Monday, September 30, 2019

Henry Alexander Scammell Dearborn-- Part 1: Son of Sec. of War Henry Dearborn

While I was researching John A. Winslow in my Civil War Navy blog, I found he was buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.  (He sank the Confederate commerce raider CSS Alabama.  While looking at that cemetery's notable burials, I came across this man.

From Wikipedia.

March 3, 1783 to July 29, 1851.

Soldier, lawyer,  author and statesman.  First president of Massachusetts Horticultural Society, member of the Society of Cincinnati and author of many books.

I came across that he was a brigadier general.

He was the son of Secretary of War and Major General Henry Dearborn, studied law, admitted to the bar and practiced law in Salem, Mass. and Portland, Maine.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Amherstburg Royal Navy Dockyard-- Part 5: Abandoned After the Battle of Lake Erie

Commander Robert Barclay's fleet met Oliver Hazard Perry's American fleet 10 September 1813 at the Battle of Lake Erie and the result was the capture of the entire British fleet.  With American control over Lake Erie and supplies cut off British land forces were forced to retreat to to Burlington Heights for supplies.

The yard was burned and abandoned in September 1813.  In 1814, a new Royal Navy Yard was established at Penetanguishene on Lake Huron.

The site of the Amherstburg Royal Naval Dockyard  was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1928.    The site has a four-sided monument featuring four brass  plaques detailing the site's historic significance and is located in a 10-5 acre park.


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Amherstburg Royal Naval Dockyard-- Part 5: Royal Navy Takes Control and A Plan

During the War of 1812, the dockyard was first the base of operations for the Provincial Marine's operations on Lake Erie and Lake Huron and later the Royal Navy's.

However, due to the yards location at the far end of Lake Erie, supplies for it had to be shipped across the lake from Fort George and overland from Niagara Falls or shipped to York and Burlington Heights, transported overland to Long Point before being transported on the lake again to the yard.

In May 1813, the Royal Navy took control of all of the Provincial Marine forces and establishments on Lake Erie.  With the construction of superior American ships in 1813, , Commander Robert Heriot Barclay, the commander of the Royal Navy's Lake Erie Squadron and sought to defeat the Americans before they could cut his supply lines.


Monday, September 23, 2019

Amherstburg Royal Navy Dockyard-- Part 4: Four British Ships Captured at Battle of Lake Erie Built Here

The last four ships listed in the last post were all captured by the Americans at the Battle of Lake Erie  "We Have Met the Enemy and They Are Ours."

HMS General Hunter  10 gun brig

HMS Queen Charlotte  17 gun ship/sloop

HMS Lady Prevost   13 gun schooner

 2nd HMS Detroit  19  gun ship/sloop

There were two other British ships captured at the Battle of Lake Erie but not built at the Amherstburg Royal Navy Dockyard:

HMS Chippawa (Chippeway)  schooner 1 gun

HMS Little Belt   sloop  2 guns


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Amherstburg Royal Navy Dockyard-- Part 3: Seven Ships Built There

Ships built at the Amherstburg Royal Navy Dockyard:

GENERAL HOPE--  schooner

EARL OF CAMDEN--  schooner

HMS CALEDONIA--  brig 1807


HMS QUEEN CHARLOTTE--  1810  Ship/Sloop

HMS LADY PREVOST--  schooner 1812

2ND HMS DETROIT--  1813  Ship/Sloop


Friday, September 20, 2019

Amherstburg Royal Navy Dockyard-- Part 2: Heavily Defended

In 1796, Fort Amherstburg (Fort Malden) was selected for the site of a new  dockyard for the construction of vessels for the Provinvcial Marine after the former site in Detroit was ceded to the Americans.  It was the only British naval base west of Kingston and located on the Detroit River with easy access to Lake Erie and Lake Huron.

