Saturday, August 19, 2017

U.S. Navy Ships at the Battle of Lake Erie-- Part 2: Long Guns and Carronades

Name--   classification---  armament--   fate

Long guns are regular cannons and good for long range firing.

CALEDONIA--  brig--   2 long guns, 1 carronade--  1830 either sank or was dismantled

NIAGARA--  brig--  2 long guns, 18 carronade--  present day used as a sailing school.  (Original ship?)

SOMERS--   schooner--   1 long gun, 1 carronade--   unknown

PORCUPINE--   schooner--  1 long gun--    1873 beached

TIGRESS--   schooner--  1 long gun--  1815 sunk

TRIPPE--  sloop--   1 long gun--  1813 burnt by British

Totals:  9 ships--  15 long guns, 39 carronades


Thursday, August 17, 2017

U.S. Navy Ships At the Battle of Lake Erie, September 10, 1813

From the National Park Service.

Sunce I have been writing about the USS Porcupine, these were the U.S. ships at the battle:

Name--  classification--  armament--  fate

SCORPION---  schooner---  1 long gun, 1 carronade---  Broken up 1831

ARIEL---  schooner---  4 long guns---  unknown

LAWRENCE---  brig--  2 long guns, 18 carronades--=  1876 burnt in a fire

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

USS Porcupine-- Part 4: Sank and Raised

The Porcupine/Caroline made one last sail into Spring Lake, Michigan, where it was abandoned in 1843.  Soon after that it sank at the foot of 4th Street near the Johnston Brothers Boiler Works.

It was raised in 1901 by Charles G. Butthouse of Ferrysburg.  There is a photo accompanying the article captioned "Remains of 'Porcupine' In the Yard of Mr. Bolthouse, Ferrysburg, Mich."  So, it appears there has been a misprint on his name.

Pieces of the Porcupine were sent to Detroit and Put-In-Bay for the centennial of the Battle of Lake Erie.  Other pieces ended up in museums in Grand Rapids, Grand Haven and Lansing, Michigan.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

USS Porcupine-- Part 3: U.S. Coastal Survey and Revenue Cutter Service

From the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association.

In 1816, the Porcupine was commissioned as a survey vessel in the newly formed United States Coastal Survey Office, and worked the border between the United States and Canada under the command of War of 1812 hero Stephen Champlin (he commanded the USS Scorpion at the Battle of Lake Erie)..  In 1819, it entered the United States Revenue Cutter Service.

In 1825 it was sold by the government and five years later renamed the Caroline.  It had several owners over the rest of its career, including Ferry & Sons of Grand Haven, Michigan, and was used extensively in the lumber trade until she became unseaworthy.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

USS Porcupine-- Part 2: More Service Afterwards

The USS Porcupine was anchored at the head of the Niagara River 12 August 1814, along with the USS Ohio and USS Somers, when they were attacked by 6 or 8 boats manned with English seamen and Canadian militia.  The other two were captured, but the Porcupine escaped.

It remained in Lake Erie providing transportation and support William Henry Harrison's army at the battle to recover Detroit and the Battle of the Thames.  It was still commanded by George Senat when it transported supplies to Harrison's Army to the north of the Thames and went up the Thames to provide artillery and logistics support.

It was laid up in Erie, Pennsylvania, until 1819, when it was refitted and turned over to the Collector of Revenue at Detroit 2 June.

Returned to the Navy 2 August 1821, it remained inactive until sold 8 August 1825.  Afterwards it served as a cargo vessel on the Great Lakes until it was determined to be unseaworthy and beached on the sand at Spring Lake near Grand Haven, Michigan.


Monday, August 14, 2017

USS Porcupine-- Part 1: At the Battle of Lake Erie

From Wikipedia.

60 tons, 60 feet length, 25 crew.  Mounted one 32-pdr and later two 12-pdrs.

Launched May 1813 and commissioned spring 1813.  Allowed to sink in Spring Lake at Ferrysburg, Michigan, in 1873.

It was a gunboat schooner built by the famed Adam and Noah Brown shipbuilders at Presque Isle, Pa (by Erie, Pa.)  an was a part of Oliver Hazard Perry's fleet at the Battle of Lake Erie.

At the battle, Acting master George Senat was in command of it on 10 September 1813.

After the battle, the Porcupine was used as a hospital ship for wounded and captured British sailors.


Friday, August 11, 2017

USS Porcupine Project-- Part 3: The Original Fought At the Battle of Lake Erie

The 7,800 pound keel was welded to the Porcupine's hull last year.  Shipwrights have changed the shape of the Porcupine's bow, stern and transom, installed a rudder and have raised the free board, giving the ship more height above the waterline as well as additional internal room and more deck space than the original USS Porcupine.

The first USS Porcupine was built under the direction of Daniel Dobbins in the spring of 1813 near the foot of present-day Sassafras Street.  It fought at the Battle of Lake Erie that year near Put-In-Bay, Ohio in September 1813.

Keith and Kathy Palmerton donated the Porcupine's 40-foot fiberglass hull in September 2014 after learning about the Maritime Center and its work with inner city and underserved children.

Always Like It When a Historic Ship Is Rebuilt.  --Brock-Perry

USS Porcupine Receives $100,000 Donation-- Part 2

The Maritime Center has raised $400,000 of the estimated $810,000 cost of the Porcupine.  Larson has been making math textbooks from 6th grade to college calculus for nearly four decades and currently provides books for around five million students.

The Porcupine's primary function will be to serve as a floating classroom offering half-day or full-day sails for school children.  There will also be overnight programs, public sails, private charters and special programming.  I imagine it will also participate in tall ships reviews.

The new one is twin-masted, 43 feet long on deck with a 15 foot 2 inch beam.  The overall length from bowsprit to the stern is 62 feet with a draft of 5'4".


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

USS Porcupine Project Receives $100,000 Donation-- Part 1

From the August 5, 2017, Go "Porcupine project infused with $100,000 donation" by Ron Leonadi.

The Bayfront Center and Larson Texts on August 4 announced a partnership to build a topsail schooner Porcupine.

Big Ideas Learning, a subsidiary of Larson Texts pledged $100,000 over the next six years to complete the Porcupine project and to provide maritime-themed math curriculum for onboard programming.

The Porcupine Project is to build a representative of a War of 1812 topsail schooner and it will be known as "The School Ship for Presque Isle Bay."


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Encampment Called Greene Ville-- Part 4: Covered by Greenville, Ohio

Today the site of Encampment Greene Ville is covered by much of downtown Greenville, Ohio.

There is a bronze tablet in front of the City Hall of Greenville.

It reads:

"Site of Fort Greene Ville.  The largest pioneer fort in Ohio built in 1793 by General Anthony Wayne.  Here August 5, 1795, the Treaty was signed by which much of present Ohio was opened to White settlement."


The Encampment Called Greene Ville-- Part 3: Abandoned and Reused in War of 1812

The site was abandoned after 1796.  Later, the buildings were burned for the nails to be reused in Dayton, Ohio.  What was left of the encampment began to rot.

During the War of 1812, sections of what was left of the enclosure were refitted and it was reused briefly as a supply depot and a staging area (used by Col. John B. Campbell's force preparing to attack the Miami Indians at Mississinewa).

After the war, it was abandoned again.


Monday, August 7, 2017

The Encampment Called Greene Ville-- Part 2: Battle of Fallen Timbers and Treaty of Greenville

The camp (well, Fort Greenville) had a double two of cabins within the walls and each corner had a defensive bulwark.  In addition, there was a blockhouse in the central wall on each side  There were eight redoubts, each with blockhouses.  A strong fortification indeed.

This was General Wayne's winter encampment 1793-1794.  In the spring of 1794, he led his troops to what is now Toledo and fought the Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.  In the summer of 1795, the Indians cam,e to Wayne and there signed the Treaty of Green Ville which became known as the Treaty of Greenville.

This ended what was known as the Northwest Indian War and is considered the beginning of modern Ohio history.

In addition, it established the Greenville Treaty Line, which was the boundary between Indian and American lands.  It also gave the U.S. government a lot of control over the Indians.

--Not a Good Treaty for the Indians.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Encampment Called Greene Ville-- Part 1: Largest Wooden Fortification Ever Built

From the Touring Ohio site.

Probably the reason I wasn't able to find out much about a Fort Greenville in Ohio was because it was called Greene Ville and was classified as an encampment.

It was built by General Anthony Wayne, 5 miles north of Fort Jefferson at what is now Greenville, Ohio.  It had ten feet high walls and enclosed about 50 acres.  It  is said that it was the largest wooden fortification ever built.

It was named for Wayne's friend, Nathaniel Greene and laid out like a city.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Greenville and Fort Greenville, Ohio-- Part 2

I found that both the city of Greenville and Fort Greenville were located in the southwestern part of Ohio.  This would make it fairly close to the Miami Indian village of Mississinewa, which would make sense for the path Col. Campbell would have taken.


Fort Greenville, Ohio-- Part 1: Some Difficulty Finding It

From the Ohio War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.

Last week, I was writing about John B. Campbell and his December attack on the Miami Indians village of Mississinewa in 1812.  He left from a Fort Greenville in Ohio.  I looked it up but couldn't find much about any Fort Greenville.

There is, however, a city of Greenville, Ohio.  Perhaps this was the site of the old Fort Greenville?

There were two markers listed in Greenville.  One was for the Colonel Campbell Campaign and the other for Second Fort and Second Treaty.

According to the commission, neither was completed.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

"Old Ironsides" Is Back in the Water

From the July 23, 2017, Washington Post.

The USS Constitution has been out of the water for repairs for more than two years.  It undocked Sunday night at 11:45 p.m. before  a large crowd of onlookers.

It is taken out of the water every twenty years for maintenance in a drydock to its below the waterline area.

Bob Gerosa, USMC, serves as the ship's 74th commander.  It is the last of six super frigates ordered by George Washington.

The ship was originally expected to last just 10-20 years, but here it is 220 years later.

It entered the drydock on May 18, 2015.


The USS Constitution Is Back In the Water Again

From the July 24, 2017, USA Today  "The USS Constitution -- 'Old Ironsides' -- is back afloat again" by Matthew Diebel.

The world's oldest commissioned warship, launched in 1797, is afloat again after a $12 million project which replaced most of its copper cladding with 2,200 sheets, repairing outside wooden planks and rebuilding its 42 gun carriages.

Refurbishing of the rigging and masts will be done before the ship reopens for visitors in August.  The ship received its name from George Washington and won three major ship-to-ship victories in the War of 1812.

It remained on active duty until 1855.  After that it became a training ship for the USNA then a touring national landmark.  Since 1934 it has been based at Charleston Navy Yard in Boston.

One Hell of A Ship.  --Bock-Perry

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Plattsburgh Barracks-- Part 6: War of 1812 Skeletons Found

All of the War of 1812 forts except Fort Brown were leveled to form a huge 40-acre parade ground known as the "U.S. Oval."  This happened in the early 1890s.

