Friday, May 31, 2013

Tuscarora Monument to Be Unveiled in New York-- Part 3

Nine days after the American attack, British troops and their Indian allies, mostly Mohawks, sailed their boats to the American shore, north of Buffalo with intentions of first capturing Fort Niagara and then attacking Lewiston.

At the enemy appearance, villagers fled through the snow and mud.  At that time, the 25 Tuscarora rushed down a hill, firing muskets and yelling, stopping the British assault not knowing how many Tuscarora they were facing.  This gave the villagers the chance to escape to safety.

Two days later, the invading force destroyed Niagara Falls, New York, and on December 30th, burned Buffaloto the ground.

There will be three pieces to the monument.  A bare-footed woman holding a baby is seen reaching toward Tuscarora men.

Little-Known History of a Nearly Forgotten War.  --Brock-Perry

Tuscarora Monument to Be Unveiled in New York-- Part 2

This story was of particular interest to me since several months ago I attended a presentation on the Tuscarora Indians in Goldsboro, NC, and wrote about them in my Cooter's History Thing Blog.  Back in the 1600s they had been concentrated in what became North Carolina until the Tuscorora War in the early 1700s.  After this, many moved north to what became New York which would have been this group who saved the people at Lewiston.

Some 1,000 Tuscorora now live in the local Niagara County Reservation in the area.

That day in December 1813, at least a dozen and perhaps as many as 46 men, women and children were killed in a Sunday morning attack in which most of the village was burned by British and Canadian troops.  A small group of perhaps as many as 25 Tuscarora braves fought against some 1,500 enemy soldiers.

This particular invasion was seen as revenge for an earlier American attack and the burning of the Canadian town of Newark, today known as Niagara-On-the-Lake, just across the Niagara River.

Revenge.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tuscarora Monument to Be Unveiled in New York-- Part 1

From the April 6, 2013, Times Colonist "Monument to thank Tuscarora Nation for Helping New York residents" by Carolyn Thompson, AP.

"Lewiston, N.Y.-- It could have become a forgotten moment in the 'forgotten war'"  Instead, a larger-than-life bronze monument will be dedicated this winter to remember that winter morning when the Tuscarora Indian Nation saved terrified families fleeing from an invading British-Canadian force.

The dedication is by the Tuscarora Heroes Project of the Lewiston Historical Association.  There will also be a re-enactment on the 200th anniversary of the event, December 19, 2013.

The statue is being made by artist Susan Geissler and is one of New York's largest War of 1812 projects, coming in at around $400,000.  The statue honors the friendly relations between the town and its Tuscarora Indian neighbors.

And, You Though All Indians Fought on the British-Canadian Side of the War.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Re-enactment of the 200th Anniversary of the Fall of Fort George

From the May 28, 2013, Niagara by Melissa Mangelsen.

This was held May 25-27th at the Fort George Barracks.  This is a battle the Americans won and resulted in the surrender of the fort back in May 1813.  Some regarded it as one of the most fierce fighting during the war.

Kevin Merman of Clarkson, Michigan, was one of the several hundred re-enactors who participated.  He lamented, "There are four key battles in the War of 1812, and they're not even teaching it in our schools."  I wish the article had had the names of those four battles, but it is likely that this was one of them.

As far as not teaching about it, this is one teacher who would have taught the war and its key battles, but never got much past 1800 when I taught the subject (I was supposed to teach from the beginning to 1860).

Sorry, Kevin.  --Brock-Perry

Ohio's Hull Historical Trail

From Ohio Revolutionary Memorial Trails System, Ohio's Historical Trail Route No. 11.

The Hull Trail follows State Route 53 from Urbana through West Liberty, Bellafontaine to Kenton.  Then it takes Route 31 to Findlay then Route 25 through to Van Buren, Bowling Green to Perrsburg past Fort Meigs.

It crossed the Maumee River at Turkey Foot Road then north on Detroit Avenue passing the site of old Fort Miami and then by Maumee City and Toledo.

After that, it was State Route 25 to the Michigan border where it connected with the southern end of the Michigan Division of the Tri-State Revolutionary War Memorial Trail to Detroit.

So, That's How to Get There?  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hull's Trail

From HMdb.

I have been writing about the War of 1812 in Ohio the last two weeks.  James Findlay was supposed to lay out a trail across Ohio to Detroit for General William Hull.  This route became known as Hull's Trail.  Of interest for you road folk out there.

