Thursday, April 30, 2015

Degredation Inflicted By Armstrong


The Life of Major-General William H. Harrison... ...:

General Armstrong's plan of the campaign submitted to the President on the 30th of April, 1814, left no doubt that General Harrison would not be assigned a command in the active operations of the year.

But the Secretary of War [Armstrong] was not content with the degredation he had inflicted upon the brave Harrison in withdrawing him from his command and withholding him from active service during the approaching campaign. 

He still persisted in interfering with his prerogatives as the commander of the district. His next unworthy act was to dispatch to Major Holmes, a subordinate officer at Detroit, an order to take two hundred men from that port and proceed on board of Commodore Sinclair's fleet destined for Mackinac. This proceeding on the part of the Secretary of War was a gross invasion of military propriety as well as a direct insult to General Harrison, whatever may have been the design.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pillage Of Maryland

"[Admiral] Cockburn had no idea of legitimate hostilities, but of pillage."

"...spring of 1813 the High-Flyer British tender was which prize were found Cockburn's own minutes [see below]...conduct at Frenchtown [Maryland] was thus registered in his log book entry dated April 29, 1813 [first entry below]:


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

As A Soldier I Did My Duty

Statement of facts relative to Captain Le Breton's claims:

Le Breton: " a soldier I did my duty...". (Page 7)

General Henry Proctor: "I have already publicly acknowledged your exertion during the arduous service on the Miami, and on the 5th of May 1813...".

Lot 40
Lot #40 known as Richmond Landing (Robert Randall's original property)...; unfavorable opinion of Le Breton...Randall thought sale was not legal... .  If not legal why was Col. By authorized to purchase?

In Deeds: Captain John Le Breton, Colonel By And Bytown about his property problems.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Noble Young Lad Named Hatfield

Source - Fold3

From the Speech of Com. Jesse Duncan Elliot, U.S.N., delivered in Hagerstown, Md. (1843) ...:

I [Commodore Elliott] may here relate a deeply affecting scene which occurred at that time [at Sacketts Harbor]. I had scarcely set my foot upon the deck of the Conquest, when a noble young lad named Hatfield, about 15 years of age, observed to his fellow-midshipman Clarke, "My dream is up! I dreamed that Captain Elliott came on board, and that I was killed." And true enough, the little fellow was killed! His leg was taken off just below the knee by a shot from the shore, while we were working up to the battery, against an opposing wind, the magazine of which was exploded on Gen. Pike's brigade; and while I was tying up his leg, and endeavoring to stop the blood, he said it was of no use, for he must die. I replied to him that he should not die, but live to be an admiral. He asked me if he had done his duty, and if I was satisfied with him? I told him I was, and that he was a brave little fellow. He then asked me if I would call on my way home, and tell his father and mother that he had been faithful. I did so. His father was an industrious mechanic, at Albany.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Drama At Toronto Bay


An excerpt from The battle of York; ...:

The Parliament had but recently completed its sittings and festivities were still being maintained. A little girl of six narrated that her mother, Mrs. Grant Powell, had issued invitations for a party on the evening of the 26th, the supper table had been laid and she had been dressed to see the company arrive. Only one lady and no gentlemen came, when later on her father hurried in saying the American fleet had been sighted, and he and the other volunteers had been ordered under arms. Then may have come the scene so graphically told by our poet, Charles Mair, in the stirring lines in his Drama of Tecumseh.

"What news afoot? Why every one's afoot and coming here 
York's citizens are turned to warriors 
The learned professions go a-soldiering 
And gentle hearts beat high for Canada. 
For, as you pass, on every hand you see 
Through the neglected openings of each house 
Through doorways, windows, our Canadian maids 
Strained by their parting lovers to their breasts, 
And loyal matrons busy round their lords 
Buckling their arms on, or, with tearful eyes 
Kissing them to the war." 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pike's Last Orders?

