Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Treaty of Ghent: How It Affected the First Nations

The Treaty of Ghent was a disaster for First Nations (Indians) who had no representation at the bargaining table.

Having abandoned their initial demand for an autonomous territory for First Peoples in the Great Lakes region which would have functioned as a buffer zone between British North America and the United States, both countries agreed instead to restore First Nations privileges and rights to those of the pre-war period and end all remaining hostilities with indigenous groups.

This arrangement left the latter feeling betrayed by their British allies since they were now at the mercy of American policy.  The treaty also failed to guarantee First Nations rights for any specific period and soon the way of life of nations living in the northwest became endangered by American expansion.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Treaty of Ghent: How It Affected British Fur Trade

Fur trader and director of the North West Company, William McGillivray, argued to retain the British occupied post at Mackinac to secure the fur trade in American territory but the Treaty of Ghent restored the pre-war boundary and this all occupied posts.

The loss of Mackinac and American assertion of the trading rights granted to the First Nations (Indians) in the 1794 Jay Treaty effectively ended the trade for Britain in the American Northwest.  Another blow to Montreal-based fur traders attempting to control commerce in Michigan and Wisconsin Territories came with the Convention of 1818 which settled the U.S.-British North American boundary west of the Lake of the Woods ending any chance of British commercial expansion into the southwest of the continent.

In case you're wondering, the Lake of the Woods is a large lake located on the borders of Manitoba, Ontario and Minnesota.  West of it, the boundary between the two countries is straight.


Monday, December 29, 2014

200 Years Ago: British Reconnaissance in Force at New Orleans

DECEMBER 28TH, 1814"  British reconnaissance in force at New Orleans, Louisiana.  Major General Sir Edward Parkenham's troops test Major General Andrew Jackson's defenses and are repulsed with heavy casualties.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Treaty of Ghent-- Part 3: How the Treaty Affected Upper and Lower Canada

At the close of 1814, the British occupied considerable American territory including posts on the Pacific coast, in Wisconsin Territory and the District of Maine and in the Great Lakes region while the U.S. controlled Fort Amherstburg and southwestern Upper Canada.

During peace negotiations, British officials adamantly argued retaining captured territory but, upon the Duke of Wellington's advise, settled for restoring territorial status quo (the prewar situation).

Upper and Lower Canada were also affected by later agreements including boundary commissions resolving disputes over islands in the upper St. Lawrence and Niagara rivers, the 1817 Rush-Bagot Agreement limiting warships on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain and the Convention of 1818 establishing the 49th parallel as the international boundary to the Rocky Mountains.


Friday, December 26, 2014

200 Years Ago: Launch of HMS Psyche

DECEMBER 25, 1814:  Launch of the HMS Psyche, a 56-gun frigate sent "in frame" from England and assembled at Kingston, Upper Canada.


200 Years Ago: The Treaty of Ghent Ends the War-- Part 2: How It Affected Atlantic Canada

This is from the Canadian Historic Places Site.

The advantage obtained by the occupation of eastern Maine was wasted at Ghent.  The treaty required the return of all captured territory and provided for the appointment of a joint commission to decide ownership of disputed islands in Passamaquoddy Bay and the Bay of Fundy.

Although that commission would rule largely in Brunswick's favor, the treaty also failed to resolve the contentious issues of American fishing privileges in British North American waters, and the location of the interior boundary between New Brunswick and Maine.

Addressed by a separate convention in 1818, the fishery question nonetheless caused diplomatic geadaches for the rest of the century.

The Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 resolved the border issue and confirmed British control of the winter route to the Canadas.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

200 Years Ago: Treaty of Ghent Signed, Ending the War-- Part 1

DECEMBER 24, 1814:  After months of negotiations, terms of a cessation of the Anglo-American hostilities were finally settled.  The treaty stipulated a return to the status quo ante bellum (pre-war state of affairs) benefiting the Americans who would now recover previously occupied territories at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin Territory, part of the District of Maine, and Forts Astoria, Mackinac and Niagara while the question of determining boundaries would be determined by later commissions.

Surprisingly, the eleven approved treaty articles failed to address the initial causes of the war, namely, sailors' rights and free trade.

despite criticism in both Britain and the United States, the treaty was considered a victory for the Americans who successfully asserted their sovereignty against the British Empire.

It's OVER!! --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

200 Years Ago: Battle of Villere's Plantation

DECEMBER 23RD, 1814:  Battle of Villere's Plantation, Louisiana.  The British take the plantation and set up an encampment for the army that will attack New Orleans.  They repel a heavy American counterattack that lasts well into the night.

This is the opening engagement of the New Orleans Campaign.  Americans launched a surprise attack on an advanced British force camped at Major General Jacque Villere's plantation on the east bank of the Mississippi River, about seven miles below New Orleans.

Real big news tomorrow, 200 years ago!!!

--Brock Perry

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Gulf Coast USS Alligator (1813)

From Wikipedia.

This is the one at Bay St. Louis.

The Navy purchased the ship in 1813 at New Orleans and commissioned as a tender to the other warships there.  It mounted one 4-pdr. gun.

After the capture of Pensacola, Florida, Andrew Jackson arrived in New Orleans to take over its defense and sent a flotilla to Lake Borgne to guard that strategic spot.  This is when the USS Sea Horse and Alligator were sent to Bay St. Louis.

There is some confusion about whether the Alligator was sunk at Bay St. Louis or captured at the Battle of Lake Borgne.


The East Coast USS Alligator (1809)

From Wikipedia.

60 feet long with 40 man crew, 4 guns.

Built as part of the Jefferson Gunboat Navy as launched as Gunboat 166.  Served off the coast of the Carolinas.  In 1812, it was renamed the USS Alligator.

On an. 1814, it was at the mouth of the Stono River, S.C., when it was spotted by a British frigate and brig and knew it would be cut out.  Eleven British longboats appeared and the Alligator opened fire, cut its cable and made a run for it but ran aground.  Fortunately, the enemy did not press its attack.

It was refloated and back in service.  During July 1814, it sank in Port Royal, South Carolina, during a bad storm with 21 of its crew drowning.

It was refloated and served the rest of the war and was sold 12 June 1815.


The U.S. Had Two USS Alligators During the War

I have been mentioning the Battle of Lake Borgne and the lead up to it, the action in Bay St. Louis over the past week.  One of the ships involved in it was the USS Alligator.  Further research on Wikipedia revealed there were two ships by that name in the U.S. Navy during the war, one that operated on he east coast.  The other was the one I was writing about on the Gulf of Mexico.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cannons Boomed in Bay St. Louis a Week Ago

From the December 13, 2014, Sun-Herald (Biloxi-Gulfport and Mississippi Gulf Coast "200th anniversary of the Battle of Bay St. Louis goes off with a bang" by James Skrmetto.

Cannons boomed in the harbor at 3 p.m. to pay homage to the bicentennial of this War or 1812 engagement in which 6 Americans and 17 British died.

Two Biloxi, Ms., schooners, the Mike Sekul and Glenn L. Swetman, played the parts of American ships at the battle USS Sea Horse and USS Alligator.

The battle has been commemorated before, but this was the first year with a cannon.

Just three years after the battle, Mississippi became a state.


Friday, December 19, 2014

New Krewe Honors the USS Sea Horse

From the WLBT-WDBD MS News, March 3, 2014 "New Krewe rolls in downtown Bay St. Louis" by Jonathan Brannon.

A new Mardi Gras krewe, the Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse had its first Mardi Gras parade on Monday in Bay St. Louis and there were many more people on the streets in town than usual.  The group has only been in existence for a few months and was formed to honor the handful of Americans on the USS Sea Horse and shore who fought off an overwhelming British attack in 1814.

this could best be described as a "David vs. Goliath" fight.

However, even in victory, the USS Sea Horse, it became necessary to scuttle and burn the American ship at the foot of the street just down from where the parade started.  The parade back in March was considered the first event in a year-long bicentennial preparation to mark the battle, concluding in December.

The parade was described as a much more intimate (fewer people) than other ones in the area.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

USS Sea Horse (1812)

From Wikipedia.

As I mentioned earlier this week, this ship was destroyed by its crew in the bay St. Louis, Mississippi, right before the Battle of Lake Borgne.

It was a one-gun schooner purchased by the Navy in 1812 for service on Lake Borgne.

In 13 December 1814 it repelled two British attacks in long boats at Bay St. Louis and was beached and burned to prevent capture.


HMS Seahorse (1794)

From Wikipedia.

Was a 38-gun, fifth rate frigate launched in 1794 and broken up in 1819.  Fought in Europe against Napoleon and France.

Afterwards transferred to the North America Station in 1814 and operated along the Atlantic coast  At the Battle of the Potomac on August 17, 1814. It is estimated that the Sea Horse took over 100,000 pounds in prizes.  In September, it was at the attack on Baltimore made famous in the "Star-Spangled Banner."

Transferred to the Gulf of Mexico and was at the Battle of Lake Borgne in December.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Tale of the Two Sea Horses

There were two Seahorses involved with the Battle of Lake Borgne.  One was a British warship, the HMS Seahorse.  The other was the USS Sea Horse.


Battle of Lake Borgne, Louisiana-- Part 5: Aftermath

The overall battle lasted for two hours, but the hand-to-hand fighting just five minutes.

The British gained control of the lake, but the battle gave Andrew Jackson time to strengthen his defenses at New Orleans.

The five American warships captured were taken into British service and given new names.

Lake Borgne became the landing site for the British troops.  When news of the American defeat arrived in New Orleans, the city went into a panic and Jackson ordered martial law.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Battle of Borgne-- Part 4: The Battle

The British then rowed for 36 hours and found the American fleet and quickly captured the USS Alligator.

They then divided into three divisions and the battle began at 10:30 a.m.  The American ships opened fire and it caused casualties on the British longboats, but they were able to close quarters and board.  British commander Lockyer's boat boarded Jones' Gunboat No. 156 and, during hand-to-hand combat, both men were severely wounded.

They captured the 156 and turned its guns on the rest of the American fleet.  The other craft were captured.  The USS Tickler was not involved in the fight, but scuttled and burned to prevent capture.


Battle of Lake Borgne, Louisiana-- Part 3: Destruction of USS Sea Horse at Bay St. Louis

British Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane ordered the frigate HMS Seahorse, Armide and Sophie to proceed from Pensacola to Lake Borgne and en route, they were attacked by two American gunboats and mast lookouts reported seeing the masts from three more enemy ships.  This alerted the British to the American presence.

The British ships collected their ships' boats and sent out 42 longboats and barges mounting one 12, one 18 and one 24-pdr carronades.  There were also 3 gigs mounting long brass 12-pdr cannons.  Also included were 1200 sailors and Royal Marines.

They set off on the night of December 12 and encountered the one gun schooner USS Sea Horse on a mission to destroy a powder magazine at Bay St. Louis.  The schooner and a shore battery fought off two British attacks by the longboats, but was burnt later to prevent capture.