In 1892, during the removal of Fort Moreau which had been the main and largest of the War of 1812 forts during the Battle of Plattsburgh, numerous human remains, as many as twenty-five, were unearthed.  They had been hurriedly buried either during or immediately after the Battle of Plattsburgh.

When Fort Scott was leveled, perhaps thirty or more skeletons were also discovered.  Cannonballs and other War of 1812 artifacts were also found.  These were reportedly sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

All of the recovered skeletons were buried with full military honors in the nearby Old Post Cemetery in a mass grave marked by a large monument to the unknown dead of the War of 1812.


The Plattsburgh Barracks-- Part 5: Much Delayed in Opening and Then, A War of 1812 Flashback

By August 1839, under the direction of Benjamin Kendrick Pierce the exteriors for the officers and enlisted men had been built, but in peacetime, there were lots of delays

Eventually it was occupied by various infantry and artillery units and by early 1890, a big expansion program was instituted.

And this led to an interesting sidebar back to the War of 1812.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Plattsburgh Barracks-- Part 4: The War of 1812 Fortifications

During the Second Seminole War, nearly a quarter of the U.S. Army strength was sent to Florida and Congress realized that the Army needed to be expanded and that was when it was raised to 12,539.  Along with the increase in strength, housing became a big issue which was why the Army built the Plattsburgh Barracks.

A permanent Army post was planned and was to have four stone barracks surrounded by a wooden palisade.

A site was selected outside of the town of Plattsburgh and just south of the three remaining earthwork fortifications from the 1814 siege:  Fort Brown, Fort Moreau and Fort Scott.

These forts had been constructed under the direction of Major Joseph Totten, an expert military engineer during the war.  There were also two smaller redoubts erected later, Fort Tompkins and Fort Gaines.  All five of these fortifications formed the endpoints of a pentagon which featured a field of interlocking cannon fire.


The Plattsburgh Barracks-- Part 3: The Need for Permanent Barracks

Troops were stationed there from 1812-1823, but  they did not have permanent barracks or even a permanent military installation.  Men often stayed in dilapidated and inadequate log structures left over from the War of 1812.

In an October 1839 letter to the General of the Army, Major General Alexander Macomb, who had commended the troops at the Battle of Plattsburgh, and Brigadier General Abraham Eustis told of just how bad the barracks situation was at Plattsburgh.

It was decided to construct permanent barracks, with part of the reason for doing it because the strength of the Army had been raised to 12,539 men because of the Second Seminole War.


Monday, July 31, 2017

The Plattsburgh Barracks-- Part 2: To Guard Against British Canada

From Wikipedia.

What stands in Plattsburgh, New York, today is the last remaining structure of an 1838 U.S. Army Barracks used by the Army for about a century.  A young lieutenant by the name of Ulysses S. Grant even stayed there at one time.  The remaining structure is now the home of Valcour Brewing Company.

Obviously, American soldiers were stationed there during the War of 1812, but their barracks were no where near as permanent or luxurious as the 1838 ones.

In the years after the British defeat at the Battle of Plattsburgh in 1814 and after the end of the War of 1812, the United States military was highly suspicious and wary of British Canada, being so close.  Relations with England were not good and it was decided to garrison an army post at Plattsburgh because of the strategic importance of the Lake Champlain corridor.


Friday, July 28, 2017

The Plattsburgh Barracks-- Part 1: The War of 1812 Pewter Button

On Tuesday's blog entry, I mentioned that a War of 1812 button had been discovered during the erection of new wooden bunkhouses at the Plattsburgh Barracks in Plattsburgh, New York, in 1917.  The barracks were being built as the United States ramped up for World War I.

This was taken from the July 24, 2017, Plattsburgh Press-Republican "Look-Back July 24 to July 31."

Artifacts were discovered in the construction  "Among those are a pewter button that no doubt dates from the War of 1812 because similar ones have been found upon the site of battlefields in Canada."

Plattsburgh, of course was the site of the big War of 1812 victory at the Battle of Lake Champlain/Battle of Plattsburgh.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

John B. Campbell and the War in Indiana-- Part 8: Frostbite Prevalent

DECEMBER 24, 1812

His troops decimated by freezing weather, Campbell arrived back at Fort Greenville.  More than 300 of his troops suffered from frostbite.

He allowed the Indian women and children to ride captured Indian horses on the return trip.  The captives were escorted to Indian settlements at Piqua.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

John B. Campbell-- Part 7: Withdrawal Due to Cold

DECEMBER 18, 1812

Just before dawn, a force of about 300 Indians counter attacked Campbell, killing eight soldiers and wounding 48.  Fifteen Indians were killed.

Faced with bitter cold, mounting casualties and the loss of 109 soldiers killed in battles, Campbell determines to withdraw his forces to Fort Greenville.


Monday, July 24, 2017

John B. Campbell and the War in Indiana-- Part 5: Ordered to Destroy Miami Village of Mississinewa

NOVEMBER 25, 1812--

Harrison orders Campbell to attack and destroy the Miami village of Mississinewa.  Campbell is advised to try to spare chiefs Richardville, Silver Heels, White Loon, Charley and Pecon, and the sons and daughters of Little Turtle if it can be done without risk to his force.

He is also advised to guarantee the safety of the Indian women and children who are to be captured and conducted back to settlements in Ohio -- a condition that will eventually cost Campbell severe losses among his troops.


John B. Campbell and the War in Indiana-- Part 6: A Cold March and a Surprise

DECEMBER 14, 1812

Campbell's force of nearly 600 mounted troops, guided by William Conner departs Fort Greenville, Ohio, on an 80-mile forced march to the Miami towns on the Mississinewa River.

The snow is knee deep and the weather is bitter cold.

DECEMBER 18, 1812

Campbell's force surprises and attacks the first of four Indian villages on the Mississinewa River near present-day Jalapa.  Eight Indians and one African-American were killed and 42 Indians, including 34 women and children are captured.  Two American soldiers are killed.


Friday, July 21, 2017

John B. Campbell and the War in Indiana-- Part 4: Indian Threat

NOVEMBER 15, 1812--

Informed of General Samuel Hopkins' defeat in Illinois and the growing confidence of the Indians in attacking the Army's supply lines, Harrison advises Eustis that he command Colonel John B. Campbell to direct an expedition against the Indian town of Mississinewa.

It will be the rendezvous where the Indians are certain to receive provisions and assistance in launching attacks on every military convoy in Ohio between St. Mary's and the Miami rapids (present-day Mau Mee).

NOVEMBER 22, 1812--

General Hopkins' force destroys Prophetstown along with deserted Winnebago and Kickapoo villages along the Tippecanoe River.

The Indians ambush and kill sixteen of Hopkins' force on Wildcat Creek, northwest of present-day Kokomo.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

John B. Campbell and the War in Indiana-- Part 3: To Attack Or Not To Attack

OCTOBER 26, 1812

Harrison seeks approval from U.S. Secretary of War William Eustis, to attack Indiana towns along the Mississinewa River in Indiana.

NOVEMBER 5, 1812

Secretary Eustis advises Harrison that "the Miamis, as well as other Indians, must be dealt with as their merits and demerits may in your judgement require."

In other words, passing the responsibility along.

And, It Is Starting To Get COLD.  --Brock-Perry

John B. Campbell and the War in Indiana-- Part 2: Miamis Stirring Up Trouble

Timeline of 1812 events in Indiana.

SEPTEMBER 24, 1812

William Henry Harrison is given command of the Second Army of the West, replacing General James Winchester.

OCTOBER 11, 1812--

Indiana Agent B.F. Stickney passes along information from fur trader John Conner to Harrison.  he reported that from September 13 to October 2, the Miamis had sent nine messengers to the Delaware Indians inviting them to join forces with them in a war versus the United States.


This John B. Campbell Is Not the One From the Battle of Rock Island Rapids

I was looking to find out more information on the commander of American forces at the Battle of Rock Island Rapids and for whom Campbell island was named for in Illinois.

I came across the name of John B. Campbell, an American officer during the War of 1812, and initially thought he was the same.  This is the man I wrote about in yesterday's post.

It turns out they are two different men, but I did see some sources confusing the two.

The Battle of Rock Island Rapids was fought July 19, 1814.  The Colonel John B. Campbell I wrote about in the last post was mortally wounded at the Battle of Chippawa on July 5, 1814, and died August 28, 1814.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

John B. Campbell and the War of 1812 on the Frontier-- Part 1: Attacks on Fort Wayne and Fort Harrison

From Mississinewa. 1812.  America's Most Exciting Living History Weekend-- At Mississinewa Battlefield, Marion, Indiana, October 13-15, 2017.


SEPTEMBER 3, 1812--  Shawnees led by Missilimeta attacked Pigeon Roost settlement in southern Indiana and killed 20 whites.

SEPTEMBER 6, 1812--  Indians attack Fort Wayne and Fort Harrison  (Terre Haute) in Indiana. The Americans repulse them and then attack Indian villages north of the Wabash River.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Campbell's Island in the Early 1900s to 1980-- Part 1

Campbell's Island was bought at the turn of the 20th century by a street car company which intended to build an amusement park on the island.  In 1904, a street car bridge was built on top of a closing dam built by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1899.

The island became a popular resort from then to the mid-1950s with cottages available for rent.

The House-In-the-Woods Inn operated from 1904-1911 when it burned down, but was rebuilt and renamed the Campbell Island Inn.  In the 1950s it became the Ship's Wheel Boat Club and operated until it burned down in 1979.


Defenses and Battles in Missouri, Iowa and Illinois Territories-- Part 2

4.  Fort Shelby, defeated 1814. Where the Wisconsin River flows into the Mississippi River at present-day Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

5.  Battle of Rock Island Rapids, July 1814 and the Battle of Credit Island, September 1814, by the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois.

6.  Fort Johnson, abandoned 1814.  Where the Des Moines Rover joins the Mississippi River.

7.  Fort Cap au Gris and the Battle of Sinkhole, May 1815.  On the Mississippi River, a short distance above St. Louis.


Defenses in Missouri and Illinois Territories in War of 1812-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Map of the Upper Mississippi River in 1812, showing U.S. fortifications.

1.  Fort Bellefontaine, U.S. headquarters at St. Louis.

2.  Fort Osage on the Missouri River, west of St. Louis, abandoned 1813.

3.  Fort Madison, defeated 1813 (north of where the Des Monies River flows into the Mississippi).


Monday, July 17, 2017

Campbell's Island-- Part 2: An American Defeat

Three American gunboats were heading up the Mississippi River with military supplies for Fort Shelby at present day Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.  One of the boats had 42 people in it, including soldiers of the 1st U.S. Infantry regiment and their families.  The other two had 66 United States Rangers.

The Indians attacked and forced the Americans to turn back.  The Americans lost eight killed in the 1st U.S. Infantry and sixteen wounded.  Four Rangers were killed and eight wounded.

This defeat helped the Sauk Indians to maintain control over the Quad City area (Bettendorf and Davenport, Iowa, and Moline and Rock Island, Illinois) for almost twenty more years.