From the Official letters of the military..., an excerpt of General Z. Pike's BRIGADE ORDER. :

Sacketts Harbor, April 25th, 1813.

When the debarkation shall take place on the enemy's shore, major Forsyth's light troops, formed in four platoons, shall be first landed. They will advance a small distance from the shore, and form the chain to cover the landing of the troops. They will not fire, unless they discover the approach of a body of the enemy, but will make prisoners of every person who may be passing, and send to the general.

It is expected that every corps will be mindful of the honour of the American arms, and the disgraces which have recently tarnished our arms; and endeavour, by a cool and determined discharge of their duty, to support the one, and wipe off the other. The riflemen in front will maintain their ground at all hazards, until
ordered to retire, as will every corps of the army.

Any man firing, or quitting his post, without orders, must be put to instant death, as an example may be necessary.

All those found in arms in the enemy's country, shall be treated as enemies; but those who are peaceably following the pursuits of their various vocations, friends — and their property respected.

By order of the brigadier general,

Charles G. Jones,
assistant aid-de-camp.

For the subsequent death of General Z.M. Pike, see Loss Severely Felt.

Friday, April 24, 2015

More Valuable Than Gold

Source [Neither Gold Nor Silver, But A Coin Of The Era]

"During the War of 1812, when silver was more valuable than gold, it was common for payments to be agreed upon in 'ounces of silver,' and its value being estimated in cash, payment was made by check."  Source: Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Headquartered In Cincinnati

Source [Map of Cincinnati, Ohio]

From...history of the War of 1812 in the Northwest: ...:

"Brigadier General William Hull, then Governor of the Territory of Michigan, arrived from Washington City with his aids-de-camp, Captain Hickman and Captain Abraham F. Hull, his son, on the 22nd of April 1812, and established his headquarters at the Columbian Inn, at the south-west corner of Main and Second streets, Cincinnati, then the principal tavern in the town; and during the last of April and first week of May, made his arrangements for the necessary supplies and transportation of the army."

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Isaac Frazer's Affidavit

A search of Upper Canada Land Petitions can be found at the Library and Archives of Canada website; occasionally affadavits about War of 1812 service can be found among some of the petition papers.

"C," Bundle 5 
22 April 1850

Peter Ruttan affidavit vouching for the late Captain James Cotter
Isaac Frazer, late lieutenant, Militia Dragoons, On Duty in 1812

 Lieutenant Henry Davey.
 Ensign John C. Clark.
Captain Christopher Fralick.
Lieutenant John Fraser.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Post War - Manifest Destiny


A question was posed at "How was the War of 1812 a precursor to Manifest Destiny?"

After the war of 1812 the growth of nationalism was rapid and was reflected both in the legislative program of the federal government and in the Supreme Court decisions of John Marshall.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Harriet Fowler Back

Mrs. Back's application was taken from the Index to War of 1812 Pension applications:

The soldier, Henry Back, died August 5, 1818, in New York, New York.

Mrs. Harriet Back died in Yonkers, April 20, in her 88th year, per the Eastern State Journal, published 6 May 1881 (per

New York [Yonkers, Westchester]
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
F A Back M 53 New York
Rebecca J Back F 51 New York
Charles E Back M 18 New York
Fred A Back M 13 New York
I N Williams M 28 New York
Louisa Williams F 21 New York
Harrietta Back F 75 New York

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lieutenant Ostrander In Charge


Map referencing the siege (Darnell Journal post).

A document written by Lieutenant Ostrander at Fort Wayne on 5 October 1812:

From the Indiana Magazine of History:

"Philip Ostrander (died 1813) served as sergeant in the First Infantry before being commissioned in 1806. He became a second lieutenant in 1808 and a first lieutenant October 30, 1812. He was sent to Fort Wayne in 1807. Late in April, 1813, he was arrested there and died in confinement, July 30. Heitman, Historical Register of the United States Army, 501; Griswold, Fort Wayne, Gateway of the West, 258, 390."

