Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thomas Pearson, A Forgotten Hero

Per Wikipedia:
Pearson attached part of his garrison to the pursuing British force under Lieutenant Colonel Morrison and led them at the decisive Battle of Crysler's Farm.
In 1814, Pearson led a detachment of light troops in the Niagara peninsula, and fought at the battles of Chippawa and Lundy's Lane, and in the Siege of Fort Erie, where he was wounded again.

Source: Battle Of Chippawa

From this site:

"...Pearson, a decorated and veteran light infantry officer, would prove to be one of the most troublesome opponents the United States faced during the War of 1812."

"The troops under his command slept clothed, with their muskets beside them; he permitted no boat traffic on the river in summer and no sleigh traffic in winter without a license signed by him. Although he did not attack the American bank of the St. Lawrence, he did organize an intelligence network of paid informers."

More from this site:

"Moving towards the British position, Scott was slowed by an advance guard led by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Pearson. In the resulting Battle of Chippawa, Scott's men soundly defeated the British. The battle made Scott a hero and provided a badly needed morale boost (Map)."

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What To Do With The British Soldiers In Canada?

After the war of 1812, the Government had the problem on its hands of disposing of the Regiments of British soldiers which had been sent to this Country to resist the invasion. [Source]

Monday, January 27, 2014

Commandants At Fort Harrison

Lieutenant Colonel James Miller was in command from October 31 to November 14 while the army was on the Tippecanoe campaign.

Captain Josiah Snelling, of the Fourth Regiment of the United States Infantry. He was in command from November 14, 1811, to some time in June, 1812. He was promoted to Colonel of the Fifth Infantry,
June 2, 1819. Fort Snelling, Minn., is named for him.

Captain Zachary Taylor, of the Seventh Regiment of the United States Infantry. Captain Taylor was in command from some time in June, 1812, to September 16, but we find no date of appointment or
transfer. He defended Fort Harrison September 4 and 5, 1812. He afterward became General Taylor, "Old Rough and Ready," of the Mexican War, and later President of the United States.

It is known that Major Willoughby Morgan was in command of the Fort December, 1815. When he succeeded Captain Taylor or whether there was another officer between them is not known. In about May,
1816, he was ordered to other duty by General Jackson, then Commander-in-Chief of the Army, and left Major John T. Chunn in command of the Fort. It is said that he rebuilt the Fort.

Major John T. Chunn having reported to Major-General Arthur McComb. Commandant of the Department at Detroit, the departure of Major Morgan, General McComb issued an order May 10, 1816, transferring Major Chunn from Fort Knox, and placing him in command at Fort Harrison. This order instructed Major Chunn to remove government property from Fort Knox to Fort Harrison. This apparently was the end of Fort Knox as a government post. Major Chunn had helped to build the Fort at the time of the Harrison campaign to Tippecanoe.  He was then a Lieutenant in one of the companies of that army.  He
was appointed Captain of the Nineteenth Regiment of the U. S. Infantry, April 14. 1812. He was transferred to the Third Regiment on May 17, 1815. He resigned from the army June 12, 1821, after a long and honorable service. He returned to Terre Haute to spend the rest of his life, and leave a long list of descendants to honor his name.

Major Robert Sturgis. Appointed Ensign of the Second Infantry, September 28, 1812. Promoted to First Lieutenant March 9, 1814, and resigned February 10, 1818. He had served as a volunteer private in
Captain Benj. Parks' troop of light dragoons, in the Tippecanoe campaign, and so was a builder of Fort Harrison. From many legends, he was so interesting a character, 'tis a pity more is not known of his his-
tory. He never married. He died in Terre Haute about 1828.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Captain James Gordon's Raid

"In 1812 Gordon, now with a wooden leg, was again afloat, captain of the Sea Horse; and in 1814 was under Cochrane on the American station."

"In August, Cochrane and Ross resolved on the raid on Washington; and Gordon, with a small squadron, was ordered to sail up the Potomac, in support of the land forces.  He started on the 17th, and struggled up to Fort Washington in ten days.  "We were without pilots," he writes, "to assist us through that difficult part of the river called Kettles Bottoms, consequently each of the ships was aground twenty times, and the crews were employed in warping five whole days."

"On the 27th he took Fort Washington, and on the next day appeared off Alexandria, and offered terms of capitulation to the town which our cousins found hard of digestion. Washington city had been abandoned by Ross on the 25th, after the public buildings were burnt.  The whole country was rising and here was this impudent one-legged captain insisting that the merchant ships which had been sunk on his approach should be delivered to him, "with all merchandise on board or---."  The army was already back at the coast, there was not the slightest chance of support, and his difficulties were increasing every hour; but the Alexandrians soon found that nothing but his own terms would get rid of this one-legged man." 

