Monday, December 30, 2013

The British Navy's Role in the War of 1812

From the November 10, 2012, National Post "British Navy played a central role in the War of 1812" by James Carelese.

 The Royal Navy was primarily involved in fighting France's Napoleon during the first years of the War of 1812 and, consequentially, the ships sent to the United Staes were "not the best ones and not manned by their most experienced crews, many of whom had been forced or impressed into service," according to Victor Suthren, a Canadian naval historian. In other words, we were essentially a backwater as far as British efforts.

American frigates won singular battles versus outgunned and smaller British frigates. But on June 1, 1813, the frigate HMS Shannon defeated the USS Chesapeake and then towed the American ship to Halifax Harbor in Canada.

Small American and British fleets on the Great Lakes were expanded. Eventually, even a ship-of-the-line, the HMS St. Lawrence was built on Lake Ontario with 112 guns, making it larger and better armed than Lord Nelson's HMS Victory.

A Short History. --Brock-Perry

Southport, Bald Head Island, NC, in the War of 1812

From the October 16, 2012, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Southport, Bald Head remember War of 1812." //// A symposium, living history, tour and dedication of a historical marker were held October 18-20, 2012. //// On Oct. 18th, the National Society of the U.S. Daughters of 1812 rededicated a marker on Garrison Lawn at Fort Johnston. On Oct. 19th, there was the dedication of a new marker at Bald Head Island Ferry Terminal which tells about the site of a militia encampment at the site. The militia had been called out by the governor to protect the NC coast. //// Glad They're remembering. --Brock-Perry

Gold and Silver Commemorative Coins

From the Dec. 21, 2012, Baltimore Business Journal. //// The Star-Spangled 200, Inc. is a non-profit is raising funds for the 1812 bicentennial has raised about $3 million by selling 240,000 gold and silver coins. //// However, that is still short of the $8.5 million they would have made had they sold all 600,000 coins.//// --Brock-Perry

War of 1812 Privateers

From the July 11, 2012, New Hampshire Public Radio "The Tall Ship Privateers Who Shaped the War of 1812" by Brady Carlson. //// The Pride of Baltimore II is a recreation of a topsail schooner like the ones that served so well as privateers during the War of 1812. Privateers served a vital role for the outmanned U.S. Navy in the war as, at its onset, the British Navy had 1,048 ships compared to just 17 for the United States. //// Privateers were government sanctioned pirates whose job (for profit) was to go out and seize British merchants ships. //// Several prominent New Hampshire families made their fortunes doing just this "annoying the heck out of the British" just like mosquitoes that sank, disabled or looted some 1700 of their merchant ships during the course of the war. //// Maryland was attacked by the British fleet because of the many privateers built and based there. Shortly after the war, the original Pride of Baltimore, then known as the Chasseur, sailed to China and brought back tea and other goods. //// Aye, It's a Privateer's Life for Me (And, It's Legal). --Brock-Perry

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The First USS Vixen

From Wikipedia. //// As I said earlier, there was a previous USS Vixen to the one captured by the HMS Belvidera. I found out a lot about the first Vixen, but very little about the one the Belvidera captured. //// THE FIRST USS VIXEN: Was 83-feet long, mounting 14 guns and a crew of 111. Commissioned in 1803 and fought in the First Barbary War off the coast of Tripoli, but was not there when the frigate USS Philadelphia was captured. It did participate in bombarding Tripoli on four different occasions. //// From 1806-1807, it was in ordinary at the Washington Navy Yard. After that, it operated along the Atlantic coast under the command of Lt. James Lawrence (later commander of the USS Chesapeake and the famous "Don't Give Up teh Ship" words. //// It was captured 22 November 1812 by the 32-gun British frigate HMS Southampton under Captain James Yeo, later commander of the British Lake Ontario fleet. //// Both vessels were later lost by Concepcion Island, Bahamas, when strong westerly currents wrecked them on uncharted submerged rocks off the island in the Crooked Island Passage. //// On the Rocks As They Say. --Brock-Perry

