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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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  #46  
Old 01 Sep 16, 19:15
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Yep, …

... I noticed your acclaim of Alan Taylor in past posts, thought we’d even discussed him before, but when checking I found that in 2013 I responded your “New PBS docu on War of 1812” of 2011 (where you mentioned the absence of Taylor & Stagg), and that’s as close as we got.

My first response to your request for details regarding my first post on this thread was actually that I was short of time and “check your Alan Taylor”. It seemed presumptuous on my part, and I didn’t post it; I found and posted the link to my earlier post instead, although there’s more than just Taylor in there. This last post was initially intended as a further to, but ended up covering some of the same ground, but obviously not as well.

Incidentally, Taylor wasn't in the PBS's treatment, but he does appear in British/Canadian Dan Snow’s “Explosion 1812”, worth seeing just for Taylor, Andy Robertshaw and Ron Williamson, it’s … a bit "golly gee" hokey at times, but there is some decent info. Alan Taylor is a great Canadian, er, VERY Late Loyalist!


Quote:
I see that you like Alan Taylor's works as I do. He is an excellent historian. I have and have read the books you mention. Having read them I cannot see Jefferson writing a letter in August 1812 and being influenced by the joke of a rebellion that actually never happened in 1802. All my quotes are from*A Northern Revolution of 1800?.

Taylor quotes an Upper Canada official, Peter Russell, as describing the rebellion plot as “a tissue of Absurdity & Improbability.” page 395 He points out that: “Of the American leaders, only Aaron Burr seems to have been familiar with, and vaguely encouraging of, the plot against Upper Canada.” page 398
"Taylor also mentions how the plot evoked an “overreaction by easily spooked officials” , and the Peter Russell quote came after the plot had “fizzled”, certainly not when he was busy overreacting. As I stated earlier,“To stakeholders on both sides of the issue, the meeting was anything but a secret. But from there, the uprising fizzled.”; here the reaction is more important than the plot itself. Peter Russell is a colourful and interesting character, hoping for the position for himself, he took over the Province's administration duties from Simcoe upon the latter’s departure, ultimately until a replacement arrived, and was largely responsible for the land grant rationalization debacle that infuriated the plotters in the first place. Ironically, Joseph Willcocks, the much maligned Upper Canada Irish turncoat of the War of 1812, was residing in Russell’s home and wooing his sister at the time.

Quote:
There is apparently a question as to whether or not Jefferson even knew about the plot. Taylor points out the animosity between Jefferson and Burr then states: “And even if Burr had not been involved, Jefferson had abundant pragmatic reasons to discountenance a northern plot—if he ever even knew about it.” page 398
Taylor also quotes, Israel Chapin Jr. “The subjects of the British talk as if war would take place between Britain and America …”, Col. John A. Graham, Vermont lawyer & British spy reported “ironworkers at Ganonoque in Upper Canada were making pikes to arm for rebellion …”, “the people of Ireland are not more discontented than the Lower Class of the People here”, Joseph Willcocks, “Can you believe it, that in these retired regions of the world … the greatest discontent reigns among the people” who would, “ had they the least prospect of success, tomorrow overturn the order of things in this country.”, William Baldwin, all on page 384. *

As I stated earlier, “It's debatable whether Jefferson actually knew of the plans of the plotters, but there's little doubt that he knew of conditions in Upper Canada at the time. Five years later, in 1807 with the Chesapeake–Leopard Affair, Jefferson did initiate plans for an attack on Canada, but the attack itself waited until 1812.” The plot itself was only the pimple on the American/Late Loyalist ass, squeeze the pimple, the ass remains.

Quote:
As for the Louisiana Purchase Jefferson did not need British acquiescence. What Jefferson needed to do was to not get involved in a war with Britain and that is the point Taylor is making. He goes on to state: “Jefferson also had precious little interest in Canada prior to the Chesapeake crisis of 1807. Instead there was a southern tilt to Jefferson’s expansionist imagination. He showed far more desire for Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and even Cuba. Thoroughly Virginian in his climatology, Jefferson regarded Canada as a frozen tundra hardly suited to civilized life and not worth the expense and danger of a war with the formidable British Empire.” pages 399-400

Taylor also makes the important point that: “Louisiana was vastly more important to American interests.” page 400 All you have to do is look at a map and see the importance of New Orleans as an outlet for those Americans living west of the Appalachian Mountains. The British North American colonies were simply not as important as Louisiana.*
… and we both know of certain Jeffersonisms; his fear of slave revolt, certain plans for eventual emancipation, and the hope for the dilution of the “internal enemy” by spread to new acquisitions. In comparison, Simcoe’s Upper Canada had passed an Act Against Slavery in 1793, the first in the British Empire.

