Thursday, April 30, 2015

Georgia in the War of 1812: British Blockade-- Part 1

From New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Because of the British blockade on all French ports during the Napoleonic Wars, Britain was in dire need of ships and sailors.  They seized American ships suspected of trading with France and impressed seamen.

Georgia's long coastline and many  prosperous ports made it an ideal target for the British.  During the American Revolution, the state's coast had been largely under British control,  And now, during this second war with England, Georgia would again become a traget, especially the port and city of Savannah.

Sadly for Georgia, the U.S. government regarded the state as a backwater and never did much to defend it.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Old Fort Jackson

Construction of this fort began around 1808 and it was partially finished by the time of the War of 1812.  It protected Savannah from British attack, but none ever came.

It was manned by several units of local militia as well as regular U.S. troops.

It was essentially abandoned for many years after the construction of the much larger Fort Pulaski further downriver.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Old Fort Jackson

In a sort time we will be visiting Savannah's Old Fort Jackson, located about a mile downriver from the old city.  It was built during the War of 1812, but never saw action.

During the Civil War, it likewise never fired a shot, but acted as the headquarters for the river defense of the city and had the ironclad CSS Georgia tied up by it.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

War of 1812 in Georgia

The Creek War 1813-1814.

The British armed and encoraged the local Indians to do battle with the United States.  The Indians were only too happy to do that as it had become evident that the Americans wanted their land and planned to take it from them.  The Creek War took place primarily in Alabama-Georgia area.

On August 30, 1813, the Creeks attacked and destroyed Fort Mimms in Alabama which touched off a major U.S.-Creek confrontation.

U.S. Genera; John Floyd was ordered to build a string  of forts in Georgia from whence to protect the state and attack the Creeks.  He did so starting in September 1813 when he attacked into Alabama from Fort Mitchell on the Chattahoochee River.

Fighting continued into 1814 when the Creeks were finally and decisvely defeated  by Genereal Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.


Friday, April 24, 2015

War of 1812 in Georgia

From New Georgia Encyclopedia.

For the most part, Georgia's role in the War of 1812 has been overshadowed.  But, its coastline and extensive frontier area did become aspects of the war.

There were three main theaters of action:

1.  The Creek War (1813-1814

2.  The British Blockade

3.  The British occupation of St. Marys and Cumberland Island 1814-1815.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Frederick, Md., Honors War of 1812 and Civil War With Interpretive Markers

From the April 5, 2015, Frederick (Md) News-Post  "Interpretive Unveiling slated for Bell & History Day (April 11th) to Honor Various "Fredericktonians Under the Flag."

The Steiner House at 368 W. Patrick Street will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m... It was constructed in 1808 and the Steiner family played important roles in both the War of 1812 and the Civil War.

The "Home of the Brave" is at Mt. Olivet Cemetery where nearly 38,000 are buried.  One of these people is Francis Scott Key  there are also 108 War of 1812 veterans buried there.

A recent grant from the Star-Spangled 200 (Md.) Bicentennial Commission helped fund the granite/bronze veteran markers at four interpretive waysides.

Three of these will be unveiled at 3 p.m. the n there will be a walking tour of War of 1812 and Civil War graves.  These will include Key, Barbara Fritchie and Southerners buried in Confederate Row.


Monday, April 20, 2015

USS/HMS Linnet

From Wikipedia.

The Linnet was a 16-gun brig built for the Royal Navy in 1814 at Ile aux Noix.  Originally named the Niagara, the name was changed.  It was captured at the Battle of Lake Champlain, but never sailed again.  Sold in 1825.

It was 82-feet long and had a crew of 99.

At the Battle of Lake Champlain, it engaged the American brig USS Eagle, 18 guns, and did much damage to her until Macdonough's flagship, the Saratoga raked it causing the Linnet to strike its colors.  The Linnet lost 10 killed and 15 wounded in the action.  It was taken into American service, but not used because of the end of the war.


