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 Revolution.at 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.


Friday, September 12, 2014

200 Years Ago: Battle of North Point and Bombardment of Baltimore

SEPTEMBER 11, 1814:    British capture Fort O'Brien and Machias, District of Maine.

SEPTEMBER 12-15, 1814:  Also the death of British Major General Robert Ross.

After sacking Washington, D.C., British commanding officer Robert Ross led a force of roughly 4,000 men north to Baltimore.  On 12 September, during the Battle of North Point, Ross was mortally wounded;  Colonel Arthur Brooke then assumed command and defeated Brigadier General John Stricker's 3,200 American troops.

The British advanced until they came upon recently prepared fortifications around Baltimore.  Judging the defenses too strong to be attacked, the British withdrew.

Meanwhile, Vice-Admiral Alexander Cochrane led an unsuccessful naval attack on Fort McHenry.  The spectacle inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner."

As for Ross. his comrades preserved his body in rum and sent it to Halifax, Nova Scotia, for burial, where his remains received a hero's welcome.


John Cassin, USN-- Part 1

Earlier this week I wrote about the Battle of Newport News Point and mentioned the commander of the Norfolk Navy Yard, John Cassin.  I have a great interest on Pearl Harbor and remembered the famous photo of the destroyers Cassin and Downes wrecked in the drydock with the USS Pennsylvania after the attack.  Was this USS Cassins named after John Cassin..

It turns out it wasn't, it was named after his son, Stephen.


Battle of Craney Island Bicentennial Mural in Portsmouth, Virginia

From 2013 WAVY TV.com, NBC.

Cedar Grove Cemetery on Effingham Street in Portsmouth has the graves of 47 War of 1812 veterans and a mural is being painted along the cemetery wall depicting Captain Arthur Emmerson leading his soldiers to victory at the Battle of Craney Island.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Give Back on 9/11: Charities Honoring Those Who Died

From the Sept. 7, 2014, Parade Magazine.

These three charities honor victims of the attacks.

THE BETTY ANN ONG FOUNDATION:  Established in memory of a flight attendant on Flight 11, helps overweight kids gain confidence and lead healthier lives.

THE SHELLEY A. MARSHALL FOUNDATION:  Funds nursing home tea parties, children's story hours and other events to commemorate Marshall, who worked in the Pentagon.

THE MICHAEL LYNCH MEMORIAL FOUNDATION:  Had granted $4.6 million in scholarships in honor of Lynch. a New York firefighter who died in the south tower.

9-11, 200 Years Ago: Battle of the Bay of Plattsburg, New York

On this 13th anniversary of the tragedy of 9-11, another event took place in American history which was indeed a turning-point.  The Battle of Plattsburgh (Plattsburg) and Battle of Lake Champlain in New York.

Governor General Sir George Prevost's Lake Champlain Campaign, begun in late August 1814, culminated in a joint land and naval assault on Plattsburg, New York.

Complying with Prevost's orders, Captain George Downie sailed his squadron of ships into Lake Champlain to engage Captain Thomas Macdonough's fleet anchored in Plattsburg Bay.  Adverse winds prevented Downie's ships from maneuvering into position and put them in close range of the damaging U.S. broadsides.

Downie was killed and after fierce fighting, the British fleet surrendered.

Meanwhile, Prevost, commanding 10,351 of the Duke of Wellington's veterans, made a brief attack on Brigadier General Alexander Macomb's force of roughly 3,000 men, but quickly withdrew his troops to Lwer Canada.

The humiliating and costly defeat for the British resulted in Prevost being recalled to England to explain his actions.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

200 Years Ago: Ship of the Line HMS St. Lawrence Launched on Great Lakes

SEPTEMBER 9TH, 1814:  A British flotilla gathers near Chazy, New York, on Lake Champlain.  The pivotal Battle of Plattsburg was the two days later.

SEPTEMBER 10TH, 1814:  Launch of the ship of the line HMS St. Lawrence, the largest warship on the Great Lakes in the Age of Sail, at Kingston, Upper Canada.

The contest for supremacy on the Great Lakes continued to intensify as the British and American navies raced to construct the most powerful fleets.  Commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo gained undisputed control of
Lake Ontario in October when he sailed out of Kingston in his new flagship, the HMS St. Lawrence, launched this day.

