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.