Saturday, October 31, 2015

West Point's "Long Gray Line"

From "The War of 1812: A Complete Chronology."


The cadets at West Point receive gray uniforms to honor Army regulars who had worn gray at the Battle of Chippewa and Battle of Lundy's Lane in the War of 1812.

The West Point cadets still wear these uniforms and its cadets referred to as "The Long Gray Line."

"The Long Gray Line" refers today to the continuum of all graduates and cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point.  It is hard to find information about it as most searches lead to the 1955 movie of the same name starring Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara.


Friday, October 30, 2015

The War of 1812's USS Saranac

From War of 1812: A Complete Chronology.

While researching for the USS Saranac which went hunting for the Confederate raider CSS Shenandoah at the end of the Civil War, I came across a USS Saranac in the War of 1812.  I, however, was unable to find out much about it.

It was a brigantine laid down in 1814 and named after a river in New York that flowed into Lake Champlain, although it did not serve on the Great Lakes.  It was not completed in time to fight in the war and launched in 1815.  On June 20, 1815, it sailed from New York as part of Commodore Stephen Decatur's squadron, one of two squadrons sent to the Mediterranean Sea to deal with the Barbary Pirates in Algiers.

It was decommissioned in 1818.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Donna Davies Offers to Replace Washington Irving's Medallion Out of Pocket

From the October 25, 2015,  Lohud Journal News "Outpouring of support after vandalism at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery" by Kevin Phelan.

The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery posted on its Facebook page that the medallion had been stolen and this caused much outcry.  How could someone be so base as to do something like this?

One person, Donna Davies, even went so far as to say she would replace the medallion with money out of her pocket.

The medallion was installed in the last 15 years.  Cost to replace it is between $50 and $60.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

New York's Sleepy Hollow Cemetery-- Part 2

Other notables buried there:

Walter Chrysler 1875-1940.  Founder of Chrysler Corporation and had New York City's Chrysler Building built.

Francis Pharcellus Church 1839-1906.  Editor of the New York Sun who penned "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."

Samuel Gompers  1850-1924  Labor leader and founder of the American Federation of Labor.

Walter S. Gurnee  1805-1903.  Mayor of Chicago.  it would be interesting to find out how he ended up here.

William E. LeRoy 1818-1888.  U.S. Navy during the Civil War.

William Rockefeller  1841-1922.  The head of New York's Standard Oil Company.

Thomas J. Watson  1874-1956.  Transformed a small manufacturer of adding machines into IBM.

And There Are Lots More.  these Are Ones I Knew About or Found Interesting.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

New York's Sleepy Hollow Cemetery-- Part 1: Just in Time for Halloween

From the Cemetery site,

Last week I wrote about the War of 1812 medallion being stolen from Washington Irving's grave at this cemetery.

  I didn't know they had a cemetery there by that name.

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is in New York and is the final resting place of numerous historical figures.  One of the better-known is Washington Irving who wrote the famous "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."  The famous church from the story is next door.  The cemetery was listed on the NRHP in 2009.


Elizabeth Arden--  1878-1966--  cosmetics

Leo Baekland--  1863-1944--  Father of Plastic

Major Edward Bowes--  1874-1946--  early radio star and host of thhe Major Bowes' Amateur Hour

Andrew Carnegie--  1835-1919


Monday, October 26, 2015

Another New York City War of 1812 Fort: Fort Wood, the Base of the Statue of Liberty

From Wikipedia.

Fort Wood was a Second System fort constructed from 1809-1811 as a 12-pointed star fort to mount 24 guns. It was garrisoned and abandoned several times until 1847 and expanded to eventually mount 77 guns and hold a garrison of 350.

In 1849, it became a temporary immigration station.  It was regarrisoned 18 January 1861 as the Southern states began seceding.  After the war, it was placed in caretaker status.

In 1884, it was selected to be the base for the Statue of Liberty which was erected on the fort's center and dedicated 28 October 1886.  Fort Wood was reestablished November 1886 and occupied the rest of Bedloe's Island.  In 1899 it served as a recruiting center.  During World War I it was a coastal defense fort and depot.

In 1924, Fort Wood and the Statue of Liberty became a National Monument and in 1933 was transferred to the National Park Service.

The U.S. Army abandoned the post in 1927.

