Friday, September 28, 2012

War of 1812 Road Trip . . . Along the Way, part 1

The last couple of War of 1812 Road Trip entries will cover the other places we visited which did not pertain to the war.  Dr. J has great tolerance, but even she has her limits . . . throw in a couple covered bridges, etc., here and there, and she was a happy camper.  Whilst we were in Vincennes for Harrison's house, we made another visit to George Rogers Clark National Historic Park.

Inside the rotunda of the George Rogers Clark memorial.

While driving the backroads in Indiana, I spied a historical marker than made me come to a stop . . . the burial place of Jane Todd Crawford!  Above, to the chagrin of Dudeboy, Dr. J is portraying the pain Crawford must have experienced when Ephraim McDowell performed the world's first ovariotomy in Danville, Ky.  The removed tumor weighed a total of 22 1/2 pounds!  And this was done without the use of any anesthesia.  Dudeboy and I visited the McDowell house a few years ago.
The Home of Eugene V. Debs in Terre Haute, In.  Unfortunately, it was closed.  The marker states: 
Debs (1855-1926) was leading pioneer in industrial unionism, social reformer, and peace advocate. Founded American Railway Union, 1893; cofounded American Socialist Party, 1900; and ran five times for United States presidency. Home built in 1890; declared National Historic Landmark, 1966.

Mecca Covered Bridge, located near Mecca, Parke County, In . . . 1873.  

Parke County, In. proclaims itself to be the "Covered Bridge Capital of the World."  There are 31 covered bridges located in the county.

Sim Smith Covered Bridge, located near Montezuma, Parke County, In . . . 1883.

Phillips Covered Bridge, located near Montezuma, Parke County, In . . . 1909.

The Narrows Covered Bridge, located in Turkey Run State Park, Parke County, In. . . . 1882.

The suspension bridge that crosses Sugar Creek in Turkey Run State Park.

Rocky Hollow Canyon in Turkey Run State Park.

The Cox Ford Covered Bridge located on the western edge of Turkey Run State Park, Parke County, In. . . . 1913.

The Wilkins Mill Covered Bridge located near Rockville, Parke County, In. . . . 1906.

Historic Prophetstown (located in Prophetstown State Park and near the original site of Tecumseh's village) represents a working 1920's farm.  Our favorite attraction was the replica Sears Roebuck and Company catalog farmhouse. 

Miami Indian Cemetery near the Mississinewa Battlefield.  A nearby historical marker states that this is:
The largest Indian cemetery in Indiana. Few graves are marked. The Indians buried here are largely descendants of Chief Metocinya and include Meshingomesia and his family. The first burial was probably in 1873. Burial was contrary to Indian tradition and reflects Christian influence. An Indian Baptist Church and an Indian school were located here. Otto Winger taught at the school 1895-1898. This land is part of the last Indian reservation in Indiana. The site of the battle of Mississinewa (1812) may be seen along the Mississinewa River to the southwest.  
Statue of Edith Hamilton at the Headwaters Park in Fort Wayne, In.  

Turkey Foot Rock . . .
On this rock according to tradition, Chief Turkey Foot of the Ottawa Indians rallied his warriors during the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Here he was killed and for many years tribesmen made offerings of tobacco on the rock to appease the Great Spirit.
And on the monument in the back . . . "In memory of all the American Indians who gave their lives at this place, including members of the following tribes: Chippewa, Ottawa, Delaware, Potawatami, Miami, Shawnee, Mingo, Wyandot"

The Fallen Timbers Battlefield Monument . . .
To General Anthony Wayne who organized the “Legion of the United States” by order of President Washington and defeated Chief Little Turtle’s warriors here at Fallen Timbers August 20, 1794. This victory led to the Treaty of Greenville, August 3, 1795. Which opened much of the present state of Ohio to white settlers.
Elsewhere on the same monument it also states, "In memory of the white settlers massacred 1783-1794."  And on the back it states, "To Chief Little Turtle and his brave Indian warriors."