HMS Belvidera-- Part 4

On 7 March 1814, the Belvidera and two other British warships captured the American privateer Mars, mounting 15 guns and with a crew of 70. Throughout the rest of the war, the Belvidera continued capturing many other American ships, including, on 2 April 1814, the U.S. ship New Zealander which had been captured by the USS Essex and was sailing from Valparaiso to Philadelphia. //// At the end of the war, the Belvidera was decommissioned at Portsmouth, refitted and relaunched in 1817 and cruised the Mesditerranean and West Indies waters. //// In 1846, it became a store ship and in 1852, became the receiving ship at Portsmouth where it served until 1890. In 1906, it was sold for 1,800 British pounds. //// --Brock-Perry

Friday, December 27, 2013

HMS Belvidera-- Part 3

Between June 1812 and Dec. 14, 1812, the HMS Belvidera captured seven American merchant ships In February 1813, she captured the letter of marque (privateer) Lottery which went on to become the HMS Canso. //// The Belvidera continued capturing ships. On December 25, 1813, mentioned in my timeline, it captured yhe USS Vixen, a 14-gun brig commissioned for the Americans in that same year. The Vixen was sailing fromWilmington, NC, to Newcastle, Delaware, without armament or stores. This was an earlier USS Vixen which was captured by the HMS Southampton. --Brock-Perry

Thursday, December 26, 2013

HMS Belvidera-- Part 2

On July 22, 1810, the Belvidera and HMS Nemesis captured 3 Danish vessels. After that, the Belvidera was transferred to the Halifax Station in North America. //// Just five days after the U.S. declared war, on 23 June 1812, it encountered the American heavy frigates President, Congress (not the Civil War one) and United States. Any one of these ships could take the Belvidera single-handedly. The crew of the Belvidera were not even aware that war had been declared, but managed to escape anyway and in so doing, led the American ships away from the convoy it was escorting. //// On 16 July 1812, the Belvidera was part of a British squadron that chased the USS Constitution which was able to escape despite a light breeze by using its anchors to pull itself. The Belvidera did likewise and eventually pulled close enough to exchange gunfire. //// For the remainder of the war, the ship was on blockade duty and quite successful at it. //// Quite a Successful, But Little-Known Ship. --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

HMS Belvidera-- Part 1

Yesterday, I mentioned the HMS Belvidera capturing the USS Vixen off Delaware on today's date 200 years ago. I didn't remember ever hearing of either ship so did some more research. It turns out I had written about the British ship at an earlier date. //// From Wikipedia. //// The HMS Belvidera was a 36-gun Apollo-class, fifth rate frigate built in Deptford in 1809 and was 145 feet long and had a crew of 264. It saw action in the Napoleonic Wars and War of 1812 and actually survived to 1906 when it was sold for breaking up. //// It served the British Navy as a warship until 1846 and then became a harbor service ship and in 1860 became a receiving ship. //// More to Come. --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

War of 1812 Timeline-- December 23-25: 1813

DECEMBER 23RD: U.S. forces attack the Muscogee (Creek) Nation village at Eccanachaca, Mississippi territory. //// DECEMBER 25TH: HMS Belvidera captures USS Vixen off coast of Delaware. //// And that ends the first full year of warfare between the United States, Britain, Canada and the Indians. The war had been fought for a year and a half now and had one more year to go. ///// --Brock-Perry

Saturday, December 21, 2013

War of 1812 Timeline: December 19-30, 1863: American Towns Burned in Retaliation for Niagara, Upper Canada

