Project:1812 – Siege of Prairie du Chien

While one of the least known engagements during the War of 1812, the siege of Prarie du Chien, was part of the drama that happened during the entire span of the war and sealed British dominance in the northwest until the signing of the Treaty of Gent that ended the way. The battle was the only one fought on the soil of what would become the state of Wisconsin. Two hundred years ago the small fur trading post of Prarie du Chien was a part of the Illinois Territory. Founded by the French in the late 1600s, turned over to British control following the French-Indian War of the mid-1700s and became a part of the new United States of America until the Treaty of Paris in 1783. While officially the post and the small population of fewer than one hundred people were American citizens the post was British in all but name, and the population was mostly French.

The Mighty Mississippi
The Mississippi River as it stands today near the battlesite
Intrepid – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 (Orange) – Kodak TMax 100 – FA-1027 (1+14) 9:30 @ 20C

But the United States did see the value in the small settlement, but the start of the War of 1812 saw their energies focused elsewhere. But when William Clark (of Lewis & Clark Fame) became governor of the Missouri Territory in 1813 he started to see a problem with a very pro-British settlement to his north. Should the British decide to enforce their influence at Prarie du Chien there would be little to stop them from sailing south on the Mississippi and capturing St. Louis and gaining an even bigger foothold. Governor Clark became annoyed as the far-flung outpost received little support from Washington. Using his authority he spoke with two local leaders, Fredrick Yeizer and John Sullivan both captains in the local militia. Together they raised a volunteer force of 150 men on a sixty-day enlistment. The volunteer army gained strength by the arrival of 61 men of the 7th US Infantry under the command of Brevet Major Zachary Taylor (who would become President of the United States). Though destined for Fort Clark, Governor Clark presented his case, and Major Taylor agreed to head north to establish a garrison at Prarie du Chien. Three gunboats would provide transport north. Just as the expedition was to start, Taylor was recalled to Kentucky to attend a family member who was ill, in his place Lieutenant Joseph Perkins, who was in St. Louis recruiting for the 24th US Infantry was installed as the commander of the regulars. The expedition departed St. Louis on the 1st of May, with Governor Clark joining them a few days up-river. The flotilla saw minor action along the route but landed without resistance by early June. Using a local warehouse of the Mackinac Trading Company, Clark realized they would have to work fast as his volunteer force was already half-way through their enlistment period. Soon a wooden palisade fort with a pair of blockhouses rose on a mound to the north of the village proper. Governor Clark named the post, Fort Shelby, after Governor Isaac Shelby, the governor of his native territory of Kentucky. With the post’s construction well in hand, Governor Clark returned to St. Louis with much fanfare upon his return. But in the North Perkins realized that if he didn’t have the post done soon, he would lose a majority of his force. But by the 19th, the post was nearly complete.

Project:1812 - The Forts of Prairie Du Chien
A reconstruction of a blockhouse that would have stood over Fort Shelby and later the first Fort Crawford.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – Photographer’s Formulary Developer 23 (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

The local population was not too pleased with the arrival of the Americans and three days later two men showed up at Mackinac Island with news for the commandant of the post, Lieutenant-Colonel Robert McDouall. McDouall was disturbed at the news of the American garrison and was even more troubled with natives brought rumors of violence against their tribes at the hands of the Americans at Prarie du Chien. These rumors reached McDouall as the native allies cried out for revenge. The main reason that McDouall was concerned was for the extensive fur trade network, and without Prarie du Chien it would be difficult to maintain the supply lines. McDouall had his problems with a limited force and word of an American attack against Mackinac, but he could not ignore his allies. Giving local militia captain a field promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel, William McKay, would take a force from his unit, the Michigan Fencibles along with local traders that formed a group called the Mississippi Volunteers, a single 3-pound field gun with a Royal Artillery crew was attached to McKay’s force as well. The local tribes provided warriors from the Sioux and Winnebago tribes commanded by two captains from the British Indian Department Thomas Anderson and Joseph Rolette. Departing on the 28th of June, McKay would gather more militia and native troops at Green Bay. When McKay’s force landed at Prarie du Chien on the 17th of July it numbered 650 troops. For Perkins he only saw his numbers drop as a majority of his volunteer force left with Captain Sullivan, Captain Yeizer was willing to stay with forty volunteers to man the gunboat Governor Clark. But the sudden arrival of McKay gave the American garrison a start when Captain Anderson approached Lieutenant Perkins, who was out on a ride with the order of surrender. The garrison refused the surrender order promising to fight to the last man.

Project:1812 - The Forts of Prairie Du Chien
The historic plaque on site outlining the battle.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – Photographer’s Formulary Developer 23 (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

McKay realizing that his biggest threat was the gunboat on the river ordered his lone artillery piece to fire on it first. The Royal Artillery crew worked fast, moving the gun around to give the crew aboard the gunboat the impression they were under attack by multiple guns and after a few hours had taken massive damage. Rather than risk the boat and the crew Captain Yeizer cut his moorings and headed south. The fort’s garrison watched in dismay, trying to call them back, as most of their supplies and ammunition were aboard the gunboat still. Both sides managed to fight to a stalemate, with both McKay and Perkins running low on ammunition, McKay going as far as to collect the American round shots and fire them back, of course, neither side realized this of the other. Inside the fort was another story, the well had run dry, and in an attempt to deepen it, the whole thing had collapsed. And while McKay was preparing heated shots to set Fort Shelby on fire, Lieutenant Perkins raises the white flag of truce, after two days of solid resistance. Both Perkins and McKay agree to delay a formal surrender for fear of retaliation against the Americans by the native warriors in light of the rumors. McKay would use his Michigan Fencibles to guard both the American prisoners and the native troops before the formal surrender the next day and then has the Americans escorted down-river without any incident. With a British flag flying over the fort, now named Fort McKay the northwest was firmly in British hands. The Americans would twice send a force to attempt to retake Prarie du Chien both would be stopped first at the Rock Island Rapids and again at the Battle of Credit Island. The British maintained the post at Prairie du Chien throughout the remainder of the war, destroying it in 1815 when they marched out to conform to the terms of the Treaty of Gent.