The Campbell's Island State Memorial was dedicated in 1908.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Campbell's Island-- Part 1: One of the Westernmost Battles

From Wikipedia.

Campbell's island is adjacent to the city of East Moline, Illinois and is connected to it by a bridge.  It is the site of the Campbell Island State Memorial, overseen by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

During the War of 1812, it was the site of one of the western-most battles and is called the Battle of Rock Island Rapids.  A band of Sauk warriors, allied with Britain clashed here with an American force led by Lt. John Campbell of the 1st Regiment United States Infantry.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Plaque Dedication for 'Widow' Cole in New York-- Part 2

The plaque reads:

"On September 26, 1812 and from this site, some of the first shots of the War of 1812 fired by local militia at armed soldiers from the British schooner Lady Prvost.

When a small boat carrying the soldiers from the British ship was sighted rowing in pursuit of an American salt barge that had taken refuge at the mouth of Canadaway Creek, local citizen Celea Sampson "Widow" Cole rode her horse to the settlement of Canadaway (Fredonia) to secure reinforcements.

"Recognized as a War of 1812 heroine for her efforts to spread the alarm, the "Widow" Cole reportedly also carried food and water to the militiamen and melted her pewter dishes to make bullets for their use during the attack."

A heroine.  --Brock-Perry

Plaque Dedication for 'Widow' Cole in Dunkirk NY-- Part 1

From the March 30, 2017, Observer "War of 1812 heroine:  Plaque dedication to be held for Celea Sampson 'Widow' Cole.

A plaque will be placed at the Dunkirk Lighthouse & Veterans Park Museum in Dunkirk, New York (along Lake Erie).  The State of New York Society, United States Daughters of 1812 will hold the dedication at 2 p.m., April 1, 2017.

Celea Cole was the wife of Seth Cole, the first settler in the Dunkirk area and a Revolutionary War soldier. He died in 1810.During the War of 1812, she served as a patrol to alarm neighbors of British attacks, fed soldiers stationed near her home.  She even melted her pewter dishes and teapot to make bullets.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

General William Hull Invades Canada Today in 1812

Well, it all started off good enough and met with great success at first.

U.SA. forces led by General William Hull entered Canada during the War of 1812 against Britain.

Hull retreated back to Detroit shortly thereafter.

And, in August came the surprising surrender of his force.

A Major Debacle.  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Battle of Lundy's Lane

From Wikipedia.

This was where James Miller, who I have been writing about, gained his nickname, The Hero of Lundy's Lane.

Fought 25 July 1814 at present-day Niagara Falls, Ontario.  It was one of the bloodiest battles of the war and one of the deadliest events ever to take place in Canada.  It ended as a tactical draw, but a British strategic victory because the Americans suffered so many casualties.

The United States losses were 174 dead, 572 wounded, 79 captured and 28 missing, for a total of 853 casualties.  Two of the American commanders, Jacob brown and Winfield Scott were wounded and Eleazor Ripley was killed.

The British lost 84 killed, 559 wounded, 169 captured and 55 missing for a total of 878.

Forces engaged were 3,500 for Britain and 2,500 for the United States.


Monday, July 10, 2017

USS Louisiana (1812): The Battle of New Orleans

From Wikipedia.

Sloop of war built in New Orleans, launched 1812, broken up in 1821.

341 tons, 99 feet long, 28-foot beam.  Mounted sixteen 24-pdrs.

Originally built as a merchant ship for $15,510.

Commanded by Captain Charles C.B. Thompson.

From 23 December 1814, to January 8, 1815, fired on the advancing British troops in support of Andrew Jackson.

The lack of wind caused crew members to go ashore and they had to tow the ship upriver against the current.

Played a key role in the American victory at the Battle of New Orleans.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

James Miller-- Part 3: Superintendent of Indian Affairs Arkansas Territory

From the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

Brigadier General War of 1812,  1st governor of Arkansas Territory.  Superintendent of Indian Affairs Arkansas Territory.

Commanded the 21st U.S. Infantry.  Distinguished self at the Battle of Lundy's Landing.


James Miller-- Part 2: The Hero of Lundy's Lane"

James Miller joined the 4th U.S. Infantry in 1808.  In 1811, he fought the Indians at Vincennes, Indiana where he was promoted to colonel.

In May 1812, he was posted to Detroit and commanded the American forces at the Battle of Maguaga.  He was taken prisoner at the surrender of Detroit and later exchanged.

In 1814, he was the commander of the 21st I.S. Infantry and led his men in the capture of British artillery at the Battle of Lundy's Lane where his "I will try sir" comment became famous.  He came away from the battle with the name "Hero of Lundy's Lane."  For his service there, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and brevetted to brigadier-general.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

James Miller-- Part 1: First Governor of Arkansas Territory and War of 1812 Brigadier General

From Wikipedia.

When I was writing about William Whistler at the Battle of Maguaga, his commander was James Miller.

April 25, 1776 to July 7, 1851.

First governor of Arkansas Territory.  It was his influence which got the Territorial Capital moved from Arkansas Post to Little Rock.  During the War of 1812, he commanded units and was brevetted to brigadier general.

Born Peterborough, New Hampshire and was a lawyer in Greenfield, New Hampshire from 1803-1808.

He joined the New Hampshire militia and commanded an artillery unit.  His work so impressed General Benjamin Pierce that he recommended him for appointment as a major in the regular U.S. Army.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

George Washington Whistler on West Point Notables Site

From the USMA West Point site.

Considering the number of officers who have graduated from the United Stats Military Academy at West Point, the fact that George Washington Whistler is on a short list of notables is very impressive.

This list includes many Civil War generals on both sides (Robert E. lee in 1829, George Meade in 1830, William T. Sherman in 1840, Thomas Jackson 1846 and U.S. Grant in 1843), Jefferson Davis, 1903's Douglas MacArthur, 1907's Hap Arnold, 1909's George S. Patton and 1915's Omar N. Bradley and Dwight Eisenhower.

There is a short write up on each notable.  G.W. Whistler's:  "Eminent civil engineer, chosen by the Czar of Russia to build a railroad from Moscow to St. Petersburg."


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

What About 1775 and American Independence?

From the History Channel site.

When the initial battles of the American Revolution were fought in 1775, few colonists wanted independence form Great Britain.  Those who did (Sons of Liberty and Patriots) were considered radical.  By the middle of the following year, however, many more colonists, especially in New England, were in favor of independence.

On June 7, 1776, the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia.  Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence.

A heated debate was held and the vote postpones.  But a five-man-committee was appointed to draft a formal statement justifying a full break with Great Britain (Independence).

Members were Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York.


William Howe, Member of Inventive Family

From Wikipedia

I looked up William Howe, whose bridge design I discussed in the last post.

He is listed under William Howe, architect.

Born May 12, 1803, in Spencer, Massachusetts.  Died September 9, 1852.  American architect and bridge builder, famous for patenting the Howe Truss design for bridges.

He learned carpentry and construction at an early age and put those to good work.

His whole family was quite inventive.  His brother Elias Howe patented the first viable sewing machine.  His other brother, Tyler Howe, invented the box spring bed.

William Howe founded the Howe Bridge Works in 1840.

In 1840, he was engaged to build a railroad bridge across the Connecticut River in Springfield, Massachusetts..  It was taken down in 1855.


The Howe Truss Bridge

OK, I realize these next two posts are a bit off of the War of 1812, but are of general history interest to me.  You never know what you are going to find when you start researching.

From Garrett's Bridges site.

Back on June 30th, I mentioned that George Washington Whistler had introduced the Howe Truss Bridge to Russia.

What is a Howe Truss bridge?

It was designed by William Howe in 1840 and used mostly wood in its construction and was very good for use in longer spans of bridges.

It is considered one of the best designs for railroad bridges back in its day.

There are still many Howe Truss bridges in the northwestern part of the United States.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Getting To Know Whistler's Father

From the June 2014 Smithsonian Magazine.

There is an interesting article in it titled  "Getting To Know Whistler's Father" by Jeff MacGregor.

He writes "Whistler's mother is a superstar.  But the painter's dad has languished in obscurity -- until now."


George Washington Whistler's Grave

From Find-A-Grave.

I wonder whi he might have been named after?

Born May 19, 1800 in Allen County, Indiana,. where his father, John Whistler, was commandant of Fort Wayne.  Died April 7, 1849, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Stonington, Connecticut, New London County.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

George Washington Whistler-- Part 5: Legacy

In 1830 they joined the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad and later others.  He went to Russia, where he died unexpectedly and evidently his body was returned to the United States as he is buried in Stonington, Connecticut.


Stone arch bridges he built in 1841 are still carrying trains in western Massachusetts..

He also was the first civil engineer in the United States to use contour lines to show elevation and relief on maps.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

George Washington Whistler-- Part 4: Got Involved With Railroads

From 1821-1822, he was Assistant Professor of Drawing at West Point.

In 1822 he was reassigned to the artillery corps and was with the commission tracing the international boundary between Lake Superior and Land of the Woods.

In 1827, his brother-in-law and fellow engineer, William Gibbs McNeill, became a member of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.  Even though he was still on active duty, Whistler also joined in 1828.  He went with McNeill and Jonathan Knight to England to study railroad engineering as Britain was in the forefront of this new mode of transportation.


George Washingtom Whistler-- Part 3: U.S. Military Career

He was born in 1800 at the military outpost at Fort Wayne (Indiana) where his father, John Whistler, was commandant.

Appointed to the USMA at West Point, he graduated in 1819 and was commissioned second lieutenant in the Corps of Artillery.

He served at topographical engineer at Fort Columbus in New York City from 1819-1821.  This fort was originally called Fort Jay but the name was changed to Fort Columbus in 1806.  During the Civil War, Confederate Major General W.H.C. Whiting died here, the highest Confederate officer to die in a northern prison.  I have written about him a lot in my Civil War Naval Blog, Running the Blockade.

When the U.S. Army reorganized in 1821, he became second lieutenant in the First Artillery.


Friday, June 30, 2017

George Washington Whistler-- Part 2: Major Mover in Early American Railroads and "Whistler's Father"

After major involvement in the development of U.S. railroads, in 1842, he went to Russia as a consulting engineer on the Saint Petersburg-Moscow Railway, the first large-scale endeavor by the Russian government.  He introduced the Howe truss bridge to Russia.

Sadly, he is probably best known for being the father of artist James McNeill Whistler, who painted the famous artwork referred to as "Whistler's Mother."


Thursday, June 29, 2017

George Washington Whistler-- Part 1: William's Brother, John's Son

From Wikipedia.

Keeping it in the family since I have been writing about both John Whistler and William Whistler the last couple weeks.  I was unable to find out if he had any involvement in the War of 1812, but if he did, he would have been very young.

1800-1849.  Prominent American civil engineer in the first half of the 19th century.

Member of a noted military family, USMA graduate and served in the U.S. Army.

Railroad and locomotive builder.  His shops produced the first-known steam locomotives in the United States known to have a whistle.

