Category: Project:1812

War of 1812 project related posts.

Project:1812 – Last Post

Project:1812 – Last Post

Here we are, a long time coming but, this is the end, and it has been a long and fascinating journey to reach this point. It’s always a bittersweet feeling when such a long and involved project comes to an end. But all things must end, and so must my journey into the War of 1812. At least I can say that I’ve done more than just scratching the surface of the conflict that would go on to define the relations between Canada, England, and the United States still today. When I first started the project way back in March 2012, I had no idea how big it was going to be. And sure as it moved along it suffered from scope creep, but I was able to reign it in.

Project:1812 - End of Part One
The Canadian National War of 1812 Monument outside the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Ontario
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Krueznack Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400 – PMK Pyro (1+2+100) 12:30 @ 20C

This project has taken me far and wide, I’ve learned a lot more than I was expecting and found a conflict far more complicated than the one I was presented with when I first learned about the War of 1812 in Grade 8. I went from knowing only about Isaac Brock, Laura Secord, the battle of Queenston Heights, and the burning of Washington DC. Now I know of battles out in Wisconsin, to a British Major-General to died fighting in the war. I learned how the events of Europe’s Napoleonic Wars directly influenced the fighting in North America. I heard of legends dispelled myth and patriotism and learned how this small footnote conflict has directly affected how Canada, the US, and Great Britan interact today. And if anything had been only slightly different, how it could directly affect our history today.

Project:1812 - The Treaty of Gent
A sign marking the spot where the American delegation to the treaty negotiations in Ghent, Belgium.
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Kodak Plus-X 125 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 7:30 @ 20C

And now you probably want to know who won the war, because in war there always has to be a winner and a loser. And in that sense, you would be right. But the truth is far more complicated than that. As the old phrase says, history is written by the victors. And in this war, three groups claimed victory. The British, the Americans, and now the Canadians. So of course, it depends on who you ask. So let’s break it down. This was a war that the British did not care too much about, the American threat at the time was so minor that London kept on advising Prevost to fight a defensive war, and only after Napoleon was on the run did they start to pour on the pressure. However, the British can claim victory as they repulsed the American invasion and kept them confined to small corners of the colony. The Americans can claim victory for the same reason, but we can also say they lost the war as they failed to achieve their objective, that was the removal of British influence in North America. The Canadians can claim victory for the same reasons as the British can, but in reality, only one battle was won solely by Canadian troops, the Battle of the Chateauguay. So in all this mess, did anyone win? Well not really, both sides barely avoided not losing. Neither side many any significant gains to have anything to hold over the other during treaty negotiations. So when the treaty was finally signed, it was peace with honour and a big giant reset button was pressed. There is one group that completely lost the war, the first nations of both countries; that is still very clear.

Project:1812 - The King's Navy Yards (Amherstburg)
The Forged Peace Memorial in Amherstburg, Ontario dedicated to the peace between the USA, England, and Canada
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Tri-X 400 (400TX) @ ASA-200 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. E 6:30 @ 20C

Of course, if you’ve been following along with this project from the very beginning you know I’ve pumped out a lot of material over the process of these four years. And while being able to access a lot of the material online is great, even online material dies over time. So since 2013 I’ve been working hard to compile everything into book form and I’m happy to announce that the book is now done! I’ve taken four years of work, a little over 600 images captured, many blog posts all boiled down into 152 pages. And you can pick up a copy over at my bookstore on Blurb.com!

52:500c - Week 36 - Castle
The monument to the Rush Baggot Agreement at Fort Niagara, a key piece to the border shared between the Canada and the USA
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

So my dear readers, thank you for coming along on this journey, and I hope I’ve inspired even one of you to explore some aspect of history that you may not know much about.

Project:1812 – Lieutenant Colonel George Armistead

Project:1812 – Lieutenant Colonel George Armistead

George Armistead, one of the great defenders of the United States of America, stalwart commander of Fort McHenry, an action that would lead him to an early grave. George was born in New Market, Virginia on 10 April 1780. He along with his five brothers would all serve their country in the armed service. But for George, his service began at the age of 19 as an Ensign in the 7th US Infantry. He proved himself an excellent officer and promoted to First Lieutenant by the turn of the century. However, with the end of the Quasi-War with France, the army was reduced in size, George found himself back in civilian life. Such life did not sit well, and he was quick to rejoin the US Artillery as a Lieutenant, earning a quick promotion to Captain then by 1813 Major and assignment to Fort Niagara on the frontier.

52:500c - Week 36 - Castle
The French Castle at Fort Niagara as it stands today, still the original building, Armistead would have lived in this building during his time at the fort.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

Major Armistead would command Fort Niagara batteries during the invasion of Upper Canada and capture of Fort George in May 1813. His guns playing a key role in the suppression of the British artillery. Henry Dearborn assigned Armistead with the honour of carrying the captured British flags back to Washington DC. Upon their presentation to President Madison, Armistead was directed to take command of Fort McHenry. With the threat of British attack looming, Armistead joined in Baltimore’s defense. He ordered the expansion of the fortifications and as a personal touch ordered a new garrison flag made. Inspired by the huge garrison flag at Fort Niagara, he commissioned a local woman, Mary Pickersgill, to produce a 30×42 foot fifteen-star, fifteen-stripe flag. When the British bombardment began in September 1814, he had the foresight to move the fort’s powder supply from the magazine to the far wall, to prevent the bombs hurled at the fort from smashing through the magazine. The fort withstood the bombardment with only four deaths, and Armistead would earn a promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel.

CCR Review 49 - Minolta Maxxum 700si
A statue of George Armistead stands today at the Fort McHenry, honouring the hero of the defense.
Minolta Maxxum 700si – Maxxum Zoom AF 35-70mm 1:4 – Eastman Double-X (5222) @ ASA-200 – FA-1027 (1+19) 10:00 @ 20C

Armistead remained in command of Fort McHenry following the war; he would also be the last casualty of the bombardment. The stress from the bombardment ate away at his mental wellbeing. He suffered according to accounts from the period a strained heart and nervous system. George Armistead passed away 25 April 1818, and his body was laid to final rest at St. Paul’s Cemetary in Baltimore, with full military honours

Project:1812 - The Battle of Baltimore
The Cemetary in which Lt. Col. Armistead is burried, sadly it was closed when I visited.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 7:30 @ 20C

It would be one hundred years before terms like shell-shock and two hundred years before the full extent of Post-Traumatic stress disorder would be realized. But Armistead did suffer from it, based on my understanding. He remains today a hero with Fort McHenry standing firm, and the flag he ordered on display in Washington DC at the Smithsonian museum, a gift from his family in 1912.