A rough passageway through Ohio to Canada used by Hull's Army on their way to attack the English at Detroit.  Woodsmen cleared the trail to permit the Army and Ohio militia along with their artillery and baggage to travel through what was then a virtual wilderness.

The route through Hardin County, Ohio, is marked by stone columns from the old county courthouse.  Looking at the photos, there apppear to be about eight markers in the county.

General Hull was at Detroit when the war began and had gone to southern Ohio to raise troops.

A Roadway Through the Wilderness.  --Brock-Perry

Ohio's Thomas Corvin

From Wikipedia.

(July 29, 1794-Dec. 18, 1865)  Ohio politician, he was also Secretary of the Treasury as well as US ambassador to Mexico.  Born in Bourbon County, Kentucky and moved with family to Lebanon, Ohio in 1798.  In the War of 1812 he served ably as a wagon boy for General William Henry Harrison.

From Historic Lebanon, Ohio, site.

"Arguably the most influential figure in Lebanon history."  His formal education was very short due to his family's poverty, but acquired the skill of eloquent public speaking which served him well in later life.

By the age 18, he drove wagon loads of supplies for William Henry Harrison's Army.  He was so good at it, he got the name "Wagon Boy" or "Wagoner Boy."

Find-A-Grave--  He is buried at Lebanon Cemetery in Warren County, Ohio.

A Noted Ohio Native.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ohio's James Findlay

From Wikipedia.

(1770-1835)  Born in Pennsylvania and family moved to the Northwest Territory in 1793 after his father suffered financial setbacks.  Findlay took an active role in Ohio's militia and was its brigadier general.  From 1806-1807, he helped put down the Burr Conspiracy (something else I don't know).

He served as Cincinnati's mayor from 1805-1806.

At the onset of the War of 1812, he was appoined colonel in the U.S. Army and commanded the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  He went to Detroit and strongly opposed his superior, Gen. William Hull's decision to surrender the fort there.  After his return to duty, he became major general of the Ohio militia.

He is buried in Cincinnati's Spring Grove Cemetery.  Findlay Market in the city is built on land donated by his estate.

Now I Know.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, May 20, 2013

Fort Findlay, Ohio

I had never heard of James Findlay, the fort or the "Wagon Boy," Tom Corvin, so further research was needed.

From the HMdb

Early  in the War of 1812, General William Hull ordered Col. James Findlay (former mayor of Cincinnati) to open a road from Fort McArthur on the Scioto River to Blanchard's Fork (where he was to build a fort which was named after him). 

Captain Arthur Thomas commanded the fort until it wasd abandoned after the war.  Then several Wyandot Indian families occupied it until settlers laid out the the village of Findlay in 1821, near the site of the former fort and on the Blanchard River, named after French tailor Jean Jacques Blanchaed who had settled in the area in the 1770s.

Fort McArthur was near present-day Kenton, Ohio.  Another fort in this area was Fort Necessity which was built between Kenton and Findlay

Just to the south of the Fort Findlay metal marker is a rock ionscribed "Hull's Trail", part of general Hull's path from Urbana, Ohio to Detroit.

A Fort, A Man, A War.  --Brock-Perry

Southwest Ohio Played Role in War of 1812-- Part 2

Continued from May 16th.

William Henry Harrison's Army of the Northwest marched from Cincinnati and built Fort Meigs in what is now Perrysburg, Ohio, and spent the winter there.  In the spring and summer of 1813, the fort withstood Indian and British attacks.

Perry's victory at the Battle of Lake Erie cleared the way for Harrison to retake Detroit.  He pursued retreating Indian and British forces into Ontario and on October 5, 1813, the British surrendered and the Indians fought until Tecumseh was killed on the Thames River.


James Findlay was Cincinnati's mayor from 1805-1811 and had been a colonel under General William Hull.  When Hull was marching toward Detroit in 1812, he ordered Findlay to build a fort along Blanchard River for use as a supply depot.  That became Fort Findlay.  It was fifty yards square with a blockhouse at each corner.  The town of Findlay is there now.


He was a state representative, U.S. Congressman, Ohio governor and in the U.S. Senate.

Not So Out of It.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fort Stephenson, Ohio

From the March 23, 2013, Fremont (Oh) News-Messenger "Fort Stephenson ramps up for events marking War of 1812."

And this is five months before the actual bicentennial of the battle.  This is one of the regions most celebrated battles and the committee to observe it has already held some events.

