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Journal of the War of 1812
An International Journal Dedicated to the Last Anglo-American War, 1812-1815
Articles of Interest:
A House Divided: The N.Y. Election of 1813
The Original Six Frigates of the U.S. Navy
Hoffmaster's Homage to Horseshoe Bend
Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton
Preparing the U.S. Navy for War
Features: Bicentennial Commissions in Michigan and Maryland; Montana
during the War of 1812; Visiting Vergennes, Vermont; and More...
SPECIAL FEATURE: The Earmarks of 1812
Winter 2010-2011
Vol. 13, No. 4
Subscription Rates/
Information Inside
Journal of the War of 1812
Volume XIII, No. 4, WINTER 2011
An International Journal Dedicated
to the Last Anglo-American War,
the submission to its publication may be up to six
months in this quarterly magazine. Authors will
be notified should the estimated publication date
exceed six months.
All submission should be sent as simple Word 97
documents without any codes embedded for
headings or other formatting. Font should be
Times New Roman, font size 12, left justified.
Editor – Harold W. Youmans
Co-Editor – Christopher T. George
Footnotes must be numbered using Arabic and
not Roman numerals.
Editorial Advisors:
Important: Images must not be embedded in the
text of a document and must be submitted
separately, either in electronic format or clean
hard copy. Electronic copies should be JPEG
files, 300 dpi.
Mary Jo Cunningham, Editor Emeritus
Board of Scholastic Advisors:
Rene Chartrand, Hull, Quebec; Donald E.
Graves, Almonte, Ontario; Martin K. Gordon,
American Military University; Donald R. Hickey,
Wayne State College; Michael D. Harris,
Newburg, MO; Kathy Lee Erlandson Liston,
Brookneal, VA; Gene A. Smith, Texas Christian
University; Joseph A. Whitehorne, Middletown,
Authors are responsible for securing permission
to publish copyrighted material.
The Editor reserves the right to make minor
spelling, grammatical or syntax changes to any
submission. Authors will be contacted should
their work require any substantive changes or if
their submission is unsuitable for publication.
Contact the Editor at 13194 US Highway 301
South, #360, Riverview, Florida 33578-7410; Tel:
813.671.8852; Fax: 813.671.8853.
Single issue costs $5.00 US or four issues for
$17.50 US, $19.50 other countries. All checks
must be in US dollars drawn on a US bank and
sent to: Journal of the War of 1812, 802 Kingston
Road, Baltimore, MD 21212, USA.
Subscription questions Call: 813.671.8852.
Authors are encouraged to request and/or
consult the War of 1812 Consortium's Ten-Year
Publication Plan for the Journal's current and
upcoming needs and the Submission Guidelines.
Both are available on request. Contact the Editor
at email: <[email protected]>.
Authors should note that the time from receipt of
At present the Consortium does not pay for
submissions. Authors affiliated with bona fide
historical organizations or societies may receive
free notices of their organization's War of 1812
related activities in the Journal and these
organizations or societies may be otherwise
further profiled in the Journal.
The Journal of the War of 1812 (ISSN 15241459) is published quarterly by The War of 1812
Consortium, Inc., 802 Kingston Road, Baltimore,
MD 21212. Postmaster: Send address changes
to The War of 1812 Consortium, Inc., 13194 U.S.
Highway 301 South, #360, Riverview, FL 335787140, USA.
Copyright © 2011 by The War of 1812
Consortium, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Journal of the War of 1812
An International Journal Dedicated to the last Anglo-American War, 1812-1815
Volume XIII, No. 4, Winter 2011
2 | Editor's Quoin
The “Unknown Unknowns” of 1811
3 | Email and Letters
A potpourri of future ideas
9 | The Documents
Madison calls for the “War Hawk” Congress
to meet in November 1811
17 | War Leader Profile
Under Fire, Secretary of the Navy Paul
Hamilton prepares the U.S. Navy for war
24 | War of 1812 Microscope on
The USS Chesapeake at Gosport Navy
25 | Visit 1812
War of 1812 Sites in and near Vergennes,
by Harold W. Youmans
Examines the striking power of the U.S. Navy in
by Harvey Sturm
Concluding Part: Republicans and Federalists
battle at the ballot box in the midst of war
by Thomas W. Murrey, Jr.
New personal stories and literature emerge from
the classic battlefield
26 | State Profile
Montana and the War of 1812
4 | “England Calling” and the Michigan
Commission on the Commemoration of the
Bicentennial of the War of 1812
27 | War of 1812 Chronology
The U.S. Navy Prepared for War
5 | Bicentennial action in Missouri, Maryland and
28 | Subscriptions and Advertising
Prices will change on March 1, 2011; Ad
space available
23 | Friends of Horseshoe Bend: A welcome
addition at the National Military Park
NEXT ISSUE: The French and the War
COVER PHOTO: Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton
The “Unknown Unknowns” of 1811
In historians' discussion of America's march to
war in 1812, little has been written about the
events in 1811. Relations with Britain had been
up and down since 1783. Britain had to deal with
the perceived threats from Revolutionary France
in the late eighteenth century and from Napoleon
(1769-1821) in the early nineteenth century.
The war between Britain and France had resumed
in 1803 and in the intervening time came the
Chesapeake Incident, the Rule of 1756
enforcement, British intrigues with the western
Indians, and impressment, each of which focused
the minds of American leaders. Ever hopeful,
Jefferson (1743-1826) and James
Madison (1751-1836) had pursued progressively
coercive economic retaliation in an effort to
promote a more conciliatory Britain. Their efforts
were to fail by June 1812.
Nonetheless during the Winter of 1810-11 there
was renewed American optimism. There were
domestic political stirrings in Britain that may,
just may, presage a new policy. King George III
(1738-1820) had finally been declared
irrevocably insane following the death of his
favorite, Princess Amelia (1783-1810). His son,
the Prince Regent, later George IV (1762-1830)
was a different fellow who had toyed with both
the hard-line Tories and with the realistic and
commercially-minded Whigs.
A lean towards the Tories would lead to a
quickened march to war; a lean toward the
followers of America's friend, Alexander Baring
(1774-1848), and the march would lead to
conciliation and peace. Yes, 1811 was to be the
year. There were still “unknown unknowns”
ahead, but it could not go on much longer.
February 3rd, 1811, is not a date that quickly
comes to mind when historians assemble
chronologies of the War of 1812, but on that date
perhaps the most significant pre-war political
event of the age occurred. With authority granted
by the Regency Act, the Prince, on that day, sent
the message: Spencer Perceval's (1762-1812)
ministry was to stay in office.
The view of Madison and Henry Clay (17771852) that the ascendancy of the Prince Regent
would lead to a repeal of the Orders in Council
was dashed. The further diplomatic efforts of
William Pinkney (1764-1822) as American
ambassador in London and those of Augustus J.
Foster (1780-1848), the Prince's man in
Washington, were to come to naught.
In July 1811, Madison directed the convening of
what turned out to be the War Hawk Congress
with Henry Clay as the Speaker of the House for
the following November, and Perceval, brushing
aside Whig suggestions, continued to pursue the
policies in effect since 1807 that were inimical to
the Americans.
Assessing the attitudes of Madison and the
Congress given what they knew in the spring of
1811 is difficult.
There were still many
“unknowns” ahead. The U.S. would reinstate
Non-Intercourse against Britain. The USS
President would strike back at impressment
during the Little Belt Affair. Westerners would
strike at Tecumseh's Indian confederation at
in Indiana Territory. Georgians
would encourage “revolt” in Spanish East
Florida. And the British ... they would begin
their steady march through the Iberian Peninsula
under the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) that
would lead to Napoleon's first abdication.
Neither Perceval's death at the hand of a lunatic
in April 1812 nor a firm inclination by the Earl of
Liverpool (1770-1828), his successor, that the
Orders in Council would be withdrawn were
enough to head off the declaration of war on June
18th, 1812. The final slide toward war was
underway. That slide began on February 3rd,
1811, when the future King George IV, supported
one of his “known knowns,” a political party
whose policies would lead to war with America.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 2.
Reader John Pauly, near Buffalo, New York,
continues to provide a wealth of ideas and
questions to keep your Journal staff hoping.
Within the past three months we have had a
vigorous round of both “kudos” and questions
regarding the War and our reporting of it.
A sampler of the very useful dialog:
What was the name of the schooner sunk by US
artillery during the November 21-22, 1812, duel
between Fort Niagara and Fort George? The
answer may have to wait until we visit Fort
Niagara in 2012 where the Old Fort Niagara
Association will commemorate the duel.
What are the types and numbers of ship's boats
on board the USS Constitution during the war?
How were they carried and stored? My personal
research leads me to believe that, like the guns,
individual ship's Captains had their own favorites
or were stuck with what was close at hand prior
to running the British blockade.
Were the special talents of the British 95th Rifles
“wasted” at New Orleans? By the time readers
get this issue of the Journal the Editor would
have been to New Orleans and this is a good
question to pose to re-enactors there.
When will we see an article on British bomb
vessels? Pick up those pens and pencils, class!
Is there a good bibliography on War of 1812
fiction? Your Editor has a list of over 200 novels
of the era. Worth an upcoming article.
Mr. Pauly also has an interest in expanding our
list of subscribers. Most of his suggestions are
already part of our efforts and perhaps we should
spend more time explaining our marketing plan.
Thanks for the Buffalo, NY, articles, too.
This Journal has taken note of the national debate
regarding Congressional earmarks and was
impressed by the bit of historical research
undertaken by Jamie Dupree and published on
the Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog December
19, 2010. While “earmarks” can be traced to the
very first Congress in 1791, our interest was
drawn to the tasty morsel served up to Virginia
just two days before the Declaration of War in
1812. That's right, the “War Hawk” Congress
had more on it's collective mind than how to
wrestle with the Royal Navy.
On June 17, 1812, as recorded in the Acts Passed
at the First Session of the Twelfth Congress of the
United States, on page 321, proudly there rests
“An Act authorizing the cutting and making a
canal from the river Potomac around to the west
end of the dam or causeway from Mason's
island...” The land was in Virginia.
