Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Artifacts In New Orleans

The Historic New Orleans Collection includes the William C. Cook collection, described as:

This extensive collection of manuscript documents, rare prints and publications, artifacts, and ephemera was gathered over a period of forty years by private collector William C. Cook of Nashville; it was the largest collection of such materials in private hands... . Preferred Citation: "The William C. Cook Collection: The War of 1812 in the South, The Williams Research Center, The Historic New Orleans Collection."

There are 5 phases to the collection.  An example is:

PHASE II--Defense of the Lower Country
These materials relate principally to the abortive Natchez expedition of the Tennessee Militia under command of Maj. Andrew Jackson.
Materials include general orders, requisitions, provision returns, Col. John Coffee's orderly book, and other related documents.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Court Of Enquiry

According to The Weekly Register, Volume 3, a court of enquiry was requested by Captain Henry Brush in order to clear his name. The enquiry was held and Brush was absolved of any wrongdoing. 

The court of enquiry called at the request of captain Brush, after hearing the testimony addressed, are of opinion, and report upon same, that during said campaign captain Brush behaved, in all things, as became a prudent and brave officer--that reports derogatory to his character as an officer and soldier could have arisen only from the want of a knowledge of his situation, and that no imputation whatever ought to rest upon captain Brush. 
JAMES DENNY, PresidentR. DOUGLASS, J. Adv. _ Rec'r
The court of Enquiry, of which major Denny is president, is hereby dissolved. 
JOHN FERGUSON, Col. Commanding 2d Brigade, 2d division, Ohio militia

Monday, October 29, 2012

Victories At Sea

The University of Michigan's Clements Library blog, the Clements Library Chronicles, had a post about the U.S. Navy's victories over the British, including the following quote:

"October 25 is the bicentennial of the fight between USS United States and HMS Macedonian, one of the most celebrated of the naval victories of 1812."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Perry And Chauncey And Then Erie

Short version:  A distracted Chauncey didn't supply Perry with enough quality men.  Perry submitted a transfer request which wasn't acted upon until after his (Perry's) victory on Lake Erie.  Perry's bold moves carried the day; all forgiven.

Read a more detailed description taken from The Fight For A Free Sea: A Chronicle of the War of 1812 below (for even more detail, go to the link):

Of these a hundred were soldiers sent him only nine days before he sailed, and most of them trod a deck for the first time. Chauncey was so absorbed in his own affairs and hazards on Lake Ontario that he was not likely to give Perry any more men than could be spared. This reluctance caused Perry to send a spirited protest... .  As the superior officer, Chauncey resented the criticism... .

The quick temper of Perry flared at this.   ...and he had rightly looked to Chauncey to supply the deficiency. Impulsively he asked to be relieved of his command and gave expression to his sense of grievance in a letter to the Secretary of the Navy in which he said, among other things: "I cannot serve under an officer who has been so totally regardless of my feelings. . . . 

Most fortunately Perry's request for transfer could not be granted until after the battle of Lake Erie had been fought and won. 

Perry's indignation seems excusable. Perry had not enough sailors to defend his ships, and the regiment of Pennsylvania militia stationed at Erie to guard the naval base refused to do duty on shipboard after dark. "I told the boys to go, Captain Perry," explained their worthless colonel, "but the boys won't go."
On Lake Ontario, Chauncey dragged his naval campaign through two seasons and then left the enemy in control. Perry, by opening the way for Harrison, re-won the Northwest for the United States because he sagaciously upheld the doctrine of Napoleon that "war cannot be waged without running risks." Behind his daring, however, lay tireless, painstaking preparation and a thorough knowledge of his trade.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Compilation of British Officers

From Officers of the British forces in Canada during the war of 1812-15  By Canadian Military Institute, and an example of what is included:

On my In Deeds blog information from the above source was used to look for veterans' land grants.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lucy Crews Rejected

Congressional edition, listed some rejected pensions, many, if not all were widows, and most were for the Revolutionary War.  Lucy Crews' husband (below) was said to have served in the War of 1812.

Statement showing the names residence and rank of persons whose claims under the act of the 4th of July 1836 have been rejected and the reasons for rejecting the same prepared in conformity with a resolution of Congress of the 29th of May, 1830. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

No Mac Attack

A view of Mackinac Island from the Lower Peninsula

From Historic Mackinac:...:
Lieutenant [Porter] Hanks' report was not made until August 4, and is dated from Detroit.  He says that the reports of an interpreter and the coolness of the Indians in the neighbourhood first led him to think something was wrong, whereupon he sent Captain Dousman to watch them.  In part, the report which was made to General Hull reads: "On the 16th, I was informed by the Indian interpreter that he had discovered from an Indian that the several nations of Indians then at St. Joseph (a British garrison, distant about forty miles) intended to make an immediate attack on Michilimackinac.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Harrison's Trace In Ohio

Harrison - Shelby
Marches  *  !813
Miles to

Harrison's Trace is mentioned in this source (as well as Hull's Trace).  A blogger mentioned Harrison's path, too.  Another blogger has a post about Brady's Island.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Portrait Of Commodore Chauncey

Painting in the Comptroller's Office, City Hall, New York, owned by the Corporation.

