Monday, April 30, 2012

James Miller

General James Miller (1776 - 1851), a native of New Hampshire, was a Commandant at Fort Harrison, in October and November of  1811.  He was known as the Hero of Lundy's Lane.  He was also a prisoner of war (exchanged in 1813) for Lord Dacres.

In 1819 he was appointed as the first governor of the Arkansas Territory (his bio there indicated that he received a commission as a major in the Fourth United States Infantry in 1808. In command of the Twenty-first United States Infantry by the time of the War of 1812, Miller distinguished himself at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, where he was known to have said “I will try sir!”...).

Mr. Miller's portrait was found in Makers of Arkansas History...

"But it is with Nathaniel Hawthorne and General James Miller the hero of Lundy's Lane that the present Custom House is chiefly associated. General Miller was Collector of the Port from 1835 to 1849 and in 1846 Hawthorne was appointed Surveyor of Customs by the new Democratic administration.... ." [Source]

On a genealogical note:

Genealogy of the Descendants of John White of Wenham and Lancaster ..., Volume 3, mentioned General James Miller's mother:

...Martha R. Wilder occupies the home farm, and has in her possession a teakettle which her great grandmother brought on horseback from Boston, Mass.; she [the great grandmother] was the mother of Gen. James Miller, who was the hero of Lundy's Lane in the War of 1812....

James Miller was born in Peterborough, New Hampshire, on April 25, 1776, to James Miller and Catharine Gregg Miller. He married Martha Ferguson, with whom he had one son, James Ferguson Miller, a noted naval officer. After Martha’s death, he married Ruth Flint.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Green Clay Collection

Housed in the Clements Library at the University of Michigan:

Creator: William L. Clements Library
Inclusive dates: 1753-1818
Bulk dates: 1813
Extent: 45 items

The Green Clay collection contains letters and administrative documents related to the Kentucky militia under General Green Clay in the War of 1812. Included are letters and orders from General Samuel South, Colonel William Dudley, and Lewis Cass.

Fort Amanda is among the mentioned items.

Folder   22
1813 April 29.
AD; Fort Amanda, [Ohio]: Morning regimental report for the 13th Regiment, Kentucky Militia.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Eluding Tecumseh

From Pioneer Collections, Volume 4, by the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan (recollections of Aura P. Stewart of St. Clair County, Michigan):

After a visit of two weeks my father [Harvey Stewart] returned to Michigan and at the proper time went up to the Thames and himself his brother and five hired men entered the harvest field [at the Ransom farm in Canada] and were progressing finely in securing the grain [for the distillery].

 At this time Tecumseh was with a band of his Indian warriors stationed a few miles above where my father was at work with his men. Previous to this, war had broken out between England and the United States and my father had consulted Esquire Jacobs about his remaining in Canada long enough to secure his grain and settle some other business matters and was informed that he could and as his office was civil and military he would protect him.

But some envious and loyal person had informed Tecumseh that seven Americans were at work in a field some distance below and urged their capture. Tecumseh's feelings being hostile to all Americans, he sent sixteen of his band all mounted on horses to take my father and his men prisoners, but fortunately a friend of my father's on learning that Tecumseh was about to send a band of his warriors mounted his horse and ran him to the field where my father was at work and gave timely notice.

 The messenger told my father that he must leave the field instantly or he would be a prisoner within ten minutes. My father expressed a wish to go to the other side of the field to get his coat as it contained his pocket book papers and all of his money, but his friend insisted that it would not be safe to do so, and he and his men rushed to the river, jumped into a canoe, and rowed down as fast as possible for about a mile when my father jumped on shore at his boarding house to get his clothes.

He had just entered the house when the band of Indians came up. On seeing them the lady of the house requested my father to jump down cellar which he thought not safe to do if the house was searched. He jumped through the window and entered the harvest field where her husband was at work and went to work with the other men. The Indians were told that there were seven men in the field and when they saw the six men in the canoe they hesitated, giving them time to cross the river and enter the woods.

They found lodgings that night at a French house near the mouth of the Thames and the next day took the road leading to the river St Clair and crossing over at Harsen's island hired a friendly Indian to take them across... .

See this post also taken from the Recollections of Aura P. Stewart.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Badly Managed War

The military operations of the war were in generally badly managed and very unsuccessful.