Monday, December 15, 2014

The Hartford Convention Begins

DECEMBER 15, 1814-JANUARY 5, 1815:

The Hartford Convention, meeting secretly in Hartford, Connecticut, began today, 200 years ago.  Twenty-six New England delegates gathered to address grievances of the Federal government's management of the war and especially its control of militia, conscription and the financial burden of defense.

They even went so far as to consider secession.

I always find this odd, because in the years leading up to the Civil War, these very same states were so much against Southern secession.


Battle of Lake Borgne, Louisiana-- Part 2

The British were defeated in September 1814 at Fort Bowyer and thusly denied the capture of Mobile, Alabama. As a result, the British determined to attack New Orleans.  American Commodore Daniel Patterson commanded the New Orleans Squadron and went on immediate alert.

The British fleet, under the command of Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane arrived on December 9, 1814, and Patterson dispatched Lt. Thomas ap Catesny Jones and a small flotilla to Lake Borgne to defend it and its back door entrance to New Orleans.  Jones had with him five Jeffersonian gunboats: Nos. 156, 163, 162, 5 and 23.  Also the schooner USS Sea Horse and two sloops of war, the USS Alligator and Tickler.

Gunboat No. 156 was the flagship of the squadron and mounted one long 24-pdr., four 12-pdr. carronades and four swivel guns with a crew of 41 men.  The whole squadron had 245 men and mounted 16 long guns, 14 carronades, 2 howitzers and 12 swivel guns.


Battle of Lake Borgne, Louisiana-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

I had never heard of this battle before Saturday, but was aware of the bigger campaign it was a part of, New Orleans.

The battle took place December 14, 1814 and was a part of the British advance on New Orleans.

The British force was commanded by Nicholas Lockyer and consisted of 42 armed boats.  Their loss was two boats sunk, and several severely damaged.  Also, 17 killed and 77 wounded.

The Americans were commanded by Thomas ap Catesby Jones and consisted of 5 gunboats and 2 sloops of war.  Losses were one sloop scuttled and the rest captured.  Six men were killed, 35 wounded and 86 captured.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

200 Years Ago: The Battle of Lake Borgne, Louisiana

DECEMBER 14, 1814:

The Battle of Lake Borgne, Louisiana.  Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines in open boats capture, after heavy fighting, a flotilla of American gunboats.

The battle took place east of New Orleans.  Flotillas of American and British ships from Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane's fleet met in this battle.

The British eventually won this hard-fought battle, thereby enabling a landing near New Orleans.


Friday, December 12, 2014

The Forgotten War of 1812 in Newark, Upper Canada

From the Dec. 17, 2013, "The Mercury Columns" by David Shriban: The Forgotten War of 1812.

Two hundred years ago, American troops had occupied Newark, Upper Canada (now Niagara-On-the-Lake, Ontario) for seven months.  Most of its inhabitants were women and children since the men had left to serve in the Canadian militia.  Then, the Americans, as they left,  burned the town down, right as winter approached.

On December 10, 1813, residents of the Loyalist village were forced into the snow while their homes and buildings were burned.  A year later, in retribution, British forces had no restraint when they pillaged and burned Buffalo and other western New York towns.

Captain William Hamilton Merritt, who arrived in Newark a day later reported seeing "[n]othing but heaps of coals and the streets full of furniture that the inhabitants were fortunate enough to get out of their houses.  Only one or two houses were undamaged.


Oswego Bicentennial Commemoration Salutes the USS Oneida

From the Dec. 18, 2013, Oswego (NY) County Today "War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration Continues in the Port City."

An interpretive panel for the brig USS Oneida, part of the history-themed Great Lakes Seaway Trail Outdoor Storyteller sign series was unveiled recently at the north end of the Riverwalk West in West Linear Parl.

The Oneida saw more action during the war than any other warship.  It was built on the east bank of Oswego Harbor between 1808 and 1809 and was later moored on the west side where it was equipped and armed for battle.

It was in the 1st Battle of Sackets Harbor and captured the British schooner Lord Nelson in June 1812.  It was also involved with the capture of York, Upper Canada, (now Toronto) in April 1813.  The next month it was at Fort George and participated in the Niagara River blockade in 1814.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

200 Years Ago: British Land Near New Orleans

DECEMBER 10, 1814:  British naval and military expedition under Vice-Admiral  Alexander Cochrane and Major General Sir Edward Pakenham land near New Orleans, Louisiana.

Setting the Stage for You Know What.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tuscarora Monument Unveiled in New Yorl

From the Dec. 19, 2013, WKBW 7 Eyewitness News "Tuscarora Heroes Monument to Be Unveiled."

Lewiston, NY  December 19th marks the the 200th anniversary of the British capture of Fort Niagara and burning of Youngstown and Lewiston.  What was happening in Lewiston was turning into a massacre until Tuscarora Nation warriors created a diversion and helped rescue some of the residents.

A three piece, larger-than-life bronze monument depicting 2 Tuscarora men saving a woman and child is to be dedicated, the result of years of planning by the Historical Association of Lewiston and local sculptor Susan Geissler.


Colonial Marines-- Part 2

Colonial Marines were offered their freedom for service.  Of course, former slaves being armed and opposed to the United States posed a huge threat to the slave-holding areas of the country.

After the War of 1812, the Florida post of Colonial Marines was paid off and disbanded.  Some moved to Bermuda but others continued to live around the former post leading to the Battle of Negro Fort in July 1816.  Negro Fort was on Prospect Bluff on the Spanish side of the Apalachicola River.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Colonial Marines-- Part 1

From Wikipedia

Two units were raised consisting of former American slaves.  This was started by Admiral Alexander Cochrane.  They were actually formed on two different occasions, but disbanded the first time after Loyalist militia threatened to leave service.

1ST CORPS--  smaller group.  Served in the Caribbean from 1808-1810.

2ND CORPS--  larger group served from 18 May 1814 to 20 August 1816.  Stationed mostly along the Atlantic Coast but one company served at a Gulf Coast fort in Florida.

They did not regard themselves as "slave soldiers."


Gordon Drummond-- Part 2

Gordon Drummond, unlike Isaac Brock, ruled through intimidation with executions imprisonment of anyone suspected of having American ties, but other than that was respectful of citizens' rights other than that.

Drummond was always pressing Governor General Sir George Prevost for reinforcements.  Prevost liked to keep many troops at Quebec City despite it rarely being threatened.

By the end of te winter 1813-1814, Drummond's campaigning had driven the Americans from the Niagara Frontier

In July 1814, Drummond led his troops from York to Fort George which campaign resulted in the inconclusive Battle of Lundy's Lane., but the British retained control of the road.  Drummond was seriously wounded in the neck at this battle.

On 14 August he had the failed attack on Fort Erie with big losses and in September was forced to withdraw.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Gordon Drummond-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Born 27 September 1772.  Died 10 October 1854.  First Canadian-born officer in command of its militia and civilian governor of the country.

He distinguished himself on the Niagara Front and later became Governor General and Administrator of Canada.

Born in Quebec City and entered the British Army in 1789.  saw service in the Mediterranean, then Ulster before being sent to Upper Canada as lieutenant governor in late 1813..  Drummond proved to be as aggressive a hero as Isaac Brock.  In December, he launched a surprise attack on Fort Niagara and captured it.


Troop Support Provides Copper for "Old Ironsides" Hull

From the November 15, 2013, DVIDS "News: DLA Troop Support provides copper to 'Old Ironsides'" by Michael Tuttle.

The USS Constitutions underwater hull needs to be recovered and the Defense Logistics Agency troop Support will be providing that cooper for the ship.  They are making 800 custom pieces of copper for the world's oldest commissioned warship.  It was launched way back in 1797 in response to threats and actions of the Barbary Pirates in North Africa.

Each piece has to be run through a machine a machine that punches more than 30 holes for bolts arranged in the same original pattern.

The DLA's Construction & Engineering (C&E) also is providing custom wood items for the ship over the last ten years.

The ship features 25-inch oak sides..  In battle, a sailor saw British cannonballs bouncing off the Constitution's sides and cried out: "Huzza! Her sides are made of iron!"  This gave the ship her famous nickname.

During the Civil War, there was a Union Navy ship launched named the USS New Ironsides which actually was made of iron.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

On Board the USS St. Louis at Pearl Harbor: John Tait

Continued from today's Cooter's History Thing blog.

John Tait, of Concord, California, was below deck on the cruiser USS St. Louis when the skipper decided to leave Pearl Harbor and head to deeper water to maneuver.  "There was a two man submarine waiting for a ship and fired two torpedoes at us, but there was a coral reef between us and the coral reef took the hit," Tait said.

They were at sea for three days after that, chasing down any and all reported Japanese sightings.  When they returned to Pearl, it was a scene of carnage.

Said Tait, "We just didn't think the Japanese would be that bold to come all that way.  We thought we were impregnable."

After the war, Tait and his family were stationed in Japan and got along very well with the people.  "They're a wonderful people and it's their warlords and our warlords I don't like."

Saturday, December 6, 2014

200 Years Ago:Action in Virginia

DECEMBER 6TH, 1814:  Virginia militiamen drive back the last British raid in the state during a skirmish at Farnham Church, Virginia.

The church still stands and bullet holes are visible in it.


Captain William Henry Allen, Rhode Island Naval Hero-- Part 3

Next, William Allen was given command of the brig USS Argus, a two-masted, 95 1/2 foot ship mounting eighteen 24-pounders and two 12-pdr. guns.

Naval historian Ira Dye, in his book, "The Fatal Cruise of the Argus: Two Captains in the War of 1812," wrote that Allen sailed his ship to the British Isles and in the summer of 1813, attacked 20 vessels, burning, sinking and destroying all but two.  This was more victims than any other U.S. ship of its size during the War of 1812.

On August 14, 1813, the Argus fought the much larges HMS Pelican under the command of Captain John Maples.  The Argus was beaten and 97 prisoners captured.  Twelve Americans were killed and Allen was badly wounded, but didn't die until four days later.

He was given a huge military funeral in Plymouth, England, and buried at St. Andrew's Churchyard.

Allen's family wanted the body brought back to Rhode Island like Perry's body was brought back from Trinidad in 1826.


Captain William Henry Allen, Rhode Island Naval Hero-- Part 2

On William Allen's first cruise, he went from Philadelphia to North Africa on the USS George Washington to carry tribute to the Dey of Algiers to keep him from attacking American shipping.

In June 1807, in the Chesapeake Bay, he allegedly fired the only shot at the HMS Leopard when it was impressing American seamen from the USS George Washington.  This even caused President Jefferson to enact his December 1807 Embargo against Britain.

In early 1812, Allen was 1st Lieutenant on Captain Stephen Decatur's frigate USS United States in its victory over the HMS Macedonian and then he took command of that ship and sailed it into Newport, Rhode Island, as a prize on Dec. 6, 1812.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Captain William Henry Allen, Rhode Island Naval Hero-- Part 1

From the  January 115, 2013, Providence (RI) Journal by Patrick T. Conley.