E-gawd! An earmark! Pork! Waste! Bacon
brought home! In the early Congresses, it was all
roads and canals; today, it's studying why college
kids drink. Well, for $800,000, even your humble
Editor could answer that one.
And there was one more significant earmark
debate in 1812. What was really the proper venue
for the United States Military Academy?
Washington was that nation's capital, after all.
No, Virginia was central. No, Carlisle,
Pennsylvania, had better weather. In the end, on
April 24, 1812, Congress voted 67-36 to keep the
Academy on the banks of the Hudson. It may
have been the view from Patriot's Point.
As the debate heats up in the coming year, keep
in mind, southern California, the Boulder Dam
was an earmark.
(P.S.: Congress hasn't changed all that much. In
the reported 1812 canal legislation was the power
to levy both a property tax and a personal,
occupational tax on residents in Alexandria,
Virginia, to pay for it.)
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 3.
The Journal heard this Fall from our friends at
Dartmoor Prison in Princetown, England.
Corrections Officer Michael Chamberlain sent
several useful photographs which will grace the
pages of this Journal in future issues.
Commemoration of the Bicentennial of the War
of 1812 has formally announced their “After
Tippecanoe” Symposium for November 8, 2011,
in Detroit. Your Journal will be there.
For those that don't know, the original 1809
buildings, collectively, the “War Prison,” are still
in use. Modern facilities in this prison hold those
least likely to escape from British confinement.
The prison today is a training institution where
inmates learn bricklaying, woodworking, etc. To
some, there (and here), it is problematic whether
these rudimentary courses lead to jobs once the
prisoners are released.
Problematic, too, are the recently announced
national austerity measures throughout England.
This could lead to a closing of Her Majesty's
Prison at Dartmoor. Hopefully someone has a
plan to save the memorial to the Americans held
there during and after the War of 1812.
The photo shown here is an aerial view of today's
facility (Does it look familiar?)
General William Hull
War of 1812 authors Phil Porter, Anthony Yanik,
Sandy Antal, Dwight Teeple, Ralph Naveaux
Gene Smith, Art Woodford and David Skaggs are
lined up to give quality presentations at the
Symposium. Journal of the War of 1812 Editor,
Harold Youmans, will also be a presenter.
The event is co-sponsored by the Detroit
Historical Society and the Michigan Council for
History Education. The Commission is charged
with encouraging, planning, and developing
activities, events, programs, observances and
services appropriate to commemorate Michigan's
role in the War of 1812.
Editor's Note: The “Dartmoor Riot” wherein
American Prisoners were killed and wounded
occurred April 16, 1815.
A continental breakfast and lunch will be served.
The symposium fee is $95. For more information
on the location and time, contact Jim McConnell
(<[email protected]>), this Journal, or the
Commission at <>.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 4.
Coordinator and period re-enactor David Bennett
(<[email protected]>) has announced the
dates for the 21st War of 1812 in the West
Symposium. Mid-country enthusiasts will gather
at the General Daniel Bissell House in St. Louis
Missouri, on March 26-27, 2011. This is the
longest running forum of its kind in the United
The Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial
Commission is busy. In December, 2010, the
Commission met with Maryland Governor
Martin O'Malley to discuss regional planning
efforts, transportation and other capital
infrastructure projects, its companion non-profit
fund-raiser, Star-Spangled 200, Inc., reported.
The event is expected to be sponsored by the St.
Louis County Parks and the 1st U. States Infantry
Clemson's Company (Recreated). Other historical
organizations are encouraged to attend and
The program is being assembled as the Journal
goes to press. The Editor of the Journal will
present a new examination of “Detroit under
British Martial Law in 1812-1813.”
The Bissell House is located at 10225
Bellefontaine Road in St. Louis. Call Dave
Bennett at 816.582.0280 or St. Louis Parks at
314.544.6224. Mr. Bennett's long range plans has
the 2012 event at Fort Osage, 2013 in Arrow
Rock, Missouri, and 2014, returning to St. Louis.
Here are several other events long-range planners
and travelers can note:
September 1-2, 2012
The Annual War of 1812 Encampment at Old Fort
Niagara, Youngstown, NY. Contact: Eric Bloomquist
at <[email protected]>.
September 8-9, 2012
The 200th Anniversary Commemoration of the Siege
of Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, IN. Contact:
<> or call 260.437.2836.
November 17-18, 2012
The American Garrison Weekend honoring the
heroine, Betsy Doyle, at Old Fort Niagara,
Youngstown, NY. Contact: Eric Bloomquist at
<[email protected]>.
Headquartered within the Office of Tourism
Development, Maryland Department of Business
& Economic Development at Baltimore, the
Commission is the focal point for all things
“1812” in Maryland and the region. Information,
news, links, grant deadlines, and more is found in
its' e-newsletter, “KEY NOTES,” available at
<>. Asked to be placed
on their mailing list.
Another great source for bicentential events along
the New York-Canadian border is the Binational
Economic & Tourism Alliance with offices both
in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, and Buffalo,
New York.
The Alliance can be contacted through Ms. Helga
Honey (<[email protected]>) or
Arlene White (<[email protected]>).
They will get you on their listing for an enewsletter that provides information such as:
March 10-12, 2011
Binational Economic & Tourism Summit in Niagara
Falls, Ontario.
June 17-19, 2011
The Binational Doors Open Niagara 2011 event.
This is a must-visit site for those planning to
travel to the area during the bicentennial period.
Please, contact the Journal of the War of 1812
(<[email protected]>) if you have any
trouble making the connection.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 5.
The Original Six Frigates of the United States Navy
by Harold W. Youmans
The United States Congress authorized the original six frigates of the United States Navy with the Naval Act of
27 March 1794. Built during the formative years of the U.S. Navy, designer Joshua Humphreys recommended a
fleet of frigates powerful enough to engage other frigates of the French or British navies while being fast enough
to evade a ship of the line. How did we do?
USS Constitution
USS Constitution
The USS Constitution, named by President Washington, is
the most famous of the six original frigates and the
centerpiece at the Charleston Navy Yard near Boston, MA,
her birthplace. This sister ship of the 44-gun USS United
States and USS President displaced 2,200 tons and had a
complement of 450 seamen. Built by George Claghorn
under the superintendency of Samuel Nicholson, she was
launched on October 21, 1797. Pre-war experiences
against the French during the Quasi-War and against the
Barbary Pirates kept her in commission. In 1811 she
delivered Ambassador Joel Barlow to France. During the
war she defeated, in turn, four British warships: HMS
Guerriere, HMS Java, HMS Cyane and HMS Levant,
earning the nickname, “Old Ironsides.” The ship remains
the oldest commissioned vessel afloat in the world and a
proud part of today's United States Navy.
USS United States
USS United States
The USS United States was a “super-frigate.” Built at
Philadelphia, PA, by Naval Constructor Joshua Humphreys
and Superintendent John Barry, President Washington
picked the name from the list of suggestions supplied and
the vessel hit the water May 10, 1797. She had several
successful cruises in the Quasi War with France and was
the vessel designated to take the peace envoys to France in
1800. The ship was decommissioned in 1801 and missed
any service in the Barbary War. By 1810, under Stephen
Decatur she was brought back into service, refitted at
Norfolk, VA, and joined John Rodgers' squadron at New
York in 1811. On October 30, 1812, she met and defeated
the HMS Macedonian. Forced into New London, CT, she
remained blockaded until the end of the war. The USS
United States remained in active service until 1849. In
ordinary at Norfolk, she was captured by Confederate
forces in 1861. When returned to Union control she was
ordered broken up for her wood in 1864.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 6.
USS President
USS President
The USS President was a 44-gun frigate, displacing 2,200
tons and carrying 450 men. Named by George Washington,
she was built at New York City by Naval Constructor
Forman Cheeseman and Superintendent Silas Talbot. In
1796 construction on the President was halted, Talbot and
Cheeseman were laid off and some construction materials
were sold or placed in storage. Construction resumed after
revelation of the XYZ Affair. The USS President was
completed and launched April 10, 1800, the last of the
original six frigates to be completed. Activities before the
War of 1812 included cruises against the French between
August 1800 and March 1801 under Thomas Truxton, two
cruises against the Tripolitan pirates before 1805 under
Richard Dale and later Samuel Barron, and the nowfamous encounter with the HMS Little Belt in May 1811,
under John Rodgers. At the beginning of the War of 1812,
still under Rodgers, she was the flagship of the squadron
based in New York City, and sailed June 21, 1812, on the
first of three war cruises. Taken from Stephen Decatur by
the British in 1815 after the signing of the Treaty of Ghent,
she sailed under a British flag until broken up in 1818.
USS Chesapeake
USS Chesapeake
The USS Chesapeake was a 38-gun frigate. If the USS
Constitution was “a most fortunate ship,” the USS
Chesapeake, 13% smaller, was perhaps “a most
unfortunate ship.” She was built at Gosport, VA, launched
on December 2, 1799 after major design changes offered
by Josiah Fox, and seemed destined for a short span of
service. (See this Issue's War of 1812 Microscope feature:
“The USS Chesapeake at Gosport Navy Yard.”) She was
fired on and badly damaged by HMS Leopard on June 22,
1807, leading to a further souring of US-British relations.
During the War she accepted a challenge by the HMS
Shannon and was taken off Boston, MA, on June 1, 1813,
after her mortally wounded Captain, James Lawrence,
exclaimed: “Don't Give Up the Ship.” The USS
Chesapeake was broken up and sold at Portsmouth,
England, in 1820, the timbers being used to build a local
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 7.
USS Constellation
USS Constellation
The USS Constellation was launched at Baltimore, MD,
on September 7, 1797, as a 38-gun frigate. Thomas
Truxtun was the Superintendent. At launching she
displaced 1,265 tons and was manned by a crew of 340.