It was a three-decked warship mounting 102 cannons.  This was a viable counter to three U.S. ships being built at Sackets Harbor.

The St. Lawrence epitomized the "shipbuilders war" and the extraordinary logistical and financial investments by the British since almost all materials and ordnance used to build warships at Kingston came across the Atlantic Ocean from England to Quebec City and Montreal, Lower Canada.  From there, supplies were transported by bateaux up the St. Lawrence River.


Battle Off Newport News-- Part 4

On Gunboat No. 139, a master's mate from the USS Constellation was killed by a cannonball.  Several of the other boats reported wounded as well as damaged oars and rigging.

Norfolk residents were awakened by this dawn battle and went to the waterfront to watch the action.

Having regular Navy men on the gunboats made a big difference in their handling and firing. (Evidently, the gunboats were usuallu manned by militia.)

Captain Joseph Tarbell broke off the action at 6 a.m..

On the British side, one Royal Marine was killed and several sailors wounded.  American newspapers reported 70 casualties.  The HMS Junon had several hull hits and its sails and rigging cut up.  Its commander, James Sanders ordered a pursuit, but the American gunboats got over the shoals and the British ship stopped.


Battle Off Newport News Point-- Part 3

Meanwhile the HMS Junon had become separated from the other British ships by a mile.  On the 19th, Cassin sent his gunboats out again, this time under the command of Captain Joseph Tarbell.

The gunboats split into two divisions and struggled against squalls, adding hours to the operation.  By the next morning, Tarbell was 3/4 mile from the Junon and opened fire, hitting the British ship four times in its hull.  The British ship was caught completely by surprise.

It slipped its cable to escape, but became becalmed, but the wind returned, turning the tables and the rest of the British fleet began sailing to aide the Junon.  The gunboats were outgunned, but fought on valiantly for more than an hour.

One American said his boat was hit three times and he counted "six or seven hundred shot" from the enemy guns.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Battle Off Newport News Point-- Part 2

The American gunboats were shoal draft coastal ships (so they could go in shallow water) about 65-feet long and mounted 2-3 guns.  The use of oars enabled them to maneuver even in calm winds.  When Thomas Jefferson started to go with these ships to do the Navy's fighting, he started mothballing our super frigates.

Even so, Jefferson's gunboats were called "Bulldogs" and were poorly regarded.  Even militia refused to serve on them.  Many of the USS Constellation's men were reassigned to the gunboats after that frigate was bottled up behind the guns of Fort Norfolk and Fort Nelson by the British.

On June 18,  1813, the commandant of Gosport Navy Yard, John Cassin,  ordered 15 gunboats to go out past Craney Island where they drove off a flotilla of British attack barges that threatened two American sloops and a schooner.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Battle Off Newport News Point-- Part 1

From the June 19, 2013, Hampton Roads (Va.) Daily Press "War of 1812: Gunboats attack off Newport News Point" by Mark St. John Erickson.

Just one British ship of the line with 74 guns in Chesapeake Bay and even that had more firepower than all the American batteries defending the Elizabeth River.  At peak strength, the British had nearly a dozen of these ships as well as frigates, sloops and smaller ships.  Altogether there were nearly 100 British warships for the Americans to fight.

The small American fleet had 20 gunboats and the 38-gun frigate USS Constellation.

The frigate HMS Junon, 38 guns, ran aground and, seeing a target of opportunity, 15 gunboats left the James River on the night of June 19, 1813, using oars.

The small gunboats were ordered by President Thomas Jefferson and modeled after the small North African gunboats that had captured the frigate USS Philadelphia off Tripoli in 1903.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

200 Years Ago: British Forces Enter Plattsburg, New York

SEPTEMBER 6, 1814:  British forces enter Plattsburg, New York.

Also, a gale on Lake Erie drives the USS Caledonia ashore and caused afire which has significant damage before being extinguished.


Friday, September 5, 2014

200 Years Ago: Future American President Defeated at Rock Island, Illinois Territory

SEPTEMBER 5TH, 1814:  At Rock Island, Illinois territory, an American force led by Major Zachary Taylor is defeated by an alliance of Sac (Sauk), Fox, Kiikaapol (Kickapoo), Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) and Sioux led by Chief Black Hawk (Makataimeshekiakiak).