Sunday is the 200th anniversary of William Henry Allen's death in battle and that day he will be inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame.

Allen sailed out of Providence and is far less known than Rhode Island's Oliver Hazard Perry.

William was born in Providence on Oct. 21, 1784, the son of Sarah Jones, sister of the state's pacifist and anti-war governor, and William Jones. His grandfather,  Major William Allen of Providence, had been a Revolutionary War soldier and later brigadier general of the state militia and sheriff of Providence County.

Young William wanted a naval career, so his influential family got him an appointment by U.S. senator Ray Greene as a midshipman.  At age 15, he was on his first cruise.


Slavery and the War in Virginia

From the Nov. 1, 2013, Washington Post "The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832" by James Oakes.

Francis Scott Key wrote the famed "Star-Spangled Banner."  We only sing the first verse, so that is what most Americans know.  But, in the third verse, he takes a swipe at the British for their emancipation of slaves in 1812.  It occurs when he says, "No refuge could save the hireling and slave/ From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave."

When the poem was written, the British were in the midst of terrorizing the Chesapeake Bay region by attacking farms and plantations, sacking towns and freeing slaves.

Thousands of newly freed slaves were wandering the countryside.  Some enlisted in the British Navy (always looking for seamen).  Others provided valuable information as to the countryside and American defenses.  Some joined the Colonial Marines.  Others were "carried off" to freedom in Bermuda, Nova Scotia and Trinidad.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Receives the Morrison Award in 2013

From the November 2, 2013, Columbus (Indiana) Republic.

Don Hickey, a Wayne State College history professor has researched and written about the War of 1812.

On October 17th, he received the Samuel Elliott Morrison Award in Boston at the USS Constitution Museum for promoting nautical naval history.

A past winners have been Walter Cronkite.

Hickey isd a native of the Chicago suburbs and became interested in teh War of 1812 while an undergraduate at the University of Illinois.  In 1989, he wrote "The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict.  He said the only three things most Americans know about the war are the Battle of Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key writing "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the burning of the White House.

Famous sayings, "We have met the enemy and they are ours" and "Don't Give Up the Ship" came from this conflict.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

200 Years Ago: Jackson Arrives, Tappahannock Seized

DECEMBER 1, 1814:  Major General Jackson arrives in New Orleans, Louisiana, and commences preparations for the defense of that city.

DECEMBER 2ND, 1814  British Naval forces under Captain Robert Barrie shell and seize the town of Tappahannock, Virginia, on the Rappahannock River.  He was assisted by three companies of Colonial Marines, all former slaves.  He left two days later after ransacking homes and torching two jails and the court house.


Brookerville Steps Back in Time

From the October 29, 2013, Maryland Gazette Net by Terru Hogan.

In 1814, James Madison fled from Washington, D.C., when the British Were Coming and went to Brookerville and was accompanied by remnants of the American Army.  He was shown hospitality by the village which in fact became the temporary White House.

On October 27th, 2014, the Madison Supper was hosted at the Inn at Brookerville Farm.  Some 300 attended to raise funds for the planned War of 1812 bicentennial activities to be held in 2014.


200 Years Ago: British Complete Construction on Fort Wellington

DECEMBER 1814:  British complete construction of Fort Wellington, Prescott, Upper Canada.  One of the few British fortifications in Upper Canada commenced during the War of 1812, Fort Wellington was authorized in early 1813, but construction delays meant that it wasn't completed until late 1814.

The fort consisted of a single story wooden blockhouse 100 feet square which could accommodate 144 soldiers.  The blockhouse was surrounded by massive earthworks that contained bombproof storerooms while the post's artillery commanded the surrounding countryside.

The fortification was a redoubt of substantial strength designed to assert British control over the St. Lawrence River at Prescott, a vital port in the line of communications from Montreal to Kingston.

Although never attacked, Fort Wellington's guns were used to fire on Major General James Wilkinson's flotilla in autumn 1813.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Squaw Island: Time to Change the Name

From Nov. 23, 2014, Buffalo (NY) Rising by Bennett Collins.

Located in Buffalo's Black Rock neighborhood, Squaw Island in the Niagara River is home to several parks and the Bird island Pier.

It was a significant historical site for the Underground Railroad and a battle site during the War of 1812.

I have come across the name Black Rock in connection to the war, but don't remember a battle taking place there.

It was named that by men of LaSalle's expedition in 1679.  It was also the site of the beaching and burning of the British warship HMS Detroit during the war.

However, the name has to do with the "dark history" of U.S. and Indians.  But, it is a slam against Native women.

Of course, this also has to do with the current battle with the name Washington Redskins and the like.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Update on Sandwich, Massachusetts: Sir Thomas Hardy and HMS Ramilles

The Commodore Harty referred to on Tuesday was most likely Sir Thomas Hardy (1769-1839) who served off the New England coast during the War of 1812.  He fought in the Napoleonic Wars and was at the battle of Trafalgar with Nelson before being sent to North America.

A 74-gun British warship was considered a 3rd Rate Ship-of-the-Line, not a frigate which usually didn't have more than 50 guns.

After Trafalgar, Hardy commanded the 3rd rate ship-of-the-line HMS Triumph and later the 3rd rate ship-of-the-line HMS Ramillies.  Most likely the ship off Sandwich was the Ramillies.

Hardy led the fleet that escorted the Army which captured significant portions of coastal Maine, then part of Massachusetts, including Fort Sullivan, Eastport, Machias, Bangor and Castine.

On 10 August 1814, a storming party from the Ramillies was defeated at Stonington Burrough.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Update on the Sandwich Beach Story from Yesterday

In yesterday's blog I mentioned that the story oft-told as to why Sandwich, Massachusetts, was not attacked by the British during the War of 1812 was because they thought a brick yard by the shore was a fort.  It further related that a British 74-gun frigate, the HMS Commodore Harty, had been "scared" off by the fort.

I was using the facts from the article and was somewhat dubious as to the ship.  First, the British didn't name their warships after a person.  Most likely, the Commodore Harty was the ship's commander.  Also, a 74-gun ship would be a ship-of-the-line, not a frigate.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sandwich Beach Erosion in Massachusetts Reveals War of 1812 Past

From the November 24, 2014, Boston Globe by Billy Baker.

There has been a theory as to why Sandwich escaped damage during the War of 1812.  And that had to do with a silly mistake by the British.

Today, beach erosion is revealing artifacts that cast a light on this theory.

During the War of 1812, an English frigate of 74 guns named the Commodore Harty was going up and down the coast offering communities the option of paying or being fired upon.  When it passed by Sandwich, it saw a brickyard that had once stood on Town Neck, mistook it for a fort and steered clear.

The workers going about their jobs were mistaken for soldiers.

A lot of old bricks have been revealed at the site by this beach erosion.

A Brick By Any Other Name.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Illinois Society of the War of 1812

From the October 29, 2013, Suburban Journals "Illinois Society of the War of 1812 holds business meeting."

And, I'd never heard of it.

Forty people attended the annual business meeting at Hill's Fort in Greenville, Illinois, on October 19th.

The group was recognized by the national organization for its growth and activity.

In the last year, they have participated in or sponsored 33 grave markings, presented eleven ROTC medals and were in flag programs and parades.

Many War of 1812 veterans were paid for their service in land grants in Illinois while it was still a territory.  This caused many to move to and settle in the state.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

200 Years Ago: British Fleet Sets Sail, No More "Utis Posseditis, Paper Money

NOVEMBER 25, 1814:  The British fleet sets sail from Jamaica, heading for New Orleans.

NOVEMBER 27, 1814:  The British negotiators in Ghent, Belgium, drop the "utis posseditis" offer during the peace negotiations.  They no longer insisted upon keep "captured territory."

NOVEMBER:  Unable to pay debts in specie (gold) as required by law, the U.S. government offers to pay wartime debts in paper.  Most banks refuse to accept treasury notes as security and war bonds fell to 60 cents on the dollar.


200 Years Ago: Secret Mission, Jackson Leaves for New Orleans and Sinking of HMS Fantome

NOVEMBER 17, 1814:  While on a secret mission to destroy the HMS St. Lawrence, Midshipman James McGowan discovers and captures two British gunboats on the upper St. Lawrence River and returns to Sackets Harbor, New York, with prisoners.

NOVEMBER 22, 1814:  Andrew Jackson leaves for New Orleans when he learns that there is an impending British attack ion that place.

NOVEMBER 24, 1814:  Shipwreck of the HMS Fantome near Prospect, Nova Scotia, while escorting a convoy from Castine, District of Maine to Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Penetanguishene Road Steeped in History-- Part 3

Impetus to the road really picked up with the War of 1812 and the fall of Detroit.  With supplies cit, Fort Michilmackinac began to starve.  Gordon Drummond saw the urgency of building the new road.

The planned road would be 30 miles long and it was estimated that it would take 200 men at least three weeks to build it.

In December 1814, William Dunlop was pl;aced in charge of the project.  When finished, it was not much of a road by today's standards.  It was uneven, stump-ridden and essentially impassable in heavy rain.

Even so, this road which was originally built for military purposes, promoted settlement in Huronia.

On the Lake Simcoe end of it, a village originally named Kempenfelt (now northeast Barrie) began in 1819.

The Story of a Road.  --Brock-Perry

Penetanguishene Road Steeped in History-- Part 2

Yonge Street became the first leg of the new road, but there is still debate as to the second leg.  Originally, John Simcoe intended to follow the Severn River to Matchedash Bay Lake Simcoe, but a combination of nine portages and the shallow Lake Couchiching with its rocks and shoals ruled against it.

In 1808, Samuel Wilmot, the deputy surveyor, was ordered to lay out a line for a road near the old Indian path from Kempenfelt Bay on Lake Simcoe to Penetanguishene Bay.  In addition, he was also told to lay out town lots at each end of this new road.  They eventually became today's towns of Barrie and Penetanguishene.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Penetanguishene Road: A Road Steeped in History-- Part 1

From the April 8, 2010, by Barrie Advance.

The Penetanguishene Road (I finally remembered how to spell it without looking) is one of the most historical roads in Canada, tracing its roots back to the first days of Ontario and playing a vital role in the province's (Ontario) development.

John Graves Simcoe became Lt.Governor of Upper Canada (Ontario) in 1791 and became immediately preoccupied with the threat of the highly expansionist Americans.  he was only to aware that they could easily take the British force at Detroit and thus block all shipping on the Upper Great Lakes.

One of the most strategic sites in North America was British Fort Michilmackinac at the northern extreme of Lake Huron which was very important to the British fur trade and was a good base for improving relations with Indians (and especially steer them away from alliances with the Americans).

Should Detroit fall, Fort Michilmackinac would be isolated and British interests threatened.

He wanted a naval base at Penetanguishene and an alternate route linking lakes Huron and Ontario.


Ontario's Highway 93: Penetanguishene Road

From Wikipedia.