Project:1812 - The Forts of Prairie Du Chien
Probably not the original well from the battle, but I figured it would be good to have a photo of one anyways.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – Photographer’s Formulary Developer 23 (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Today you can still visit the site of the battle, and while the town has moved over to the mainland, the battle site is open to the public as part of the Historic Villa Louis, a historic home built in the 1840s after the American Army abandoned the site completely for a mainland fort in 1832. But visitors can see the footings from the 1816 American fort (Fort Crawford) and a rebuilt blockhouse. The site also hosts a reenactment of the siege in July.

A special thanks to the volunteers at Villa Louis for helping me out and letting me freely wander the site for photographic purposes.

Written with files from:
Berton, Pierre. Flames across the Border, 1813-1814. Markham, Ont.: Penguin, 1988. Print.
Ferguson, Gillum. Illinois in the War of 1812. Champaign, IL.: University of Illinois Press, 2012. Print.
Collins, Gilbert. Guidebook to the Historic Sites of the War of 1812. Toronto: Dundurn, 2006. Print.
Web: villalouis.wisconsinhistory.org/About/History.aspx

Project:1812 – Fort Shelby, Fort McKay, and Fort Crawford

The small fur trading post of Prairie du Chien was founded long before the British or Americans came to the old northwest. But rather the post was founded by the French in 1685 and soon became a small post along the Mississippi trade route. Even after the British gained the territory at the end of the French-Indian/Seven Years War in 1763 the population remained French, but the loyalties shifted to the British and remained there even after the Treaty of Paris ceded the territory to the newly formed United States of America.

Project:1812 - The Forts of Prairie Du Chien
A reconstruction of one of the fort’s blockhouses

The first effort to fortify the town took place in 1814 when an expedition led by Governor William Clark (of Lewis & Clark Fame) established an American garrison in the small community. Governor Clark feared that the British may choose to enforce their influence in the community then march on St. Louis with nothing to stop them. While the community did nothing to resist the Americans they were not happy with the new garrison and alerted the nearest British outpost, Mackinac Island, of them. Clark’s fort; named after Isaac Shelby, governor of his native territory of Kentucky consisted of a warehouse annexed from the Mackinac Trading Company, two blockhouses and the northwest and southwest corners surrounded by a wooden palisade. The American garrison, under the command of Lieutenant Joseph Perkins of the 24th Regiment, was short lived in the fort. An expedition of militia and native troops dislodged the Americans after a three-day siege. The British were quick to rename the post after their commander, William McKay. For the rest of the War of 1812, the British remained watchful over Prarie du Chien from Fort McKay. The Americans would try, twice, to take the post back. Both efforts would fail far from the post. When word of peace reached the fort, and the terms of that peace the garrison was in shock. Everything was to return to how it was before the war. So the garrison followed the order to the letter and burned Fort McKay to the ground and marched out. The American army was quick to re-establish an outpost mirroring the original fort but this time naming it Fort Crawford in 1816. The garrison would serve the local population keeping the peace and enforcing trade regulations. It also served as the site for the signing of the Treaty of Prairie du Chien which would establish boundaries between tribal lands of the local natives. The fort was evacuated and abandoned in 1826 after the Mississippi River overflowed its banks. Two murders would see the army return to prevent the violence from turning into a full-blown conflict. And while it didn’t happen it was decided that the army would stay.

Project:1812 - The Forts of Prairie Du Chien
Stone footings from the first Fort Crawford

The trouble was that due to the location of the old fort. The flood had done serious damage to the work. There was additional flood danger not to mention a cesspool where diseases would flourish among the garrison. But the garrison would have to remain there while a new fort was built to the south of the town on the mainland under the watchful eye of Colonel Zachary Taylor, future President of the United States and Lieutenant Jefferson Davis, future President of the Confederate States of America. The garrison at the old fort was in good hands, Dr. William Beaumont was in charge of keeping the men in good health and took the opportunity to conduct research on the human digestive system, the knowledge he gained formed the basis of our modern understanding of the system, much of his work was conducted at the old Fort Crawford. The old fort was finally abandoned in 1832 when the garrison moved into their new stone barracks. The site would sit empty for a decade or so before being purchased by Hercules Louis Dousman. Hercules was a business owner and son of Michael Dousman, the man who helped keep the population of Mackinac Island safe during the British capture in the opening action of the War of 1812. Hercules would begin to establish a family estate on the site in the mid-1840s. The site would be passed along to his son H. Louis Dousman and his widow after his death in 1868. Under the junior Dousman, an Italian Styled villa was constructed on the property and occupied by his mother until her death in 1882. The Dousman family would continue to occupy the home, known as Villa Louis until 1913. The villa was restored and turned into a museum in 1930s thanks largely to the efforts of Hercules’ granddaughters, Victoria Dousman Bigelow, and Violet Dousman Young. The site was taken over by the state’s historical society in 1950.

Project:1812 - The Forts of Prairie Du Chien
Villa Louis as it stands today

The new Fort Crawford on the mainland would continue to watch over the area through the mid-19th century. The garrison would participate in the Black Hawk War and the titular Chief Black Hawk would surrender and become a prisoner of Fort Crawford. With the force relocation of the area tribes to Iowa, of which the garrison would again be a part. The need for the post decreased with the last troops marching out in 1856. When the American Civil War began the fort was used as a recruit depot and training station. It was also selected as a site for a US Army General Hospital. The Swift Hospital opened in 1864 and would serve close to 1500 Union troops during its single year of operation. With the hospital’s closure in 1865, the fort would never see military service again. The land was sold off in parcels, the buildings were either sold as homes or simply torn down for building materials. The Swift Hospital building was turned into a Roman Catholic private girls school. When the twentieth-century dawned all that was left was the ruins of the fort’s old hospital. The local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution started a fundraising campaign to purchase the ruins and the three-and-a-half parcels of land it sat on, and in 1925 they had raised all the needed funds. The old hospital was restored and rebuilt and in 1960 opened as a museum dedicated to the efforts of Dr. Beaumont and the fort’s history.

Project:1812 - The Forts of Prairie Du Chien
The second Fort Crawford’s hospital as it stands today as a museum

Today you can visit both sites. Historic Villa Louis features the 1868 Italian villa as well visitors can see a restored Blockhouse similar to the ones that once stood over Fort Shelby/McKay/Crawford as well as ruins and footings that were discovered during the restoration of the site. The Fort Crawford Museum was turned over to the City of Prairie du Chien in 1996 and has expanded to include all local history as well as the original exhibits about the fort and the work of Dr. Beaumont. The Swift Hospital building has long since been demolished in its place is a prison.