Written with Files from:
Hickey, Donald R. Don’t Give up the Ship!: Myths of the War of 1812. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2006. Print.
Lossing, Benson John. The Pictorial Field-book of the War of 1812 Volume 2. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub., 2003. Print.
Whitehorne, Joseph W. A. The Battle for Baltimore, 1814. Baltimore, MD: Nautical & Aviation Pub. of America, 1997. Print.
Web: www.geni.com/people/Lt-Col-George-Armistead/6000000012222749217
Web: www.campaign1776.org/war-of-1812/biographies/george-armistead.html

Project:1812 – Major General Robert Ross

Project:1812 – Major General Robert Ross

Robert Ross is unique among the British Military leaders of the time as he never accepted any honours due to his actions. Born at his family estate at Rostrevor, Ireland in 1766. Before he joined the British army he attended Trinity College in Dublin while attending classes there he also served as the treasurer for the college’s historical society. Upon his graduation, he purchased an ensign’s commission in the 25th (Sussex) Regiment before advancing to captain a few years later in the 7th (Royal Fusiliers) Regiment. Ross would taste combat for the first time in 1799 at Krabbendam in the Netherlands during the French Revolutionary Wars. He would continue to see combat at Alexandria and by 1803 had been promoted to Major and would be given command of the 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment. As the war with France continued Ross and the 20th would move to the European peninsula, fighting in the Kingdom of Naples and the Battle of Corunna, by 1808 he was raised to the rank of full Colonel, even serving as Aide-Du-Campe to the King.

Congress
The US Capitol Building was the first building in the city that Ross directed to be destroyed
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Angulon 1:6,8/90 – Fuji Provia 100F @ ASA-100 – Unicolor Rapid E-6 Kit

Ross was a popular officer, respected by both the men and his subordinate officer. Ross was also a stickler for discipline and excellence in their drill. Ross would also lead from the front and received several wounds as a result. His actions did not go unnoticed, and he was given a promotion to General and served alongside Arthur Wellesley. Ross and Wellesley would go on to serve at Vittoria and Roncesvalles among other battles. Ross’ actions earned him the Army Gold Medal, but a wound would force him to return to England. During his recovery, the Sixth Coalition would deal Napoleon his death blow, and Ross received a promotion to Major-General and given a new assignment, command of an army to invade the United States.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Baltimore
A Memorial to the early skirmish which saw Ross killed before the Battle of North Point.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

Ross was in the first wave of troops to land at Benedict, Maryland. He found a kindred officer in Rear Admiral Cockburn and the two men began to plot the ensuing battles. Ross and Cockburn would go on to defeat a small force of Americans at Upper Malborough and rout a much larger force at Bladensburg. From Bladensburg, Ross marched on Washington DC and unable to find an officer or official to negotiate the city’s surrender ordered the destruction of a majority of the government buildings in the American capital. An action that his peers and superiors would question but would be ultimately praised by General George Prevost. Ross would proceed to his original target, the city of Baltimore. Landing at North Point he marched the army north and at midday on 12 September 1814 rode forward upon hearing the sound of musket fire from an advance force of American militia troops. An act that would end his life as an American sharpshooter killed the general.

Project:1812 - Major General Robert Ross
Ross’s Tomb in Halifax, Nova Scotia at the city’s old Burrying Ground.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – FA-1027 (1+14) 5:00 @ 20C

The loss of Ross was a devastating blow to the army, and he was mourned by officers and men alike. The general’s body aboard the HM Ship Royal Oak (74) sailed for Halifax, preserved in a barrel of Rum. After a full military funeral at St. Paul’s Church in Halifax, Ross’ remains were laid to rest at the city’s burying grounds. You can still see his tomb today. A larger monument was raised at Rostrevor as well by the officers and men that served under the general. Neither Ross or his family would receive any titles or knighthoods. But that’s not to say that his family did not receive an honour, his widow would carry the name “Ross of Bladensburg”. And in an odd twist, you can find a portrait of Robert Ross inside the rotunda of the US Capitol building in Washington DC.

Written with Files from:
McCavitt, John, and Christopher T. George. The Man Who Captured Washington: Major General Robert Ross and the War of 1812. Norman: U of Oklahoma, 2016. Print.
Stephen, Leslie, and Sidney Lee. Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder, 1885. Print.
Web: www.eighteentwelve.ca/?q=eng/Topic/91

Project:1812 – The British Invasion Part III – Baltimore

Project:1812 – The British Invasion Part III – Baltimore

With Washington’s destruction, Major General Ross could turn his attention to his primary target, Baltimore. The city was a hotbed of privateer activity and Anti-British sentiments. Capture of Baltimore also would cause a ripple effect in the American economy that was crucial for the continued war effort and might tip the negotiations in Gent to favour the British. Ever since the British blockade began in 1813, General Samuel Smith, tasked with the city’s defense had constructed a ring of redoubts and bastions around the city. General Smith had the support of the state government and called out the militia when Ross landed at Benedict, and now the defenses housed an army of 15,000. The inner harbor would be an equally hard nut to crack with landward batteries and at the Center, Fort McHenry.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Baltimore
A plaque to the British landing site at North Point.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

Project:1812 - The Battle of Baltimore
A memorial to the Battle of North Point near Ross’ Wounding Site, I was unable to locate that plaque.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

To divert American attention away from Ross’s army, Cockburn landed a small force of sailors and Marines on the eastern shore, only to have it forced back in defeat and did little to dissuade the Americans. With his army recovered Ross landed at North Point on 12 September and marched north. General Smith having learned of the British assault, sent a column of troops under General John Strickler to intercept. Strickler, having learned from the mistakes at Bladensburg, Strickler deployed his men at a choke point, a series of tidal basins and swamps would force Ross to fight on a front only a mile wide, and he hoped to prevent a flanking maneuver. Much to the annoyance of Strickler, the British made camp a short three miles distance for a midday meal. He would have to force the issue. While Strickler held the main body of men back, sending a vanguard of 250 forward to engage the British pickets. He hoped such an act would rattle the British into action. General Ross, upon hearing the musket fire left his meal and rode forward to direct the troops.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Baltimore
Battle Acre Park where the main Battle of North Point took place.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

Project:1812 - Fort McHenry
The Civil War Era artillery battery at Fort McHenry.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