A speech was given by Donald R. Hicks, a War of 1812 historian who has written seven books and hundreds of articles on the subject.

The fort is long gone, but there is a replica of it and some thought of reconstructing a blockhouse.

The bicentennial commemoration will be August 3-4.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Southwest Ohio Played Role in War of 1812-- Part 1

From the August 18, 2012, by John Johnson.

The Cincinnati area was not a battleground during the war, but there was fighting in Ohio and several significant figures had ties to southwest Ohio.

William Henry Harrison and Tecumseh.  In November 1861, Harrison defeated warriors led by Tecumseh's brother, The Prophet, and burned him.  This led Tecumseh to turn to the British.

Harrison was later passed over for command on the frontier for Isaac Hull, who later surrendered Detroit without much of a defense.

After the fall of Detroit and Hull's disgrace, Harrison was named the commander of the Army of the Northwest in September 1812 with orders to recapture Detroit and invade Canada.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

When the War Came to North Carolina's Albemarle Region-- Part 2

In 1814, the British attacked Knott's Island with 300 men, capturing three ships, burning three others.  In addition they killed 12 head of cattle and "destroyed" Thomas Walker's furniture.

In July 1813, British Rear Admiral George Cockburn feared that US ships might capture Norfolk, Virginia, by a rear attack using the Dismal Swamp Canal and use Ocracoke Inlet to escape.  On July 12th, he landed a force on Ocracoke and Portsmouth islands.

The federal revenue cutter there escaped, but the British captured two ships, 200 cattle, 400 sheep and 1,160 fowl, but paid $1600.

This attack led to a panic in the Albemarle region.  Militias were called out.  Chowan County's militia went to New Bern.  Elizabeth City mustered 507 men, but only could arm 150.

North Carolina in the War.  --Brock-Perry

When the War Came to North Carolina's Albemarle Region-- Part 1

From the May 11, 2013, Elizabeth City (NC) Daily Advance "Leonard Lanier: When the War of 1812 came to the Albemarle region" by Leonard Lanier.

The U.S. Navy had only four small ships to defend all of the North Carolina coast during the war.  They were so small, they only had numbers for identification. (Well, all but one.)

For most of the war, a shortage of funds and able seamen kept these ships tied up at Wilmington.

The British Navy went to Currituck County first.  At the time, Currituck Inlet allowed easy access to the interior waters and sounds.

In June 1813, a British raiding party landed near Indian Town and demanded supplies.  The townspeople refused and the British burned two windmills in retaliation.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Bits of War: Olympics Money-- USS Constitution Stamp-- Savannah and the War

Bits of News About the War.

1.  OLYMPICS MONEY--  It was estimated that the Canadian government spent $1.65 million on the War of 1812 commercials it ran during the Olympics.

2.  USS CONSTITUTION STAMP--  Some 25 million stamps of the famous ship went on sale last August.  People could get First-Day-of-Issue Stamp at the Charleston Navy Yard next to the "Old Ironsides."

3.  SAVANNAH AND THE WAR--  From the August 20, 2012, Savannah Morning News--  Hull Street is named for the captain of the USS Constitution.  The live oak that gave the ship its strength along the hull was cut and milled near St. Simons, Georgia.

In 1815, Savannah named through streets after U.S. Navy captains:  Hull, Perry, Mcdonough and two squares, Orleans and Chippewa, were named after key battles.

Now, You Know.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fort Dearborn: Battle or Massacre?-- Part 2

On July 17, 1812, 600 British regulars, Canadian militia and Indians took Fort Mackinac on the strategic Lake Huron and Michigan.  The American garrison surrendered without firing a shot.

Loss of this post made it impossible to supply Fort Dearborn.  The ranking American commander in the region, General William Hull, at Detroit, ordered the fort abandoned.  Arms and ammunition that couldn't be carried were to be destroyed.

As far as being a massacre, detractors say that only a small number of women and children were killed, perhaps just one.  It is reported that one Potawatomi, Black Partridge saved one of the women.

In retaliation, American troops raided a Potawatomi villages and burned several to the ground, including that of Black Partridge.  This caused him to cease being a part-time friend of the Americans to a full-time British ally.

Simon Pokagon, a Potawatomi several generations removed from the event said, "When whites are killed, it is a massacre, but when Indians are killed, it is a fight."

