Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Repost Of A War of 1812 Ohio Primer

Almost a year after Dorene first posted it, a link to her blog about the War of 1812 primer from the Ohio Historical Society:
She said, "Don't miss the informative database of cemeteries in Ohio that mark the final resting places for many War of 1812 veterans who were residing in Ohio at the time of their death."
Good advice from the author of the Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay!

Monday, April 29, 2013

General Daniel Davis

In Early Settlers of New York State: Their Ancestors and Descendants, Volume 1 it was stated that Daniel Davis married Naomi Le Barron...he enlisted in the War of 1812, was rapidly promoted and became a brigadier-general, and led the men at Fort Erie on September 14, 1814.  While leading his troops in advance of his division, he was fatally wounded and died at the age of 37.  Mrs. Davis later moved to Ypsilanti, Michigan.  General Davis was buried in the old cemetery east of the village (Buell Cemetery, Leroy, New York).

"Porter's victory was complete, but it was obtained at a fearful cost. His three principal leaders, namely, General Davis, Colonel Gibson, and Lieutenant Colonel Wood, all fell mortally wounded... ." [Ibid]

Here's a photo of the sword presented posthumously to Brigadier General Daniel Davis, of the New York Militia.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Palmer At Dartmoor Prison

From The diary of Benjamin F. Palmer, privateersman: while a prisoner on board ...

"He was a descendant of Walter Palmer, one of the founders of Stonington, Connecticut.  Stonington was the first place to offer serious resistance to the British.... ."

Benjamin Franklin Palmer was "engaged to serve on the privateer Rolla...which was captured by His Majesty's frigate Loire... ."

The Massacre of April 6, 1815, at Dartmoor was mentioned:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Death Of General Zebulon Montgomery Pike

Source (Page 90)

...when General Dearborn planned his attack on York the command of the expedition was given to Pike... .  It was on the 27th of April 1813 that the tragical assault was made.

The slaughter was terrible. Yet the enemy resolutely held his ground until Pike, with the main body, had effected a landing. Quickly forming his men, Pike dashed on in pursuit.

The troops, being fatigued, the leading regiments were allowed to seat themselves on the ground; Pike himself, surrounded by his staff imitating their example. In this position they were awaiting the effect of the artillery when suddenly an explosion occurred shaking earth and sky. Instantly every man looked around in horror.

The explosion was seen to proceed from a magazine of the enemy, a huge stone building which had caught fire by some untoward accident. The Americans were all within a compass of a few hundred yards right in the track of this terrible volcano.

Over three hundred individuals by that fearful descent were hurried into eternity or else wounded or maimed for life. Pike was one of the sufferers.

Seeing the huge masses in the air and knowing that escape was impossible he did not attempt to rise but stooped his body forward instinctively. A piece of the wall struck him on the back as he bent in this position and gave him a mortal injury. Just as he was lifted from the ground he heard a shout and inquiring what it was for was told the enemy's flag was coming down.

He lived but a few hours... .

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fort Wolcott

Defenses Of Narraganset Bay, Rhode Island

"....The work on Goat Island, which had borne so many aliases, finally, in 1798, was re-christened Fort Wolcott to commemorate the revolutionary services of Governor Oliver Wolcott, who had just died December 1, 1797, its former name of Fort Washington having been appropriately transferred to the work on the Potomac River opposite to Mount Vernon... .

"... in 1811, only six months before war was declared against Great Britain, there were but seventeen guns in Fort Adams and thirty-eight in Fort Wolcott, in all fifty-five pieces of ordnance, large and small, to defend Narraganset Bay against the most powerful fleets of the world."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

William Bush In A Missouri Company

The Missouri Digital Heritage site contains some soldiers' records from 1812.

Line #9 (not shown above):
 BUSH, WILLIAM B.  War of 1812  Capt. Peter Craig's Company

"The most famous of these expeditions was that made in 1814 by a company of mounted rangers raised by Peter Craig of Cape Girardeau county. Many of the members of the company had served under Captain Ramsay in 1813; they were now enlisted for a period of one year to serve on the frontiers of Missouri and Illinois, and they became a part of a regiment commanded by Colonel William Russell. This company did very much service during these Indian troubles and fought the famous battle of the Sink Hole."  William B. Bush was named as a private. [Source]

See a bio of James L. Bush, son of William B. Bush.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Enos Soule, A Dartmoor Prisoner


Capt. [Enos] Soule served in the war of 1812, in which he was taken prisoner, and suffered the horrors of Dartmoor Prison for two years.  In all the relations of life he was a model citizen, public-spirited and patriotic, and of unbending integrity.  He died 8 Nov. 1869.