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Image From A Privateer's Pension

Source: Fold3
Pension application on behalf of Frances Bradley, widow of Micah Bradley, who was a captain's clerk on board a privateer.

Friday, April 17, 2015

General Alexander Smyth

Alexander Smyth, for whom Smyth County, Virginia, was named per Wikipedia.

By Frank A. Severance

"A singular figure in the war operations of 1812 on the Niagara Frontier was Alexander Smyth, a Virginian. who at the outbreak of the war with England was an inspector general in the regular army of the United States. In September 1812, he was assigned to the command of a brigade of regulars to operate under Major General Van Rensselaer on the Niagara. Smyth is said to have aspired to the chief command in this quarter; and it was probably pique at being made second in command, and subordinate to a militia officer, that led him to assume from the first an insolent and at times insubordinate attitude towards his chief."

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Preparations Near Fort McHenry


The British invasion of Maryland, (1812-1815):

"On the 16th of April the fleet threatened the City of Baltimore, and while it lay off the city, preparations for defense were carried forward with great activity...".

"The militia, under the command of General Samuel Smith, erected a water-battery mounted with 42-pounders, and built furnaces for heating shot. Signal boats were established down the Patapsco, while cavalry, infantry and artillery were stationed along the shores of the river and bay with a code of signals. Fort McHenry was strengthened under the direction of Colonel Wadsworth of the United States Engineers, and a number of old hulks were stationed in the river for the purpose of being sunk in the channel if necessary. The works known as the six gun battery were thrown up by brickmakers without charge."

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The H.M.S. Maidstone Detachment


From Royal Navy biographies:

"...this service was performed in the interior of the enemy's a difficult and unknown navigation...."


An excerpt of the letter referenced above:

"...understanding Georgetown and Frederickstown, situated up the Sasafras river, were places of some trade and importance...".

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Veterans' Grandson Was Affiliated With John Brown


Abolitionist John Brown's aide was Aaron Dwight Stevens.  He had ancestors in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.  He served in the Mexican War.

From John Brown, Volumes 1-2

The notification that Aaron Dwight Stevens' court martial sentence was commuted was written by then Secretary of War Jefferson Davis.

Source: Fold3

Monday, April 13, 2015

Burned (Or Not) On A Technically

From Soldiering in Canada...:

When York was captured in April, 1813, my grandfather was sent with a party of men to burn the ships on the stocks, and to set fire to a frigate which lay in the harbour.  He succeeded in destroying the two ships on the stocks, but when he came to the frigate, the officer of the Royal Navy in command raised some technical objection, and the discussion was so heated and prolonged that the vessel and all on board were captured, and so my grandfather was a prisoner for about six months. The naval officer was not exchanged as his conduct was severely censured by the authorities.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Peter Curtenius, General And Marshal

“Aliens” in America: British Citizens during the War of 1812, a blog entry from the New York Historical Society, stated that "the...Peter Curtenius Papers [indicated that]...much of Curtenius and Smith’s duties involved overseeing British citizens living in New York."

Peter Curtenius in the New York Directory in 1794 (State Auditor was the elder Peter Curtenius):


A biography of Frederick W. Curtenius added more detail:

"...Gen. Peter Curtenius, commanded the State troops quartered in that [New York] city during the War of 1812.  He was subsequently Marshal of the State for a number of years and in such capacity arrested Aaron Burr, then charged with treason."

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Substitute In The Army


Rev. Thomas Henry, Christian Minister, York Pioneer, and Soldier of 1812, was written and published by his daughter-in-law, Mrs. P.A. Henry.

"Thomas Henry, his grandfather, professed the Quaker religion. He lived to have only two children, one daughter named Mary, and one son, John, who was the father of Thomas Henry."

" 1811 he set sail for America with his family...;their destination was...Little York, capital of Upper Canada."

"...the last [year] of the war, he hired as a substitute in the army, and did military duty until peace was restored. He was employed with others to guard a batch of American prisoners from Toronto to Kingston, and another to Fort George at Niagara."

