Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Benjamin Hawkins (The Hawkins Line)-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

The hawkins Line was mentioned in the last post as the  dividing line between Creek Indian land and American settlers.

I looked up this line and found it to have been named after Benjamin Hawkins.

Born 1754, died June 6, 1816.  American planter, statesman and U.S. Indian agent.

Delegate to the Continental Congress and U.S. senator from North carolina.  Appointed by George Washington as General Superintendent for Indian Affairs and served in that post from 1796 to his death.  As such, he was in charge of Native American tribes south of the Ohio River and he was the principal agent to the Creek Indians.

He established the Creek Agency and lived at his plantation in Georgia, in present-day Crawford County.  He learned to speak the Muscogee language and was adopted into the tribe.  Some say his wife, Lavinia Downs, was a Creek woman.

In 1786, he and fellow Indian agents Andrew Pickens and Joseph Martin concluded a treaty with the Choctows which set the boundaries of their land.

In 1789, he worked out a similar line for the Creeks which became known as the Hawkins Line.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fort Daniel Site Offers Window to Gwinnett's Early History-- Part 2

The Fort Daniel Foundation wants to build a life-size recreation of what the fort probably looked like in 1813, but they don't know exactly what it looked like..

It was built on the Hawkins Line which separated where Georgia's settlers could live and Indian land.  Those Indians were the Creeks who allied themselves with the British during the War of 1812.

It was named for Major General Allen Daniel, commander of Georgia's 4th Division.  In October 1813, he ordered Brigadier general Frederick Beall and the Division's 2nd Brigade to build a new fort at Hog Mountain to replace one already there that was deemed inadequate.

After the war, as the Indian frontier was pushed west, the fort was no longer needed and eventually it was dismantled and the land used for agricultural purposes.  All signs that it had once been a fort eventually were erased.

In recent years, archaeological digs have found the locations of the two blockhouses and wall trenches.  The county bought the land in 2012.  The recreation fort will not be built on the fort's actual site.


Monday, August 29, 2016

Fort Daniel Site Offers Window to Gwinnett's Early History-- Part 1

From the July 2, 2016, Gwinnett (Georgia) Daily Post by Curt Yeomans.

The Fort Daniel Foundation's President Jim D'Angelo has ideas for an architectural park at the Fort Daniel site located on Braselton Highway.

It was built by Georgia state military during the War of 1812 as a defensive position on Hog Mountain along what is today Braselton Highway near Buford in 1813.  There was no Gwinnett County back then, but the area was located right across from Indian territory at the time.

Volunteers of the foundation and the Georgia Archaeological Research Society have run the site as an education area since signing a lease with the county to run it.


Friday, August 26, 2016

David C. Chambers (Son of Joseph Chambers)

From Find-A-Grave.

Son of Joseph Gaston Chambers, born November 25, 1780 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  Died August 8, 1864 in Zanesville, Ohio.  Buried at Greenwood Cemetery, Zanesville.

As a teenager, he was a confidential rider for George Washington during the Whiskey Rebellion.

As a young adult, he moved to Zanesville, Ohio, and began a local newspaper and became Ohio state printer

He was elected to represent Ohio to fill the seat of John C. Wright in the U.S. House of Representatives and served 1821-1823.

From Wikipedia.

David Chambers learned the art of printing from Benjamin Franklin Bache, the grandson of Benjamin Franklin.  He moved to Zanesville in 1810.  During the War of 1812, he was aide-de-camp to Major General Lewis Cass.  Member of the Ohio House of Representatives 1814-1815 and served as Zanesville's mayor.

Chambers was affiliated with the Whig Party.


The Grave of Joseph Gaston Chambers

From Find-A-Grave

Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Born 1756 in Alleghenny County, Pennsylvania.

died May 28, 1829.

Served in the American revolution as a private in the 4th Battalion, Washington County Militia.

Buried in Buffalo Cemetery, Washington County, Pennsylvania.

There was no mention of his inventions in the article.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Joseph Chambers' Diving Suit and Torpedoes

Evidently, repeating weapons weren't the only thing Joseph Chambers was interested in.

