Monday, October 31, 2011

Johnston Blakeley, Lost At Sea

From Harper's Magazine:

Johnston Blakeley, born in Ireland and later a resident of North Carolina, was the commander of the USS Wasp (5th of that name) that captured the HMS Reindeer and sunk the HMS Avon... .

The USS Wasp was probably sunk in a gale; it was last heard of on October 9, 1814.  There is an historical marker commemorating Johnston Blakeley in Wilmington, North Carolina.  Johnston Blakeley's daughter Udney Marie died in childbirth; the Johnston Blakeley line is extinct.  His widow, Jane, married a Dr. [Robert] Abbott and moved to Christiansted in the Virgin Islands.

A newspaper account of Johnston Blakeley's romance was published in the Pittsburgh Press.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Captain George Downie

 A passage in the Battles of the British navy described how Captain George Downie died in the Battle of Plattsburg:

This gallant officer met his death in the following manner.  A shot from the Saratoga striking one of the 24 pounder carronades on board Confiance knocked it completely off the slide against the captain, who was standing close in the rear of it. He received the blow upon right groin and although signs of life were exhibited for a few minutes he never spoke afterward.  No part of his skin was broken and a black mark of about the circumference of a small plate was the only visible hurt sustained.  His watch was perfectly flattened and was found with the hands pointing to the hour, minute, and second at which the fatal hurt was received.

From The Outlook:

Of George Downie we know little. He was born in Ross, Ireland; he entered the British navy at an early age; in 1812 he was given command of the British fleet on the Lakes; he was killed in the Battle of Plattsburgh on September 11 1814.

Downie's genealogy according to this source (also the carronades link):

Captain George Downie 1778-1814

George Downie was the eighth son of the Reverend John Downie. He was a twin of Hector, born on 19 January 1778, almost certainly at Tong, Stornoway where his father lived.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Strength And Loss In The Battle of Plattsburgh - September 11, 1814

Battle of Plattsburgh in the Gazetteer  noted the comparative strength and loss of the two parties on the lakes were as follows:

On Sunday morning, Sept. 11 [1814], a simultaneous attack was made by the British land and naval forces, and a bloody and desperate battle ensued. At the end of 2 hours Captain Downie's flag struck, and nearly the whole British fleet fell into the hands of the Americans.

These engagements were justly considered among the most brilliant that occurred during the war of 1812.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dr. Isaac Van Voorhis, Slain At Fort Dearborn

 From The Story of Old Fort Dearborn, an obituary of Dr. Isaac Van Voorhis (1790 - 1812), of Fishkill (NY), who was slain at the Fort Dearborn Massacre (now called Battle of Ft. Dearborn as of 2009):

Dr. Van Voorhis' article on vaccines published in 1812.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Battle Of Caulk's Field

Sir Peter Parker, who died at the Battle of Caulk's Field, faced Colonel Philip Reed there.

According to "Rediscover1812," "The turning point for American fortunes on the Chesapeake Bay was the battle of Caulk’s Field in Kent County. In one summer night, the British would lose more than a dozen men, a British peer and their firm grasp on Maryland’s bay country. American militia finally stood against disciplined British troops – and won." [See Caulk's Field on a Google map and a picture of a monument here]

There are more pictures at The Fort McHenry Guard site.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sir Peter Parker, From A Biographical Memoir

A Biographical Memoir of the Late Sir Peter Parker....

 In the month of May, 1810... he was appointed to the command of a new frigate of a large class, the Menelaus, of 38 guns... . She was, in all respects, worthy of her gallant commander, to whom was committed the care of fitting her for sea in the most efficient and expeditious manner. The active eye of her captain was every where, to render her perfect as a ship of war; and in this object he eminently succeeded.

 On sailing, Sir Peter Parker turned all hands up, and read to them the official letter from Captain Brooke, of the Shannon frigate, detailing the capture of the Chesapeake. He then said to them—" My good fellows, it is my determination never to strike the glorious British colours to the American flag."

Anxious to defeat their [American forces] purpose, to drive them from a position which threatened the safety of the Menelaus, to procure intelligence for his admiral... .  ... Sir Peter Parker determined upon an immediate attack. It was at this time, while animating his men in the most heroic manner, that Sir Peter Parker received his mortal wound, which obliged him to quit the field, and he expired in a few minutes.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fort Jennings Preparing War of 1812 Celebration

Fort Jennings (Ohio) will be celebrating its anniversary in 2012:

"Fort Jennings is busily preparing to celebrate their part in the War of 1812.   They have studied the work of previous historians and have unearthed much history that has never before been published."


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Before He Was Detroit's First Mayor, John R. Williams Was A Captain Of The Artillery

 John R. Williams, Detroit's First Mayor, was a POW when General Hull surrendered Detroit. 

