground the next day.  It was later rebuilt after the war only to be torn down later.

Today, the fort' location is marked by brass strips along its perimeter t the intersection.  A depiction of the battle and an essay is on the Michigan Avenue southwest bridge house.  April 15th will be the 200th anniversary of the massacre and Sherry Meyer hopes there will be some sort of commemoration.


Honoring the Victims of Fort Dearborn-- Part 1

From the August 1, 2012, Southtown (Il) Star by Donna Vickroy.

The tragedy lasted just fifteen minutes.

Fort Dearborn was named after President Thomas Jefferson's Secretary of War and established in 1803, the same year as the Louisiana Purchase.  It was located at what is now the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive.

Sherry Meyer, an urban geographer, gave a presentation "Remembering Fort Dearborn at the Palos Heights Public Library and also has a website and Facebook page  on the fort.

Pre War of 1812 marked a period of rapid U.S. expansion westward into Indian land.  There was also conflict  with Britain over trade with France.  And, there were many in the U.S. who desired to add Canada to the young country.

Some people mistakenly consider the War of 1812 as a sequel to the American Revolution, but it had its own issues.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Bicentennial of Lewes Attack

From the Lewes Military and History page.

This past weekend marked the bicentennial of the British attack on the small town on April 6-7, 1813.

"Cannonballs and Congreve rockets shattered the calm of coast and countryside on April 6-7, 1813, during America's 'second war of Independence'."  The War of 1812 washed ashore at little Lewes on Delaware Bay where for a dramatic 22-hour there was an exchange of cannonballs."

The 74-gun HMS Poictiers and 36-gun Belvidera needed food and water and demanded those from Lewes, offering to pay Philadelphia prices for it.  The demands "were denied by the spunky Americans, and the enemy attacked the town by cannonade. 

Although there was no loss of life and little property damage, it took great courage for the defenders led by a native, Colonel Samuel Boyer Davis, to retort under such odds.

Cannons facing seaward today and the Cannonball House-Marine Museum, in the vicinity of the post office on Front Street, are reminders of the brave stand."

It Was 200-Years Ago.  --Brock-Perry

War of 1812 Timeline: April 1813-- Part 3

APRIL 2ND--  Commerce raids by the British fleet begin on the Chesapeake Bay

APRIL 28TH--  British and Indians begin siege of Fort Meigs in Ohio.  Ends May 9th.

APRIL 28TH--  The HMS Sir George Prevost (22 guns) launched.  It was later renamed the HMS Wolfe and became Yeo's flagship

APRIL 29TH--  Raid on Frenchtown, Maryland disperses Maryland militia.

Getting ready for Summer Action.  --Brock-Perry

War of 1812 Time Line: April 1813-- Part 2

From www.historicplaces.ca.

APRIL--  Construction began to strengthen Coteau-du-Lac in Lower Canada.  This was an important link between Upper and Lower Canada.

APRIL 3RD--  Engagement on the Rappahannock River, Virgina.  Boats from Royal Navy capture four American vessels.

APRIL 6TH--  Royal Navy vessels bombard Lewes, Delaware.

APRIL 15TH--  Spanish Fort Charlotte in western Florida captured by American troops.

APRIL 27TH--  Battle of York, Upper Canada (Toronto).  American Brigadier General Zebulon Pike attacks the town.  British Major General Sir Robert Hale Sheaffe ordered the sloop Sir Isaac Brock burned and the powder magazine at Fort York blown up.

The magazine explosion caused several hundred American casualties.  General Pike was fatally wounded in it as well. 

Sheaffe took his regulars to Kingston and left the Canadian militia to defend York.  Americans occupied the town and destroyed private and public property.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, April 6, 2013

De Salaberry: Canadian-Born Hero of War of 1812-- Part 2

But, the English had allowed French-Canadians to keep all things French as long as they swore allegiance to the British Crown.

Charles-Michel de Salaberry was at the Battle of Crysler's Farm, referred to as the Battle That Saved Canada, but his most famous fight was at the Battle of Chateauguay in October 1813.  His win there caused the Americans to give up their Saint Lawrence campaign.

The Americans had 4,000 men under General Wade Hampton.  De Salaberry had 250 Voltigeurs, 150 Mohawk warriors (and another 1500 in reserve), but even so, was so sure of victory, he did not tell his superiors of the impending battle.

He anticipated an American move on Montreal and had been receiving a steady stream of intelligence so figured Hampton's  (father of the Civil War Wade Hampton?) intentions and movement.  He took up position along the Chateauguay River which afforded a natural defensive position southwest of Montreal.

