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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > American Age of Discovery, Colonization, Revolution, & Expansion > American Age of Formative Expansion

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American Age of Formative Expansion 1789-1830 To begin with the 1st US President & extend through the Whiskey Rebellion, Quasi War with France, War of 1812, & southeastern Indian wars,

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Old 08 May 16, 08:28
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Strengths and Casualties on the Niagara Frontier in 1814

Because of the discussion of the Battle of Chippawa, and the disagreement on strengths and casualties, I thought the following from various references on the entire Niagara campaign in 1814 might be helpful. I have all of the sources listed and consulted in my personal library:

Niagara Campaign 1814-Casualties
For the Battles of Lundy's Lane and Chippawa and the siege of Fort Erie the following is a statistical abstract assembled from four books on the period:

-The US Army in the War of 1812: An Operational and Command Study (two volumes) by Robert Quimby.

-Amateurs, To Arms: A Military History of the War of 1812 by John Elting.

-Red Coats and Grey Jackets: The Battle of Chippawa by Don Graves.

-Where Right and Glory Lead: The Battle of Lundy's Lane by Don Graves.

The study by Robert Quimby is the primary volume that was used in most of the research and 'discussion' on this subject in a previous thread. The data assembled is generally close, but it shows the strengths of the armies in the actions stated as well as the casualties. Further, the parameters used for the assembling of data may have been different in all four volumes (that is an assumption on my part). For the Battle of Chippawa in Don Graves' two books, which is included in both volumes, the strengths differ a little which is why this statistical extract was put together from four different books from three different authors. Two other excellent volumes can also be consulted, The War of 1812 by Harry Coles and The War of 1812 by Henry Adams. All of these books are excellent and reliable and the differences in numbers come from the research of the historians who wrote them. I enthusiastically recommend all of them if you are interested in the War of 1812, especially on the Niagara frontier in 1814.

Any errors in page numbers, mathematics, and/or transcription are, of course, mine.

Strength at Chippawa:

Graves 1 (Red Coats and Gray Jackets):
US: 1300 (page 101)

On page 165 in Appendix A the US strength in regulars, including artillery, is 1609. Added to this are 500 militia and Indians for the total on the field of 2109. Scott’s brigade, which was involved in the fight is listed as 1319 regulars, all ranks.

British: 1200 (page 102)

On page 167 in Appendix B the total strength in British regulars, including artillery and cavalry, is 1500, plus 500 Indians and militia. British infantry on the field is 1360 which were involved in the fight.

Graves 2 (Where Right and Glory Lead):

US: 1319 (page 48)
British: 1350 (page 80)

Elting:
US: 1300 (page 187)
British: 1500 (page 187)

Quimby:
US: 1300 (page 527)
British: 1500 (page 527)

Casualties at Chippawa:

Graves 1:
US: 278 (page 134)
British: 481 (page 133)

Graves 2:
US: 295 (page 90)
British: 456 (page 90)

Elting:
US: 268 (page 187)
British: 415 (page 187)

Quimby:
US: 262 (Scott’s brigade) (page 527)
British: 512 (page 527)

Strengths at Lundy’s Lane:

Graves 1: Not covered.
Graves 2: From Appendices A and B on pages 257-264, for 25 July 1814
US: 2688
British: 4638

Elting:
US: 2200 (pages 190-196)
British: 3500 (pages 190-196)

Quimby:
US: 2800 engaged (page 544)
British: 2800 engaged (page 544)

Casualties at Lundy’s Lane:

Graves 1: Not covered.

Graves 2:
US: 861 (pages 196-197)
British: 878 (pages 195-196)

Elting:
US: 861 (page 195)
British: 876 (page 195)

Quimby:
US: 853 (page 544)
British: 878 (page 544)

Strengths at Fort Erie:

Graves 1: Not covered.

