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.