Saturday, May 31, 2014

Captain And Consul Townshend Stith

From Letters Received by the Office Of The Adjutant General…, 1805-1821, at Fold3:

Plattsburg, N. York, 31 May 1814

I have never served with Captain Towns(h)end Stith of the 5th Infantry, nor have I any personal acquaintance with him.  I believe it a fact that he has never done but very trifling duty since his first appointment.   ....he has been absent in Virginia.   ...signed by Daniel Bissell.

Major Townsend Stith of Virginia, American consul at Tunis, and Arabian horses:

The Earl Gregg Swem Library at William and Mary has the Townshend Stith Account Book, 1819-1821, 1865, among its holdings.
"The book contains 21 pages of Stith's accounts on his way from the United States to Tunis in 1819, his expenses on the trip, and his expenses and income while on duty in Tunis." 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Quids And The Triangular War

A (pre-war) letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, May 30, 1812, included in The James Madison Papers, mentioned the following:

Source  Library Of Congress Online Site

"The triangular war must be the idea of the Anglomen, and malcontents, in other words, the federalists and quids."
"Quids" -- dissident Republicans who did not follow Madison's lead

See an earlier post, Consideration Of A Triangular War.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Force In The Michigan Territory

From Notices of the War of 1812 by John Armstrong:

"AMONG the measures of precaution taken by the Government of the United States, previously to their declaration of war, was that 'of placing within the Michigan Territory, a force that should be competent to the defence of the north-western frontier against Indian hostility; and which in the event of a rupture with Great Britain, would enable the United States to obtain the command of Lake Erie; and with it, the means of more easily co-operating with such other corps, as might be destined to the invasion of the Canadas.'"

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Massacre Of Prisoners At Fort Miami?

Incident Near Site #3

On the surrender of Dudley's command the prisoners were marched down to Fort Miami with an escort, and there, under the eye of Proctor and his officers, the Indians, who had already plundered them and murdered many on the way, were allowed to shoot, tomahawk, and scalp more than twenty of them. This butchery was stopped by Tecumtha [Tecumseh], who proved himself to be more humane than his British ally and brother officer, Henry Proctor. [Source]

Monday, May 26, 2014

Stephen Decatur, Jr.


Stephen Decatur, Jr.

Then came Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, Jr., to command the Enterprise. He had gone out to the Mediterranean as executive officer of the Essex, and was now to have his chance for fame, along with the others. And like the majority of our officers to-day, one chance was all he needed. [Source]

Sunday, May 25, 2014

On The Mississinewa

Jim's Photo Of Native American Structures Taken At The Mississinewa Battlefield Site

"According to Indian tradition, the Miamis came to the Mississinewa from the Big Miami near Piqua, Ohio. Its high cliffs alternating from side to side, its winding bed composed of gravel and stone, were favorite haunts of the Miamis.  The beautiful river with its many tributaries afforded easy access to these lands."

"...the Miamis, with some Delawares from the site of the present city of Muncie...assembled in the towns on the Mississinewa... . As they were there for hostile purposes, Harrison resolved to disperse or destroy them. [Source]

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Gunboats Launched In May


From The United States: its beginnings, progress and modern development, Volume 5, by Jesse Ames Spencer:

With characteristic energy, [Oliver Hazard] Perry organized the citizens of Erie into a guard, sent to Buffalo for soldiers and arms, and went to Pittsburg for the other necessary supplies. By hard work three gunboats were launched early in May and the others on May 24.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Court Martial Of Vindictiveness?

Such was the claim of the officer who was the subject of said court martial, General James Wilkinson.


General Wilkinson's take on the reason for his court martial taken from his Memoirs of my own times, Volume 3, by James WilkinsonPrinted 1816:

"I [General James Wilkinson] had been arrested by President Madison, to gratify the personal policy, and vindictive passions, of his secretary of war, General Armstrong; but when I demanded Generals Scott and Macomb, as material witnesses in the cause, they were refused under pretexts of public duty..." .