Under Truxtun this ship fought the French frigates
l'Insurgente (1799) and La Vengeance (1800), during the
Quasi-War with France. She was in the Mediterranean
from 1801 through 1805 and in August 1805 withdrew a
certain detachment of U.S. Marines from “the shores of
Tripoli” at Derna. Leaking badly, she was returned to the
United States and placed in ordinary at Washington until
March, 1812, when she was refitted. Seeking escape from
Chesapeake Bay under Charles Stewart in 1813, she was
trapped and blockaded at Norfolk for the duration of the
War. There has always been a question of how much of
the original USS Constellation was incorporated into the
ship of the same name built in 1854.
USS Congress
USS Congress
The USS Congress was a 38-gun frigate. Its construction,
authorized in 1794, was halted in 1796 upon the arrival of
peace with Algiers. With a weakening foreign relations
posture in the United States in 1798, building resumed at
Portsmouth, NH, under Naval Constructor James Hackett
and Superintendent James Sever. The USS Congress was
launched August 15, 1799. Her first cruise to the West
Indies was a disaster when her masts were destroyed in a
gale. Six months under repair, she sailed south again to
uneventful patrols. The ship was in the Mediterranean in
1804-1805. After service as a floating classroom, she
joined Rodgers in New York in 1811 and under Captain
John Smith made three war cruises taking a limited
number of merchant vessels each time. In need of
additional repair and blockaded she was placed in ordinary
in late 1813. Recommissioned after the war, she was the
first U.S. warship to visit China (1819) and had fleet
missions until ordered broken up in 1834.
NOTE: “In Ordinary” is a term used to describe a ship fully equipped for service but not currently needed.
Ships “in ordinary” may be partially or fully decommissioned.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 8.
The Documents
The “War Hawk” Congress is Called into Session
Whereas great and weighty matters claiming the consideration of the Congress of the United
States form an extraordinary occasion for convening them, I do by these presents appoint Monday, the
4th day of November next, for their meeting at the city of Washington, hereby requiring the respective
Senators and Representatives then and there to assemble in Congress, in order to receive such
communications as may then be made to them, and to consult and determine on such measures as in
their wisdom may be deemed meet for the welfare of the United States
In testimony whereof I have caused the seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed,
and signed the same with my hand.
Done at the city of Washington, the 24th day of July, A.D. 1811,
and of the Independence of the United States the thirty-sixth.
By the President:
Secretary of State
This proclamation was published in the National Intelligencer, July 25, 1811. Elections do have
consequences and the mid-term elections of 1810 brought a new, aggressive leadership into the Congress.
Fewer appeasers and peace-seekers roamed the halls. The War Hawks had arrived and took their places
on the committees of influence. New political alignments had formed.
Henry Clay was elected Speaker of the House. John C. Calhoun and Felix Grundy controlled the Foreign
Relations Committee. South Carolina's Langdon Cheves chaired the naval committee. Northerners like
New York's Peter B. Porter and Kentucky's Richard M. Johnson focused on the need to conquer Canada
to remove the British influence on the Indians. Southerners from South Carolina joined Tennessee's
Grundy in calling for the annexation of Florida.
Yes, the 12th Congress was going to be different. The open question is whether Madison leads or is being
dragged into war. On November 5th, Madison calls for increased preparation for the national defense.
Soon to be on the front pages of the newspapers in Washington is news of Harrison's clash on November
7th with the nascent Indian confederation at Tippecanoe, Indiana Territory. Soon, too, 1812 is upon them
and within six months the nation is at war.
This text of Madison's Proclamation is from James D. Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and
Papers of the Presidents (New York, NY: Bureau of National Literature, Inc., 1897), II: 476.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 9.
A House Divided: The New York Gubernatorial Election of 1813
(Part III)
Harvey Strum
Daniel D. Tompkins won in 1813, defeating Stephen Van Rensselaer by 43,324
(52%) to 39,718 (48%). His majority, however, dropped from 6,610 in 1810 to
3,234 in 1813 while the Federalists increased their vote by 9 percent. Tompkins
won primarily because of the support voters gave him in western New York. Van Rensselaer
carried New York, Queens, Westchester, Columbia, Dutchess, Rensselaer, Greene, Albany,
Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Madison, Oneida, Otsego, Ontario, Montgomery
and Broome counties. Town voting patterns remained essentially the same as in 1810 with the
exception of Montgomery and parts of Westchester, Essex and Herkimer counties where the
Federalists carried towns they lost in 1810.26
Voter participation remained about the same as in 1810. In that year at least 90 percent of the eligible
voters cast ballots for governor while in 1813 about 95 percent did. Since this figure may be inflated
by voter fraud in several counties—Genesee cast 263 percent of its eligible votes, the actual voter;
turnout approximates 1810 and suggests a pattern of high voter interest in gubernatorial elections.
Results for the Senate races were about the same with the Republicans winning six of the eight seats.
Only in the Eastern District did the Federalists win.27
While the Republicans carried the gubernatorial and senatorial races, the Federalists managed to retain
their majority in the Assembly. Voters elected Federalists in Queens (3), Kings (1), New York (11),
Westchester (2), Dutchess (5), Columbia (4), Greene (2), Rensselaer (4), Albany (4), Montgomery (5),
Schenectady (2), Oneida (5), Otsego (4), Madison (3), Jefferson (2), Clinton-Franklin (1), Broome (1)
and St. Lawrence (1). Republicans retained fifty-two seats while the Federalists won sixty. The
Federalists would have won an additional seat in Westchester if they had not put up four candidates to
run for three seats. Opposition developed to the candidacy of Abraham Odell because he backed
Clintonian Pierre Van Cortlandt, Jr. in the December, 1812 Congressional race against Federalist
Richard V. Morris. Odell’s backing of Van Cortlandt did not go down well with some Federalists who
put up Benjamin Isaacs, probably the first Jewish candidate for public office in Westchester County.
Isaacs did not win but drew enough votes away from Odell to insure the election of one of the
Republicans. Since most of Isaacs’ votes came from Bedford the Jay family – William Jay, son of John
Jay, may have engineered the anti-Odell drive.28
Election returns from: New York Evening Post, May-June, 1813; New York Commercial Advertiser, May-June, 1813;
Albany Argus, May-June, 1813; Canadaigua Ontario Repository, May-June, 1813; Poughkeepsie Journal, May-June,
1813; Buffalo Gazette, May-June, 1813; Albany Gazette, May-June, 1813; Binghamton Patriot, May 11, 1813;
Cooperstown Otsego Herald, May-June, 1813; New York Spectator, May-June, 1813; Goshen Orange County Patriot,
May-June, 1813; New York Statesman, May 3, 1813; Hudson Bee, May 11, 1813; Albany Register, May-June, 1813;
New York Columbian, May-June, 1813; Lansingburgh Gazette, May, 1813; Brooklyn Long Island Star, May-June, 1813;
New York National Advocate, May, 1813; Towns, Counties and Districts in the State of New York, (Albany, 1813),
Broadside, NYSL.
Electoral Census of 1814 in Journal of the New York Assembly, 1815, 233-271.
William Jay to Harmanus Bleecker, May 18, 1813, Albany Gazette, May 10, 1813, Harmanus Bleecker Papers, NYSL;
New York Herald, May 29, 1813; New York Evening Post, July 9, 1813. See ―Westchester Election,‖ by ―Observer,‖ for
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 10.
Returns from the Assembly election indicate that the Federalists did as well in 1813 as they did in the
spring elections of 1812 but did not succeed in repeating the landslide victory they achieved in the
December, 1812 Congressional races. From returns available for the Assembly races, voters flocked to
the polls. Turnout ranged from 49 percent in Sullivan to 87 percent in Niagara with most counties
falling in the 72 to 80 percentile. Voter turnout was not related to the closeness of the race. In a close
contest in Ontario which went 51 percent Republican to 49 percent Federalist, 76 percent of the voters
cast ballots, but in Oneida which the Federalists easily carried with 57 percent of the vote, 82 percent of
the voters showed up at the polls. A comparison of voter participation in the gubernatorial and
assembly contests suggested that voters with lower incomes did not go to the polls in anywhere near
the same percentage as the higher income gubernatorial voters. By comparing the 1813 turnout for
gubernatorial-senatorial voters and Assembly voters with the returns of 1812, voter participation
increased in virtually every county in the state. In the senatorial-gubernatorial races, voter turnout rose
from about 67,500 in 1812 to over 83,000 in 1813 (23%). A similarly sharp rise took place in many
counties between 1812 and 1813 in the Assembly races. The higher voter turnout reflected the sharp
rise in gubernatorial voter participation in the election.
Reacting to the reelection of Tompkins, Peter Jay told his father, ―this is an event which I am utterly
unable to account.‖ Bewildered at Van Rensselaer’s loss, Jay considered Tompkins reelection ―as the
most Calamitous event that has happened since the Declaration of War.‖ Luther Bliss and Gardiner
Tracy, editors of the Lansingburgh Gazette, hoped ―and believed that the people of this state had
become tired of the wretched and destructive system of policy‖ pursued by Madison and his stooge,
Governor Tompkins. They did not anticipate Tompkins’ victory. Regretting the election of Tompkins
over his kinsman, the Patroon, Solomon Van Rensselaer lamented, ―vice has again triumphed over
virtue by the election of D. D. Tompkins.‖ Very depressed at the outcome of the election, Van
Rensselaer continued to hope ―the people are not their worst enemies but I fear all is lost.‖29
Federalists hoped with the public opposition of Clinton Republicans to the reelection of Tompkins they
might gain Clintonian support especially since they reappointed Clinton as Mayor of New York City.