Quote:
The quote from Jefferson where he mentions “our present interests may restrain us within our own limits” in a letter to Monroe (November 24,1801), does not refer to the use of military force but to “reproduction and migration.”*



Taylor states: “In principle Jefferson and his party were committed to the eventual expansion of the United States to embrace all of North America. But it should be emphasized that (prior to 1812) they imagined expansion as gradual rather than immediate; as peaceful rather than military; and as fundamentally driven by demography rather than by state action.” page 399
Er, my own quote included “Jefferson emphasized the present interest of remaining within current boundaries, postponed expansion to distant times, and assigned agency to reproduction and migration"??? "

I’m also going to take issue here with your comment; “… taking the British colonies would be easy just because there were many US born people in the Upper Canada colony.”, because I don’t believe you understand the true nature of the Upper Canada of the period, and its population. As Alan Taylor states, the only Canadians in Canada at the time spoke French, (I use the French “Canadiens” for this period). As for the non-French, post-US Revolution, as Taylor again points out, if asked, they would usually reply that they were “AMERICANS”, particularly in Upper Canada, but it includes the arrivals in both Canadas. What mattered to these transplanted Americans was property, they were OK with the British as long as the British didn’t ask much of them, and that went as far as 1812. When US forces crossed the lake to raid York in 1813, the “American” Militia supposed to be supporting the British did not meet the US invaders west of town, or defend the fort, they deployed to their own properties north of town.

As Taylor also writes “In 1791 Jefferson welcomed the invitation extended by Florida’s Spanish Governor to American Settlers:

“Our citizens have a right to go where they please … I wish a hundred thousand of our inhabitants would accept the invitation. It will be the means of delivering us peaceably, what may otherwise cost us a war.”- That can be said of Upper Canada as well, not long after.

Quote:
As I stated I don’t believe Jefferson would have been influenced by a rebellion that never happened ten years in the past. Assuming he even knew about it at the time.
As I stated earlier, “So, when Jefferson wrote the following in 1812, all of the above has to be taken into consideration as to why taking Canada was mere matter of marching.”, it’s not just plot that he may not have known about that fizzled anyway.

I’ll conclude by mentioning Jefferson’s letter to Polish Patriot General Tadeusz Kosciuszko on, June 28, 1812 already quoted, and provide a snippet from yet another letter from Jefferson, this time to the Marquis de Lafayette, Nov. 30, 1813.

“You have heard how inauspiciously our war began by land. The treachery of Hull, who furnished with an army which might have taken Upper Canada with little resistance, sold it to an enemy of one fourth his strength was the cause of all our subsequent misfortunes.”

His comment has nothing to do with his high regard for the Militia, rather it deals with the opposition; of course he’s well acquainted with, and knows that there’s little resistance to be expected from the American inhabitants of Upper Canada.

Remember, given your take on the Jefferson “a mere matter of marching” quote, Jefferson only has to know of conditions and sentiments in Upper Canada to have that knowledge colour his judgment on the abilities of his militia in 1812; I say it does. If you don’t we’ll have to agree to disagree.
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  #47  
Old 02 Sep 16, 10:29
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After reading your excellent postings here, I just realized that I have one of Taylor's books that I haven't got to yet. I'll get to it now, thanks to both of you.

Very well done.
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  #48  
Old 03 Sep 16, 00:26
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Originally Posted by Massena View Post
After reading your excellent postings here, I just realized that I have one of Taylor's books that I haven't got to yet. I'll get to it now, thanks to both of you.

Very well done.
While I do like Taylor I don't consider him to be particularly strong on the military. His strength is when dealing with social and political history of the United States and the British North American colonies.
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Old 03 Sep 16, 13:03
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The man's ...

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Originally Posted by taco View Post
While I do like Taylor I don't consider him to be particularly strong on the military. His strength is when dealing with social and political history of the United States and the British North American colonies.
... very much a "bottom up" historian, he researches to the n'th, and presents people largely lost to history, he's anecdotal and easy to read. In comparison, his treatment of "The Military" often borders on monolithic.
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Old 05 Sep 16, 00:26
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Originally Posted by Marmat View Post
... I noticed your acclaim of Alan Taylor in past posts, thought we’d even discussed him before, but when checking I found that in 2013 I responded your “New PBS docu on War of 1812” of 2011 (where you mentioned the absence of Taylor & Stagg), and that’s as close as we got.