DECEMBER 19TH-30TH, 1813: British and First Nation allies fight American troops at Lewiston and Fort Schlosser, burning the communities of Lewiston, Tuscarora settlement, Black Rock and Buffalo, all in New York, in revenge for the burning of Niagara, Upper Canada. //// On 19 December, a force of British troops and First Nations defeated American Militia at Black Rock. On the 30 December, the U.S. militia force under Major General Amos Hall were defeated near Buffalo. //// The British burned the American towns in punishment for what happed on December 10th at Niagara. //// Over 300 American houses were burned, and the whole frontier from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie was depopulated. //// Four armed U.S. schooners were also burned, and a large quantity of military stores and weapons captured or destroyed. At Lewiston, NY, a large number of American civilians were killed by First Nations. //// The attack on the American Tuscarora settlement brought the Tuscarora Indians in on the side of the United States. //// --Brock-Perry

USS Constitution Nearly Captured: "Warping" 1812-Style

From the July 12, 2012, Strategy Page "War of 1812: Waging War With the Navy You Have" by Austin Bay. //// The frigate USS Constitution was nearly captured over July 16-19, 1812, off the coast of New Jersey when the sails of an unidentified ship were spotted. The Constitution pursued, only to find that it was more than a single ship, it was a British battle squadron which gave chase. //// The wind flagged (dropped) and the British ships got close, but the American ship escaped by "warping," and not Star Trek-style, but by rowing a boat with an anchor ahead, dropping the anchor to the sea bed then dragging the ship along by winding up the chain. //// British squadron commander Philip Broke, wrote that the Constitution escaped by very superior sailing "tho' the Frigates under my Orders are remarkably fast ships." //// The USS Constitution and her sister ships were fast, super-frigates larger and more heavily armed than their British counterparts. So, generally, a one-on-one action would result in an American victory, but a one vs. many wouldn't work out so well. //// A Narrow Escape. --Brock-Perry

Friday, December 20, 2013

War of 1812 Timeline: December 17th and 19th,1813: Capture of Fort Niagara

DECEMBER 17TH: The Lower Canada Militia raid Derby, Vermont, capturing supplies and burning barracks and storehouses. //// DECEMBER 19TH: British capture Fort Niagara, New York, in a surprise night assault. During a snow storm on the night of 18-19 December 1813, British troops and Canadian militia volunteers crossed the Niagara River at Youngstown and attacked Fort Niagara. // An advance party led by British Sergeant Andrew Spearman moved unseen through the village of Youngstown, killing or capturing the American guards posted outside the fort. His group was able to force the main gates and the attackers stormed inside. // After a fierce struggle the fort was taken, along with an immense quantity of weapons and supplies. Seventy-nine Americans were killed or wounded, and 350 surrendered. // The attackers lost five killed and six wounded. // The British occupied Fort Niagara, controlling the mouth of the river until the end of the War of 1812. //// --Brock-Perry

How Well Do You Know the War of 1812?-- Part 2: The Answers

The questions are on the previous post. //// 1. Blockade of U.S. and impressment, //// 2. British, Canadians, Indians and U.S., //// 3. France in Europe, //// 4. Shawnee Chief Tecumseh (I missed this one), //// 5. Laura Secord, 6. York, Upper Canada, //// 7. Samuel Wilson, //// 8. Battle of New Orleans, //// 9. d. //// How'd You Do? --Brock-Perry

How Well Do You Know the War of 1812?-- Part 1: The Questions

From the June 20, 2012, BBC News "1812 Quiz." //// Answers are on the next post. The BBC was actually a multiple choice quiz, so you can gio to it for guessing if need be. //// 1. Why did the U.S. declare war on Britain at the start of the war? //// 2. Who fought? //// 3. Who was Britain fighting at the same time? //// 4. Which leader died for Britain at the Battle of the Thames? //// 5. Who warned of the American attack at the Battle of Beaver Dam? //// 6. Besides the burning of Washington, D.C., what other major city/capital was burned during the war? //// 7. Who really was Uncle Sam? //// 8. What was the last major action of the war? //// 9. Which was not an outcome of the war?: a) Jackson became a national hero after the Battle of New Orleans, b) Canada's success in defeating American attacks became a source of national pride, c) Native Americans lost much territory, d) Britain regained control of several former colonies. //// Answers in the next post. //// I missed just one question, even back then when I didn't know as much about the war. //// --Brock-Perry