However, in the city only Clinton and about a dozen of his followers voted Federalist. Clintonian
associate Richard Riker and maybe fifty others stayed away from the polls. The vast majority of
Clintonians ignored the Clintonian appeal against voting for Tompkins. Instead they remained loyal to
the regular party nomination and voted for the Governor’s reelection. Repeatedly, in 1804 with Aaron
Burr and in 1807 with Morgan Lewis and again in 1813 with Clinton whenever a Republican leader
made a deal with the Federalists, his followers deserted him and supported the regular party
The renomination of Clinton as Mayor cost the Federalists more votes in New York City in 1813 than
they gained by attempting to appeal to the Clintonians. According to Peter A. Jay, ―very strong
Circumstantial Evidence‖ existed that Judge Jacob Radcliff, his brother Peter Radcliff and about one
hundred and fifty anti-Clinton Federalists voted against the Federalist ticket to protest the failure of the
a pro-Odell account of the split in Westchester Federalists over his candidacy, ―Electors Who Voted Against Odell,‖ May
18, 1813, Harmanus Bleecker Papers, NYSL.
Peter A. Jay to John Jay, May 7, 1813, Peter A. Jay to William Jay, May 7, 1813, Jay Papers, Columbia University;
Lansingburgh Gazette, May 1-15, 1813; Solomon Van Rensselaer to Stephen Van Rensselaer, May 11, 1813, Henry
Dearborn Papers, MHS.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 11.
Federalist controlled Council of Appointment to reappoint Jacob Radcliff the Mayor of New York
Conflict over patronage, power, and access to nominations hurt the Federalists in 1813.30
In looking for factors to explain the Federalist loss, Federalists blamed the patronage and influence
produced by the war. In the opinion of Editor William Maynard, the public was bribed ―with their own
money.‖ By postponing taxation and loans needed to finance the war until after the election Governor
Tompkins aided his re-election suggested Maynard. Editors Luther Bliss and Gardiner Tracy concurred
that patronage played a major role in Tompkins' victory. Clintonian Solomon Southwick agreed with
the Federalists. Another Federalist editor, Francis Stebbins, suggested the Federalists erred in
nominating Van Rensselaer for Governor. His ordering the militia to cross at Queenstown violated the
Constitutional principles which the Federalist sought to protect. It appeared hypocritical, argued
Stebbins, for the Federalists to speak out against the war and have as their standard bearer a man who
violated Federalist principles. As a result, many Federalists refused to come to the polls. While the
Federalist masses permitted a small group of leaders to choose candidates when a candidate violated
Federalist principles party members, would not support him.31
High wartime prices for food affected the
NY election of 1813.
Solomon Van Rensselaer believed, ―above all the
large sums of money paid out for,‖ the supplies
needed to maintain the armies on the Niagara
Frontier, ―has had a Controlling Influence on the
result of the Election.‖ Wheat prices declined to a
low of $1.00 a bushel in January, 1809 as a result of
the embargo. By January, 1812 they stood at $1.90 a
bushel and with the outbreak of war they went up to
$2.25 a bushel by January, 1813. As historian David
Ellis noted, ―the demand for foodstuffs,‖ produced by
the war and necessity of feeding the armies on New
York’s frontiers, ―caused farm prices to soar.‖ This
rise in prices especially benefited farmers in western
New York because the cost of production and
transportation made it difficult and almost
unprofitable to ship farm produce from western New
York to Albany and New York City.
The war produced convenient markets for the crops of western farmers. Governor Tompkins benefited
from the economic gains farmers made in western New York. Good farm prices contributed to his
strong showing in the western part of the state.32
New York Statesman, April 19-28, 1813.
Utica Patriot reprinted in Goshen Orange County Patriot, June 15, 1813; Lansingburgh Gazette, May 1-15, 1813;
Albany Register, May 28, 1813; Hudson Northern Whig, reprinted in Binghamton Political Olio, June 1, 1813. See also
New York Commercial Advertiser, May, 1813, New York Evening Post, May 11, 1813; Solomon Van Rensselaer to
Stephen Van Rensselaer, May 11, 1813, Dearborn Papers, MHS.
David Ellis, Landlords and Farmers in the Hudson Mohawk Region, 1790-1850, (New York, 1946), 122-124; Nathan
Miller, Enterprise of a Free People, (Ithaca, 1962), 5-7; Royal Garff, ―Social and Economic Conditions in the Genesee
Country, 1787-1812‖ (Unpublished PhD. dissertation, Northwestern University, 1939).
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 12.
Many of the Federalists charged widespread voter fraud during the gubernatorial election as being
responsible for Tompkins’ election. Thomas R. Gold complained the Federalists did all they could for
Van Rensselaer in Oneida County, but the Republican towns of Western and Floyd gave ―double the
votes they have Freeholders.‖ Circumstantial evidence suggests the validity of Gold’s charge. Several
Federalist editors also charged fraud.
Tompkins (R) Van Rensselaer (F)
151 (73%)
55 (27%)
210 (94%)
15 (06%)
Cayuga County, New York
Oneida County, New York
Tompkins (R) Van Rensselaer (F)
241 (95%)
14 (05%)
308 (74%)
107 (26%)
Reuben S. Close, a Binghamton editor, noted Genesee County, ―where most people hold their land on
contracts, and therefore have no right to vote for governor,‖ gave Tompkins a 900 vote majority.
Evidence suggests the validity of Close’s charge. Genesee voters gave Tompkins 1,452 (74%) of the
votes to 509 (26%) for the Patroon. This amounted to 263 percent of the eligible voters according to
the 1814 electoral census (745 eligible voters). In Cayuga County, Close reported ―young men and
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 13.
even boys were permitted to vote for Tompkins.‖33 Results from the two towns in the county confirm
Close’s allegation.
Further evidence suggests irregularities in towns in Essex, Franklin, Allegheny, Chautaqua, Ontario,
Niagara and one town in Seneca. Usually the irregularities took place in towns that gave a majority to
Tompkins. In Franklin it took place in towns that gave a majority to Van Rensselaer. However,
Tompkins received the benefit of illegal voting since it tended to take place in Tompkins’ favor in
towns he carried. In New York City, returns indicated more votes than voters in nine of the city’s ten
wards. Statewide there was probably around 3,000 illegal votes, most of which probably fell to
Tompkins. Therefore, the charge by Federalists and Clintonian Solomon Southwick that Tompkins
won in 1813 through the illegal voting of Assembly voters had a good deal of validity to it.34
Federalists also charged the Republicans with using intimidation. ―In some towns in the western district
it is absolutely unsafe for a federalist to appear at the polls unless he disguises his principles and
conceals his vote,‖ complained Close. Replying to Federalist and Clintonian claims of fraud, Jesse
Buel denied the evidence of fraud. He claimed the unusually high votes in some towns and counties
were due to population increase. As the evidence suggests, Buel’s claim was specious. Buel also argued
several thousand citizens engaged in the defense of the state did not vote but had they, Tompkins would
have won by 10,000. Considering the turnout in the 1813 election there exists considerable doubt as to
the validity of this defense. Annoyed that the Federalists managed to retain control of the Assembly,
Buel blamed the Federalist victory in New York City (11 seats) on the free black vote which went,
―almost exclusively to our opponents.‖ Consequently, when the Republicans regained control of the
legislature in 1814, they opened a drive to virtually disenfranchise black voters.35
As a result of the 1813 election, New York had a militantly pro-war Governor and State Senate but had
an anti-war Assembly that refused to neither vote any appropriations for support of war measures nor
aid the federal government in prosecution of the war. In Washington the state had two anti-war
Senators, Clintonian Obadiah German and Federalist Rufus King. Two-thirds of its Congressional
delegation opposed the war and the remaining one-third supported it. The results of the 1813 election
also indicated high voter interest and participation, especially among gubernatorial voters and a
considerable degree of electoral fraud.
Astute Federalists repeatedly noted that deals with Republican leaders proved futile. Whenever
Republicans suspected their leaders of negotiating with the Federalists, the rank and file deserted the
leader thus tainted. Burr in 1804 and Lewis in 1807 tried to win by obtaining Federalist support but in
the process lost the vast bulk of their Republican adherents. In 1812-13, Clinton’s flirtation with the
Federalists cost him the loyalty of the state’s Republicans. In spite of the existence of individual
Thomas R. Gold to Charles & George Webster, May 2, 1813, Misc. Mss., HSP; Binghamton Political Olio, May 25,
1813; Albany Register, May 28, 1813; Utica Patriot, reprinted in the New York Spectator, June 9, 1813; New York
Evening Post, May 1-June 1, 1813; New York Commercial Advertiser, May 1-June 1, 1813.
For a detailed analysis of voter fraud in New York politics during the early national period, see Harvey Strum, ―Property
Qualifications and Voting Behavior in New York,‖ Journal of the Early Republic, 1 (1981), 347-372.
Albany Argus, May-June, 1813; New York Columbian, May, 1813; New York National Advocate, May, 1813;
Cooperstown Otsego Herald, May, 1813; Henry Wheaton to Levi Wheaton, May 11, 1813, Wheaton Papers, Brown
University; Lawrence Schoolcraft to Henry Schoolcraft, May 10, 1813, Reel 1, Henry Schoolcraft Papers, LC; Elijah
Hawley to William C. Bouck, May 4, 1813, folder 40, Box 60, Lyman Sanford Papers, AI; Ambrose Spencer to John
Taylor, May 19, 1813, Box S, John W. Taylor Papers, N-YHS.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 14.
oriented factions – Lewisites, Burrites and Clintonians – in reality Republicans remained loyal only to
the Republican Party and the principles they believed it represented. Republicans who tried to divide
the party—James Cheetham in 1810, Marinus Willett in 1811, and Clinton in 1813—or candidates who
took the wrong side of a Republican issue (anti-embargo Republicans in 1808-09, pro-bank
Republicans in 1812 or anti-war Republicans in 1812-14) found opposition to Republican positions led
to political oblivion. With the resurgence of Federalism after 1808, Republicans who threatened party
unity or who made deals with Federalists committed political suicide. Clinton found in the 1812
Presidential race and in the 1813 gubernatorial race that his flirtations with the Federalists made him a
political pariah to out-of-state Republicans in 1812 and local Republicans in 1813.