Such an action was typical for the general; Ross was well liked by men and officers under his command for leading from the front. By the time Ross and Cockburn arrived both sides were equally matched and had each other pinned, neither willing to move. Cockburn in a strange turn suggested caution and wait until the main army could be brought up. Ross agreed and made to wheel around to ride back and lead the men forward. An American sharpshooter had taken aim against the General, and a bullet caught Ross and dropped the general. Local legend attributed the death to Daniel Wells or Henry McComas. However, there’s no evidence to support it was either of them. Ross’s final action was to turn over the army’s command to Colonel Arthur Brooke. Brooke pushed forward, engaging Strickler’s main force at Battle Acre. By 3 pm, the 4th had fought around and managed to flank the American line; Strickler ordered a retreat. Unlike Bladensburg, the Americans fell back in good order to the main line at Roger’s Bastion. Knowing that such an assault would be suicide Brooke held a few miles south and sent word to the main British fleet that they would need help if they were to break through. And for the British fleet they knew they had to take out Fort McHenry.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Baltimore
The Young Marter’s Monument in Baltimore Maryland to the two young men who are attributed to shooting General Ross.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

CCR Review 49 - Minolta Maxxum 700si
A Plaque mounted on a cannon marking the spot of Roger’s Bastion, now part of Patterson Park in Baltimore, Maryland.
Minolta Maxxum 700si – Maxxum Zoom AF 35-70mm 1:4 – Eastman Double-X (5222) @ ASA-200 – FA-1027 (1+19) 10:00 @ 20C

Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane having arrived from a successful capture of eastern Maine ordered a squadron of ships to bombard the American fort. The squadron consisted of HM Rocketship Erebus (26), HM Bombship Terror (2), HM Bombship Volcano (16), HM Bombship Meteor (12), HM Bombship Devastation (8), and HM Bombship Atena (10). And in the early hours of the 13th began a devastating bombardment in a hope to the fort up to a land assault by Royal Marines. The fort’s commander, Major George Armistead, worked hard to ensure the fort’s protection. He had the powder stores moved to a secure location at the far end of the fort. He also ordered that the small storm flag remains flying all through the night. From the harbor, an American Lawyer, Francis Scott Key, would observe the bombardment from a British Ship. He had been sent to secure the release of some American prisoners.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Baltimore
The Battle of Baltimore Monument in downtown Baltimore, Maryland.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

Project:1812 - Fort McHenry
Looking out into the Harbor from Fort McHenry in the direction which the British assault fleet would have been.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

Major Armistead efforts were not in vain, during the devastating bombardment did little against Fort McHenry. Expanded defenses and the range of the ship limited American casualties to 4 dead and over 20 wounded. Out of 2,000 projectiles fired only 400 hit the target. As dawn rose on the 14th, twenty-five hours later, Armistead ordered the massive 30-foot by 40-foot garrison flag hoisted. Francis Scott Key moved by what he had witness began working on a poem. Having failed to break through, Cochrane sent word to Brooke and left the final choice in the next move up to the colonel. Brooke ordered a general retreat and pulled the troops back and reembarked. The Americans had prevailed. For the British, the loss of General Ross was devastating, and would only create more problems as the fleet headed south to disrupt American trade in the Gulf of Mexico. In the days that followed, Francis Scott Key’s poem, the Defense of Fort M’Henry, began to circulate in local newspapers. The bombardment had one final casualty, three years later, George Armistead, now a Lieutenant-Colonel, passed away due to the stress the bombardment took on his mind and body, today it would be considered post-traumatic stress disorder.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Baltimore
The Francis Scott Key monument portrays a rather patriotically correct scene of Scott penning his famous poem.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

CCR Review 49 - Minolta Maxxum 700si
A Shell on display at Fort McHenry that was fired during the bombardment.
Minolta Maxxum 700si – Minolta Maxxum AF 35-70mm 1:4 – Eastman Double-X (5222) @ ASA-200 – FA-1027 (1+19) 10:00 @ 20C

The bombardment of Fort McHenry and the repulse of the British at Baltimore was one of two battles that created the American mythos that surrounds the war, the other being the Battle of New Orleans. Just as the Battle of Queenston Heights and the Battle of Beaver Dams forms the Canadian mythos of the war. Both sides maintain their victory over the other because of these actions. Key’s poem was set to music and in 1931 was declared the national anthem of the United States of America. A national anthem that today has become a center of controversy among athletes. Fort McHenry stands today as a historical monument and national shrine and has the honour of flying the first of every modern version of the American flag. Armistead’s ‘star-spangled banner’ would stay in his family for many years before becoming a part of the Smithsonian collection in 1912 and can be viewed in fully restored glory in the Museum of American history. Markers at North Point (now Fort Howard) and along the route mark the spot of the British Landing, Ross’s death, and the battle. Roger’s bastion is marked by a plaque in Point Plesant Park. Three additional monuments stand in Baltimore related to the battle. General Ross would be carried back to Halifax where he remains in the old Burrying Ground, Armistead was burried in Baltimore at St. Paul’s Cemetary.

Special thanks to Christopher T. George for helping me out in pinpointing some of the locations for this post.

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.
Hickey, Donald R. The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict. Urbana: U of Illinois, 1989. Print.
Lossing, Benson John. The Pictorial Field-book of the War of 1812 Volume 2. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub., 2003. Print.
Berton, Pierre. Flames across the Border, 1813-1814. Markham, Ont.: Penguin, 1988. Print.

Project:1812 – The British Invasion Part II – Washington DC

Project:1812 – The British Invasion Part II – Washington DC

One of the more controversial actions of the War of 1812 is the destruction of Washington DC. It is something that Canadians hold over the heads of our American neighbors, something we have no right to do. The fact was that the Americans in the area were used to British raids and destruction of property. The commander-in-chief of the North American Station had in 1813 issued a proclamation to his subordinates that any and all American property was forfeit. But now amassed British army had a clear path to the capital, and in the aftermath of the Battle of Bladensburg the American government was hurriedly packing up shop and heading out. While Ross had won at Bladensburg, he needed some time to reorganize his troops, sort out the wounded and have a meal. But the British had no intentions of stopping for the night.