Kind of a Whistler's Whistle, You Know.  Sorry  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

William Whistler's Burial Place

From Find-A-Grave.

William  Whistler, one of the longest-serving-ever U.S. officers, was born December 3, 1780 in Hagerstown, Maryland and died December 4, 1863, in Newport Kentucky.

He is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Southgate, Kentucky, Campbell County.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Battle of Maguaga-- Part 2: Getting the Supplies

The American forces had vital supplies at the Miami Rapids and General Hull sent a detachment to get it, but they were turned back at the Battle of Brownstown.  He then sent a larger detachment under Colonel James Miller to escort the supplies back to Detroit.

This detachment consisted of 280 regulars and 330 Ohio Volunteers.  They encountered 205 British regulars, Canadian militia and Indians at the Battle of Maguaga.

In the engagement, the British lost 6 killed, 21 wounded and 2 captured.  U.S. losses were 18 killed and 64 wounded.


Monday, June 26, 2017

The Battle of Maguaga-- Part 1: William Whistler Distinguished Self Here

From Wikipedia.

I have been writing about William Whistler who is considered a hero at this battle.

Also known as the Battle of Manguaygon and the Battle of Oakwoods was fought August 9, 1812 near Detroit.

It pitted British regulars, Canadian militia and Tecumseh's Indian warriors against a larger American force near the Wyandot Indian village of Maguaga (present-day Trenton, Michigan).

Brigadier General William Hull had moved his American Army to Detroit to use it as a base for his planned invasion of British Upper Canada.  However, he soon became too worried and failed to attack the British at Fort Amherstburg after he learned about the fall of Fort Mackinac.  He also was very worried (and scared) of the Indians and what they might do to his army.

He retreated back to American territory.


Friday, June 23, 2017

William Whistler-- Part 2: Captured at Detroit Surrender

From the Chronicles of Oklahoma.

William Whistler distinguished himself at the Battle of Maguaga, August 9, 1812, which was a big American victory in the War of 1812.  It was 14 miles away from Detroit.  He was taken prisoner at Hull's surrender of Detroit August 16, 1812.

Exchanged, he became a captain in December 1812 and was at Fort Mackinac in 1816.  Then he was stationed at Green Bay, Wisconsin 1817 and 1819 and married in 1820.

He was stationed at Oklahoma's Fort Gibson on four different occasions.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

William Whistler-- Part 1: Over 60 Years in U.S. Army

From Wikipedia.

John Whistler's son, who accompanied him to Fort Dearborn, was born in 1780 and died in 1863.

He was commissioned 2nd lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Infantry in June 1801 and promoted to 1st lieutenant in 1807 and captain in December 1812.

When the Army reorganized after the War of 1812, the 1st Infantry was redesignated the 3rd Infantry.

Brevetted to major in 1822 and served ten years at that rank.  In April 1826 he was assigned to the 2nd U.S. Infantry and became lieutenant colonel of the 7th Infantry in July 1834.

Colonel of the 4th U.S. Infantry July 1845.  Retired April 1861 and died December 4, 1863.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

John Whistler and the Founding of Chicago's Fort Dearborn-- Part 2

In 1875, Mrs. William Whistler (I imagine the wife of William Whistler) said that when they arrived that there were only four cabins or traders' huts occupied by Canadian French and their Indian wives.

In the spring 1804, John Kenzie, living near Niles, Michigan, bought land there and came with his wife and infant son.  He was the first Anglo-White and lived there until late 1827, except for the four years between the summer of 1812 to the fall of 1816 when Fort Dearborn was destroyed and finally rebuilt.

In 1810, John Whistler returned to Detroit and Captain Nathan Heald assumed command of Fort Dearborn.  Captain Heald was in command in the Fort Dearborn Massacre.

John Whistler then commanded Detroit until the arrival of General William Hull.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

John Whistler and the Founding of Chicago's Fort Dearborn

From the World History Project.

In the summer of 1803, Captain John Whistler, then stationed at Deroit, was ordered to take his company of soldiers to Lake Michigan to occupy the the site of what was to become Chicago and to build a fort there.

His soldiers traveled overland, led by Lt. James Swearingen.  Captain Whistler and his family came in the U.S. schooner Tracy from Detroit to the mouth of St. Joseph River. With him he had his wife, young son George and his eldest son, Lt. William Whistler and his young bride.  They continued to Chicago in a row boat.


Monday, June 19, 2017

John Whistler-- Part 4: A Military Family

In 1817, he moved toSt. Charles, Missouri and was military storekeeper at the Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis.

He died at Fort Bellefontaine in 1829.

John Whistler had 15 children and three became military officers.    Colonel William Whistler served from 1801-1861 and Lt. George Washington Whistler, a railroad designer in America and Russia.

Two of his grandsons were officers in the Civil War:  Brigadier General Joseph N. G. Whistler and Colonel Joseph Nelson Garland Whistler.

Another grandson, James Abbott McNeil Whistler attended West Point, but did not graduate.  He went on to become a famous artists ("Whistler's Mother")

Quite the Military Family.  --Brock-Perry

Saturday, June 17, 2017

John Whistler-- Part 3: War of 1812

He was recalled to Detroit in 1810 from Fort Dearborn and was evidently in command before William Hull.

During the War of 1812, he was brevetted to major and served with his company until 1815.

I was unable to find out anything more about his War of 1812 service other than this.  It would be interesting to know if he was surrendered by William Hull at Detroit.  His previous British military service would have made for an interesting case.

After the war, he became military storekeeper at Newport, Kentucky.  In 1816, he was sent to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he built the third fort there (he had also been involved in the construction of the first two forts there as well).


Friday, June 16, 2017

John Whistler-- Part 2: Completed and Commanded Fort Dearborn

John Whistler joined the United States Army and was sent to the Western Frontier and was in the Hamar Campaign in 1790 and was severely wounded at St. Clair's Defeat in 1791.  He became a lieutenant in the Legion of the United States and helped build U.S. forts in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

In 1797 he was promoted to captain and transferred to Fort Lemoult in Detroit.  In the summer of 1803, he and his company of the 1st United States Infantry moved from Fort Detroit to the southern shore of Lake Michigan where he completed Fort Dearborn, on the future site of Chicago.

He became the fort's first commandant.


John Whistler-- Part 1: Served With British and U.S. Armies

From Wikipedia.

Back in May i was writing about the first USMA  at West Point graduate, Joseph G. Swift.  On May 22 I wrote that he had mentored younger engineers George Washington Whistler and William Gibbs McNeill.  Was this Whistler fellow somehow related to the famous artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler?

While researching him I found out that the artist's grandfather had been John Whistler who served in the American Revolution on the British side and the War of 1812 on the American side.

John Whistler was born in 1756 in Ulster, Ireland.  He ran away at an early age and joined the British Army and served with British General John Burgoyne in the American Revolution.  After the surrender at Saratoga, John Whistler returned to England and was honorably discharged.

He eloped with the daughter of his father's friend and emigrated to the  United States and settle in Hagerstown, Maryland.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Jacob Nicholas Jones, USN

From Wikipedia.

Tuesday, I wrote about the USS Revenge being commanded by Jacob Nicholas Jones when it first entered service in the U.S. Navy.  I have done a lot of research on him, but found no mention of his commanding the USS Revenge.

I also have already printed several entries about him.  Just hit the Jones label at right.

In addition, before joining the U.S. navy, he was married to the daughter of Delaware Governor James Sykes who died sometime before he entered the Navy at age 31.

He is buried at the Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery in Wilmington, Delaware.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The War of 1812 Flag On Flag Day

The War of 1812 United States flag featured 15 stars and 15 stripes, one for each state in the Union.  Vermont and Kentucky had joined in the meantime.

This is the famous flag that flew over Fort McHenry in Baltimore which inspired what became our National Anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."

I wrote about it today in my Cooter's History Thing Blog.

I have my U.S. flags up outside.  Unfortunately, I do not have a 15-star 15 stripe flag or it would be up as well.

15 and 15.  --Brock-Perry

USS Revenge, Perry's Lost Ship-- Part 3: The End of the Revenge

That winter, the Revenge was charting the American coast along Newport, Rhode Island, New London, Connecticut, Gardiner's Bay and Long Island, New York.

On 9 January 1811, the Revenge ran aground on a reef off Watch Hill, Rhode Island while attempting to navigate a hazardous stretch of water known as "The Race" in a heavy fog.  The ship was a total loss.

The Opps Perry.  --Brock-Perry

USS Revenge, Perry's Lost Ship-- Part 2: Seizing the Diana From the British

In 1809, Oliver Hazard Perry took command of the ship.  With the passage of the Non-Intercourse Act on 1 March 1809, most restrictions to commerce with foreign countries were removed, with the exception of France and Britain.  The Revenge began cruising as far south as the tip of Florida and north to New England.

In 1810, the Revenge entered Washington Navy Yard for needed repairs.

July 1810 found the ship cruising off Charleston, S.C. when it was ordered to Amelia Island, Florida, then part of Spanish Florida.  It was to attempt to free an American ship, the Diana, which had been seized in Spanish waters and placed under British colors.

Despite the presence of two British warships in the area, Perry boarded the Diana, seized it, placed a prize crew on board and sailed away.

The Gallant Perry  --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

USS Revenge, Perry's Lost Ship-- Part 1: Enforcing the Embargo Act

From Wikipedia.

The ship was bought by the U.S. Navy in 1806 and ran aground 9 January 1811 and sank.

It was 70 feet long and mounted 12 X 6-pdr cannons.

The Navy bought the Baltimore-built schooner Ranger in New Orleans in December 1806.  It was renamed the Revenge and commissioned.

In 1807, it was ordered to the Atlantic Ocean and sailed under Lt. Jacob Jones.  It joined Commodore John Rodgers' New York Flotilla which assembled shortly after the USS Chesapeake-HMS Leopard Affair.  With the passage of Thomas Jefferson's Embargo Act on 22 December 1807, the flotilla established a blockade of the U.S, coast to prevent foreign commerce.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Oliver Hazard Perry and the Sinking of the USS Revenge-- Part 2

On january 9, 1811, the USS Revenge ran aground off Rhode Island was lost.

"seeing fairly quickly that he could not save the vessel, [Perry] turned his attention to saving the crew, and after helping them down the ropes over the vessel's stern, he was last to leave the vessel."

A court-martial exonerated Perry and placed the blame for the ship's loss on its pilot.

In January 2011, divers claimed to have found the remains of the USS Revenge.


Oliver Hazard Perry and the USS Revenge Sinking-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Oliver Hazard Perry was appointed a midshipman in 1799.  In the First Barbary War, he served on the USS Adams and later became a first lieutenant and second in command of the USS Nautilus.

He then served under Captain John Rodgers on the USS Constitution and then on the USS Essex.

After that, he was placed in charge of the construction of gunboats in Newport and Westerly, Connecticut.