During World War II, the U.S. Coast Guard maintained an observation station on Old Fort Wood statue base.  After the war, all remaining military buildings were torn down.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Washington Irving's War of 1812 Service

From Wikipedia.

I didn't know Washington Irving served during the War of 1812 until yesterday's post, so had to find out more.  Good old Wiki to the rescue.  Best place to find out info fast.

Washington Irving had had success with his book "A History of New York" in 1809 and then became editor of Analectic Magazine where he wrote biographies of naval heroes like James Lawrence and Oliver Hazard Perry.  He was also among the first magazine editors to reprint a poem by Francis Scott Key titled "Defense of Fort McHenry."  And, we all know what happened to that poem.

Like many merchants (his family had a prosperous business) and New Yorkers, he opposed the War of 1812 as it hurt business.  But when the British attacked and sacked Washington, D.C. in 1814, that convinced him to enlist.  As I have written about earlier this month, after the attacks on Washington and Baltimore, New York folks believed they were next to have a British visit.

Irving served on the staff of Daniel Tomkins, governor of New York, and commander of the state's militia.  Apart from a reconnaissance mission to the Great Lakes region, he saw no action.

The war proved a disaster for many merchants, including his family.  In mid-1815, he went to England to attempt to salvage the family's trading business.  He remained in Europe for the next 17 years.


Friday, October 23, 2015

War of 1812 Medallion Stolen from Washington Irving's Grave in Sleepy Hollow

From the October 22, 2015, Iohud Journal News by Kevin Phelam.

A bronzed War of 1812 veteran medallion was stolen from Washington Irving's grave in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.  It happened some time between the beginning of October and now, according to Jim Logan, superintendent of the cemetery.

It is just one example of rude behavior lately plaguing the cemetery partly because of the influx of visitors during the Halloween season.

Wonder Why?  Sleepy Hollow, Like "Boo!"  --Brock-Perry

Register of Officers and Graduates of USMA Class of 1806-- Part 5

23.  ROBERT LUCAS--  Died during the War of 1812 at French Mills, New York.

24.  JOHN D. WYNDHAM--  5 years in the Army.  Dismissed for drunkenness and died the next year.  Dismissed in 1812, died 1813.

25.  LOUIS LORAMIER (LORIMER)--  Resigned after 3 years and west to farm in Missouri.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Register of Officers and Graduates of the USMA Class of 1806-- Part 4

19.  PRENTICE WILLARD--  Engineer, died seven years after graduation.

20.  JOSEPH PROVEAUX--  Died seven years after graduation.  (I'm not sure about these last two.)

21.  THOMAS BENNETT--  In artillery.  Died while serving in the Army at age 30.

22.  ETHAN A. ALLEN--  Son of Revolutionary War hero, was in artillery for 15 years then civilian life in Norfolk, Virginia.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Register of Officers and Graduates of the USMA Class of 1806-- Part 3

16.  CHARLES GRATIOT--  Chief Engineer of Army.  Probably wrongfully dismissed from the Army by President Van Buren.

17.  ELEAZOR WOOD--  "By all accounts, an outstandingly brave man and competent soldier, killed in the War of 1812.

18.    WILLIAM PARTRIDGE--  six years after graduation, he died in a British prisoner of war camp after the fall of Detroit.  "When his commanding general announced his determination to surrender, Partridge broke his sword across his knee and threw the pieces at that officer's feet.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Register of Officers and Graduates of the USMA Class of 1806-- Part 2

I figured this class would have a lot of activity in the War of 1812.  I looked up several of the members I listed yesterday and found a lot of interesting stuff so will eventually get around to writing more on each one for whom I can find information.

I was writing about Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island, and one of the officers who served there was George W. Cullom who was a Civil War general and West Point superintendent.  He also wrote the Biographical Register of Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy.  I am using his register for the Class of 1806.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Register of Officers and Graduates of USMA Class of 1806-- Part 1

From Cullom's Register.

11.  William Gates--  served nearly 60 years and fought in the War of 1812, Seminole Wars and Civil War.  Well into his 70s.