Still Calling a Massacre.  --Brock-Perry

Fort Dearborn: Battle or Massacre?-- Part 1

From the August 15, 2012, Carolina (NC) Journal "A Battle or a Massacre?" by John Hood.

On August 15, 1812, the garrison surrendered and left Fort Dearborn, on the shore of Lake Michigan (current-day Chicago).  There were 55 soldiers, 12 militiamen, 27 women and children and 30 Miami Indian allies.  They were ordered to Fort Wayne, Indiana territory and had been granted safe passage by the Potawatomi Indians.

A short distance from the fort, they were attacked by 400-500 Potawatomi Indians.  The Miami Indians fled.  What took place next is a matter of debate.

The Potawatomi refer to it as the Battle of Fort Dearborn, a victory in their continuing war against encroachment and treaty violations by the United States.  Americans call it the Fort Dearborn Massacre.  Women and children were bludgeoned to death.  Some American soldiers were tortured, executed and mutilated.  Captain William Wells was killed and had his heart ripped out and eaten.

I Call It a Massacre.  --Brock-Perry

The War of 1812 in Maryland-- Part 2

The exhibit focuses on individual stories that happened.

Some of the Maryland/Chesapeake Bay stories:

**  Gabriel Hall, a slave from Calvert County.  He and two others escaped to the British fleet in the Patuxent River and eventually moved to Halifax, Canada.

**  Four slaves escaped to a British ship, probably the HMS Menelaus, off Poole's Island in Kent County in 1814 and led the British attack at Caulk's Field where the British were ambushed and soundly defeated resulting in the death of  Captain Peter Parker (whom I have written a lot about).  It is believed that the slaves lied and deliberately led the British into the attack.

**  Mrs. Dawson was a young Quaker mother.  She and her two small children were captured by the British while on a small commercial sloop traveling between Easton Point and Baltimore.  They were taken to Tangier Island for a dew days and entertained lavishly.

One night, she was feeding her infant and an admiring British officer gave her a silver spoon on which he had her name engraved.  That spoon is now a cherished family heirloom.

Little Stories Like These Make History So Much More Interesting.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, May 13, 2013

The War of 1812 in Maryland-- Part 1

From the May 11, 2013, Atlanta Journal-Constitution "Maritime museum exhibit tells War of 1812 story" by Chris Polte, AP.

St. Michaels, Maryland.  "Runaway slaves, captured women and children, British officers bestowing suspicious gifts and turncoat plantation owners trading with the enemy under a white flag-- it all happened in Maryland on the Chesapeake."

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland, has a new exhibit "Navigating Freedom: The War of 1812 on the Chesapeake" opened this past weekend.

The war put St. Michaels on the map at the Battle of St. Michaels, fought August 10, 1813.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The War of 1812 in Ohio-- Part 2

The War of 1812 is Don Hickey's field of study and he has written several books and articles on it.  His talk was entitled "Ten Things You Should Know About the War of 1812 In the West (But probably Don't)."

The war was effectively two wars.  The first is "where a slightly disinterested England fought the United States to an effective stalemate, and the other was in the west, where U.S. forces fought American Indians with British assistance."

The Indians were already being pushed west.  The War of 1812 was a High Water Mark for them with the charismatic Tecumseh.  The British dropped their support of the Indians and started welcoming American movement into Indian lands so they wouldn't be targeting Canada.

One other thing most Americans don't know is that the widely-held belief that the Battle of New Orleans took place after the war was over is untrue.  The Treaty of Ghent had been signed by U.S. and English commissioners, but had not yet been ratified by Congress, so, technically the war was still on.

Stuff You Might Not Know.  --Brock-Perry

The War of 1812 in Ohio-- Part 1

From the April 6, 2013, Fremont (Ohio) News-Messenger "Hickey talks War of 1812 in Fremont" by Vince Guerrier.

Wayne State history professor Don Hickey said the battle of Fort Stephenson, Siege of Fort Meigs (on present day Maumee or even the battle of Lake Erie had little to do with the final outcome of the War of 1812.  For that matter, the whole western frontier of the war had little impact.

He amended, though, that the battle pf Lake Erie was decisive in the Old Northwest, however, it had little bearing on the outcome of the English-United States war.

The Western front stretched stretched to northwest Ohio out of Kansas City down to Louisiana and Arkansas, covering an estimated one million square miles and had a "profound and lasting effects on American history for all the remainder of the 19th century and beyond."

