Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Elias Darnell's Journal

"General Harrison overtook the army between Lebanon and Dayton [Ohio]."  The diarist was part of the troops were were still in Kentucky when it was learned that General Hull had surrendered Detroit.  They crossed the Ohio on the 27th [August of 1813] and presumed that their destination was Fort Wayne.
[September] 6th. We marched at 12 o'clock—we left all our sick and part of our clothing and baggage at Piqua, in order to make as much speed as possible. On the morning of the 8th, three miles from St. Mary's, one of Captain M'Gowen's company was accidentally shot through the body by one of the sentinels; the surgeon thought it mortal.* * He died in a few days.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Letters of Colonel Mansfield

From the Quarterly Publication of the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio

Six letters of Colonel Jared Mansfield of the U. S. Engineer Corps to his nephew Lieut. Joseph Totten (later Major General and for a long time Chief of the Engineer Corps.) These bear dates of 1808, 1811 & 1812, of these two hold references to Hull's expedition to Detroit, and a third contains an account of the appearance of an earthquake in Cincinnati, December 16th, 1811... . ...."I hope we shall experience no more of these awful phenomena of nature. They have been (by account) more dreadful in the country west, on or beyond the Mississippi."

A letter from Colonel Mansfield to Joseph Larwell (Larwill) is housed at Newberry.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Little Turtle's Warning

Little Turtle

"In 1808, Little Turtle, who had formerly acted with the English, was one of the first to notify the Americans of the perfidy of the English agents and traders.... ." [Source]

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Would Winchester's Army Have Been Wiped Out?

Apparently it is [General] Proctor's opinion that in an open field the whole of Winchester's army would have been wiped out [at the Battle Of The River Raisin].    From the Historical collections, Volume 15  by the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society.

Monroe, From the Battle-Ground [Frenchtown/River Raisin]

Winchester's whole army was not wiped out but there were at:
"the Close of the Fearful Day saw 600 Americans prisoners of war and 397 dead, the greater number being the defenseless wounded, who were the victims of the Indian war club and tomahawk to which Proctor's cruel treachery had granted full license." [Source]

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Bravery Of Doyle's Wife

Part of a letter to General Alex. Smythe from Lieutenant Colonel George M'Feeley, commanding officer at Fort Niagara dated 25 November 1812:


An instance of extraordinary bravery in a female (the wife of one Doyle, a private of the United States' artillery, made a prisoner at Queenstown) I cannot pass over.  During the most tremendous cannonading I have ever seen, she attended the six pounder on the old mess house with red hot shot, and showed fortitude equal to the maid of Orleans.

This blog post has the story of Mrs. Doyle and features an interesting picture.  Another good blog post here.

See what happened to Mrs. Doyle.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chief Roundhead's Letter And Signature

Upon this site stood Chief Roundhead's Wyandot Indian village. Roundhead, or Stiahta, was celebrated for his capture of American General James Winchester during the War of 1812. 

[On January 22, 1813] The British force under General Proctor was led against the upper camp...and the Indians commanded by the Chiefs Round Head and Split Log were led against the lower camp... . Source: Historical collections, Volume 35

A letter written by Chiefs Roundhead and Walk-In-The-Water:


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Kentucky Troops' Order Of Battle

From The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 7:

The order of battle at the River Raisin was as follows: Lieut. Colonel John Allen, commanding the right wing; Major Graves, the left; and Major Madison, the centre; Captain Ballard (acting Major) was placed in advance of the whole with two companies, one company commanded by Captain Hickman, Subaltern Lieut. Chinn, the other by Captain Graves.

For information about individuals listed above, see BATTLEFIELD BIOGRAPHIES (Participants at the Battle of the River Raisin) by Ralph Naveaux.

Movements at Frenchtown (Battle of the River Raisin):

Source: Lossing's Field Book
See another version of the same map here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Raisin Massacre Of 1813 Plaque

Kentucky and Ohio recruits under General James Winchester were the victims of a surprise attack by the British and their Indian allies Jan. 22, 1813,... .

Monday, January 21, 2013

General Winchester's Headquarters

Warnings and inactivity at General Winchester's headquarters in January of 1813:

On the afternoon of the 20th [of January], General Winchester came with Colonel Madison and three hundred whose forces were united with Lewis and Allen at the upper camp, while General Winchester took up his headquarters in the house of Colonel Navarre on the south side of the river, about three fourths of a mile from his army.

Again and again settlers brought word to Winchester and tried to impress on his mind the enemy would soon attack. Winchester dismissed them with a laugh, and made no preparations to meet them.