"No stranger feat of daring was ever performed than this, now nearly forgotten." [Source]

Friday, January 24, 2014

Battle Of Enitachopco

Photo From NPS Exhibit (Used To Represent A Native American Of The Area)

From The True Andrew Jackson

Jackson, re-enforced by fresh troops, moved vigorously into the country of the Creeks, defeated them at Emuckfau and at Enitachopco, but the battle at Enitachopco was attended in the outset with such advantages to the Indians that Jackson did not want another bout with them at that time, and hurried on to Fort Strother. [Source]

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dawn At French Town...

...on the day of surrender (at River Raisin).

#13 Large building near the right of the drawing

#13.  "Dwelling of Capt. Jean Baptiste Couture occupied as quarters by officers, among whom were Col. Lewis, Col. Allen, Major Gassard, Capt. Hart, John McCalla, Ensign Baker, Doctors Todd, Bowers, McIlvane, Capt. Smith and Major Madison."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Letter To General Leftwich

Letter dated January 21, 1813, to Gen'l Joel Leftwich of the N.W. Army, Delaware (Ohio):

Governor James Barbour of Virginia was "particularly gratified, to learn that the Detachment under your command has so conducted itself as to receive the approbation of the Commander-in-Chief--The fame it may acquire in common property to every Virginian....".

Then the bad news.  "Relatively to the course you have pursued in supplying the vacancies which have occurred in your Detachment, I am sorry to advise you that insuperable difficulties occur in issuing Commissions."

The letter was published in the Biennial Report of the Department of Archives and History of the ..., Volume 3, by West Virginia. Dept. of Archives and History.

Monday, January 20, 2014

George Prevost, Pre-War

The Annual register   By Edmund Burke (1800)

Per Wikipedia:
He is best known to history for serving as both the civilian Governor General and the military Commander in Chief in British North America (now part of Canada) during the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States of America.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Thomas Hinds

"Thomas Hinds [1780 - 1840] became first lieutenant of the Jefferson Troop of Horse."  "His marriage [to Malinda or Leminda Green] strengthened the already warm attachment between himself and General Jackson, with whom he was in after years to come in close contact in some of the most thrilling episodes of...history...". Source

From Thomas Hinds' biography at Jefferson County, Mississippi, GenWeb:

"After the Battle of New Orleans, General Andrew Jackson said of Jefferson Troop of cavalry and its commanding officer Thomas Hinds, 'the cavalry excited the imagination of one army and the astonishment of the other.'”

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fort St. Philip


Fort St. Philip on YouTube (actually a Travel Channel video) and a blurb from the NPS.  We could see Fort St. Philip on our visit to Fort Jackson on the opposite side of the river.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Letter From General Gano In Cincinnati To Major Van Horne

A letter from John Gano to Thomas Van Horne, dateline Cincinnati, was found among the Gano Papers:

Ohio River Near Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati, Jany 17th 1813.

Dear Sir,

I expected to have had the pleasure of seeing you before this which prevented, or was the cause of my not answering your acceptable letter before this. I am glad you are one of the committee appointed to revise the Militia Law. It certainly is very deficient in many parts. I requested several officers that I conceived most competent to make their observations and send them forward, which I presume they have done. The Mode of ordering Militia on Duty on the frontiers has caused much complaint as you will see by the enclosed copy of a letter recd from Genl Whiteman, and Genl Munger complains there is and has been so many of this Brigade on Duty that he has not been able to get a return of the Brigade to forward to me. The Governor ordering detachments out in small detailed parties without any return to the Major, Colonel, or Comdt of Brigade, puts it out of the Officer's power, whose duty it is, to do justice to his Command, as he does not and cannot know who is on duty or who has performed his tour, and it throws the whole into confusion. A Militia Office is truly an arduous, troublesome, expensive, and unthankful one if strictly and properly attended to. I have wrote to Govr Meigs suggesting the propriety of the Upper Brigades being struck off into a Division. The 3 Lower Brigades will form a compact Division and can be thus better disciplined and attended to, and the Governor may then have assistance to regulate and bring to some kind of order and regulation the BULL WORK OF THE COUNTRY.

My little Mary has broken her arm very badly, and I am in haste.

Your sincere friend & Humble Servt,

John S. Gano.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Leaving the Army during Mr. Madison's War

Information from an article from the NARA entitled Leaving the Army during Mr. Madison's War:  Certificates of Discharge for the War of 1812:

"Because they remained in private hands, carefully preserved (or not) by the soldier or his heirs, discharge certificates are usually difficult to locate and are seldom available for public research. One notable exception, however, is a small series of extant discharge certificates and other records relating to more than 2,200 Regular Army soldiers from 1792 to 1815." 

"The discharge records have been reproduced as National Archives Microfilm Publication M1856*...".