For more details on visiting these history sites, please check out their websites:
Fort Crawford Museum: www.fortcrawfordmuseum.com
Historic Villa Louis: villalouis.wisconsinhistory.org

Written with files from:
Ferguson, Gillum. Illinois in the War of 1812. Champaign, IL.: University of Illinois Press, 2012. Print.
Collins, Gilbert. Guidebook to the Historic Sites of the War of 1812. Toronto: Dundurn, 2006. Print.
Web: villalouis.wisconsinhistory.org/About/History.aspx
Web: www.fortcrawfordmuseum.com

Photos: Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – Photographer’s Formulary Developer 23 (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Project:1812 – Raid on Gananoque

The life blood of Upper Canada was the St. Lawrence River, long before it was the mighty seaway we know today it was just a river, often times areas of rapids and flowed past several loyalist settlements that were established following the American Revolution. The river was a link to the major centers of the colonies of British North American, the mighty fortress and administrative capital of Quebec City and the major seaport of Halifax to the smaller settlements in Upper Canada. It was also the weak point, cut off access to the river at either end and you could choke Upper Canada. In fact part of the initial plan of the American invasion was the take Montreal, cutting off access to troop and supply reinforcements from Quebec City in Halifax. But the General Dearborn attack on Montreal never materialized.

Project:1812 - Raid on Gananoque
The plaque commemorating the raid, it’s near the wonderful Gananoque Brewing Co.

But in September 1812 a new group of American soldiers were deployed to the frontier. The men of the 1st US Rifle Regiment, dressed in green and armed with rifles from the Harper’s Ferry arsenal and trained sharp shooters arrived in the St. Lawrence River Valley. A small detachment under Captain Benjamin Forsyth made their first foray into British territory in the early mornings of the 21st of September, 1812. Captain Forsyth’s detachment of seventy odd riflemen landed a good two miles west of the small settlement of Gananoque. Established shortly after the United Empire Loyalists were forced out of their homes in the newly formed United States of America, the settlement’s founder Colonel Joel Stone was fiercely anti-American and while the settlement was small in size it was a major stopping point for British supply flotillas.

Project:1812 - Raid on Gananoque
The King Road today, better known as King Street or Highway 2

Moving along the King’s Road (what is today Highway 2 or King Street in Gananoque), the group of riflemen were surprised to find a pair of local militia cavalry men of the 1st Leeds Militia, the first trooper was dropped by one of the riflemen but the second got away, surprise it seemed was no longer on the side of the American raiding party as they moved quickly to get into the town before the alarm could be raised. The trooper rode hard raising the alarm in the town before continuing on to Kingston to warn the British regular troops stationed there. The small force of citizen soldiers of the 2nd Leeds Militia gathered what they could. A rag-tag group of mostly farmers dressed in whatever they could find and armed with their own personal firelocks. The odd line of men formed up across the King’s Road to meet the small American raiding party managing only a single ragged volley. Forsyth’s Rifles unscathed charged in to engage the rag-tag militia troops at close quarters.

Project:1812 - Raid on Gananoque
The river that the militia were chased over.

The men of the 1st US Rifle Regiment had the town with the militia run off to their homes the men located and burned the government warehouse they also located the home of Colonel Joel Stone, ransacking it a stray bullet managed to injury Stone’s wife as well. The whole action took a half hour and by the time the reinforcements from Kingston arrived there was no sign of the American raiders. The British crossed the river burning a supply dump and the start of a blockhouse in retaliation. The raid did change the British attitude towards their supply lines, defenses were built up in Gananoque, Elizabethton (today Brockville), and Prescott (Fort Wellington). Also the young Lieutenant James FitzGibbon, student of General Sir Isaac Brock was assigned to arrange for escorts for the supply flotillas along the river.

Project:1812 - Raid on Gananoque
The plaque to the town’s founder Joel Stone, although there are conflicting reports if he was even present during the raid.

Today Gananoque is a busy tourist town and the western end of the 1000 Island Parkway, it also acts as the Canadian Gateway to the 1000 Island River tours. There is a small plaque at the west end of King Street (Highway 2) right near the river that the militia fled over. There are other plaques to Colonel Joel Stone located just across the street. If you do find yourself in the area it’s well worth a stop also pop into the Gananoque Brewery Co.

Written with Files from:
Web: www.warof1812.ca/gananoque.htm
Web: www.warof1812.ca/batgan.html

Photos:
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-200 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 10:00 @ 20C

Project:1812 – Benjamin Forsyth

A hero in his home state of North Carolina and bane to the British supply lines along the St. Lawrence River there isn’t much known about the early life of Benjamin Forsyth. What is known is passed down as family legend by his ancestors. Born around 1760 to James and Elizabeth Forsyth in either Hanover, Virginia or Stokes County, North Carolina lost his father at a young age. By 1794 Benjamin was beginning to establish himself with the purchase of some land in Stokes County near Germantown, North Carolina. He married in 1797 to Bethemia Ladd with whom he had six children. He joined the 6th US Infantry in 1800 as a Second Lieutenant serving only two months before an honorable discharge. He served in both 1807 and 1808 as the Stokes Country representative in the North Carolina General Assembly.

Project:1812 - Raid on Gananoque
The raid against Gananoque was the one that put Forsyth on the map
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 75mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Plus-X Pan – Kodak TMax Developer (1+4) 5:45 @ 20C

With tensions between the United States and England moving towards a war footing Forsyth rejoined the US Army this time as a captain in the newly formed 1st US Rifle Regiment. This elite group of sharp shooters used rifled muzzle loaded weapons rather than smooth bore muskets. They were sharp-shooters, snipers if you will. Captain Forsyth and his men were moved north when war was declared and by the fall of 1812 were raiding along the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence River. Their first action was at the small town on Gananoque which saw the American destroy British supplies and show a weakness in the lines. Further actions by ‘Forsyth’s Rifles’ earned the captain a reputation both among the American senior officers and the British, and made him a legend among his men. After four years in the service and no sign of promotion, Forsyth using the same tenacity he showed in the field wrote to President James Madison requesting a brevet (field) promotion to Major in thanks for his service. The President agreed and in January 1813 issued Forsyth a full promotion to major, then in February a field promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel. Using his new rank he lead another raid against the village of Elizabethtown, today Brockville, Ontario in retaliation for an earlier British raid. His raid a success he rescued the American prisoners and took several of his own along with supplies. Upon his return to his base at Ogdensburg, New York, the citizens feared a swift response from the British garrison and urged Forsyth to leave, he refused. The resulting attack by the British garrison at Prescott saw the town destroyed and the 1st US Rifle Regiment retreating to Sackets Harbor.