The oddest thing about the War of 1812, Hickey and Clark explain, is that such a small-scale, badly managed war produced so many of America's lasting patriotic symbols and slogans.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Portsmouth, Virginia's Historical Sites On YouTube

War of 1812 Portsmouth Historical Sites on YouTube:

...[An] overview of nine Portsmouth historical sites, including Ft. Nelson Park, Battle of Craney Island, Ball House, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, Hoffler Creek, Ft. Lane, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Trinity Church, and Norfolk County Court House.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

More About Interments At Fort Mackinac

From Historic Mackinac:...:

There are undoubtedly in the War Department records showing all the interments but from such sources as we are able to draw on we can state that with the exception of two sailors who were drowned off this port in a wrecked steamer one of whom was a soldier in the Civil War no burials have been made in this cemetery except officers and enlisted men serving at Fort Mackinac and their families.

There are 142 interments in the cemetery 72 known and 70 unknown. Of the known interments seven are of Commissioned officers among them being Col Sellers Capt Clitz and Major Gaskill.

Was Captain Clitz's body moved?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fort Massac In Illinois

Although ravaged by the New Madrid earthquake in 1811-12, the fort was again rebuilt in time to play a minor role in the War of 1812*, only to be abandoned again in 1814. In 1839 the city of Metropolis was platted about a mile west of the fort. [Source]


*...during the war of 1812 [Fort Massac] was garrisoned and occupied by the territorial militia of Illinois for the protection of the American borders against the incursions of hostile Indians in league with Great Britain... . [Source]

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Canada's Fort St. Joseph

In 1796 it [Fort Mackinac] was handed over to the United States to fulfill a clause in Jay's treaty of 1794 and consequently the British garrison was removed to the Island of St Joseph.

In the fall of 1801 a detachment of the Queen's Rangers was ordered to Fort St Joseph, a post on the island of the same name near the head of Lake Huron.  [Source]

See a modern day map here.  Bicentennial celebrations mentioned here.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

War of 1812 Fiction For Kids

Juvenile fiction based upon the War of 1812 are listed at the FernFolio blog, including Treason At York and A River Apart among others.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pre-War Hostilities In The Illinois Territory

On June 28, 1809, Nicholas Jarrot, of Cahokia, made affidavit that Messrs Portier and Bleakly, of Prairie du Chien, were inciting Indians to hostility and furnishing them arms and ammunition, with the result that the Indians along the Mississippi became audacious and warlike. In fact it may be said that by reason of such conduct in conjunction with the influence of the agents stationed at the mouth of Rock River, Ft. Madison was threatened during the winter of 1808-9 and on April 19, 1809, Lieut. Alpha Kingsley, commandant, reported rumors of a contemplated attack upon him and wrote: "The sooner the British traders are shut out of the river the better for our country."

See the above excerpt (and more) from Transactions of the Illinois State.....

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Battle Of Craney Island

Originally I thought that my ancestor, William Hinds, was wounded in the Battle of Craney Island, because it took place on June 22, 1813, and he died on June 25, 1813 (now I have my doubts, but haven't ruled out that scenario).  He was from Virginia and served in the 2nd Reg. artillery.

See the Craney Island historical marker here.

According to this article:
Craney Island also has suffered from historical neglect, even though it was the scene of Virginia's only land battle during the War of 1812.

Map of Craney Island in Virginia and surrounding area from Campaigns of the war of 1812-15

Pre-War Preparations Of The British Navy

From Pioneer Collections, the recollections of Aura P. Stewart of St. Clair County, Michigan, whose father trudged through Canada during the winter, arriving in the Michigan territory in 1811.

In the winter of 1811, he [Mr. Ransom]... told him [Mr. Stewart] that he had but recently entered into a contract with a Mr. McGregor of Windsor to furnish the timber for masts and spars and finishing lumber to be used in the construction or building of the British fleet intended to command our lakes... .  My father entered into contract with the said Ransom to select and hew the timber in the woods to fill the contract Ransom to haul it to the bank of the river Thames for inspection. 

The Aura P. Stewart narrative can also be seen here at the website.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

From The Autobiography Of Peter Jones

Life and journals of Keh-ke-wa-guo-na-ba: (Rev. Peter Jones,) Wesleyan missionary is the story of  Reverend Peter Jones who was an associate of Rev. Isaac Brock Howard.  Reverend Howard was the brother of my great-great-great grandmother, Ann (Howard) Kennedy.