12.  Julius F. Heileman--  served 30 years in the artillery.  Mortally wounded in the 2nd Seminole War.

13.  Pascal Vincent Bouts--  resigned after 2 years and died soon afterwards.

14.  Auguste Chouteau-- resigned within seven months and became an India trader.

15.  Alden Partridge--  math professor at West Point and commandant.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

HMS Hunter (General Hunter)

From Wikipedia.

Ten-gun Royal Navy brig launched in 1805 at Amherstburg shipyard.  Shortly after entering the Royal navy, it took part in the British attack on Fort Shelby.

It was part of Commander Robert Heriot Barclay's Lake Erie British squadron and captured at the Battle of Lake Erie in September 1813, along with the rest of the fleet.

Afterwards it was used by the Americans as a transport ship until it was purposefully run aground in 1816 and then destroyed by its crew.

The wreck was discovered onshore on the beach at Southampton, Ontario, in 2001.

It had a crew and mounted four 6-pdr. long gubs, two 4-pdr. long guns, two 2-pdr long guns and two 12-pdr. carronades.


Friday, October 16, 2015

HMS General Hunter Shipwreck Leads to Heritage Award

From the October 4, 2015, Bayshore Broadcasting News Centre.

Ken Cassavoy is the 2015 recipient of the Saugeen Shores Municipal Heritage Conservation Award for his work unearthing the HMS General Hunter on the shore of Southampton Beach, just north of Morpeth Street.

He directed hundreds of volunteers as they removed sand that had covered the ship since he had foundered onto the beach in 1816.  The work on the General Hunter began in 2004, but the ship's name was not known until awhile later.

The British/Canadian ship was captained by George Bignell and fought in six major battles before being captured by the Americans at the Battle of Lake Erie in September 1813.


Treasury Notes Fill Gap in War of 1812 U.S. Finances

From the September 21, 2015, Coin World "Treasury notes fill gap to support War of 1812 finances" by Paul Gilkes.

Wars are expensive and so was the War of 1812.  Issued between 1812 and 1815, these treasury notes became known as War of 1812 Notes and provided financial help for James Madison's government.

They received their authorization through four different legislative acts.

The Second Series was issued in 1813 and many consider them to be the first U.S. paper currency.  They also served as interest-bearing reserves for banks.  They were convertible to any kind of monmey and bore interest simultaneously.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fort Fish in Central Park

From Wikipedia.

Earthwork fortification in northern Manhattan built in 1814.  Now in Central Park on East Drive near 105th Street.  Currently, there is only a white marble bench on the site dedicated to the memory of Andrew Haswell Green, 18th century educator and city planner.

The fort was named for Nicholas Fish, chairman of New York City's Committee of defense during the War of 1812.  He is also the father of U.S. senator and secretary of State Hamilton Fish.  Fort Fish is on the southern end of a complex of defenses built along a portion of Old Post Road (Kingsbridge Road) which is now Central Park's East Drive.  The region was formerly known as McGowan's Pass.

At an elevation of 89 feet above tide water, it is the highest point on the northeast quadrant of Central Park.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Nutter's Battery in Central Park

Along with Fort Clinton, Fort Fish and McGowan's Pass, another element of the New York City defenses set up in what is today Central Park was Nutter's Battery.

It was hurriedly constructed in 1814 of earth and wood near Harlem Meer.  A 1905 history says that it was on the line of Sixth Avenue (Lenox Avenue) between 109th and 110th streets.  It was named after Valentine Nutter who owned the surrounding land.

Maps and illustrations show it to be a redoubt connected to Fort Fish by earthworks along Old Post Road.  At the line of 107th Street and Sixth Avenue the earthworks led to a gatehouse at McGowan's Pass.  From this, the earthworks ran up the rocky hill to Fort Clinton.

Once Central Park was established, Nutter's Battery was inaccessible to the public.  In 1945 paths were built to the site and a low stone wall built to mark its location.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A History of HMS Hussars in the Royal Navy-- Part 2

5TH HMS HUSSAR--  28-gun, 6th Rate launched in 1784 and wrecked on 27 December 1796 in a strong storm that drove her ashore about 15 miles west of Ile de Batz.

6TH HMS HUSSAR--  14-gun sloop, originally the French privateer Hussard.  Captured 1798 and sold 1800.

7TH HMS HUSSAR--  38-gun, 5th Rate, launched in 1789 and wrecked 8 February 1804, by grounding on reef near Ile de Sein.  Crew burned the ship and escaped.