USS Allen

The USS Allen was a 70-foot long row galley with a crew of 40 mounting two cannons.   It was built in Vergennes, Vermont, by Adam and Noah Brown and commissioned in the summer of 1814 under the command of sailing master William M. Robbins.

it was apart of Commodore Thomas Macdonough's Lake Champlain squadron and took part in the Battle of Lake Champlain.


Wrecks of HMS Linnet and USS Eagle Found in 1981

In 1981, underwater exploration found the wrecks of the HMS Linnet, a row galley, and the USS Eagle.  The USS Allen was discovered near the Eagle.  It and five other row galleys were built in Vergennes, Vermont in the spring of 1814.

In 1815, after the war, the U.S. Navy tried to sell them, but only received low bids and the sale was cancelled.  They were sunk in the cold waters for preservation.

Only the USS Allen was kept in service for patrol and survey, which lasted until 1825 when it was laid up at the mouth of the Poultney River with other War of 1812 vessels.

Only the ship bottoms remain.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

List of British Prison Hulks-- Part 2

This is taken from the much-longer Wikipedia list which covers all hulks.  I went through the list and pulled out just the ones that served the purpose during the War of 1812 (1812-1815).

I also found that many of them ceased to be prison hulks in 1816, after the War of 1812 and the Napoleonic Wars were over.

Glorze--  1814-1817, Bermuda.  16-gun sloop-of-war commissioned 1798.
Hector--  1808-1816  73-gun 3rd Rate SOL, built 1774.
Justitia--  1812-1830
Laurel--  1798-1821

Oiseau--  1810-1816
Portland--  18012-1817
Prothee--  1795-1815
Prudent--  1779-1814

Success--  1814-1820
Temeraire--  1812-1814
Vengeance--  1808-1816


A Revolutionary Prison Hulk, the HMS Jersey

Of interest, I was watching the AMC TV show "Turn" about spies and there was mention of Americans being sent to the British prison ship Jersey and the remark made that this would be like a death sentence.  This of even more interest since I am doing some research and writing about British prison hulks right now.

The HMS Jersey was on the Wikipedia list I used for the last post.

HMS JERSEY--  1776-1783, stationed at New York.  60-gun 4th Rate ship-of-the-line built 1763 at Plymouth.  Most noted for service as a prison hulk in the American Revolution.

Abandoned at New York in 1783.

Someone was doing their homework at the show.

Home Bad Home on Those Hulks.  --Brock-Perry

List of British Prison Hulks-- Part 1

List of British Prison Hulks from Wikipedia.

These were used quite extensively by the English.  they were most often decommissioned warships.  These were all ships used during the War of 1812.

Antigua--  1804-1816
Bellerophon--  1815-1824
Belliqueux--  1814-1816
Canada--  1810-1834 at Chatham.  74-gun Third Rate ship-of-the-line commissioned 1765.

Crown--  1798-1802, 1806-1815 in Portsmouth, 64-gun ship-of-the-line (SOL)
Defiance--  1813-1817, 74-gun SOL commissioned 1783.
Edgar--  1814-1835, 74-gun Third Class SOL commissioned 1779.  renamed Retribution in 1814.
Fortitude--  1795-1820 at Chatham 74-gun, Third Rate SOL

Gelykeid--  1807-1814
Glory--  1809-1814, 90-gun Second Rate SOL


Friday, April 17, 2015

HMS Crown

From Wikipedia.

The last entry had the Americans transferred to the Crown Prince.  I came across no listing for an HMS Crown Prince, but there was one for an HMS Crown, which most likely was the one they were on.

It was launched 15 Match 1782 at Blackwell Yard and was a 54-gun, 160-foot 3rd rate ship-of-the-line.  It became a prison ship in 1798 and was broken up in 1816.

It was a prison ship in 1798, a powder hull from 1802-1806 then a prison ship in 1806 before being put into ordinary in 1815.  Broken up in 1816.


A Prisoner of the British-- Part 5

The Americans were transferred to the Crown Prince which also held French prisoners and was moored at Gillingham Reach.  The American seamen on the Crown Prince had chiefly been impressed by the British before the war, but once it began, they gave themselves up as POWs, refusing to serve.