The Capitol
The US Capitol was the first target for the British Sappers, in 1814 the building was far from complete
Graflex Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 (Orange-22) – Adox CHS100II @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+25) 5:00 @ 20C

President James Madison, having witnessed the American loss at Bladensburg sent a message back to the Presidential Mansion to his wife and first lady, Dolly Madison that she should leave as soon as possible. While the President made tracks for the home of his friend Caleb Bently in the village of Brookeville, Maryland. Dolly tried her best to organize an escape with some of the treasures found. But it was efforts of two servants of the house, Jean Sioussat, and Paul Jennings that preserved many of the home’s treasures. Ahead of the column Ross and Cockburn, under a flag of truce, entered the city unopposed. Even an effort by Winder and Armstrong to form a line of defense had failed as the militia had fled to defend their homes. Only a small force was left, and they upon seeing the British officers opened fire, despite the flag of truce. That little action was enough to set the British fury alight. Without a formal surrender that Ross and Cockburn had been seeking the city was fair game.

The House of White
In 1812 The White House was simply “The Presidential Mansion” it was also burned so that only the walls were left.
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Fuji Provia 100F @ ASA-100 – Unicolor Rapid E-6 Kit

The first building to be destroyed was that in which the small American force was occupying. Pioneers and Sappers set it ablaze and then turned their eyes on the only building of note in the city. The US Capitol was still partially under construction and served as the next target. Finding it hard to light the stone building on fire the troops pillaged the senate and house chambers and piled the wooden furniture in the middle. Using powder from Congreve rockets started the fire. The whole building was ablaze, a deadly beacon in the night. The fire spread to the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court. The Presidential Mansion, today known as The White House, was next on their list. With the treasures gone, the British troops repeated their actions and using the furniture set the building on fire. The War Department, State Department, and Treasury building were all next to go up in flames. A local newspaper, the National Intellegencer, was saved from the torch but Cockburn, having been slandered by the paper, ordered the building torn down brick-by-brick. The historic Washington Navy Yard was set alight to prevent the capture of supplies by the US Navy officers present. An attempt to seize some powder located outside the central city resulted in an explosion and death of several British soldiers. Within several hours almost all public buildings were on fire. The superintendent of the US Patient Office stepped in, many of the records from the patient office remained inside, and he convinced the British troops to spare the building. They agreed, and it remained unfired. A sudden storm blew through the city less than 24 hours after the destruction began torrential rains and the wind doused the blaze and forced Ross to retreat to the fleet.

Project:1812 - The Destruction of Washington
The US Treasury was also targeted with hopes of finding currency, they only found records. Today the Treasury stands next to the White House.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 100 (TMX) @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

But the damage was done, much of the city was in ashes. All that remained of the Presidential Mansion and the US Capitol was flame-scarred walls. Ross’s decision to burn the city saw criticism by both American and British Officials because such acts are commonly prevented by terms of surrender. During the American occupation of York, most of the destruction of the city had been carried out before Dearborn signed the surrender order. In Washington’s case, no terms were ever discussed, and when Ross actively entered the city to find an official, he was fired upon instead. But many citizens in the British Empire and especially up in Canada were pleased when news of the US Capital’s destruction reached them. Reverand John Strachan went so far as to write a letter to former US President Thomas Jefferson rubbing his nose in the action. President Madison and the rest of the US Government returned on 1 September, Madison issuing a proclamation that the local population should come back and defend the capital. Many in the government believed in the face of the attack the capital should be moved and rebuilt elsewhere. A bill that was quickly defeated. Reconstruction of the city would be slow; the Capitol would meet briefly in the patient office before the Old Brick Capitol was completed. The Presidential Mansion and Capitol would both be completed by 1818.

Project:1812 - The Destruction of Washington
The Octagon House where President Madison lived during the last months of the war, he would ratify the Treaty of Gent in a second-floor room now known as the Treaty Room.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 100 (TMX) @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

Today Washington DC is a thriving metropolis, the only two buildings that remain from the War of 1812 period is the US Capitol and the White House. For the White House, you can still see some surviving scars from the burning of 1814. Many of the other buildings that were destroyed have been rebuilt and demolished over the 200 years since. Today you can see some artifacts relating to the War of 1812 at the Museum of American History, part of the Smithsonian, although the Octagon House Museum where Madison setup the Executive Branch is a better choice as you can see both the Treaty Room and his Desk on which he conducted business.

Project:1812 - The Destruction of Washington
Today the old Patent Office is the Smithonian Gallery of American Art, this structure was built after the one saved in 1814 burned in 1838.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 100 (TMX) @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 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.
Hickey, Donald R. The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict. Urbana: U of Illinois, 1989. Print.
Lossing, Benson John. The Pictorial Field-book of the War of 1812 Volume 2. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub., 2003. Print.
Berton, Pierre. Flames across the Border, 1813-1814. Markham, Ont.: Penguin, 1988. Print.
McCavitt, John, and Christopher T. George. The Man Who Captured Washington: Major General Robert Ross and the War of 1812. Norman: U of Oklahoma, 2016. Print.

Project:1812 – Brigadier General William H Winder

Project:1812 – Brigadier General William H Winder

Brigadier General William H Winder, like many officers in the American Army, made a name for himself in the War of 1812, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Winder has been grouped by many in the same category as William Hull and is considered one of the worst generals of the war. The ill-starred general was born in 1775 near Baltimore, Maryland, Winder wound attend the University of Pennsylvania and study law and return to Baltimore and began to practice law in 1798 and earned a reputation for being one of the best lawyers in the entire state.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Fort George
The battle field from the capture of Fort George, now a Golf Course in Niagara-On-The-Lake.
Modified Anniversary Speed Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Fuji Neopan Acros 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak Tmax Developer (1+4) 5:30 @ 20C

Winder, being the nephew of the governor of Maryland was granted a commission of colonel when the war with England began in 1812, and he would be sent to the Niagara Frontier to join the shattered army, repulsed at Queenston Heights. The new commander of the army, General Alexander Smyth had his designs for the invasion of Upper Canada, and in November that same year Winder would command a relief force that was sent to rescue the trapped American soldiers and escape under fire from the British army who attacked Winder’s brigade at Frenchman’s Creek. General Smyth would be dismissed and would earn Winder a promotion to Brigadier General. When the American invaded again in the spring of 1813 Winder joined Dearborn’s army forcing the British army to fall back to Burlington Heights. Winder would join the occupation and lead a division to occupy the Gage Farm at Stoney Creek. In the resulting night assault by the British Winder found himself a prisoner of the British.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Stoney Creek
The monument to the Battle of Stoney Creek which saw both American generals taken prisoner.
Modified Anniversary Speed Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Ilford Ortho Copy Plus @ ASA-40 – PMK Pyro (1+2+100) 12:00 @ 20C

