Thursday, October 31, 2019

Battle of Fort Stephenson-- Part 4: An American Victory

When the British grenadiers arrived at the south at the south gate, they were met with a destructive volley that quickly sent them back into the woods  This marked the end of the attack.

Storm clouds were brewing to the west and breezes blew the smoke away  All that was left were the dead, dying and wounded in the ditch  As twilight descended, Major Croghan addressed his troops with words of praise and thanks for service well rendered.  As night came, the cries and groans of the wounded could be heard inside the fort.

Buckets filled with water were let down from the fort's walls.  The gates could not be opened because of means of safety during the night, so Croghan ordered his men to dig a ditch out to them so the wounded could be brought in.for treatment.

On August 2, 1813, 21-year-old George Croghan against a vastly superior force, won a victory that proved to be a turning point of the War of 1812.


Battle of Fort Stephenson-- Part 3: "Old Betsy" Speaks and the British Listen

It was at this moment that the single cannon the Americans had,which Major Croghan had named "Old Betsy,"  was once again heard from.  Slugs and grapeshot roared through the ditch spreading havoc and terror among the troops in it.  British troops observing the attack could not see the carnage and assumed the attack had been successful.

They sent a second column which also met the same welcome from "Old Betsy" along with more shots from the Kentuckians.  Lt. Col. Short and Lt. Gordon were dead in that ditch along with 25 dead and another 25 wounded.

Only three of those advancing were able to escape and make it back to their lines.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Battle of Fort Stephenson-- Part 2: The Attack Begins

The British bombardment continues, but Gen. Proctor hears rifle fire out to the east of his position, and, fearing they might be American reinforcements, orders an assault.  But what he was hearing was actually his Indian allies firing at a farmer after he came upon their position.  The farmer manages to escape uninjured.

By 4 p.m. August 2, the British have formed into two columns led by Brevet Colonel  Short and Lt. Gordon.  They began to advance toward Fort Stephenson's northwest corner.  At the same time, another 200 British grenadiers under Lt. Col. Warburton are making a wide sweep to the west and feigning an attack on the fort's  southern front.

Cannon fire and smoke continues and the group under Col.Short are able to get within 15 feet of the walls before being seen.  Kentucky sharpshooters start picking off  some of the advancing men, causing the group to temporarily be thrown into disorder.

British axe men push forward, over the glacis and into the ditch where Croghan had his men dig in preparation for such an attack.  Lt. Col. Short was with these men, whose job was to chop their way through the damaged walls with axes so that the next wave of men could enter the fort.

Lt. Col. Short could be heard shouting  from the ditch:  "Cut away the pickets, my brave boys, , and show the damned Yankees no quarter."


Battle of Fort Stephenson (Fremont, Ohio)-- Part 1: A Standoff Ensued

Continuing from the last post.  From the Touring Ohio site.

Lt. Shipp and his group ran back to Fort Stephenson just as the British  opened fire from their gunboats.  The firing continued sporadically throughout the night.  The Americans occasionally returned fire.  Because they only had one cannon, after each firing they would relocate it to confuse the British.    This continued throughout the  night of August 1.

During the night, the British moved three of their six 6-pounder cannons to positions in the woods northwest of the fort.  This was slightly higher ground than the fort.  Today, there is a sign marking their position.

Towards sunrise, the British increased their rate of fire, but the Americans remained quiet.  The standoff continued throughout the day  It became clear to Major Croghan that the British were concentrating their fire on the northwest corner of the fort.  He ordered bags of sand and sacks of flour to be stacked up against those walls to help  deaden the impact of cannonballs striking those walls.


Last Major Action in Ohio-- Part 3: Greetings, Salutations and Demands, Defending "The Post to the Last Extremity"

British officers Colonel Elliott and Captain Chambers, along with a group of Indians under a flag of truce approached the fort.  Major Croghan sent out 2nd Lt. Shipp along with 15 others to meet them.

After the usual salutations, Col. Elliott is reported as saying:  "I am instructed to demand the instant surrender of the fort, to spare the effusion of blood, which we cannot do should we be under the necessity of  reducing it by our powerful force of regulars, Indians and artillery."

Lt. Shipp replied:  "My commandant and garrison are determined to defend  the post to the last extremity, and, bury themselves in its ruins, rather than surrender it to any force whatever."

The British colonel then replied:  "Look at our immense body of Indians.  They cannot be restraining from massacring  the whole garrison in the event of our undoubted success.  It is a great  pity that so fine a young man as you and your commander, should fall into the hands  of the savages.  Sir, for God's sake, surrender, and prevent the dreadful massacre that will be caused by your resistance!"