A relevant document (from Fold3), "War Department, May 23, 1814," to General Wilkinson from Secretary of War Armstrong:

A list of witnesses from the same file:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Catherine Richmond Was Her Maiden Name

Source - Fold3

Soldier: John Bowman
Pvt., Capt. Adam Wise's Co., Pa. Mil.
Residence(s): Miami Co., Indiana; Kosciusko Co., Indiana
Catherine Richmond married John Bowman 22 May 1867
Soldier died: 1 August 1882, in Silver Lake, Indiana

John Bowman's relatives moved to Texas

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How Brock First Learned Of War


( was not through Official Channels):

[Robert] Nichol, himself, stated that the first intelligence of the actual declaration of war by the United States was communicated to Brock in seven days from Washington through mercantile connections of his own, and that the government dispatches, announcing that important event, were not received until fourteen days later. [Source]


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Reorganizing The Militia In Virginia

Map Of Hampton Roads (VA)  - Virginia Coastal Area

From Stuart Lee Butler's Virginia Militia Units in the War of 1812 [links added]:

The third regiment ...was first stationed at Portsmouth,but some components were at Fort Nelson, Fort Norfolk, and Craney Island.  General Taylor ordered that the county militias arriving in the Norfolk area be re-organized and placed under completely new components.  Often the rank and file did not know their new commanders after reorganization went into effect.  This attempt at completely reorganizing the militia worked surprisingly well and was continued by Major General Wade Hampton who relieved General Taylor on April 7, 1813, as commanding officer of the 5th Military District.  Hampton's tenure was short-lived, and General Taylor reassumed command of U.S. forces in Norfolk on June 2, 1813.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Where Colonel Holmes Bivouaced

From the Kent County, Ontario, Canada's Historical Society's Papers:

A name [Goulet] that first established itself along the Kent Lake Erie shore... .  The family traditions generally fix the arrival of Francais Xavier Goulet there and the beginning of his settlement duties on his allotment of lot 154 from Col. Talbot about...1817 or 1818. As the surveyor of the district, Mahlon Burwell had only reached the last lot now in Tilbury on this road and encamped on this spot where the American Colonel Holmes bivouaced in the war of 1812... .

"I passed the place in Front of Lot No. 177 (Tilbury East) where Major Holmes of the United States Army had encamped a Day or two, when on their intended expedition against Port Talbot in time of the late War. I find here...when they have remained all night in our Woods, they have felled large Trees flat to the Ground all round their Encampment, to serve as a Breast Work in the event of an attack. Two Field Pieces and ammunition Waggons were left here by Major [Andrew Hunter] Holmes, which were destroyed by the Loyal Essex Rangers. The Carriages were burnt, and the Guns and ammunition were carried back and deposited in a Black Ash Swamp where they remained until the Treaty of Peace." 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Encounter At Turkey Point


True to his loyalist instincts, Mr. Ephraim Tisdale, jun., fought in the war of 1812, and in this connection the following incident is told:  In 1814 a body of American militia, 150 strong, the scum of the troops, came across Lake Erie for the purpose of plundering and burning. They had marched from Dover to the mills of Titus Finch, at the place since known as Cross and Fisher's Landing, and burned them. Thence they were proceeding to Turkey Point to destroy the district court-house, which was then standing on the bank near where the road now leads down the hill which overlooks Turkey Point. When near Normandale (four miles from Turkey Point) they were attacked by a body of twenty-eight irregular volunteers, armed with fowling pieces and rifles, and driven back to their boats.

The volunteers, one of whom was the elder Mr. Tisdale, ran through the woods to the bank of the lake to cut off their retreat. They were too late to prevent the enemy from embarking, but killed an officer and fourteen of the men. The enemy immediately set sail for Turkey Point; but when a short distance from shore discovered the redcoats of a party of troops, which had just arrived to reinforce the volunteers, and not caring to risk an encounter, forthwith put the helm hard around and made away for the end of Long Point, and thence across to the place from whence they came.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Court Martial Of Ensign Gates

Plattsburgh, May 14, 1814....


Major Wool, when officer of the day, the 3rd April last, at Champlain, arrested Ensign Gates of the 5th Infantry, and a few days after charged him with sleeping on his post the night of the 5th April, this mistake in the date of the charge...compel a Court, I presume, to acquit the accused, however, it's not Mr. Gates wish, to evade a trial.....

D. Bissell, B. Gen.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dr. Thomas Davis Died At River Raisin

Kentucky Monument Near River Raisin Battlefield In Monroe, Michigan


Surgeon in the Lexington Light Infantry organized May 11, 1812

This company was known as the Silk Stocking Boys...