The general’s capture was a cause of great concern with news of poor treatment of American prisoners littered the newspapers. And much to their relief, Winder was exchanged in the summer of 1814 and returned home to Baltimore. When news of a British invasion reached Washington DC, President Madison and Secretary of War, John Armstrong created the 10th military district to defended the capital, and to the annoyance of Armstrong, President James Madison appointed General Winder to the post of commander of the new district. The President’s choice resulted in bad blood between Winder and Armstrong. While Winder did the minimum to inspect the area’s fortifications and militia troops he received little logistical support from the government. When the British landed in August 1814, Winder had to struggle to call up the area’s militia and divide the force as the British plans remained unclear. When Ross attacked, Winder out of fear moved back thinking that Ross would launch a night assault. Winder’s fear would spread, and when he arrived at Bladensburg, he found that the general there had given up a tactically sound position. And when Ross attacked, Winder was unable to control the retreat left the door open to Washington DC.

Project:1812 - Battle of Bladensburg
The new memorial to the Battle of Bladensburg in Bladensburg, Maryland.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

The defeat at Bladensburg and destruction of Washington would be laid squarely at Armstrong’s and Winder’s feet, while Armstrong would resign his post, Winder retained his commission but would never hold a senior command for the rest of the war, spending it on the Niagara frontier. After the war was over, he would return to Baltimore requesting a court of inquiry in an attempt to clear his name. The court would only give him the vague judgment that he was worthy of a better fate. Resigning his commission, Winder would return to his law practice. But the war had broken his health but not his spirit. He would go on to serve twice on the Senate of Maryland, and at the time of his death at the age of 42, his firm was one of the largest in Baltimore. His remains would be laid to rest at Greenmount Cemetary.

Project:1812 - General William H. Winder
General Winder’s grave at Greenmont Cemetary in Baltimore, Maryland.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

Written with Files from:
Mayer, Brantz. Baltimore: Past and Present, with Biographical Sketches of Its Representative Men. Baltimore: Richardson & Bennett, 1871. Print.
Web: casebook.thewarof1812.info/People_files/Winder/people_summary.html
Web: www.geni.com/people/Brig-General-William-Henry-Winder-USA/6000000000907794457

Project:1812 – The British Invasion Part I – Bladensburg

Project:1812 – The British Invasion Part I – Bladensburg

One of the most iconic and controversial campaigns of the Anglo-American War of 1812 are the British operations in the Chesapeake Bay region of the United States during the late summer and fall of 1814. This action was a true invasion; it was an attempt to force the US to sue for peace but on British terms, but it was more than that, it was revenge. It was the action that took the war to President Madison doorstep.

Project:1812 - Battle of Bladensburg
The Anacostia River as it stands today. The British would approach from this side, while the fighting would occur on the other side.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 100 (TMX) @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

Just as the war in North America started because of the war in Europe, so to the invasion of the American east coast was linked to the end of that war. Napoleon had in October 1813, lost the Battle of Leipzig and as a result, the allied nations had chased the French Emporer back to Paris and by the spring of 1814 Napoleon had abdicated ending the War of the Sixth Coalition. With Napoleon established as the king of the small island nation of Elba, Great Britain could turn their attention to the War in North America. Since March of 1813, the Royal Navy had established a blockade on the eastern seaboard and squadrons were raiding all along the coastline with little respect for American property. By 1814 several thousand British regular troops were beginning to arrive in the Canadas. A majority of these forces were put under General George Prevost’s command at Quebec City to affect an invasion of upstate New York which ultimately ended in disaster at the Battle of Plattsburg. A second group arrived in Halifax and under the command of General John Sherbrook successfully invaded what is today eastern Maine holding it under British control. The third and finally group acted on their own under one of Field Marshall Arthur Wellesley’s ( Lord Wellington) top commander, Major General Robert Ross. Ross’s army was attached to a squadron of 24 warships under Rear Admiral George Cockburn and consisted of 4,500 British Regulars. And these weren’t colonial troops; these men were battle-hardened in the fields of Europe. When word of Napoleon’s defeat reached Washington DC, the American capital, the government was not too concerned. Both the President and Secretary of War, John Armstrong, did not think that the British would attack the capital city. Washington DC offered little of strategic value; Armstrong was sure that the British would attack the larger port city of Baltimore and ordered that General Samuel Smith increases the defenses around the harbour city. Armstrong did create the 10th Military District to defend Washington DC but offered little help or support to the District’s commander, General William H Winder.

Project:1812 - Battle of Bladensburg
The Bladensburg Bridge today, today it carries US-1 into Washington DC.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 100 (TMX) @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

Winder and Armstrong did not see eye-to-eye. Armstrong would go out of his way to show his annoyance to Winder’s appointment to the district command, even blocking his attempts to call up the militia. Armstrong felt that the militia could be called up quickly to surprise any potential British invasion or attack. While Winder did inspect the region, he did little to shore up the defenses around the capital, either through his lack of desire, or lack of support from the government. The British, on the other hand, were in a much better position. Cockburn having been raiding along the coast for the better part of a year had a strong knowledge of the region and had even captured Tangier Island, a small island just outside of the Chesapeake Bay off the coast of Virginia. The island was to act as a staging ground for the British forces. Cockburn wished to launch a direct assault on Washington DC; Ross urged caution. He did not feel comfortable attacking without cavalry and artillery support, and there was the question of the small American naval force under Commodore Joshua Barney and his Chesapeake Bay Flotilla. The flotilla was the only thing keeping the British out of the bay, giving Winder a bit more time, and even though he could outnumber the British, at least on paper, he was commanding a mostly militia army that was both under trained and under equipped.