Project:1812 - Raid on Ogdensburg
There isn’t much left in relation to the war in Ogdensburg these days…
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 400 – Kodak TMax Developer (1+9) 20:00 @ 20C

But the war was far from over for the men of the 1st US Rifle Regiment. Forsyth and his rifles continued on serving with distinction at the battles that saw York (Toronto, Ontario) and Fort George in the Niagara region captured. Following that they were moved back into the St. Lawrence region late in 1813 and while part of the campaign to capture Montreal they were not present at the two major battles at the Chateauguay and Crystler’s Farm. Forsyth would continue to lead raid in the last year of the war around Lake Champlain, his last action was at the battle of Odelltown in Quebec where he refused an order to retreat not seeing an ambush and for his actions was killed on the 28th of June, 1814.

Project:1812 - The Battle of York
Looking down at Lake Ontario near the landing site of Forsyth and his riflemen during the Battle of York
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 75mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tmax 400 – Kodak TMax developer (1+4) 6:45 @ 20C

Despite his final act and the general poor response from the officers for his insubordination Forsyth was a legend during the war, and is showed by the high view that General Henry Dearborn had of the man. Bejamin’s son would go onto to serve in the US Navy only to be lost at sea in 1829. His family would eventually move to Tennessee and lived out their lives quietly. In North Carolina Forsyth County was established in 1849 and a historic plaque is mounted on the side of the road near Germantown where his home once stood.

Written With Files from:
Web: ncpedia.org/biography/forsyth-benjamin
Web: www.ncmarkers.com/Markers.aspx?MarkerId=J-12

Project:1812 – The Treaty of Ghent

Wars are won often through sheer force of arms, then a treaty is signed or just a cease fire put in place controlled by the side who holds the upper hand. And while the real war continued to rage across the Atlantic Ocean, both sides began to open up a new campaign, one to end the war in the ancient Flemish town of Ghent in the Kingdom of the Netherlands (today part of Belgium). The Americans sent John Qunicy Adams, Henry Clay, James A. Bayard, and Jonathan Russell. The British party was much smaller, Vice-Admiral James the Lord Gambier, Admiral of the Red, Under Secretary of State Henry Goulburn, and Doctor William Adams, a doctor of Civil Laws in the Royal Navy.

Project:1812 - Battle of Fallen Timbers
The monument to the Battle of Fallen Timbers, the American victory resulted in the 1795 Treaty of Greenville, which the British negotiators insisted on using to form the boundrey of the Native “Buffer Zone”
Bronica SQ-Ai – Zenzanon-S 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 (400TX) – Kodak Xtol (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

While the Americans demanded that the Royal Navy stop their practice of blockade and pressing men into the service, which had been the sole reason for the war in the first place, the British demanded that the Americans give a large part of their territory to the native peoples to allow them to form an “Indian Nation” which would be made up of the future sates of Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana. There were also the matters of the continued use of British controlled waters on the east coast by American fishermen, and the border between the British colonies and the United States. The Brithsh of course refused to answer the question of impressment and the Americans were not about to give up territory to the natives who had been a thorn in their sides since their westward expansion. The British of course claimed the buffer zone was to honour the agreement between Techumseh and General Sir Isaac Brock, the real reason was that they wanted to prevent any future attempts at annexing their colonies by the United States, the native allies were nothing more than pawns to them. Proposal and counter-proposal bounced back and forth as each side tried to out-bluff the other. Henry Clay, a card player, believed that if they stood firm, the British would eventually back down. The truth was that the British party was facing increasing pressure from home to get a treaty signed and the war ended, and that the idea of a buffer territory was not as important to the British parliament as was maintaining access to the the Mississippi River as a trade route and holding onto captured territory in what would become Maine, along with Mackinac Island and Fort Niagara. Both sides did want peace, but they wanted it on their terms.

Plattsburg, New York - Eastman 5363
British losses at Baltimore and Plattsburg allowed negotiations to swing more in the favour of the Americans despite the British holding territory east of the Penobscot River in what is today Maine.
Nikon F4 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – Eastman 5363 @ ASA-25 – PMK Pyro (1+2+100) 11:00 @ 20C

News from North America continued to complicate matter. The stalemate in the Niagara Region after Drummond’s night assault against the American beachhead at Fort Erie failed to dislodge the Americans. And while General Ross’ expedition managed to defeat the American army at Bladensburg and burned Washington DC, they had failed to take Baltimore. Sherbrooke had taken territory in what is now Maine, a good 100 miles east of the Penobscot River and McDoual had managed to hold off an American attempt at recapturing Mackinac Island. Prevost on the other hand despite having the men and experienced commanders had failed to capture Plattsburg and refused to launch another attempt at Sacketts Harbor. The war had turned into a statemate, and with the war already costing the British close to ten million pounds and the Americans close to defaulting on loaned owed to pay for the war, both sides needed another way out. They both needed to save face, peace with honour. It became clear that the only way this could be done is to return to how everything way before the war started in 1812.

Project:1812 - The Treaty of Gent
While today the site is occupied by an Espirit store, in 1814 it was occupied by the hotel in which the treaty was negotiated
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Kodak Plus-X 125 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 7:30 @ 20C

Status Quo Ante Bellum became the goal, any sticking points that had held up negotiations for the previous months melted away. Gone was a buffer zone, impressment, trade, fishing, land. And still two sides argued. Even the Duke of Wellington weighed in on the matter, stating that neither side had the right to demand territory, as the Americans failed in their invasion and the British failed to hold any territory aside for a few small pieces that were relatively unimportant. It took a few more days but a new treaty was forged, and at a half-past six in the evening on the 24th of December both sides now happy, signed the treaty, the war was over. Of course the treaty would not prevent the blood letting at New Orleans and Mobile. The Prince Reagent (the future King George IV) ratified the treaty a few days after it was signed. The American government and President James Madison would do the same in February 1815.