The dockyard comprised  a large storehouse, two blockhouses,  a timber yard, saw pit and a wharf.  The blockhouses flanked the Navy Yard with Fort Amherstburg (Fort Malden) and the town of Amherstburg on either side, with the dockyard overlooking the channel which ran between it and Bois Blanc Island.  The dockyard was further protected by defenses erected on the island which watched over the entrances to both ends of the channel.

Many of the town's residents worked at the dockyard.

Many of the British ships that participated in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie were built here.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Amherstburg Royal Navy Dockyard-- Part 1: Served Both the Provincial Marine and Royal Navy

From Wikipedia.

I have recently been writing about Amherstburg and Fort Amherstburg (more commonly called Fort Malden) and I then came across the Navy Dockyard that was located there.

It was a Provincial Marine (built warships for the province) and the Royal Navy Yard from 1789 to 1813, in Amherstburg, Ontario, situated on the Detroit River.  The yard comprised of blockhouses, storehouses,  magazine, wood yard and wharf.

The yard was established in 1796 to support the Upper Canada Provincial Marine after Great Britain ceded a pre-existing navy yard on the Detroit River to the United States.  Amherstburg Royal Navy Dockyard constructed four warships  for the Lake Erie Detachment of the Provincial Marine before and during the War of 1812.

In 1813, the dockyard was abandoned and destroyed when the British retreated and never reopened.  In 1928, the site was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Other USS Fultons in U.S. Navy

From Wikipedia.

Besides the USS Demologos, there were other ships by the name of Fulton in the U.S. Navy.

USS FULTON  (1837)--  Sidewheel steamer launched in 1837, captured by Confederates  in 1861 and destroyed when they evacuated Pensacola, Florida, in 1862.  I'll be writing about this ship in my Running the Blockade blog later today.

USS FULTON  (AS-1)--  A submarine tender launched in 1914, reclassified as a gunboat (PG-49) in 1930, and decommissioned  in 1934.

USS FULTON (SP-247), a tugboat, converted into a patrol vessel in commission 1917-1919.

USS FULTON  (AS-11)    A Fulton-class submarine tender, launched in 1940 and struck in 1991.


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

USS Fulton-- Part 3: A Dead-End in Naval Architecture

The Demologos had an entirely innovative and unique design.  It was actually a catamaran, with its paddlewheel between two hulls. that were 5 feet thick to protect against cannon fire.  It was capable of 5.5 knots an hour under favorable conditions and designed to carry thirty 32-pounder cannons with 24 along the sides and 6 fore and aft.  However, it never had the full amount as the Navy had trouble acquiring that man guns.  It was also fitted for two 100-pounder guns fore and aft, but they also were never mounted.

The design protected the paddlewheels from enemy fire and also allowed for easier placement of broadside guns.

However, with its hull the way it was, the Demologos was not suited for travel on the open seas.

The design eventually ended as a dead end in naval architecture, especially with the introduction  of the screw propeller. in the 1840s.


Monday, September 16, 2019

USS Fulton-- Part 2: Just One Day of Service

On March 9, 1814, Congress authorized construction of a steam frigate to the design of Robert Fulton, a pioneer in the construction of steam ships.  Construction began in June at the civilian yard of famed shipbuilders Adam and Noah Brown in New York City and launched  October 29.

Delivered to the U.S. Navy in June 1816, but never formally named.  Fulton christened it the Demologos (or Demologus), but after his death, it was named the USS Fulton.

By the time of completion, the War of 1812 was over and she saw only one day of actual service when it carried President James Monroe on a tour of New York Harbor.

Its first commander, Captain David Porter (father of David Dixon Porter of Civil War and Fort Fisher fame and essentially a step father to David Glasgow Farragut) ordered a two-masted lateen rig built on the ship.  In 1821 its armament and machinery were removed and the remainder of its career spent in reserve.

After 1825, she became a floating barracks ship for the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  Its end came on June 4, 1829 in a gunpowder explosion while at anchor.  An officer and 47 men were killed.


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Baltimore Celebrating Defenders Day This Weekend

From the Baltimore Sun.