Project:1812 - Battle of Bladensburg
Eathworks in Fort Lincoln Cemetery represents both Fort Lincoln and Commodore Joshua Barney’s fortifications during the battle
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 100 (TMX) @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

While the two British commanders worked well together, they still had not agreed on a target, but they did agree it was time to make a move on the American mainland. Cockburn would take a small number of ships with his flagship, HM Frigate Menelaus (38) in the lead headed for Baltimore to throw off the Americans while another group of bomb and rocket ships made a successful raid against Alexandria, Virginia. Ross landed his troops on the 19th of August at Benedict, Maryland and began his march north. By the time he reached Nottingham, it was enough to scare Commodore Barney. Barney would order the flotilla scuttled and his men marched towards Bladensburg. At Bladensburg, Winder had ordered Brigadier General Tobias Stansbury to establish a defensive line at Bladensburg while he took a body of troops to occupy Long Old Fields (today the town is known as Forestville, Maryland). Winder was hoping to stop the British at Upper Malborough. Winder’s army engaged the British vanguard on the 22nd and gave Winder pause enough to pull back as Ross occupied Upper Malborough. From there, the British could strike at either Baltimore or Washington DC. At Bladensburg, Stansbury had established a strong defensive line controlling all roads leading into and out of the village and held the high ground. By the 23rd Ross had been convinced to attack Washington DC at the urging of Cockburn and the personal plea from General Prevost to avenge the wanton destruction of the village of Port Dover. Ross had two routes to choose from, if they went south, they would need to find a way to ford the Anacostia River or head north through Bladensburg which had a bridge across the river. On the 24th Ross first headed south then swung north. Winder though in a strong position to attack the British opted to retreat across the river destroying the bridge in the process out of fear of a night assault.

Project:1812 - Battle of Bladensburg
A memorial to Commodore Barney’s Marines that were the last to fall during the Battle of Bladensburg
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 100 (TMX) @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

At Bladensburg, news reached General Stansbury that Winder had abandoned Long Old Fields and the British were on the move. Stansbury, despite holding a strong position retreated across the river leaving the Bridge intact and reorganizing the men into three defensive lines. At Washington, it became apparent that the British were moving towards the capital and in a rush began to remove as much as they could from the government buildings in a mass exodus. Ross would be facing close to 5,000 American troops at Bladensburg, but only 1,000 of them were regulars a mix of US Infantry, US Dragoons, US Navy Sailors, and Marines. The remainder local Virginia and Maryland militia units supported by Artillery. Ross, on the other hand, had a mix of veteran troops from the Royal Marines, 4th, 21st, 44th, and 85th Regiments supported by Royal Marine Artillery and Rocket troops. As the British took the field, it became painfully clear that Stansbury in retreat across the river had been a tactical error. Had the American general stood his ground he would have made the British pay for every advance and engage them in dirty street fighting in the village. Ross’s officers would mock the appearance of the farmer’s army that they now faced across the river.

Project:1812 - Battle of Bladensburg
A close up on the plaque memorializing the battle
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 100 (TMX) @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

Seeing the bridge intact, Colonel William Thorton of the 85th Regiment along with other light troops took the lead and made to cross the bridge. The American artillery on the opposite bank did little to stop them. The light troops in skirmish order, spread out rather than tightly packed lines, made it difficult to hit them with solid round shot and the Americans lacked canister shot. Thorton’s steady advanced forced the American gunners and militia into a retreat. Winder upon seeing this made an attempt to drive off Thorton’s light brigade, only to have his flank turned by the 44th that had forded the river. With the reinforcements Thorton’s brigade pushed in against the American’s second line only to be repulsed, Thorton himself wounded in action. The 44th moved up and drove back the line. Winder in a panic ordered a general retreat. The militia fled in terror, and the word did not reach Barney and his sailors and Marines entrenched on a hill that made up the third and final line. Barney’s men held on the longest, taking the combined effort of the 4th and 44th to break through. The battle had turned into a route and Winder lost complete control over his men. The British would mock them calling it the Bladensburg Races as the militia fled towards Washington.

Project:1812 - Battle of Bladensburg
A memorial to the battle at the rather odd intersection of US-1 over the Anacostia River.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 100 (TMX) @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

The city already in general panic was not comforted by the sight of their militia fleeing in the streets. The action had cost the British, with 64 dead and 185 wounded. Many troops simply collapsed under the summer heat. The Americans counted only ten dead, four wounded, but the British had taken over 100 prisoners. They also carried off the field some American artillery pieces and the colours of two units, the 1st Hartford Light Dragoons, and the James City Light Infantry. Ross would wait, knowing that there was no way the Americans could secure the way to the capital. Washington was almost a ghost town, only a handful of people remained, most of the government had fled to Maryland or Virginia in the face of possible capture or death.

Project:1812 - Madison House
The home of Caleb Bentley, where President Madison fled to ahead of the British army. It still stands in nearly original shape today as a private home.
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Adox CHS100II @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+25) 5:00 @ 20C

Like many battlefields from the War of 1812, there is not much left of Bladensburg. The expansion and urbanization of the area have rendered the field all but covered up. The old Bladensburg Bridge although sketched by Lossing in the mid-19th century was replaced in the 20th-Century by the new US-1 bridge that now spans the river. The Bladensburg Waterfront Park has a visitor’s centre relating to the battle that featured artifacts from the battle on display.

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.
Hickey, Donald R. The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict. Urbana: U of Illinois, 1989. Print.
Lossing, Benson John. The Pictorial Field-book of the War of 1812 Volume 2. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub., 2003. Print.
Berton, Pierre. Flames across the Border, 1813-1814. Markham, Ont.: Penguin, 1988. Print.
McCavitt, John, and Christopher T. George. The Man Who Captured Washington: Major General Robert Ross and the War of 1812. Norman: U of Oklahoma, 2016. Print.

Project:1812 – Fort McHenry

Project:1812 – Fort McHenry

To the American people, Fort McHenry is the most important symbol to continuing American freedom in the face of the British Empire, due to one single action during the greater War of 1812. Situated on a spit of land and stands to this day watching over Baltimore’s harbor. The original fort, however, was not called McHenry, but rather Fort Whetstone. Constructed on Whetstone Point, the five-point star earthworks fort was placed in an ideal spot to defend the city without its guns endangering the city itself. Whetstone was constructed by the Continental Army to defend Baltimore against potential British attacks which never materialized. But the end of the American Revolution it became clear that a stronger defensive position would be needed.

Project:1812 - Fort McHenry
The Main gate of the fort. The flag pole to the left is where the star spangled banner still flies today. Just not when I was there, too windy.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

By 1797, the War Department earmarked 20,000$ for improvements at Whetstone Point. Construction of a new masonry fort began in 1798 based on a design by Jean Foncin with the construction of the new fort was completed in 1800. The new fortification would take the name Fort McHenry, named for the Secretary of War, James McHenry. McHenry served in the post under two American Presidents, George Washington and John Adams and had approved the construction of the new post. The new fort was again a start design, but where Whetstone had points, McHenry had bastions ensuring that there would not be any blind spots. Inside the fort stood stone barracks, a powder magazine and separate quarters for the commanding officer. The fort’s guns would ensure that no ship could easily approach Baltimore, and a dry ditch surrounding the fort ensured that an infantry assault would be suicide for any attacker.