In the wake of the 1813 election, Tammany Republicans sought the ouster of the remaining Clintonians
from federal office. President Madison was far less vindictive than Tammany. The President waited
until the spring of 1814 before he acquiesced to what Jacob Barker described as ―a spirit of discontent‖
in Tammany ―at the seeming neglect of our best men,‖ and removed the last Clintonians. For De Witt
Clinton, the 1813 gubernatorial election proved a humiliating experience. Over the next two years, the
humiliation was repeated as political associates, like Richard Riker, either abandoned Clinton or
loyalists, like Solomon Southwick and Philip Van Cortlandt, were defeated in 1814. In early 1815, the
final humiliation came when Clinton’s enemies removed him as mayor of New York City. 36
New Yorkers went into the 1813 campaign deeply divided, and the split results of the election
reinforced the existing political divisions. From the first confrontation in the state legislature over prowar resolutions until the election results came in Republicans and Federalists fought over the meaning
of the War of 1812 and its impact on New Yorkers. Historian Edward Gaines in his study of Virginia
and the Chesapeake Affair concluded that ―the ironic aftermath of the Chesapeake affair was that when
war did come, Virginia and the nation, united and determined in 1807, had become a house divided.‖
New York demonstrated the divisiveness of the war and the election of 1813 represented how the war
divided the people of the state.37
Throughout the campaign, Federalists stressed the human and material costs of the war, the difficulty in
conquering Canada, the mismanagement of the war, and their opposition to the drafting of the militia.
They made the most of the militia’s discontent and argued that the militia troops were being treated like
French conscripts. Federalists criticized the higher war taxes, and used the tax issue to show their
concern for middle and working class voters. To the Federalists they were the last bastion protecting
individual liberty from military despotism. Federalists portrayed Tompkins as subservient to a southern
president, and they argued that Tompkins sacrificed the interests of New Yorkers out of partisan loyalty
to Madison. The arguments raised by Federalists in the 1813 gubernatorial/legislative races paralleled
the themes raised by their colleagues in New Jersey and New England. In New York, Federalists used
one issue, anti-Irish nativism, that they did not use as extensively elsewhere. By 1813, anti-Irish
nativism had become an established part of their campaign rhetoric, and they used it in 1813 with a
new twist, as a vehicle to discredit the War of 1812.
Republicans, like Martin Van Buren, turned the Anglo-American conflict into a struggle between
republicanism and monarchy. For Republicans, the Anglo-American conflict was a struggle between
Jacob Barker to James Madison, March 24, 1814, Reel 15, James Madison Papers, LC.
Edward Gaines, ―The Chesapeake Affair: Virginians Mobilize to Defend National Honor,‖ Virginia Magazine of History
and Biography, 64 (April 1956), 142.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 15.
the United States, a nation whose government was based on the consent of the governed, and despotic
England. Using the Revolutionary War legacy, Martin Van Buren and other New York Republicans
wrapped themselves in the mantle of the Revolution and portrayed the Federalists as the domestic
traitors, the Tories of 1813.
Were the NY Federalists of 1813
Tory lackeys of a despotic England
or sincerely ant-war activists?
The Revolution acted as a source of solace, as a
convenient weapon against the Federalists, and as a
blueprint for the future American victory. In New
York and in other states, Republicans used the
people's faith in republicanism to justify the war,
generate public support and discredit criticism of the
war. In the early national period both Federalists and Republicans used the Revolutionary legacy for
their own partisan advantage and the War of 1812 reinforced the view that Americans had been
liberated for a second time from British tyranny.38
The split results of the 1813 election revealed the continued misgivings that many New Yorkers had
with the war, and Tompkins' reduced majority, was hardly a ringing endorsement for the war and
Governor Daniel Tompkins. Finally, evidence suggests that the elections of 1813 brought voters to the
polls in record numbers, and that election laws were routinely ignored, especially in heavily Republican
towns to aid Tompkins win the election. New York’s election laws that divided the electorate into
Assembly and Senatorial/Gubernatorial voters were routinely violated by both parties, but in 1813
Republicans proved more adept in manipulating the electoral system to their advantage in the
gubernatorial senatorial races. The political system encouraged greater citizen participation than the
electoral laws suggested because both Federalists and Republicans ignored the property qualifications
for voting in order to get their loyalists to the polls. It took the New York state legislature another
decade to catch up with the de facto partisan democracy that flourished in New York during the War of
1812 and alter the election laws to coincide with the de facto democratization of the political system.
Harvey Strum is a professor of history and political science at the Sage College at Albany, and also
teaches for Empire State and Excelsior colleges. He has written extensively on the politics of the War
of 1812 in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. His other research area include the American
reaction to the Great Famine in Ireland and American Jewish history. He is co-president of the Jewish
Historical Society of Northeastern New York and on the executive councils of the New York State and
Northeastern political science associations. His most recent publication is ―A Jersey Ship for Ireland,‖
chapter 1, in David Valone, ed, Ireland's Great Hunger, Vol. 2, 2010.
Editor's Note: A federalist (federalist with a small ―f‖) system of government implies a system with
multiple centers of power. Is the New York State election in 2010 really any different than that
experienced in 1813? Doubtful!
For a discussion of some of these themes at the national level, see Berens, Providence and Patriotism, 149-64; Stuart,
War and American Thought, 144-147; and Watts, The Republic Reborn, especially, 161-216; Cray, Chesapeake, 449.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 16.
Strategically, Hamilton supported the “fortress in
being” approach: keep the navy in port for coastal
defense. Hamilton believed that the navy was too
small to have any impact on the Royal Navy.
Secretary of the Navy
Paul Hamilton (1762-1816)
Paul Hamilton was the Secretary of the Navy
when he ordered Captain John Rodgers in the
USS President to seek out and retrieve an
impressed citizen from a British man-of-war in
May, 1811, some 13 months before war was
declared. Few knew how Rodgers was expected
to accomplish that task.
A quiet South Carolinian believed by some to be
incompetent, Hamilton had been appointed to
President Madison's cabinet on March 7, 1809.
His career was typical of his age and class. As a
young man he had served during the Revolution,
inherited his father's agrarian interests, filled a
variety of state and local appointive and elective
offices, and, in 1804, was elected governor of
South Carolina. He was married, a DemocraticRepublican, and a slave owner.
The Chesapeake Incident of 1807 had
represented an “inhuman and dastardly” attack,
he said. By 1810 he was urging his captains to
“support, at any risk and cost, the dignity of [the]
flag.” In Washington his political enemies spread
rumors about a tendency towards noon-time
inebriation. John C. Calhoun believed both
Hamilton and Secretary of War William Eustis
were incompetent. Undeterred he guided the
Navy towards a war amidst unrealistic
economizing urged on Congress by fellow
cabinet-member Albert Gallatin at the Treasury.
His singular pre-war congressional victory was
the passage of the Naval Hospitals Act in 1811.
As war approached Hamilton found the navy
yards in disrepair and ships laid up. In January
1812 he proposed a dramatic increase in the
number of frigates and ships-of-the-line. Both
measures were defeated in Congress. By June
1812, however, 53 of those 79 voting for the war
had also voted against Hamilton's request for a
larger navy just three months before.
His senior captains had different views. Decatur
held that ships should be used singly or in pairs
on long-range raiding missions. Rodgers insisted
that the frigates should concentrate in a single
division, and the entire fleet should occasionally
do the same for particular missions. Bainbridge
and Stewart urged the adoption of the guerre de
course, or warfare against the enemy's
commerce, causing Britain the loss of gold and
goods and requiring the dissipation of its naval
force to bring raiders to bay.
Despite these differences and problems
Hamilton's tenure was remarkably successful
during the first six months of the war. Single
ship actions brought quick and welcome
victories. The plans were laid for ultimately
successful efforts on Lakes Erie, Ontario and
Continuously attacked in Congress, Paul
Hamilton, his reputation diminished, resigned in
December, 1812. Madison's acceptance of his
resignation was, if anything, kind and generous to
his Secretary, who, though dealt historically a
losing hand, acquitted himself with poise,
determination, and, for a time, success at sea.
Returning to his private interests in South
Carolina, Paul Hamilton died June 30, 1816, at
his estate near Beaufort.
McKee, Christopher. A Gentlemanly and
Honorable Profession: The Creation of the U.S.
Naval Officer Corps, 1794-1815 (Annapolis,
MD: Naval Institute Press, 1991).
Paullin, Charles Oscar. “American Naval
Administration under Secretaries of the Navy
Smith, Hamilton and Jones, 1801-1814.”
Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute 32
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 17.
Thomas W. Murrey, Jr.
In early January 1814, in the midst of the War of 1812, a 31-year-old carpenter
from Rogersville, Tennessee, enlisted as a private in Colonel Ewan Allison’s First
Regiment of the East Tennessee Militia. Allison’s regiment was part of a larger
force heading south to join Andrew Jackson’s army in Alabama, which was there to prosecute the
war against the Creek Indian Nation. This private was Joseph Huffmaster, and he left behind a
four-year-old daughter named Sarah, a two-year-old son James, a nine-month-old son Samuel,
and his wife Elizabeth.1 During his trek with the militia into Alabama, Huffmaster maintained a
journal of the events that took place, which culminated with the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. To
celebrate this great victory, Huffmaster penned an eleven-verse poem that provides a surprisingly
detailed version of the battle. Until now, this poem has languished for almost two hundred years
in the confines of his personal journal.
Joseph Huffmaster is an interesting product
of American history. His father, Gottlieb
Huffmaster, was born in Frankfurt, Germany
in 1757.2 Gottlieb came to America as one of
several thousand mercenaries from the
German state of Brunswick to fight for
Britain during the American Revolution.
Once in North America, Gottlieb’s unit was
stationed in Canada and northern New York.