8TH HMS HUSSAR--  This was was around during the War of 1812, but I could find no mention of it being in the North America region.  It was a 46-gun 5th Rate, launched in 1807 and destroyed as a target ship in 1861.

9TH HMS HUSSAR--  a torpedo gunboat in service 1894-1920.

10TH HMS HUSSAR--  Minesweeper launched in 1934 and accidentally sunk of Normandy by the RAF in 1944.  This looks like an interesting story that I will have to look into for my World War II blog. Tattooed On Your Soul.


A History of HMS Hussars in the Royal Navy-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

I decided to look up whether there was another HMS Hussar in the War of 1812 and found out some interesting things.  There were a total of ten ships by that name dating from 1757 to 1944.  Many met untimely ends.

FIRST HMS HUSSAR--  Was a 28-gun, 6th Rate launched in 1757 and captured by the French in 1762 after running aground off Cape Francois, Hispaniola due to the negligence of her pilot and master.

2ND HMS HUSSAR--  This was the one which sank in the East River and whose two guns are at the Fort Clinton Overlook in Central Park.

3RD HMS HUSSAR--  American galley captured in 1778 and sold in 1786.  This may also refer to the Hussar galley built in Philadelphia during the 1777-17778 British occupation.  It was used at the Battle of Red Bank and Fort Mifflin.

4TH HMS HUSSAR--  Was Massachusetts Navy 26-gun, 6th Rate ship named the Protector which was captured in 1780 and sold in 1783.


Monday, October 12, 2015

HMS Hussar-- Part 3: Blown "Straight Back to Hell"

In 1876, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined to take care of the dangerous Hell's Gate passage by blowing "the worst features of Hell's Gate straight back to hell with 25 tons of dynamite."  The Hussar's remains, if there are any, are believed to be beneath the landfill of the Bronx.

On January 16, 2013, preservationists with the Central Park Conservancy discovered gunpowder, wadding and a cannonball in one of the two recovered cannons.  The bomb disposal unit removed about 1.8 pounds of active black powder and disposed of it.

"We silenced British cannon fire in 1776 and we don't want to hear it again in Central Park," according to a New York Police Department statement.


HMS Hussar, Revolutionary War Ship-- Part 2: Victim of Hell's Gate

The HMS Hussar served in the American Revolution, mostly carrying dispatches along the American coast.  By the middle of 1779, the British position in New York City was growing increasingly precarious.  When Admiral Sir George Brydges Rogers took his  twenty ships-of-the-line south in November, it was decided that the Army payroll should be moved to anchorage at Gardineri Bay on eastern Long Island.

On 23 November 1780, against his pilot's judgement, Captain Charles Pole decided to sail the Hussar on the East River through the treacherous waters of Hell's Gate between Manhattan Island and Long Island.

The ship was swept onto Pot Rock and began sinking.  Unable to run his ship aground, Pole's ship sank on 29 meters of water.  Though the British denied it, rumors abounded that it was carrying between $2 to $4 million in gold which caused many salvage attempts despite the extreme difficulty of the wreck site which continued over the next 150 years.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

HMS Hussar, Revolutionary War Ship-- Part 1: What Does Armed En Flute Mean?

From Wikipedia.

Although this ship did not fight in the War of 1812, nor did the two recovered cannons from the Hussar.  However, the cannons are now at a War of 1812 fort, Fort Clinton.

The HMS Hussar was commissioned in August 1763 and was 124 feet long, 33.10 foot beam, 200 crew and mounted 28 cannons with 24 9-pdrs. and 4 3-pdrs.  It was rated as a 6th rate frigate and of the Mermaid-Class.

It served off North America from 1768 to 1771 and went into ordinary in 1771.  It was repaired and refitted from 1774 to 1777 and recommissioned in 1777.

It captured the Spanish ship-of-the-line Nuestra Senora del Buen Confeso though armed en flute on 20 November 1779.  I had to look up armed en flute as it didn't make since that a 6th rate frigate mounting just 28 cannons, could take a ship-of-the-line.  Armed en flute means a warship being used in transport with a reduced armament.  At the time the Spanish government had just 26 12-pdrs.