*See PDF file (excerpted below - my links included)

A possibility for my William Hinds?  He was in the Artillery.:
Hines [?], John 1813 Lists of Sick Men (Light Artillery, Capt. Thornton’s Co., 1813)

Jesse L. Morton.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Yankees Squint

From Pioneer Collections, Volume 4, by the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan (recollections of Aura P. Stewart of St. Clair County, Michigan):

"While the British held Detroit they sent two expeditions against Fort Mays, then called French Town, now the city of Monroe, where there was a little stockade defended by Ohio militia.  At the first attack the British troops were repulsed with considerable loss.  Some of the best marksmen in the little picket fort, when the British had placed their artillery to play upon the fort, were ordered by their commanding officer to pick off the men at the gun, a six-pounder, and, if possible, not to allow it to be fired; and I have been told that they did their work so thoroughly that the British had to abandon their gun, for the moment they attempted to load it every man fell.  On the return of this party, my father asked a Welsh soldier how they made out.  He shook
his head and said, "Very bad."  On asking the reason of the failure, he said, "Yankees squint; he never squint," meaning that our riflemen took aim when they fired, but he did not."

French Town (Jim's Photo Taken At The NPS)

"The next expedition the British sent to capture Fort Mays was more successful.  They not only took the little stockade, but they allowed the Indians to murder their prisoners and the inhabitants.  This affair is known in history as Winchester's defeat, and it was a cruel and sad affair."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ship Island And The British

Fort At Ship Island

"Intelligence that the British Government had fitted out an expedition which was intended for the capture of New Orleans and Mobile reached the authorities at Washington December 9, 1814, and the President directed the Governors of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia to dispatch their militia to New Orleans."

"The British Army was in command of General Pakenham.  It was composed of 7,000 picked soldiers including veterans who had served under Wellington, and a portion of the British Chesapeake force under Admiral Cochrane. They were transported in fifty large vessels and anchored off the entrance to Lake Borgne in the latter part of December. A meager flotilla of American gunboats opposed their landing, but it was speedily and effectually dispersed. The enemy took full possession of Lake Borgne and effecting a landing on Ship Island crossed to the Northwestern end of Lake Borgne and on Dec 25 struck the Mississippi about nine miles below New Orleans." [Source]

Friday, January 10, 2014

Landing On Cumberland Island

As seen at the Cumberland NPS Museum exhibit:

A battery on Point Peter was established in 1796 to protect the mouth of the St. Mary's River and the adjacent islands from unwelcome ships.  Cumberland Island was an attractive landing spot, offering easy access from the ocean, and the nearby town of St. Mary's had amenities such as fresh food and supplies.  After a period of vacancy, a blockhouse was built and the battery was garrisoned for protection during the War of 1812.

It was not until [January 10] 1815 that Point Peter was tested.  Official military correspondence tells the story of Rear Admiral George Cockburn and the British fleet landing on Cumberland Island soon after their attacks on Washington and Baltimore.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Preparing For The Game Of Conquest


From the History of the settlement of upper Canada (Ontario): with special reference ...:

In 1801 there was still further legislation, and again in 1808, when there was "an act to explain, amend, and reduce to one act of Parliament the several laws now in being for the raising and training of the militia." And a suitable salary was to be allowed to the Adjutant-General.  Legislation at this time was deemed necessary because of the aggressive spirit manifested by the United States. The game of conquest was already begun by the selfish statesmen of America, and even foul means were being adopted to subvert British power on the continent. The year prior, Lower Canada had taken steps under Mr. Dunn to protect themselves against a wily enemy. General Brock was earnestly engaged in perfecting the defences of Quebec. In 1809 an act was passed respecting billeting Her Majesty's troops. and the Provincial Militia. and furnishing them on the march. and impressing horses. carriages. oxen. boats. &c. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Erskine (Non) Agreement

From the History of the U.S. State Department government site:

"[Secretary of State Robert] Smith’s major diplomatic mission to improve relations with Great Britain proved a failure. Advised by Madison, Smith entered negotiations with David M. Erskine, the British Minister at Washington. The two intended to stabilize relations between the United States and Britain by restoring neutral trading rights during the Napoleonic War."
"Unfortunately Erskine overstretched his authority, offering too many concessions, and failed to convey British Foreign Minister George Canning’s central requirement for an agreement: that the United States agree not to trade with the French for the duration of Britain’s war with France. This omission doomed the 1809 Smith-Erskine Agreement... ."
"Frustration over the agreement’s failure helped to propel the two countries into the War of 1812."