I take it the Western front did not include the operations between Canada and New York,

I Think It Had An Impact.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Letter from Sackets Harbor, NY-- Part 3: Ships At Sackets Harbor

"The naval force here consists of the following vessels. viz.

Ship Lady Madison, 30 guns
Brig Oneida, 20 guns
12 schooners, mounting in all---30

Total. 80 guns

Which force, according to the best information I am able to collect, is much inferior to that of the British.  The schooner to which I am attached is to be called the Lady of the Lake.

From the Boston Weekly Messenger, April 30, 1813."

Our Navy.  --Brock-Perry

A Letter from Sackets Harbor, NY-- Part 2

"I have been extremely ill since my arrival here, but whether it was occasioned by a severe cold, or fatigue of long journeying, or both together, I am unable to say-- I am happy, however, to inform you, that I am tolerable at present.

The scenes of poverty, sickness and distress, which are daily witnessed here, are shocking in the extreme; I will not attempt to describe it.

The men that came from Newport are not to remain on this lake, but will go on to lake Erie as soon as Kingston is taken (as the saying is) and join our old Commodore.  At present we are under the Command of Commodore Chauncey."

Sickness and Preparations for Attack.  --Brock-Perry

A Letter From Sackets Harbor, NY: Getting Ready for the Offensive

From the April 6, 2013, Blog of 1812 "Extract of letter from Sacket's Harbor, dated April 6, 1813.

"I arrived at this place the 1st of March, and found the place extremely sickly; I suppose from 20 to 25 are buried daily.  The troops collected at this place amount to about 9,000; besides the 500 sailors.

Preparations are rapidly making for transporting the army across the lakes; their first attack will be on Kingston, the principal town on the lake belonging to the British, which will be attacked by land and water, as soon as the ice clears out.

Three weeks at most from this will determine the fate of our expedition."

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Havre de Grace Set for Commemoration

From the May 3, 2013, Baltimore Sun.

The commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the British attack on Havre de Grace, Maryland, took place this last weekend, Friday to Sunday and featured activities,food and the recreation Saturday of the British raid.

Back then, local militia tried to repel the British under Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Cockburn.  Fighting took place from the Concord Point Lighthouse, through the town to where the Susquehanna Museum of the Lock House is today.

Would Have Like to Have Been There.  --Brock-Perry

The Sinking of the Revenue Cutter Gallatin-- Part 2

The Charleston newspaper at the time reported: "We have to state a most melancholy occurrence which took place in our harbor this morning-- the blowing up of the revenue schooner Gallatin, commanded by Captain John Silliman.  She arrived here yesterday from Savannah and a cruise, and was anchored abreast of the City.

The confusion and distress which the accident occasioned, have prevented us from obtaining any correct information as to its cause, or to the number of persons who have suffered.  We have seen four of the unfortunate men who were picked up and who are lacerated and torn in a manner the most pitiable."

A year later, the March 31, 1814 Charleston newspaper reported that a diving bell had been built to help salvage ordnance and equipment from the Gallatin.  Also, it said that since the 1813 explosion, attempts had been made to raise the ship.

If they succeeded in recovering the cannons, I doubt that the current searchers are going to have much luck finding the wreck by looking for the cannons.

Hipe They Find It, Though.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Sinking of the Revenue Cutter Gallatin-- Part 1

From the U.S. Coast Guard Site, Gallatin 1807.  I wrote about this ship blowing up back on May 4th entry.

Named for Thomas Jefferson's Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin.  Cost $9,432 and commissioned 1807.  Bought December 7, 1807 and sent to Charleston for service as a revenue cutter.

On March 31, 1813, the Gallatin, under John H. Silliman arrived back at Charleston after a five-day cruise from Savannah.  They had noticed British ships off Port Royal, South Carolina.

On April 1st, at 11 AM, the crew was cleaning muskets when the powder room exploded and blew off the ship's stern and quarterdeck, killing three and seriously wounding five. The ship immediately sank off Blake's Wharf in Charleston harbor.  This wharf's location, unfortunately has been lost to time.  Had it still been there or its location known, it would have been much easier to locate the Gallatin.

Captain Silliman was ashore at the time.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

That Pesky British Blockade

From the April 30, 2013 War of 1812 Blog.

From the April 30, 1813, Boston Weekly messenger "Blockading Squadron."

"The late Philadelphia papers give the following articles on the subject of the British blockade of the Delaware and Chesapeake.