In April 1809, he commanded the sloop USS Revenge and did patrol duties off New England to enforce the Embargo Act.  He also led a successful raid which resulted in the recapture of an American ship held in Spanish Territory in Florida.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Watch Hill Light, Rhode Island-- Part 2: Other Wrecks

In 1827 a rotary light was installed.  The lighthouse operated until 1855 when it closed due to severe erosion.  It was moved further inland away from the edge of the bluff and a new 45-foot lighthouse was built.

The steamer Metis crashed aground off Watch Hill in 1872, killing 130 people.  Lighthouse keeper Captain Jared Starr Crandall received a Congressional Gold Medal for his actions in rescuing survivors.  After his death, his wife, Sally Ann (Gavitt) Crandall, became the first  female lighthouse keep in the country.

A U.S. Life-Saving Service station was built next to the lighthouse and operated until the 1940s.  It was destroyed in 1963.

In 1907, the steamer Larchmont collided with a schooner 4 miles from the lighthouse, killing 200.  The hurricane of 1938 caused severe damage to the structure.  The light was automated in 1986 and leased to the Watch Hill Light Keepers Association.


Watch Hill Light, Rhode Island-- Part 1: Second One Built in 1807

From Wikipedia.

There has been a beacon at Watch Hill, Rhode Island, dating to 1745.  Rhode Island's colonial government erected a watchtower and beacon there during the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War.

The original structure was destroyed in a 1781 storm.  Plans were immediately made to build a new lighthouse to mark the eastern entrance to Fishers island Sound and to warn mariners of dangerous reefs southwest of Watch Hill.

President Thomas Jefferson signed an act to build a lighthouse there in 1806 and construction of the 35 foot tall structure was completed in 1807.

So, there was a lighthouse there when Oliver Hazard Perry had his ship, the USS Revenge run into the reef and sink in 1811.


Friday, June 9, 2017

U.S. Navy Recovers Cannon Off Rhode Island-- Part 3: Perry's?

The Navy raised the cannon earlier this year on May 24.  It is encrusted with sea life and calcium carbonate from the interaction between salt water and iron.

Perry's career languished after the sinking, even though he was exonerated of the loss in a court-martial.  Later, he was sent to the Great Lakes where he became a hero because of his victory at the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813 and his famous quote, "We have met the enemy and they are ours."

Archaeologists will be looking for foundry marks on the cannon to determine whether or not it is from the Revenge.

The cannon is 5.5 feet long and weighs over 1,000 pounds.  It is estimated that the preservation of it will take about two years.  Meanwhile, the Navy continues to map the site.


U.S. Navy Recovers Cannon Off Rhode Island-- Part 2: Watch Hill Reef

There was a thick fog and heavy swells that January 9, 1811, when Oliver Hazard Perry's ship, the USS Revenge struck the reef off Watch Hill in Waverly.  Hazard ordered the men to jettison the cannons, mast and anchor to get off the rocks, but to no avail.  His ship sank (and he was disgraced).

The cannons were found in 2005 by a pair of divers and the announcement was made in 2011, on the 200th anniversary of the sinking.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

U.S. Navy Recovers Cannon Off Rhode Island-- Part 1: Perhaps From Perry's USS Revenge

From the June 3, 2017, Providence (Rhode island) Journal "US Navy recovers cannon to identify 200-year-old shipwreck."

A picture of the cannon accompanies the article with the label:  January 7, 2010, one of the cannons found on Water Hill reef by Charles Buffum, Stonington, Connecticut, and Craig Harger..  They found six cannons and an anchor 15 feet below the surface of the water.

It is believed the cannon is from the wreck of Oliver Hazard Perry's schooner USS Revenge which sank in the area on January 9, 1811.

Always Great to Find Lost Stuff.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Perry's (?) Cannon Discovered Off Rhode Island's Coast

According to the AP, a cannon has been discovered off the coast of Rhode Island, believed to be from the USS Revenge, a ship commanded at one time by War of 1812 naval hero Oliver Hazard Perry.

The ship sank in 1811 after hitting a reef.

Conservation work will be done on it and desalination at the Washington Navy Yard.  Foundry marks on the cannon are expected to definitely identify the ship wreck as it is not known that any other U.S. navy ships sank in the area.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fort Winthrop, Boston Harbor-- Part 2: Originally Fort Warren

U.S. Secretary of War described the fort in December 1811 as masonry, 12 guns and brick barracks for 40 men.  On the western edge of the island was a circular battery mounting ten guns.

Fort Winthrop was originally named Fort Warren after Revolutionary War hero Dr. Joseph Warren, but that name was transferred to the new  fortification constructed on George's Island.

In 1846, the United States government got the rest of the island then began construction of a Third System Fortification.  It was a three-story citadel, 16 gun battery star fort.

Today it is part of Boston's Logan Airport.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Memorial Day Also Honors Our War of 1812 Veterans

And, Memorial Day is also for our War of 1812 veterans.

Actually, this whole blog is my way of honoring the dead of that long-ago war.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Fort Winthrop, Boston Harbor-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Fort Winthrop was started in 1808 and named Fort Warren originally until 1834 when it was renamed Fort Winthrop for John Winthrop, an early governor and leader of the Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony.

It was built on Governors Island which the Winthrop family owned from 1632 to 1808.  In 1808, as relations with England worsened, the U.S. government acquired land in the center of it to build a fort.

Construction on the fort took place between 1808 to 1812.  It was an earthen fort in the form of an eight-pointed star.  Sylvanus Thayer, later a famous West Point (USMA) superintendent was in charge of the fort's construction.


Continuing Memorial Day 2017-- Part 6: Started After the Civil War

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, was conceived after the Civil War as a way to honor the Union's war dead, with Southern states setting aside separate days to honor Confederate soldiers.

By the early 20th century, the holiday had evolved to honor all military members who died in the service of their country.

I honor the living veterans as well as those still serving on Memorial Day.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Continuing Memorial Day 2017-- Part 5: It's Somber

Douglas and Rene Licklighter, Iraq veterans at the cemetery with their 10- and 12-year-old sons said they believe most people understand what the holiday is about.  But, they too cringe when they hear "Happy Memorial Day."

"It's not happy, said Rene, 37, who retired from the Army National Guard.  "It's somber."

Continuing Memorial Day 2017-- Part 4: Go Silent

Allison Jaslow's group, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, is trying to raise awareness with its #GoSilent campaign, which encourages Americans to pause for a moment of silence at 3 p.m. Monday to remember the nation's war dead.Plenty of Americans do observe Memorial Day.

At Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, Pennsylvania, fields of newly erected small American flags flap in the breeze.  By the end of the long weekend, thousands of people will have come to the cemetery to pay their respects.  This is where Allison Jaslow was.

This is true at the majority of all national cemeteries as well as other ones.

Continuing Memorial Day 2017-- Part 3: A Growing Civilian-Military Disconnect

Veterans groups say a growing military-civilian disconnect contributes to a feeling that Memorial Day has been overshadowed.  More than 12 percent of the U.S. population served in the armed forces during World War II.  That number is down to less than one-half of a percent today.

Said Brian Duffy, commander-in-chief of the veterans of Foreign Wars, "It hurts."  For combat veterans and Gold Star families especially, "it hurts that, as a society, we don't truly understand and appreciate what the true meaning of Memorial Day is."

A Gold Star Family is one which has lost an immediate member in action.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Continuing Memorial Day 2017-- Part 3: Not Just Beaches and Barbecues

While millions of Americans celebrate the long memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start of summer -- think beaches and backyard barbecues (in my case, a trip to Indy 500 the last six years) -- some veterans and loved ones of fallen military members say they wish the holiday that honors more than one million people who died serving their country would command more respect.

Or at least awareness.

"It's a fun holiday for people:  'Let's party.'  It's an extra day off from work," said Carol Resh, 61, whose son, Army Captain Mark Resh, was killed in Iraq a decade ago.  "It's not that they're doing it out of malice.  It just hasn't affected them."

Personally, I wish more people would make it out to where ceremonies are held in their towns.  In Fox Lake, Illinois, we'll usually have a 100-150 turn out for it.  Not a bad crowd, but it should be a lot larger.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Continuing Memorial Day 2017: On Memorial Day, Pleas That True Meaning Be Remembered-- Part 1

From the May 29, 2017, Chicago Tribune by Michael Rubinkam.

Actually, saying Happy Memorial Day" to a veteran is probably not the best thing to say to them.  Something more along a "Thank you for your service" is in order.

Allison Jaslow of Annville, Pa., has heard that often from well-wishers.  The former Army captain and Iraq War veteran tells them she considered this a work weekend.  She will be at Arlington National Cemetery to take part in the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

She'll then visit Section 60, which is the final resting place of many service members who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Culturally, we've kind of lost sight of what the day's supposed to mean," she said.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017: Norman Kirby Hatch

This day to thank our veterans, I will post in every one of my blogs about them.  I will do World War I and World War II veterans.

Norman Kirby Hatch served in the Merchant Marine during World War I.

He was my grandfather.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Sea Fencibles-- Part 2: In the War of 1812


In the War of 1812, there were two companies of Sea Fencibles at Baltimore.  They were stationed at Fort McHenry and considered to be part of the garrison.


Boston's Sea Fncibles were formed and comprised of unemployed seamen and wealthier men.  Besides coastal defense they were involved in charitable and community work.

They never saw action, however.

Their headquarters was at the gun house near the Providence Naval Depot where they had 18-pdr. and 24-pdr. cannons for their use.  Target practice was conducted at Boston's City Point.

They disbanded at the war's end.


There were also Sea Fencibles during the Civil War.  The Confederates had one company at Charleston, South Carolina.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sea Fencibles-- Part 1: The British Had Them Also At One Time

From Wikipedia.

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that the fortifications on Governors Island in Boston Harbor known as Fort Warren at the time, were manned some of the time by a group called the Sea-Fencibles.  I'd never heard of them before.

The Sea Fencibles were a naval militia established to provide a close-in line of defense and to obstruct the operations of enemy shipping and were used mostly during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.

The British had their own Sea Fencibles during this time, but the Admiralty disbanded its Sea Fencibles in 1810.

The United States adopted a similar concept during the War of 1812 and the Civil War.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Fortifying Governor's Island, Boston-- Part 2: Fort Warren became Fort Winthrop

In the War of 1812, the Sea-Fencibles were stationed at Fort Warren.  Mortars were added to the fort's armament and furnaces built to heat the shot (not a goof thing for a wooden ship).

The last fort to be built on Governors Island was constructed some years before the Civil War, under the direction of General Sylvanus Thayer.

The name Fort Warren was transferred to the modern fort built on George's Island in Boston Harbor and the one on Governors Island became Fort Winthrop, named for a Puritan leader.

By 1861, the new fort had received no armament, but by 1863 mounted 25 large Rodman cannons and 11 other cannons of varying calibers.

Various companies of state militia and volunteers manned the fort during the Civil War.


Fortifying Governors Island, Boston Harbor-- Part 1: Fort Warren

From the Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands.

Fort Warren,  a stone and brick star fort with brick barracks, officers' quarters, magazine and guard house, was built in 1808.  The fort was on the highest part of the island.