King's Highway 93, provincially maintained in Ontario is located entirely in Simcoe County, all 14.9 miles of it.

It follows the Penetanguishene Road, an early colonization road built to connect Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay.  It provides an overland route from Lake Huron to Lake Ontario via Yonge Street.

Prior to 1993, it was nearly 15 kilometers longer.

The Penetanguishene Road was built between 1814 and 1815 to the naval station established at Penetahnguishene.  Prior to that this base had been called the Penetanguishene Military Post.

It was surveyed in 1808 by Samuel Wilmot.  After the British capture of Fort Michilimackinac in 1812, there was a need for supplies.  The decision to cut the road was made in November 1814 by General Gordon Drummond and completed the following spring, but too late for use during the war.


Thomas Macdonough's Wife: Lucy Ann Schaler Macdonough

From Find-a-Grave.

1790-1825.  Died of tuberculosis three months prior to Thomas.  Born and died in Middletown, Connecticut

She and Thomas had nine children, four of whom died before age 3.

Lucy is buried at Riverside Cemetery next to her husband.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

War of 1812 Fort in Sag Harbor, N.Y. Dedicated-- Part 2

The fort opened fire and set fire to one British barge and heavily damaged two others.  The British retreated and there were no American losses.

David Thommen has marked the fort's site with a replica of the Fort McHenry flag.

A stone was placed at the fort's site by the local historical society, but there was no dedication. The stone only reads "On this spot stood an American fort 1812." The land where the fort once stood is presently a village green.

There also had been a Revolutionary War battle fought there.

Thomman's home is located near where the old fort stood which is on Turkey Hill, the highest point in the Sag Harbor historic district.


War of 1812 Fort in Sag Harbor, N.Y. Dedicated-- Part 1

From the July 12, 2013, Newsday (NY) by Mitchell Freedman.

Sag Harbor history buff David Thommen says there isn't much information available on the action that took place at this largely forgotten fort.  As such, he is doing his own research and because of that, there will be a dedication for a no-longer existing fort on High Street in Sag Harbor.

The Battle of Sag Harbor took place on July 11, 1813.

Several vessels carrying 100 British troops heading for Sag Harbor were spotted by a 16-year-old from Amagansett who warned the Americans at the fort (which may have been called Turkey Hill).  The fort was manned by 60 troops and a cannon (or perhaps more).


Friday, November 14, 2014

200 Years Ago Today: HMS Julia Launched

NOVEMBER 14TH, 1814:  The British schooner HMS Julia is launched at the navy yard in Kingston, Upper Canada.

-- Brock-Perry

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thomas Macdonough After the Battle of Lake Champlain-- Part 2

Macdonough's next assignment was to relieve Isaac Hull at the Portsmouth Navy Yard 1815-1818 and after that he was appointed commander of the 44-gun frigate USS Guerriere (the former HMS Guerriere captured by Hull and the USS Constitution in 1812).

From 1818 to 1823, he was captain of the ship-of-the-line USS Ohio.

In 1824, he became commander of the USS Constitution, but by then his health had begun to fail and he died while overseas and his body was returned to the United States and buried at Middletown, Connecticut.


Thomas Macdonough After the Battle of Lake Champlain-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Thomas Macdonough was born in 1783.  His victory at the Battle of Lake Champlain on September 11, 1814, not only stopped the British incursion on that lake, but, with their retiring to Canada, also eliminated any land claims in New York state that they might have presented at the Treaty of Ghent peace negotiations.

For his success, he was promoted to captain and awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

The State of New York also gave him a thousand acres of land in Cayuga County and Vermont gave him another 100 acres, making him a wealthy man.


USS Preble (1813)

From Wikipedia.

On Monday I wrote about Lt. Charles A. Budd commanding the USS Preble at the Battle of Lake Champlain.

The USS Preble, sometimes called the Commodore Preble, was the first U.S. ship named for Commodore Edward Preble.  It was purchased on Lake Champlain in 1813 and converted into a warship.

Commissioned 8 August 1813, with Lt. Charles Augustus Budd in command.

It had a crew of 30 and mounted seven 12-pdrs. and two 18-pdrs..

Fought at the Battle of Lake Champlain  11 September 1814.  After the battle it was laid up and sold at Whitehall, New York, in July 1815.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day: Civil War Trust to Preserve War of 1812 Battlefields

Today, the nation's largest Civil War battlefield preservation group will announce that they will be expanding their mission to include preserving War of 1812 battlefields.

The announcement will be made at the Revolutionary War Princeton Battle Memorial in New Jersey.  Too bad they didn't also make an announcement at a War of 1812 battlefield as well.  But, anyway, I'm glad to hear it.

Thanks CWT.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lt. Charles A. Budd, USN

Charles Budd was commissioned lieutenant on June 18, 1814, and sent to Lake Champlain.  He commanded the sloop USS Preble at the Battle of Lake Champlain.  The USS Preble was about 80 tons and mounted seven long 9 pounder cannon.

Thomas Macdonough, the hero of the Battle of Lake Champlain, took his fleet to Whitehall, New York, on November 18th and turned it over to Lt. Budd.

He may have had a brother who was also a lieutenant, George Budd, commissioned May 23, 1812, and furloughed May 29, 1815.


November 10, 1814: New Commander of Lake Champlain Squadron

NOVEMBER 10, 1814:  Lieutenant Charles Budd, USN, received orders to replace Captain Thomas Macdonough as commander of the Lake Champlain Squadron.


The USS Niagara After the War-- Part 4

In 1981, the Flagship Niagara League was formed with the intention of reconstructing the ship, not just as a museum, but also as a working ship.  Melbourne Smith,the builder of the brig Pride of Baltimore, was hired to head the task.

The decay of the Niagara was so bad it was dismantled and ultimately destroyed with some timbers salvaged and used in non-structural areas of the new ship.

The first USS Niagara had been built very hastily, but the new one received seasoned and preserved yellow pine and Douglas fir for its wood.  And, it has new, modern equipment.

The new Niagara was launched 10 September 1988 but was not completed until 18 July 1990.  It has been designated by the state as the official flagship of Pennsylvania.  It is one of only two remaining ships from the War of 1812, the other being the USS Constitution..


Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Battle of Malcolm's Mill

NOVEMBER 6, 1814:  A decisive American victory in the Upper Thames Valley in a battle between Canadian militia and an American force of 750 mounted infantry led by Brigadier General Duncan McArthur.

During a two-week incursion into Canada, McArthur's Raid destroyed the mills that the British forces in the Northwest were dependent upon for flour and bread.  It created a diversion that allowed the American forces at Fort Erie to escape unharmed.

Additionally, the Americans killed, wounded or captured over 450 of their enemy while losing one killed and six wounded.

McArthur then moved his force down to Lake Erie where he burned north shore settlements while returning to Detroit.


Friday, November 7, 2014

200 Years Ago: American Capture of Pensacola, Florida

NOVEMBER 7TH, 1814: Troops under Major General Andrew Jackson take Pensacola, Florida, from agarrison of British and Spanish troops.  Jackson did this without authorization, but American troops occupied the town for the remainder of the war.


200 Years Ago: Skirmish and Capture of Ship

NOVEMBER 6TH, 1814:   Skirmish at Malcolm's Mill, Upper Canada.

American schooner Franklin is captured off off Hampton, Virginia, by a British flotilla of 13 barges.


The USS Niagara After the War-- Part 3

The Niagara was then transferred to the Pennsylvania Historical Commission and it became a project for the New Deal Works Project Administration.  The commission contacted Howard I. Chapelle to draw up plans for another restoration.  He based them on other period ships that were also built by Noah Brown, like the USS Saratoga.

By this time, very little of the USS Niagara remained, especially after pieces of it had been sold as souvenirs.. In addition, te 1913 restoration was highly inaccurate.

The hull of the Niagara was launched during World War II, in October 1943 and it was placed in a concrete cradle in 1951.

Then, they discovered dry rot on the whole ship, not surprisingly.  It became evident that a complete restoration would be needed.

Funds were raised to make it "presentable" for the Battle of Lake Erie's sesquicentennial in 1963.  Rigging and cannons were added.

It was listed on the NRHP 11 April 1973.


The USS Niagara After the War-- Part 2

It was towed to various Great Lakes ports, including:Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo and Cleveland by the USS Wolverine, the Navy's first iron-hulled warship.

Ownership of the Niagara was transferred to the City of Erie in 1917 and it was docked where it deteriorated.  In 1929, ownership was transferred to the newly-formed USS Niagara Foundation.  They were tasked with restoring the ship so it could be made the centerpiece of a museum.

The Great Depression stopped te work and the state was forced to take over the ship.  The Foundation, however, had managed to raise $50,000 toward the ship and more restoration was done starting in 1931, but it stopped by 1938.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

USS Niagara: After the War-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

The USS Niagara, Perry's flagship after the USS Lawrence was too damaged to continue the fight, was kept afloat after the war ended in 1815 and used as a receiving ship.  It was sunk in the 1820s when the U.S. Naval Station at Presque Isle closed.

Benjamin H. Brown of Rochester, New York, bought all four ships (Lawrence, Queen Charlotte and Detroit) in 1825 and sold them in 1836 to George Miles of Erie, Pennsylvania.  He raised them all with the plan to use them as merchant ships.

The Lawrence and Niagarawere in such bad condition and had so little hold sopace that he allowed them to be sunk again..

As part of the Centennial of te Battle of Lake Erie, the Niagara was raised again in April of 1913.  The keel was found to be in good enough shape to be rebuilt, but that effort was hampered by the lack of the original plan.


HMS Queen Charlotte and HMS Detroit

From Wikipedia.

These two British ships captured at the Battle of Lake Erie were also sunk at Misery Bay after the war for the preservation of their hulls.


USS Lawrence: After the Battle

From Wikipedia.

The USS Lawrence was built at Erie, Pennsylvania.

After the war, it was purposefully sunk for preservation in Misery Bay on Presque Isle, Pennsylvania, in order to save the hull.  the submerged hull was sold in 1825 and raised in 1836 when a hull examination was made and then it was sunk again.

In 1875, it was raised again, cut into sections and transported by rail to Philadelphia and exhibited there during the U.S. Centennial International Exhibition of 1876.  During the course of the exhibition, the remains were destroyed by fire.


Sir Isaac Brock Statue at Guernsey

From the September 8, 2013, BBC News: Guernsey "Sir Isaac Brock statue at Guernsey markets approval with time limit."

A 7'4" bronze statue of Guernsey's War of 1812 hero may be up by 2014.  The cost of it is estimated to be around 80,000 pounds and half of that sum has already been raised.  It is sponsored by RBC Wealth Management who has offered to pay half the cost.

The thought is to place it ion an empty plinth on Market Square.  Oliver Brock is a distant relative of Isaac Brock.

The Environmental Department has a time limit on it and still think there might be a more suitable site for it.