This weekend is the 205th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore and the attack on Fort McHenry.  It will be celebrated where a lot of it took place, at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Site.

September 13 they had a parade to the fort.

September 14 had family-friendly activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by an evening of music, photo ops with U.S. Army soldiers, living history exhibitions and a flag-raising, all culminating with  an 8:25 fireworks display.

Today, September 15, there are more family-friendly activities from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Admission to the grounds is free.  Admission to the fort is $15 and free for kids under 16.

A Great Victory and the "Star-Spangled Banner."  --Brock-Perry

Friday, September 13, 2019

The USS Fulton (United States Floating Battery Demologos): Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Last month I was writing a lot about Stephen Champlin's naval career and one of his commands was the steamer Robert Fulton during the 1838 Patriot War.  Initially, I had some confusion until I figured out that the USS Fulton and the steamer Robert Fulton were two different ships.

But the USS Fulton had a War of 1812 connection.  And then there was a second USS Fulton that had a Civil War connection.

This is about the first USS Fulton, originally named the Demologos, a steam driven catamaran-type U.S. Navy frigate.

The Demologos was the first warship to be propelled by a steam engine and built to defend New York City from the Royal Navy during the War of 1812.  It was based on a design by inventor Robert Fulton and was renamed the USS Fulton after his death.  Because the war was over soon after it was built, it never saw action.  No other ship built by the U.S. Navy was anything like it.

Stats:  Laid down 1814,  Commissioned 1816.  Blown up 1829.

153.2 feet long.  58 foot beam.    Regarded as a steam battery.   Thirty  32-pdr. cannons  Two 100-pdr Columbiads

It was armored with five foot thick wooden planking.  It had two hulls with the paddle wheel between them.


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Deaths of 9-11 First Responders Continue to Rise

Tom Frey now lives in Florida and is one of the many 9-11 First Responders with serious illnesses brought on by exposure to the dust, smoke and chemicals at Ground Zero.  A battle with Hodgkins lymphoma, tied to his 9-11 exposure, included multiple rounds of chemotherapy.  That treatment led to a secondary diagnosis:  pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable scarring of the lungs that can be have many causes and is one of the latest diseases to be correlated with Ground Zero exposure.

On 9-11, Frey remembers looking up to see gray ash falling like soft rain and realizing that he and other cops were wearing only paper masks:  "I said, 'This is not going to be good down the road.' "

When he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 2016, his doctor told him "that the chemo drugs had started a fire in my lungs with some of the debris from the Trade Center, and he said there was nothing they could do for me."

Though Frey had long thought of himself as invincible --  "I figured, hey, all those hot dogs I ate from the street vendors, I must be immune to everything," he jokes --  he is part of the growing toll of victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning?)-- Part 2

Continued from the Tattooed On Your Soul:  World War II blog from today.

This being the 18th anniversary of that dastardly attack.

And as Mary Dixon and Linn Brehmer on Chicago's WXRT, 93.1 FM pointed out, hard to believe that we have a whole new generation who was not even born when it happened.  Hopefully, it will not be forgotten.  Every September 11 all seven of my blogs are devoted to the story.

This song brought tears to my eyes when I saw Alan Jackson performing it shortly afterwards.


Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones

Pray for the ones you don't know?

Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble

And sob for the ones left down below?

Did you burst out with pride

For the red, white and blue

And the heroes who died

Just doin' what they do?


Not Forgotten Here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Fort Malden-- Part 11: The Fort's Roles After the Upper Canada Rebellion

After the Upper Canada Rebellion and Patriot War, the fort was abandoned, but the people of Amherstburg complained they had no defense, so British troops were again stationed and, since there was no defending to be done, they improved the fort.

From 1851-1859, Fort Malden was  occupied by army pensioners in what became known as the Pensioner Scheme which was a way for Britain to replace active military units with retired personnel.  This worked well and most pensioners stayed and with their pensions and hard work, helped Amherstburg's development.