My first response to your request for details regarding my first post on this thread was actually that I was short of time and “check your Alan Taylor”. It seemed presumptuous on my part, and I didn’t post it; I found and posted the link to my earlier post instead, although there’s more than just Taylor in there. This last post was initially intended as a further to, but ended up covering some of the same ground, but obviously not as well.

Incidentally, Taylor wasn't in the PBS's treatment, but he does appear in British/Canadian Dan Snow’s “Explosion 1812”, worth seeing just for Taylor, Andy Robertshaw and Ron Williamson, it’s … a bit "golly gee" hokey at times, but there is some decent info. Alan Taylor is a great Canadian, er, VERY Late Loyalist!




"Taylor also mentions how the plot evoked an “overreaction by easily spooked officials” , and the Peter Russell quote came after the plot had “fizzled”, certainly not when he was busy overreacting. As I stated earlier,“To stakeholders on both sides of the issue, the meeting was anything but a secret. But from there, the uprising fizzled.”; here the reaction is more important than the plot itself. Peter Russell is a colourful and interesting character, hoping for the position for himself, he took over the Province's administration duties from Simcoe upon the latter’s departure, ultimately until a replacement arrived, and was largely responsible for the land grant rationalization debacle that infuriated the plotters in the first place. Ironically, Joseph Willcocks, the much maligned Upper Canada Irish turncoat of the War of 1812, was residing in Russell’s home and wooing his sister at the time.



Taylor also quotes, Israel Chapin Jr. “The subjects of the British talk as if war would take place between Britain and America …”, Col. John A. Graham, Vermont lawyer & British spy reported “ironworkers at Ganonoque in Upper Canada were making pikes to arm for rebellion …”, “the people of Ireland are not more discontented than the Lower Class of the People here”, Joseph Willcocks, “Can you believe it, that in these retired regions of the world … the greatest discontent reigns among the people” who would, “ had they the least prospect of success, tomorrow overturn the order of things in this country.”, William Baldwin, all on page 384. *

As I stated earlier, “It's debatable whether Jefferson actually knew of the plans of the plotters, but there's little doubt that he knew of conditions in Upper Canada at the time. Five years later, in 1807 with the Chesapeake–Leopard Affair, Jefferson did initiate plans for an attack on Canada, but the attack itself waited until 1812.” The plot itself was only the pimple on the American/Late Loyalist ass, squeeze the pimple, the ass remains.



… and we both know of certain Jeffersonisms; his fear of slave revolt, certain plans for eventual emancipation, and the hope for the dilution of the “internal enemy” by spread to new acquisitions. In comparison, Simcoe’s Upper Canada had passed an Act Against Slavery in 1793, the first in the British Empire.



Er, my own quote included “Jefferson emphasized the present interest of remaining within current boundaries, postponed expansion to distant times, and assigned agency to reproduction and migration"??? "

I’m also going to take issue here with your comment; “… taking the British colonies would be easy just because there were many US born people in the Upper Canada colony.”, because I don’t believe you understand the true nature of the Upper Canada of the period, and its population. As Alan Taylor states, the only Canadians in Canada at the time spoke French, (I use the French “Canadiens” for this period). As for the non-French, post-US Revolution, as Taylor again points out, if asked, they would usually reply that they were “AMERICANS”, particularly in Upper Canada, but it includes the arrivals in both Canadas. What mattered to these transplanted Americans was property, they were OK with the British as long as the British didn’t ask much of them, and that went as far as 1812. When US forces crossed the lake to raid York in 1813, the “American” Militia supposed to be supporting the British did not meet the US invaders west of town, or defend the fort, they deployed to their own properties north of town.

As Taylor also writes “In 1791 Jefferson welcomed the invitation extended by Florida’s Spanish Governor to American Settlers:

“Our citizens have a right to go where they please … I wish a hundred thousand of our inhabitants would accept the invitation. It will be the means of delivering us peaceably, what may otherwise cost us a war.”- That can be said of Upper Canada as well, not long after.



As I stated earlier, “So, when Jefferson wrote the following in 1812, all of the above has to be taken into consideration as to why taking Canada was mere matter of marching.”, it’s not just plot that he may not have known about that fizzled anyway.