'The blockading squadron in the Delaware, have sent up to Bombay Hook three schooners and two barges, which intercept everything bound up or down the bay.  On Sunday, they burnt an oyster boat, and another vessel laden with clay.'

'A letter from Elkton (Chesapeake) dated the 11th mentions that all was bustle there in consequence of the appearance up the bay of a British squadron.  The directors of the Bank had a meeting, and agreed to move the specie of the bank to Eancaster (Lancaster?).  Goods and other valuables were removing to the country.

'The inhabitants of French-Town were also busy in removing their effects.  The shores on both sides were lined with people in arms.'"

The British fleet showing up sure sent things into a frenzy.

The Blockade is Frightening.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fort Meigs Under Siege 200 Years Ago

From the April 30, 2013 War of 1812 Blog.

From the May 14, 1813, Boston Weekly Messenger.   "The express who carries the mail to and from Fort Meigs, approached near enough to the fort on 30th April, to hear an incessant firing of cannon and small arms, but returned without reaching the fort and before firing ceased.

A letter from Washington says, 'A steady onset continued till noon, May 3.'"

It was one of the final British offensives in the Old Northwest.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Looking For Charleston's Revenue Cutter Gallatin

From the April 4, 2013, Charleston (SC) Post and Courier "Search for War of 1812 ship in Charleston Harbor ongoing."

Searchers have found some promising sites, but nothing definitive of the U.S. revenue Cutter Gallatin which exploded on the morning of April 1, 1813.  An official investigation of the incident determined it to be accidental.

News 4, ABC, says searchers are looking in the Ashley River and using a magnetometer. The ship had been tied up off a pier that no longer exists when it blew up.  They think a crew man was cleaning a musket and set off a spark that set off the ship's gunpowder.  The Gallatin had just returned from a five-day voyage when it happened.

Searchers hope to find the ship's cannons.

Hope They Find It.  --Brock-Perry

British Landing At Havre de Grace

From the May 1, 2013, Blog of 1813.

An article appearing in the May 14, 1813, Boston Weekly Messenger.

"A letter from Havre-de-Grace (Md), of May 1, states, 'That the enemy, on the first landing took from the Island what fresh provisions they could find fit to eat, and paid for it, except a yoke of oxen which they spared at the solicitation of the overseer, who told them that he would be a ruined man if they were taken.

The fishermen on the Island scampered in every direction; but the British officers ordered them to their business, and assured that they would not be molested.

They say, fresh provisions they must and will have; and if the inhabitants do not fire upon them, property shall be respected, but if fired upon, they will retaliate.

They burn all vessels and craft they meet with."

All In All, As Good As You Can Hope For If Invaded.  --Brock-Perry

Joseph Tarbell, USN

Earlier this week I was writing about the USS Alligator, Gunboat #166, and found out that its first commander was Joseph Tarbell.  I'd never heard of him, so Wiki here I come.

(1780-1815)  Served in the First Barbary War and War of 1812.  Born in Norfolk, Virginia.  Became a midshipman in 1798.  From 1800-1804, served on the USS Constitution and other ships in the Mediterranean Squadron.  He was with Commodore Edward Preble's command at Tripoli in 1804.

During the War of 1812, he commanded a boat expedition June 19-23, 1813, against the British at Crainy Island .  His fifteen ships battled them for 15 hours and forced them away, sinking 3 British boats, capturing 43 and killing 90.

Never Heard of Him Before.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, May 3, 2013

Some More on the USS Alligator

From the NC War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee, by Jim Greathouse.

The Gunboat 166 was built by Amos Perry around the town of Smithville, North Carolina, near the mouth of the Cape Fear River.  This town is now named Southport.

Perry also built gunboats #167 and #168.  I imagine they were all built from the same plans as such.

Duty aboard the Alligator was monotonous at best, essentially just sailing along the coasts.  Officers and men on it wanted to be transferred to more glamorous duty on an American frigate or other warship.  The idea of getting prize money was especially enticing.

Desertion and diseases meant that the ship was always looking for crew members.

Go Ahead, Bore Me.  --Brock-Perry

Jeffersonian Gunboats 167 and 168?

Earlier this week, I wrote about the Jeffersonian Gunboats 166, 167 and 168 being built at Wilmington, NC.  I found out information about #166, named the USS Alligator, but was unable to find out anything about the other two.

Is there more information about them?