The British also didn't want them getting out and serving in the U.S. Navy.


HMS Malabar

From Wikipedia.

Yesterday, in Part 4 of Prisoner of the British, the American was placed on the storeship Malabar upon arrival in England.

The HMS Malabar was commissioned in 1804 and was a 56 gun 5th rate warship, previously the East Indiaman Cuvera.  It was purchased by the British government in 1804 and rebuilt as a 20-gun store ship in 1806.  It was renamed the HMS Cotomandel in 1815 and transported convicts to Australia in 1819.

From 1828-1853 it served as a prison in Bermuda and was broken up in 1853.


Benjamin Waterhouse

From Wikipedia.

Benjamin Waterhouse (March 4, 1754 to October 2, 1846)  Physician and Co-founder of Harvard Medical School.

I am writing about him here because of his name being on the book I have been using for the British prisoner entries.  These were not his experiences, however.

Waterhouse is also known as the first American doctor to test the smallpox vaccine, which he did on his own family.

During the War of 1812, he served in the U.S. Army, before the military designation of physician carried a rank.  He held the position of "Hospital Surgeon."  In 1818, he was promoted to the rank of "Post Surgeon" and was honorably discharged in 1821.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Swiss Regiment de Meuron Serving in British Army

From Wikipedia.

I looked this regiment was the one transported to Canada on the HMS Regulus who left all those fleas for the Americans so I determined to find out information about them.

The Regiment de Meuron was organized in Switzerland in 1781.  For the most part, it sounded to me as if they were mercenaries.  They served with the Dutch East India Company and they were named for their commander, Colonel Charles-Daniel de Meuron.

While in the service of the Dutch, evidently they stopped getting paid and then entered service with the British (who were in conflict with the Dutch at the time).  The regiment fought in the Napoleonic Wars before being posted to Canada in the War of 1812.


HMS Regulus

From Wikipedia.

The prisoners were transported across the Atlantic Ocean from Canada aboard the flea-infested HMS Regulus.

It was a wooden 5th rate, 44-gun frigate launched in 1785 and converted to a troopship in 1793.  It served in the Egyptian Campaign in 1801 and was broken up in 1816.

On 10 August 1813 the Regulus sailed with the Dover and Melpomere for Quebec with men from Regiment De Meuron on board.  These would have been the ones with the fleas.

On 23 August 1813, the Melpmere and Regulus arrived at Halifax with 500 American prisoners aboard.  They had sailed from Quebec in 14 days.

These last two dates do not make sense as, if Halifax is not the one in Nova Scotia, Canada, this would mean that both legs of the Atlantic crossing were completed in 13 days.  Plus, the prisoner account says the Regulus left on September 1, 1813.


A Prisoner of the British-- Part 4: Lots and Lots of Fleas

On September 1, 1813, 100 prisoners were sent to England on the HMS Regulus, a 44-gun frigate.  The ship had previously brought British troops to America who had been so kind as to leave a "myriad of fleas...When you killed one, twenty would seem to rise up in his place."

The ship arrived off Portsmouth and then were placed aboard the Malabar, a store ship.  All told, there were now 250 men in a space designed for 100.  Conditions rapidly went from bad to worse.  They then went to Chatham on the Medway River, a naval station with a lot of prison ships.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Prisoner of the British-- Part 3: " Negroes"

Some 200 French prisoners were held in or on the Nova Scotia (not sure if this is a prison ship or Canadian province) some since as far back as 1803.

The daily allowance of Britain for its prisoners was one pound of bread, one pound of beef and one gill (1/4 pint) of peas.  Prisoners received coffee, sugar, potatoes and tobacco from American agents.

Conditions on the prison ships declined horribly after the arrival of American prisoners.

The person the book was about (Henry Torey?) was captured in Upper canada at some creek between Fort George and Little York.  he was then force marched to Montreal, and from there to Quebec and "crowded then on board transports like negroes in a Guinee ship."


