Friday, November 30, 2012

Regiment With Captain Trousdale

From Transactions of the Illinois State.....

The Third Regiment of the Illinois militia consisting of two battalions.  The Colonel was Isaac White (White County, Indiana, is named after him).  Majors were Philip Trammel, Hamlet Ferguson, Owen Evans and William Simpson.

James Trousdale and Willis Hargraves were two of the captains.

I believe that the James Trousdale who was a captain in the War of 1812 was the James Trousdale who was   the brother of my Mary, but I'm not positive.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Portrait Of General Leslie Combs

General Combs from Narrative of the life of General Leslie Combs:

General Leslie Combs (1793-1881) is descended, on the side of his mother, whose maiden name was Sarah Richardson, from a respectable Quaker family of Maryland, connected by blood with the Thomases and Snowdens. His father was by birth a Virginian, and served as a subaltern officer in the revolutionary army under Washington, at the siege of Yorktown and capture of Lord Cornwallis.

Young Leslie Combs had just passed his eighteenth birthday, and was, by law, subject to militia duty, although he had not been inscribed on any muster-roll.

Equipping himself as a private of cavalry as speedily as possible, about a month after the army marched from Georgetown, Kentucky, he started alone on their track, hoping to overtake them in time to partake of their glorious triumphs in Canada, for, like the rest, he never dreamed of disaster and defeat.

Having risen from the ranks to the office of captain in two campaigns, without the aid of friends or fortune, by repeated acts of self-devotion, Leslie Combs had returned home naked and penniless, a cripple for life.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

1811 Dictionary Of The Vulgar Tongue


The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue contains lots of interesting items, including the one below.  Was the term used during the War?

ACT OF PARLIAMENT. A military term for small beer, five pints of which, by an act of parliament, a landlord was formerly obliged to give to each soldier gratis.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Names Found In The PA Archives

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Bureau of Archives and History
Pennsylvania State Archives
Records of the Department of the Auditor General

Arranged alphabetically by surname of soldier. An undated list of soldiers who served during the War of 1812. The index lists each soldier's name, term of service, and the name of the company commander. Written remarks noting desertions or the name of the battalions in which a militiaman served are also sometimes found.

An example from the "C" index:


Cameron, Wm, is the last name in this excerpt from the file.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Canadian Hero's Death At Fort Erie

Colonel Hercules Scott, of Brotherton, Scotland, was one of the heroes of 1812, and was killed on the 15th of August, in the same year, by receiving a musket ball in his breast, after leading the 103rd Regiment in the most gallant manner to the attack of Fort Erie, (having carried the out works by assault and the fort by escalade).  In him the service lost a most valuable, active, and zealous officer. [Source]

Plans Of The Siege Operations Of Fort Erie

His remains were interred the same evening in the presence of the survivors of his regiment, attended by the only three officers who came out of the fort unhurt, the regiment having retreated after the fall of their leader, in consequence of the Americans having blown up a platform by which two hundred brave fellows were killed or wounded. [Source]


Before the Battle of Fort Erie, Colonel Hercules Scott fought at Lundy's Lane.

Pictures of reenactors at Fort Erie here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Creek War: A War Within A War

From the Cumberland Island NPS Museum exhibit:

Creek War of 1813 And 1814
Early in the War of 1812, British officials took advantage of existing Native American sentiments toward the ever expanding American settlement.  by providing arms to allied tribes, the British gained their support.  In September of 1812, a group of Creek attacked a small white settlement in middle Tennessee.   ...Andrew Jackson continued south to defeat the Creek and end the war (Creek War) at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

William Pinkney

Pre-War:  Pinkney and James Monroe made a futile attempt to devise a treaty between the United States and Great Britain.


William Pinkney "served as a major in the Maryland militia during the War of 1812 and was wounded at the Battle of Bladensburg, Md., in August 1814; elected to the Fourteenth Congress... ."

There is a biography of Mr. Pinkney written by his nephew.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fear Of A Standing Army

Hampering the efforts to prepare for war was the American fear of a standing army.

