Saturday, June 30, 2012

John Armstrong - A Disastrous Choice?

From Rediscover 1812:

"President James Madison named John Armstrong to his cabinet as Secretary of War on June 14, 1813. Armstrong had served as minister to France but the appointment was really an attempt by Madison to build political alliances. Armstrong was a force in New York politics, and with so much military action taking place along the border with Canada, Madison needed the state firmly in his camp. Unfortunately, Armstrong proved to be a disastrous choice due to his political and personal shortcomings."
Armstrong’s chief qualities were described by at least one acquaintance as “obstinancy and self-conceit.”

Armstrong was the author of a book published in 1814 entitled “Hints to Young Generals.” Although he had no real military experience, this popular book established Armstrong as an expert at a time when the United States were desperate for military officers.

From History of the United States of America under the Constitution, Volume 2 :


See a portrait of John Armstrong here.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Death Struggle With Military Despotism

When the United States declared war, Great Britain was straining every nerve and muscle in a death struggle with the most formidable military despotism of modern times......

From The naval war of 1812: or the history of the United States Navy during the ... By Theodore Roosevelt.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Niagara's War of 1812 Ancestors' Stories

The Niagara Peninsula Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society's War of 1812 project. They want to compile a book of members' War of 1812 family stories.  The site provides guidelines and submission information.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Notified Of War By John Jacob Astor

Journal of Events....principally on the Detroit and Niagara frontiers...by Captain W. H. Merritt of the Prov. Light Dragoons, published at St. Catharines, C.W., by the Historical Society in 1863.


"We received intelligence of the declaration of war by the United States on Saturday the 27th of June 1812 from a messenger sent by the late John Jacob Astor to Thomas Clark Esq of Niagara Falls."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Building Forts On The Missouri Frontier In 1812


 From Centennial History of Missouri: (the Center State) One Hundred ..., Volume :

The war of 1812 came on [and the residents]....realized the danger from Indian attacks. They built three forts which they called Fort Cooper*, Fort Hempstead, and Fort Kincaid.   Fort Cooper was southwest of Boone's Lick; Fort Kincaid was nine miles away to the southeast, and Fort Hempstead was a little short of two miles north of Kincaid.

*See the Autobiography of Major Stephen Cooper

Monday, June 25, 2012

Half Pay Instead Of Bounty Land?

Were William Hinds' children the recipients of the half-pay pension in lieu of bounty-land?


Under "Old Wars": (2) Allowance of half pay pension in lieu of bounty land extinguishes title to the latter and vice versa.  Note: This is under the provisions of the act of April 16, 1816, which has expired by limitation.  The half-pay pension in lieu of bounty-land was allowed only to children of enlisted men who were killed in battle or died of wounds received in the war of 1812. [Source]


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Portrait Of General William Hull

From Richardson's War of 1812, by Major Richardson:


William Hull was born on June 24, 1753, in Darby, Connecticut; he died November 29, 1825, in Newton, Massachusetts.

Soldier in the Revolutionary War; first Governor of Michigan Territory (1805 - 1813); General in the War of 1812.  He surrendered Detroit, was found guilty in a court martial proceeding, sentenced to death and then pardoned.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Chesapeake And Leopard


The USS Chesapeake and HMS Leopard Affair.


On June 22, 1807, the United States frigate Chesapeake cleared Norfolk area waters for the Mediterranean to relieve the USS Constitution as flagship of the European station. In command was Captain (later Commodore) James Barron, who had been the senior officer aboard for only one day. [Source]


The HMS Leopard pursued, attacked and boarded the USS Chesapeake looking for deserters from the British Navy. [Source]

The Chesapeake/Leopard incident can be considered one of the causes of the conflict.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Featuring Needham Hemingway

Included in the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana, is "Our Military Heritage."  One name included in the War of 1812 category was Needham Hemingway, a name familiar to me:

From my Richmonds & Connected Lineages blog:


WEDNESDAY, MAY 18, 2011


A Tale of Two Ernests (Hemingway)

A newspaper account connecting the author Ernest Hemingway with the Oakland Co., Michigan, Hemingways, can be found here.  

A Richmond descendant, Bryon Richmond, married Daisy, daughter of Ernest Needham Hemingway.  Daisy was the granddaughter ofHenry L. Hemingway.  She was the great-granddaughter of Needham Hemingway who was an Oakland County pioneer mentioned in the article.

See what the Genealogy Center has for Needham Hemingway here (lots of good information).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why The War of 1812 Still Matters, per BBC news:

"On the bicentennial of America's declaration of war against the United Kingdom, the BBC's Joan Soley says the War of 1812 still resonates today."


Hat tip: Flintlock and Tomahawk blog.