During the Saratoga campaign of 1777, the
Americans captured Gottlieb and he spent the
remainder of the conflict in prisoner of war
camps in Pennsylvania and Virginia.3
Gottlieb, who later changed the spelling of
his name to Godlove Huffmaster, was part of
the Convention Army that was imprisoned at
Huffmaster was in the Tennessee militia
at Horseshoe Bend
Charlottesville, Virginia.4 When a British raid threatened Charlottesville in 1781, the Brunswick
prisoners were moved to Winchester, Virginia, where they remained until the end of the war. 5 Gottlieb’s
brother Franz served in Company 1 of the Rall (Editor: also spelled Rahl) Regiment, stationed in
James T. Huffmaster, Huffmaster-Hoffmeister Family Records (Galveston, Texas: Oscar Springer Print, 1922).
Clifford Neal Smith, Brunswick deserter-immigrants of the American Revolution (Thomson, IL: Distributed by
Heritage House, 1973).
Douglas W. Tanner, Editor, “The Story of the Convention Army,” The Magazine of Albemarle County History, Vol
41, 1983.
Ibid. at p. 42.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 18.
Trenton, New Jersey, in 1776. At the Battle of Trenton, Franz was wounded and captured. Like
Gottlieb, Franz spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner. 6 After the war, both brothers settled in the
United States rather than return to Germany, as did approximately 3,000 other German mercenaries.7
Gottlieb must have deserted or been paroled before the war’s end, because in 1781 he married Sarah
Louderback in Shenandoah, Virginia. The next year Sarah gave birth to their first son, Joseph
Huffmaster. The family eventually migrated to Rogersville, Tennessee, located twelve miles south of
the Virginia border.
In January 1814, Joseph Huffmaster and many of his fellow Tennesseans enlisted to fight the Upper
Creek Indians. The origins of the conflict began in 1811 when the great Shawnee chief Tecumseh
traveled from Ohio to meet with the Upper Creeks who lived in Alabama. Tecumseh asked them to
join in his uprising against the white settlers that were moving west in ever-increasing numbers.
During the War of 1812, the English further encouraged the Creek Indians to attack the American
settlers in the South. The Upper Creeks, called “Redsticks,” were led by a cadre of religious leaders 8
and had attacked Fort Mims on August 30th, 1813 in south Alabama. The result was a massacre of
several hundred soldiers and civilians.9 This massacre turned what some thought of as a civil war
between the Upper Creeks of east central Alabama and the Lower Creeks of south Alabama into a war
with the United States. After the initial shock and outrage, the reaction was swift. Andrew Jackson of
Tennessee was given the task of leading an army into Alabama and suppressing the Redstick uprising.
Marching With the East Tennessee Militia
Little is known about Joseph Huffmaster’s early life, but he apparently received enough education to
enable him to read and write. Fortunately for later generations, he used these skills to record his
military service during the War of 1812. Although he could write, spelling was not his strong point.
The journal begins, “1814 judned the sirs the serves of this towen for six months January 8th the first
incampment at Rogersville Hawkens.” According to archival records, Huffmaster was a private in
Captain Jonas Loughmiller’s company of the First Regiment of the East Tennessee Militia. Huffmaster
was part of the third army of Tennessee volunteers raised to fight the Creeks. 10 By January 19th,
Huffmaster passed through Knoxville. Five days later he marched through Kingston, Tennessee and
crossed the Clinch River. Shortly afterwards, Huffmaster wrote “endred the indian nation on the 28th.”
The events described in Huffmaster’s journal range from mundane events such as drawing rations to
unusual punishments in the military legal system. Several entries mention that he drew rations
“without vinegar.” Soldiers of that era used vinegar for a source of vitamin C to fight scurvy. Other
rations specifically mentioned in his journal included candles, soap, flour (spelled “flower”), whiskey,
and corn. Huffmaster made note of several military justice actions that shed a fascinating light on
military campaigning of the early nineteenth century, including several courts-martial that took place
during the march south. On February 5th, 1814, a court-martial was held to “break an election” for a
Mark A. Schwalm, "A Composite List of German Prisoners of War Held by the Americans, 1779-1782", Journal
of Johannes Schwalm Historical Association (Lyndhurst, OH), 2:1 (1981): 4-15.
Michael D. Green, The Creeks (New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1990).
See generally, Gregory A. Waselkov, A Conquering Spirit,: Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-1814
(Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2006).
Walter W. Stephen, “Andrew Jackson’s “Forgotten Army,” The Alabama Review 12/2 (April, 1959): 131.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 19.
second lieutenant in Captain Hale’s company. On February 10th, Huffmaster writes that William
Rautch, John Premayne and Thomas Marrikum were all tried by court-martial. Marrikum was
acquitted, but Rautch and Premayne were found guilty of an offense Huffmaster failed to mention. The
result was that Rautch and Premayne were “sentenced to ride a wooden horse for one hour in Capt.
Loughmiller’s company.” Twelve days later another court-martial was held, and this time the convicted
party was sentenced to have his arm tied and water poured down it for cutting a horse’s mouth. (Editor:
There is much to write about when discussing courts-martial during the pre-Civil War era. Someday
readers of this Journal will get a “quasi-treatise” on the subject.)
According to the Tennessee State Archives, Colonel Allison’s regiment suffered from a shortage of
muskets, even resorting to taking rifles from the civilian population as they marched south.11
Huffmaster’s journal contains a page documenting the issuance of rifles and bayonets to three men.
For two of the men, the entry reads “March 13th 1814 Turkey Town Received of Capt Loughmiller one
gun and bayonet which I am accountable for if lost.” Only two of the three names are legible, but the
journal indicates that Robert Kyle and another soldier received a “gun and bayonet,” while William H.
Davis only received a “gun.” After marching south for two months, these men received their weapons
only two weeks before the crucial confrontation with the Creeks.
Sometimes the militia’s lack of training and experience resulted in tragedy. Huffmaster wrote that “one
centenell shot another on his post the night of the 20th.” The next day, Huffmaster’s unit “came to
place of the Fort Williams and stopet to build that fort.” During the campaign, Fort Williams and Fort
Strother served as supply depots and bases of operations for Jackson’s army and Huffmaster frequently
mentioned both posts. On March 23rd, Huffmaster and “about 3000 of us set off for the Horseshoe.”
Jackson was moving his army to confront the main body of approximately one thousand Redstick
warriors concentrated at the Upper Creek village of Tohepka. This village was located in the bottom of
a u-shaped bend of the Tallapoosa River in east-central Alabama, the “horseshoe” of Huffmaster’s
journal. North of the village, the Redsticks built a log breastwork across the neck of the river bend at
its narrowest point, approximately four hundred yards wide. Jackson described this fortification in a
letter to Major General Thomas Pinckney the day after the battle:
Even though the Creeks had built a formidable redoubt, they had in fact
sealed their own doom with this defensive position. They had no room to
maneuver and their only escape route was across a river approximately
120 yards wide.12
The Battle
Huffmaster’s account of the battle begins “Sunday the 27th came to the Horseshoe. Advanct within 200
yards of the Fort. The artillery was placed on a fine situation for to fire on them and they plaid a while
and then the regulars go charget on them.” The fort was the log breastwork that the Redsticks had
constructed across the neck of the Tallapoosa. Jackson’s army only possessed two artillery pieces, a
six-pounder and a three-pounder. The bombardment of the log breastworks by the two cannon lasted
for almost two hours, but little damage was inflicted.13 The Regulars mentioned by Huffmaster were
Information retrieved from:
Letter from Major General Andrew Jackson to Major General Thomas Pinckney dated March 28, 1814, found at
James W. Holland, Victory at the Horseshoe: Andrew Jackson and the Creek War (Tuscaloosa. AL: University of Alabama Press,
2004), p. 23.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 20.
the 39th U.S. Infantry Regiment, positioned in the center of Jackson’s line. Huffmaster and the East
Tennessee Militia were positioned on their right. After the artillery bombardment, Jackson ordered the
39th forward against the center of the Redstick breastworks and the militia moved forward as well.14
The 39th rushed to the log wall and began firing their muskets through the firing portholes.15 A little
earlier, Brigadier General Coffee’s troops had moved to the south of the river bend and then crossed to
attack the Creeks from the rear, burning the village of Tohepka.
Huffmaster's Poem tells of the great
Battle at the Horseshoe
The first man to scale the breastworks was Major
Lemuel Montgomery. As he stood atop the log works
exhorting his men, a Creek musket ball hit
Montgomery in the head, killing him instantly.16 One
of the first men to reach the other side of the
breastworks alive was Ensign Sam Houston, a young
officer in the 39th Infantry and the future president of
the Republic of Texas. Upon reaching the other side
of the Creek defenses, Houston was hit with an arrow
in his upper left thigh near his groin, a wound that
would bother him the rest of his life.17 Although
caught between two forces, the Redsticks continued to
fight, even though their situation was hopeless. Once
the American forces breached the log breastworks, the final result was inevitable. Huffmaster’s journal
does not say when his regiment attacked the breastworks, but the Tennessee Historical Archives states
that Allison’s regiment suffered casualties during the battle, including Captain Loughmiller’s
company.18 Huffmaster wrote that that the attack “endet the hith of battle although it lastet about seven
hours began about 10 o’clock and lastet till in the night.” Huffmaster’s account roughly corresponds
with Jackson’s account of the battle he gave to Major General Pinckney.19 The next morning, sixteen
Redstick warriors were found hiding under the river bluffs, but when discovered, they fought to the
death.20 Huffmaster mentioned this event as well, adding that the battle “lastet till in the night on the
next morning.”
Huffmaster did not mention an exact number of Creek casualties. However, Jackson reported that his
troops counted 557 dead Creek warriors.21 The Americans used a particularly grisly method of making
sure no dead warrior was counted twice – they cut the noses off the Creek corpses to keep a proper
General Coffee, in a letter to Jackson, estimated that 250 to 300 Redsticks drowned trying to swim the
Robert V. Remini, Andrew Jackson And His Indian Wars (New York, NY: Viking Publishing, 2001).
John Hoyt Williams, Sam Houston: A Biography of the Father of Texas (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1993), p. 32.
See Jackson letter to Pinckney, supra.