Project:1812 - The Treaty of Gent
Detail shot of the memorial plaque for the Treaty of Ghent, placed by the Daughters of 1812
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Kodak Plus-X 125 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 7:30 @ 20C

Eleven articles make up the Treaty of Ghent. There is no mention of impressment, boarders, fishing and trade. The native allies are mentioned, but not a buffer zone, or the 1795 treaty line, rather they are forced back to how things were in 1811. Eleven articles made it seem like there was never a war at all, but the blood on the ground and ruined lives spoke other wise, so the eleven articles made it seem like it was all fought for nothing. It would take several more treaties through the remainder of the 19th century to forge the border that Canada and the United States enjoy today. And while the tensions remained high, it never came to war again. If you’re interested in reviewing the treaty as a whole you can at the website of the Library of Congress.

Written with Files from:
Web: avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/ghent.asp
Berton, Pierre. Flames across the Border, 1813-1814. Markham, Ont.: Penguin, 1988. Print.
Hickey, Donald R. Don’t Give up the Ship!: Myths of the War of 1812. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2006. Print.

Project:1812 – George Prevost

One of the more contested figured in the Anglo-American War of 1812 was the Governor General and Military commander of British North America, General George Prevost. Prevost was groomed into the military from an early age, born the 19th of May, 1767 in the province (now state) of New Jersey to a lieutenant-colonel in the British Army, Prevost attended schools in both the American colonies and England before being commissioned an ensign in the 60th Regiment of Foot, his father’s regiment, in 1779. Prevost soon rose quickly through the ranks, mostly due to his having a grandfather who was a banker in Amsterdam as a relative. He served as a lieutenant in the 47th of Foot and a captain in the 25th of Foot, before returning as a major to the 60th of Foot at age twenty-three. Because of his fluency in French he was appointed the Lieutenant-Governor of St. Lucia in 1798 and his service in the colony showed him to be a popular governor. But health issues in 1802 saw him returned to England. But the stay was short lived, when France again threatened British interest in the Caribbean he was sent to take the governership of Dominica, where his leadership saw the successful defense and removal of the French threat from the area. His service was rewarded with promotion and governorship of the colony of Nova Scotia where he successfully promoted trade with the British colony from the New England States of the United States, this despite the embargo implemented by President Thomas Jefferson. Again Prevost’s efforts did not go un-noticed and in 1811 he was promoted to Lieutenant-General and appointed Governor General of British North America and moved to Quebec City as war clouds gathered. He immediately saw that defenses around the city were improved and saw that the other strong points in the colonies of Lower and Upper Canada were improved.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Queenston Heights
Brock’s Monument on Queenston Heights – Queenston, Ontario
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 75mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 6:00 @ 20C

When war was declared in the summer of 1812, England was in a full out shooting war with France and could not spare the needed troops to reinforce the North American colonies so Prevost was ordered to take a defensive stance. This immediately put him at odds with the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, General Isaac Brock. Prevost wanted none of the brash general’s action and kept most of the regular troops stationed at the two major cities in British North America, Quebec City and Halifax, often refusing to reinforce Brock, fearing he would just invade the United States. When he received word that the British Parliament had revoked the Orders in Council, the laws that sparked the war in the first place, Prevost was so sure that it would see the US revoke their declaration of war he worked through Brock’s second-in-command, General Roger Hale Sheaffe, arranged for a ceasefire on the Niagara Frontier with the American army commander, General Henry Dearborn. And while the cease fire kept Brock from invading the resulting American attack at Queenston Heights in October 1812 resulted in the death of General Brock and a string of poor Lieutenant Governors to replace him through 1813. And while he was focused mainly on defense, he did order a retaliatory strike against US forces in Ogendensburg in response to their raids along the St. Lawrence River. He also personally led the disastrous second attack against the main US Navy station at Sacketts Harbor. But the battle Prevost is most known for is the 1814 attack on Plattsburg on Lake Champlain in New York. The governor found himself with thousands of veteran troops and commanders to launch an invasion of the United States, but rather than let those who were used to such attacks he put his own people in positions of command and he again led the force himself. This often put him at odds with the commanders when he refused to accept their suggestions and ultimately saw the attack fail. Prevost was of the mind that to take command of the town he needed to first secure the lake, and when word was received that the British squadron was soundly defeated, ordered a full retreat, despite the fact that his brigade commanders were in a sound position to flank the American defenses on the opposite side of the Saranac River and overrun the mostly-militia forces of General Alexander McComb. When word of this reached England it would have far reaching consequences on the peace negotiations taking place in Ghent, Belgium. Even Sir Arthur Wellesley, who had personally selected the commanders to send to reinforce Prevost recommended his removal.

Project:1812 - Sackets Harbor
The Battle of Sacketts Harbor Memorial on the original Battlefield in Sacketts Harbor, New York
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 400 (TMY-2) – Kodak TMax Developer (1+9) 20:00 @ 20C

The now humiliated Prevost left Quebec City for the last time on the 3rd of April, 1815 with the hastily passed thanks of the colony’s legislative assembly. When he returned to Horse Guards (Headquarters of the British Army) his reports were for the most part accepted. It was only when the reports from the Admiralty and Commodore James Lucas Yeo about Prevost’s actions were received that options turned against the General. Prevost requested a court martial to clear his name. Due to the time it would take to bring witnesses from British North America, the date was set for January 1816. In an odd twist of fate, Prevost, already in poor health died a couple weeks prior to the date of the court martial. While many still view Prevost in a poor light, the general, having been forced into a defensive stance for many years had lost the same fire he had in his early days. Prevost’s biggest downfall was his ego and his unwillingness to step aside to more veteran commanders. Unlike many other figures in the war, there are no memorials to Prevost, only a few portraits of the former governor in Nova Scotia and Quebec City.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Plattsburg
A home just north of Plattsburg that served as Prevost and his Staff’s billet on their march to Plattsburg – Chazy, New York
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 400 (TMY-2) – Kodak TMax Developer (1+9) 20:00 @ 20C

