Sunday, December 30, 2012

Expedition Against Florida Indians

These skirmishes took place during the War of 1812 time frame.  They were known as the "Patriot War;" a war within a war?

Photo Of Map In Cumberland NP Museum in St. Mary's, Georgia

"Official letters of the military and naval officers of the United States..." included one from Daniel Newnan to David B. Mitchell concerning an expedition against the Florida Indians, dated October 19, 1812, from New-Hope, St. John's, Florida.

Excerpts from Newnan's letter:

" account of the several engagements which have taken place, between the Lotchaway and Alligator Indians, and the detachment of Georgia volunteers, under my command."

"On the morning of the 4th day of our march, when we were within 6 or 7 miles of the Lotchaway towns [present day Alachua], our advanced party discovered a body of Indians, marching along the path, meeting us, and, at the same moment, they appeared to have discovered us."
"The evil genius of captain again prevailed; and I have since learned from captain Cone, that this person instigated not only him, but many of the privates, to urge a departure from our works, even in the day time, when I was convinced that the Indians, knowing our weak situation, would endeavour to ambuscade. This gentleman, if innocent, will have an opportunity of proving himself so before a court martial."

Also mentioned in the letter:  Colonel Smith, Captain Cone, Captain Humphrey, Captain Fort, Lieutenant Fannin, Captain Coleman, Lieutenant Broadnax, Sergeant-Major Reese, Captain Harden, Sergeant Holt, Sergeant Attaway, Ensign Mann, Lieutenant Williams, Sergeant Hawkins, Corporal Neil, Lieutenant Reed, Sergeant Fields, Sergeant Cowan, and Sergeant Denmark.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

James Fenimore Cooper's Book Of Naval History

A phrase at the James Fenimore Cooper Society website stated that "There can be no question about the importance of Cooper's place as a naval historian."

Mr. Cooper wrote History of the navy of the United States of America, Volume 1, "an imperfect record" which was "offered as a tribute of profound respect...".  

James Fenimore Cooper's work was mentioned by Theodore Roosevelt according to the blog Our Flag Was Still There:  "Roosevelt lashed out at Cooper, in a condemnation that carried through until recent years. He acknowledged his debt to Cooper, backhandedly."

Friday, December 28, 2012

Francois Dominique DuCharme

From Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online:

DUCHARME, DOMINIQUE (baptized François), fur trader, militia officer, office holder, and justice of the peace....participated in the War of 1812.

"On 21 July 1812, after war broke out with the United States, Ducharme was commissioned a lieutenant in the Pointe-Claire Battalion of Militia."

More about Ducharme's War of 1812 actions and the Battle of Beaver Dams.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


The war of 1812 is one of the most unsatisfactory episodes in American history. It was unpopular with a large part of the people of the United States and was not desired by the British. Its course was marked by disastrous and even disgraceful defeats as well as by brilliant victories, some of them quite undeserved. Its immediate outcome and the treaty of peace which brought it to an end were singularly indecisive. Had there been means of rapid communication in 1814 the last battle which occurred would not have been fought; had they existed in 1812 there might have been no war at all.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

General Alexander Smyth

Was appointed President Jefferson colonel of a United States regiment, which he commanded at the until 1811, when he was ordered to Washington prepare a discipline for the army. Was inspector general in 1812 and ordered to the Canadian frontier, where he failed in an invasion Canada and left the army. 

He [General Smyth]...petitioned Congress to reinstate him, declaring in his memorial that he asked the privilege of "dying for his country." The phrase was ridiculed by his enemies. At a public celebration at Georgetown D.C. on Washington's birthday in 1814, the following toast was offered: "General Smyth's petition to Congress to 'die for his country'--May it be ordered that the prayer of said petitioner be granted." [Source]

There was a duel between General Smyth and General Porter.

Smyth County, Virginia, was named after the General.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mrs. Doyle At Cantonment Greenbush

A letter archived at (and NARA) bore the date line Cantonment Greenbush 4 April 1814.  It was written by Col. Simon Larned, and had a return of the women and children at that location, including Mary Doyle, whose husband, Andrew, was taken prisoner and shipped to England:

"Mrs. Doyle who lived near Niagara Fort, had her Husband Andrew Doyle taken prisoner & sent to England, being born in Canada but not residing there since he was 4 years old, the woman is a great Heroine She served the cannon in the fort one day, and at various other times; the day before the Enemy took the fort, she encouraged the Militia who was rather timid, by putting on the dress & arms of a soldier....".