Monday, June 18, 2012

War Declared

On June 1, 1812, President James Madison sent a message to the Congress, recounting American grievances against Great Britain, though not specifically calling for a declaration of war. After Madison's message, the House of Representatives quickly voted (79 to 49) a declaration of war, and the Senate agreed by 19 to 13. The conflict formally began on June 18, 1812 when Madison signed the measure into law. This was the first time that the United States had declared war on another nation, and the Congressional vote would prove to be the closest vote to declare war in American history.  [Source: Wikipedia]

Friday, June 15, 2012

Read About Feeding An Army

From Seeking Michigan at the Archives of Michigan site, there's an interesting blog post entitled, "Feeding An Army (War of 1812)."  The first sentence of the article:

"Getting supplies to the army on the western frontier of Indiana, Ohio and Michigan in 1812 was a difficult business."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Canadian Production - Forged In Fire

The social media person at TV channel eqhd in Canada sent an e-mail informing me that they are currently producing a show about the War of 1812.  It will not be shown on U.S. channels, but they do have a presence on Facebook and YouTube.



 Thanks for the tip, eqhd TV representative!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Baltimore Celebrates

Scene from The military heroes of the war of 1812: with a narrative of the war


The scene at Baltimore, Maryland

The week-long War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebration will launch in Baltimore on June 13, 2012... .

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Andrew Jackson's Adjutant

John Ross was born October 5, 1790, near Lookout mountain, Tennessee.  He served during the war of 1812 as adjutant of a Cherokee regiment under General Andrew Jackson in the war against the hostile Creeks in Florida. [Source]

Monday, June 11, 2012

Strange Fatality (A Book)

Strange Fatality, by James E. Elliott, The Battle of Stoney Creek, 1813, was an Ontario Historical Book Award winner.

"In this ground-breaking study of a battle in which both sides were essentially blind, James Elliott sheds light, not only on a violent donnybrook in the dark, but also on the bizarre train of events that occasioned it... ."

Saturday, June 9, 2012

From The Hardeman Papers In Tennessee

From the Hardeman Papers at the Tennessee State Library and Archives:



Hardeman, John (3) to Peter Hardeman, 1810-1818, re: forwarding propositions for sale of land on Harpeth [River]; believes that offer for land is inadequate; Battle of New Orleans; capture of their brothers preferred to that of being killed; would rather die than become a subject of the British king; business matters; had written to General Coffee re: Peter’s whereabouts; ...

John Clendenin, first husband of my ancestor, Mrs. Fanny Trousdale, was awarded land on the Harpeth River for his services in the Revolutionary War.  Were the Hardemans neighbors?  Did they buy the Clendenin property?  What would the papers reveal?


Genealogical Abstracts in Revolutionary War Pension Files by Virgil White:
Clendennan, John or John Clendenan or Clandennan, BLW #1803-200, NC Line, sold in 1787 at "Big Harpeth" in Sumner Cty, TN... .

Friday, June 8, 2012

Surveying Commodore MacDonough's Shipyard

An August 2011 news release from the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum included the following information:


McDonough's War of 1812 Shipyard Receives Grant

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum has received a grant of $23,985 from the National Park Service's American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) to undertake an archeological survey to determine the precise location and established boundaries for MacDonough's War of 1812 Shipyard in Vergennes, Vermont.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

In The London Archives


5444.  Proceedings of the court-martial, at Halifax, of the officers and part of the crew of the Picton, captured by the U.S.S. Constitution.  Aug. 3, 1814. (Copies of the official correspondence relating to the capture.)...


Now the gallant Constitution, 44, again appears on the scene of strife.
She was on the coast of Surinam at the beginning of February, and on the 14th of that month she captured the British war schooner Picton, 16, together with a letter-of-marque which was under her convoy. [Source]

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Colonel Elisha Backus

From the Reno W. Backus book, Backus Families of Early New England, Colonel Elisha Backus's lineage is as follows:  Elisha6, Elisha5, Timothy4, Timothy3, Stephen2, William1.  Elisha "became a colonel of artillery in the NY state militia, and served in the War of 1812."

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume 6 (Google eBook), J.T. White, 1896, from the biography of descendant Henry Clinton Backus:


 Elisha, the great-grandfather of Henry Clinton Backus, took part in the battle of Bunker Hill, held the rank of major in the Revolutionary army and, in time of peace, emulated his forefathers by founding another town, that of Manlius in Onondaga county, NY.  His son Elisha was a colonel in the American forces during the war of 1812.


Note:  I am a Backus descendant, too.  Elisha Backus and I share the first three ancestors, William Backus 1, Stephen 2, and Timothy 3.  My lineage starting with Laura (Backus) Richmond.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Prelude To War

On June 1, 1812, President James Madison sent a message to the Congress recounting American grievances against Great Britain... [Wikipedia].