Written with Files from
Collins, Gilbert. Guidebook to the Historic Sites of the War of 1812. Toronto: Dundurn, 2006. Print.
Hickey, Donald R. Don’t Give up the Ship!: Myths of the War of 1812. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2006. Print.
Berton, Pierre. Flames across the Border, 1813-1814. Markham, Ont.: Penguin, 1988. Print.
Web: www.eighteentwelve.ca/?q=eng/Topic/21
Web: www.biographi.ca/en/bio/prevost_george_5E.html
Web: www.warof1812trail.com/prevost.htm

Project:1812 – Joseph Willcocks

Publisher, Parliamentarian, and Traitor, the strange case of Joseph Willcocks started in 1773, born in the Republic of Ireland, at the age of 27 the young man found his way to the town of York in Upper Canada. He soon found employment as the private clerk of the receiver general, Peter Russell, but it would not last, as Russell was not pleased with Willcocks’ advances towards his half-sister. But that did not stop Willcocks, who found another patron quickly in the form of the colony’s chief justice, Henry Allcock and with his influence was appointed to Home District Sheriff. However his views on the land laws, he soon found himself in opposition of the Lieutenant Governor, Francis Gore, Gore quickly dismissed both Allcock and Willcocks for bad conduct. That did not stop Willcocks who moved to the Niagara region and began publishing The Upper Canada Guardian, in which he publicly expressed his concern for the laws and arbitrary use of power. He soon found himself elected to the colony’s Parliament and was then arrested and jailed for contempt of house during the 4th Parliament. Despite this, he continued to be elected, but he continued to face opposition from the newly appointed Lieutenant Governor, General Isaac Brock. During the 5th Parliament, Willcocks and his allies managed to block some of Brock’s moves to prepare the colony should war be declared with the United States. Brock, despite his views of Willcocks, recruited him to secure the alliance and loyalty of the Six Nation Natives. A mission Willcocks succeeded in, even fighting along side them at Queenston Heights, that saw the death of Brock.

Project:1812 - The Burning of Niagara
Downtown Niagara-On-The-Lake today is a hot tourist destination in the Niagara Region.
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax-A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Ilford Pan F+ (ISO-50) – Blazinal 1+50 11:00 @ 20C

With Brock’s death, Willcocks saw the rapid change in the political landscape in Upper Canada, Brock’s successors were not as diplomatic in dealing with the colony’s population. The breaking point however was during the American invasion and occupation of the Niagara Region in 1813. He watched as any opinions that were considered disloyal were dealt with in a harsh way. So he did what he thought best, and as a sitting member of the parliament of Upper Canada offered his services to the American force occupying the Niagara region. Bringing with him a group of fellow citizens. He was commissioned a major and raised up a force known as the Canadian Volunteers to fight for the American army. But his commanders continued to mis-trust the turncoat, anyone who turned traitor once, could turn again. Willcocks is most remembered, and vilified for his successful petition to General McClure, to destroy the town of Niagara, today known as Niagara-On-The-Lake during the American withdrawal in December of 1813, thinking that through this the local population would turn to a more pro-American stance. The action however had the opposite reaction, and a week later, Fort Niagara was overrun and occupied by British forces under orders from General Gordon Drummond and everything between Fort Niagara and Buffalo was reduced to ashes.

Project:1812 - Acaster and the Bloody Assizes
The former site of the Rousseau Hotel, where the trails during the Ancaster Assize took place. Today a modern pub and shop occupy the spot.
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Tri-X 400 (400TX) – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 6:00 @ 20C

In 1814, Willcocks along with several other men, were officially labelled traitors to the Crown and charged as such by the Assize of Ancaster. Willcocks managed to avoid arrest, some of his compatriots were not as lucky. But the long arm of the law was not far from Willcocks, in September of 1814, while leading a raid against the British Batteries during the final weeks of the Siege of Fort Erie, a British musket ball crashed through his chest, killing him. His body was laid to rest in Buffalo, and in 1830 was relocated to an unmarked grave in Forest Lawn Cemetery, forgotten by the country he cast his lot with, and continues to be vilified to this day by Canada.

Grey Coats
Modern Military Reenactors portraying the Canadian Volunteers at the Siege of Fort Erie in 2011.
Nikon D300 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G

Written with Files from:
Web: www.eighteentwelve.ca/?q=eng/Topic/65
Web: www.biographi.ca/en/bio/willcocks_joseph_5E.html
Hickey, Donald R. Don’t Give up the Ship!: Myths of the War of 1812. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2006. Print.
Berton, Pierre. Flames across the Border, 1813-1814. Markham, Ont.: Penguin, 1988. Print.

Project:1812 – Gordon Drummond

Gordon Drummond was the first Canadian Born Governor General of British North America and Commander-In-Chief of the British forces in the colonies that made up the region. Born in Quebec City on the 27th of September, 1772 but returned to England following the death of his Father in 1780. Educated at the Westminster School and joined the army as an Ensign in 1789 in the 1st of Foot (Royal Scots). He rose through the ranks quickly, achieving the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel by 1794, and Major-General by 1805, having seen combat in the Netherlands, Mediterranean, and the West Indies. He married Margaret Russell in 1807.

Project:1812 - Battle of Lundy's Lane
Drummond’s Statue at Lundy’s Lane.
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Tri-X 400 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C

Drummond was serving as the Regimental chief of staff when the 1st Royal Scots were posted to Upper Canada, he remained in Great Britain at the time and was posted to Ulster. But it wouldn’t be too long before he was ordered to the colonies to take up post as the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada in 1813. Drummond replaced the unpopular Francis de Rottenburg, who had replaced Roger Hale Sheaffe following his defeat at York. Drummond was a lot more agressive than these two, taking a page out of Isaac Brock’s book. His first action of the war was organizing the surprise capture of Fort Niagara then ordering the destruction of American settlements along the Niagara River in December of 1813. Unlike Brock, his communications with Prevost were much more civil, but his demands were the same, Upper Canada needed more troops, and Prevost had a large number in reserve at Quebec City. But despite this, he was able to swiftly respond to the American campaign in the Summer of 1814 under General Jacob Brown. His bold actions won a bloody and costly strategic victory at Lundy’s Lane pushing the Americans back to their beachhead at Fort Erie. His siege however showed exactly how far he was willing to go, his night assault resulted in close to a thousand British casualties without anything to show for the action. He would eventually withdraw to Chippawa. It would be his final combat role in his career. He would go on to wait out the Americans for their withdrawal in November.