Before the Civil; War, Amherstburg and Fort Malden  played major roles in the Underground Railroad, enabling runaway slaves to get to Canada for their freedom.

From  1859 to 1875, the province of Ontario had ownership of the fort and it was turned into the Malden Lunatic Asylum.

From 1876 to 1935, Fort Malden was surveyed and sold at public auction after being divided into eleven lots.  Then, from 1935 to the present, Fort Malden has been  a National Historic Site of Canada.


Monday, September 9, 2019

Fort Malden-- Part 10: The End of the Upper Canada Rebellion

One attempt by the Hunters' Lodge Americans to defeat the British  took place on January 9, 1838, when they crossed the Detroit River on the schooner Anne (which I have written a whole lot about, click the Anne/Ann (schooner) label).  They attacked Amherstburg, which Fort Malden defended.

All three British regiments and a town militia and Native American warriors defended the town successfully and captured twenty Americans prisoner, including their commander Edward Alexander  Theller.

There were also two other battles fought in the vicinity.  One was at Fighting Island and the other at Pelee Island.

Once the fighting in the Upper Canada Rebellion was quelled, the fort was no longer needed for active military regiments.  The Royal Artillery left between June and July  1839 and the  32nd Regiment also withdrew.  The militia was disbanded a few months later.


Fort Malden-- Part 9: Used During the Upper Canada Rebellion and Patriot War (1837-1838)

After the American withdrawal from Fort Malden, the British allowed it to deteriorate over the years until 1837-1838 when the Upper Canada Rebellion took place.  This also involved what I was recently writing about, the Patriot War of 1838.

The Upper Canada Rebellion involved a group of Canadians wanting to break away from British rule and the Patriot War were Americans willing to help them.  Between the two groups, this strained relations between Great Britain and the United States.

Much of Fort Malden's involvement with this was protecting Upper Canada from American citizens (the Patriots) operating out of Hunters' Lodges who frequently embarked on border raids along the border by the Detroit River.

As a result of this threat, Fort Malden experienced a rebirth of sorts with several buildings added and the earthworks repaired.  Much of this was conducted under Major H.D. Townshend in 1838 and involved the  24th and 32nd regiments who occupied the fort during this period.


Saturday, September 7, 2019

Fort Malden-- Part 8: American Occupation

After General Henry Proctor abandoned and burned Fort Malden in the fall of 1813, American forces occupied the towns of Sandwich (Windsor) and Amherstburg, including the land the fort had stood on.

During that time, the area was used to conduct raids on nearby Chatham-Kent and London, Upper Canada (Ontario) for supplies.  The Americans began reconstructing Fort Malden near the site of the original fort.

After the ratification of the Treaty of Ghent in February 1815, the border between the United States and British North America was restored to prewar status and the Americans returned the land and left.  The U.S. Army officially  withdrew from Fort Malden on July 1, 1815.


Friday, September 6, 2019

Fort Malden-- Part 7: Fort is Abandoned By the British

Again, the official name of the fort is Fort Amherstburg, but most everyone refers to it as Fort Malden.

Throughout the War of 1812, the Detroit Frontier (where Fort Malden is located)  was considered as an afterthought to British strategy.  It was "a distant and expendable outer branch"  of Canada.  One that Britain would sacrifice in order to protect Montreal and Quebec in Lower Canada, and Niagara, York and Kingston in Upper Canada.

The losses of York and Niagara in the spring of 1813 placed the Upper Canada's western border in jeopardy.  Resources were directed at the Niagara region and with no chances of receiving significant reinforcements,  General Proctor was forced to abandon Fort Malden in September 1813.

With the British defeat at the Battle of Lake Erie the fort was burned and the fort's inhabitants were forced to flee with American forces hot on their heels.  After the American victory at the Battle of the Thames, general Proctor was able to continue his retreat to Niagara.