Shipp then calmly replied:  "When the fort shall be taken,  there will be none to massacre.  It will not be given up  while a man is able to resist."  With these words, Shipp and his men turned to return to the fort.  But as they did, an Indian jumped forward from some bushes and tried to grab Shipp's sword.  The British captain stopped Shipp from killing the Indian on the spot.

Major Croghan had been watching from the fort and yelled,  "Shipp come in , and we'll blow them all to hell!!"

Croghan and the Americans did not fall for the Indian threat like William Hull did at Detroit.

The Battle Is On.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, October 25, 2019

Last Major Action in Ohio-- Part 2: Confrontation at Fort Stephenson

British plans called for a demonstration toward Fort Seneca, which they expected William Harrison would reinforce with troops from heavily defended Fort Meigs.  Tecumseh and his warriors had been left by Fort Meigs and as soon as the Americans left the fort to defend Fort Seneca, they were to attack.

The British were not expecting any problems at Fort Stephenson as related in the last post.  However, they hadn't figured on the fort's commander, 21-year-old Major George Croghan.

British ships came up the Sanduskey River from Sanduskey Bay in Lake Erie and their scouts reported that Fort Stephenson was just ahead and was occupied.  British General Proctor hadn't expected Harrison to defend such a weak post and determined to capture it and its garrison,  (Harrison had actually ordered Croghan to abandon the fort,)

When Croghan received the word that the British were on their way, he immediately alerted Harrison of the situation.  Harrison ordered him to abandon Fort Stephenson (where present-day Fremont is located) and burn it.  However, before those orders could arrive, Croghan had decided to defend his fort.  He ignored Harrison's orders.

He had but one cannon operating.  The British arrived and took up position to the north of the fort.  They sent messengers under a flag of truce to demand he surrender his fort.

What did Major Croghan tell the British?

Here's Where It Gets Interesting.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Last Major Action in Ohio (1813): Going Up the Sanduskey River and George Croghan at Fort Stephenson

From the Touring Ohio site.

The British failed to take Fort Meigs in a second attack and then turned their attention to the Sanduskey River as a way to get around Fort Meigs.  They came up the river from where Port Clinton is located today.

They were hoping to draw out the Fort Meigs defenders and to have them make a stand, not at Fort Stephenson, but Fort Seneca.

Fort Stephenson (where Fremont, Ohio, is located today) was the first of three forts Harrison had built along the Sanduskey River.  Then next one upriver was Fort Seneca and then there was smaller one, essentially a depot) called Fort Ball (present-day Tiffin, Ohio).

The British knew that Fort Stephenson was a poorly constructed outpost and only mounted one or two cannons so they figured it wouldn't be too difficult of an obstacle.  However, what they hadn't counted on was that the fort was commanded by 21-year-old Major George Croghan.

Meet George.  --Brock-Perry

Harrison Takes Charge in Ohio-- Part 4: Heading for the Sanduskey

Once the British had left, William Henry Harrison sentn his forces east to the Sanduskey River to construct a series of forts along it.   Like the Maumee River, British ships could go up it from Lake Erie until they reached a distance where they could go no further.

It was here that Harrrison built another fort for defense.  In addition, several forts were constructed further upriver as fall-back positions  However, these additional forts were not as heavily protected and not expected to withstand a major assault like Fort Meigs

They were there for supplies and a point of safety for soldiers as they moved from one position to another.

The Touring Ohio site has a picture of Gen. Harrison's headquarters at Franklinton which appears to be nothing more than a very rustic log cabin.  The Harrison House, which I have written about, is a much more luxurious structure and I imagine this is where the general lived.

There is also a picture of a weather vane from the top of the Franklinton  courthouse which is pockmarked by bullet holes from Harrison's recruits who were using it for target practice during training.


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Harrison Takes Charge in Ohio (1812)-- Part 3: Siege of Fort Meigs

A good defensive spot, Harrison believed, would be at the point where the first set of rapids on the Maumee River would force ships to stop and unload.  Here, near present day Perrysburg, he determined to build Fort Meigs.

Construction on the fort began in the late winter of 1813 and weather conditions were horrible, but the fort was completed in just three months.  And that was just in time.

The fort was designed for defense and as a major supply area for the proposed invasion of Canada.  Because of its large size, the interior of the fort was constructed to protect men and supplies from bombardment.  As it turned out, this was a good thing.

The fort was attacked by British forces almost immediately.  On May 1, 1813,  British forces under General Proctor came down the Maumee River and took up position across the river from the fort.  Despite a few successes, they were never able to dislodge the Americans from the fort before additional American forces arrived.

The siege of Fort Meigs lasted four days.

Tecumseh and his Indians could not understand why the British withdrew so quickly   Even more puzzling was why they were to remain opposite Fort Meigs while the British left to flank the Americans there by coming down the Sanduskey River.