Project:1812 - Fort Erie
The rebuilt Old Fort Erie.
Modified Anniversary Speed Graphic – Kodak Ektar f:7.7 203mm – Ilford Delta 100 – Kodak Xtol (Stock) 8:00 @ 20C

Following the war, Drummond remained as Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, but would be promoted and giving the role of Governor General of British North America in 1815 following the departure of Prevost who had been recalled to England to answer for his actions at Plattsburg. Despite being put in charge of making sure the stipulations of the Treaty of Ghent were put in place, his time as the colony’s administrator was relatively unremarkable. He returned to England in 1816. He was promoted to full General, granted a knighthood (Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath) in 1825 and went on to serve as commanding officer of the 71st, 49th, and 8th Regiment. He died in his home on the 10th of October, 1854.

Project:1812 - Battle of Lundy's Lane
The Battle of Lundy’s Lane memorial at the Drummond Hill Cemetery.
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Tri-X 400 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C

Drummond is one of those lost Canadian Heroes of the War of 1812, you don’t see many monuments to him around the province he helped save in 1814. There’s a statue to him on Lundy’s Lane, and the cemetery and hill bear his name. An island in Michigan also bears his name, Drummond Island was the site of British fort following the withdrawal from Mackinanc Island in 1815 but was turned over the US in 1822. Even his honour of being the first Canadian Born Governor General is lost, while we celebrate Laura Secord and Isaac Brock more. Drummond, like Prevost, de Rottenburg, and Sheaffe are doomed to have their legacy remained to obscurity.

Written with Files From:
Web: www.warof1812.ca/drummond.htm
Web: www.eighteentwelve.ca/?q=eng/Topic/39
Web: www.biographi.ca/en/bio.php?id_nbr=3881

Project:1812 – Battle of New Orleans

The penultimate battle of the War of 1812, at least in the eyes of the Americans, and the final big battle in the entire war. By the middle of November 1814 the war in Upper Canada had all but finished for the campaign season, in Ghent the negotiations for peace continued, and if they went well, war would not return. But for the United States the war was far from over and far closer to home. Everything that the government feared would happen with Napoleon’s abdication happened. In June of 1814 a force under General John Sherbroke captured 100 miles of coastline in what would become Maine, capturing Castine and sacking Hampden and Bangor. September saw a massive force under General Robert Ross smash an army under General Winder at Bladensburg then proceeded to march on Washington DC burning down many public buildings including the Presidential Mansion and the Capitol. Ross was killed at the Battle of North Point just outside of Baltimore, and the attack fleet failed to crack Fort McHenry during an extensive bombardment of the fort, which kept the British from capturing Baltimore. Rather than make a second attempt at Baltimore, Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane and General John Keane (who replaced Ross) decided to try a different tactic and headed south. Their goal was to disrupt the Mississippi trade route. Their first attempt at capturing Mobile, Alabama failed, and they turned towards the city of New Orleans.

Project:1812 - The Battle of New Orleans
The Rigolets today are monitored by Fort Pike, named for General Zebulon Pike, the fort was constructed after the war to prevent another invasion fleet from sailing into the inland water ways.

The fleet making anchor just outside the entrance to lakes Pontchatin and Borgne on the 9th of December. At New Orleans, General Andrew Jackson had caught wind of the attack fleet and started putting plans in motion. His first goal was to prevent the British entrance into the inland waterways. Any armed ship that could float was put into action and a small force consisting of five gunboats along with the U.S. Schooner Sea Horse (1), U.S. Sloop Alligator (1), and U.S. Sloop Ticker (1) was organized to blockade Lake Borgne. Cochrane sent in a force of sailors and marines on all of his fleet’s auxiliary boats, rafts, gigs, longboats, and barges were organized and began to row in. Setting out on the 12th the flotilla first encountered the Sea Horse in the process of trying to destroy a shore based powder magazine. While she was able to drive off the British, her crew opted to scuttle the ship rather than be captured later. By the 14th the Alligator was captured by the British, and they had reached the gunboat line. After breakfast the flotilla began to pull for the American line under heavy fire and against a strong current. Nonetheless Gunboat No. 156 was the first to be captured, then turning her guns against her sister craft each other gunboat quickly fell. The whole action taking no more than five minutes. The inland waterways were clear and Keane’s army began to move into the state. This was no small army that established a fortified garrison on Pea Island. There were no understrength battalions here, Keane had some of the best forces in the British Army. The force consisted of the 4th (King’s Own), 7th (Royal Fusaliers), 21st, 27th, 40th, 43rd, 44th, 85th, and 95th (The Rifles) supported by Royal Artillery, 14th Light Dragoons, Royal Marines and Sailors. Louisiana was about to be invaded.

Project:1812 - The Battle of New Orleans
Today the LaCoste Plantation is no more, but rather a busy intersection just outside of the City.

With his garrison in place Keane deployed a vanguard to determine Jackson’s disposition. Jackson had spent much of the war fighting the Creeks and now commanding a mixed bag of regulars, marines, sailors, militia, volunteers and pirates. His main defensive line was a series of earthworks under construction along the Rodriguez Canal. He also had support from three grounded ships, U.S. Sloop Louisiana (16), U.S. Schooner Carolina (14), and the U.S. Steamship Enterprise (1). Keane’s vanguard made camp just nine miles from the city on the Lacoste Plantation. This was reported to Jackson by US Dragoons who had spotted the British. By the Eternal, Jackson swore, they shall not sleep on our soil! He led a force on the night of the 23rd to take on the British, and while the initial surprise was enough to shake the British they quickly rallied and pushed the American force back but rather than continue the pursuit, Keane, shaken by the quick strike pulled back. This was exactly what Jackson was looking for, he needed time. Jackson continued the construction of his line, installing eight batteries for the heavy guns, a ninth on the west bank of the Mississippi would be used for the long 24-pound guns from the Louisiana. On Christmas Day, General Edward Pakenham, the replacement for General Ross arrived at Pea Island, having met with the senior officers he decided that the only way to capture the city was a direct assault against it and overrun Jackson’s line, and ordered the army to move forward. On New Year’s Day, 1815 Pakenham’s siege batteries open fire on the Line Jackson. Pakenham, however had one problem, his supply of ammunition for his guns were limited, and while he was able to knock out several of Jackson’s heavy cannons, any infantry assault would not have the same level of artillery cover from the British line. So a plan was made to make every shot count. When the remainder of the army arrived, it was divided into four brigades. The first brigade under Colonel John Thorton was tasked with crossing the Mississippi river to knock out the western battery, establish one of their own and give fire into the line itself from close range. Two main assault brigades under General Keane and General Samuel Gibbs, a third brigade under General John Lambert was held in reserve.

