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.