Monday, October 21, 2019

Harrison Takes Charge In Ohio-- Part 2: Building Roads and Forts

Fresh recruits soon began pouring into Franklinton and William Henry Harrison set out to train them.  As the new troops were being trained, he sent the first 700 he had received out to what is today Muncie, Indiana, where they caught a group of Miami Indians by surprise  and soundly defeated them on December 17, 1812.

At this time, most of Ohio was still a wilderness.  There were a few roads built along existing Indian trails, but for the most part, land north and west of Columbus was flat marshy land which made travel extremely difficult.

Making roads to the north of the town caused many deaths from disease in Harrison's army.  To make travel easier, Harrison ordered that an old Indian trail along the Scioto River be expanded.  That road today is State Route 23.

After that he began concentrating on building forts.  He first rebuilt Fort Defiance which had had major use during the Indian Wars of 1793-1794.  It was located at the confluence of  the Auglaiz and Maumee rivers.  During the War of 1812, the major threat to Ohio came from Canadian and British troops and their Indian allies massed along the northwest end of Lake Erie.

Fort Defiance gave Harrison a good point for a staging area, but wasn't as much help as a defensive post.  Another fort was needed.


Sunday, October 20, 2019

Harrison Takes Charge In Ohio-- Part 1: Rebuilding the Army of the Northwest at Franklinton

From Touring Ohio; The Heart of America site.

After the loss of Fort Detroit and Detroit by William  Hull General James Winchester became commander of what was left of the Army of the Northwest.  he offered William Henry Harrison, the governor of the Indiana Territory a rank in his army as a brigadier general, but Harrison wanted complete command of the army and refused.

When the president learned that Harrison wanted the command, he immediately removed Winchester and on September 17, 1812, Harrison assumed command of the Army.

Just a few months before war was declared, Columbus had been named the new capital of Ohio.  When Harrison arrived in Central Ohio in mid 1812, there was no question where he'd set up his headquarters.  It would be at Franklinton, across the river from Columbus.

With Hull's defeat and the capture of most of the Army of the Northwest, Harrison's first order of business was to get new recruits and rebuild the army.  Then he had defensive positions put up across northwest Ohio to stop or at least slow down any British advances.


Saturday, October 19, 2019

Franklinton, Ohio-- Part 2: Role in the War of 1812

After the flooding, the town was located less than a mile away, but off the banks of the Scioto River.  It became the county seat of Franklin County in 1803 and the town and population grew during the War of 1812  as it served as the staging point of General Benjamin Harrison's Army of the Northwest.

In 1846, traveler Henry Howe wrote:  "During the late war, it was a place of general rendezvous for the northwestern army, and sometimes from one to three thousand troops were stationed there.

After the war, it continued to grow, as did Columbus, across the river as it became the new state capital.

So, Franklinton is now a neighborhood of the city of Columbus which is the capital of Ohio.

However, Columbus was not the first capital of Ohio.  It wasn't even the second one.  The first capital was Chillicothe and the second one was Zanesville.


Friday, October 18, 2019

Franklinton, Ohio (In Case You're Wondering)-- Part 1: Named for Benjamin Franklin

From Wikipedia.

In the last post I mentioned the Harrison House in this place getting a plaque.  I'd never heard of Franklinton, Ohio.

Franklinton is a neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, and was the first settlement in Franklin County, Ohio. As the City of Columbus grew, it annexed and incorporated the settlement and today is a Columbus neighborhood located directly to the west of the downtown.

The neighborhood gets its nickname "The Bottoms" from the fact that it is prone tp flooding from the Scioto and Olentangy rivers.

In 1795, Lucas Sullivant was sent from Virginia to survey the Central Ohio District of the Virginia Military District.  As payment for this work, he received 6,000 acres  in the Refugee Tract reserved for those who fought in the American Revolution.

In 1797, he laid out 220 lots in Franklin County which he named Franklinton in honor of Benjamin Franklin, who had recently died.  The original settlement was abandoned because of flooding the next year.


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Franklinton (Ohio) Set to Celebrate Historic Harrison House

From the October 17, 2019, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch by Rita Price.

This Saturday, Oct. 19, the historic Harrison House, built in 1807, will be getting a historic marker along with historic exhibits, food and children's activities.  The marker will be dedicated at 2 p.m..  It is hosted by the Frankinton Historical Society, Franklinton Board of Trade and Ohio History Connection.

Also the 1822 Sullivant Land Office, the only remaining structure built by Franklin and Columbus founder Louis Sullivant, will also be open.