Isaac Brock is one of the reasons for the Brock-Perry sign-off tag.  The other being Oliver Hazard Perry.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fort McHenry's Defenders' Day-- Part 2

The sewing on the reproduction 30-by-42-foot "Star-Spangled Banner" began on July 4, 2013, with more than 1,000 volunteers at the Maryland Historical Society.  It required some 150,000 stitches.  (I don't sew, but sure would have liked to do so on this project.)

At 1:30 p.m. it was unveiled in the society's courtyard where the U.S. Army Old Guard Color Guard will fold it and prepare it for its 3.6 mile journey to Fort McHenry.  It weighs 42 pounds.

Re-enactors will be at the Fort McHenry grounds and a grand celebration will be held when the "Star-Spangled Banner" once again waves proudly over the old fort.


Fort McHenry's Defenders Day-- Part 1: How It Came About

From the September 13, 2013, Baltimore Sun "Fort McHenry captures the glory of Defenders' Day" by Chris Kaltenbach.

In 2012, some 1.5 million people crowded Baltimore's Inner harbor to commemorate the bicentennial of the war.

In 2013, Fort McHenry and the Maryland Historical Society worked together to reproduce the Star-Spangled Banner. which will be the centerpiece of this year's Defenders' Day.

A "happy confluence of a Baltimore seamstress (Mary Pickersgilll, who created the original flag), a Frederick lawyer (Francis Scott Key, who wrote the poem that would become the "Star-Spangled Banner"), a British drinking song ("To Anacreon in Heaven," the tune of which was applied to Key's poem) and some unfriendly pyrotechnics courtesy of the invading British Navy" brought about the famed song.

Jose Can You See?  --Brock-Perry

200 Years Ago Today: Americans Blow Up Fort Erie

NOVEMBER 5TH, 1814:  American forces blow up Fort Erie, Upper Canada, and withdraw to Buffalo, New York.

On this date, general Izard's forces mined Fort Erie and set off a series of blasts to destroy the much-fought-over fort.

British General Drummond's scouts arrive shortly after to find the fort's walls destroyed, buildings ablaze and Izard's Army, suffering from severe food shortages, across the Niagara River and in winter quarters in Buffalo.

Drummond's Army then secured the Niagara Frontier.

And, After All That Fighting for the Fort.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Charles Morris, USN-- Part 2

Charles Morris was promoted to captain in 1813 and in 1814, commanded the frigate USS Adams on raiding expeditions against British commerce.

The ship was cornered in the Penobscot River in Maine and put his crew and guns ashore to help American militia fight off a British amphibious attack at the Battle of Hampden, but enemy regulars routed the Americans and Morris was forced to scuttle the Adams and he and the crew escaped overland.

Later in his career, he commanded the Mediterranean Squadron and from 1823-1827 was a Navy Commissioner, Chief of the Bureau of Construction, Equipment and Repairs 1844-1847 and also Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance.

His daughter eloped and married William W. Corcoran in 1835, one of the richest men in the country.


Charles Morris, USN-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

I was researching about William W. Corcoran for my Civil War blog and found out he eloped and married Louise Morris, the daughter of naval officer Charles Morris in 1835.  Further research showed that Charles Morris fought during the War of 1812.

CHARLE MORRIS (1789-1856) was a U.S. naval officer and administrator.  Born in Maine and appointed midshipman in 1799.  Served in the Quasi War with France, both First and Second Barbary Wars and the War of 1812.

In 1812, he was the executive officer aboardthe USS Constitution under Isaac Hull in its famous fight with the HMS Guerriere where he was severely wounded..


Monday, November 3, 2014

Fort Erie's 1812 Hero to Be Honored

From the September 13, 2013, Fort Erie (Canada) Post.

Niagara's (Canada) 1812 Legacy Council is honoring Col. James Kerby (1785-1854) with a new plaque at his grave at St. Paul's Anglican Church at Fort Erie.

This will take place on September 15th and will include re-enactors.

Kerby was born in 1785 near Sandwich (Windsor) Ontario and placed in command of the artillery in the 2nd Lincoln Militia.  He fought at Frenchman's Creek, the Battle of Fort George, Capture of Fort Niagara, Battle of Lundy's Lane and the Siege of Fort Erie.

Wounded two times, he received numerous commendations for service, including being awarded a sword.  After the war, he led a life in public service and continued in the militia.


Annual Festival Commemorates the Turning Point of the War of 1812

From the September 12, 2013, WAMC Northeast Public Radio by Pat Bradley.

The ten day Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration is the largest annual festival of the War of 1812 and held in Plattsburgh, New York, attracting large numbers of re-enactors.

The battle, fought on September 11,1814, was a major turning point and led to the Treaty of Ghent.  There were actually two battles fought that day: one on the land and the other on the water.

However, this battle is overshadowed by the Battles of Lake Erie, Fort McHenry and New Orleans.


The Night Britain Set Fire to the White House

From the September 20, Ottawa (Canada) Citizen by Neil Tweedie, LDT.

The White House was just 14 years old at the time and known as the President's House, when the British burned it in 1814.  They also burned the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress, all 3,000 volumes in it.

It took place in the last hour of August 24, 1814 and was America's greatest humiliation.

The War of 1812 has also been called Mr. Madison's War, the president at the time, by those who were against it, principally New Englanders.

What enabled the British to march into the capital was the stunning victory at the Battle of Bladensburg where 4,500 British regulars routed an American force of 6,000.

At the time, Washington's population consisted of just 17,000 inhabitants and the British only burned public buildings.  Most looting was done by the American citizens themselves.

There are still scorch marks on the White House from the fire.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hamilton and Scourge Sinkings Marked

From the September 20, 2013,

There will be a free day-long event at Dundurn Park in Hamilton, Canada,  to mark the 200th anniversary of the sinking of these two American schooners.

A ceremony took place in early September on a Coast Guard ship over where the two ships sank in the storm in 1813.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Tourism Wins in War of 1812-- Part 3" Battle of Lake Erie Re-enactment

**  Many Port Clinton, Ohio, businesses reported record sales.

**  Kellys Island reported selling 360 sail-away tickets for the tall ship tours.

**  Despite its summer season being shortened by the sequestered federal budget cuts, visitors to the Perry Peace memorial were up 40% over the summer of 2012.

** The tall ships were a big reason for all the tourists.  There were also plenty of land re-enactments and naval re-enactments are very rare.

On October 3, 2013, at 8 p.m. EST, WGTE Toledo PBS will show a half hour documentary on the re-enactment.


Tourism Wins in War of 1812-- Part 2

**  Put-in-Bay sold 7,500 tour tickets.

**  Between 8,000 to 10,000 spectators aboard 2000 boats watched the Battle of Lake Erie re-enactment.  Another 1,450 participated in the event.

**  Port Clinton, Ohio, drew 30,000 visitors.  Another 3,000 paid to board the two tall ships docked there.

**  It was heavily covered in the media, including the New York Times, CNN, NPR and the Washington Post.


Tourism Wins in War of 1812-- Part 1

From the September 27, 2013, Sanduskey (Ohio) Register by Tom Jackson.

Labor Day weekend events, including the September 2nd re-enactment of the Battle of Lake Erie drew huge crowds according to Larry Fletcher, executive director of Lake Erie Shores and Islands in Ottawa County.  "It was like a home run for the area," he said.

**  More than 100,000 people visited the area.

**  On September 1st, Miller Boat Line set a new record for passengers.

**All island (South Bass Island, home of Put-in-Bay), and many mainland marinas were sold out.

**  Hotel bookings were very heavy on the islands and Port Clinton.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Vermont Governor Martin Crittendon

From Wikipedia.

Martin Crittendon (1763-1840)

I wrote about him in the last post so this is a little more information on him.

U.S. Representative from Vermont 1803-1813 and seventh governor 1813-1815.  he was also an officer in the Vermont militia from 1793-1803.  Replaced his brother-in-law Jonas Galusha as Vermont's governor and was the leader of Vermont during the crucial years of the War of 1812.

As a Representative, he voted against going to war with Britain in 1812.  As the last federalist governor of Vermont, he also opposed the war and at one point ordered Vermont militia to return from Plattsburgh, New York, but his officers refused.

After the American victory at the Battle of Plattsburgh in 1814, he was defeated in his reelection bid in 1815.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The "Unnecessary" War

During October 1814, Vermont Governor Martin Chittenden, complained that the war is "unnecessary, unwise and hopeless, in all its offensive operations."


Monday, October 27, 2014

Royal Navy Dockyard at Kingston-- Part 6

The Rush-Bagot Agreement in April 1817 limited the number of warships on the Great Lakes between England and the United States to one warship on Lake Ontario, one on Lake Champlain and two on the other Great Lakes.

The Dockyard was then reduced to a skeleton staff and eventually closed in 1837.

The largest warship during the Age of Sail to ever sail on the Great Lakes, the HMS St. Lawrence was decommissioned in 1815 and its hull used for storage for a local brewery.  It later sank in shallow water off Morton Street in Kingston.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

200 Years Ago: McArthur's Raid Begins and Skirmish at Tracy's Landing

OCTOBER 26TH, 1814:  Beginning of McArthur's Raid from Detroit up the Thames Valley to the Grand River Settlement.  This source has it at this date.  The historic places site has it beginning October 22nd.

OCTOBER 27TH, 1814:  Skirmish at Tracy's Landing, Anne Arundel County, Maryland.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Royal Navy Dockyard at Kingston-- Part 5

The dock yard also built three gunboats which carried one long 24-pounder apiece as well as two mortar boats.  On November 29, 1814, the dock yard dispatched material for a 36-gun frigate to be stationed at Penetanguishene and also built transports for the Army.

Captain Hall estimated that by spring he would have completed 20 gunboats, 4 mortar boats and 50 batteaux large enough to carry 50 men.

Shipbuilding continued until March 1815 when word reached Kingston that the Treaty of Ghent had been reached (signed by delegates on December 24, 1814).  Ship construction was immediately halted and some already completed ships were put into ordinary.  Repair work continued as needed.


Royal Navy Dockyard at Point Frederick, Kingston-- Part 4

The HMS St. Lawrence arrived too late to do any actual fighting.  But, its presence did force American commander Commodore Isaac Chauncey to keep his ships safely in Sackets Harbor.  The only time its guns were fired was in practice or salutes.  It still, however, made many cruises on Lake Ontario and was hit by lightning in 1819.

The Kingston Royal Dockyards employed 1,100 workers during the War of 1812.  On May 27, 1814, Captain Robert Hall was put in charge of it.  he improved the yard's buildings and facilities.

The British shipped the frame of one ship to Kingston via the St. Lawrence River.  Workers put together the 32-gun HMS Psyche which was later enlarged to 55 guns by James Yeo.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

200 Years Ago: End of War Negotiations

OCTOBER 21, 1814:  British negotiators at Ghent offer peace on the basis of "uti posseditis," possession of lands at the end of hostilities.

OCTOBER 22, 1814:  Th Treaty of Commerce was signed between the United States and Britain at Ghent, Belgium.