Never Knew Armed En Flute.  --Brock-Perry

Central Park's Fort Clinton's Cannons-- Part 3: Not From War of 1812, But Fort Is

Originally thought to have been part of the city's defenses in the War of 1812, the cannons had actually been on the bottom of the East River in the HMS Hussar for 80 years before they were anonymously donated to Central Park in 1865.  They were originally displayed at the Arsenal, now the Parks Department headquarters on Fifth Avenue and later they were moved to the museum at Mount Saint Vincent convent at 105th Street.  The museum burned in 1881, but the cannons survived..  Their whereabouts for the next twenty years are unknown.

They re-emerged in 1905 when the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society persuaded the Parks department to install them, at the site of Fort Clinton.  They were displayed on a granite base (with a plaque wrongly saying they were War of 1812 cannons) until the 1960s and 1970s.

This is when New York City's budgetary problems caused them to be neglected and they became targets of vandalism.  The Central Park Conservancy retrieved them in 1996.  Last January, during restoration, it was discovered that the mortar/carronade had a cannonball with live powder in it.  The police bomb squad was summoned to disarm it.

Fort Clinton is within sight of where the HMS Hussar sank.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Central Park's Fort Clinton's Cannons-- Part 2: Carrying Gold?

The guns were removed from Fort Clinton and taken to a warehouse on Randalls Island.  They were brought back because of the War of 1812 Bicentennial commemoration and because of the reconstruction of Fort Clinton and Nutter's Battery Overlooks.

It was originally thought that the guns protected the city during an expected British attack during the War of 1812, but that wasn't true.

The guns date back to 240 years to the British ship HMS Hussar, a 28-gun frigate commissioned in 1763.  It ran aground in New York's treacherous East River in the 1780 and sank.  Rumors abounded that the ship had been carrying gold to pay the British Army and as a result, many salvage efforts were made.  None was ever found, but many artifacts were recovered.


Central Park's Fort Clinton's Cannons-- Part 1: Bringing the Guns Back

From the March 23, 2014, New York Times "Big Guns Will Return to Watch Over Park" by Sam Roberts.

I did some research on the two cannons which were reinstalled there.

A photo accompanied the article show the preservation of the two cannons.  One is classified as a cannon, the other one as either a carronade or mortar.

For most of the 20th century, two 18th century cannons were located at the Fort Cklinton site ij New York's Central Park.  They had been recovered from a British frigate that had mysteriously sunk off Hell's Gate in the East River.  The ship had reportedly also been carrying gold.

These cannons survived the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and a fire at the nearby Conservatory Gardens.  New York's financial crisis  in the 1970s resulted in the cannons becoming victims of vandalism and neglect.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Jonathan Williams, Builder of Forts

From Wikipedia.

I came across this man's name in researching Fort Jay, Castle Williams and Castle Clinton.  He had a hand in or led the construction of all three.

Born 1751 and died May 16, 1815.  American businessman, soldierpolitician and writer.

He was Chief of the Army Corps of Engineers and first Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point.  He was also elected to the 14th Congress but did not serve as he died before being seated.

Williams was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and attended Harvard.  He was grandnephew of Benjamin Franklin and from 1770-1775 was in England and France assisting his uncle in his business affairs.

President John Adams appointed him a major in the Army Corps of Engineers in 1801.  President Thomas Jefferson made him the Army's Inspector of Fortifications and assigned him to serve as the first superintendent of the new USMA in 1801.  The following year he became the commander of the Corps of Engineers.

From 1807-1811, he designed and completed the fortification which was to bear his name, Castle Williams and also Castle Clinton.  Castle Williams was the first casemated battery in the United States.

Williams resigned from the Army in 1812 when Secretary of War William Eustus refused to give him command of Castle Williams.  However, the state of New York placed him in charge of the New York City fortifications, so he probably had a hand in the construction of the Central Park forts.

He was elected to the 14th U.S. Congress in 1814, but died of gout before he took his seat.


Fort Jay (Fort Columbus)-- Part 2

During the Civil War, the fort's armament was upgraded to some of the most formidable cannons in the Union's arsenal to deter any thought of attack by Confederate raiders.  Nearly fifty 10-inch and 15-inch Rodman guns were placed at the fort.

At the start of the war, the fort was used as embarkation for troops to relieve Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.  Tghe first one involved the steamer Star of the West which was turned back by cadets from the Citadel.  The second attempt resulted in the start of the war..