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Blacks a Key to the War of 1812-- Part 3

Charles Ball, a former Maryland slave, served as a seaman in Commodore Joshua Barney's Chesapeake Flotilla , but was sold into slavery after the war. //// William Williams ran away from his Maryland owner in 1814, and on April 14, enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army, despite a federal law prohibiting slaves from joining. He served in the 38th U.S. Infantry Regiment. //// In September 1814, he was severely wounded at Fort McHenry by a cannonball that blew his leg off. He was taken to a Baltimore hospital afterwards, but died two months later. //// --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Blacks a Key to War of 1812-- Part 2

Some 500 of the 6,000 Americans at the Battle of New Orlans were black. //// Black sailors served on U.S. warships. Commodore Isaac Chauncey wrote, "I have nearly fifty Blacks on this boat and many of them are among the best of my men. //// Oliver Hazard Perry commended the courage of his black sailors at the Battle of Lake Erie. //// Three blacks: William Ware, Daniel Martin and John Stachan were taken off the USS Chesapeake and impressed into British service by the HMS Leopard on June 22, 1807. //// More to Come. --Brock-Perry

Monday, December 16, 2013

Blacks a Key to War of 1812-- Part 1: Blacks in the War

From the June 20, 2012, Afro by Zemtha Prince.

For many blacks it was a "first major pathway to self-determination and freedom." Thousands played a role.

Their options: Fight for the United States, run away snd seek freedom with the Indians or join the British.

Many chose the British who promised free emigration to British colonies in Canada and West Indies in exchage for their service.

When the British fleet entered the Chesapeake Bay in March 1813, hundreds of slaves and their families made their way to the fleet and claimed their freedom. Many joined the Colonial Marines, an all-black fighting unit which had a hand in the burning of Washington, D.C. and the Battle of Baltimore.

And yet, some elected to fight with the Americans, despite slavery. Some 60% of the defenders of Fort McHenry at Baltimore were immigrants and one in five was black. The huge flag that Francis Scott Key wrote about was partially sewn by blacks.

More to Come. --Brock-Perry

Timeline for December 1813-- Part 2: Skirmish at McCrae's Farmhouse

DECEMBER 13TH: Lt. General Gordon Drummond takes command in Upper Canada, the first Canadian-born general officer in British service. //// DECEMBER 15TH: SKIRMISH AT McCRAE'S HOUSE, UPPER CANADA-- Following the British defeat at Moraviantown on 5 October 1813, the Americans controlled the Lower Thames River Valley. They dispatched a detachment of about 40 officers and men, mostly of the 26th U.S. Regiment of Infantry to Thomas McCrae's farmhouse using it as an observation post. //// British Lt. Henry Medcall and 32 men of the Norfolk and Middlesex Militia Kent Volunteers and Provincial Dragoons was sent down the Thames River to collect cattle and came upon the Americans, surrounded them, killed one and took the rest prisoner to Long Point, Upper Canada. //// After that, the Americans no longer stationed troops so far up the river and instead sent raiding parties into the area resulting in clashes like the Battle of Longwoods, Upper Canada, in March 1814. //// --Brock-Perry

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Army-Navy Game Today Pays Tribute to War of 1812

From the Nov. 25, 2013, Wasgington Times "Uniforms Army-Navy game unveiled Monday night." //// The Navy's uniforms pay tribute to Captain James Lawrence whose famous words "Don't Give Up the Ship" was a battlecry during the War of 1812. You see those words on flags all over the place and were flown at the Battle of Lake Erie. //// The Army pays their tribute to General Winfield Scott who fought in the war and later commanded U.S. troops in the Mexican War and was in charge of the Union Army in the early days of the Civil War and came up with Scott's Anaconda Plan to defeat the Confederacy. //// We watch this Army-Navy game most every year at the Fox Lake American Legion who has a big party for it with lots of food and cheering. I tend to favor the Navy, but with their domination of the series of late, will be backing the cadets of Army this year. //// Go Knights!! --RoadDog