Going in the Right Direction.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

200 Years Ago: McArthur's Raid Into Upper Canada, Last Major Battle Fought on Canadian Soil

OCTOBER 22, 1814:  American Brigadier General Duncan McArthur set out from Detroit, Michigan territory, with a force of Ohio and Kentucky militia and First Nations allies to raid communities in southwestern Upper Canada, a no-man's land following the British defeats at the Battles of Lake Erie and the Thames in the fall of 1813.

Rumored to be planning an attack on Burlington Heights, a major British base on lake Ontario, the marauders destroyed private property such as mills during their march.  Hampered by rainy weather and swollen rivers, McArthur's force assaulted the settlement of Malcom's Mills..  The town's defenders, Oxford and Norfolk County militia, were scattered by McArthur's troops, who returned to Detroit following the incident.

This was the last battle fought on Canadian soil during the war.


200 Years Ago: Battle of Cook's Mills, Upper Canada

OCTOBER 19, 1814:  After ending the unsuccessful siege of Fort Erie, British Lieutenant-General and Lieutenant Governor Gordon Drummond withdrew his forces to a position to protect Chippawa Creek.  U.S, Major General George Izzard followed Drummond, but did not attack the British defenses.

Learning of a supply of wheat at Cook's Mills, Izzard sent a force under Brigadier General Daniel Bissell to Lyon's Creek where he clashed with a smaller British detachment commanded by Lt.Col. Christopher Myers.  The larger American force drove the British back and burned the mills.

Outnumbered, General Drummond refused to be drawn into a major battle.  This was the final confrontation on the Niagara River frontier during the War of 1812.

An End to One Area of Conflict.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Royal Navy Dockyard at Point Frederick, Kingston-- Part 3: HMS St. Lawrence

A problem facing Yeo was getting supplies, equipment and reinforcements as they all had to come down the St. Lawrence River where they were exposed to American attack.

He had permission to build a large warship, but greatly increased its size until it became a ship-of-the-line, the HMS St. Lawrence.  Construction on it began April 12, 1814 and it became designated as a first rate ship-of-the-line since it mounted 100 guns and was crewed by 800 men.

Thousands of trees were needed.  Some 5,750 for the hull alone.  Pine and spruce were used for the masts and spars.  Then, there was need for a vast amount of sails and rope for rigging.

It cost $500,000 and was launched September 10, 1814, with a crew of 1837.


Royal Navy Dockyard at Point Frederick, Kingston-- Part 2

Continued from October 14th.

The dockyard was not attacked much by the Americans and never captured.

During the War of 1812, especially in 1814, there was a huge shipbuilding war going on between the Americans and British.  That involved Kingston and the British Naval Dockyard there and the Americans at Sackets Harbor, New York.  Whoever got the most and biggest ships out on Lake Ontario, thereby controlled the lake.

British Commodore James Lucas Yeo arrived in Kingston on May 15, 1813, and became commander of the Great Lakes Fleet.  He wanted to continue British domination of sea power but faced a problem in that his ships mostly had shorter range carronades to use against the American long guns.

In sea battles, Americans would try to keep the distance great between them and the British ships as far as they could in order to maintain their superior firepower.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Battle in Illinois: Rock Island Rapids

A fated American expedition was sent up the Mississippi River to destroy a village and crops at Saukenuk, in present day northwest Illinois.
The expedition was attacked by over 1000 warriors and forced to retreat.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

200 Years Ago: Upper Canada and Maryland

OCTOBER 19TH, 1814:  Fighting at Cook's Mills-Lyons Creek in Upper Canada.

Also British raid at Castle Haven, Dorchester County, Maryland.


New England Thinking of Secession?

OCTOBER 18TH, 1814:  The Massachusetts General Court calls for a convention of New England states whose livelihood depends on British trade to coordinate a regional grievance against the federal government.  From December 15 to January 5, delegates from some of the New England states met in Hartford, Connecticut to discuss grievances against Washington, D.C. and to provide alternative solutions to talk of secession from New England radicals.

And, yet, 46 years later, New England was against secession of the the Southern states.


Friday, October 17, 2014

200 Years Ago: Treasury Secretary Dallas Calls on Congress for a National Bank

OCTOBER 17TH, 1814:  Treasury Secretary Alexander Dallas calls for Congress to establish a national bank to finance the war and to increase taxes ti help pay for it.

The Senate passed the bill on December 9, 1814.


Gen. Izard's Cut Off

OCTOBER 16TH, 1814:  General George Izard wrote a letter to Armstrong expressing his concerns about being cut off from supplies and reinforcements now that the British control Lake Ontario after the launch of the HMS St. Lawrence.  he is also afraid that Yeo's control of the lake might enable larger forces to be brought against him.

At this point, Izard is seriously considering withdrawing from Fort Erie.


Launched of the Steam Frigate USS Fulton (Demologos)

OCTOBER 16, 1814,  Launch of the frigate USS Fulton the First, in New York.  Originally named Demologos, but renamed the Fulton after Robert Fulton's death on February 24, 1815.

Robert Fulton was commissioned to apply his engineering skills and expertise to the defense of that place an New Yorkers believed their harbor was inadequately protected.  He designed a 150-foot long steam frigate/floating fort and Congress authorized its construction in March 1814 at a cost of $320,000.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

200 Years Ago: Izard Takes Command and Goes on the Offensive

OCTOBER 11TH, 1814:  General George Izard arrives at Fort Erie and relieves General Jacob Brown of command.  He learns that British forces under Drummond have just 2,500 to oppose his 8,000 and begins an immediate advance.

OCTOBER 15TH, 1864:  General Izard skirmished with Drummond at Chippawa Creek and establishes camp at Street's Creek.  While here, he learns that the American Navy under Chauncey had lost control of Lake Ontario because of the launch of the HMS St. Lawrence.

He then stops his advance and returns to Fort Erie, Upper Canada (Ontario).


200 Years Ago: Launch of the HMS St. Lawrence

OCTOBER 10, 1814:  Kingston Navy Dockyard launched the 3-deck ship-of-the-line HMS St. Lawrence, but it was too late to see action during the war.  Well, it could have, but the Americans would not challenge it.

It was bigger than Nelson's HMS Victory and the largest sailing warship ever on fresh water.  It gave the British control of Lake Ontario.


200 Years Ago: Skirmish at Chippawa Creek

OCTOBER 15TH, 1814:  Skirmish at Chippawa Creek, Upper Canada.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Royal Naval Dockyard at Point Frederick-- Part 1

The HMS St. Lawrence was a magnificent ship, the largest warship ever to see the Great Lakes during the Age of Sail.  It was built at Kingston, Upper Canada, at the Royal Navy Dockyard and was too large for the Americans to attack and gave the British undeniable control of Lake Ontario.

The Naval Dockyard was established in 1789 as the Provincial Marine and then became the Royal Naval Dockyard at Point Frederick.  Warships such as sloops, frigates and gunboats were built there as well as the ship-of-the-line St. Lawrence.

The RMC is now located at the dockyard.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, October 13, 2014

USS Wasp (1814)-- Part 4: Battle With the HMS Reindeer

On 28 June 1814, the USS Wasp met up with and fought the HMS Reindeer some 225 miles west of Plymouth, England.  The Reindeer was a Cruizer-class brig-sloop like the HMS Nimrod.

The fight only lasted a hard-fought 19 minutes with both ships exchanging murderous grape and solid shot at short distance.  The Reindeer's crew tried to board the Wasp on two occasions, but were repulsed.  Then the Wasp's crew did the same and carried the day.

The Wasp received six hits to its hull and had damage to its rigging but was still able to sail.  The Reindeer had 25 killed, including its captain, Commander William Manner and 42 wounded.  The prisoners were taken on board and the Reindeer set on fire and eventually exploded.

The Wasp then sailed for L'Orient, France and captured the Regulator on July 4th and the Jenny and July 6th.

--Still Another Voyage to Come.  --Brock-Perry

USS Wasp (1814)-- Part 3: First Raiding Voyage


The USS Wasp (1814) captured five ships before engaging the HMS Reindeer in a really hard-fought battle.


June 2, 1814:  Neptune-- burned
June 13: William--  burned
June 18:  Pallas--  scuttled
June 23:  Henrietta--  put prisoners on board
June 26:  Orange Boven--  scuttled

It met and fought the HMS Reindeer on 28 June 1814.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ships By the Name USS Wasp

From Wikipedia.

There have been eleven ships serving in the U.S, Navy by the name USS Wasp.  One is still serving.  Four of them were in the War of 1812.

**  First USS Wasp (1775)--  merchant schooner purchased by the Continental Navy in late 1775.  destroyed in 1777.

The USS Wasps of the War of 1812:

**  Second USS Wasp (1807)--  Sloop constructed in 1806 and captured by the British.

**  Third USS Wasp (1810)--  Schooner built in 1810 and sold in 1814.

**  Fourth USS Wasp (1813)  Sloop chartered in 1813 and returned to her owners in 1814.

**  Fifth USS Wasp (1814)  Rigged Sloop-of-War constructed in 1813 and lost at sea in a storm.  This is the one I'll be writing about next week.

There have been six USS Wasps since the War of 1812, including two famous aorcraft carriers and there is one still serving.

Altogether, there have been eleven ships in the I.S. Navy to bear the illustrious name.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Ships By the Name USS Wasp

From Wikipedia.

There is bound to be some confusion as to my labels for the USS Wasp as there were three other USS Wasps during the War of 1812.  I will be using the date of 1814 to delineate this particular one.

Many of the earlier labels refer to USS Wasp (1807) which defeated the HMS Frolic but then was captured by a ship-of-the-line which arrived at the battle.  It later became the HMS Loup Cervier and later te HMS Peacock.


USS Wasp (1814)-- Part 2

The USS Wasp was constructed in 1813 in Newburyport, Massachusetts by Cross & Merrill and commissioned in early 1814, commanded by Master Commandant Johnston Blakely.

The ship remained at Portsmouth, New Hampshire until late spring then put to sea May 1, 1814, to cruise to the western approaches to the English Channel to attack British shipping.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

One Ship, Several Owners

An interesting account from the Niles Register concerning a ship captured by the American privateer brig General Armstrong.

"SHIFTING OWNERS!:  The prize schooner to the General Armstrong (lately arrived at an Eastern Port) was formerly the Matilda, American privateer.  She was captured on the Brazil coast, some months since, by the Lion. British privateer ship of 28 guns, after severe action, recaptured going into England by the late U.S. Brig Argus, recaptured going into France by a British 74 (74-gun ship-of-the-line), and again recaptured by the American privateer Armstrong."

One Owner, two owner, Four.  --Brock-Perry

200 Years Ago: USS Wasp (1814) Lost at Sea-- Part 1

Canada's historic places site put the Wasp's disappearance at this date, although know one knows for sure when it happened.

From Wikipedia.