ArchiveGrid lists the Soule family account books, 1853-1917 bulk 1869-1896.  Family of Enos Soule; prominent ship captains and ship builders of South Freeport and Freeport, Me.
Account books kept chiefly by his sons after Enos's death in 1869.

There's a terrific blog post at Focusing On Yesterday entitled Many local sailors were held in Dartmoor prison during the War of 1812.  The last line:  "As we move into the bicentennial of the War of 1812, I hope that the stories of local heroes like Enos Soule and Perez Drinkwater will bring the war home and make it worth remembering."

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Brief Tenure of Fort Johnson

"Fort Johnson was a U.S. Army post built on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River in modern-day Warsaw, Illinois during the War of 1812. The fort was established in September 1814 by Major Zachary Taylor, future U.S. president."  "Because of the chaotic situation along the Mississippi River frontier, the fort was abandoned in late October 1814 after provisions ran out. The company retreated to Cap au Gris near St. Louis."  Source: Wikipedia
The Quincy Herald Whig had an article (reprinted at the Illinois State Archaeological Survey website) about the fort at Warsaw, Illinois:
"It wasn't their intent to leave a lot behind, but it's amazing what is here given the short length of their stay."  "They didn't want them to fall into the wrong hands," Nolan said."  "The wrong hands, the British and the Sauk Indians, were never far away."

 "In between St. Louis, which was a hub, and Fort Dearborn in Chicago, it was pretty much no man's land. Other than Fort Madison, we basically have the only story to be told here."
The Callaway Family Association blog has a copy of the Callaway map of Fort Johnson (thought to be the sole drawing of the fort).

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Cannonball In A Pear Tree


Within the palisade of a small fort in Detroit, on what is now the corner of Woodbridge and Griswold streets, there stood in the war of 1812, a magnificent pear tree some two feet in diameter and the pride and delight of the citizens. During one of the cannonadings from the opposite shore, it was perceived that this tree served as a mark to guide the aim of the enemy's shots, and that it continued greatly to annoy and weaken the defence. The citizens, all unwilling tho' they were, resolved to remove this means of annoyance. A soldier of the name of Miller, and now residing, we believe, somewhere in this city, was directed to cut it down.  He proceeded cheerfully to his task, plied the axe with vigor, but yet made no rapid progress upon the tough old tree, when a shot from the British battery struck it precisely where he was cutting, and dashed off two thirds of the trunk. Miller paused for a moment, looked up and exclaiming,  "Fire away, John Bull, you cut a great deal faster than I can," then quietly proceeded to complete his work,--Detroit Advertiser. [Source]

Friday, April 19, 2013

Captain LeBreton

From Robert Randall and the Le Breton flats...:

In 1811 [Captain John LeBreton] was stationed as a Lieutenant in the QuarterMaster Generals Department at Quebec. In this office he seems to have been active and zealous in the performance of his duties. On the outbreak of the war in 1812, between Great Britain and the United States, he was attached to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment of Fencible Infantry, a regiment which earned an enviable record during the war. He accompanied the regiment on General Brock's expedition to Detroit in 1812 and was present at the capture of the city.

See John LeBreton's biography here.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My First Impression (Book Edition)

In March I was contacted by the sponsoring editor of The Library of America's "THE WAR OF 1812: Writings from America's Second War of Independence" who indicated that a complimentary copy would be sent to me in exchange for a book review on this blog.

My first impression:

For those who enjoy cradling a book, bindings and all, and consider it part of the overall reading experience, this hard cover book's "acid free, lightweight opaque paper" is appealing to the touch.  The attached fabric bookmark was a pleasant and useful surprise.

The Table of Contents revealed that the book is organized in chronological order, which is a big plus for me (occasionally my blog posts correspond to War of 1812 events of that date, but not as often as I would wish).

The uncluttered map inside the front cover ranges from the Illinois Territory to New England (with portions of Canada included) while the maps inside the back cover depict the Gulf area and the Chesapeake Bay.  If the text mentioned Fort Harrison, Lundy's Lane or Havre de Grace, the maps are there to help with the geography.

Thank you, Library of America, for sending this treasure to me.  I hope future blog posts will do justice to Mr. Hickey's War of 1812 book.

Letters From Fielder Ridgeway

On Fold3 in the Letters Received From The Office Of The Adjutant General file:
From Fielder Ridgeway, Lieutenant, Rifle Regiment, written in January, 1811, from Nashville, Tennessee.


