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.