It was not until the lesson of Hull's surrender had aroused the civil authorities that Captain Chauncey of the navy yard at New York received orders in September, 1812, "to assume command of the naval force on Lakes Erie and Ontario and to use every exertion to obtain control of them this fall." Chauncey was an experienced officer, forty years old, who had not rusted from inactivity like the elderly generals who had been given command of armies.

Monday, October 22, 2012

On To Canada

"On to Canada!" was the slogan of the frontiersmen. It expressed at once their desire to punish the hereditary foe and to rid themselves of an unfriendly power to the north.

...the old foemen of 1812—sons of...the Kentucky pioneers in fringed buckskins,...sons of the Canadian (1920) the poppies blow above the graves of the sons of the men who fought the Michigan wilderness and at Lundy's Lane.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Admiral Farragut's Early Years

Born in Tennessee on July 5, 1804......

Stone marking the Farragut home
Foundation of the Farragut home (above); Sketch of the home (below)

Photos from our visit to the Knoxville, Tennessee, area.

The early Navy years:

Farragut entered the Navy in 1810 at the age of nine, yes, nine years old. When he was 12 years old [War of 1812], he [Midshipman Farragut] was given command of a prize ship that they had captured and safely brought it back to port. [Source: Palms-Americana blog]  

See a picture of his sword from the 1812 era here.

My Detour Through History post has more.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Capture Of The Frolic By The Wasp

From The military heroes of the war of 1812: with a narrative of the war :
The Capture Of The HMS Frolic By The USS Wasp, October 18, 1812

...the welcome news of another victory was received; a victory over an enemy most decidedly superior in force, and under circumstances the most favourable to him. This was the capture of the brig Frolic of twenty two guns by the sloop of war Wasp. Captain [Jacob] Jones had returned from France two weeks after the declaration of war and on the 13th of October again put to sea.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

British Officer McLean In Two Wars

Biographical sketches of loyalists of the American Revolution ..., Volume 2, also included an officer, Archibald McLean, who served both in the Revolutionary War as well as the War of 1812:

McLean, Archibald.  He was a captain in the New York Volunteers, and was in several battles.  He married Prudence French and Susan Drummond.  A little genealogy can be found here.

During the war of 1812 he was again in commission, and was Staff-Adjutant.  His place of residence was in York County...he died at Nashwaak, New Brunswick, in 1830, aged seventy-six.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rhode Island's Fort Greene

Rhode Island educational circulars: Historical series mentioned Fort Greene (Newport, Rhode Island), that is now Battery Park.  See Battery Park at Wikimapia.

Secretary of War Robert Lincoln concurred with the judgment of the Corps of Engineers that Fort Greene should be turned over to the city of Newport.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

First Scalp Taken In War Of 1812

It was in one of these attacks that the first scalp in the war of 1812 was taken—not by one of Brock's terrible Indians, whose expected excesses had been referred to by Hull, but by a captain of Hull's spies. This officer—one hates to describe him as a white man—wrote his wife, he "had the pleasure of tearing a scalp from the head of a British redskin," and related at length the brutal details of his methods. They were those of a wild beast. "The first stroke of the tomahawk," Hull had stated in his proclamation, "the first attempt with the scalping-knife, will be the signal of a scene of desolation." Yet the first scalp taken in the Detroit campaign was by one of his own officers!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Some Surviving Canadian Veterans of 1812

Surviving Veterans of 1812-13 as compiled in 1874 in The Journal of education for Ontario... by Adolphus Egerton Ryerson,... can be seen below. the time the grant was made the returns indicated that there were only between five and seven hundred of the veterans of 1812 living, whereas no less than 2,500 or 2,800 applications to participate in it had since been made to the Government.

There are more listed here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Reviewing The Civil War Of 1812

The Buffalo Rising blog featured a review of Civil War of 1812, by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alan Taylor...., and stated this about the book:
"In deeply researched, clearly written prose, the author details a world of slippery alliances and porous
 boundaries."  "This is a fascinating and fact-filled look at a war that was the precursor to a much larger Civil War."

There is a wonderful review of this book on YouTube with several interesting pictures and scenes (book cover taken from YouTube).