During the War of 1812, future U.S. president Benjamin Harrison had his headquarters of his U.S. Northwest Army located at the Harrison House.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Garrison Cemetery Called the War of 1812 Cemetery in New York

From Wikipedia.

Located in Cheektowaga, New York.

Garrison Cemetery is also known as the War of 1812 Cemetery in western New York near the Niagara River.  It is the final resting place of both British and American soldiers who fought in the Niagara  Campaign during the war.

It is located on the site of the former General Military Hospital which was established August 1, 1814,at Williams Mill.

It was listed on the on the NRHP in 2002.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

HMS Canso-- Part 3: Capturing American Vessels

The attack on Fort Peter occurred at the same time as the siege of Fort St. Phillip in Louisiana and was part of the British occupation of St. Marys and Cumberland Island.

At Fort St. Peter, the British captured two American gunboats and twelve merchant ships, including the East  Indianman Countess of Harcourt which an American privateer had captured on her way between India and London.  Prize money from it and other Canso captures was finally paid in April 1824  (and it had to be a lot).

During her service with the British, the former American privateer did much better than she did in U.S. service.

On 31 January, the British squadron captured St. Simons, Georgia, and later three more prizes.  In July 1815, the Canso seized four more vessels at Bermuda.

The Royal Navy sold the Canso 30 May 1816.

A Real Bane to America.  --Brock-Perry

Sunday, October 13, 2019

HMS Canso-- Part 2: As A Ship in the Royal Navy

So, the Lottery didn't have much success as a privateer. but, considering the odds she faced when captured, it was no surprise that she was taken.

After capture, she convoyed several prizes to Bermuda and was taken into British service and renamed the HMS Canso  under the command of Lt. Wentworth P. Croke, who commanded her the whole time she was in the Royal Navy.  On September 11, it captured the Massachusetts and in November, it and several other vessels were  grounded in hurricane off Halifax, but soon got off.

On 11 May 1814, the Canso recaptured the brig Traveller, which had previously been captured by the American privateer Surprise.

In the second half of the year, the Canso operated with several other ships in the Chesapeake Bay, capturing six American ships.  The squadron then sailed to St. Mary's, Georgia, under Admiral George Cockburn, where they attacked Fort Peter in January 1815.  This was after the Treaty of Ghent, but before it was ratified.


Friday, October 11, 2019

HMS Canso-- Part 1: Formerly An American Privateer

From the Feb. 2014 entry on HMS Statira.

From Wikipedia.

The HMS Canso was originally the American Letter of Marque schooner Lottery, launched in 1811. and captured by the British in 1813.  The Royal Navy took her into service for the duration of the War of 1812 and it served for awhile afterwards.

93 feet long, 23.8 foot beam, armament 16 guns. (though armed with just six 12-pounder carronades when captured)

Sailed under a letter of marque  dated 24 July 1812 with a crew of 30 under the command of  John Southcomb.     She captured one prize that proved to be of so little worth that it was released.  She captured a brig on her way back to Baltimore where she remained until February 1813.

On 8 February 1813, the Lottery was captured by nine boats and 200 men in Lynnhaven Bay (on the Chesapeake Bay).  It was quite a bloody fight.


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Henry A.S. Dearborn-- Part 3: Other Positions

He replaced his father as Collector of the Port of Boston from 1813 to 1829.  Other honors were membership in the American Antiquarian Society and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Then, he got into politics at Massachusetts state level as a representative  and senator.  Then he was a one-term U.S. representative as an Anti-Jacksonian.  Later he was the mayor of Roxbury, Massachusetts.

In 1847, he was selected as running mate for Zachary Taylor by the Native American Party (precursor of the Know-Nothing Party).  But the Whig Party nominated Taylor as their presidential candidate with Millard Fillmore as his running mate so that was it for Dearborn's vice presidential effort.

Henry A.S. Dearborn died July 29, 1851, and is buried  at Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.


Henry A.S. Dearborn-- Part 2: Built Forts, Commanded Militia, Military Societies

Obviously, he must have learned some military engineering from his father, Secretary of War Henry Dearborn, as he oversaw the construction of Fort Preble and Fort Scammel in Portland Harbor (Maine).  During the War of 1812, he commanded volunteers manning the defenses of Boston Harbor.

He was promoted to brigadier general in the Massachusetts Militia in 1814.  Also serving as adjutant general of the Massachusetts Militia from 1834 to 1843 with the rank of major general.

In 1816, he was elected captain of the Ancient and Honorable  Artillery Company of Massachusetts  In 1832, after his father's death (Henry Dearborn was an officer in the American Revolution), he was admitted to the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati.  This organization is made up of those who were officers during the Revolution and their descendants.

He eventually became the first  president general of the organization who was not a veteran of the Revolution.  As president he had the Society change its rules to where other descendants