Late at night word was brought to Colonel Lewis that a large force of Canadians and Indians were at Stony Creek, only four miles away. Again Winchester was warned. Even this did not disturb his slumber.

Colonel Lewis...was a sharp crack of the sentinel's guns... .  This was the morning of January 22nd.  [Source]

General Winchester's rebuttal "concerning charges of neglect and military incompetency during the course of the Raisin campaign (directly mainly by Robert McAfee in his book published in 1816)" can be found here.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

General Joel Leftwich

University of Virginia Digital Services Project - Leftwich Papers

The University of Virginia Library has a digitization services project for the Joel Leftwich Papers and included the following information on their website:

"Joel Leftwich enlisted in the Virginia Militia on January 1, 1777 and fought through the Revolutionay War... .  On January 19, 1809, he was elected Brigadier General of the Twelfth Brigade of Virginia Militia upon the death of General Joseph Martin and led this force to Fort Meigs in Ohio during the War of 1812. 

The Leftwich Organization has a pedigree chart for Joel Leftwich here.  More information about the Leftwich family from a DAR publication here.

Friday, January 18, 2013

What Soldiers Wore Per Capt. Brush

Ft. Christmas's Uniform Display

Library of Virginia's site included Soldiers of the War of 1812 (Research Notes Number 19) online, which included a description of how new recruits were outfitted for war:

"In his reminiscences, Captain Henry Brush described with precision what newly enlisted recruits wore during the War of 1812. Soldiers were outfitted for service in unbleached, tow-linen hunting shirts and trousers. On their heads they wore low-crown hats, on the left side of which were black cockades about two inches in diameter. A small silver eagle (about the size of a quarter) was fastened in the center of each cockade." 

Follow the link to see the rest of the description.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Winfield Scott Assigned To Black Rock

Source: Portrait of General Winfield Scott

In July, 1812, Scott received the commission of lieutenant-colonel in the 2d artillery, (Izard's regiment,) and arrived on the Niagara frontier, with the companies of Towson and Barker.  He took post at Black Rock, to protect the navy-yard there established. [Source]

Another blog post here and here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

General Proctor's Efforts To Secure Detroit

Correspondence between Colonel Proctor and Major General Sheaffe:

A partial transcription:
Sandwich Jany 13th 1813
Nothing can be more gratifying to me than to find effectual measures taken to ensure the [British] superiority on the Lakes, so requisite to the security of the Country.  Every exertion is making and shall be preserved in, as far as depends on me, to attain that object.
The Gun Boats are to be built on the Thames.....

After General Hull's surrender of Detroit, [British] General Isaac Brock, from his Headquarter's in Detroit, wrote to Sir George Prevost on August 17, 1812.   Brock left Proctor in charge of Detroit.

All through the winter of 1812-13 General Proctor, with his division of the 41st Regiment at Amherstburgh, the militia of Essex, and the Indians under Tecumseh had been kept busily employed in devices for preventing or retarding the American forces on the other side of the river from crossing into Canada. [Source]

General Brock* left to Colonel Proctor the task of carrying out his promises [to the people of Michigan that their lives, propery, and religious observances would be respected].  In his perplexity, Proctor turned to Judge Woodward, the sole remaining representative of the American Government for advice and aid. The request was made with great hesitation on Proctor's part, and was accepted with equal reluctance on the part of Woodward. [Source]

*General Brock was killed at the Battle of Queenston Heights in October of 1812.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Captured Ship Volunteer

From the blog "This Day In U.S. Military History":

January 12

1813 - US Frigate Chesapeake captures British Volunteer.


The Volunteer arrived at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a prize to the U.S. Frigate Chesapeake.

Another action involving the Chesapeake.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Captain William Shaw's Toast

The blog, 2nd Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Militia, related a story about Captain Shaw's toast and the captive Kentuckian's counter toast.  The story was published Monday, October 31, 1814 in the Democratic Press (Philadelphia, PA).

Shaw's toast:

Source: GenealogyBank
McKinsay's response:

Source: GenealogyBank

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


See Shaw's petition for land in In Deeds.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Illuminating Blogger Award

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to thank the fabulous Dorene at Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay for conferring the Food Stories' blog's Illuminating Blogger Award upon my War of 1812 Chronicles blog.

To fulfill the award's requirement, I'm divulging the following random fact about myself: I'm left-handed.