Lt. Ridgeway mentioned that he asked for leave from his commanding officer, Col. Alec Smythe, at Fort Hampton, and that he (Lt. Ridgeway) was to present himself to the Secretary of War, and that he was on his way to the City of Washington.  Also mentioned was Capt. Ragan's company, which I [Ridgeway] commanded to be transferred to Capt. Sevier's.

A second letter from Lieutenant Ridgeway dated April 18th, 1811, from Lower Marlbro, stated that he was ordered to Norfolk.  He indicated that he brought a soldier, Thomas Morgan, with him as a waiter.  Lt. Ridgeway stated that he couldn't take Morgan back with him, and since he has his own waiter, he sent Morgan to Annapolis to Lieut. Clark and recommended Morgan as one of the best soldiers he had ever commanded.

This book, the Florida Fiasco: Rampant Rebels on the Georgia-Florida Border, 1810-1815, by Rembert W. Patrick, characterized Fielder Ridgeway as a good recruiter, but not a good commanding officer.  It further stated that Lt. Ridgeway was freed at a court martial at Point Petre due to a technicality.  He ran into further trouble and was cashiered from the Army in 1814.

A powder horn purportedly belonging to Fielder Ridgeway was sold at auction (see picture).

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

John Payne Todd Attache At Ghent

Would the finding aid at Princeton University reveal anything of interest pertaining to the War of 1812 in the John Payne Todd Correspondence?

Here's what was found online through Princeton:

"Todd had a weakness for gambling, and was unsuccessful in an assignment seeking Russia's help to end the War of 1812."  There was "his appointment in Ghent (Belgium) as secretary to the U.S. legation...".
"After the death of President Madison, Dolley Madison was forced to sell the family plantation, Montpelier, to pay her son's debts."


From the Montpelier Organization:

Attaché to the Treaty of Ghent Delegation

Following the completion of his formal school, Todd traveled to Europe as Albert Gallatin’s attaché on a diplomatic mission to end the War of 1812 conflicts. Abroad between 1813 and 1815, he did not serve as an official member of the delegation and was therefore not paid a stipend for living expenses.



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Richard M. Johnson

He was thought to have been the soldier who killed Tecumseh in battle.


Richard Mentor Johnson

Richard M. Johnson, a Kentucky politician, was Martin Van Buren's Vice President.  One of the most unique aspects of his life, however, was his common-law marriage to Julia Chinn, who was 1/8 black.  He and Julia had two daughters.  After Julia's death, he had two other common-law marriages with slave women.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Josiah Snelling


General Harrison left Snelling in charge of Fort Harrison (11 November 1811 to May 1812) as a reward for his actions at Tippecanoe.

He was recognized for his performance at the Battle of Tippecanoe, and was assigned to command Fort Harrison during the winter of 1811–12.[1] on the Wabash River at the present site of Terre Haute, Indiana. During the War of 1812, he received the rank of Captain and was sent to Fort Detroit, where he met and married Abigail Hunt.


Snelling's activities before Hull surrendered Detroit.

A post about the Josiah Snelling papers here.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

General Edmund Munger

General Munger Re-Fits An Army

His election to the rank of Brigadier General was contested.  On February 15, 1810, it was determined that he had been elected fairly.
"General Munger, whose title was earned by right of his command of Ohio troops during the War of 1812 and to which command he was succeeded by General Hull, who led his troops to disaster at Detroit spent one summer after coming to Ohio in the wilds near Belpre, in Washington county... ." [Source]

From Blacksmith to General:

"With the departure of General Hull and the Army of the Northwest, General Munger’s command of militia was ordered into Dayton to garrison the town, protect stores and public property and keep open a line of communication and supplies with the army at the front. This was a service of utmost importance, as the quartermaster’s ordnance and commissary supplies were to be forwarded through Dayton."

General Edmund Munger was born September 30, 1763 and died April 14, 1850.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pre-War Captivity In Detroit


"In 1793, O. M. Spencer, then a lad of 12...while at play...near Cincinnati, was taken captive by a prowling band of Miami Indians and brought to their village near the present site of Fort Wayne.  His parents sought the assistance of Gen. Washington, and at his request Gen. Simcoe, commander-in-chief of the British forces in the northwest, directed Col. England, then in command at Detroit, to ransom the lad.  This was done, but a few months elapsed before he could be sent to Cincinnati, and during this time he remained with the colonel at Fort Lernoult."