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Revenue Cutter Thomas Jefferson

From the U.S. Coast Guard Site and the article from the last post. //// The Revenue Cutter Thomas Jefferson was constructed and commissioned in Norfolk, Virginia in 1802 and served out of Savannah until 1809 when relieved by the Revenue Cutter James Madison then served out of Norfolk until it was decommissioned in 1817. //// In May 1812 (before the war) it sailed around the Hampton Roads area with US Navy Captain Stephen Decatur to survey existing lighthouses and signal towers for a comminication system. The ship was responsible for the U.S.'s first maritime victory in the war when it captured a British schooner sailing from Guadeloupe to Halifax with a cargo of sugar. //// Little is known of the ship after its 1817 decommisioning. //// It's War of 1812 commander was William Ham who was commissioned a 2nd mate in Norfolk, Virginia, based cutter Virginia. He served as an officer on Norfolk-based cutters through the War of 1812, after which little is known of his life. ////

War of 1812 Painting Delivered to Virginia Capital

From the Dec. 20, 2012, (Virginia) Progress-Index ""War of 1812 painting delivered to State Capital." A reproduction of marine artist Patrick O'Brien's painting of the U.S. revenue Cutter Thomas Jefferson engaging British barges in the James River has been placed in Richmond. //// The U.S. Coast Guard commissioned the original for the bicentennial of the war. The painting will hang in Virginia Delegate Del Cox's office who heads up the bicentennial commemoration for Virginia. At the end of the year it will be returned to the Coast Guard. --Brock-Perry

Death From Disease in the War of 1812

From the Dec. 4, 2012, WBFO NPR, Buffalo, NY "War of 1812: Part II- Death and Disease" by Rick Kellman. //// More than 20,000 died during the war, some 15,000 from disease. At the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, 600 British and American soldiers are buried in the 1812 plot. Only 16 are known to be from New York. //// During the war there was a small U.S. Army hospital on the grounds. The winter of 1812 brought death to what would become Buffalo's Delaware Park where the dead were eventually buried The ground was so frozen that the caskets were only partially buried. //// In the spring of 1813, Dr. Daniel Chapin dug them up and buried them in a mass grave on his property. //// --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

USS Hamilton and Scourge Shipwrecks "An Archaeologist's Dream"

From the Dec. 6, 2012, CBC "Hanmilton's War of 1812 shipwrecks 'an archaeologist's dream."

The USS Hamilton and USS Scourge are aging well beneath Lake Ontario. The American schooners are 90-meters deep and 10.5 kilometers off Port Dalhousie and owned by the City of Hamilton since 1980. 

The entire site of the wrecks has been mapped and archaeologists want to recover artifacts. The wrecks are currently being colonized by a relative of the invasive zebra mussel and a mapping survey is underway.

Both ships were originally involved in the merchant trade before becoming U.S. warships. A sudden fierce squall after midnight on August 8, 1813, sank both ships quickly. They were first discovered in the 1970s and both sit upright and intact.

 Not the USS Constitution. --Brock-Perry

Temporary White House: D.C.'s Octagon-- Part 5-- Preserving an Icon

John Tayloe III died in 1828 and sometime after 1855, his family left the Octagon. It was later used as a school and a Navy office, but by the end of the 1800s was abandoned, trash-filled and occupied by as many as 10 homeless families. Things looked bleak until it caught the attention of A1A member and preservationist Glenn Brown. (I haven't been able to find out what the A1A organization is, however, but I'm sure they have an interesting history. From the article I gather it is a preservation group.) //// The A1A was founded in 1857 in New York City, but after 40 years was going to relocate to Washington, D.C.. They leased it in 1897 and bought it in 1902. The house was rehabilitated and the organization's offices moved there. Since then, they outgrew the house and built a new headquarters behind it in 1973. The Octagon is today a museum. //// The most recent renovation, 1990-1995, returned it to its appearance when the Tayloes lived there. //// It is located at 1799 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. open for tours Thursday and Friday from 1-4 PM. //// Something Worth Seeing. --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Temporary White House-- D.C.'s Octagon-- Part 4: The Treaty of Ghent