A Prisoner of the British-- Part 2

He was later interned at the infamous Dartmoor Prison and was there at the Massacre of American prisoners on April 6, 1815.

Who wrote it?  Benjamin Waterhouse,  a pioneer physician, would have been 59 at this time. Probably too old for the rigors of life aboard a ship.

There are some who think the author might be Henry Torey, 21, from Massachusetts


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Prisoner of the British-- Part 1

"A Prisoner of the British: The Journal of a Prisoner of War in the War of 1812" by Benjamin Waterhouse.  Friendly Press, 2010, 260 pages.

This is an account originally published in 1816 with the rather long title of "A Journal of a Young Man of Massachusetts, Late a Surgeon on Board an American Privateer Who Was Captured at Sea by the British."  This was an account of the author's experiences.

He was first held at Melville Island, Halifax, then on a prison ship in Chatham, England.

One account I have read had Major Watson, who is buried here in McHenry County and whom I have written about in other entries, both here and in my Cooter's History Blog as he was also a Revolutionary War veteran., being held there.    Click labels to find out his interesting history.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Dartmoor Prison in Britain-- Part 5: After the War of 1812

Dartmoor Prison was closed, but reopened in 1851 as a civilian prison and operated until 1917 when it became the Home Office Work Centre for conscientious objectors during World War I.  It reopened in 1920 containing some of Britain's worst offenders.

The Dartmoor Mutiny occurred on 24 January 1932, when inmates took over the prison.

In 2001, Dartmoor was converted into a Class C prison for less violent offenders and continues to operate to this day.


Dartmoor Prison in Britain-- Part 4: The Americans Rebel

On April 4, 1815, problems began with a food contractor attempting to pass off damaged hardtack for soft bread.  This helped touch off an insurrection which the prison's commandant suspected to be a cover for a breakout.

On the 6th, a hole was discovered from one of the five prisons to the yard and fighting commenced.  Some 60 people were wounded, 30 of them seriously.  Seven Americans died, including a 14-year-old.

A memorial has since been erected to the 271 American POWs (mostly died of diseases) buried on the prison grounds.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dartmoor Prison in Britain-- Part 3: Impatient Americans

From 1813 to March 1815, some 6.500 American sailors were imprisoned at Dartmoor.  They were both naval prisoners and impressed Americans seamen who had been discharged from British vessels for refusing to fight.

Even though this was a British prison and they were in charge, these inmates had a lot of say concerning what went on there.  They had their own government and culture.  Courts meted out punishment.  There was even a market, theater and gambling room.

About 1,000 of them were black.

The prisoners heard about the Treaty of Ghent and expected immediate release, but the British refused parole until the U.S. government ratified the treaty (which happened on 17 February 1815.  It took several weeks for the Americans at home to procure ships for prisoner transport home and this is when problems began.


Dartmoor Prison in Britain-- Part 2: Built to House French Prisoners

Construction on the new prison at Dartmoor started in 1808 and took three years to complete.  In 1809 the first French prisoners arrived and were later joined by American POWs from the War of 1812.  At one point, there were more than 6,000 prisoners at Dartmoor.

Many died and were buried on the moor.

Both wars ended in 1815 and repatriations began.  After the last ones left, Dartmoor remained empty until 1850.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

200 Years Ago: End of the "Shipbuilders' War"

I would have written about this yesterday, but we had no internet after the storms of Thursday.

American Commodore Isaac Chauncey and General Jacob Brown visit Kingston, Upper Canada.  They visit Commodore Sir Edward Campbell Rich Owen at the site of Britain's main naval establishment on the Great Lakes and home port of the Lake Ontario Squadron.

The trip cumulated with a social gathering aboard the British flagship, the ship-of-the-line HMS St. Lawrence after which Chauncey was honored with a 13-gun salute.

The event symbolized the end of the "Shipbuilders' War" on Lake Ontario and presaged the demilitarization of the Great Lakes formalized by the 1817 Rush-Bagot Agreement which continues to this day.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dartmoor Prison in Britain-- Part 1: The Need for a New Prison

From Wikipedia.

HM Prison Dartmoor.