Spencer Tied For The Night [Source]

"Even at that age young Spencer was an intelligent and observing lad, and kept a daily journal of all he saw and heard.  Subsequently this journal was published, and the following is the boy's description of Detroit three years before it became an American possession:

'Detroit is a small town, contains only wooden buildings, but few of which are well furnished, surrounded by his pickets inclosing an area of probably half a mile square, about one-third of which, along the banks of the river, as the strait is called, is covered with houses.'"  [Source]

I do have Spencer ancestors, but O. M. Spencer is not among them. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Portrait Of George Croghan


The Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, houses the Croghan family papers, including those of George Croghan:

Finding aid for Croghan Family Papers, 1794-1855

George Croghan joined the U.S. Army in 1812 and was quickly promoted to major. In 1813, at the age of 21, Croghan gained national acclaim from his successful defense of Fort Stephenson in northeastern Ohio, when he repelled a large British force lead by General Proctor.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Terrible And The Brave

HNOC - The Terrible And The Brave, The Battle for New Orleans, 1814-1815:

From an exhibition May 17, 2005 - January 8, 2006

A description of the first artifact in the exhibit:


Sure wish I would have seen this in person, but I didn't.  Darn.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

In The Battle Of Craney Island

Stephen Thompson Neill was born in Lee county, Va., April 9, 1795. When eighteen years old he enlisted in the war of 1812.  He entered as a private in Lieut. James Graham's company of infantry, 94th regiment of Virginia militia.

He took part in the Battle of Craney Island and for some months was in a camp to the rear of Fort Norfolk.  In memory of the soldiers who fought and died in the Battle of Craney Island a monument is to be erected by the Dorothy Payne Madison Chapter of Richmond Virginia.

From the Family History Compiled by Lucy Henderson Horton... .

Monday, April 8, 2013

Fort Ball


The history of Tiffin dates back to 1812. ...Frost Parkway, near Miami Street, marks the site of Fort Ball, a military depot of the war of 1812.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Battery On Bois Blanc


"During last war, a small battery was erected on the lower point of Bois Blanc, which is now deserted, and the island now serves as a camping ground for the [Native Americans] who visit Amherstburg. This island will be one of he most important points which the commissioners, under the treaty of Ghent, will have to determine." [Source]

Friday, April 5, 2013

Tecumseh's Bones

1980-2005, n.d. [predominately 1991-2005]  RG77
Brock University Archives

This collection forms part of a larger set of private manuscripts, and consists of correspondence and
materials collected by Guy St-Denis during his investigation into the mystery surrounding Tecumseh’s bones. This research was conducted over the course of some fifteen years and culminated in the publication of Tecumseh’s Bones in 2005 by McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The American Army's Three Divisions

In the beginning of 1813, the American Army was organized in three divisions.  

First, the Army of the North under General Wade Hampton, which was to act in the country around Lake Champlain; second the Army of the Center, under General Henry Dearborn, which was to conduct operations on Lake Ontario and the Niagara frontier; third, the Army of the West commanded by General Winchester for a short time, and subsequently by General Harrison.  [Source]

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Indiana's Fort Harrison


From The Magazine of American History

"An old well — a hundred yards back from the east bank of the Wabash river, three and a half miles north of the city of Terre Haute, Indiana, marks the site of old Fort Harrison... ."

In early times Fort Harrison was a place of considerable importance, being for many years the frontier garrison of the West — the old " Indian line " which defined the boundary of the Indian hunting grounds crossing the territory of Indiana just above the fort. The latter was erected during the fall of 1811, by General Harrison, who advanced up the Wabash with a strong force, for the purpose of subduing the Indian leader Tecumseh, and his brother... .

The necessity of establishing a fort was apparent....

The most important event in the history of Fort Harrison was its defense against the attack of a large body of Indians, by Zachary Taylor in September, 1812.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Compiled Northern Theater Casualties

An article in the Watertown Daily Times (hat tip to NEGHS) was published December 29, 2011, and sheds light on casualties from War of 1812.

"It was a bad day and a good day for Sgt. Samuel Linnell of Pamelia.  “Wounded — hit with the breech of gun in back of head by an Indian — the Indians also tried to remove his testicles by tomahawk."  That information was found in the book, "A War of 1812 Death Register -- Whispers in the Dark"... ." 

The information in the book is "indexed by town, lists soldiers who were killed in action, captured, wounded or died from other causes. But it was the casualties at Sackets Harbor that astounded Mr. Bilow (author).

Lt. Col. Electus Backus was also mentioned in the article.

The book is available for purchase; details in the article.