President James Madison used the circular room on the second floor, above the entry hall, as his office. It was there, at a round pedestal table ringed with labeled drawers, that he signed the Treaty of Ghent, formally ending the War of 1812, or "Mr. Madison's War" as some called it. //// The terms of the treaty had been agreed on by Christmas Eve 1814, in Ghent, Belgium, but the hard copy and signings of it took almost two months to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The president added his signature in mid-February 1815. So, the famed Battle of New Orleans being fought after the war was over isn't technically correct as the treaty did not officially go into effect until all parties had signed it. //// The Madisons moved out of the Octagon later in 1815 and took residence at a place on Pennsylvania Avenue. //// Years later, San Francisco's A1A chapter bought the treaty table at auction and returned it to the Octagon, where it is displayed in what is known today as the Treaty Room. The leather box in which the Treaty of Ghent was delivered to madison is part of the Octagon Museum collection. I wonder where the original Treaty of Ghent is today? //// That's Some History. --Brock-Perry

Temporary White House: D.C.'s Octagon-- Part 3: The War of 1812

The Tayloes referred to the house as the Octagon, even though it only has six sides. The architectural style was part of the new country's tendency to reference traditional forms while developing its own styles. //// On August 24, 1814, the British marched into Washington, D.C., and treated themselves to dinner at the White House before setting fire to it and other public buildings. Despite its proximity to the President's House, the Octagon was spared. //// Why? //// Possibly because the French Minister, Louis Serrurier, was leasing the house at the time. "The French flag was flying over the residence." Fortunately, the French and British were not then at war as they had been much of the previous twenty years. //// After the British left, Madison pledged to rebuild the city and to prove it, took up temporary residence in Tayloe's Octagon. Tayloe was a Federalist and opposed to the war, but nonetheless, offered it to the First Couple. They moved in on September 1814, and Dolley resumed her lavish entertaining that had become so popular. //// The Party Continues. --Brock-Perry

Monday, December 9, 2013

Temporary White House: D.C.'s Octagon-- Part 2

Designed by William Thornton, the Federal-style mansion was to be the winter home of Virginia planter and statesman John Tyloe III and, when built, it was the largest and most-stylish home in the new capital city. //// Mr. Tyloe was born September 1771 at Mt. Airy plantation overlooking the Rappahannock River inj Virginia. He was educated in England and returned to Virginia and oversaw family ventures and was activein the local militia and the Army's Light Dragoons. He was consideredone of Virginia's wealthiest men and inherited the plantation. //// But, it was very isolated and after considering building in several cities, decided on the new federal capital in the District of Columbia. //// In April 1797, he paid $1,000 for a lot at the corner of New York Avenue and 18th Street. He wanted a home large enough to accomodate his large family (15 children), a large staff of servants and for his wife's entertaining. The home's strange dimensions came about because of an acute angle created by the lot's diagonal orientation with New York Avenue and it had a slope as well. This created quite a challenge. //// More to Come. --Brock-Perry

War of 1812 Records Now Available Online

From the december 17, 2012, Joplin (Missouri) Globe by Frankie Meyer. //// You can now find War of 1812 pension records online at no cost. With the old pension files in such a fragile condition and a great demand stemming from the war's bicentennial, the National Archives and Records Administration has formed a partnership with the federation of geneaology Societies and This is a similar partnership that worked last year to digitalize the 1940 census. //// There are some 7.2 million pages of pension records and so far 414,000 have been digitalized. //// You can find more information at preservethe //// Digging Deeper Into History. --Brock=Perry

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Pearl Harbor, 72 Years Ago

Seventy-two years ago, the Japanese attack on military bases on Oahu launched the United States into World War II. I always observe the anniversary in my blogs. This year, I am giving the name of one American who met his death December 7, 1941, in each of my blogs. //// DONALD CLASH, Iron Mountain, Michigan. USS Arizona. His brother James was killed in Germany in March 1945. Imagine their family's grief over losing two sons like that. ////

Temporary White House: D.C.'s Octagon-- Part 1

From the July/August DAR American Spirit Magazine "The Octagon: An Icon of Democratic Design" by Courtney Peter.