John R. Williams' Papers are housed at the Burton Collection at the Detroit Public Library.  From the Library's site:

Abstract:  [Papers are] Principally mercantile records and correspondence relating to the fur trade and Great Lakes shipping; also political and governmental subjects; personal correspondence and bills; property leases, sales and purchases... War of 1812.

Williams was born in Detroit (Mich.) on May 4, 1782. In 1796 he served under Gen. Wilkinson in 1796 at Fort Marsac (Tenn.) [Note: Probably Fort Massac* in IL]. In the War of 1812 he served as Captain of the artillery and was taken prisoner when Detroit fell.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

General Nathan And Sophia (Bingham) Towson

From A Sketch Of The Life Of General Towson...

The early life and prospects of Lieut. Colonel Towson, were such as to afford but a very faint indication of the splendor of his subsequent career; a splendor which, considering the sphere of action, has seldom been equaled, and perhaps never eclipsed. The parents of Col. Towson were both natives of Baltimore county in the State of Maryland, where they lived and died, respected and esteemed by their neighbors. The subject of this memoir was the youngest of twelve children ; and was born on the 22d of January, 1784, at a little village called Towsonton, about seven miles from the city of Baltimore. 

In 1801, he was sent to Kentucky, for the purpose of residing upon and cultivating a farm, to which his father had a claim; but finding the property disputed, he soon left that State and went to Natchez; where he remained for three years: here it was that his military spirit began to develop itself. Louisiana had just then been purchased by our government, of France; and suspicions were entertained, that some opposition would be made to our taking possession of the territory. This led to the formation of volunteer companies; and young Towson enrolled himself in a company of artillery, who volunteered to accompany Governor Claiborne to New Orleans, with the militia of the Mississippi territory.

Towson's Promotion to Lieutenant Colonel By Brevet On August 15, 1814, in the War of 1812 [Fold3]:


After the War of 1812:

"...General 1816, married the daughter of Caleb Bingham, Esq. [and Hannah Kemble] if that place [Boston]." 

Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910
Groom's Name:     Nathan Towson
Bride's Name:     Sophia Bingham
Marriage Date:     09 Apr 1816
Marriage Place:     Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

United States Census, 1850
Residence:    Washington, ward 1, Washington , DC
    Mathew Towson M 65y [Nathan] [General U.S. Army]
      Sophia Towson     F     60y
    Elector Bingham     F     50y
    Ann G White     F     50y
    Barbara Cole     F     35y
    Suand Witherson     F     25y
    William Pier     M     26y

Sophia (Bingham) Towson died in 1852 and General Nathan Towson died in 1854.  They are both buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, in Washington, DC.  

Sophia, through her ancestors Thomas and Hannah (Backus) Bingham, was a descendant of William Backus, as am I [two of my lines go to William Backus, though neither are through the Binghams].

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Second Artillery In The War of 1812

From The Army Of The United States....

There was a second regiment of artillery during the War of 1812, of which Winfield Scott was lieutenant-colonel and then colonel. After the war it was merged into the Corps of Artillery. The names of battles of that war are borne on the regimental colors today, a few of the officers of the new Second had belonged to the old, and some of the companies may have belonged to both regiments, a fact I am unable to establish; but as a whole the Second Artillery of 1812 was a different organization from the Second Artillery of 1821.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thomas Spaulding, Fife-Major

Most of my posts about the Richmond family are posted here; however, there is a War of 1812 connection in the text of the J. B. Richmond book excerpted below:

BETSEY RICHMOND (6) (Sylvester 5, Sylvester 4, Ebenezer 3, John 2, John 1) was born in New Braintree, Mass., August 13, 1783, and died in Troy, N.Y., November 19, 1822.  She married Thomas Spaulding of Vermont, who was born October 17, 1780, and died April 16, 1829.  He was Fife-Major in the War of 1812.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Incidents From Shadrach Byfield's Narrative

An English soldier, Shadrach Byfield, wrote a Narrative about his experiences in the War of 1812 (also here).

From the Editor's preface:

That one of our own writers who has seen fit to sneer at 1812 as "an opera-bouffe war" might well read the simple statement of Byfield's company, reduced from 110 men to 15 by death, wounds and capture.

Such losses do not point to Scott, Pike, Ripley and their men as carrying on anything but war in deadly earnest.

 Excerpts from the Narrative regarding Detroit and Fort George.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chief Roundhead's Village


Upon this site, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, stood Chief Roundhead's Wyandot Indian village.  This flourishing agricultural community later gave way to white settlement and Hardin County's first town was laid out here in 1832.  

Roundhead, or Stiahta, was celebrated for his capture of General James Winchester during the War of 1812.  Roundhead is believed to be buried in this vicinity.