Lake Erie at Maumee Bay State Park . . . our home away from home for most of the trip.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

War of 1812 Road Trip, Days 7 and 8 . . . "That was weird"

The Battle of Brownstown (Gibraltar, Michigan) . . . .
In this vicinity on Aug. 5, 1812, six weeks after the outbreak of war, an Indian force, led by the famous Shawnee chief, Tecumseh, ambushed about 200 Americans under Major Thomas Van Horne who were on the way south to the River Raisin. There, supplies vitally needed by Hull's army in Detroit, were awaiting an escort through the Indian blockade of the River Road. Tecumseh opened fire as the Americans forded Brownstown Creek. Van Horne, overestimating the Indians' numbers, ordered his men to fall back. The retreat soon became a panic-stricken flight back to Fort Lernoult. Seventeen Americans were killed, 12 wounded, and two captured and murdered. One Indian was killed.
The original monument for the Battle of Brownstown was dedicated in 1908 (it was rededicated in 2006).

There are a couple of odd inscriptions  . . . one of which Dudeboy is pointing to.  Look at the photo below for a close-up.

Obviously, not everyone thought highly of Tecumseh!  This reminds me . . . there is a high school in Oklahoma called Tecumseh High School.  And the name of their mascot?  You guessed it, the Savages!

This result of this seemingly insignificant battle coupled with the Battle of Monguagon (fought just a few days later) was that Hull now believed that his supply lines were compromised.  Which, of course, bolstered his decision to surrender Detroit.  I daresay, the worst decision in the entire war.
If anyone asks you what was the end result of the War of 1812 . . . well, now you have your answer.

The marker for the Battle of  Monguagon, or Maguaga (Trenton, Michigan) reads . . .
On August 9, 1812, a force of about 600 American troops, regulars and militia, moved down the River Road in an attempt to reach Frenchtown (Monroe) and bring back supplies needed desperately by the Americans in Detroit. At a point that cannot now be exactly located, near the Indian village of Monguagon, American scouts ran into a British and Indian force of about 400 hundred men, led by Capt. Adam Muir and Tecumseh, blocking the road south. Lieut. Col. James Miller quickly brought up his Americans and, in a running battle, drove the enemy back through present-day Trenton until the British pulled back across the river into Canada. Losses were heavy. Ironically, this the only battle won by the Americans in Michigan during the War of 1812, was followed a week later by Hull's surrender of Detroit.
We spent the rest of the day at Greenfield Village.  Of course, we timed our trip to coincide with the War of 1812 Muster at Greenfield Village in the Porches & Parlors Historic District of Greenfield Village.  

We got to see the War of 1812 reenactors drill and parade.  There were musket and cannon firings.  And Dudeboy got to participate in a kids' recruitment and drill.  He had a big time.
Dudeboy getting looked over by "ol' sawbones" to see if he is fit to volunteer.  

The "raw" recruits . . . 

The kids actually got to march on the parade ground with the reenactors.  I daresay, Dudeboy would be just as happy to be a War of 1812 reenactor as he is Civil War.

On the way home we stopped by the Kentucky State Fair where there was a special exhibit called War Hawks & Valiant Volunteers: Kentuckians in the War of 1812.  One of the items on display was this British drum taken by Kentuckians at the Battle of the Thames.

"Well, that was weird" exclaimed a teenage girl to her friends after the patriotic finale of the 30-minute musical BraveHunters of Kentucky! . . . Kentuckians in the War of 1812 put on by a local performing arts school at the Kentucky Sate Fair.  "That was weird" . . . a perfect way to summarize not only the musical, but the war itself. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

War of 1812 Road Trip, Day 6 - Part 2 . . . Remember the Raisin!

“Remember the River Raisin” became a national battle cry in the War of 1812 after settlers and Kentucky soldiers were massacred by Indians on the river’s banks in violation of  protection promised by the British.The stream here was the center of a sturdy French – American settlement which took form 1780 – 86.In the period of controversy after the War of Independence and until 1794 British – Canadian authorities sought to establish the River Raisin as the international boundary and thus to retain possession of Michigan and control of the Great Lakes. Indians called the stream “Numasepee,” or River of Sturgeon. French settlers changed the name to “Riviere aux Raisins” which means River of Grapes. Early records tell of great masses of wild grapes which festooned the trees along its banks.