"But there was a fictitious fear of a standing army, largely born of the hatred of monarchical institutions*. It was a fear which in less than a generation nearly brought the country to disaster. So far as the army was concerned in the War of 1812, there is little to relate with pride." Source

A flash from the even more distant past (Revolutionary War era):

*"A standing army has been kept in these colonies ever since the conclusion of the late war without the consent of our assemblies; and this army, with a considerable naval armament has been employed to inforce the collection of taxes."

"In the days of Washington and Jefferson as in the later days of Roosevelt popular reliance for defence has always been placed upon that well ordered militia... ."  [Source]

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

British General Robert Ross

British General Robert Ross, the man who captured Washington, D.C., was killed at the Battle Of North Point (a part of the larger Battle Of Baltimore).

Part of the poem about the Battle Of North Point depicting the fallen General Ross who was said to have been shot by American soldiers Wells and McComas:

With sunshine streaming face
McComas walk'd the steps through air.
With Wells departed out of sight.
They passed to distant climes afar.
 Unbounded by the shades of night 
The wounded Ross by friendly arms 
Was laid beside the crimson road.

General Ross's body was preserved in a barrel of rum with the intent of being returned to Ireland.  The war interfered with those plans and his body was shipped to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Widow's Request

The petition of Eliza P. Hickman, widow, and the administratrix [John Smith was an administrator] of Captain Paschal Hickman,* who was killed at the battle of the river Raisin... .  ...Hickman furnished five, at least, of his men with valuable and first rate rifles, during their service, which terminated with the massacre at the river Raisin....that he furnished eight instead of five...that the rifles cost about forty dollars each.

Of these soldiers the names of only five appear, viz. Francis Slaughter, Overton Brown, George T. Johnson, Simon Kenton, and Lapsley McBride.


*Hickman County, Kentucky, was named after Captain Hickman

Monday, November 19, 2012

Carrying Trade Competition Pre-War

Since the peace of 1783, the British and the Americans had divided between them the carrying trade of the world. They met in every harbour and in every harbour came to blows.

Marblehead Harbor

The words Yankee and Britisher with a sanguinary expletive were constant terms of mutual reproach, and the popular voices of New York and Liverpool swelled the chorus with accompaniments not always the most soothing; the feeling between the people was very bad. [Source]

Sunday, November 18, 2012

General Alexander Macomb


Alexander Macomb was born in Detroit on April 3, 1782, though he moved to New York and was schooled in New Jersey.

When however the war of 1812 broke out, he asked to be transferred to the artillery because there would be little opportunity of distinguishing himself in his old corps [of Engineers]. He was appointed a Colonel and given the command of the third regiment. November 1812, Macomb was able to join the army on the northern frontier with his new command. Here he distinguished himself at Niagara and Fort George. In January, 1814, he was raised to the rank of Brigadier. The charge of the country bordering on Lake Champlain was now entrusted to him and it was here that he won the battle of Plattsburgh, one of the most gallant victories of the war. [Source]

He died on June 25, 1841.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Documenting Tippecanoe

From A journal of two campaigns of the Fourth Regiment of U. S. Infantry : in the Michigan and Indiana territories, under the command of Col. John P. Boyd, and Lt. Col. James Miller, during the years 1811 & 12, the Battle of Tippecanoe:
"The dreadful attack was first received by a Company of regulars, under the command of Capt. Barton, and a Company of Militia, commanded by Capt. Geiger, — their men had not the least notice of the approach of the Indians until they were aroused by a horrid yell and a discharge of rifles at the very door of their tents ; considerable confusion ensued in these two companies, before they could be formed in any regular order ; but notwithstanding the disorder this sudden attack created, the men were not wanting in their duty — they sprang from their tents and discharged their pieces upon the enemy, with great execution, and kept their ground good until relief could be brought them."

[Partial] List of killed and wounded of the 4th Regiment U.S. Infantry, in the battle of Tippecanoe:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Chesley Blake And Maine's Bloody Ninth

From Historical collections, Volume 22, a vignette about Captain Chesley Blake:

When the war of 1812 broke out he entered a Maine regular regiment, the bloody Ninth, so called, was made sergeant and, at the fearful battle of Lundy's Lane, in 1813, where Scott charged up the hill time and again, and then retreated down before the British fire, and where, finally placing himself at the head of that Maine regiment and mounting his white horse with a long white plume, he said: "Boys, follow me. I have faith that this bloody Ninth will carry and hold those heights. Wherever you see this white horse and this long white plume you will know where I am."