...Capt. N. S. G. Hart....

Massacred at River Raisin January 23, 1813, while caring for the wounded.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Spotswood Henry's Appointment

He was the son of Patrick Henry.


Spotswood Henry's appointment as Captain of Artillery, May 9, 1812.  His acceptance letter mentioned Campbell County, Virginia.

Also in Spotswood Henry's file was his June, 1812, monthly return from Abingdon, Virginia:

My (presumed) ancestor, William Hinds, of Abingdon, Virginia, was recruited by Spotswood Henry, and was a member of the 2nd Regiment of Artillery.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Court Martial Of Major Chunn

Extract from the explanation of Major John Thomas Chunn's Court Martial:


Fort Harrison Circled

Major Chunn, who was the commandant at Fort Harrison, died September 9, 1847, in Vigo County, Indiana.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

LeBreton At Fort Meigs

Fort Meigs

In the following Spring he took an active part in a battle with the Americans on the Miami, being mentioned in General Proctor's dispatch in these terms:

' ' Lieut. LeBreton of the R.N.F.L. Regiment, Assistant Engineer by his unwearied exertions rendered essential service". 

And later in the same dispatch General Proctor wrote--"I have to notice Captain Chambers' gallant conduct in the attack near the batteries at the point of the bayonet, a service in which he was well supported by Lt. LeBreton of the R.N.F. Land Regiment". [Source]

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Robert Nichol's Brilliant Career And Untimely Demise

Robert Nichol (c. 1774 - 1824) plaque for "The Man Who Would Be Quartermaster."

"His death was caused by falling over the precipitous bank of the Niagara river between Niagara Falls and Queenston one stormy night at at the beginning of May, 1824, his funeral to Stamford cemetery taking place on the 6th.  He was married to [Mrs.] Theresa Wright on December 21, 1811."

Monday, May 5, 2014

Colonel Dudley's Defeat

Col. Wm. Dudley's defeat opposite Fort Meigs, May 5th, 1813: official report ..., by Leslie Combs.

"When Col. [William] Dudley [1766 - May 5, 1813] attacked the batteries of the enemy, opposite Fort Meigs, on the 5th of May, 1813, he advanced in three columns. The right, led by himself, carried them without the loss of a man.  The middle was the reserve. The left, headed by Major Shelby, formed at right angles on the river, to protect from below. This arrangement was scarcely made before the spies under my command (about thirty in number, including seven friendly Indians) who flanked at some hundred yards distance in the woods, were attacked by part of the Indian force of the enemy."

 "The enemy retreated. Our troops impelled more by incautious valour and a desire for military distinguishment than prudence, pursued. ...every step we advanced carried us farther from under the protection of our fort."

From Ohio History Central:

"While Dudley's Massacre was a defeat for the U.S. military, the destruction of the British cannon helped convince the British soldiers to lift their siege of Fort Meigs. The Native Americans persuaded the British to attack the fort again in July 1813, but once again, the U.S. defenders were victorious."

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Were The Michigan Men Overlooked?

A summary of a paper from the George Rogers Clark Selected Papers and a response to the best Troops in the World:

"A close scrutiny of manuscripts and of literature published just after the conflict presents an impression different from that of modern histories [that are dismissive or disparaging towards the Michiganders (many who were French-speaking residents)]."

Source (French-speaking Man)

"In many of the actions when Michigan men did play key roles, their contributions went unnoticed because they served as individuals detached to other units..." .  "Illiteracy also explains why the contributions of many Michigan men were overlooked."  "Michigan militiamen had an identity problem, too." [See the article for a more thorough explanation!]

"But, were they the "Best troops in the world"? When Harrison uttered those words, he probably knew he would be hard pressed to find troops who were better."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

LeBreton On The Miami

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

In the following Spring he [John LeBreton] took an active part in a battle with the Americans on the Miami, being mentioned in General Proctor's dispatch in these terms:

"Lieut. LeBreton of the R.N.F.L. Regiment, Assistant Engineer, by his unwearied exertions rendered essential service". 

And later in the same dispatch General Proctor wrote--"I have to notice Captain Chambers' gallant conduct in the attack near the batteries at the point of the bayonet, a service in which he was well supported by Lt. LeBreton of the R.N.F. Land Regiment".