The North Barracks were used to house captured Confederate officers awaiting transfer to Camp Johnson in Ohio, Fort Delaware or Fort Warren in Boston Harbor.  The fort also was used a s a recruitment center and a hospital.  Confederate Major General William H.C. Whiting had been wounded and captured at Fort Fisher on January 15, 1865.  He was treated at the hospital, but died of dysentery.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fort Jay (Fort Columbus) in New York City

From Wikipedia.

Continuing with the New York City seaward approach forts.

Fort Jay (Fort Columbus) was a coastal star fort on Governors Island and the oldest defense structure on the island.

It was an earthwork during the American Revolution and occupied for awhile by the Americans.  On 12 July 1776, it engaged the British ships HMS Phoenix and HMS Rose.  It was evacuated when the Americans left the city and then occupied by the British.

It had fallen into disrepair by 1794 and somewhat rebuilt.  In 1797 Congress appropriated $30,117 for a major fort at the site.  The earthworks were replaced with granite and brick walls and enlarged by Major Jonathan Williams and completed in 1808.  At that time it was named for New York Governor John Jay, one of the nation's Founding Fathers.'

It saw no action during the War of 1812.


Castle Williams in New York City

From Wikipedia.

While on New York City's defenses during the War of 1812, I am going to write about other fortifications designed to protect the city from seaward attack.

Castle Williams was a red sandstone circular fortification on Governors Island, opposite Castle Clinton.  Together with Fort Jay (formerly Fort Columbus), they make up Governors Island National Monument.

It was built from 1807 to 1811 under the direction of Lt.Col. Jonathan Williams (for whom it is named) and part of a defensive system including Castle Clinton on Manhattan Island, Fort Wood on Liberty Island and Fort Gibson on Ellis Island.

The fort stood 40 feet high and had a 210-foot diameter with 7-8-foot-thick walls.  There were four levels, each containing 14 casemates capable of mounting 28 cannons.

It saw no action during the War of 1812.  During the Civil War, it was used to house new recruits, garrisoned for defense and later was a prison for Confederate enlisted men.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Castle Clinton in New York City

From Wikipedia.

After some initial confusion between Fort Clinton and Castle Clinton, I figured out which was which.  Fort Clinton was part of New York defenses built quickly in 1814 to defend against an expected British attack.  Castle Clinton, so called because of its appearance, was also a Fort Clinton at one time and also called West Battery.

It was built on a small artificial island at the south end of Manhattan Island which has since been filled in with land fill.  It is located about two blocks from where the Dutch built Fort Amsterdam in 1626.

It was built between 1808 and 1811, designed in part by Jonathan Williams, and was to complement the three-tiered Castle Williams on Governor's Island for the city's protection.  Castle Williams was called East Battery.

Today, Castle Clinton is used as a departure point for visitors going to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.


Central Park's Fort Clinton-- Part 3:

Fort Clinton was named for the city's mayor, DeWitt Clinton.  The site had previously been used by British Hessian troops during the occupation of New York City 1776-1783.

From the Central Park web site.

In the 1860s, designers of Central Park recognized the scenic and historic value of Fort Clinton and returned the location to its original topography and the remains of the fort.  By 1900, the remains had eroded and the site was turned into a scenic overlook with rustic fencing, benches and flag pole.

The Central Park Conservancy rebuilt Fort Clinton in 2014 for the War of 1812 bicentennial.  Two cannons were also reinstalled.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Central Park's Fort Clinton-- Part 2: A Tale of Two Clintons, a Castle and a Fort

Last night, I was talking with my friend Kevin, who grew up in Brooklyn, at the American Legion and told him I was writing about McGowan's Pass, Fort Fish, Nutter's Battery and Fort Clinton.  He said he knew all of these places on Manhattan.  But he referred to Fort Clinton as the "Castle."

I didn't know about the Fort Clinton in Central Park being anything like a castle since it was built very quickly.

When I did the search for Fort Clinton this morning, I found out why it was the castle.

It turns out that Manhattan has two fortresses known as Clinton.  The one Kevin was referring to is now called Castle Clinton and is at the south end of the island.  Both of them were named for mayor DeWitt Clinton, though.