They were assisted by British Indian Department officers.

Definitely not the last time we hear from Chief Black Hawk.

Also on September 5th:  The British withdraw from Bangor and Hampden, District of Maine.

Good Thing Chicago's Hockey Team Isn't  Called the Makataimeshekiakiaks.  --Brock-Perry

Walker Keith Armistead

From Wikipedia.

(1785-1845)  Served as Chief of Engineering for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Born in Virginia and graduated from West Point in 1803.  In 1812, promoted to Lt.Col. and served as chief engineer on the Niagara Frontier Army and later forces defending the Chesapeake Bay.  Died Upperville, Virginia.

He had four brothers serving during the War of 1812 and is buried at the Armistead Family Cemetery in Upperville, Fauguier County, Virginia.

I wrote about him as the chief engineer at Fort Washington, defending the nation's capital on the Potomac River.His brother commanded Fort McHenry during the famous attack almost 200 years ago.

His son was Gen. Lewis Addison Armistead, CSA, killed leading his men at Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg, July 3, 1863.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

USS Scorpion II: Captured 200 Years Ago

From Wikipedia.

The USS Scorpion II was an 82-foot long schooner by 17-foot beam, mounting two cannons and launched in 1813 for service on the upper great Lakes.  At the time, it was commanded by Sailing Master Stephen Champlin, a first cousin of Oliver Hazard Perry.

On 10 September 1813, it was at the Battle of Lake Erie, firing the first and last shots of the engagement.  At the end of the battle, she and the USS Trippe pursued the fleeing British schooners Chippewa and Little Belt, capturing both.

The Little Belt had been an captured American ship, taken into British service.

Then, the Scorpion participated in Sinclair's Expedition before being captured by the British on September 6, 1814.  The Scorpion then was in British service.


There Were Two USS Scorpions in the War of 1812: USS Scorpion II

Yesterday, I posted about the capture of the USS Scorpion and did some research on the ship.

From Wikipedia.

The first USS Scorpion was not yesterday's ship that was captured.  The first one was not the one from yesterday.  It was a 48-foot, 18.2-foot beam carrying 26 crew and 4 guns described as a self-propelled floating artillery battery and schooner-rigged.

It was commissioned on September 1812 at Norfolk, Virginia.

In 1813, it joined the Potomac Flotilla and then was sent to Baltimore where it joined Commodore Joshua Barney's Chesapeake Bay Flotilla.  It retreated up Maryland's Patuxent River under the command of Major William B. Barney, the commodore's son, who was acting as captain.

On 21 August 1814, the Scorpion's crew marched to defend Washington, D.C. and the ship was burned to prevent capture.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

200 Years Ago: Seizure of the USS Tigress and Then the USS Scorpion

SEPTEMBER 3 and 4, 1814:  After the destruction of the British post on the Nottawasaga River and the schooner Nancy (during Sinclair's Expedition), Royal Navy Lt. Miller Worsley and his sailors escaped to Fort Mackinac which was blockaded by the Americans with two ships, the USS Tigress and USS Scorpion.

The Tigress was commanded by Stephen Champlin.

Worsley devised and executed a plan to capture the two armed vessels.  On Sept. 3, 1814, under the cover of darkness, he successfully boarded the Tigress with a contingent of seamen, soldiers and First Nations warriors.

Three days later, On Sept. 6th, he used the Tigress to seize the Scorpion.

Having lost the only British ship on the upper Great Lakes when the Nancy was destroyed, these two ships gave the British a small fleet on Lake Huron and reconnected Fort Mackinac with the upper Great Lakes supply route.


Fort Jennings Searched for War of 1812 Soldiers' Remains

From the June 21, 2013, Lima (Ohio).com. by Nancy Kliner.

Ohio State University volunteers using ground-penetrating radar in a third attempt at the site of Fort Jennings.

A monument to the War of 1812 soldiers buried here was put up in 1978, but, historians want it as close as possible to their graves.

Fort Jennings was part of a string of wooden forts built across northwest Ohio for defense and to serve as mustering points for attacks in 1812.  Hundreds of soldiers passed through the fort and records show that about a dozen died and were buried there.


Virginia's Fort Nelson

In the last post, I came across the name of a Fort Nelson, located across the Elizabeth River from Fort Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia.

From HMDB.