Excepts from Rev. Jones' story:

In the war which took place in the year 1812, between Great Britain and the United States, my people and many other Indians came from the Western Lakes, joined the British, and rendered them great service, as has been repeatedly testified by men of understanding.

I was too young to take up the tomahawk against the enemy, and therefore was not engaged in the war. Well, however, do I recollect being told that the " Yankees " were coming into Canada to kill all the Indians, and wondering what kind of beings the Yankees could be, I fancied they were some invincible munedoos. My old grandmother, Puhgashkish, was supposed to have been killed at the time York, now Toronto, was taken by the Americans, for being a cripple she had to be left behind when the Indians fled into the backwoods, and nothing was ever afterwards heard of her.

The day after the battle of Stoney Creek, my brother John and myself went and viewed the 'battle field, and were horrified at seeing the dead strewed over every part of the ground. Some of the bodies were greatly mangled with cannon balls ; such are the horrors of war.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

War Of 1812 Veteran Frederick Backus In Canada

From Fold3, War of 1812 Pensions:

Frederick Backus
West Tillbury
Essex Co., Ontario
Alleged Capt. Jacob Young's Company (New York Militia)

Rejected 14 April 1873

Irena Backus mentioned here.

Frederick was at Sackett's Harbor and was a substitute for his brother, William Backus.  Frederick believed that his brother's widow of Starkweather, Herkimer County, New York, received the pension to which he was entitled.

Frederick Backus was married to Nancy Smith in 1825 in Chenango County, NY.

Canada Census, 1871 
gender:  Male
calculated birth year: 1790
country or province of birth:  U S
marital status: Married
ethnic origin: Dutch
census place: 01, West Tilbury n, Essex 01, Ontario
Household  Gender Age
 Frederick Bachus M  81
Ellen Bachus F  51

Ontario Deaths,1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947
name: Frederick Backus
event date: 28 Aug 1876
event place: Raleigh, Kent, Ontario
gender: Male
age: 84

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Petitioning Congress In 1832

A citizen, Elizabeth Fitzhugh, petitioned Congress for reimbursement for losses during the War of 1812.

United States.  Congres. House. Committee on Claims.  Published in Washington, D.C., D. Green, 1833.  Series: [U.S.] 22nd Cong. 2d Sess., 1832-33.  House Rept., no. 45.

Elizabeth C Fitzhugh testifies that the family of the petitioner and particularly the two daughters whose testimony is noticed in the report were, for several days previous, and at the time the village of Sodus Point was burned by the British in 1813 with her at her house two miles from the village.  Bennett Farr John Fellows Elisha Sisson and Nathaniel Kcllog jr all testify in general without going into particulars that the guard of about forty men under Captain Elias Hull retained by order of General Burnett the provisions and stores removed were quartered and continued to be quartered in the house of the petitioner till the evening when the enemy landed and set fire to the village and burnt the house.

Not entitled to relief.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Destroyed Forge And Mills On The Banks Of The Niagara

In 1798, Robert Randall, Esquire, then a young gentleman of respectable connections, large pecuniary resources, and good credit, emigrated from Maryland, his native State, to the District of Niagara, in Canada, with the intention of erecting and establishing extensive iron works, near the Falls of Niagara, and of carrying on the business of manufacturing wheat-flour there.

Mr. Randall erected his forge and manufactured cast and bar iron on the banks of the Niagara ; his mills were burnt and his forge destroyed by the enemy during the War uf 1812. 

It is presumed that he was the first manufacturer of wrought iron in the Canadas... .  [Source]

William Lyon Mackenzie was an executor of Mr. Randal(l)'s estate.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New York War Service Records Search Request

New York War Service Records Search Request form can be found here.

Index of Awards of Claims of Soldiers in the War of 1812, pub. 1860. Adjutant and Inspector Generals, Albany, NY.

No.  Name of App.  Residence  Amount Allowed

8,003  Richmond  Ebenezer  Independence, Allegany Co., NY  $60.50
14,226  Backus, John by widow  Tompkins Co., NY $55.00
2,616  Allen, William  Bruce, Macomb, Michigan
2,617  Allen, John   Bruce, Macomb, Michigan

Sunday, April 8, 2012

John Le Breton Of Le Breton Flats

From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online:

...he [Le Breton] became deputy assistant quartermaster general at Quebec, a temporary staff appointment he held until March 1812. Between April and October he acted as adjutant of the Voltigeurs Canadiens; in November he returned to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, serving as an assistant engineer.