De Salaberry had his men construct a fort of abatis from felled branches. Hampton tried to surround the British force with 1500 men.  In the darkness, de Salaberry had buglers sent out to sound like he had more troops.  The American attack became confused and their soldiers killed piece-meal before retreating.

De Salaberry became a hero and famous.  He died in 1829.

A French-Canadian Hero.  --Brock-Perry

De Salaberry: Canadian-Born hero of the War of 1812-- Part 1

From the August 4, 2012, Toronto Sun by Tom Villemaire.

Charles-Michel de Salaberry was from a French-Canadian family with a history of service in the British Army.  He joined the 60th Regiment and saw action in the West Indies, where he was recognized for his bravery, and in Belgium.  Becoming a captain-lieutenant in 1799, he commanded a company by 1803.

In 1810, he was recalled to Canada as a Lt. Col. and aide-de-camp to Major-General Francis de Rittenburg.  In 1812, he became chief of staff of the militia and assumed direct command of the Canadian Voltigeurs light infantry, made up mostly of French-Canadian volunteers.

Even though they were militia, de Salaberry trained them as regular soldiers.

U.S. generals figured Quebec would be an easy target as they were sure the French-Canadians would be happy to kick the British out.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Seneca Turnpike-- Part 2

On March 22, 1799, the New York legislature passed a law for a public road from Fort Schuyler (Utica) to Canawaugus on the Genesee River and was called the Great Genesee Road.  Then it was extended to Buffalo.

By the end of the 18th century, parts were still rough and much of the construction was outsourced to private companies. 

On April 1, 1800, the Seneca Road Company was chartered and became the Seneca Turnpike, charging tolls along its 157 miles.


The Seneca Turnpike-- Part 1

Follow up from the July 28, 2012 blog entry from the May 28, 2012, Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard "War of 1812 landmarks in Central New York."

From Wikipedia.

I'd never heard of the Seneca Turnpike so it was time to find out something about it.  This would also be a thing of interest from my RoadDog's RoadLog Blog.

The Seneca Turnpike is New York StateRoad 5 (NY-5) which runs 370.87 miles across the state, passing through Buffalo, Syracuse, Utica, Schenectudy and smaller towns to Albany.    It overlaps US-20 twice.

After the American Revolution in 1783, there was a surge of westward migration into Central and Western New York. By the late 1780s, because the only way there was trails or water,  there was a big clamor to build a main road westward from Utica.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, April 4, 2013

War of 1812 Has Galt Roots

From the July 30, 2012 Cambridge (Canada) Times.

Few Cambridge residents know of the city's connection with the war.

William Dickson, the founder of Galt, arrived here from Dumfries, Scotland, in the late 1700s with two brothers, Robert and Thomas.  William became a prominent lawyer in Newark.  Thomas later served as a militia officer in the war and Robert became a fur trader.

During this time, Robert married the daughter of a Santee Dakota chief and cemented his relationship with the western tribes.

After the declaration of war, Robert received a report from Isaac Brock to bring as many native allies he could get to St. Joseph's Island, a British military post in northern Lake Huron where a successful assault was made on American Fort Michilimackinac which was captured without firing a shot.

Brock repeated techniques with the help of Dickson and natives to capture Fort Detroit and cause the surrender of the American Army.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Remembering the Board Game "Broadside"

I don't know what brought this into my mind, but last night I awoke and was thinking about this game that I used to have and play.

I'm not even sure if I still have it, but will do some research into it.

Maybe I Still Have It?  --Brock-Perry

The Rockets' Red Glare Over Stonington

From the July 30, 2012, Westerly (Ct.) Sun "LaGrua Center to host War of 1812 presentation."

The Rockets red Glare Over Stonington" was presented August 15, 2012 and presented by four of the contributing authors of "The Rockets Red Glare: The War of 1812 in Connecticut."

In August 1814, the same kind of Congreve Rockets as used at the famous Battle of Fort McHenry the month before, were fired at Stonington.

The authors will also discuss why the U.S. felt it necessary to declare war and why Connecticut initially opposed the war and what was at stake in the Battle of Long Island Sound including the American use of privateers, torpedoes and submarines.

This would have been one interesting presentation.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

War of 1812 Timeline-- April


U.S.  forces occupy Mobile and part of West Florida (even though Florida was actually a Spanish possession at the time).  A force seized Mobile and nearby Fort Charlotte and was accomplished bloodlessly.  It was one of the few American successes.


U.S.  forces seize York, Upper Canada.  Now, Toronto, Ontario.