Project:1812 - The Battle of New Orleans
The Chalmette battlefield as it stands today. Thankfully much of the battlefield and the former earthworks remain intact and some of the batteries partly rebuilt.

Thorton’s brigade was supposed to use boats to transport men and guns, but the sailors had been rushed and the dam and canal failed and they were forced to haul everything through the mud in the early hours of the 8th of January. Despite this delay, Pakenham ordered his two main assault columns forward. With the 95th moving head in skirmish order, and under cover of darkness and fog they advanced. Gibbs along the swamp, and Keane along the river’s edge. But where was Thorton’s artillery support? As the columns drew closer the fog lifted and the light poured into the open field, with the cover lost the columns found themselves under heavy fire from small arms and cannon. To add to their problems, the commander of the 44th had forgotten the needed scaling equipment. The columns were trapped in a kill zone. Confusion turned to chaos as Gibbs was killed outright, Keane was ordered to cross the field with the 93rd, only to be injured himself. The right column had met with some success, being able to scale one of the redoubts, but without additional support they remained pinned there, and with the timely arrival of the 7th US Infantry their fate was sealed, only a few made it out alive. With Pakenham also dead, command fell to General Lambert. He had been watching in horror as the soldiers, without any orders to advance or fall back simply stood there getting slaughtered, some tried to find what cover they could find as the 95th had. By the time Lambert had managed to use his own brigade as cover did the blood-letting end. Thorton’s brigade was the only one to meet with some success, albeit rather delayed to prevent the disaster, they did manage to chase off the sailors manning the western battery, but it was all over by the time he was ready to fire, not willing to hold such a position, he too was forced to retreat. Cochrane was not going to give up on New Orleans that easily, and moved his fleet and bombarded Fort St. Phillips for ten days in an effort to open up another invasion route, but the fort refused to surrender. Realizing that New Orleans was not going to crack, the British fleet was packed up and left by the 19th.

Project:1812 - The Battle of New Orleans
The battle monument on the Chalmette field.

While the Battle of New Orleans was a major American victory, and one of the main reasons they feel victory in the War of 1812 was their’s, the simple fact was that a British victory at New Orleans would not have mattered, at all. If the British had won at New Orleans, and occupied the city, when word of peace reached them they would have packed up and left! Besides they never planned to occupy the city and return it, and all of Louisiana, to France (with whom peace had been made, this was before Napoleon had returned from Elba), they merely wanted to disrupt American trade on the Mississippi. However New Orleans has been romanticized, like many battles in the War of 1812, and launched Andrew Jackson to the presidency later in the 19th century. There’s also a catchy little (but horribly inaccurate) song about the battle.

Project:1812 - The Battle of New Orleans
Monument to Andrew Jackson in Jackson Square in the French Quarter of New Orleans

Written With Files from:
Collins, Gilbert. Guidebook to the Historic Sites of the War of 1812. Toronto: Dundurn, 2006. Print.
Hickey, Donald R. Don’t Give up the Ship!: Myths of the War of 1812. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2006. Print.
Web: www.eighteentwelve.ca/?q=eng/Topic/59

Photos: Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Tri-X 400 – Kodak TMax Developer 1+4 6:00 @ 20C

Project:1812 – Battle of the Mississenawa

While most of the actions of the War of 1812 took place along the boarder between the Canadas and the United States, there was a series of native raids in the southern reaches of the Northwest and Indiana Territories. The native allied, stirred into action by the successes of their British Allies in the north proceeded to lay siege to several American forts such as Forts Harrison and Wayne throughout the fall of 1812. But when General William Henry Harrison took command of the Army of the Northwest following Hull’s removal after his loss at Detroit. The old hand at dealing with the native threat took action.

Project:1812 - Battle of Mississinawa
One of the markers at the Mississenawa Battlefield
Photos: Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 75mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Plus-X Pan – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

In his first order as General of the Army of the Northwest, he ordered a force of mounted troops to conduct punitive raids against native settlements, destroying, killing, and taking prisoners. On the 14th of December, one such party under Colonel John Cambell left from Fort Greenville to raid along the Mississenawa River. They arrived and made quick work of the village of Chief Silverhand before proceeding on.

Project:1812 - Battle of Mississinawa
Tombstones marking the graves of the US Soldiers killed in the action
Photos: Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 75mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Plus-X Pan – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

They were able to destroy two more villages before heading for home, most of the raiders suffering from sickness or frostbite. As they returned to the ruins of Silverhand’s village, another force of natives caught them in an ambush. Seeing initial successes, even freeing some of their breatheran in the process. Campbell however would see none of this, managed to rally his troops, and drove the natives back. He was ready to pursue when word reached him that one of the captured force reported that the legendary Shawnee war chief Tecumseh was in the region. Campbell ordered the column to ride for home, arriving there on the 28th. While much of Campbell’s force had been forced out of action due to illness, and about a dozen had been killed the action was still declared a victory as prisoners had been taken and the native villages were destroyed.

Project:1812 - Battle of Mississinawa
The Mississenawa River flowing past the event site
Photos: Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 75mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Plus-X Pan – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

Today you can still see the original battlefield located just outside of Marion, Indiana along County Road 308 West, two markers, the graves of the US troops lost, and a sign are located there. A larger memorial is located in downtown Marion. One of the oldest War of 1812 reenactment takes place in the area every October on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and while we remember the action at Mississenawa, the battle itself is not reenacted, but simply four tactical demos featuring US and British forces. Also some of the best shopping at any event I’ve ever seen.

52:320TXP - Week 42 - The Battle
The battle reenactment at the 2014 Mississenawa Event
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Kodak Tri-X Pan – Kodak HC-110 Dil. E 6:30 @ 20C

Written with Files from:
Web: www.mississinewa1812.com/info.htm
Web: www.eighteentwelve.ca/?q=eng/Topic/23
Web: www.warof1812.ca/mississa.htm