Project:1812 - Fort McHenry
A War of 1812 era gun battery display outside of the fort. Most of the fort’s displayed artillery dates to the Civil War
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

And it worked, for a majority of the War, Fort McHenry stood as a silent sentry over Baltimore. As the war moved into the second year, the city of Baltimore prepared for any attack as the Royal Navy stepped up their operations along the eastern seaboard. While General Samuel Smith fortified the city, the new commander of Fort McHenry, Major George Armistead, began to upgrade the fort’s defenses. And added a personal touch, a new garrison flag made by a local woman to rival the flag he had at his former post, Fort Niagara. And on 13 September 1814, the attack did come. A British assault fleet would over the course of 27 hours fire over 2,000 projectiles at a range of 3 kilometers at the fort. McHenry would only suffer damage to the powder magazine (thoughtfully emptied) and one of its bastions. The British would withdraw having failed to break the fort. The attack, witnessed by Francis Scott Key, would inspire the Washington Lawyer to pen the poem “The Defense of Fort M’Henry.”

Project:1812 - Fort McHenry
Two barracks upon entering the fort proper. During the War of 1812 they only had a single story.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

During the middle of the 19th Century, the fort’s internal buildings would be expanded or replaced with new construction. When the United States was torn in two during the American Civil War, Fort McHenry would serve a dual purpose. A new battery of Rodman Guns served to train artillery crews posted to more frontline forts. The second, darker purpose, was a military prison. Fort McHenry housed both Confederate soldiers captured in battle but also local citizens feared to have leanings towards the Confederate States of America. In an odd twist of irony, Francis Key Howard, the grandson of Francis Scott Key, was held at the fort. The fort would continue to serve the armed services as a general hospital when the United States entered the First World War and as a training base for the Coast Guard during the Second World War.

Project:1812 - Fort McHenry
A battery of Rodman Guns from the Civil War. They were undergoing restoration when I visited.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

By the 20th Century, the fort already was designated as a national park (1925) and a national monument and historic shrine (1939) it finally received a national historic place designation in 1966. The fort also holds the honour of being the first place any newly designed American flag would fly before being widely distributed due to the now famous Star Spangled Banner, the large garrison flag Armistead had ordered in 1813. Today the fort is one of Baltimore’s popular tourist destinations. Most of the buildings constructed during the First and Second World Wars have been torn down and the fort today appears as it would have during the American Civil War. As for Armistead’s Star Spangled Banner, that flag is now displayed on permanent collection at the Smithsonian in Washington DC.

Project:1812 - Fort McHenry
A statue of Artmistead, the fort’s celebrity commander.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 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.
Hickey, Donald R. The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict. Urbana: U of Illinois, 1989. Print.
Lossing, Benson John. The Pictorial Field-book of the War of 1812 Volume 2. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub., 2003. Print.
Web: www.nps.gov/fomc/index.htm
Web: wardepartmentpapers.org/document.php?id=27413
Web: www.hahs.us/flags/r18.pdf

Project:1812 – Rear Admiral Sir Robert Barrie KCB, KCH

Project:1812 – Rear Admiral Sir Robert Barrie KCB, KCH

Robert Barrie is one of the more unique people related to the War of 1812 that I have researched and written on. While he managed to earn a disreputable reputation among the American population among the British and Canadians whom he interacted with he was well liked and respected. Barrie was born on the 5th of May 1774 in Florida, which at the time was still under British Rule, the son of Doctor Robert Barrie and Dolly Gardner. Despite his birth in North America he was raised in England. After his father passed away when he was still an infant his mother would move back to England. Following his schooling he was sent to sea as servant to his Uncle, Alan Gardner in 1788. Barrie would find his calling at sea. He was not to remain a servant for long and was commissioned as a midshipman in the Royal Navy and posted to the HM Ship Goliath (74). This was followed, with the influence of his uncle, now a Rear Admiral had Barrie posted to the HM Ship Discovery (10) under Captain George Vancouver. Vancouver would lead a mission along what would become British Columbia. Barrie’s performance during the cruise would see him promoted to Lieutenant in 1795 upon the Discovery’s return to England. Barrie continued to serve as a Lieutenant aboard the Discovery through to 1801. A quick promotion to commander and then to captain followed. He would be assigned to the HM Sloop Calypso (16). As the war against France heated up he would soon find himself in command of the HM Frigate Pomone (38). His ship would patrol through the English Channel and into the Mediterranean. It was during this time he would earn a reputation of being a ruthless captain dedicated to the distruction of the enemy. The Pomone would capture two notable prisoners during her cruise, Chevalier Charles de Boissi, the Adjutant General of France and Lucien Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother. Barrie’s exploits would also see he destroy fortifications along the Corsican coast. During his final voyage, Barrie was assigned to transport the British Ambassador to Persia back to England, the Pomone sank just off Portsmouth without any loss of life. The tribunal would acquit Barrie of the loss of the ship and he would soon find a new command aboard the HM Ship Dragon (74) and would be assigned the North American Station.

A Lone Reminder
The lone gravemarker in Hampden, ME of two British troops killed during the action
Sony a6000 – Sony E PZ 16-50mm 1:3.5-5.6 OSS

Barrie and the Dragon would arrive shortly after the British declaration of war against the United States in October 1812. While he didn’t hate the Americans he did view them as the enemy and proceeded to act against them as he did against the French and behaved towards them as he interpreted the rules of war. During his service on the blockade, Barrie and his squadron destroyed or captured seventy-two American merchant ships earning the captain a loathsome reputation among the Americans along the eastern seaboard. A reputation he would solidify. The Dragon joined the Sherbrooke Expedition to capture the district of Maine in the Fall of 1814, and Barrie would be assigned to capture the disabled US Frigate Adams (20). The actions of Barrie following the battle of Hampden which scattered any American resistance in the region and the burning and looting of Hampden and Bangor by British soldiers and sailors left a lasting anti-British sentiment in the region. To Barrie, the Americans, like the French were the enemy, he had no mercy or humanity for the enemy. It wasn’t that he hated the Americans, he just saw them as the bad guys, and proceeded to treat them as such. Barrie hoped that his efforts would secure Maine for the British, but it wasn’t to be.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Hamden
Bald Head Cove, where Barrie landed his force before marking on Hampden and Bangor, ME
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – FA-1027 (1+14) 5:00 @ 20C

After the war ended men like Barrie were not in high demand and he was retired on half pay in England. He would take the time to marry Julia Wharton Ingilby in 1816 and the couple moved to France briefly. Barrie would return to Canada in 1819 as the commissioner at the Kingston Naval Yard. Barrie would oversee the expansion of the naval yard and several of the buildings such as the Stone Frigate still stand today as part of the Royal Military Academy. Barrie would also oversee the reduction in the great lakes squadrons under the terms of the Rush-Baggot Agreement and advised for the selling off of any remaining ships held in ordinary. When the Great Lakes Squadron was formally stood down Barrie continued to busy himself working on the International Boundary Commission and championed the Hydrographic Survey of the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. He also had a hand in planning and constructing the Welland and Rideau Canals.