Graves 2:
US: 2125 + (page 212)
British: 2500+ (page 220)

Elting:
US: 2000+ (pages 247-252)
British: 3000+ (pages 247-252)

Quimby:
US: 2200 (page 552)
British: 2250 + (page 554) (1200 more arrived after the repulse of the British assault on the fort)

Casualties at Fort Erie:

Graves 1: Not covered.

Graves 2:
US: 573 (pages 220-221; 227)
British: 1421 (pages 220-221; 227)

Elting:
US: 595 (pages 247-252)
British: 1512 (pages 247-252)

Quimby:
US: 595
British: 1514

Total Losses for the Campaign:

Graves:
US: 1712-1729
British: 2755-2780

Elting:
US: 1724
British: 2803

Quimby:
US: 1710
British: 2904


As Don Graves' excellent Fix Bayonets! and its main protagonist Thomas Pearson were mentioned in the previous 'discussion' I thought the data extract from the book would be of interest. At the very least it will finish the data that was under 'discussion.'

Statistical Abstract for the Niagara battles, 1814.

Chippawa-5 July 1814:

Strengths:
US:
1.1350 (page 372)
2.1319 (page 448)

British:
1. 1500 (page 360).
2. 1200 (page 372).
3. 1360 (page 448).

Those listed for Chippawa are for the engaged infantry only, between whom the action was decided. The artillery, militia, and Indians are not listed.
I was a little confused by the strengths listed in the book so I decided to put all of them in the list.

Losses:
US: 328 (page 372).
British: 515 (page 372).

Lundy’s Lane-25 July 1814:
Strengths:
US:
Initial: 1250 (page 381)
Total: 2850 (page 385)

British:
Initial: 2000 (approximate, page 381).
Total: 3600 (page 386)

Losses:
US: 860 (Page 394)

British: 878 (page 394)

Fort Erie:

Strengths:
US: not listed.

British:2500+

Losses:
US: 511 (incomplete)(page 404).

British:1421 (pages 400 and 404)

The Pearson issue:

Scott was at most a brigade commander during that era. Yes he trained up his brigade well but he was also beaten/held off by Thomas Pearson which allowed Riall to concentrate his dispersed forces. While during Lundys Lane he got his brigade decimated.

Pearson was outnumbered as he only had some Indians and Light troops and did his job and taught Scot a lesson.

From Fix Bayonets! A Royal Welch Fusilier at War, 1796-1815:

‘Unfortunately for the firebreathing young American general, he had just met Thomas Pearson, the living soul of obstinacy, who was about to give him an object lesson in the proper way to carry out a delaying action with light troops, a lesson likely not contained in the library of military texts, mostly French, kept in the large portable bookshelf that accompanied Scott on campaign.’-page 357.

‘On 4 July 1814, however, Scott got an object lesson from Pearson on the proper way to conduct a delaying action.’-page 358 (caption).

Pearson commanded the British ‘light brigade’ at Chippawa which consisted of the light companies of the 1st, 8th, and 100th Foot, the 2d Lincoln Militia Regiment, and Indians.-page 363.

Subsequent to Pearson’s delaying action against Scott on 4 July, on 5 July Pearson was faced with Major Thomas Jesup’s 25th Infantry Regiment, 354 strong (strength on page 448): ‘Jesup had, however, prevented Evan’s 8th Foot from supporting the 1st and 100th Foot in their musketry battle with Scott’s brigade-and he had also outfought Thomas Pearson.’-page 370.