During the War of 1812 it was garrisoned and General Dearborn considered it to be the key to Boston's harbor defense.  He invited the men of Boston to come out and help strengthen the fortification.

The low battery on the southern part of the island was built several years before the war.  This battery was brick and stone with a brick guard house and magazine.  It mounted 15 cannons and could sweep the wide flats adjacent to the battery and fire point-blank into enemy ships passing through the channel.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Joseph G. Swift-- Part 7: A Long History of Engineering

Other projects of the USMA's first graduate, Joseph G. Swift included the completion of Fort Clinton in New York City and during the War of 1812, the fortifications on the western part of Long Island.

After 1818, he resigned his commission and served as the Surveyor of the Port of New York until 1826.  He was then chief engineer of several railroads.

In 1829, he directed harbor improvements of towns on the Great Lakes.

Engineering wasn't his only thing.  he also was involved in various business activities and was a friend to younger engineers, including George Washington Whistler and William Gibbs McNeill (both of whom were his brothers-in-law.).


Friday, May 19, 2017

Governors Island, Boston

From Wikipedia

I came across Joseph Swift being superintending engineer at the Governors Island batteries at Boston Harbor.  I had never heard of a Governors Island in Boston, but knew of the one in New York Harbor.  I found out there was a Governors Island in Boston Harbor, but it essentially is no longer there.

According to Wikipedia, Governors Island was subsumed for the construction and extension of Boston's Logan International Airport.  The island was the site of Fort Warren from 1808 to 1834 when the fort was renamed  Fort Winthrop.

The island is buried in the area north and south of the airport's Runway 14/32.


Joseph G. Swift-- Part 6: Find-A-Grave

From Find-A-Grave.

Pictures of him and his marker accompany article.

Born:  December 31, 1783, in Nantucket, Massachusetts
Died:  July 23, 1865, in Geneva, New York

U.S. Army officer, first graduate of the USMA in 1802.  Chief Engineer of U.S. Army 1812-1818.

His father was Dr. Foster Swift, a surgeon in the U.S. Army during the American Revolution.

Joseph Swift is buried at Washington Street Cemetery in Geneva, New York.


Joseph G. Swift-- Part 5: Helped Rebuild Washington, D.C.

He was on the Board to Review Infantry Tactics in 1815 and selected the Northern Naval Depot the same year.

Swift was involved with the rebuilding of the nation's capital city, Washington, D.C. in 1817.

He commanded the Corps of Engineers from July 31, 1812 to November 12, 1818.

Resigned his commission November 12, 1818 and worked as a civil engineer from 1819 to 1845.

He died July 23, 1865, at Geneva, New York, at age 82.

Quite the Career.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Joseph G. Swift-- Part 4: Took Part in St. Lawrence River Campaign of 1813

He took part in the Campaign of 1813 on the St. Lawrence River and was at the Battle of Chrystler's Field in Upper Canada on November 11, 1813..  Then he involved with the defense of the city and harbor of New York (including Brooklyn and Harlem Heights) 1814-1815.

On February 18, 1814, he was brevetted to brigadier general for Meritorious Service.

From 1814-1815 he was superintending engineer for the fortifications of New York City.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Joseph G. Swift-- Part 3: Very Active in War of 1812

Joseph Swift was promoted to Lt.-Col. Corps of Engineers July 6, 1812, and then colonel and chief engineer of the U.S. Army July 13, 1812.

From May 25 to September 28, 1812, he was Chief Engineer of the Department of New York and then in command of a brigade garrison on Staten Island from August 6-13, 1813.

He then became chief engineer of the army of Major General Wilkinson.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Joseph G. Swift-- Part 2: Engineer For Many Coastal Installations

He was the Superintending Engineer for the erection of the Governors Island Batteries in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts.  From 1808-1809 he was general supervisor of the defenses of the New England coast.

Promoted to Major, Corps of Engineers on February 23, 1808.

From 1809 to 1812, he was Superintending Engineer of fortifications in the Carolinas Georgia harbors.

In 1812-1813 he was chief engineer and aide-de-camp to Major General Pinckney.


Joseph G. Swift-- Part 1: First USMA Graduate

From Cullom's Register.

Joseph Gardner Swift was the first graduate of the USMA.

Born December 31, 1783, on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.  He was one of the original cadets at the USMA in October 12, 1802, when he became second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers.

From 1802-1804, he was superintending engineer during the construction of  Fort Johnston, North Carolina.  This fort was at the mouth of the Cape Fear River by Wilmington.  Part of it still remains.

Promoted to 1st Lt., Corps of Engineers, Captain October 30, 1806.

he was at West Point 1804-1807.


Monday, May 15, 2017

George Brown, War of 1812 Veteran in Maryland-- Part 2

The bronze War of 1812 marker has "1812" embossed in the center and is encircled by stars.  Perched on the circle of stars are four sculpted American eagles flanked by chevrons, each of them bearing a different embossed symbol" crossed swords, crossed cannon, crossed rifles and an anchor.

Cemetery officials think he might have served in the Navy.

On the back of the War of 1812 marker"  "1812 War Grave Marker Authorized and Registered by TWL General Society of the War of 1812.  Mfg by M.D. Jones & Co. Boston.

Several other Browns are also buried in the cemetery.


George Brown, War of 1812 Veteran

From the January 6, 2016, Cecil (Cecil County, Maryland) Whig "Calvert cemetery digs up War of 1812 history" by Carl Hamilton.

George Brown was buried at Rose Bank Cemetery in Calvert in April 1850.

The engraving on his weathered tombstone says he was born in 1790 and died April 3, 1850 at age 60.

Three weeks ago, an authorized War of 1812 grave marker was found and unearthed during a repair project.  Until that time, it was thought that Civil War veterans were the oldest buried at the cemetery.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, May 12, 2017

Essex's Annual Burning of the Ships Day-- Part 2

The British Raid and the resulting Burning of the Ships is not in most history books.  (I had never heard of it before I began this blog.)

During the War of 1812, private merchant vessels became a part of the Connecticut Privateer Fleet.  This enabled them to capture and auction off British ships and their cargoes and became a highly profitable undertaking for the captains and owners.

Of course, this did not please the British who set out to punish the American privateers..  In April 1814, the British learned that many of the Connecticut Privateer Fleet were operating out of Essex Harbor and a company of Royal Marines on longboats set out from the fleet for a sneak attack on the Americans.

The Essex townspeople put up opposition but were outnumbered and outgunned.  The British burned all the ships they found in the harbor as well as ones being built in the vicinity.  They did take two ships with them, but these grounded and were also burned.  On their way back down the Connecticut River, Americans set up some cannons and there was a brief engagement, costing the British two deaths, but rthey got by and returned to their ships.

There will be a parade which will end at the Connecticut River Museum, where the British landed.  Speeches and re-enacting will follow.


Essex's Annual Burning of the Ships Day-- Part 1

From the May 9, 2017, Zip  "Essex's Annual Burning of the Ships Day Commemorates Historic Event on May 13" by Jenn McCulloch.

The Reenacting group Free Men of the Sea will be on hand to recreate life in Essex during the War of 1812.

Over 200 years ago, the British burned nearly 30 ships in Essex Harbor, Connecticut, and in the surrounding area.  This will be commemorated on May 13 in Essex from 1 to 4 p.m..  The event is cohosted by the Connecticut River Museum and Sailing Masters of 1812.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fort Gray

From the New Yok State Military Museum.

Fort Gray, 1812, Niagara County.  Niagara Falls.

Located by the Lewiston Escarpment opposite Queenstown.  named for its builder, Nicholas Gray.

Located on the site of an unnamed French blockhouse/store house and an unnamed British blockhouse/ store house.

Attacked and destroyed December 1813.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Fort Gray On the Niagara Escarpment-- Part 4: Site Visible for Many Years Afterwards

After the British left in December 1813, this ended almost 65 years of continuous military presence at the very top of the Niagara Escarpment at Lewiston.

Major Mallory later made Lockport his home and died there in 1853 at the age of 94.

The ruins of Fort Gray were visible for many years afterwards.  Actually, the exact location of the fort was known until the mid 1900s.

There was hope that Fort Gray would become part of the Lewiston Historical Park, but the park never came to pass and the Fort Gray site was bulldozed for the Robert Moses Parkway along the Niagara River.  Part of the Lower Landing became a part of the Art Park and many sites are marked there.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fort Gray on the Niagara Escarpment-- Part 3: British Attack in 1813

In 1812, the U.S. Army erected another blockhouse on the site.  Army captain Nicholas Gray arrived and found the remains of the British blockhouse overlooking the Niagara Gorge above Lewiston.

In December 1813, the British attacked Lewiston.  A small detachment from Fort Gray, under Major Benajah Mallory, a Canadian volunteer, was able to hold the British at bay for a short time while they advanced toward Manchester, now Niagara Falls.  This enabled local residents time to flee.

The British marched from Lewiston to Fort Niagara, south of Niagara Falls and east along the Ridge Road, burning everything in its path.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Fort Gray on the Niagara Escarpment-- Part 2: British Take Control After the French and Indian War

Hundreds of Seneca Indians carried 100-pound packs up the steep hill on all-fours.  At the top these were loaded on wagons for the next leg of the journey to Fort du Portage on the Niagara River above the falls. From there the cargo was transported to boats for the rest of the journey to the Great Lakes.

The French used the site until 1759 when it was burned and destroyed to keep it from the British in the French and Indian War.

Five years later, the British built eleven new blockhouses along the portage route between the top of the escarpment and Fort Schlosser (former Fort du Portage) after the Devil's Hole Massacre of September 1763.  One of these was the one that replaced the former French blockhouse at the site.

The Seneca Indians were replaced with a mechanized tramway system.

The British held this blockhouse until 1796 when they finally evacuated Fort Niagara.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Fort Gray on the Escarpment-- Part 1: Formerly a French Blockhouse

From the December 26, 2015, Lockport (New York) Union-Sun & Journal "Niagara Discoveries: Fort Gray on the Escarpment" by Ann Marie Linnaberry.

Forts and barracks are scattered all across western New York and southern Ontario.  Fort Gray (Grey) is located on the Niagara Escarpment just north of the present-day Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and west of the Niagara Falls Country Club.  A residential street running from Route 104 to the edge of the gorge is named for the lost fortification.

An escarpment is a steep slope or cliff formed as a result of faulting or erosion.  Part of the Niagara Escarpment is where the Niagara River becomes Niagara Falls.

In 1750, the French built a log blockhouse on the site.  It was the ending point of a trail up the escarpment along the portage route.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Fort Mitchell Historical Site, Alabama

From Wikipedia.

Park and archaeological site in Alabama.  Was made a National Historical Landmark in 1990.

Restoration of an 1813 stockade used during the Creek War.  Also a museum with exhibits.  There is also a restored 19th-century log home and a visitors center.

Adjacent to it is the Chattahoochee Indian Heritage Center of the Creek Nation and Removal during the Trail of Tears

This fort and center represent three distinct times of Creek-U.S. relations.  The fort was named for David Brydie Mitchell, the governor of Georgia.  The U.S. defeated the Creeks and forced them to ceded 21 million acres of land to the states of Georgia and Alabama.