Fort Nelson, currently the site of Portsmouth Naval Hospital.  Built by Virginia in 1776, during the Revolutionary War of timber and earth.  Three years later, the British fleet captured it and removed the artillery and tore down the parapets.  From 1779-1781, it was occupied by the British under Lord Cornwallis and Benedict Arnold.

The U.S. reconstructed it in 1799 of earth lined with brick.

The Confederates occupied the fort until the capture of Norfolk in 1862.


Unearthing a Secret from the War of 1812

From the June 21, 2013, Hampton Roads (Va.) Daily Press by Mark St. John Erickson.

Another of those informative articles by the War of 1812 expert (also pretty good on the Civil War).

In 2004, Williamsburg archaeologist Alain Outlaw got a chance to probe a long-lost piece of Fort Norfolk just two weeks in advance of a downtown waterfront development project.

The City of Norfolk demolished a giant early 20th century warehouse that had covered the site.

Outlaw unearthed the remains of a defensive palisade thrown up by the Virginia militia to protect the fort from land attack.  The palisade was built by troops under the command of Captain Walker K. Armistead, and Army Corps of Engineers officer.  A c. 1780s well was also found.

Earlier fortifications dating to the War of 1812 have been destroyed, including the defensive works on Craney Island and Fort nelson, across the Elizabeth River from Fort Norfolk, which still remains.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Laura Secord Honored with Coin

From the June 21, 2013, MENAFN.com "War of 1812 hero Laura Secord commemorated on Royal Canadian Mint 25-cent circulating coin."

Some 12.5 million were made.


Put-in-Bay Museum Honors Perry's Victory

From the June 22, 2013, Sanduskey (Ohio) Register by Alissa Widman.

The Lake Erie Islands Historical Society Museum has several exclusive War of 1812 exhibits about the September 10, 1813, naval fight known as the Battle of Lake Erie.

One is a "fire bucket" used by Perry to extinguish small fires.  Another is a blue ceramic platter showing Sanduskey's booming shoreline in the 1800s.

There are also objects from the original USS Lawrence, Perry's initial flagship.  Put-in-Bay is where Perry waited for the battle and sailed out to engage the British fleet.


DeCew House and the Battle of Beaverdam-- Part 2

Had Laura Secord not warned of the Americans coming, the battle might have gone the other way and been a British loss.

After the war, DeCew lived at the house with his family and operated a nearby mill at DeCew Falls.  He sold it in 1834.

The next owner lived there until 1942 when it was purchased by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario.

The original house burned down in 1950, but the lower stone walls were restored and a plaque installed to tell of its significance.

It is now a designated historic site.


DeCew House a Focal Point in the Battle of Beaverdam-- Part 1

From the June 22, 2013, Welland (Can.) Tribune by Jeff Blay.

Thorold, Canada.

The Battle of Beaverdam is best-known for Laura Secord's famous walk or the crucial effort of the Six nations' warriors who won the battle.    But the stone house used as British headquarters, now called the DeCew House, has its own story.

John  DeCew was captured at Fort George in May 1813 and was held as a prisoner of war in Philadelphia.

he had built the house, known as the site where Laura Secord warned British Lt. James Fitzgibbon of the American advance on his position prior to the battle.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Big Month for the Americans

I would kind of consider this a key turning point of the war for the United States, especially after the sacking and burning of Washington, D.C. a short time earlier.

The British were stopped at Baltimore by Fort McHenry and then, of course, Francis Scott Key wrote that poem which became a big song for the country.

The British were also stopped at Mobile, Alabama and the Battle of Plattsburgh/Lake Champlain.

These setbacks were paramount to the British deciding to stop the war at Ghent, Belgium.


USS Wasp vs. HMS Avon

On September 1, 1814, three was a battle off the coast of England between the sloop USS Wasp and sloop HMS Avon.  The Wasp won, but was unable to take the Avon as a prize because of the arrival of other British warships.

However, the badly battered Avon sank before the British could secure it.


200 Years Ago: USS Wasp Captures HMS Avon, British Plattsburg Campaign Begins


The USS Wasp captures the HMS Avon.

The British capture Castine, Maine.

The British Army, with a force of over 10,000 men and led by Governor General Sir George Prevost, begin crossing the border into New York on their way to Plattsburg.