Mary Doyle - 23 [Regt] - Andrew Doyle - 3 [children] - prisoner & sent to England - - Niagara

Most of the material written about Mrs. Doyle's heroism states that her name was Betsey, and sometimes identified as Fanny.  This report obviously calls her Mary Doyle.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ebenezer Richmond's Pension Index

Index To The War of 1812 Pension Application Files:
Roll #79

Widow:  Richmond, Lois A.
Capts Wibbers [Robert Wilbers] & [James] Lords Cos
NY Militia
Widow Orig:  17230
Widow Ctf.: 11212

Fold3 - Not Richmond's File

Fold3 - Also Not Richmond's File

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Spy Captured

While in Piqua he [Joseph Paxton] was chosen as a volunteer spy in Captain Leslie Combs's company of spies.

Commemorating A Revolutionary War Era Battle At Piqua in Ohio

May of 1813 Captain Combs, who was then at old Fort Defiance at the junction of the Auglaize and Maumee rivers, was ordered to take a part of his company and proceed to Fort Meigs.  Paxton was the first to volunteer for a very dangerous company with Captain Combs three other volunteer spies and an Indian named Blackfish... .

The memorialist was...struck by a ball near the right shoulder blade ....and was conducted to the British camp.

He was taken before General Proctor who asked him under whose command he came to (General Green Clay of Kentucky). [Was asked] how many men General Clay had with him (two thousand Kentuckians and seven hundred Indians).  Major Chambers of the British army repeated the last question; the major pronounced him a liar and said that Kentucky could not raise half that number of fighting men.... .

Source: Congressional edition (Google eBook) (1841)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

POWS And A British Brig In Savannah

From Historic and picturesque Savannah:

The marshal of the district of Georgia was requested to parole British prisoners of war in the city, to prevent their viewing the forts, barracks, or other public works in or near the city, under penalty of close confinement should the paroles be violated.  All strangers were also to be immediately reported to the clerk of Council.  In May, 1814, the British brig-of-war "Epervier," carrying eighteen guns, was brought into the Savannah river by the United States sloop-of-war "Peacock," Lewis Warrington commander.

Fort Jackson in Savannah, Georgia

Monday, December 17, 2012

Training The Troops

From Army NCO History (Part 2): War of 1812...:

"In February 1812, Congress ordered the creation of a 50,000-man volunteer army. When war was declared on Great Britain in June 1812, there were roughly 7,000 men in the regular service; many were under the command of senior officers who lacked experience in combat or leading troops."

"It fell on the NCO corps, specifically corporals, who were the primary trainers at the time, to prepare the Soldiers for combat against the British."

It has to be remembered that there was a distrust among the populace of a standing army; militias.... .

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Connecticut Collection Online

The always interesting and informative "Friday Finds" blog posts at GenBlog included a link to Connecticut War of 1812 papers on December 14, 2012.

"The Connecticut State Library has recently completed the digitization of the “Chauncey Hosford War of 1812 Papers” and has made them available online as part of the State Library’s Digital Collections."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Which Country Owned Bois Blanc?

"After the War of 1812 the question was again raised...".

From The Northwest under three flags, 1635-1796:

Entering the Detroit River on the 11th of July, 1796, they discovered first a few widely scattered houses set along the low lying shores, but as they progressed they found clustered about the new British post some twenty houses in all stages of completion. The region [in Canada] was known as the district of Malden, but as yet the name of Amherstburg had not been given to the town, and for months it was known simply as the new British post and town near the island of Bois Blanc, an island by the way that was claimed to be within the United States, greatly to the disturbance of Governor Simcoe (3).

(3) The ownership of the island was not settled until after the treaty of Ghent in 1817.  After the War of 1812 the question was again raised.--War Department MSS.:  Protest of Colonel Anthony Butler, July 1, 1815; and Andrew J. Dallas to Colonel Butler, May 31, 1815.

Which country owned Bois Blanc after 1817?  Canada.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Peacock And Epervier

Engraving and text below from The naval monument: containing official and other accounts... by Abel Bowen.