Chalmette Battlefield Map

A map from The British at the Gates showed the New Orleans campaign.  The National Park Service link to the Chalmette Battlefield (Battle of New Orleans) is here. The National Cemetery adjacent to the battlefield was closed due to damage from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita during our last visit, but there's a link with the names of those buried there.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Battle Of Fort St. Philip

Source attempt was made by a small squadron of British ships stationed off the mouths of the Mississippi for the purpose of blockade to ascend the river. On the 9th of January, when opposite to Fort St Philip, they opened upon it a heavy fire of shot and shells, which, with few and short pause,s was continued for nine days and nights; when failing to make any impression favorable to themselves, on either the fort or the garrison, they withdrew to their former position. [Source]

From the National Park Service:

"Jackson had called attention to the importance of supplying New Orleans with some means of defense during September of the previous year, but after having prevented the British from finding a lodgement at Pensacola and Mobile he had now to face the fact that nothing had been done by the government at Washington to fortify the place.

As a main part of the defense, two effective batteries mounted with 24-pounders were located on the side of the river opposite Fort St. Philip, one at old Fort Bourbon and the other a half mile below. These were to operate in conjunction with the fire from Fort St. Philip."

Across The Mississippi River From Fort St. Philip (Fort Jackson built AFTER the War of 1812)

From the First Division Museum at Cantigny, a description of the battle as well as an oil painting depicting it; and from Wikipedia, the siege of Fort St. Philip.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Captain Thornton Posey

From the Upper Mississippi Brigade website, The 7th U. States Infantry in the Midwest A Sketch of the Detachments of Captains Thornton Posey and Zachary Taylor, by David M. Grabitske:

"Thornton Posey was an immigrant from Virginia who was one of the first company commanders to be appointed on May 3. Recruitment proceeded very well during that first summer for Posey's nascent command. In early 1809 Posey received orders to move his men from the recruiting rendezvous to New Orleans and James Wilkinson's disease-ridden camp. On June 3, his men were formally transferred to George Rogers Clark Floyd's company. In the fall of that year the Sixth Infantry was broken up and also added to the Seventh."  [Links added to original article]


Major Thornton Posey was a member of the Posey Family of Va. He enlisted in the regular army from Ky., in May 1808 and served till the end of the war of 1812. He arrived at Vincennes, July 5, 1810. [Alexander Posey was Thornton Posey's brother.]

Jim's Photo From Fort Knox II Near Vincennes, Indiana

Captain Thornton Posey killed Lieutenant Jesse Jennings during an altercation:


The Niles' Weekly Register, Volume 1, told of the Thornton Posey/Jesse Jennings incident.

In a letter to Secretary of War Eustis, General Harrison related the following detail:
I am told also that Mr. Jennings told two different persons some time before that he would kill the Captain if he could. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

General Blake And The Battle of Hampden

Source:  Genealogy of the Cleveland Family

Gen. John Blake was present at the battle of Hampden, Sep. 3, 1814, where the very British battalions who conquered Napoleon turned the scale against us.  A Court of Inquiry approved of Brig.-Gen. Blake's conduct and he was promoted by Gov. Caleb Strong, 1816, to Maj.-Gen., 10th Div. Mass.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Adventures Of The Nancy - Part Two

See Part One

Tall Ship Replica On Lake Huron - NOT Nancy


The next recorded incident in her history is narrated in a letter from her commander, Captain Alexander Mcintosh, to Captain Richard Bullock of the 41st Regiment, commanding the garrison at Mackinac, dated "5 miles from St. Joseph's," on the 16th of October, 1813. On the 4th of that month he had sailed from St. Joseph's for Amherstburg to obtain a much needed supply of provisions, and arrived at the mouth of the St. Clair river on the following afternoon when he sent two men ashore to ascertain whether it would be safe for him to enter the river. As they were prevented from returning by rough water, he decided to venture as far as the foot of the rapids. There he learned that the whole of the British squadron on Lake Erie had been taken and that the Americans were in possession of Detroit and Amherstburg. It was also reported that two of their armed schooners and two gun-boats were awaiting his appearance in the river below.

"Next day about noon," Captain Mcintosh wrote, "a white nag was seen coming towards us in a canoe. About half an hour afterwards I was hailed from the shore by a Canadian, ordering me to give up the vessel and that my property, as also that of the crew, should be respected. I went ashore to see who this man was. It was Lieutenant-Colonel Beaubien, of the militia, who wished me to surrender the vessel to him, repeating what he had already said. I told him I would give an answer in an hour's time.