An aggressive officer whose ambition outreached his achievements, Le Breton nevertheless participated with distinction in nine actions during the War of 1812.

Secretly he was to assess the Americans’ strength at Detroit and on Lake Erie.   See a letter written by Le Breton here.

He was severely wounded and disabled at Lundy’s Lane in July 1814. Between July 1815 and April 1816 he was on leave in England and in the Canadas. Promoted captain in the 60th Foot in March 1816, he went on half pay later that month.

See the Le Breton Flats related post in In Deeds.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The McIntosh's Of Georgia

Americans of royal descent: A collection of genealogies of American families whose lineage is traced to the legimate issue of kings featured (among others) John McIntosh and his son, James McIntosh, of Georgia, both participants in the War of 1812.

Major General John McIntosh, of Darien Ga.... He served with distinction throughout the war of the Revolution and that of 1812.  Died in 1826.  Was he buried three times?

[Son of Major General John McIntosh] Colonel James Simmons McIntosh US Army b 19 June 1787.  He served in the army during the War of 1812... .  [Portrait here and the fort named after him here]  

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fort Stephenson

The Sandusky County Scrapbook and the Battle of Fort Stephenson photo gallery featured a sketch of Fort Stephenson by James Kirk in 1873 when Kirk was 86 years old.  Kirk was a soldier there in 1813.

More information about the collaboration between J. P. Moore and James Kirk referenced in the Sandusky County Scrapbook can be found below.

From the Remarks of J. P. Moore:

James Kirk and a man named Figley, both of whom worked on the old fort before the battle of August 2, 1813..... .
The company to which James Kirk belonged came to the fort June 1, 1813, and worked here until the arrival of the British and Indians the day before the battle.  James Kirk himself had been detailed to carry dispatches to Fort Seneca the day before the battle so that he was not present but came down early on the morning of August 3 and helped bury the British dead. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Veterans With Union City, PA, Ties

Union City, Pennsylvania, and the War of 1812 in a blog.  This site has several mini biographies of War of 1812 veterans from the area, including James Smiley.  Union City is in Erie County on Lake Erie.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Privateer Captain Otway Burns

Correction to the original post:  Below is a portrait of Captain Otway Burns.

Update and correction:  The portrait below is a depiction of Captain Owen Burns, Otway's son, not Otway Burns as originally posted.

From Captain Otway Burns, patriot, privateer and legislator ...:


It was probably required that application for letters of Marque and Reprisal should be renewed before each voyage for we have a copy of the application made by Captain Burns on July 1, 1813.  In that he specifies that the vessel is of 147 tons burthen named "Snap Dragon", number of crew 75, armament 5 carriage guns, 50 muskets and 4 blunderbusses, Captain, Otway Burns; First Lieutenant James Brown.

Otway Burns was born in the county of Onslow... .  He was born on Queen's Creek two miles from Swannsboro in the year 1775.  His father also named Otway Burns was born at the same place. The father of the latter, Francis Burns, settled in North Carolina in 1734, coming from Glasgow Scotland.

Monday, April 2, 2012

SOS Message In A Bottle

John Banks, a sailor impressed by the British, sent a rescue message via a bottle.  After it was found, the message was published.  Hopefully, help was on the way!

Philadelphia June 27 - Extract of a letter from Bridgehampton, dated the 21st of June.  "A letter was found in a junk bottle on the Atlantic shore at Chatham, last Tuesday directed at the Collector in NYork.  The writer subscribes his name John Banks, if I mistake not; says he belongs at Hampton, Virginia, that he was impressed on board the Ramillies, as near as I can recollect, between 5 and 6 years ago; has an uncle and a brother in Hampton; and wishes the Collector to inform his friends that they may take measures to liberate him.  The letter was dated in April last."

July 12, 1813 - The enclosed paper will make you acquainted how the information was obtained of John Banks being on board the Ramillies, the person whose release I solicited you a few days to obtain ...I remain very respectfully your obedient servant.  Tho Newton   John Mason, Esq, C. S. P. War of 1812 Papers, 1789-1815 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.
Original data: ‘War of 1812 Papers’ of the Department of State, 1789-1815; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M588, 7 rolls); General Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59; National Archives, Washington. D.C.