Project:1812 - Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard
The Stone Frigate as it stands today at the Royal Military Academy
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Tmax 100 (100TMX) – Blazinal (1+50) 12:00 @ 20C

Barrie would return briefly to Canada in 1825, serving as an advisor to the defense of Canada to the Admiralty before returning in 1827 to his post at the dockyard at Kingston, now at the rank of Commodore First Class. He would oversee the commissioning of the first gunboat built under the Rush-Baggot Agreement, the HM Schooner Cockburn (1). His service would last until 1834 when the Kingston Dockyards closed and the Cockburn ordered paid off. Upon his return to England he was invested as a Knight Commander of the Royal Guelphic Order. He would be promoted to Rear-Admiral in 1837 and in 1840 invested as a Knight Commander in the Order of the Bath. Barrie would pass away on the 7th of June, 1841.

The Dreamcatcher
The Dreamcatcher — Stands today at Barrie, Ontario a town named for Robert Barrie
Intrepid – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Adox CHS 100 II – Blazinal (1+25) 5:00 @ 20C

Despite his churlish behaviour during the war towards the enemy. Barrie was well liked among his peers in the Canadian provinces. While he wanted to run for a seat in the provincial legislature he never did under the advisement of Rear Admiral Cockburn. Nevertheless his mark was clearly left on the country he served well. His work at the Kingston Dockyards still stand today as part of the Royal Military Academy as does two towns named in his honour, Barrie, Ontario and Barriefield, Ontario. Barrie Island on Lake Huron as well as Barrie Point and Barrie Reach in British Columbia.

Written with Files from:
Web: www.biographi.ca/en/bio/barrie_robert_7E.html
Young, George F. W. The British Capture & Occupation of Downeast Maine, 1814-1815/1818. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Hickey, Donald R. Don’t Give up the Ship!: Myths of the War of 1812. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2006. Print.
Lossing, Benson John. The Pictorial Field-book of the War of 1812 Volume 2. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub., 2003. Print.

Project:1812 – Commodore Charles Morris

Project:1812 – Commodore Charles Morris

Commodore Charles Moris, commander of the American forces during the British invasion of what is today Maine, a man who devoted his life to a single organization, the United States Navy. Born on 26 July 1784 in Woodstock, Maine, and at the age of 15 was commissioned with the rank of Midshipman in the fledgling US Navy. His early service took him to the Mediterranian during the two wars against the Barbary Pirates and then the Quasi-War with France. During this time he saw a promotion to Lieutenant. When he returned to the United States, he was promoted to Commander and assigned as the second in command of the US Frigate Constitution (52).

Project:1812 - USS Constitution
The USS Constitution was the first ship Morris served on during the War of 1812 as the executive officer.
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 (Green Filter) – Blazinal 1+25 6:00 @ 20C

When war broke out with England, Morris and the Consitution cruised against British military and merchant vessels along the eastern seaboard. The most famous of these actions saw the Constution defeat the HM Frigate Guerriere (50) earning Morris a serious wound and the nickname “Old Ironsides” applied to the Constitution. In March of 1813, Morris would see a promotion to Captain and a command of his own in the form of the US Brig Adams (27). Morris and the crew of the Adams managed to give the slip to the Royal Navy blockade of the east coast and begin to raid along both the American, British, and African shores. The Adams managed to capture ten merchantmen and three warships. His return voyage saw the ship run aground on Isle Au Haut off the Maine coast. Skillful seamanship assisted in allowing the Adams to limp up the Penobscot River to Hampden to conduct repairs at the town’s wharf.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Hamden
The Hampden Academy building served as a meeting house during Morris’ meeting with the local population ahead of the Battle of Hampden.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – FA-1027 (1+14) 5:00 @ 20C

Morris found himself trapped along with his ship when General John Sherbrooke blockaded the Penobscot River and led an all-out invasion of eastern Maine in the late summer of 1814. Captain Morris at the urging of the local community took command with the assistance of General Blake, the local militia commander. Despite his misgivings about the local militia forces, he reinforced the lines using his men and guns from the Adams. When the center of his line crumbled in the face of the British army, Morris had little choice but to retreat. He sent the Adams to the bottom of the river and ordered his crew to retreat to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. As a testament to his leadership skills, not a single man deserted on the overland march.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Hamden
Looking out in the direction in which the British forces under Commodore Barrie attacked.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – FA-1027 (1+14) 5:00 @ 20C

Despite having lost the battle, Morris remained in the service of the US Navy after the war. When word reached the United States that Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry had taken ill, Morris, now a commodore as well, was ordered south to take command of the squadron along with his flagship, US Frigate Constellation (48). Morris would pick up where Perry left off and successfully negotiated several treaties and establish friendly relations with the new republics of South America. Morris would continue to command two American Squadrons, first in Brazil and then in the Mediterranean. After returning to the United States, he would go on to serve as the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, Chief of the Bureau of Construction Equipment, and the Naval Commissioner. At the time of his death, Morris held the second highest rank in the US Navy. His son-in-law arranged for an ornate headstone in Washington’s Oak Hill Cemetery. Seven US Navy ships have been named for Commodore Morris, most bearing the name USS Morris the last of these, a Patrol Ship served from 1943 to 1960, the USS Commodore Morris served as a gunboat for the Union during the American Civil War. A street is named in his honour at the Washington Navy Yards.

Written With Files From:
Young, George F. W. The British Capture & Occupation of Downeast Maine, 1814-1815/1818. Print.
Lossing, Benson John. The Pictorial Field-book of the War of 1812 Volume 2. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub., 2003. Print.
Morris, Charles, and Frederick C. Leiner. The Autobiography of Commodore Charles Morris, US Navy. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute, 2002. Print.