  The USS Wasp was a sloop-of-war and the 5th ship in the US Navy to bear the name.  In the summer of 1814 it had two very successful raids on British shipping and fought and defeated three British warships.

It was lost in the Atlantic Ocean in early autumn 1814, cause unknown.  It just never showed up anywhere.

Stats: 509 tons, 117.8 feet long, 31.6 beam, 173 crew.  Armament: two long 12-pdr. gins and twenty 32-pdr. carronades.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

USS Growler (1812)

From Wikipedia.

A 112-ton sloop mounting ten 18-pdrs..

Purchased on Lake Champlain in 1812 and captured by Major George Taylor of the 100th Regiment on 3 June 1813, on the Sorrell River near Ile aux Noix on the Canadian side of the lake.

It was taken into the Royal Navy as the HMS Shannon and later renamed the HMS Chubb (or Chub).

At the Battle of Lake Champlain 11 September 1814, it lost its bow and bowsprit and its anchor cable was severed.  It drifted into the American line of battle and was captured by the USS Saratoga.

It saw no further action during the war and was sold at Whitehall, New York in July 1815.

Serving Both Sides.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Some War of 1812 Ship Clarification: Cruizer Class and USS Adams

CRUIZER CLASS--  This was a class of British brig-sloops, usually mounting 18 guns.  The HMS Nimrod was a member of this class.

USS ADAMS--  Not to be confused with the USS John Adams.  these were two different ships.


The Nimrod and the Salt Works

From "Cape Cod History" printed 1896.

In the early 1800s, New Englanders started a salt industry, ma=king slat from sea water.  There were quite a few such salt works at Falmouth, Massachusetts.  One of the owners was John Crocker who I wrote about the last several days.

The Nimrod was after the guns captured by Captain Jenkins at Tarpaulin Cove and the frigate Nimrod (actually a sloop) approached the shore near the foot of Shore Street and bombarded the town when the Americans refused to turn the guns over.

Much damage was done including to the Congregational Church, a large house on Shore Street now owned by E.E.C. Short (then occupied by Captain John Crocker and thought to be the governor's residence).


Monday, October 6, 2014

HMS Nimrod Cannons-- Part 4

Considerable damage was done to the town's buildings, but no lives were lost nor were there any injuries.

Captain John Crocker continued: "The greatest sufferer was myself, having eight thirty-two pound shot through my house, some through my outbuildings, and many through my salt works.

"The greatest part of the furniture in the house was destroyed.  The other principal sufferers were Elijah Swift, Silas James (Jones0, Thomas Bourn, Jehabad Hatch, Reverend Henry Lincoln, Shubel Hatch Jr., etc."

A Nimrod of An Action.  --Brock-Perry

HMS Nimrod Cannons-- Part 3

Captain John Crocker of Falmouth, Massachusetts described the British attack in a letter to the New England Palladium the day after the attack.

Shortly after 10 a.m. the British sent a group to the town under a flag of truce and demanded the town's field pieces (cannons) and a sloop tied up to the wharf.  If this was not met, they would bombard the town commencing at noon.  In the meanwhile, the American militia assembled and the townspeople moved out.

About noon, the Nimrod opened fire and continued until night.  Even after nightfall, an occasional shot would be fired.  The Americans estimated the British fired about 300 shots from their 32-pounders.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

HMS Nimrod Cannons-- Part 2

The HMS Nimrod was built in Ipswich, England, in 1812 and fitted out in Sherness.  It arrived off New England some time in 1813 and was part of a squadron of British ships under Commander Paget of the HMS Superb and HMS Recruit which captured the American ship Retaliation.  The Nimrod began "preying" on American shipping and coastal towns in early October along Cape Cod.

On December 6, 1813, the Nimrod captured the schooner Hitta Franklin and, shortly afterwards the Chili with 1240 barrels of whale oil.

The British squadron was stationed at Tarpaulin Cove in Naushon Island, a place well-known by whalers and privateers.  There was an inn there owned by a Mr. Slocum.  On Jan. 13, 1814, he overheard the crew of the Nimrod discussing an upcoming attack on Falmouth, Massachusetts,  to capture two brass cannons reported to be there.  He alerted Falmouth.


HMS Nimrod Cannons-- Part 1

From the Plymouth Archaeological Rediscovery Project (PARP).

I have always thought the name Nimrod was an interesting choice.  It turns out the ship was named for the great hunter named Nimrod from the Bible's Old Testament.

In 1814, the sloop HMS Nimrod ran aground at Buzzard's Bay and cannons were thrown overboard to lighten the ship.  Over 150 years later a team of archaeologists and historians have discovered the location of the ship's grounding and its cannons.  The cannons will be eventually raised from the depths and distributed to several southern New England historical groups for long-term curation.

However, now there is some question as to whether these cannons were thrown overboard from the Nimrod.  There is the possibility that they might have been from a British ship from the Revolutionary War.

The HMS Nimrod sailed the waters of coastal New England for a year and was involved in most every action that took place in the region.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Some More on Fort Norfolk, Upper Canada

Not to be confused with the American Fort Norfolk in Virginia.

From the Canada's Historic Places Site.

Nothing remains of the former fortifications known as Fort Norfolk, despite several archaeological surveys to find any.  The fort was located at the entrance to the Turkey Point Provincial Park golf course.  The site is marked by a stone monument with a plaque.

It was designated a national historic site in 1925 because of the British military and naval bases located at the site from 1814-1815.  In 1795, the site was selected for a fort and stockade and then it became very strategically important in the War of 1812.

In 1814, British General Henry Proctor ordered a blockhouse built there and a partial wooden palisade fence on the slope above Turkey Point.

The project was abandoned at the conclusion of hostilities and by 1826, the fort was so decayed that the military post was relocated to Grand River.


British Construct Fort Norfolk in Upper Canada

AUTUMN 1814.  The British construct a blockhouse and battery at Turkey point, Upper Canada, which become known as Fort Norfolk.

The site was also intended to become a Navy yard for Lake Erie, but the war concludes before any work on the yard can commence.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fort Wood

Last week, i wrote about American Col. Eleazor Wood, who was killed at the sortie from Fort Erie on Sept. 17, 1814.  I mentioned that the fort at the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor was named after him.

From Civil War Talk.

Fort Wood was completed before the War of 1812 but saw no action since the British never attacked New York City.

Prior to the end of the war, the fortification was given the name Fort Wood in honor of the fallen colonel.

Originally it was simply known as the "Works on Bedloe's Island."


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Halifax Lighthouse on Sombro Island

The Halifax Lighthouse, also called the Sambro Island Light, is at the entrance to Halifax Harbor, Nova Scotia,  and is the oldest surviving lighthouse in North America.  It was built during the 7 Years War between 1758-1759.

During the War of 1812, the American privateer Young Teazer  captured two vessels at night off the Sambro Island Light and was pursued and trapped by British warships near Chester, Nova Scotia, where the crew blew the American ship up with heavy loss to prevent its capture.

During both world wars, German U-boats torpedoed Allied ships in the area.

In 1920, the Norwegian freighter Romsdals Fjord struck a ledge near and and sank with no loss of life.


Stephen Cassin, USN

From Wikipedia.

Stephen Cassin (1783-1857)

Earlier, I wrote about his father, John Cassin, and was wondering if the destroyed so massively damaged at Pearl Harbor had been named after him.  It wasn't, but it was named for Stephen Cassin.  Stephen Cassin also fought during the War of 1812.

Became a U.S. Navy midshipman in 1800.  Served on the USS Philadelphia in the West Indies and later participated in the Quasi-War with France.

Commanded the USS Ticonderoga at the Battle of Lake Champlain and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for bravery at it.  Gold medals were also given to Captain Macdonough and Captain Robert Henley.

Served on the USS Peacock and the West Indies Squadron battling pirates.  Between September 28-30, 1822, he captured five pirate vessels.

Buried in Washington, D.C. and later moved to Arlington National Cemetery and buried at Section W. Div. Site Lot 299.  His wife, Margaret Cassin died June 14, 1830 and is buried beside him in lot 298.

Two U.S. Navy destroyers have been named for him and Fort Cassin in Vermont as well.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Battle of Fayal, Azores: Scuttling of the General Armstrong-- Part 2

After a successful cruise in which many prizes were taken, the General Armstrong returned to its home port in July 1814 and Samuel Reid became its new captain.  It departed Sandy Hook in August 1814.  While at Fayal in the Portuguese Azores, the British ship Carnation and several boats armed with cannons, sailors and Royal Marines attacked the American ship, but were repulsed.

But, Captain Reid felt he had no chance to escape the Azores and had his ship scuttled to prevent capture.  The Americans escaped to shore and were protected by Portuguese authorities.

American losses were 2 killed and 7 wounded.  British losses were 36 killed  and 93 wounded as well as two of the boats sunk and 2 captured.

Claims for the sinking of the General Armstrong went on for 70 years and it became the subject of a popular 1890s play called "The senator."


Monday, September 29, 2014

Battle of Fayal, Azores: Scuttling of U.S. Privateer General Armstrong-- Part 1

SEPTEMBER 26-27, 1814:

From Wikipedia.

The American privateer General Armstrong was a brig of 246 tons, crewed by 90 men and armed with six 9-pdrs and one long 42-pdr. (Long Tom).

Named after Brigadier General John Armstrong, a hero of the American Revolution and father of President Madison's Secretary of War, John Armstrong, Jr., whose decision not to defend Washington, D.C. from the August attack led to his dismissal.

The General Armstrong's home port was Baltimore and it was a very successful privateer, capturing many prizes in 1812 and 1813.  On 11 March 1813, it was involved in the Battle of Surinam River and lost 6 killed and 16 wounded and received much damage in a battle with what was presume to be the British privateer Coquette.

It was scuttled by its crew on September 27, 1814, at the Battle of Fayal in the Azores.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Col. Eleazor Wood's Death

From Cullom's Register of USMA Graduates.

Col. Wood was killed "while gallantly leading and directing a column on the British batteries and siege works."

Then it mentioned that he was mortally wounded and died the next night.  Most sources I've read said he died September 17th, the day of the sortie.

"Thus ended the brief and brilliant career of this noble soldier, who had few equals and was surpassed by none of his profession and peers."

He must have been a lot like British General Isaac Brock who was killed leading his troops in the war's first year.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Col. Eleazor Wood Killed Sept. 17, 1814, at Fort Erie-- Part 2

Eleazor Wood was appointed adjutant-general to Gen. William Henry Harrison in October 1813 and transferred to the northern army in 1814 where he participated in all its battles including the capture of Fort Erie on July 3rd and the battles of Chippawa and Niagara Falls.  After the last battle, the Americans fell back to Fort Erie where Col. Wood, then commanding the 21st U.S. Infantry Regiment took an active part in the fort's defense on August 15th and its subsequent siege.

He was killed in the September 17th sortie.