So, this is so you won't get confused about the two Fort Clintons.


Central Park's Fort Clinton-- Part 1: Part of City Defenses

From Wikipedia.

Yesterday, I posted about a line of fortifications in New York City's Central Park that were hurriedly built in 1814 for use in stopping a possible British attack that was expected.  This included McGowan's Pass, Fort Fish, Nutter's Battery and Fort Clinton, a line connected with earthworks.

Fort Clinton was in present-day Central Park and was an 1814 stone and earthwork fortification on a rocky escarpment near the present line of 107th Street and slightly west of Fifth Avenue.

It was the easternmost of a connected series of forts, connecting Nutter's Battery on the west by a series of earthworks and a gatehouse over Old Post Road (evidently Kingsbridge Road) at the bottom of McGowan's Pass.

Fort Clinton and Nutter's Battery were in turn commanded by Fort Fish which had a sweeping view of Long Island Sound, northern Manhattan and Westchester County.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Remnant of War of 1812 Fortification Found In New York's Central Park-- Part 2

Other fortifications rebuilt included Fort Clinton, Nutter's Battery and Fort Fish.  But, fortunately, the British never came.  All the above mention fortifications are long gone except for those at McGowan's Pass, which still remain.

In 1990, the Conservancy worked with archaeologists to identify breastworks that have eroded over time at the pass.

On the north side of the pass, citizens drilled a line of holes into rock outcroppings.  Iron rods inserted in them could have helped build a wall linking the three small forts listed in the first paragraph.  These forts guarded the pass and surrounding countryside.

You can still see the holes.  They were recently found during reconstruction of the $2 million Fort Landscape Project in the north end of the park.Foundations of the southeast side of the gate house that had been constructed, almost like a bridge across McGowan's Pass over Kingsbridghe Road.  Evidence of the stone-splitting process known as plug-and-feather was used in the fort built atop rock they were composed of.

The northwest side of the gatehouse and part of the original Kingsbridge Road was also found.

And, You Didn't Think Much Happened in New York City During the War.  --Brock-Perry

Remnant of War of 1812 Fortification Found in New York's Central Park-- Part 1

From the September 24, 2014, New York Times "Excavated in Central Park: Traces of Anti-Redcoat Fortification Never Needed."

In August 1814, America was in chaos.  The British had taken and sacked the capital and held Lake Champlain.  It was becoming obvious that there was a real possibility of an attack on New York.

It was expected that Kingsbridge Road, actually a very rudimentary byway, which ran from the mainland down Manhattan Is;and to New York City, was the most likely avenue of British invasion.

Civilians rapidly fashioned impromptu fortifications, including one at McGowan's Pass in Harlem.  (east side of 107th Street, just south of Harlem Meer.  These were originally built during the Revolutionary War, but now, 200 volunteers spent six weeks rebuilding the city's network of forts.  They fortified McGowan's Pass with a barrier wall and a blockhouse mounting cannons.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Historic Marker Honors Military Hero Winfield Scott

From the Sept. 24, 2014, Pilot On Line.  AP

Dinwiddie County, Virginia.

A state historical marker was dedicated on Sept. 29, 2014, for Winfield Scott, a native son of Virginia.  He was wounded in the war and later promoted to brigadier general.  Scott also led American forces in the Mexican War and early days of the Civil War.

He attended the College of William & Mary and died in 1866.

Did the Cape Fear Region Play Any Significant Role in the War of 1812?

From the April 30, 2010, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "My Reporter" by Meston Vanoe.

No battles were fought in North Carolina, but the British did occupy Ocracoke and Portsmouth islands in the Outer Banks from July 12-16, 1813.  This scared the state and the militia was called out, some going to Wilmington.

Johnston Blakely was a naval hero from Wilmington who commanded the sloop USS Wasp that captured the HMS Reindeer

Captain Otway Burns was from Onslow County and was a leading privateer.  he is buried in Beaufort in a tomb topped with cannons from his ship, the Snap Dragon.  His desk and a model of his ship are at the North Carolina Maritime Museum.

Brunswick County raised a company of volunteers for the North Carolina Militia.

After the war, the government increased the size of the Navy.  Seven ships-of-the-line, the most powerful ships of their day, were built.  One was the USS North Carolina which was launched in 1820 and commissioned in 1824.