In November 1807, he wrote to Thomas Jefferson giving details for his experiments with a primitive type of diving suit and "Torpedoes."

November 17, 1807:  From West Middleton, Pennsylvania.

A proposition for examination by the government of a submarine dress for placing torpedoes and for other purposes during the war.

These torpedoes, however, would be more like mines than the powered torpedoes we know today.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Letter From Joseph G. Chambers to Thomas Jefferson, 20 May 1801

From Founders Online.

Congratulating Thomas Jefferson on presidency.

Comment:  Joseph Chambers had written to Thomas Jefferson several times in the latter half of 1792 regarding his invention of a repeating firearm where he described the weapon and sought Jefferson's assistance with getting his idea to European governments.

Jefferson did not commit to this and suggested Chambers contact the French minister in America and get a patent for it from the U.S. Congress.

Pushing Product.  Brock-Perry

Monday, August 22, 2016

Letter from Joseph G. Chambers to George Washington, 5 August 1793

From the Founders Online site.

A letter written from Chambers in Philadelphia at the White Horse High Street.  He had handwritten the president earlier "on the subject of an improvement in firearms...."  His repeating guns.  No doubt here he was inquiring as to whether the president had seen his letter.

Joseph Gaston Chambers (1756-1829) lived in West Middleton, in the town of Hopewell, Washington County, Pennsylvania.

He received a patent for "Gunnery, repeating" on 23 March 1813.

He had written to George Washington previously, but that letter was not found.  No further correspondence between the two has been found.  he also wrote a letter to Jefferson.

Friday, August 19, 2016

So, What Was a 24-Pdr. Shifting Grenade Gun?

From the same source.

Also on the USS Constitution, besides the 4 Chambers repeating guns was one 24-pdr. shifting grenade gun.

This apparently was a British weapon captured by the United States.

The gun was a Congreve "shifting grenade."

Sixty-six shifting grenade guns were found on the British brig "Stranger" enroute from England to Kingston, Jamaica where they were to be used in arming two new frigates being built there.  The "Stranger" was captured by privateer "Fox" out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

A prize crew took it to Salem, Massachusetts, in late September 1814 where they told the U.S. Navy about them.

Not much was known about them, but on February 20, 1815, Captain Stewart and the USS Constitution defeated the HMS Cyane and HMS Levant.  Captain Fox of the Cyane wrote that he saw two of these guns on board the American ship.

Unfortunately, a quick look produced no other information on "shifting grenade" guns.


The Armament of the USS Constitution Had Four Chambers Swivel Guns-- Part 3

On August 10, 1814, Captain Charles Stewart of the USS Constitution became aware of the experiments with the Chambers swivel guns and requested three or four of them.  It is not known if they were delivered.

But later, twenty of Chambers' guns were sent to the newly completed frigate USS Guerriere.  I could find no mention of these guns on this ship.  Wikipedia lists its armament at thirty-two 24-pdrs and twenty 42-pdr. carronades.

It is believed that 114 Chambers swivel guns were made by 1814.  Only two are known to exist today.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Confederate Privateer Jefferson Davis Wrecked This Day in 1861

This date, the highly successful Confederate privateer during the Civil War, the Jefferson Davis, Captain Louis M. Coxetter, ran aground trying to enter St. Augustine, Florida, after having captured nine Union vessels.

You may wonder what this has to do with the War of 1812?  The August 26, 1861, Charleston Mercury compared its success to that  of the War of 1812 privateer Saucy Jack.

I have written quite a bit about the Saucy Jack in this blog.

So, That's What.  --Brock-Perry

Chambers' Swivel "Machine" Guns

From "Machine Guns: An Illustrated History of Their Impact" by James H. Willbanks.  "Battery Guns"

The invention of the percussion system by Reverend Forsyth in 1807 really had an impact on the development of machine guns.  Time passed and more technological breakthroughs were made and the development of rapid fire guns continued.