During the second time, the fort served as an Indian Factory/trading post beginning in 1817.

The third phase was the Creek Removal to Oklahoma.


Fort Mitchell, Alabama: Fort Mitchell National Cemetery


An unincorporated town in Russell County, Alabama, on the border of Georgia.  Was originally a garrisoned fort used for defense and point of operations in the Creek War 1813-1814.

Fort Mitchell National Cemetery was established there in 1987.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Fort Mitchell (Not the One in Alabama)

From North American Forts, Georgia.

As I already said, i was somewhat confused with the location of Fort Mitchell, thinking it was near Atlanta, Georgia.  This confused me more when I found a Fort Mitchell in Georgia.

Fort Mitchell, 1813.

One of four stockade forts west of Hawkinsville on the Blackshear Trail.

Probably not the Fort Mitchell in Alabama.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Fort Mitchell, Alabama-- Part 2: By Present-Day Fort Benning

The site of Fort Mitchell was used again as part of the defense of Columbus, Georgia, during the Civil War, although the original fort was long-gone by this time.

The original site of the fort is just outside the boundaries of present-day Fort Benning and the Fort Mitchell Veterans Administration Hospital.

The site was excavated in 1971 and a marker and modern reconstruction of the fort is located at Fort Mitchell Park.  Admission is free.

The Chattahoochee Indian Heritage Center is adjacent to  the park.


Fort Mitchell, Alabama-- Part 1: First Creek Indian War

From North American Forts--  Alabama.

Georgia's Gen. John Floyd built this fort along the present day Georgia-Alabama state line.


1813, 1837 or 1840, 1865

The Georgia state militia, under gen. John Floyd, built the original fort during the First Creek War.  The Creek Indian Agency located here in 1817.  Federal troops rebuilt the fort in 1825 as a stockade with two blockhouses.

The Creek Nation was gathered here in 1836 for their forced removal to Indian Territory in Oklahoma.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Fort Hull and Camp Defiance, Alabama

From North American Forts-- Alabama.


Georgia state militia fort on the Federal Road, 5 miles southeast of Tuskegee, Alabama.


1794, 1814 in Macon County.

The site is located on the Calabee Creek, 48 miles from the Chattahoochee River.

The Georgia state militia abandoned and destroyed the original post in 1794.  The site was later used by Georgia militia under General John Floyd in the 1814 Creek War as a subpost of Fort Hull.

Red Stick Creeks attacked the post in January 1814.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Charles Rinaldo Floyd-- Part 2: Served in USMC

Next, he received a commission in the USMC as a lieutenant, but in 1820, was arrested for caning a  naval store keeper.  For this, he was tried and suspended from duty for twelve months but with full pay.

In 1824 he served as the commander of the Marine Honor Guard charged with protecting the Marquis de Lafayette in New York City and his tour of the United States.

He also served in the Second Seminole War and the Okefenokee.

He was appointed a brigadier general in the Georgia militia on October 1838 and ordered to chase the Seminoles into the Okefenokee swamp in Georgia.

Death came March 22, 1845.


Charles Rinaldo Floyd-- Part 1: Gen. Floyd's Son

From Wikipedia.

Born October 14, 1797,  Soldier in War of 1812.  Saw action at the Battles of Tallassee, Chalibee and Autossee versus the Creek Indians.

At age 16, he left home to accompany his father, John Floyd as an aid in the fighting against the Creek Indians.  He wrote in his journal at the Battle of Autossee that a rifle ball grazed his forehead and one passed through his coat sleeve.

He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point but was dismissed in 1817 for insubordination over what he considered a "point of honor."  He definitely had a penchant for dueling, something he continued with throughout his life.


Georgia's General John Floyd-- Part 5: Battle of Calabee Creek

By early January 1814, Floyd had replenished rations, firearms and artillery and he took 1500 men along the federal Road into Creek territory.  Forty-nine miles west of Fort Mitchell he constructed Fort Hull as a supply base.

He then advanced to Calabee Creek (Chalibee) and constructed Camp Defiance.

On January 27, 1814, at the Battle of Calabee Creek (also referred to as the Battle of Camp Defiance) he fended off a predawn attack by over 1300 Indian warriors and was helped by friendly Lower Creek Indians.

For this, John Floyd was promoted to the rank of major general.

After the war ended, he was sent to protect Savannah from a possible British attack and later was one of three men appointed to survey the Florida-Georgia line.

Hey, There Is a Country Act Called That.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, April 28, 2017

Georgia's John Floyd-- Part 4: The Battle of Autossee Desolation

General Floyd's son, Charles Rinaldo Floyd, 16, was along with his father at the Battle of Autosee and later wrote:  "The Indians never repair the desolation of a town, so Autosee has been deserted ever since the battle, except by wolves and ravens, and the skeletons of the slain are still bleaching amidst the ruins.

General Floyd was seriously wounded in his knee at the battle and recuperated over the Christmas holidays at Fort Mitchell.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Georgia's John Floyd-- Part 3: The Battle of Autossee

General John Floyd was ordered to take command of the federal troops assembling at Camp Hope on the Ocmulgee River.  They constructed forts in a defensive line along the federal Road from the Ocmulgee River to the Alabama River.  Fort Mitchell was erected on the west bank of the Chattahoochee River.

In November 1813,  Floyd was on the offensive and fought at the Battle of Autossee on the east bank of the Talapoosa River   It was the site of one of the most populous Creek towns.

Floyd planned to attack at daybreak and encircle the town.  His scouts discovered a second town and Floyd had to divide his force.  Fighting was fierce.  Red Stick men, women and children were shot, bayoneted and burned to death in their own houses.  Both villages were completely destroyed.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trouble On the High Seas-- Part 4: Blockade


There is a name for this kind of a war plan: blockade.  It was the job of the Royal Navy to blockade the French seaports and keep all ships from passing in or out.

But it was the opinion of the American government that the blockade should stop only French ships.  We said that a neutral country, a country that was not fighting in the war, should be able to trade with anyone.  Our policy was the policy of free trade for neutral nations.Having a policy is easy, but making it work is sometimes hard.

The British had plenty of sea power to stop American ships, and they did.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Georgia's John Floyd-- Part 2: St. Marys and the Patriot War

At the beginning of the War of 1812, John Floyd commanded a force at Point Peter at St. Marys in Camden County.  He was asked by General George Matthew, special agent during the Patriot War, to have his militia ready to overthrow the Spanish government in East Florida.

In October 1812, Floyd, with 120 volunteers reached New Camp Hope in East Florida where he encountered Seminoles (who the Spanish government had enlisted their aid).  The Americans ran out of supplies and many got sick, forcing a withdrawal.

Creek Indians, allied with Britain, began attacking American settlements in eastern and central Alabama and western Georgia.  Those Indians from the Upper Creek Towns were known as the Red Sticks and were especially bad.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Georgia's John Floyd, Georgia Politician-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Back in December 2015, I wrote about War of 1812 veteran Henry Griggs being honored in Texas.  The name John Floyd came up a lot.

So, now I go into some more detail on him.

October 3, 1769- June 24, 1839.  American politician and brigadier general in the First Brigade of the Georgia Militia.  member of the Georgia and U.S. House of Representatives.  Born Hilton Head, South Carolina.

In 1800, he had two large plantations in Camden County, Georgia.  On May 25, 1808, he bought Little Cumberland Island.

On May 2, 1804, he was commissioned captain of the 31st Militia in Camden County, Ga., and became brigadier general of the First Georgia Militia in 1806.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Casualties in the USS Chesapeake-HMS Shannon Engagement

HMS Shannon

24 killed, 59 wounded, including Captain broke who received a head wound while leading the boarding party.  Lt. Provo Wallis took command of the Shannon after the wounding of his captain.

USS Chesapeake

56 killed, 85 wounded.

Captain Lawrence died of wounds received on June 4.


HMS Shannon Legacy-- Part 3: Books, Coins, Parks

**  A fine detailed account of the battle between the USS Chesapeake and HMS Shannon is in the book "Enduring Journey of the USS Chesapeake" by Chris Dickon.

**  A fictionalized account of the battle appears in the book "Fortunes of War" by Patrick O'Brien.

**  A special Canadian ten dollar coin was made to commemorate the War of 1812 and depicts the HMS Shannon.

**  South West Western Australia has a Broke Inlet and a Shannon River.  There is also a Chesapeake Road in Shannon National Park.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

HMS Shannon Legacy-- Part 2: Provo Wallis

**  The Shannon's bell is displayed at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax.  It also has a surgeon's chest and mess kettle from the Chesapeake.

**  A cannon, believed to have been from the Shannon, is on the north side of Province House., Nova Scotia's legislative building.

A lieutenant named Provo Wallis was acting captain of the Shannon for six days following the wounding of Captain Broke.  because of this, he became senior to many other lieutenants during the Napoleonic-era Royal Navy.

This enabled him to eventually become Admiral of the Fleet.


HMS Shannon Legacy-- Part 1: Graves and Point Pleasant Park

From Wikipedia.

**Graves of the Shannon's crew, killed during the battle with the Chesapeake are marked in the cemetery of the Royal Navy Dockyard in Halifax and the city's St. Paul's Church, at the time the cathedral of the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia.

A plaque was erected in 1927 to commemorate the battle and is in the Point Pleasant Park.  This park was also the site of several artillery batteries over the years and also the Prince of Wales Tower, the oldest martello tower in North America.  Also, there is the Halifax Monument, more commonly called the Sailor's Memorial to honor Canadians who have died at sea and especially the 3257 who died during the world wars.

**  Shannon Park in Nova Scotia.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Some Confusion on Thomas O. Selfridge in the Last Post

In the last post on the court martial trial of William S. Cox, for the surrender of the USS Chesapeake on June 1, 1813, I wrote that Naval hero Stephen Decatur served as president at the proceedings and Thomas O. Selfridge was judge advocate.  This was according to the June 28, 2014, "The War" newspaper.

The name Selfridge is a very familiar one to me because of Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr.,'s service during the Civil War.  Must be his father.

The problem with Thomas O. Selfridge being the judge advocate in Mr. Cox's court martial is that Thomas was born April 24, 1804 and that would have made him just ten years old in 1814.  Kind of young to have been a judge advocate, I think.

Plus, Wikipedia says Thomas O. Selfridge was appointed a midshipman on January 1, 1818, at age 13.

I couldn't find any other Selfridge who would have been a naval officer during the War of 1812.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Some More On William Cox's Court Martial

From the June 28, 1814 "The War" newspaper.  This short-lived newspaper covered the War of 1812.

The court martial of William Sitgreaves Cox was presided over by Stephen Decatur as president and Thomas O. Selfridge was judge advocate.  The court martial was held on the frigate USS United States at New London, Connecticut.

It took place from April 1814 to May 5.