Still a prison rated Category C, located in Princetown, County of Devon.

In 1805, the British were at war with Napoleonic France and many prisoners were captured.  Many of these were house in "hulks" which were derelict ships.  This was an unsafe situation due to the ships' close proximity to the Royal Navy Dockyard at Devonport called Plymouth Dock.

In addition, the living conditions on those hulks were horrible.

A new prison was planned for remote Dartmoor.


200 Years Ago: The Dartmoor Riots

APRIL 6, 1815:  American naval prisoners, mostly from privateers or pressed men who refused to fight against the United States, riot in Dartmoor Prison in Southwest Great Britain.

Frustrated in the delay of the repatriation and harsh living conditions, the unruly prisoners of war are fired on by British guards.  Seven Americans are killed and 31 wounded.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Fort Madison, Iowa-- Part 3: Preservation

Early settlers built their homes around the former fort and a town grew up, taking the fort's name.  A large monument was erected in the 20th century on the fort's former location.

An archaeological excavation in 1965 exposed the fort's central blockhouse and the foundations of the officers' quarters.  These were now under the parking lot of the Scheaffer Pen Company.

It was listed on the NRHP in 1973 and a replica fort was built several blocks away with much of the labor coming from Iowa State Penitentiary inmates.

The Fort Madison site is now the subject of preservation efforts and buying the land is a great start.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fort Madison, Iowa-- Part 2: War of 1812

The Army set out to build a fort near the mouth of the Des Moines River and the first one built was originally called Fort Belleview, but was poorly located and attacked by Indians often.  Several times, they laid siege to it before the War of 1812.  After the war began, the Indians again laid siege to it in September 1812 when Black Hawk claimed that he had shot down the fort's flag.

As the war expanded, the British-allied Sauk Indians and other tribes determined to push the Americans out and reclaim the Upper Mississippi River for themselves.

Beginning in July 1813, they attacked the fort and again laid siege to it..  It went on for weeks before the Americans defending the fort decided they had to abandon it.  They succeeded in the dark by way of a trench to the river where they boarded boats and made good their escape.


Fort Madison, Iowa-- Part 1: Where and What Is Fort Madison

From Wikipedia.

The Original Fort Madison 1808-1813.

The City of Fort Madison, Iowa, located in the southeastern corner of the state, was built around the former United States fort.  It was the first United States permanent fortification built on the Upper Mississippi River.

Named after the 4th President of the United States, James Madison, it was the site of Chief Black Hawk's first battle against United States troops and the only real War of 1812 battle fought west of the Mississippi. In addition, it is the site of the first of the first U.S. military cemetery in the Upper Midwest.

Fort Madison was one of three posts established by the U.S. Army to control the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase and built to regulate trade and pacify the Indian tribes of the area.  The other two were Fort Bellefontaine, near St. Louis, built to control the mouth of the Missouri River, and Fort Osage near present-day Kansas City.


Friends of Old Fort Madison Set to Purchase Battlefield in Iowa

From the March 26, 2015, KHQA, Iowa News.

Fort Madison, Iowa.

The friends of Old Fort Madison have agreed to purchase a War of 21812 battlefield in Fort Madison.

This is accomplished partly because of a $50,000 deal struck with the Archaeological Conservancy organization, a preservation group that has historical sites throughout the United States.

The original Fort Madison was completed in 1811 near the former site of the Sheaffer Pen Company factory.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Nearly Life-Size Replica of the HMS General Hunter Being Built-- Part 2

Recovery efforts have been led by Ken Cassavoy.

Bruce County has set aside $100,000 over a three-year period to help cover the HMS General Hunter exhibit and gun deck.

Visitors will be able to walk on the ship's deck and get a sense of history.  When finished, the deck will be forty feet long, sixteen feet short of the original 56 feet,


Nearly Life-Size Replica of HMS General Hunter Being Built-- Part 1

From the January 15, 2012, Owen Sound (Canada) Suntimes "HMS General Hunter" by Willy Watertown.