Before this article, I'd never heard of this house or that it had served a s temporary White House for James and Dolley Madison after the British burned much of the city, including the President's House, as the White House was then called.

"The Octagon (not sure why it is not called the Octagon House) has stood at the corner of 18th Street and New York Avenue Northwest in Washington, D.C., for 214 years, yet is best known for a brief period in 1814-1815 when it served as James and Dolley Madison's temporary presidential residence after the British burned a path through the city. Undeniably, the first couple's stay was historically significant-- President Madison signed the Treaty of Ghent, whih officially ended the War of 1812, at the Octagon-- but the home's rich history includes much more than the Madisons."

And, I'd Never Heard of It Before. --Brock-Perry

Fort Mims in Alabama-- Part 3: Jackson Retaliates and the DAR

From the July/August DAR American Spirit Magazine. //// Colonel Andrew Jackson mobilized three state militias to attack the Red Sticks. At the 1814 Battle of Horseshoe Bend, he defeated them, ending the Creek War. This defeat eventually led to the banishment of several Indian tribes to the West on the infamous Trail of Tears. //// The modern history of Fort Mims has a lot to do with the Fort Mims DAR chapter of Stockton, Alabama, founded in 1949. Organizing Regent June Whiting Slaughter and her husband Carl were asked by the Alabama Parks and Conservation Department to help clearing brush off land adjacent to their north Baldwin County property where they had been finding arrowheads and pieces of pottery. Charred wood was found that determined the fort's original site. //// In the mid-1980s the first battle reenactment was held and this continues. Gregory Waselkov at the University of South Alabama has started a dig at the fort and written a book A Conquering Spirit: Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-1814. Artifacts from the fort will be on display during the anniversary weekend. //// We'll probably be driving to Alabama if NIU plays in the Go-Daddy Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, in January. This could be a stop on the way. --Brock-Perry

Fort Mims in Alabama-- Part 2: Creek-U.S. Tensions and Massacre

Continued from Nov. 30th. //// The conditions leading to the Creek Indian War which led to the Fort Mims massacre started even before the War of 1812. In the early 1800s, the Creek Nation numbered between 18,000 and 14,000 primarily inhabiting present-day Alabama and western Georgia. In the years following the American revolution, Spain, France, Britain and the United States all atempted to gain influence in the region. //// By 1805, the Creeks had signed four treaties with the U.S., but animosity between Britain and the U.S. would cause the Creek War which became an extension of the War of 1812. And, of course, another major factor was the continued white pressure to move onto Indian lands. //// By early 1813, about 550 settlers and slaves had crowded into the tiny stockade in Tensaw along the Alabama River. On August 30, about 700 warriors from the pro-British Red Stick faction of the Creek Nation attacked the fort, killing hundreds and capturing around 100 slaves, women and children. Only about 36 settlers survived. ////

Friday, December 6, 2013

Timeline for December 1813-- Part 1: The Burning of Niagara, Upper Canada

DECEMBER 10TH: Burning of Newark. // Major General David Adams burned Nuyaka. // THE BURNING OF THE TOWN OF NIAGARA, UPPER CANADA: By December 1813, U.S. Brigadier General George McClure was left with only 100 soldiers to defend his base at Niagara. On 10 December, after giving inhabitants little notice, he ordered the destruction of the town and withdrew his men to Fort Niagara, NY. Elderly and sickly men, women and children were turned out into a fierce winter blizzard. The treasonous "Canadian Volunteers" led by Joseph Willcocks burned the first capital of Upper Canada and pillaged the wretched people. British and Canadian troops arrived that evening too late to save any buildings but found Fort George in better condition, complete with artillery and camp equipment. McClure had acted against his orders and was forced to resign. ////