Apparently, both Pearson and Jesup were skilled infantrymen able to hold in check or delay superior numbers in the field under trying circumstances.
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  #2  
Old 08 May 16, 17:23
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And

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Old 09 May 16, 10:40
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Kevin,

I always find the raw number estimates to be important, but not as interesting as some of the other info. Graves in Red Coats and Grey Jackets in the paragraph on numbers on page 102 has the following bit of info:

Quote:
Riall had 1360 regular infantry under his command, but since he had detached the light infantry companies from three battalions, the force he marched onto the plain numbered about twelve hundred regulars. His troops were fairly confident, but there were some disquieting rumours floating about. In the 100th Foot, Private George Ferguson remembered it being said that the American front rank was composed of desperate men, "deserters and Europeans," who would fight to the death. Another rumour that made its way along the soldiers' informal grapvine was that, on being told that the American army outnumbered the British five to one, Riall was supposed to have replied: "O, they are a set of cowardly untrained men – scape gallows or state prison men who will not stand the bayonet."
Also, on the "official" numbers reported for the dead at Chippawa Graves stated on page 134: "Recent research into military records in archives in London, Ottawa, and Washington has demonstrated, however, that the numbers of the dead contained in the official returns, especially the British return, are to high."

I really liked Donald Graves book Red Coats and Grey Jackets and have no hesitation in recommending it.

Have you read Richard V. Barbuto's book Niagara 1814: America Invades Canada? I have not but was given a copy.
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Old 09 May 16, 11:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taco View Post
Kevin,

I always find the raw number estimates to be important, but not as interesting as some of the other info. Graves in Red Coats and Grey Jackets in the paragraph on numbers on page 102 has the following bit of info:



Also, on the "official" numbers reported for the dead at Chippawa Graves stated on page 134: "Recent research into military records in archives in London, Ottawa, and Washington has demonstrated, however, that the numbers of the dead contained in the official returns, especially the British return, are to high."

I really liked Donald Graves book Red Coats and Grey Jackets and have no hesitation in recommending it.

Have you read Richard V. Barbuto's book Niagara 1814: America Invades Canada? I have not but was given a copy.
Yes, I have it and have read it. It's a good one to keep on hand. What I particularly liked, though, was that his young son reviewed it on Amazon.
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Old 09 May 16, 18:23
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One must remember that US and UK returns are different.

The US definition of "Present for Duty" at this time roughly correlated with the UK definition of "Present Under Arms". The British phrase "effective" literally meant "present, not sick" (not to be confused with the French effectif, which is roughly aggregate present, effective and sick), whereas Americans often used it for combatants.

See https://archive.org/stream/battleofl...ge/30/mode/2up which is incidently Grave's main source on British strengths, although he relies on Adams for US strengths (who, as Cruikshank points out, was engaged in an exercise of trying to minimise US strengths).
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Old 09 May 16, 22:27
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Originally Posted by 67th Tigers View Post
One must remember that US and UK returns are different.

The US definition of "Present for Duty" at this time roughly correlated with the UK definition of "Present Under Arms". The British phrase "effective" literally meant "present, not sick" (not to be confused with the French effectif, which is roughly aggregate present, effective and sick), whereas Americans often used it for combatants.

See https://archive.org/stream/battleofl...ge/30/mode/2up which is incidently Grave's main source on British strengths, although he relies on Adams for US strengths (who, as Cruikshank points out, was engaged in an exercise of trying to minimise US strengths).
Donald Graves uses more than Adams as is evident in his list of sources on page 165. Adams' numbers apparently are supported by the other sources he used. Cruikshank must be used with care as Graves has pointed out. In the introduction to the 1999 edition of J. Mackey Hitsman's book The Incredible War of 1812 Graves states: “ Cruikshank's three published document collections remain useful, although care must be taken as Cruikshank was not above altering the record if it contained matters that displeased him.”

Both Adams and Cruikshank can be used but it is necessary to also use other sources.
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Old 10 May 16, 13:27
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That review ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Massena View Post
Yes, I have it and have read it. It's a good one to keep on hand. What I particularly liked, though, was that his young son reviewed it on Amazon.
... from the son caught my eye as well: "THE FIRST SEVEN CHAPTERS PUT ME TO SLEEP. BUT AFTER THAT I COOULDNT PUT IT DOWN." No nepotism there, the boy gave his dad 4 out of 5 stars!
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