See Letter from Major General Andrew Jackson to Governor Wm. Blount dated March 31, 1814, found at
Richard H. Faust, “Another Look at General Jackson and the Indians of the Mississippi Territory” The Alabama Review 28/3
(July, 1975): 213.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 21.
Tallapoosa River to safety.23 Although he did not give an estimate, Huffmaster noted that “a graet many
droght in the river.” The reality is that most the Creeks that died in the Tallapoosa were probably shot
by General Coffee’s troops. Major Alexander McCulloch wrote that “[t]he Tallapoosa might truly be
called the River of blood for the water was so stained that at 10 o’clock at night it was perceptibly
bloody so much so that it could not be used.”24 Huffmaster also gave an accounting of American
casualties at Horseshoe Bend: “30 of our men killed and 106 wounded.” Huffmaster’s numbers are
close, but fall short of the actual American losses. His account of the battle finishes with “left the battle
ground on the 28th in the evening.”
The Poem
(See the Sidebar)
After the battle, Huffmaster further memorialized the historic events in verse. Upon review, the
poem is a remarkably accurate and detailed version of what transpired on the Tallapoosa River (See the
side bar). Huffmaster and his unit left the battleground on the evening of March 28th, 1814.
According to his journal and consistent with his poem, Huffmaster and the East Tennessee Militia
returned to Fort Williams, located northwest of Horseshoe Bend. After a week at Fort Williams,
Huffmaster started marching south, eventually reaching a site that would become Fort Jackson. After
the battle at Horseshoe Bend, Andrew Jackson decided to build a fort on the site of the old French
outpost, Fort Toulouse. Located on bluffs above the point where the Coosa River and the Tallapoosa
River converge to form the Alabama River, the French built three different forts before finally
abandoning the spot in 1751. Huffmaster did not mention being part of the force that built what was to
become Fort Jackson. If he was there to help in the construction, he did not do very much or the fort
was built very quickly, as Huffmaster left after three days and headed for Fort Williams. Evidence of
the prior French presence is noted in his journal, as Huffmaster wrote “several pieces of canon were
found where there has been a Fort built about fifty years ago.” On August 9th, 1814, this outpost was
the scene of a treaty signed by a number of Creek Indian chiefs. Eventually known as the Treaty of
Fort Jackson, the Creeks ceded over twenty million acres to the United States government, effectively
ending the Creek wars.25
On April 24th, 1814, Joseph Huffmaster arrived once again at Fort Williams, and according to his entry
for April 28th, “the balance of the army took up the line of march for Fort Strother.” One fascinating
entry from an ecological standpoint is found for May 9th, 1814. Huffmaster mentions that as the army
was crossing the “Cusa” (sic) River, a young man drowned. Apparently the suspicion was that the
young soldier was the victim of an alligator attack, as Huffmaster’s journal entry reads “sopost to be
taken by an alligator.” However, Huffmaster drew a line through that statement, then indicated that the
boy's body was found later at the mouth of a creek. Huffmaster spent the next month at Fort Strother,
and then his journal falls silent.
In 1816, Huffmaster was commissioned as a captain in the East Tennessee Militia, but neither family
records nor military archival records indicate that Huffmaster served in combat again. Joseph
Huffmaster went on to become a justice of the peace in Hawkins County, before finally passing away in
Letter from BG J. Coffee to MG A. Jackson, dated April 1, 1814, Horseshoe Bend National Military Park
historical files, found at
Thomas W. Cutrer, “The Tallapoosa Might Truly Be Called the River of Blood: Major Alexander McCulloch and
the Battle Of Horseshoe Bend, March 27, 1813 (sic)” Alabama Review, 43/1 (Jan. 1990): 38.
See Holland, Victory, p. 36.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 22.
1874 at the ripe age of 91. Huffmaster lived long enough to see his grandson and namesake, another
Joseph Huffmaster, serve as a captain in the Confederate 43rd Tennessee Infantry Regiment,
commanding Company E of that unit at Vicksburg and in Jubal Early’s Shenandoah Valley campaign.
Perhaps now the senior Joseph Huffmaster will be remembered for his poem commemorating his
participation in one of our country’s most famous battles. Although he was just a simple soldier, the
handful of words he penned about his military adventure left us with a valuable insight into the Creek
Campaign of 1814, as well as an eleven stanza homage to the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.
On Sunday the Twenty Seventh day
Of March on thru evening we stormed away
The seen was tremendous the Indians did roar
We slaughtered one thousand Red Warriors or more.
Then forth there were Marchet full four thousand men
On the eighteenth of March to Strother again
And Jackson received and Marchet us on (as one)
We had plenty of Canon but Cowards we’d none.
In Six Day we came to Fort Williams below
Established a Station and minded it also
On the twentifourth Day we marched away
To Storm the Strong hold on the Tallapoosee
The Newark Borders Echo and Sound
Slain nached red bodies lay thick on the Ground
The roaring of Canon and Sound of the Drum
Like the heavens and Earth quite together had come
Some hundred we buried in their liquid graves
Three hundred and upwards of Captives did save
Their Prognaitigators three of them did fall
Distruction to the false Profits of call ball
To their fortifications We instantly Came
And put their imposterous Prophet to Shame
The armies appeared in Battle array
And Jacksons loud canon upon them did play
They fought with courage from morning to night
One thousand red Brothers Did learn us to fight
Our force was three thousand that formed all around
Scarsely one Red Stick Escapt the ground
Our Brave Capt. Rush and the Cherokees
Met round and got in their Bulworks with ease
Their personal courage they did then relize
Immenant Danger they did then Surprise
They fought until next day not one seemed afraid
Through Blood Death and Courage Caused them to wade
A glorious victory Brave Jackson did gain
Lost fortunes only lay dead on the Plain
At First we attacked by our Canon Balls
To Sheter their Breastworks and tair down these walls
Till Vengeance and Courage on us did grow warm
We Charged on the Brestworks and took them by storm
Such bravery and Courage I nere did see
They paid for Fort Mims at the Tallapoose[e]
We drest all our wounded and buried our slain
And immediately marched to Fort Williams again.
A new or perhaps re-started support group, Friends of Horseshoe Bend, Inc., has initiated activities at the
Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, in Daviston, Alabama. Under the leadership of lecturer Kathryn
Braund, the Friends have met in programming sessions, assisted the park during the seasonal Christmas events
in 2011, and received notice of their tax exempt status under the current IRS rules. Like with all of these
organizations, ideas, willing spirits, and more willing hands fulfill their mission. Contact the Friends at
[email protected].
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 23.
The War of 1812 Microscope on
The USS Chesapeake
at Gosport Navy
Frigate “D” was one of the six frigates authorized by the Congress on March 27, 1794. Its authorization signaled
the beginning of the United States Navy. The frigate was to be built at Norfolk, Virginia, in Gosport Navy Yard.
The yard had been the property of Andrew Sprowle, a wealthy Norfolk County loyalist and merchant who fled
the country in 1775 remaining loyal to King George III.
Confiscated during the Revolution and twice burned to the ground, by 1794, Gosport was owned by the State of
Virginia and leased to the federal government. (The federal government bought the Yard in 1801.) Without a
naval establishment in being, Frigate “D” and the other five frigates were ordered built by Secretary of War
Henry Knox. William Pennock was the Naval Agent and Captain Richard Dale, the future commanding officer,
was appointed Superintendent. Together they were to oversee the construction of the newly named USS
Chesapeake. It was to be a difficult and often delayed process.
Few construction materials were available. In December 1794 Secretary Knox reported to Congress that wood
necessary for the task was still standing in the forests, the iron for the cannon and fittings was still in the ground,
and the flax and hemp for the ropes was still in seed. Pennock and Dale seemed to have a difficult task. John T.
Morgan, a Master Shipbuilder, was sent south with carpenters and choppers to the virgin live oak and red cedar
forests of Georgia. Soon the proper materials in sufficient quantities were being shipped north. The ship slowly
took shape.
Construction at Gosport was also delayed by international events. According to the 1794 act, should peace be
declared with the Regency of Algiers construction of the ships was to be halted. A treaty was concluded on
March 2, 1796. Consequently construction ceased, the materials were stored, and Dale went off on a merchant
ship to Canton, China. The peace did not survive. By May, 1798, construction was again in progress. Josiah Fox
was now the Master Builder.
To bring the ship to sea in the shortest possible time, Fox recommended to the new Secretary of the Navy that
the ship be reduced in length. This would half her construction time but reduce her armament from 44 to 36
guns. Naval Architect Joshua Humphreys disagreed. The Chesapeake was 13% smaller than the USS
Constitution, but was wider and consequently slower. Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddard approved the
changes. The change may have been ... unfortunate.
This “unfortunate ship” also had a difficult launch. After a delay of one day when the tallow froze on her ways,
the USS Chesapeake was launched at Gosport on December 3, 1799. She slipped into six fathoms of water in the
Elizabeth River. Commissioned on May 22, 1800 with Captain Samuel Barron in command, the USS
Chesapeake finally joined the ranks of the United States Navy. A man had been killed during the launching. Was
this an omen that would be fulfilled when the USS Chesapeake encountered first the HMS Leopard (1807) and
finally the HMS Shannon (1813)?
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 24.
here removed from the site of the action is
mystifying. Mental note: Research the “why
here” questions and get the spouse some coffee.
It was a cool and crisp Spring morning about a
dozen years ago when a War of 1812 enthusiast
was driving the old Jeep west from Vergennes,
Vermont, looking for Fort Cassin. Rural Vermont
became more rural as the road narrowed, the
native growth became more invasive, and the
slight fog lifted. Finally the outfall of Otter
Creek slipped into Lake Champlain. Mr. Gilbert
Collins was right ... again.
In his Guidebook to the Historic Sites of the War
of 1812 (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1998), he
described this site as “unmarked,” with “no
above-ground remains.” Nonetheless, it was here
on May 14, 1813, when the Royal Navy stationed
at Île aux Noix cruised down the Lake under
Captain Daniel Pring to engage U.S. forces
protecting Thomas MacDonough's shipyard
further up Otter Creek.