One of the earliest ones was the swivel gun developed by Joseph G. Chambers of Pennsylvania.  In 1813 he took out a patent for a system of repeating gunnery.  His gun had seven barrels, each holding 32 balls that used a Roman candle approach.

A burning fuse set off the charges, one after another, delivering an impressive number of shots in a short time.  However, the firing was impossible to stop once it began and it continued until the last shot was fired.

The U.S. government purchased several of his swivel guns and several were used against British forces on the Great Lakes in the War of 1812.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Armament of the USS Constitution Had Four Chambers Repeating Guns-- Part 2

In 1812, Joseph G. Chambers of Philadelphia produced a .75 caliber, seven barrel 7-shot repeating gun.  He received a patent for it in 1813 and that same year Secretary of the Navy Jones ordered ten for testing. Commodore William Bainbridge of the Boston Navy Yard conducted the tests and he considered them successful.

He reported this to Jones who then ordered a quantity of the new technology.  In April 1814, George Harrison of the U.S. Navy Depot in Philadelphia received instructions from Jones to send 15 of them "together with their apparatus" to Isaac Chauncey at Sackets Harbor.

Mr. Chambers and his two sons were hired to go along as instructors and trouble shooters.


The Armament of the USS Constitution Had Four Chambers Repeating Guns-- Part 1

From "USS Constitution: All Sails Up and Flying" by Olof A. Ericson.

A Listing of the armament of the USS Constitution during the War of 1812.

Under the command of Captain Isaac Hull:

Thirty 24-pdr long guns on gun deck
Twenty-four 32-pdr. carronades on spar deck
One 18-pdr. bow chaser
Twelve 3-inch Howitzer swivel guns (4 in each top)

The Constitution's armament remained the same while commanded by Commodore Bainbridge.

When Captain Stewart assumed command on February 20, 1815, it had the same armament as well as four Chambers repeating guns.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Machine Guns in the War of 1812: Somehing I Don't Understood

I am not sure if each barrel of the swivel gun fired all shots and then it would revolve to the next barrel  Or did it fire like the Gatling Gun with each barrel firing once and then a crank turned to fire the next barrel?

Not Sure.  --Brock-Perry

Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 14: Joseph Chambers' Ten-Shot Repeating Musket

A photo of Chambers' repeating musket accompanied the article as well.  

It has two flintlocks/triggers.

Here is the caption:

Chambers' ten-shot repeating musket operated on the same principle as his swivel gun.

But the final round in the barrel would not have a hole, allowing the user to save a shot.  To fire it, he would have to pull a second trigger, tripping the rear hammer.


Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 13: The Bullets

A photo of one of the rounds accompanied the article.  This is its caption.

The repeating swivel gun's rounds were tightly packed in the barrels.

A tiny hole running through the projectile was filled with a slow-burning powder which allowed the explosion of the first charge to set off the one behind it.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 12: War Ends Before Used

Benjamin W. Crowinshield succeeded William Jones as Secretary of the Navy on 16 January 1815.  A little over a month later, Congress ratified the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.

That, in turn was followed by the decision to send naval units to the Mediterranean Sea to put down a recurring Algerine pirate problem.  The Barbary Pirates had taken advantage of the U.S. being involved in the war with England to begin attacking American ships again.

One of the ships was known to have had Chambers' machine guns on board, but nothing is recorded saying that it was ever used.

The Chambers repeating weapons had caused a brief thrill, but ended their days being imoperative weapons staffed by people completely unskilled in their use.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 11: Never Used in Battle

But Chauncey's repeated attempts to bring his fleet to action with the British were hampered by shortages of equipment, weapons and men.  he was finally able to sail at the end of July.  The British, under Commodore Sir James Yeo had also found reasons to be inactive and the sailing season largely passed without confrontation.

Chauncey, now with the upper hand in the naval ship race on Lake Ontario, alternated his time between watching the British naval base at Kingston, Ontario, and waiting and guarding Sackets Harbor.

The season ended in the first week of November and with it, the naval war on the Great Lakes.