I did see that the speaker at the Wayne County Museum, Jim Greathouse, plans to write about the other two so will be interested in seeing what he has to say.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Three Important War of 1812 Marblehead Men

From yesterday's blog entry from the Marblehead Reporter.

ELBRIDGE GERRY--  U.S. Congressman, governor of Massachusetts, vice president under James Madison 1813-1814.  His name applied to the political process known as gerrymandering.

JOSEPH STORY--  U.S. Congressman, U.S. Supreme Court from 1811 until 1845.  He was 32 when appointed, the youngest-ever supreme court justice.

SAMUEL SEWALL--   U.S. Congressman and Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court and for whom Fort Sewall named.

Seems Like Marblehead Sure Had a Lot of U.S. Congressmen.  --Brock-Perry

The USS Constitution in Marblehead, Massachusetts

From Wikipedia

Yesterday, I mentioned the USS Constitution entering Marblehead Harbor and the guns of Fort Sewall protecting the ship from British pursuit.  Here's a follow-up.

At the time, the Constitution was under the command of Captain Charles Stewart who took command of the ship in Boston in 1813 and made two cruises.

On the first, the ship sailed from Boston Decemeber 31st for the West Indies and captured five merchant ships and the 14-gun HMS Pictou.  It chased the HMS Columbine and Pique, but both ships got away.

Off Bermuda, it was discovered that the mainmast had split and in need of immediate repair.  The ship headed for Boston.  On April 3rd, two British frigates, the HMS Junon and Tenedos sighted the Constitution and gave chase.

To gain speed, Stewart had the drinking water and food thrown overboard as he redirected the ship to Marblehead  The very last item thrown overboard were the ship's spirits.

The citizens of Marblehead assembled what cannons they had at Fort Sewall and the British ships withdrew.  Two weeks later, the Constitution made its way to Boston where it was blockaded for eight months.

Back on July 21, 1997, the USS Constitution sailed for the first time to Marblehead Harbor.

A Close-Call for the Constitution.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

War of 1812 May 1813 Time Line

MAY 1ST to 5TH  Siege of Fort Meigs

MAY 3RD  British pillage Havre de Grace, Maryland.

MAY 5TH  Sir James Lucas Yeo arrives at Quebec to take over British fleet in the Great Lakes.

MAY 26TH  British blocakde extended to additional middle and southern states.

MAY 27TH  US forces capture Fort George
British abandon Fort Erie.

MAY 29TH  Second Battle of Sackets Harbor, New York.  British forces, including naval ships under Sir James Yeo, repulsed.


Marblehead's Fort Sewall

From the Town of Marblehead site.

Now a peaceful park on what was originally known as Gale's Head and renamed for Marblehead native Samuel Sewall, a Massachusetts supreme court justice.

It biggest battle took place on April 3, 1814, when it provided cover for the USS Constitution which had been pursued by two British frigates into the harbor.

The fort was deeded by the federal government to the town in 1922 and is on the NRHP.  It still has bunkers and underground rooms once used for prisoners.

From Wikipedia.

Located on Fort Sewall Promontory and originally founded in 1646 as breastworks, then enlarged in 1742 as defense against the French and again in 1794.  In the War of 1812, a company was mustered into service there and in 1814 renamed for Samuel Sewall.


Unable to Find Out Anything About Marblehead's Fort Washington

Did a search, but nothing came up about Marblehead's Fort Washington at today;s Fountain Park other than it was also a fort during the American Revolution.

I wonder what happened to it?

By the way, any of you wondering what a "head" would be by the sea, it is a piece of high land, a promontory.

I did find out a little about Fort Sewall, however, and will write about that next.


Marblehead's Role in the War of 1812

From the August 15, 1812, Marblehead (Mass) Reporter "Two talks to highlight Marblehead's role in War of 1812."

The two talks will be held August 18th and 19th at Marblehead, Massachusetts's Fountain Park.

Fountain Park, overlooking the Atlantic and Marblehead's two harbors, was the site of a fort on Baily's Head, whose name was changed to Fort Washington during 1812.  The larger fort across from it on Gale's Head was renamed Fort Sewall after Marblehead's Samuel Sewall.

This weekend also marks the 200th anniversary of the USS Constitution's victory over the HMS Guerriere.  The British ship had been a French frigate until captured in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.

Out of a 6,000 population in Marblehead in 1812, some 1,000 men and boys served against the British Navy.

Getting Into the Act.  --Brock-Perry