Named for MacDonough's second in command,
Navy Lieutenant Stephen Cassin, and mounting
seven 12-pounder long guns, the hastily-built
fortification exchanged fire with the British fleet
as militia lined the shore in defense of the ships
and facilities inland. The enthusiast made a
mental note: he would have enjoyed participating
in an archaeological expedition at the site if he
were 35 years younger, but the air was cool and
crisp. Hot coffee and a warm lunch beckoned.
First, my dear, we have to go find the “Rock.”
Yes, in a quiet residential neighborhood along
appropriately named MacDonough Drive at the
intersection with Comfort Hill Street there is an
inscribed rock – the MacDonough Boulder. It is
true that the victory on Lake Champlain and at
Plattsburgh, New York, on September 11, 1814,
was decisive, and it surely had an effect on the
peace negotiators at Ghent, Belgium. But why
well-meaning members of the Daughters of the
American Revolution selected to place this rock
But first, my dear, let's find the Lake Champlain
Fleet Monument. How big could Vergennes be?
There is a small, pleasant park on North Street
where the United States and the State of Vermont
placed a monument commemorating the
American ships and men that won the Battle of
Lake Champlain. Nearby MacDonough and
ship-builder Noah Brown built the fleet including
the 26-gun corvette, USS Saratoga, in remarkably
short time.
Nearby, too, is the final Vergennes War of 1812
site. In another pleasant space at the foot of the
falls in center town, the Vermont Historic Sites
Commission had placed a plaque at the site of
MacDonough's shipyard. Here there was both
virgin timber and the Monkton Iron Works. Here
there were basins deep enough to launch the fleet.
Here was readily defensible ground, and, above
all, here (today) was a cozy restaurant with a
patio in the warming sun where the enthusiast
(and his ever-patient spouse) could envision the
ships under construction on Otter Creek just
yards away.
The afternoon was spent in the historical Bixby
Memorial Library on Main Street. There were the
a large cache of references and documents
recalling MacDonough, the men and the militia,
Monkton Iron Works, and other historical
memories. There, too, were the ships, the sailors,
the ship-builders, and knowing the Vermont
traditions, the smugglers of the War of 1812.
Visit Vergennes, Vermont. A little later in May or,
perhaps, even in June.
Note: Publisher Brooke Keefer, Ltd. Editions,
printed 500 copies of Norman Ansley's
Vergennes, Vermont and the War of 1812
(Severna Park, MD: 1999). Your editor has
Number 98, a signed copy.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 25.
Do you remember the Battle of Butte, July 23,
1813? Or the fighting retreat of the British 49th
Regiment of Foot from Great Falls back to its
base on Lake Winnipeg the following summer?
Well, its a good thing, because neither of those
events happened.
However, 200 years ago events in the area that
was to become Montana both influenced and
were influenced by the course of the War of
1812. In 1811, nomadic Native-American tribes
like the Blackfoot, the Crow, the Assiniboine, and
even Northern Cheyenne, among others, vied for
suzerainty over the great eastern plain of the
future state. European influences were trickling
in. The beaver was king. And herein lies our story
of Montana and the War of 1812.
European explorers and traders roamed this area
since the early eighteenth century. French and
British moved in from the east and north; the
Spanish, from the south. Lewis and Clark, who
spent more time in Montana than any other future
state on their epic travels, reported meeting
eleven separate parties of Europeans on their
voyage back from the Pacific coast in 1806.
When the worth of a man in London was
measured by the height of his fur hat, there is no
question that access to the beaver played a large
role in the imperial ambitions of European
empires. The dotty Hudson Bay Company and
the ambitious North-West Company poured men
and effort into this area. By 1800, Spain was past
her prime, and Napoleonic France had shifted her
ambitions, selling the ground of unknown size to
the still weak and almost inconsequential United
States in 1803 for 3 cents an acre.
To govern the lands that were to be Montana the
United States established the District of
Louisiana under military rule in 1804. This
became the Territory of Louisiana under a
civilian appointees in 1805 and when the State of
Louisiana was admitted in 1812, the lands north
of that state rested within the Territory of
Missouri. Montana remained in this territory
throughout the War of 1812. Montana Territory
was not established until 1864.
Whether President Thomas Jefferson believed in
the Northwest Passage or not, after Lewis and
Clark, enterprising Americans like Manuel Lisa,
Pierre Chouteau, and Andrew Henry pushed
hunting parties into Montana along the water
route provided by the Missouri River. Lisa built
the first trading post in 1807. John Jacob Astor
commissioned Wilson Price Hunt to take an
overland expedition to his venture on the Pacific
Coast at Astoria in 1811.
The British were not idle, David Thompson
(1770-1857), the English-Canadian, mapped 3.9
million square kilometers of North America for
the Northwest Company and stayed at the
Saleesh House near present-day Thompson Falls
in 1812. British influence among the Indians was
widespread and effective during the War. For
example, a close read of available contemporary
materials will demonstrate that Native American
support for British activities at Prairie du Chien,
Wisconsin, included the plains-dwelling Sioux.
Provisions in the Treaty of Ghent (1815) called
for several post-war boundary commissions. One
produced the Anglo-American Convention of
1818 which established the northern boundary of
the Missouri Territory at the 49th parallel north.
Montana was taking more of its shape. Post-war
domestic laws excluded British fur traders from
operating within the United States without a
license. The British retreated northward, after all.
When the beaver were gone and the fur trade
subsided, farms and ranches as well as gold and
copper assumed their role in the Montana saga.
This would be a British story if the War of 1812
had not been settled on the terms it was: status
quo ante bellum. Or was it, perhaps, Napoleon's
escape from Elba in March 1815?
So, when you think of Montana, think of the War
of 1812. WE THANK YOU.
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 26.
The U.S. Navy Prepares for War
While Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton
hammers out a coherent strategy and the US
frigate fleet is readied, other actions fill the year
(1811) as the United States rushes to war.
Jan 05: US Naval officer Stephen Decatur (17791820) observes his 32nd birthday
Jan 15: Congress adopts secret resolution
authorizing the US to extend its sovereignty over
Spanish East Florida
Feb 01: US Naval officer David Porter (17801843) observes his 31st birthday
Feb 02: Russian trading interests establish Fort
Ross, north of San Francisco, California
Feb 02: USN Ship Revenge, 12 guns, wrecked off
Newport. RI
Feb 20: US Naval officer Isaac Chauncey (17721840) observes his 39th birthday
Feb 26: Congress passed Act to provide for Navy
Mar 02: Non-Intercourse Act evoked against
Great Britain
Mar 11: John Jacob Astor's land expedition to the
Pacific leaves St. Louis
Mar 16: US President James Madison (17511836) observes his 60th birthday
Apr 02: James Monroe (1758-1831) is named
Secretary of State, replacing Robert Smith
Apr 10: Joshua, Henry, and Jacock Swain issued
US patent for the pivoted centerboard
Apr 12: John Jacob Astor's ship Tonquin arrives
at Point George off Columbia River
Apr 28: Napoleon signs, but does not publish, the
Decree of St. Cloud
May 01: HMS Guerrière impresses American
citizen from brig Spitfire off Sandy Hook, NY
May 07: US Naval officer William Bainbridge
(1774-1833) observes his 37th birthday
May 08: Hamilton orders John Rodgers to sea to
“protect American commerce”
May 12: Rodgers clears anchorage at Annapolis,
searching for HMS Guerrière
May 16: USS President vs. HMS Little Belt
May 23: Rodgers arrives at New York, asks for
formal inquiry on Little Belt incident
May 28: Little Belt at Halifax is inspected, sent to
London, and is paid off
Jun 04: US Navy Master Commandant Jacob
Jones (1768-1850) commands USS Wasp in
Decatur's squadron
Jun 26: British demand action against Rodgers;
efforts continue until November
Jul 05: Captain David Porter given command of
USS Essex; 10-year-old David Farragut aboard
Jul 24: Navy Secretary Paul Hamilton appoints
US Court of Inquiry in Little Belt Affair
Jul 28: US Naval officer Charles Stewart (17781869) observes his 33rd birthday
Aug 03: London Gazette carries British account
of Little Belt Affair
Aug 31: First of 50 witnesses appear before US
Court of Inquiry on the Little Belt Affair
Sept 13: US Court of Inquiry finds Rodgers
conduct “praiseworthy”
Sept 19: Joel Barlow arrives in France aboard
USS Constitution to negotiate commercial treaty
Oct 01: US Naval officer James Lawrence (17811813) observes his 30th birthday
Oct 21: US Naval officer William Henry Allen
(1784-1813) serving on board the USS United
States at Norfolk
Nov 01: US and Great Britain diplomatic
negotiations over the Little Belt Affair fails
Nov 04: The Twelfth, or “War Hawk,” Congress
Nov 05: President Madison calls for increased
preparation for the national defense
Nov 07: US General William Henry Harrison
meets Indian attack at Tippecanoe
Nov 08: Seventy-eight years before statehood
(1889), Montana begins its fur trade era (see
State Profile in this issue of the Journal)
Nov 12: Secretary of State James Monroe accepts
the offer of the British to settle the ChesapeakeLeopard Incident of June 22, 1807
Dec 05: Jefferson administration holdover,
Attorney General Caesar A. Rodney resigns
Dec 24: USS Essex (Captain Porter) spends
Christmas anchored off Newport, RI
Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 27.
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Journal of the War of 1812, Volume 13, No. 4, Page 28.
Next Issue of the Journal of the War of 1812:
French Foreign Relations
with the United States
Napoleon Bonaparte
Architect of the War of 1812?
What was the pre-war role of James Monroe with the French?
Also next Quarter:
What is it about the Caldone Letter?
Henry Dearborn as Secretary of War
New York City Seaboard Defenses
Send your questions on US-Franco Relations
to the Editor at <[email protected]>
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