"While in the Garrison in Toronto he received, as other soldiers did, besides the regular rations, an extra bottle of spirits on Saturday night for Sunday use. While others made merry over their bottle on Sunday, he sent his to a small grocery to be sold, and carefully laid by the proceeds." 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Pre-Dawn Sneak Attack


"On April 7, 1814, a body of 200 sailors and marines ascended the Connecticut landed at Pettipaug (or Pautopaug Point) about six miles above Saybrook, and destroyed the shipping found there, as they did also at Brockway's Ferry, in spite of a body of militia. On this marauding expedition about $200,000 worth of shipping was destroyed." [Source]

A Connecticut newspaper published an article entitled, "Sneak attack was Essex's undoing."

"...the bare facts of the British raid on Essex [village, then known as Pettipaug] in 1814 are cinematic enough. A pre-dawn sneak attack. Ships ablaze. Scrambled militias. A daring escape."

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Nathan Nabors

From the NARA's Registers of Enlistments in the United States Army, 1798-1914:

Source - Fold3

Sergeant, 3rd U.S. Infantry
December 8, 1808
Captain Joseph Woodruff
Colonel Hampton

December 19, 1809
...3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, who has come to Charleston from Rocky Mount with two companies of regulars under Capt. Joseph Woodruff and Lt. Benjamin Herriott....

My 4th great-grandmother was Rebecca Neighbors/Nabors.  Related to Nathan?  I don't know.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Commodore Elliot's Speech

Speech of Com. Jesse Duncan Elliot, U.S.N., delivered in Hagerstown, Md. (1843) ...

Early in the spring I returned to Sackets Harbor...we proceeded accompanied by the whole fleet and 1200 men to York, Upper Canada... . ...with his [Commodore Chauncey's] permission I would like to lead all the schooners to the assault on the batteries. He assented, with the emphatic remark: "Do so; but be sure you bring your head back on your shoulders!"

Friday, April 3, 2015

Prevost Across The Ice

British Soldier [Source]

From 1812: The War, and Its Moral: a Canadian Chronicleby William Foster Coffin:

The achievements of 1812 were the household words of my childish days. For three years, I grew up among  the men, and almost among the incidents of the time. In the Spring of 1815, from the Grand Battery at Quebec, I had watched the slow cavalcade which bore Sir George Prevost across the ice of the St. Lawrence, on his return to England.

The Coffin family chronicled here.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

No American Can Be A Loyal Subject?

Letter from Henry Bostwick (1) to Robert Nichol, 31st March 1812 (excerpt below):

"Having heard that it is currently reported, that you have made use of the following expression in my presence, that is--'That no American can be a Loyal Subject.'"

"... I never heard you express yourself to that effect...".

The Bostwicks and Ryersons were related.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Captain Broke's Challenge

 From The Fight For A Free Sea: A Chronicle of the War of 1812:

"Old Ironsides" [Constitution]

"Given time to shake them together in hard service at sea, he [Captain James Lawrence] would have made a smart crew of them no doubt, as Isaac Hull had done in five weeks with the men of the Constitution, but destiny ordered otherwise."

"In the spring of 1813 the harbor of Boston was blockaded by the thirty-eight-gun British frigate Shannon, Captain Philip Vere Broke, who had been in this ship for seven years."

"Lawrence's men were unknown to each other and to their officers, and they had never been to sea together. The last draft came aboard, in fact, just as the anchor was weighed and the Chesapeake stood out to meet her doom. Even most of her officers were new to the ship. They had no chance whatever to train or handle the rabble between decks. Now Captain Broke had been anxious to fight this American frigate as matching the Shannon in size and power. He had already addressed to Captain Lawrence a challenge whose wording was a model of courtesy but which was provocative to the last degree. A sailor of Lawrence's heroic temper was unlikely to avoid such a combat, stimulated as he was by the unbroken success of his own navy in duels between frigates."