Wood was greatly admired by his commander, Gen. Jacob brown who commissioned a monument to be built in his honor at West Point and also had the fortification on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor named after him.  This is the fort at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Wood County, Ohio, named for him as well.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Col. Eleazor Derby Wood Killed at Sept. 17th Sortie-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

While researching Ezra Dean, I also came across Wood's name and found out that he had been killed at that sortie on September 17, 1814, from Fort Erie.

ELEAZOR DERBY WOOD (Dec, 1783-Sept. 17, 1814)

Born at Lunenburg, Mass.  Admitted to USMA at West Point May 17, 1805 and graduated Oct. 30, 1806.

Served as assistant engineer in the construction of the defenses at Governor's Island, New York Harbor in 1807.  Promoted to 1st lieutenant in 1808, he then assisted in the construction of Castle Williams in New York Harbor and Fort Norfolk in Virginia.

In the War of 1812, he was promoted to captain and was involved in the defense of Fort Meigs during its siege and also in the May 5, 1813 and in command of American artillery at the Battle of the Thames on October 5th.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ezra Dean and the Sept. 17th American Fort Erie Sortie-- Part 2

British reserves rushed up and there was fierce fighting and drove the Americans out of batteries #2 and #3.  After a two hour engagement casualties for the Americans were 79 killed, 216 wounded and 216 missing (170 captured).  Of the missing, 46 others were probably among those massacred at Battery #2.

For the British:  115 killed, 178 wounded and 316 missing, by their reports.  The Americans claimed to have captured 382 (11 officers and 371 enlisted).

Three British siege guns were destroyed at Battery #3, but the Americans were unable to spike the ones at Battery #2.

Looking at the casualties, these were high for the War of 1812.

Plus, the British commander had decided the day before to withdraw, so the battle really wasn't necessary.

As I said before, I was unable to find out exactly what Ezra Dean did in the battle.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Army Ensigns in the War of 1812

Last week, I mentioned Ezra Dean being appointed an ensign in the 11th U.S. Infantry during the War of 1812.  I always thought an ensign was a Navy rank.

Using Wikipedia, I found that an ensign is a junior officer.  In olden times, this officer carried the flag, hence the name ensign.

The Army replaced ensigns with second lieutenant in the Army Organization Act of 1815.

In the Navy, the rank of ensign replaced Passed Midshipman in 1862.

So, Now I Know.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, September 22, 2014

200 Years Ago: British Establish Customs Office at Castine, District of Maine

SEPTEMBER 21, 1814:  This customs office was designated as the commercial headquarters of the occupied territory.

The announcement that trade with the enemy through Castine was music to the ears of the mercantile communities of Saint John, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia.  And since imports and exports through the Maine port were taxed, customs officials amassed a tidy 10,000 pounds in the eight short months they were there.

After the war, the British government directed that this "Castine Fund" must be used for public improvements in Nova Scotia, and it eventually covered the new library for the British garrison, and of Dalhousie College (now Dalhousie University).

New Brunswickers were consoled in November 1817 when a boundary commission appointed by the Treaty of Ghent awarded them most of the disputed Passamaquoddy islands and Grand Manan Island.

Ezra Dean was involved in making the border between Maine and New Brunswick.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ezra Dean and the Sept. 17, 1814, American Sortie at Fort Erie-- Part 3

From Wikipedia.

I was unable to find out exactly what Ezra Dean's brave and gallant service was at the battle, so looked up the battle and sortie to get an idea what Dean might have done.

The Battle of Fort Erie, Upper Canada, was one of the last and largest engagements of the War of 1812.


On September 15, the British completed work on their Battery No. 3 at the western end of their siege line against Fort Erie.  This battery would enable them to enfilade the American defenses of the fort.  They could not be allowed to stay in this new battery, so at noon September 17th, American Brigadier General Porter's force of volunteers from the militia and 23rd U.S. Infantry (Dean was in the 11th U.S. Infantry).

Altogether the force consisted of around 1600 men.  They moved along a trail that led behind the British fortifications under the cover of a heavy rain and surprised them, capturing Battery No. 3

At the same moment, recently promoted Brigadier General James Miller led a detachment from the 9th, 11th (Dean's unit) and 19th U.S. Infantry Regiments along a ravine and attacked the center of the British line.  Attacked from both front and back, the British in the center Battery No. 2 also were captured.

More to Come. --Brock-Perry

Friday, September 19, 2014

Ezra Dean's Brave Conduct At the Sortie-- Part 2

Ezra Dean was appointed an ensign in the Army at age 19.  (I thought ensign was a Navy rank.)    He received honors for his brave and gallant service at the September 17, 1814, sortie by Americans from  Fort Erie, Upper Canada.  He was also at the Battles of Chippawa and Bridgewater and his regiment was in the advance at Queenstown Heights later in September 1814.

All of this came before he was even at the age of 20.

At the close of the war, he was put in command of a revenue cutter in Lake Champlain for two years.

He resigned after that and was assigned to the corps of government engineers and spent several years establishing the boundary lines between Maine and the province of New Brunswick, Canada.


200 Years Ago: Part of British Invasion Force Leaves Maine

SEPTEMBER 18TH, 1814:  Half of the British invasion force departs from the District of Maine for Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ezra Dean's Brave Conduct at Yesterday's Sortie-- Part 1

From Find-A-Grave.

I accidentally came upon this name earlier this week while writing about the song "Lorena" in my Saw the Elephant Civil War blog.  "Lorena" was  a poem written by Henry DeLafayette Webster about his broken engagement to the love of his life Ella who later married an Ohio lawyer and Ohio Supreme Court justice.

She is buried at Woodland Cemetery in Ironton, Ohio.  When I went to the cemetery side on Find-A-Grave, I went through the notable burials and came across Ezra Dean's name who received a promotion to lieutenant in the American Army on October 11, 1814,  for his gallant service at the Battle of Fort Erie in Upper Canada (Ontario).

Further research showed his gallantry took place on the September 17th sortie against the British.

He had been appointed an ensign in the 11th U.S. Infantry earlier in the war.

After the war, he was elected a U.S. representative from Ohio's 18th District and served 1841-1845.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

American Sortie at Fort Erie 200 Years Ago Today.

September 17, 1814:  American attack of the British artillery batteries besieging Fort Erie, Upper Canada.

Heavy autumn rains made life miserable for the poorly sheltered British and Canadians besieging Fort Erie.  Sickness decimated their ranks.  On September 16th, Lt. Governor Gordon Drummond decided to end the siege, but the next day, the Americans attacked the British batteries.

After a fierce two hour battle, the Americans fell back to the fort.

Each side lost about 500 men.


Attack on Fort Bowyer (Mississippi Territory)

SEPTEMBER 15, 1814:  Unsuccessful British on American Fort Bowyer.  Two British sloops and a detachment of Royal Marines from Pensacola attacked the fort at the mouth of Mobile Bay, near where Fort Morgan of Civil War fame stands today.


John Cassin, USN-- Part 3

Near the turn of the century, it became necessary to increase the size of the U.S. Navy because of the Barbary Pirates and other threats to American shipping.  That meant, officers and sailors were needed.

John Cassin enlisted in the Navy as a lieutenant and on April 6, 1806, was promoted to master commandant and became the second to command the Washington Navy Yard.  On July 3, 1812, he became a captain, the then'highest naval rank.

In the War of 1812, he initially led naval forces in Delaware for the protection of Philadelphia and later became commanding officer of the Norfolk Navy Yard from August 10, 1812, to June 1, 1821.  On that date he became the commanding officer of the Southern Naval Station at Charleston, South Carolina.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

John Cassin, USN-- Part 2

From Find-A-Grave

John Cassin was born July 9, 1760 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and died March 24, 1822 in Charleston, S.C., and is buried at St. Mary of the Annunciation Cemetery in that city.

Cassin was a commodore in the U.S. Navy and fought in the Army during the American the Battle of Trenton.  On June 27, 1782, he became first mate on the Pennsylvania privateer Mayflower.  After the war he became a merchant seaman and was shipwrecked twice.

George Washington was a close personal friend of his and gave him a portrait but unfortunately, it was destroyed in a fire.


Monday, September 15, 2014

A Star-Spangled Celebration-- Part 2

There was a fire works display Saturday and Friiday, President Obama visited Fort McHenry and saw an original manuscript of the poem.

This weekend is the anniversary of the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812's Battle of Baltimore on Sept. 13-14, 1814.  At dawn on the 14th, Francis Scott Key was pretty proud to see the U.S. flag flting high and proud over the fort.  Being an amateur poet, he was moved to put his feelings down on paper.

Key was on a British ship at the time, part of an American delegation negotiating for the release of a prisoner.  He and the others were kept aboard a British ship until after the battle as they had learned of British plans.  They were allowed to return to Baltimore on Sept. 14 and he wrote the poem "Defence of Fort McHenry," which he published on Sept. 20, 1814.

And Jose Was Never the Same Afterwards.  --Brock-Perry

A Star-Spangled Celebration-- Part 1

From the September 14, 2014, Chicago Tribune "Unflagging tribute to battle and U.S. anthem" by Michael Muskal.

Americans celebrated this weekend as it was the 200th anniversary of the British attack on Baltimore's Fort McHenry which gave rise to the nation's National Anthem as written by Francis Scott Key and later put to music of a British song praising drinking and sex.

"Oh, say what?"

"Yes, the song that has been the nation's musical glue through war and peace and the song that has been the bane of singers of all ages and creeds and led to performances, both tragic and mesmerizing, yes, that songs is celebrating a milestone birthday."

And, Baltimore, the birthplace of the anthem, is having a celebratory even drawing lots of tourists and is in the middle of its seven-day "Star-Spangled Spectacular," with tall ships, re-enactments and fire works.  Hey, it was the "Rockets' Red Flare" after all.  By the way, back then these were Congreve Rockets, by the way.


Rutherford Rifle Returns to Hampton-- Part 2

Ensign James Banks, in a letter written in September 1813, wrote, "On the morning of the 25th of June last, when the alarm was given, I left my commission (rifle) in my tent and consequently, it fell into the hands of the Enemy."

It was another 150 years before the rifle was returned to America, stamped with the mark of the 115th Regiment which fought at Hampton.  However, historians can't be sure this is the same rifle Ensign Banks wrote about.  Either way, it is one of the few remnants still left from the battle.

The Hampton History Museum opened in 2003 and borrowed it from Richmond, Virginia, collector B. Giles Cromwell and is now on permanent exhibit.

Mike Cobb, curator of the museum, said, "The story is the odyssey.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Rutherford Rifle Returns to Hampton-- Part 1

From the July 25, 2004, Hampton Roads (Va,) Daily Press by Sanhita Sen.

On June 25, 1813, Hampton, Virginia, was under attack.  Cannons were firing and Congreve rockets filled the air.  It was 500 "loosely trained" Virginia militia facing 2,500 seasoned British.

But, the Americans had 75 Rutledge rifles which were far superior to the British muskets.  Even so, the Americans were still defeated.  The American commander, Captain Richard Servant, made every effort to take the 75 Rutledge rifles off the field, but, evidently, one eluded him.