There were four charges against Cox:

1.  Cowardice

2.  Disobeyance of orders

3.  Desertion from his quarters and neglect of his duties.

4.  Unofficerlike conduct.


William Sitgreaves Cox: Victim or Coward?-- Part 2

William Cox was convicted in an 1814 court martial for dereliction of duty and for abandoning his watch station while under fire.  he was discharged from the Navy in disgrace.

His great grandson, New York architect Electus D. Litchfield fought for many years to have William Cox's conviction overturned.  Finally, in 1952, a resolution passed by Congress was signed by President Truman overturning the conviction and restoring Cox's rank.

Personally, from what I have read, I think this was long overdue.


Monday, April 17, 2017

William Sitgreaves Cox: Victim or Coward?-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

In the last post I mentioned what happened to the USS Chesapeake's Third Lt, William Sitgreaves Cox who ended up taking the blame for the loss of the USS Chesapeake to the HMS Shannon on June 1, 1813, off the shore of Boston.  For this he was found guilty at a court martial the next year.

I had never heard of him or the case before so did a little more research.


Served below deck in charge of a gun crew during the battle, but when his crew abandoned their post, he went to the upper deck to continue the fight.  When his Captain James Lawrence was wounded, he took him below deck to the ship's doctor.

However, the rest of the officers were all wounded or killed so Cox had become the senior, non-wounded officer present.


Friday, April 14, 2017

The Real, Shameful Story Behind 'Don't Give Up the Ship'-- Part 8: A Scapegoat

No American heroes arose from the engagement at first.  The first and second lieutenants of the Chesapeake had been wounded and were out of action.  The 4th lieutenant had been killed.

The 3rd lieutenant, William Cox, had not been able to get back up on deck after taking Lawrence below and he was made the scapegoat by the disbelieving American public.  It was his fault that the ship was lost.  he was tried by military court and found guilty of leaving his place of duty and dismissed from the U.S. Navy in disgrace.

His family and descendants tried for years to clear his name.  Finally, in 1952, President Truman pardoned him and restored him to his former rank.

James Lawrence was the clear culprit in the Chesapeake's loss.  But the American public would not allow any blame to be given to him.  If they couldn't have a victory, at least they would have a hero.

And, Captain Lawrence was that man.

Hero or Culprit?  --Brock-Perry

The Real, Shameful Story Behind 'Don't Give Up the Ship'-- Part 7: Who Surrendered the Ship?

The Shannon and Chesapeake collided and British Captain Philip Broke led a boarding party onto the USS Chesapeake.  Very close quarter hand-to-hand fighting ensued and Broke was wounded by a saber cut on his skull.

It didn't take long before the American colors came down and the British ensign was hoisted.  The battle was over.

Captain James Lawrence's exhortations to his crew came to naught.  They did give up the ship, but perhaps not actually.  There were no American officers on the deck to formally surrender the ship.  The British officers themselves simply declared the fighting over and the ship theirs.

The remaining Americans and Lawrence were taken prisoner and the two ships sailed away in tandem to Nova Scotia, leaving the Boston spectators dumbfounded.

What had happened?


Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Real, Shameful Story Behind 'Don't Give Up the Ship'-- Part 6

The carnage from these broadsides was enormous.  In less than fifteen minutes the Chesapeake had lost 40 killed and 90 wounded.  Meanwhile, on the Shannon there were 34 killed and 56 wounded.  The Chesapeake's headsail and wheel were quickly shot away and the Chesapeake now drifted helplessly downwind towards the Shannon which continued firing.

Sharpshooters in the Shannon's fighting tops fired down on American targets on the Chesapeake's decks.  One shot felled James Lawrence who was taken below for treatment.  It was below decks where he allegedly uttered those famous words.


The Real, Shameful Story Behind 'Don't Give Up the Ship"-- Part 5: Big British Advantage

Meanwhile, Captain Lawrence's adversary on the HMS Shannon had commanded that ship for seven years and an experienced crew that was so well trained that he didn't have to issue many orders.  They knew what they were doing.  They had trained long and hard on their gunnery and were additionally helped by special sights designed by Captain Broke and affixed to the top of their cannons.

Broke brought the Shannon to within a few miles of Boston and hove to, waiting for the USS Chesapeake.  Captain Lawrence brought his ship down on the near stationary Shannon from upwind, giving him a huge advantage.  But, for some reason, perhaps an act of bravado, swung around to be parallel with the British ship.

Both ships then exchanged broadsides at close range.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Real, Shameful Story of 'Don't Give Up the Ship'-- Part 4: Clearly Overmatched

The USS Chesapeake and James Lawrence were hopelessly overmatched in this battle with the HMS Shannon.  Lawrence had just taken command of his ship two weeks earlier and had not had the time to train his crew and officers.  Even worse, he was unhappy with his new command as he had really wanted to command the USS Constitution, but that ship was in drydock for repairs and was unavailable..

Half of his crew were new to the Navy and untrained in working together.  These men were also not happy because they hadn't been paid for weeks.  There are some reports that some of the crew were drunk when they met the Shannon on June 1.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Real, Shameful Story Behind 'Don't Give Up the Ship!'-- Part 3

The first shots fired in the battle came at 6 p,m..  The USS Chesapeake surrendered to the HMS Shannon just 15 minutes later.  A shocked and disappointed Boston had been planning a huge victory banquet to fete Captain Lawrence and his crew.  Plans were immediately canceled.

And, there were other reasons why Captain Lawrence lost the battle which I will write about in the next post.


The Real Shameful Story Behind 'Don't Give Up the Ship!'-- Part 2

Captain James Lawrence disobeyed orders not to engage the enemy and then committed a series of tactical blunders that all but guaranteed that he and his ship would lose the battle.

In May 1813, British Captain Philip Broke, commanding the flagship of the British blockading squadron off Boston, the HMS Shannon, sailed into Massachusetts Bay, daring the Americans to come out and fight him.  Captain Lawrence and his ship, the USS Chesapeake took the bait and sailed out to fight.

This was a big deal in Boston and everyone wanted to watch the fight.  Spectators were on the roofs of the city to see an expected easy American victory.  After all, U.S. frigates like the USS Constitution had been highly successful in one-on-one engagements with the British.

Small boats accompanied the Chesapeake out to get an even closer view of the battle.  The two commanders had to warn them to keep their distance.


Monday, April 10, 2017

The Real, Shameful Story Behind 'Don't Give Up the Ship!'-- Part 1

From the Mat 19, 2013, Boston Globe" by Tom Halsted.

On June 1, 1813, a few miles north of Boston, a mortally wounded Captain James Lawrence, as his crew was locked in a vicious hand-to-hand combat,  was taken below deck and allegedly uttered those faomus words, "Don't Give Up the Ship."

These words were published a few weeks later in a Baltimore newspaper and it went on to become the unofficial motto of the U.S. Navy.  This predated the famous slogans "Remember the Maine" and "Remember Pearl Harbor."

Later that year, Oliver Hazard Perry had a flag with those words on his flagship, the USS Lawrence at the Battle of Lake Erie.

But, those words did not mark a historic or heroic moment.

Not So Don't.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, April 7, 2017

Lexington Light Infantry

In the last post I mentioned that Nathaniel Hart commanded the Lexington Light Infantry from Lexington, Kentucky.  Since they were  also called the "Silk Stockings," I am of the belief that they must have been well-to-do.

I was unable to find out much about them except that they were organized in 1789.  In 1810, Lexington had a population of 4,326.

There is a photo of the group taken in the 1850s at the Civil War talk site, so they might have participated in the Civil War.


Nathaniel G.S. Hart-- Part 2: Killed at River Raisin Massacre

Mathaniel Hart attended Princeton and studied law under Henry Clay.  His wife was the sister of Henry Clay's wife.

The Lexington Light Infantry" was called "The Silk Stocking Boys" and were part of the 5th regiment Kentucky Volunteer Militia.  The unit left for the Northwest in August 1812 and became a part of the Army of the Northwest under General James Winchester.

In January 1813, they were sent to Frenchtown , Michigan Territory, as part of the American attempt to recapture Detroit from the British.  At the First Battle of Frenchtown on January 18, 1813, the Americans drove the small British force away.  On January 22, the British counter-attacked and the result was an American defeat with 397 killed.

Nathaniel Hart was wounded and one of the 547 Americans who surrendered.  he was shot and scalped by Indians the following day.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Nathaniel G.S. Hart of Kentucky-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

In my Cooter's History Thing blog I have been writing about Georgia's American Revolution heroine Nancy Hart who moved to Kentucky after the war and is buried there.  I came across the name of a Hart County in Kentucky and though it might have been named after her, but upon further research found out it was named after Nathaniel G.S. Hart, who fought and died in the War of 1812.

Born 11784  Died January 23, 1813.  Lexington, Kentucky, lawyer and businessman who fought with the Kentucky militia in the War of 1812 as captain of the Lexington Light Infantry.

He was taken prisoner at the Battle of Frenchtown in Michigan Territory and killed along with many of his men at the River raisin Massacre the next day.

Remember the Raisin.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Battle of Rock Island Rapids-- Part 3: About the Monument

The Mary Little Deere-Fort Armstron Chapter of the D.A.R. is based in Molene, Illinois, (one of the Quad Cities) and has 150 members and is one of the oldest in the United States.  So far they have raised $9,000 of the expected $65,000 needed to restore the monument.

There are four plaques on it.

One reads:  "This shaft bears witness to the heroism of Lieuts. John Campbell, Steve Rector, Jonathan Riggs, Surgeon John Steward, 33 U.S. Regulars and 65 Illinois Rangers who on this spot valiantly battled for their country."

Karpeles Museum is located at 700 22nd Street in Rock Island.  It features an exhibit containing 27 documents, including the June 25, 1812 Declaration of War, and items written by John Quincy adams, James Madison and James Monroe.


The Battle of Rock Island Rapids-- Part 2: Sixteen Americans Killed, Including One Woman and One Child

The 143 Americans encountered friendly Indians at first, but as they moved into the Rock Island Rapids, they were attacked.  Sixteen Americans were killed (one woman and one child among  them) and twenty-four, including Lt. Campbell were wounded.

Black Hawk claimed that he had two killed.

Afterwards, the Sauk Indians controlled the Quad-Cities area for almost twenty years.

The island was named in honor of Lt. Campbell and the monument to the action was dedicated July 20, 1908 with a huge crowd, speeches, music and a reenactment.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Battle of Rock Island Rapids-- Part 1: Ambushed by Black Hawk

From the March 5, 2017, Quad-City Dispatch-Argus "Campbell's Island 1814 battle recalled by 'survivor' by Jonathan Turner.

Susan McPeters, portraying the wife of one of the soldiers at the battle, put on a one-woman show in period dress.

On July 19, 1814, 500 Sauk Indians, led by the famous warrior Black Hawk attacked U.S. soldiers in boats in an expedition led by Lieutenant John Campbell in one of the westernmost battles of the war.

Lt. Campbell had command of three gunboats and was carrying military supplies north from St. Louis along the Mississippi River to Fort Shelby, at the present-day site of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.