 A 1937 monument erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution, and etc., etc. . . .
First American flag raised on Michigan soil in Frenchtown by Capt., Porter 1796.  Site of River Raisin block house occupied by American troops.  Burned by the British Capt., Elliott under order of Col. Proctor. Aug. 1812.
This monument is right across the street from the very impressive Custer statue.  Monroe was the boyhood home of Custer.   

This stone marks the headquarters of General Winchester, which was located at the home of Col. Francis Navarre.  That house no longer stands, but there is now in its place a beautiful Italian Villa.  A nearby historical marker states, "General Winchester made the Navarre house his headquarters before the disastrous Battle of the River Raisin in 1813 in which Winchester was taken prisoner." 

Here were buried unidentified remains of victims of the River Raisin Massacre of 1813. In 1872 surviving veterans of that war gathered in Monroe from Ohio and Kentucky. They headed a colorful civic pageant which halted solemnly at this spot while the old soldiers paid military honor to their fallen comrades. General George A. Custer, a member of the local welcoming committee, read the roll call of the veterans.In 1904-05 the ladies of the Monroe Civic improvement Society induced city officials to establish the old burial ground as a park. Appropriation was made by the State of Michigan for the monument which stands as a permanent tribute to Kentucky and her militiamen.
There are only two flags displayed in the park . . . the U.S. flag and the state flag of Kentucky.  That, plus the monument, speaks volumes about the sacrifices made by Kentucky troops at River Raisin. 

Michigan's Tribute to Kentucky . . . erected in 1904 by the state of Michigan, this substantial monument  is located in Memorial Place Park.  From the dedication speech given by notable Kentucky historian (and Civil War veteran) Col. Bennett H. Young . . . 
Long delayed, at last with lavish hand this mighty Commonwealth of Michigan recalls the courage, patriotism and the death of these gallant slain, and this beautiful monument declares that Michigan, for whom these fallen soldiers died, "Remembers the Raisin."
Kentucky herself has been recreant to the memory of her glorious dead, but her people to-day with grateful pride recognize this tribute by Michigan to her sons who perished here nearly ninety-one years ago, and as a loyal son of Kentucky I come to bring you greeting from Kentucky's 2,500,000, and to thank you in their name for this memorial to her heroic children.   
In case it is hard to read in the photo . . . "This Monument is dedicated to the Memory of the heroes who Lost their lives in our country's defense, in the Battle and Massacre of the River Raisin, January 22nd, and 23rd, 1813."

Monument marking the Old Hull Road . . . "The Old Hull Road" over which the American Troops were driven by the English & Indian allies Jan. 22, 1813." 

Located on Kentucky Avenue is this marker for the Capture of Gen. Winchester . . .
Under attack by the British and Indians before dawn on Jan. 22, 1813, in the second Battle of the River Raisin, the U.S. 17th Infantry soon broke and fled south across the frozen river. Gen. James Winchester, the American commander, tried several times to rally these troops but was swept up in the route. Here he and his staff surrendered to the Wyandot Indian Jack Brandy, who delivered them to the British Commander, Col. Henry Proctor.Surrender was no guarantee of safety, however. After giving up, a group of 40 men led by Ensign Isaac Baker found themselves at the mercy of Indians who killed half their number. Those who kept running were tomahawked by Indians on horseback if they fell behind.
Before Chief Roundhead transferred Winchester over to the British he was supposedly stripped and painted.  There is a British cartoon from the time period representing Winchester's capture and subsequent abuse all to the amusement of British General Henry Proctor. 
The Old Hull Road Monument and Gen. Winchester marker.  Kentuckians under Winchester's command were not particularly fond of him (by the way, he hailed from Tennessee), even before what transpired at Frenchtown.  Much of the animosity had to do with Winchester being a little more cultivated and uppity than the "Alligator Horses" of Kentucky.