From Wikipedia:

The capture of HMS Epervier was a naval action fought off the coast of Florida near Cape Canaveral on 28 April 1814... .

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Make It Brief: Rank Abbreviations

The Library of Virginia's website included the War of 1812 Pay Rolls and Muster Rolls - Abbreviations for Ranks in their War of 1812 database.  Examples include:

Aide de Camp A. D. Camp; A. D.; Aid.e; Aid
Adjutant Adj't.; Adj.; Ad.

Principal Forager Prin. Forager

Principal Forage Master P. F. Master
Principal Wagon Master P. W. Master
Riding Master R. Master; R. M.

Sword Master S. Master; S. M.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Quartermaster General Morgan Lewis


US Army Quartermaster Foundation at Fort Lee, Virginia, featured a profile of General Morgan Lewis.

Another biography can be found here.

"In 1812 President James Madison offered him the post of Secretary of War, which he declined, and accepted the appointment of quartermaster-general of the armies of the United States. In 1813 General Lewis was promoted to the rank of major-general. He served on the Niagara frontier, captured Fort George, and commanded at Sackett's Harbor and French Creek. At the close of the war he advanced the funds that were necessary for the discharge of American prisoners in Canada."

He married into the Livingston family of New York.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Isaac Shelby

Isaac Shelby (1750-1826), the first Governor of Kentucky, commanded troops at the Battle of The Thames.

In summing up the character of Isaac Shelby we may emphatically exclaim he was a good and a gallant man. His life, like that of all the leading spirits of his day, was an eventful one; and, in bravery and patriotism, he was, perhaps, surpassed by none of his cotemporaries.  And Shelby's memory is safe.  He will not be forgotten--at least by the sons of Kentucky; for his name on their lips is a "household word." Louisville Literary News-Letter  [Source: The Hesperian, Volume 3, Sketch of Isaac Shelby]

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Work Of The Quartermaster

From Quartermaster History Timeline at the US Army Quartermaster Foundation in Fort Lee, Virginia:

War of 1812 (1812-15) "In short, a Quartermaster General should anticipate every thing, see every thing, and be prepared at all times as far as human foresight is capable of for all emergencies."

28 March 1812 From the National Archives:
Office of the Purveyor of Public Supplies (OPPS), headquartered at Philadelphia, PA, established in Treasury Department by an act of February 23, 1795..., with responsibility for procuring all U.S. Government supplies, including military stores. Abolished, effective May 31, 1812, by an act of March 28, 1812 (2 Stat. 696).

9 March 1813
"Quartermaster Department ordered to build boats at Erie for Admiral Perry's fleet. Fleet turned over to Perry in August 1813." [Quartermaster History Timeline]

Quartermaster Department split in two, with a Quartermaster General and a deputy for each of the two divisions-the Northern and the Southern-into which the United States was divided for purposes of military administration. [Quartermaster History Timeline]

A blog entry about Army supplies.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tried For Treason


The Ultimate History Project website featured an article, Patriot or Traitor: The Role of John Hodges in the War of 1812, by Courtney C. Hobson (excerpt below):

"[William] Pinkney’s impassioned defense of Hodges’ actions during a confused time of war won Hodges an acquittal.  Pinkney was so convincing that the jury did not even leave the jury box to deliberate. To date, John Hodges is the only known person to be tried for treason during the War of 1812."

Francis Scott Key and Dr. Beanes were also mentioned in the article.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pre-War: Rejection Of Monroe's Treaty

From this biography of James Madison:

"In July 1805 Monroe returned to Britain to negotiate a treaty, assisted by diplomat William Pinkney. However, the treaty was one of general agreement only and did not touch on two vital issues: a British blockade of French ports and the impressment, or forced induction, of American sailors into the British navy. It contained no concessions to the United States, and Jefferson wisely refused to submit it to the Senate for ratification.."

More detail about Jefferson's refusal of Monroe's treaty:
"...[David M.] Erskine was anxious for a reconciliation between England and America; he tried honestly and over zealously to bring the two governments into accord, but he found Madison not nearly so earnest as himself."
"The more closely the subject was studied, the more clearly it appeared that Monroe to all appearance knowingly embarrassed the administration by signing a treaty in contravention of the President's orders; but Jefferson added unnecessarily to his embarrassment by refusing the treaty before he read it."
"No act of Jefferson's administration exposed him to more misinterpretation, or more stimulated a belief in his hatred of England and of commerce, than his refusal to lay Monroe's treaty before the senate." [Source]

Friday, December 7, 2012


Hoping to verify information using the 1810 census for the Michigan Territory but was out of luck.  Those census records were burned in the War of 1812.