Chambers' marvelous repeating arms had never fired a shot in battle.


Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 10: Arming the Lake Ontario Ships With Chambers' Guns

On June 9th, 1814, Chauncey responded that: "The repeating Swivels and Muskets sent by Mr. Harrison shall receive a fair trial-- I have the highest opinion of their utility and effect upon the Enemy."

His new flagship, the frigate USS Superior, had been launched on May 1st and was then completing its fitting out.

Chauncey sent four each of the swivels to the Superior, frigate Mohawk and corvette General Pike.


Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 9: "A Truly Astonishing and Potent Weapon"

Joseph Chambers finally completed production of the immediate order and forwarded the arms to Sackets Harbor the next month, so that on May 27th, Secretary Jones was able to write to Commodore Chauncey that:  "Mr. Harrison has ... forwarded to you a number of repeating Swivels, Muskets and Pistols, with prepared ammunition and persons acquainted with the art of preparing the ammunition and loading the arms....

"They are a truly astonishing and potent weapon....  Two of those swivels on each Top, to be fired in succession upon the decks of your adversary, would not fail to clear to clear it entirely in five minutes."

High Praise for This New Technology.  --Bock-Perry

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 8: A Delay in Shipment

On 20 March, Secretary of the Navy Jones wrote to Joseph Chambers telling him that when the 50 swivels and 200 muskets were ready for shipment to Isaac Chauncey, he intended to appoint Chambers' son a gunner and have him accompany the weapons to Sackets Harbor to train squadron personnel in their loading and firing.  He also added 100 repeating pistols to the order.

Chambers responded on the 26th that he probably would have 30 swivels and 150 muskets ready by 1 May, and perhaps all the pistols.  But Chauncey wrote to Jones again on 30 March asking for "a few of those Seven barrel Swivels and Muskets that are preparing in Philadelphia."

A testy Jones sent a letter to Harrison to have 15 swivels, 50 muskets, and 50 pistols "put up immediately ... and forward [ed] forthwith" to Commodore Chauncey.

A Real Interest in These Machine Guns, But, What Was the Delay?  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 7: Loading the Barrels

To load one of the swivels, one first had to position the muzzle up, presumably, in some sort of stand, and have ready the requisite number of rounds and a container of powder, as well as patches, a powder measure, a funnel, a rammer, and a bucket of water for safety.  (After all, it was gunpowder.)

First, a measured amount of powder was poured down a barrel, then one of the special tight-fitting rounds inserted, stem down, and carefully rammed into the powder so that the explosive filled the space between the end of the bore and the underside of the round proper.

Then another measure of powder was added and another round rammed home with the same care.  And so it went until the barrel was loaded (the final item being a sealing patch), and then the process was repeated for each of the remaining six barrels until all 217 rounds -- about 22 pounds of lead, in all -- had been loaded.  That would be 31 rounds per barrel.

This was a very time-consuming process to say the least.


Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 6: The Bullets

With these big orders, Joseph Chambers subcontracted with John Joseph Henry and George Tryon for 20 swivels and 200 muskets to be delivered within three months.  In a design change, the swivels were to have seven instead of eight barrels.

The special lead shot used in all these weapons consisted of a  cylinder whose thickness was one-half of its diameter.  On the projectile's bottom was a "stem," whose dimensions were roughly one-half of the upper portion.  A small hole along the central axis was the means whereby gasses from the discharge of the preceding powder charge were transmitted to the next charge, thereby continuing the firing of the weapon.

A Bit Too Confusing for Me.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 5: Isaac Chauncey Wants Some for His Lake Ontario Fleet

On late 1813, Commodore Isaac Chauncey returned to his former command, the New York Navy Yard, to arrange more materials and supplies for his Lake Ontario squadron.,  At the time, the United States and Britain were hotly engaged in naval building programs for control of Lake Ontario.

While there, he visited Philadelphia and watched a demonstration of Chambers' weapons and was immensely impressed.  On 27 January 1814, he requested that 20 of the swivels and 100 muskets be sent to his squadron's base at Sackets Harbor, New York.