Missing marker for the Death of Col. John Allen . . .
Col. Allen tried vainly to rally the retreating Americans at the second Battle of the River Raisin, Jan. 22, 1813. Exhausted and disabled by a thigh wound, he faced the pursuing Indians near here. The colonel desperately defended himself at swordpoint before being killed.Col. Allen was one of the most influential men in Kentucky. He organized and then led the elite first rifle regiment, Kentucky volunteer militia. Allen had unsuccessfully run for the governorship of Kentucky in 1808 and was a member of its Senate at the time of his death. Counties in several states were later named in his honor.
Another missing marker.  This one marked the site of the First Battle of Frenchtown, or River Raisin . . .
Over this ground, Jan. 18, 1813, 667 Kentuckians and nearly 100 local Frenchmen charged across the frozen river toward the British and Indian positions. The 63 British and Canadian soldiers and 200 Potawatomi Indians made a brief stand there, then retreated with their cannon into a wooded area a mile to the north where the fighting raged for several hours...Across this ground during the second battle, Jan. 22, the Indians closely pursued the retreating U.S. 17th Infantry and its reinforcements. They tried to reform on the south bank, but became disorganized among farm lot buildings and fence rows. Constantly out flanked by mounted Indians, they fled south along a narrow lane, being fired on from both sides.
You can just see in the background the River Raisin, and just beyond that is the visitor center for the River Raisin Battlefield.

Indian Attack (also situated along Kentucky Avenue) . . .
The Second Battle of the River Raisin Jan. 22, 1813, found nearly 400 American soldiers caught in retreat down this old road to Ohio. Those few who made it to this point, over a mile south of their camp, were ambushed by hidden Indians. The 40 American bodies found here bore witness to the ferocity of the attack.The retreat was a disaster for the American army at Frenchtown. Out of the 400 men who fled, only 33 escaped, about 147 were captured and as many as 220 were killed by the pursuing Indians.
The American Surrender . . .
Protected only by a picket fence, nearly 500 Kentucky militiamen fought off three British charges on their camp along the river and silenced the British cannon with their long rifles in the second Battle of the River Raisin, Jan. 22, 1813.They fought for three hours until they saw a white flag approaching from the British lines. They were sure it was a plea for truce. To their surprise it was a message from their captured General. Unaware of their strong position and the approach of Gen. Harrison's reinforcements, Gen. Winchester called for surrender.
The Murder of Captain Hart . . .
Captain Nathaniel G. T. Hart, brother-in-law of Henry Clay and inspector general of American Army of the Northwest under Harrison, was killed here during the massacre of the River Raisin January 22 - 23, 1813.Captain Hart, wounded in battle, was rescued by a doctor from a log cabin field hospital just before the Indians set fire to it. Under escort of a friendly Pottawattamie and on horseback, he was about to make his escape when shot down by a Wyandot savage.Captain Hart was one of many sons of well known Kentucky families who sacrificed their lives in desperate effort to extend American protection to the pioneer settlers of the River Raisin.
Hart County, Kentucky was named after him.

British Victory at Frenchtown . . .
From near this spot on Jan. 22, 1813, 525 British soldiers and Canadian militiamen from Fort Malden under Col. Henry Proctor and some 800 Indians under Chiefs Roundhead and Walk-In-The-Water launched a pre-dawn attack on the sleeping American camp a mile south on the River Raisin. The British firepower included six small sled-mounted artillery pieces.The British soldiers, mostly from the 41st Regiment of Foot and Royal Newfoundland Regiment, suffered heavy casualties in three vain attempts to storm the main camp, protected by a picket fence and the skill of the Kentucky riflemen. The Canadian militiamen and the Indians, however, routed the unprotected American eastern camp which led to the American Army's defeat at this Second Battle of the River Raisin.
A historical marker just on the northern outskirts of Monroe that relates a bit more information about the Old Hull Road . . .
General Hull's army hewed out of the wilderness the first Michigan road when it advanced from the River Raisin to Detroit at the beginning of the War of 1812.In Monroe the original crossing of the river by Hull's Army was at a ford near the present Winchester bridge.North of Monroe, Hull's road followed an old Indian trail which is now the course of M-56, long known as the Old Dixie, which courses the shore line of Lake Erie and which, northwest of Oldport runs into the Old River Road, thence into Jefferson Avenue, Detroit.Hull's army engineers were the first to bridge the Huron River in anticipation of the movement to Detroit of men and supplies from Monroe where a quartermaster depot had been established.
"Hewed out of the wilderness" for a Burger King.