Another review can be found here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Building The Fleet In The Wilderness

The Navy Department Library's site has an article entitled "Battle of Lake Erie: Building the Fleet in the Wilderness," by Radm. Denys W.Knoll, USN (Ret.).   The article pointed out that:

"With the fall of Detroit...The United States had no warships on Lake Erie... .   General William Henry Harrison...could not initiate plans to re-take Detroit without naval support."

"President Madison recognized the need for ships, and the necessity of building them on Lake Erie. The capabilities for building ships in the wilderness were reviewed in detail."

See the rest of the article to see why Erie was tapped to build the fleet.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Heroics Of Jesse Elliott And Nathan Towson

From Leading Events of Maryland History:

An invasion of Canada was attempted, but the effort ended in failure.  During this time the capture of British vessels on Lake Erie, the Caledonia and the Detroit, was planned by Lieutenant Jesse Duncan Elliott, a young naval officer of Maryland.  The capture was gallantly executed by Elliott and Captain Nathan Towson, of Baltimore.

More about Nathan Towson's war efforts in Canada can be found here.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

An Unidentified Deserter

Who was this deserter from Conesus?

"During the War of 1812 a drafted soldier from Conesus deserted from the army, then lying near Buffalo, and took refuge in this gully, then so thickly wooded along its margin as to be almost inaccessible.  The period was mid-winter, and as he was aware that a reward had been offered for his arrest, he kept closely concealed during the day-time in a nest he had formed for himself among the upper branches of a venerable hemlock tree, closely surrounded by smaller trees.  At night he was in the habit of visiting a neighboring log hut for his food.  Officers scoured the gully several times, but did not succeed in discovering his hiding-place."

Conesus is a town in Livingston County, New York, but Livingston was not a county during the War of 1812 (the county was formed in 1821 from Ontario and Genesee counties).

Was he one of Brigadier General William Wadsworth's men?  The General was from Geneseo (now Livingston County). has 622,984 images in the War of 1812 Index to Service Records, 1812-1815, file that one could browse through to look for possible suspects!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Artillery Roots

The U.S. Army's Fort Bragg page concerning the 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, "...[indicated that it] was first constituted on 11 January 1812 in the Regular Army as a company in the 2nd Regiment of Artillery."

It was organized in May 1812 as Captain James N. Barker's Company, 2nd Regiment of Artillery. This unit was consolidated in late 1813 with Captain Spotswood Henry's Company, 2nd Regiment of Artillery (also organized in 1812), and the consolidated unit designated as Captain James N. Barker's Company, 2nd Regiment of Artillery.

The Company also participated in 2 campaigns of the War of 1812, between 1812 and 1815: Canada and Louisiana 1815.


My ancestor, William Hinds, was recruited by Spotswood Henry, and was a member of the 2nd Regiment of Artillery.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Colonel Joseph Hamilton Daviess

The Colonel as an Aide-de-Camp to General William H. Harrison, as well as a Major commanding Indiana Dragoons.  He was killed at the Battle of Tippecanoe.

Also from the Filson Club, "Daviess remonstrated and every officer supported him.  Harrison then pleaded the danger of further advance."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Activity In The Niagara Area

The Niagara Falls: Chronicles of our Early Settlers, has a post about the Niagara frontier, including the War of 1812 era.  A sample:

"During their withdrawal, the Americans torched the settlement of Newark, burning it to the ground. The British troops who had retreated to Burlington while the Americans occupied Queenston and Newark (Niagara on the Lake) returned to a devastated Newark and an abandoned but still standing Fort George."
"The British were outraged by the actions of the Americans."

My Howard ancestors were in the Niagara area by 1829, and possibly earlier, so I have an added interest in the area.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wrote A Song About It

The identity of a soldier in an unknown soldier grave on Route 5 in Caledonia, Livingston County, New York, is actually not a mystery.  As noted at FindAGrave:

Although officially an "Unknown Soldier", this is generally believed to be the burial site of one Private John Alexander, murdered by a fellow soldier, Private William Comfit. The site is believed to be the encampment site of a troop of American soldiers on their way from Buffalo to Sackett's Harbor.

A poem put to song, "The Faded Coat of Blue," was appropriate for the Civil War era, but was written as a tribute to Livingston County's unknown soldier.  Four verses of the poem, written by a Caledonia poet, is inscribed on the grave marker.

However, there is a mystery surrounding the grave.  As noted in a newspaper article, it's the mystery of a plant growing on the grave.

The flower, called the Blue Gentian, is said to be commonly found in areas where soldiers’ bodies are buried, and only along the Atlantic coast. The Blue Gentian no longer blooms at the gravesite, but the story still intrigues all those who read of it. [Source]