Ships of Oak, Guns of Iron

From the December 18, 2012, Huntington (WV) News "Book Review: 'Ships of Oak, Guns of Iron': The War of 1812 Examined in Readable Detail on Its Bicentennial" reviewed by David M. Kinchen. //// I am most interested in the naval aspects of any war so this book would be right up my line. // The book is written by Ronald D. Utt, 528 pages, $29.95. He blames the Royal Navy's impressment actions as the cause of the war. Low estimates put impressment at 2,500 and a high of 25,000 with some 7,500 by the start of the War of 1812. //// The Royal Navy faced serious manpower shortages as Britain had been fighting Napoleon and had been at perpetual war for twenty years. //// The book covers some land battles, but most of it centers on naval action (that's alright for me). The U.S. Navy had 17 ships at the start of the war that had to fight 500 British warships (though most were involved in the Napoleonic Wars). Utt says the "American courage, gunnery and skill could prove itself against daunting odds." //// Signature battle was the USS Constitution vs, HMS Gueriere on August 19, 1812, which made Isaac Hull a national hero (this was actually a very lop-sided battle favoring the Constitution). His uncle, General William Hull, 59, a hero of the Revolutionary War, had surrendered Detroit without much of a fight just three days before the Constitution's victory. Thomas Jefferson bears responsibility of appointing many of the disappointing American commanders. //// --Brock-Perry

Thursday, December 5, 2013

U.S. Ship Gets a Virginia Marker

From the Nov. 26, 2013, Washington Post "U.S. ship in War of 1812 getting a Virginia marker" by AP. //// The Virginia Department of Historic Resources will dedicate a marker Dec. 3rd in White Stone on Virginia's Northern Neck. //// On April 3, 1813, the British overpowered four American privateers. The largest American ship, the Dolphin, fought on after the others had surrendered. It's captain, W.J. Stafford was wounded when the ship was boarded and captured. The Dolphin mounted 12 guns and had a crew of 100. //// --Brock-Perry

Tennesseans in the War of 1812

Fr5om the Dec. 9, 2012, Knox News "From frontiersmen to Congressen multiple Tennesseans gained war fame" by Steven Harris. //// Of course. most famously was Andrew Jackson, but here are some others: Davy Crockett and former Blunt County resident Sam Houston (later somewaht famous in Texas) who was wounded three times at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. //// Knoxville founder James White, a brigadier general in 1813 who led the attack at Hillabees Creek, Tennessee. //// Congressman Felix Grundy led the Congressional group called The War Hawks who wanted war with Britain. //// General Edmund Gaines of Kingsport, Tn., served on the Canadian border, commanding Fort Erie when it was attcked by British, Canadians and Indians and where the enemy lost over 100 men. --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Battle of Credit Island

From the Nov. 11, 2013, Quad-City (Iowa) Times "Researcher talks about 200-year-old battle at Credit Island" by Alma Gaul. //// Almost 25 people were at Davenport, Iowa's Credit Island on Nov. 11th as researcher Chris Espenshade of Commonwealth Cultural Resources Group , Inc., hired by the City of Davenport, gave a talk on a very little-known battle in the "Forgotten War." //// Around 334 Americans led by future U.S. President Zachary Taylor fought between 20-30 British troops and 800-1200 Indians. //// The Americans were outnumbered and retreated to St. Louis. //// The battle did not have a big impact on the war, but might have helped bring on the later Black Hawk War in 1832 as Indians feared the continued encroachment of whites into their territory. //// Espenshade had been using Zachary Taylor's account of the action as well as two British reports, but is looking for Indian input. He has done some archaeological work but has found no battle-related items. --Brock-Perry

Not Much Posted the Last Two Weeks

The laptop did not work for the most part so had to find other alternatives. But, just got back a few hours ago and now have the pc up and running, so will catch up. --Brock-Perry