Commentary concerning Erskine's endeavors:


David Erskine was also mentioned here

Monday, January 6, 2014

Detroit Residents' Letter To Judge Woodward

After General Hull surrendered Detroit the previous August, frightened Detroiters sent a letter to [American] Judge Augustus Woodward (excerpt below), who was planning to leave, asking him not to abandon them.  They had reason to be afraid; the letter was sent just prior to the nearby Battle of the River Raisin:

It was a matter of quite as great importance that the civil affairs of the community should be attended to as that the military affairs should be properly conducted.  ...Woodward alone, remained in Detroit as the representative of the territory. [British] General Proctor, as civil governor under the terms of the capitulation, ordered the supreme court to convene at the council house in Detroit early in February 1813 and Woodward, as the only remaining judge, was expected to preside. Judge Woodward did not get along with General Proctor and did not think he could be an effective advocate for the citizens of Detroit because of it. [Source]  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

From The Life Of General Combs


"By selling a small piece of land (all he had on earth) devised to him by a deceased elder brother, he soon completed his outfit as a volunteer, and, armed with holsters and broadsword, with only fifteen dollars in his
pocket, he started for the north-western army, which was then marching with all possible speed towards the frontiers of Ohio, in order to re-enforce General Hull. Never having been forty miles from home before this time, young and inexperienced as he was, nothing but his burning zeal for the cause to which he had devoted himself could have sustained him against all the perils and hardships of his long journey. When he arrived at Piqua, beyond Dayton, he found crowds of Indians, men, women, and children, principally from the neighboring Shawanee villages, who were besieging the commissary's and quartermaster's apartments for food, blankets, and ammunition."  [Source]

More about General Combs here.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Isaac Baker

Because I research both Baker and Backus surnames in New York, the application of Isaac Baker at Fold3 caught my attention:

Julia Backus of Freetown, Cortland, New York, only living witness to marriage between Isaac Baker and Mary Swetland, 29 April 1813 at Granville, Washington County, New York.  That Ira Baker has known said parties (Isaac Baker and Mary Swetland Baker).....

On 30 December 1850, Isaac Baker, age 63, was an affiant for his pension application.  He stated that he was a private in a company commanded by Captain Jehial Dayton in an Artillery regiment commanded by Colonel Stephen Thorn.  Private Baker volunteered for war at Granville, Washington County, New York, about August 1, 1812, for 6 months.  His actual service lasted about 3 months and 20 days because of illness.  He recovered about January 1, 1813; by then the company disbanded was was sent home.  He applied for a discharge from Captain Dayton in the summer of 1813 as Baker was moving from Washington County to Cortland County, New York.  He received his discharge on July 9, 1813.  The purpose of the deposition was to obtain bounty land.

United States Census, 1850
Name: Isaac W Baker
Freetown, Cortland, New York, United States
Household Gender Age Birthplace
Isaac W Baker M 63 New York
Mary Baker F 39 Connecticut

1855 NY Census - Mary Baker Next To Swetland Family

Friday, January 3, 2014

Military Society Of The War Of 1812

The Military Society of the War of 1812 was formed by officers of the War of 1812 to press for pensions and bounty land legislation.

"On January 3, 1826, pursuant to notice published in the newspapers of the City of New York of December 31, 1825, a number of commissioned officers and ex-officers, who resided or were stationed in the vicinity, and who had served with reputation in the Army of the United States in the War of 1812, met at the Broadway House, corner of Broadway and Grand Streets. a reward for their services, sufferings, and losses during the Second War of Independence." [Source]

From an earlier time: The Military Society of the War of 1812: annals, regulations, and roster (1895):


After 1840, only annual meeting's were held, and on January 8, 1848, the Military Society of the War of 1812 consolidated with "The Veteran Corps of Artillery," in which many of its members were already enrolled, and was afterward generally known by the latter title.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

An Unintended Sacrifice

1812 Working Replica Boat - YouTube

From Historic Pittsburgh:

"Mr. [Brintnall] Robbins was not only unfortunate in his ship building venture, but he also never recovered payment for the boats which he built to carry General Scott's troops across the Niagara into Canada, during the War of 1812.  He died at Greensburg, Pa., in 1837." [Source]

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Colonel King's Court Martial

William King was also a Military Governor of West Florida.....

Fort King Was Named For Colonel William King

A list of officers in the army of the United States who hold brevet commissions for gallant conduct in battle, and for other causes, from American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and ..., Part 5, Volume 2, by United States. Congress:

In the matter of "the court-martial, in the trial of Colonel William King, of the fourth infantry...".

Major General Andrew Jackson was involved, too, sending an order from Headquarters Division of the South, Nashville, on September 2, 1819.  The court-martial was ordered to convene at Fort Charlotte, Mobile, Alabama Territory.  On October 5, 1819, it was learned that yellow fever "was then raging" according to an October 25th report, in Mobile.  The court-martial participants then removed to cantonment Montpelier (in Alabama) where they arrived on November 18th.

Captain Francis L. Dade was a supernumerary member of the court-martial board.....he had an unfortunate history with Florida, too.

A summary of William King's court-martial can be found here.