And they did follow him until they saw white horse and plume and Scott all tumbled to the earth; whence he was carried off with Worth and Wool and Brady.  But on kept the bloody Ninth and old Blake, one of its ordinary sized men, until the heights were taken and held, and until that regiment, going into battle nearly 500 strong, had a mere handful left and were marched off the field by Blake as their sergeant, all its commissioned officers having been killed or wounded, and for which Chesley Blake was made then and there first lieutenant for gallantry on the field.

Chesley Blake died in Milwaukee on 3 October 1849, of cholera.  From History of the Great Lakes:

Cholera Breaks Out. - The cholera was alarmingly prevalent in 1849 at nearly all the lake ports, and many deaths occurred on ship board. Among those carried off was Captain Chesley Blake, long in the employ of Oliver Newberry, Detroit. This veteran sailor, who had been on the lakes since 1818 and was well known as an able commander, died at the American House, Milwaukee, October 3. He was taken with cholera on board of the steamer St. Louis, on her trip up to Chicago, while on Lake Michigan.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Path Of General Hull's Army

A map showing the route of General Hull's army in green and (scout) Robert Lucas's route in red:


From the Detroit News:

"Robert Lucas, a scout and future governor of Ohio, was days ahead of the army. He reached the Black Swamp in June, writing in his journal:
'Proceeded on to the foot of the rapids through a tremendous Swamp of 40 miles distance … the Swamp being without intermission from knee deep to belly deep to our horses for 8 or 10 miles together.'"

The Toledo Blade published The Man Who Saved Toledo about the man for whom Lucas County, Ohio, is named, Robert Lucas.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lewis Cass, Military Governor


Lewis Cass was born at Exeter, New Hampshire, October 9, 1783.  Was appointed military governor of the territory of Michigan, October 14, 1813, and the following year made permanent governor, with William Woodbridge as secretary.  The war of 1812-15 had but closed, the population had been scattered and was still exposed to the ravages of the hostile Indians.  A brave, sagacious and firm had was therefore needed to restore order and confidence, as well as to rebuke outrages perpetrated by the English authorities in Canada under the plea that they had a right to invade the territory in search of and arrest deserters from their army. [Source]

See the biography of Lewis Cass here.

Wikipedia has places named after Lewis Cass.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Prelude To Tippecanoe

Order of March:

27th September [1811]— The army was embodied, consisting of between ten and twelve hundred men ; and under the immediate command of Gov. Harrison, we took up our line of march from Vincennes....

The Battle of Tippecanoe was fought in November, 1811.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Kingdom For A Horse

From The military heroes of the war of 1812: with a narrative of the war :

The University of Indiana library's online exhibit has a letter by Henry Dearborn "to John Langdon, D. Commissary, General of Purchases. Gives explicit instructions for the purchase of horses for the army."

Commentary from Kentucky about the effect of war on horses and horse racing:
Q: What hurdles — pardon the pun — did horse racing overcome to become dominant in the Southeast United States?
 A: War, corruption, religion and geography. The War of 1812 decimated equine herds, and social reformers essentially shut down racing in the North and East. But Lexington kept its track open.

There is a Society of the Military Horse message board here with a few War of 1812 references.  Here's an archaeology picture of a double horse burial at Fort Meigs.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Oliver Anderson

In the Oliver Anderson biography at the Battle of Lexington State Historic Site in Missouri, it was noted that:

"Oliver Anderson was born Feb. 15, 1794, in Nicholasville, the age of 16 or 17, had already established an extensive trade with New Orleans by means of flat boats, returning to Kentucky on foot."

Though a youth at the time, Oliver Anderson was a member of Capt. Patrick Gray's Company of Kentucky Volunteers in the War of 1812 and helped build Fort Defiance in Ohio. He was also wounded and made a prisoner at Frenchtown on the River Raisin, but made his escape from the British forces. [Source]

Around 1850, Oliver Anderson moved to Lexington, Missouri; his wife, Mary, had died in 1847.