Secretary Jones went even further and directed a letter to Navy Agent Harrison to learn if 50 swivels and 200 muskets could be sent there.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Machine Guns in the War of 1812?-- Part 4: A Description of Chambers' Repeating Swivel Gin

From the picture caption.

The seven barrels were mounted 2-3-2.  Once the trigger was pulled on Joseph Chambers' seven-barrel repeating swivel gun, the bullets would fly-- up to 217 of them.  The projectiles were loaded one on top of another.

The discharge of the rounds closest to the muzzles would ignite the powder behind thye next projectiles, and so on until all rounds were fired.

Confusing to me, but imagine the carnage it could cause when used in up-close, side-by-side fighting.


Machine Guns in the War of 1812?-- Part 3: A Bad Contract for Chambers?

It was understood that the "United States shall have the right perpetually to use the description and number of arms herein mentioned....  If this experiment shall succeed to the Satisfaction of the judicious practical men in the Service of the U.S. it will then remain with the government."   Such was the importance with which the the new  weapon was viewed.

Pardon me, but this does not seem to be a good contract for Joseph G. Chambers.  And, all he got was $200?

Two pictures of Chambers' swivel gun accompanied the article.  There are only two known remaining U>s> navy Repeating Swivels. model 1814, remaining.  One is now in the National Museum of the U.S. Navy in Washington (D,C,) Navy Yard, which is on loan from the state of New Jersey.

It is a rather strange looking piece of armament.


Friday, August 5, 2016

Machine Guns in the War of 1812?-- Part 2: Machine Guns for $200

With the War Department's refusal to have anything to do with his invention, Joseph G. Chambers turned to the Navy and by mid-April 1813 also had produced an eight-barreled, swivel-mounted weapon that could discharge more than 200 rounds on one trigger-pull.

Several successful demonstrations of a repeating swivel, musket and pistol were conducted at the Washington Navy Yard.  This favorably impressed Secretary of the Navy William Jones who on 7 May ordered Philadelphia Navy Agent George Harrison to contract with Chambers for ten of his swivels and to have 100 conventional muskets modified into repeaters.

For his efforts, Chambers received $200 for his expenses and services.

Not That Much.  --Brock-Perry

Machine Guns in the War of 1812?-- Part 1

Frm the October 2014 Naval History Magazine "Armaments & Innovations:  The U.S. Navy's Early Machine Guns" by Comdr. Tyrone G. Martin, USN (retired).

Joseph G. Chambers abandoned his studies at Princeton as the British approached in the fall of 1776 and escaped, joining his father's New Jersey militia regiment.  He took part in the battles at Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine and Germantown.

His wartime service made him very interested in weapons and he became an inventor with some very innovative and unusual guns.

In late 1812, he arrived at Washington with repeating rifles and pistols which he offered to the War Department.  He referred to his inventions, which he had worked on for two decades as "machine guns."  They worked on the "Roman Candle" principle in which when the trigger was pulled, the weapon fired a number of rounds until all were exp[ended.

Secretary of War John Armstrong wasn't interested.

Multi-Shooting Back Then.  --Brock-Perry

Tennessee's George Washington Campbell-- Part 5: After the War and His Connection to Tennessee's Capitol

After the war, Campbell was a U.S. Senator and helped negotoiate the Jackson Purchase of Indian land.

Then he became the first Tennesseean to be an ambassador when he was appointed to Russia.  He helped adjust Denmark's claims against U.S. privateers for disruption of commerce during the War of 1812.  After that it was back to Tennessee as a judge.

On December 11, 1843, he sold a tract of land known as "Campbell's Hill" to the City of Nashville for $30,000.  It was transferred to the State of Tennessee and became the site of Tennessee's capitol.

He died in 1848 and is buried in the family plot in the Nashville City Cemetery.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Tennessee's George Washington Campbell-- Part 4: About That Name

In 1793, he started going to Princeton and graduated in just one year, graduating in 1794.  At this time George adopted Washington as his middle name when classmates nicknamed him "George Washington" after the fame of the new president.