Thursday, September 5, 2019

Fort Malden-- Part 6: The Surrender of Fort Detroit

On July 16th, General Hull's American Army met  its first British resistance at the River Canard where two British soldiers were killed, marking the first fatalities of the War of 1812.

Major General Isaac Brock assumed command at Fort Malden on August 13, 1812, and it was Brock who led British troops across the Detroit River a few days later.  With the help of Chief Tecumseh's native warriors, Brock marched on Fort Detroit.

It was reported that General Hull was fearful of "hordes" of Indians swooping down on the civilian population of Detroit and it was this fear that Brock and Tecumseh decided to capitalize on and let Hull know that there were some 5,000 Indians with Brock and that he didn't know if he could control them in a battle if it took place.

This was, even after the fearsome proclamation he had made, why General Hull surrendered Fort Detroit without a fight.

This success at Fort Detroit was a big reason support of the First Nations during the War of 1812.


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Fort Malden-- Part 5: Hull's Brazen Proclamation to Canadians

The first stroke of the Tomahawk, the first attempt with the scalping knife, will be the signal for one of indiscriminate scene of desolation. No white man found fighting by the side of an Indian, will be taken prisoner.  Instant destruction will be his lot.

The UNITED STATES offers you peace, liberty and security.    Your choice lies between these & WAR, slavery, and destruction.  Choose them but choose wisely, and may he who knows the justice of our cause, and who holds in his hand the fate of NATIONS, guide you to a result that is most compatible with your rights  and interest, your PEACE and prosperity.

Big words for a man who surrendered Fort Detroit for fear of those Indians.


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Fort Malden-- Part 5: Hull's Brazen Proclamation to Canadians

Considering how this incursion ended and the surrender of Detroit, this proclamation by Hull certainly didn't bear out his words.


After  thirty years of PEACE & prosperity, the UNITED STATES have been driven to Arms.  The injuries & aggressions, insults & indignities of Great Britain have once more left them no alternative but manly resistance or unconditional submission.

The ARMY under my command has invaded your country, & the Standard of the UNION now waves over the Territory of CANADA.  To the peaceable unoffending inhabitant, it brings neither danger nor difficulty.  I come to find enemies, not to snake them.  I come to protect, not to injure you.

If the barbarous & savage policy of Great Britain is pursued, and the savages are let loose to murder our citizens, & butcher our women and children, the war, will be a war of extermination.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Fort Malden-- Part 4: Opening of War of 1812

Part 3 is on August 31.  Parts two and three are out of order.

General Hull reacted to the Cuyahoga's capture on July 12 when he moved his forces across the Detroit River east of Sandwich (Windsor today) and took the town without opposition.  Sandwich was then used as a base of operations for the American advance into Upper Canada.

General Hull used the Francois Baby House in Sandwich as his headquarters and on July 13, issued a proclamation to the citizens of Canada.  (See next post for his proclamation.)

The Francois Baby House construction began in 1812 and it was unfinished when General Hull used it as his headquarters.  It was later used as British headquarters.  Today it is a National Historic Site of Canada.


Monday, September 2, 2019

Fort Malden-- Part 2: A History of the Fort and Amherstburg

From Wikipedia Amherstburg.

Amherstburg town is a Canadian town near the mouth of the Detroit River about 16 miles south of the city of Detroit.  It is part of the Windsor metropolitan area.

French colonists had originally settled in the area.  In 1796, after losing the American colonies and Fort Detroit (present-day Detroit), Britain established Fort Malden (Fort Amherstburg) as a military fort overlooking Lake Erie at the Detroit River's mouth.

This caused the region's population to grow as did the Crown granting land in Upper Canada to  Loyalists from the U.S. (now known as United Empire Loyalists) in compensation for losses in the former colonies or for payment for service in the American Revolution.

Amherstburg and the fort also played a role in the Underground Railroad to get runaway slaves to their freedom in the years leading up to the Civil War.  It was a major crossing point into Canada.  The town is even mentioned in the famous book "Uncle Tom's Cabin" as being where George and Eliza escaped slavery.