A nearly life-size replica of the ship is being built at Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre in Southampton to mark the 200th anniversary of the ship and the War of 1812.  It is expected to take 24 volunteers six months to complete the brig's battle-ready deck, complete with a towering mainmast.

The museum also has a General Hunter and War of 1812 exhibit scheduled to open June 19th.

The General Hunter was built in 1806 at Amherstburg and was used as a provincial marine transport and took part in several War of 1812 actions.  It was wrecked during a storm on the Southampton Beach in August 1816, while an American ship.


Saturday, April 4, 2015

War of 1812's HMS General Hunter-- Part 5

In an 1816 letter from a U.S. general said that two boats were sent to salvage whatever they could and then set fire to whatever remained.

What was left after that was eventually covered by sand and forgotten.

The oak hull is in good shape.


War of 1812's HMS General Hunter-- Part 4

At the Battle of Lake Erie, six British ships, including the General Hunter, engaged nine American ones and all were captured.

While in American hands, it is unclear if the General Hunter ever saw action again, but it did serve as a transport and the name was shortened to just Hunter.

Further research has shown that in 1816, the Hunter sailed from Michilimackinac to Detroit when it encountered a violent storm on Lake Huron and was thrown off course.  Its crew of eight, fearing for their lives "put the helm hard a weather and run her in head foremost: onto Southampton Beach.

Everyone aboard, including two passengers, survived.


Friday, April 3, 2015

War of 1812's HMS General Hunter-- Part 3

Part of a musket was found, a bayonet, an officer's walking stick, a wooden deadeye used in the ship's rigging and pieces of a shoe.  Also 194 ceramic shards from plates, cups, saucers, soup bowls and a tankard.

They eventually determine the ship wreck to be that of the HMS General Hunter.


War of 1812's HMS General Hunter-- Part 2

There was confusion as to what ship's remains had been found.  At first it was thought the shipwreck found on shore might be that of the merchant schooner Wenzell lost in 1798.

Preliminary examination of the remains in 2001 and 2002 revealed a mast step, a bracket to secure a mast to the bottom of the boat.  Also, 472 stones, weighing 10,246 pounds used a s ballast were found.

There was a full excavation in 2004.  because of its proximity to the water, a berm was built, but it collapsed and a second stronger one managed to hold Lake Huron's waters back.  Two hundred volunteers spearheaded by the Southampton Marine Heritage Society worked on the remains.

They found it to have been built of oak, 54 feet long at the keel and 18-foot wide with two masts.

In addition, they found a small cannon, 4 cannon balls that would have been used by larger pieces and military buttons from the Royal Newfoundland regiment.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, April 2, 2015

War of 1812's HMS General Hunter-- Part 1

From the Jan. 20, 2012, The Star (Canada) "War of 1812 fighting vessel HMS  General Hunter came to rest in Southampton, Ontario" by Kenneth Kidd.

There is a threadbare flag of red, white and blue of the British Red Ensign with the Union Jack at top and in the left-hand corner and surrounded by a sea of red is on loan from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.  And, it is no small flag either.  It is 8-foot by 10-foot, but was shortened at some point by four feet when a linen backing was put on it.

It was a war trophy, captured by Oliver Hazard Perry's fleet at the Battle of Lake Erie.  It was the flag flying on the HMS General Hunter that day.  Three years later, the ship was run ashore near Southampton's downtown in the midst of a bad storm.

In 2001, low water on Lake Huron and retreating ice exposed the tips of the General Hunter (also referred to as the Hunter).

At first, no one was sure what ship it was as there are some fifty other shipwreck sites in the area.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

HMS Hunter/General Hunter

From Wikipedia.

The Hunter was a ten gun brig manned for 45 crew.  Launched in 1812, it covered the British attack on Fort Shelby (by Detroit).

It was a part of the squadron Commander Robert Heriot Barclay led into the disastrous Battle of Lake Erie in September 1813 and was captured.

It was lost while serving the United States in 1816 in Lake Huron near the town of Southampton, Ontario,.  The wreck was discovered on the beach under sand in 2001.