He studied law, opened a practice in Knoxville and soon became one of the leading lawyers in the state.


Tennessee's George Washington Campbell-- Part 3: His Wife Helps Remove Washington's Portrait from the White House

George Washington Campbell's wife, Harriet, made her own contribution to history during the British invasion of Washington, D.C..  Upon hearing news of the impending arrival of the British Army, Mrs.Campbell urged her friend, Dolley Madison, to leave the White House.

With the help of Harriet Campbell and Charles Carroll, Mrs. Madison removed the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington from its frame and fled before the British burned the house and the city of Washington.

Wonder if It Had Something to Do With Her Husband's Name?  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Tennessee's George Washington Campbell-- Part 2: Secretary of the Treasury

Due to the tremendously unsettled nature of the period, his tenure in the Treasury is often viewed as a failure.

In order to gain badly needed funds to finance the war, Campbell arranged to borrow money from Europe through the assistance of American businessman John Jacob Astor.  Overwhelmed by the failures of the Treasury Department and his own poor health, he resigned his cabinet post in September 1814.


Tennessee's George Washington Campbell-- Part 1: Senator to Secretary of the Treasury

From the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.


Served as U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senator and Secretary of the Treasury during the War of 1812, Ambassador to Russia and U.S. District Court Judge of Tennessee.

Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1811 on a platform advocating war with Britain, he was a leading War Hawk (those who wanted war) and served as chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs.  In 1812, he married  Harriet Stoddert, daughter of Benjamin Stoddert, Secretary of the Navy in Jefferson's cabinet.

On February 9, 1814, he resigned from  the Senate to accept the position of Secretary of the Treasury in Madison's cabinet.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Tennessee in the War of 1812-- Part 8: Aftermath

For Tennessee, the War of 1812 all but eliminated British and Spanish interference in the Southwest.  It also broke the power of the southern Indian tribes, leading to their eventual removal, and opened vast tracts of land for white settlers to exploit.

Because of the political and military prominence during the war, Tennessee, for the first time, came into national prominence.


Tennessee in the War of 1812-- Part 7: Tennesseans Who Played Roles in the War

In addition to Andrew Jackson, several Tennesseeans played vital roles in the War of 1812.

Congressman Felix Grundy was one of the principal "War Hawk," who were mostly Congressmen from the South and West, who pressed the government for a declaration of war.  I often drive through Grundy County, Illinois, and its county seat, Morris.  It was named for Felix Grundy when he was attorney general of the United States.

James Winchester, a resident of Sumner County, was commissioned a brigadier general and led an unsuccessful invasion of Canada.

Edmund Pendleton Gaines, an East Tennesseean, rose to the rank of major general for his role in defeating the British at Fort Erie in 1814.

Sam Houston and Davy Crockett, future legendary heroes, played minor roles in the war against the Creeks.


Tennessee in the War of 1812-- Part 6: Battle of New Orleans

Although much has been made about the fact that the Battle of New Orleans occurred after the Treaty of Ghent had been signed (December 24, 1814), it should be noted that the treaty was not ratified by the United States until February 1815, which meant that technically the war was still underway.  Of course, communications back then were much slower and the treaty was signed in Belgium and took quite awhile for it to reach the United States.

This victory catapulted Andrew Jackson to hero status throughout the country and started a political ascent that  led Jackson to the presidency.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Tennessee in the War of 1812-- Part 5: The Battle of New Orleans

Andrew Jackson next pressed into West Florida, securing Pensacola by the end of 1814.  Reports of an impending British attack on New Orleans led him to that place with his hodgepodge army of backwoods militia from Tennessee and Kentucky, U.S. Army regulars, Choctow Indians, free blacks and pirates. They had to face Britain's elite who had defeated Napoleon.

Jackson's defensive strategy and the British commander's underestimation of American fighting ability led to their defeat at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815.

Tennessee troops, under General William Carroll and John Coffee, played an active role in the American victory.