Surviving census records for 1810 include:

"...Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia [includes present day West Virginia]."

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Butler To Crittenden From Detroit

From the Calendar of the Papers of John Jordan Crittenden:

1814 [Feb. 12]  Butler, A[nthony].  Detroit, [Michigan].  To Crittenden.  Ill health; commander in chief of the territory; condition of the fort; movements of British and Indians; to surrender is out of the question; every man will die first; prospects and hopes of victory and fame.  A.L.S. 6p.

[1814] Mar. 13  Butler, A[nthony].  Detroit, [Michigan].  To Crittenden.  Engagement in detail and great victory over the British; praise of men.  A.L.S. 5 p.

Major Crittenden was an aide-de-camp to Governor Isaac Shelby in the War of 1812.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Post-War Preference For Detroit


West Point, May 27th, 1815
To A. Partridge
Capt. _ M. A.


Being extremely desirous of commencing the duties of my station- I take the liberty of addressing you.  As my friends all reside in the Western Country I should prefer being stationed therein.  If you will be kind enough to use your influence to have me ordered to Detroit I shall esteem it a favour meriting the gratitude of----

Your humble Servt

Henry W. Griswold
Lieut. ____

Henry Griswold's notebooks are mentioned in an article entitled "Mathematics Education At West Point: The First Hundred Years."

Griswold Family Papers at Harvard are primarily those of Henry W. Griswold's  father, Stanley Griswold (1763-1815) [and mother Elizabeth].
Chiefly papers of Stanley Griswold (1763-1815) and his son Henry W. Griswold (d. 1834). Stanley Griswold began as a clergyman in Connecticut, became acting governor of the Michigan Territory, and ended as a judge in Illinois Territory. There are papers relating to the Connecticut Land Company, of which Stanley Griswold was one of the proprietors. Henry W. Griswold graduated from West Point in 1815. He served in the United States Army, attaining the rank of Captain, until his death in 1834. His papers include accounts, official army letters and documents, and family letters. In 1825 Griswold married Ann Heard, daughter of John Heard Jr., and the Griswold family papers came to the library with the Heard family papers.

So he didn't get his wish (also here)?

Military History. — Cadet of the Military Academy, July 28, 1813, to Mar. 2, 1815

Served: in garrison at Ft. Niagara, N. Y., 1815‑17, — Sackett's Harbor
N. Y., 1817‑18, — Ft. Washington, Md., 1818‑19, — and New York harbor, 1819‑20; on Commissary duty, 1820‑21; at the Military Academy, as Asst. Instructor of Infantry Tactics, Jan. 27, 1821, to Feb. 14,

1822; in garrison at Ft. Independence. Mas., 1822; as Adjutant, 1st

Artillery, Sept. 25, 1822, to Oct. 11, 1831, and in garrison at Ft. Monroe, Va. (Artillery School for Practice), 1831, — New berne, N. C., 1831‑32, —

Beaufort, N. C., 1832‑33, — Ft. Monroe, Va., 1833, — Ft. Mitchell, Ala., 1833‑34, — and Castle Pinckney, S. C., 1834.

Died, Oct. 23, 1834, at Castle Pinckney, S. C.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Captain Weeks' Company Payroll

From A List Of Pensioners Of The War Of 1812:

Two items of interest:

Henry Alden, private, deserted from the Fourth Regiment April 23, 1809, and delivered himself to Lieutenant Green, Dec. 26, 1812
Job Barnet, private, died Jan. 12, 1813

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Look At The Provincial Marines

The Provincial Marine at Amherstburg 1796-1813, by Bob Garcia, is a nice article and includes a Provincial Marine Lieutenant's uniform.  Also mentioned was Alexander Grant; "more interestingly he might have been the only commander of a military force to live, while on active duty in the land of his potential opponent." [Grant lived in the Detroit area when he was a Canadian officer]

From Officers of the British Forces in Canada During the War of 1812-15:

John Richardson, the author of Richardson's War of 1812, was a member of the Provincial Marines.