I immediately went back and got all ready to defend the vessel. After the time had elapsed I went to him, gave him my answer, which was that I would defend the vessel until necessity compelled me to give her up, and that if the wind proved strong enough, I would attempt going back to the lake. He then replied, 'We shall fire on you.' 1 asked what number of men he had. 'Fifty,' was his answer. I returned to the vessel, made sail and was fishing the anchor when they commenced firing. I returned the fire as quickly as I received it, which continued for a quarter of an hour or more. They then ceased, whether from want of ammunition or that we had killed any, I know not.

During the action I was placed at the helm and exposed to the whole of their fire, but luckily escaped. Several shots struck the main boom and railing. No person was injured from their fire, but the blowing up of a couple of cartridges burnt one of the men severely on the face and hands. Whether it was from a piece of the cartridge or their lire, our main sail was blazing which was no sooner seen than extinguished. During the engagement my men behaved with the greatest coolness, and I cannot say too much for them.

As early as the 3rd of October, Captain Bullock had received information of the disastrous result of the battle on Lake Erie from Major-General Proctor, who informed him that he had already recommended that supplies for his garrison should be forwarded from York to Matchedash Bay.

The Nancy arrived on the 18th with her sails and cables so badly damaged as to render her unfit to navigate the lake during the storm of autumn, and Captain Mcintosh determined to take her to the Northwest Company's post, at Sault Ste. Marie, in the hope of procuring the necessary materials to refit her during the winter.

Here's a nice blog post about the Nancy and another from the Friends of Nancy Island and Wasaga Beach Park here.
Incorporating some archaeological aspects of the Nancy is a paper entitled "His Majesty's Hired Transport Schooner Nancy."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Aiming For The Conquest Of Canada?

The best clue to the understanding of the war of 1812 is to be found in the situation existing in the Ohio valley. That section of the country, aided by elements in the south, virtually brought on the war. It did so on account of a crisis which culminated, not in 1807 as did our maritime grievances against England, but
in 1811 and 1812, in the months which really matured the decision to appeal to arms. And in appealing to arms it had a perfectly clear and intelligible aim. That aim was nothing other than the conquest of Canada.

Henry Clay, speaker of the house, in the committee of the whole outlined a plan for the invasion of Canada and for the distribution of troops there. No wonder that John Randolph complained, "Ever since the report of the Committee on Foreign Relations came into the House, we have heard but one word, — like the Whippoorwill, but one monotonous tone, — Canada, Canada, Canada." 

It was not merely the dream of a greater republic, however, that stirred the inhabitants of the Ohio valley in the years preceding 1812. They had more practical and pressing matters to think of. The Indians were an ever-present menace which at any moment might set the whole frontier in a blaze, and back of the Indians the westerners saw the English in Canada. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Adventures Of The Nancy - Part One

Tall Ship Replica On Lake Huron (Near Port Huron) - NOT  Nancy


In the summer of 1789, the firm of Forsyth, Richardson and Co., fur merchants of Montreal, undertook the construction of a schooner for the navigation of the upper lakes.

By 1793, the Nancy had become the property of George Leith Co., and is described as being of sixty-seven tons burden. Sometime before the end of the century, she passed into the possession of the Northwest Fur Company, by whom she was employed in the transportation of furs and merchandise on Lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan.

On July 1st, 1812, when the declaration of war by the United States became known to Lieutenant-Colonel St. George, the commandant of the British Garrison at Amherstburg, she was still lying at Moy waiting for a favorable wind to carry her into Lake Huron, and he at once ordered her to be brought down under the guns of that post to secure her from capture. Some light brass guns with which she had been armed were mounted in row-boats to patrol the river, and the schooner was impressed into the government service as a transport. On July 30 she sailed for Fort Erie under convoy of the Provincial schooner, Lady Prevost. Five days later she left Fort Erie on her return voyage, in company with the armed brig General Hunter, having on board sixty soldiers of the 41st Regiment and a quantity of military stores. The timely arrival of this small reinforcement had considerable weight among the reasons which induced General Hull to evacuate Canada.

During the summer and autumn of that year the Nancy was constantly employed in the important service of transporting troops, stores, and provisions between Detroit and Fort Erie.

On April 23rd, 1813, she was included in the small squadron assembled to transport General Procter's division from Amherstburg to Miami Bay, to undertake the siege of Fort Meigs.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Day Artillery Fire At New Orleans

Chalmette Battlefield (New Orleans)
...the surprising losses of the British were commonly due to artillery and musketry fire.  At New Orleans the artillery was chiefly engaged. The artillery battle of January 1, according to British accounts, amply proved the superiority of American gunnery on that occasion, which was probably the fairest test during the war. From: The History of the United States...