In the fall of 1861, the war came into Anderson's home. The Union army, which had occupied the Masonic College in Lexington and surrounded it with defenses, now claimed Anderson's house for use as a field hospital.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In 1811 Stricken Down...

...In The Performance Of Duty

In tribute to
Grand Master of Masons in Kentucky,
who fell in battle here, and
to the many Freemasons
of General Harrison's command
whose valor is held
in grateful remembrance.

Joseph Daviess died November 6/7, 1811 ...(he) lived nine hours after the action... 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Online At The Clements Library

The War Of 1812: A Bicentennial Exhibition at Clements -- Sixteen Case links plus manuscript resources.

Case 2 featured the different theaters of war:
1 – The “Old Northwest”5 – The Atlantic Coast
2 – The North: Niagara Frontier6 – Chesapeake Bay
3 – The North: St. Lawrence Valley7 – The Gulf Coast
4 – The North: Lake Champlain8 – The High Seas

Saturday, November 3, 2012

General Jackson's Army In Huntsville

Davy Crockett was part of Colonel Coffee's expedition:

....on 26 September, Col. John Coffee and 500 men  moved south to Huntsville. General Jackson and about 3500 men joined Col. Coffee at  Huntsville on 11 October.

A cavern between Tennessee and Huntsville, Alabama -- were Jackson's forces ever here?

On 3 November 1813, the entire force surrounded  and  destroyed the Indian village of Tallushatchee, killing all the men and capturing the  women and children. On 9 November, the force surrounded the 1000 hostile Creeks  that had the friendly Indian village of Talledega under siege. With the intention of destroying the hostiles, General Jackson pushed forward his attack, but due to the lack of vigor on the part of one unit, 700 Indians broke through a gap in the circle and escaped.  Because of the poor condition of his men, the lack of provisions for a prolonged campaign and the fact  that only wounded men were holding the fort, he returned to Fort Strother.

PHILIP PIPKIN - A TENNESSEE MILITIAMAN, source of above, was also the source of the David Hunt, mutineer, story.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fort Bowyer Morphed To Fort Morgan

Fort Bowyer was at the site of present day Fort Morgan near Mobile Bay in Alabama.

From this source:
Fort Bowyer was a small semi-circular fort built of logs and sand in 1813 and named for Revolutionary War hero Colonel John Bowyer. When present day Fort Morgan was built, Fort Bowyer was used as headquarters. Fort Bowyer burned in the 1830's.

A redoubt at the end of a tongue of land on Mobile bay called Fort Bowyer was imperfectly raised and garrisoned by 130 men of the second regiment of United States infantry commanded by Major William Lawrence.
The men were not artillerists. Their means were extremely slender.  But Major Lawrence gallantly repulsed the formidable assault by land and water, which began there the invasion of Louisiana; though after the victories of New Orleans, he was at last compelled to surrender his fort by capitulation to the final hostilities on this continent [2nd battle]. [Source]

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dr. Robert Kerr

From the Grimsby Museum Digital Collections, Assistant Surgeon Appointment: Letter from Dr Robert Kerr to Dr Cyrus Sumner- July 22, 1814
Description: A letter from Dr. Robert Kerr to Dr. Cyrus Sumner (1772-1834) appointing him Assistant Surgeon at the hospital in Niagara during the War of 1812. His pay is quoted as one dollar and a half per day.
Sumner....was requested by Major-General Brock to accompany him to Detroit. 

Signature from the letter referenced above

Dr. Kerr in the Indian Department:

(8) Surgeons Robert Kerr. Niagara.  27 April, 1788.....
(8)  Arrived at Quebec, 13 Sept., 1776, as Hospital Mate.  Served on Burgoyne's expedition of 1777 (prisoner); also under Clinton; went to Halifax, N.S., 1778.  Surgeon Royal Reg't. of New York (Sir John Johnson's), 1779--24 June, 1784; Surgeon to the Loyalists, 24 Oct., 1784; Surgeon Indian Dept., 27 Apr., 1788.  Married a daughter of Sir William Johnson, 1st Bart., by Molly Brant.  Died at Albany, N.Y., March 1825, aged 60. [Source]

A present day, simulated "interview" with Dr. Robert Kerr!