I’ll conclude by mentioning Jefferson’s letter to Polish Patriot General Tadeusz Kosciuszko on, June 28, 1812 already quoted, and provide a snippet from yet another letter from Jefferson, this time to the Marquis de Lafayette, Nov. 30, 1813.

“You have heard how inauspiciously our war began by land. The treachery of Hull, who furnished with an army which might have taken Upper Canada with little resistance, sold it to an enemy of one fourth his strength was the cause of all our subsequent misfortunes.”

His comment has nothing to do with his high regard for the Militia, rather it deals with the opposition; of course he’s well acquainted with, and knows that there’s little resistance to be expected from the American inhabitants of Upper Canada.

Remember, given your take on the Jefferson “a mere matter of marching” quote, Jefferson only has to know of conditions and sentiments in Upper Canada to have that knowledge colour his judgment on the abilities of his militia in 1812; I say it does. If you don’t we’ll have to agree to disagree.
I do like Taylor’s books and he may be writing another on the War of 1812, only this time on the conflict in the south. Never did understand why Taylor and Stagg were not used on that PBS documentary. I was doing some searching on YouTube late last year and they had a copy of that documentary, Explosion 1812, and I looked at it. Let’s just say I wasn’t impressed and I’ll leave it at that. As for the comments by Taylor, I had the feeling there was a disconnect between some of Taylor’s comments and the claim by Dan Snow that the events at York changed “the outcome of the war.” Having read Taylor’s book The Civil War of 1812 he never put that much emphasis on the result of the U.S. raid on York.

Sorry, but I’m not convinced “there’s little doubt” that Jefferson knew of what was happening in Upper Canada at that time. If there is some evidence to support that claim then I’m more than willing to stand corrected. As for Jefferson’s reaction to the British attack on the Chesapeake, I think that was a normal human reaction to an act of war. If Taylor is correct in his claim that Jefferson had “precious little interest in Canada prior to the Chesapeake crisis of 1807,” then with no British aggression there would have been no plan to retaliate by attacking the British colonies.

I believe it’s of some interest to look at how Simcoe reacted to the 1794 crisis in relations between the U.S. and Britain that resulted from British seizures of U.S. ships in the Caribbean. Alan Taylor in his book The Civil War of 1812 wrote on page 54:

Quote:
"While Dorchester sensibly planned for only the defensive war appropriate to the scanty British forces in Canada, Simcoe wanted to conquer the United States. In letters to his superiors in London, he promised within three months to rout the American army in the Ohio country, destroy forts in western Pennsylvania, burn the settlements of western New York, and neutralize Kentucky. During the following year he offered to sweep across Pennsylvania to rout President Washington at Philadelphia."
Simcoe’s dislike of the United States continued after he left Upper Canada and went to Santo Domingo as governor. He apparently concocted an illegal scheme to confiscate and condemn U.S. ships, enriching himself at the same time. Several years ago I was looking at an article in the William and Mary Quarterly titled The Jay Treaty and British Ship Seizures: The Martinique Cases by Joseph M. Fewster. Near the end of the article Fewster wrote:

Quote:
The British government took further steps to prevent trouble over seizures. Detailed guidelines on the subject were given to Sir Ralph Abercromby, commander of the 1795 expedition to the West Indies. This, together with Grenville's measures to reform vice-admiralty courts in the area, shows that the lessons of the Martinique episode had not been forgotten and that British ministers had a genuine desire to remedy American grievances. Even so, it was impossible to control the actions of commanders operating in distant places, and the hope of enrichment from prize money was a powerful temptation to them to strain or disregard the law. Gen. J.G. Simcoe, like Grey, established a court on his own authority (in Santo Domingo) and appointed a judge who proved remarkably ready to condemn. Grenville promptly suppressed this court when American complaints about it reached him in 1798.
From my reading no one knows why most of the militia of York did not appear to help the British. Carl Benn in his short book, The Battle of York, states on page 37: “History has not told us why the militia were not there….” Robert Malcomson in his book Capital in Flames also did not have an answer where exactly they were. In the documentary Explosion 1812 Dan Snow states: “Two hundred years later what Shaw did or did not do remains one of the great unanswered questions of the battle for York.” Shaw (Æneas Shaw) was the commander of the militia. They go on in the documentary to speculate that he may have taken the militia to guard his house.

That letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, Nov. 30, 1813 is not clear on who he is referring to by “little resistance.” There is a letter where he clearly stated what he meant. But before I get to that letter I have to quote from this same Nov. 30, 1813 letter to Lafayette. Jefferson shows just how little he knew about the state of the war when he stated:

Quote:
Everything above the Eastern end of L. Ontario is already in our possession and I might venture to say to the walls of Quebec because on the 10th inst. Genl. Wilkinson was entering the Lake St. Francis on his passage down to Montreal where he would land with 3. or 4. days, and not meet a resistance which gives us any apprehension. Between that place and Quebec there is neither post nor armed man.
Now back to that letter where Jefferson clearly states where he believed the resistance would come. Hint: it’s not the civilians of Upper Canada. In a letter to William Duane on Oct. 1, 1812 Jefferson states:

Quote:
I fear that Hull's surrender has been more than a mere loss of a year to us. Besides bringing on us the whole mass of savage nations, whom fear and not affection has kept in quiet, there is danger that in giving time to an enemy who can send reinforcements of regulars faster than we can raise them, they may strengthen Canada and Halifax beyond the assailment of our lax and divided powers.
Jefferson was not concerned with the civilians, but the Indians and British regulars.
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Old 06 Sep 16, 20:34
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Taco,

I tend to agree with you. There is little to indicate Jefferson was more in the know than what the newspapers mentioned.

While it certainly would have been little more than a "mere matter of marching" for Hull to take Malden (evidence indicates that Malden would have been evacuated without a fight in mid July, 1812), and that he could have marched to the vicinity of Niagara, he was too weak to do much when he got there, unless forces crossed the River from the U.S. It was never really in the war plan, such as existed in 1812, for large scale operations in Upper Canada. Hull's primary objective was the defense of the Michigan Territory and the capture of Malden. Hull did mention once about going to the Niagara, but at the same time he was telling the Secretary of War that he was too weak to take Malden! It was presumed that Upper Canada would fall once Montreal was taken, and in the pre-war and early war planning, no mention is ever made in the War Department correspondence of what would happen afterword. I suspect the Madison administration was assuming that that in itself would be enough of a bargaining chip with the British.

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Old 08 Sep 16, 17:57
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I confess ...

... I've been scratching my head since I read your last response. I'll start with your conclusion:

Quote:
Now back to that letter where Jefferson clearly states where he believed the resistance would come. Hint: it’s not the civilians of Upper Canada. In a letter to William Duane on Oct. 1, 1812 Jefferson states:

"I fear that Hull's surrender has been more than a mere loss of a year to us. Besides bringing on us the whole mass of savage nations, whom fear and not affection has kept in quiet, there is danger that in giving time to an enemy who can send reinforcements of regulars faster than we can raise them, they may strengthen Canada and Halifax beyond the assailment of our lax and divided powers."

Jefferson was not concerned with the civilians, but the Indians and British regulars.
But taco, that's essentially what I've been saying all along. As Jefferson well knew, little to no resistance was expected from the AMERICAN civilian population of Upper Canada. Just how could civilians resist anyway? Why the civilian Provincial Militia of course, much like the American civilian militia Jefferson himself espoused. What resistance there was to contest the US invasion would come from the few troops Britain was able to spare from Europe, and the Indians that he had frequently displayed such a poor opinion of, it’s "a mere matter of marching". The Provincial Militia had proven itself to be less than reliable and would do so again, Hull's defeat/surrender, and round 2 about to start, of course the British would be required to find and send more troops, and the task of taking the Upper Canada would be that much more difficult than it was with the first invasions of 1812.

Jefferson would be proven correct, this is what happened historically:

“After the British victory at Queenston Heights in October, the British commanders summoned the region’s militia. Yet less than a fifth reported, and almost all of those deserted within a month. Militia reform the following year attempted to use higher pay, better training, and uniforms to lure men into the quasi-regular Incorporated Militia, but the effort failed miserably with a mere three hundred recruits volunteering for three thousand spots in 1813. Following more reform in 1814 and a failed attempt at conscription, the volunteer regiment still attracted barely four hundred men. In fact, the greatest Upper Canada militia turnout of the war followed the Americans’ capture of York. More than three thousand men flocked to York after the battle to surrender and thereby receive American paroles.

A parole was a standard alternative to imprisonment that armies issued to surrendered militia and troops whereby the individual promised that if freed he would not fight again in the war. Therefore, a documented American parole meant being excused from military service for the duration of the war.

The figure is even more impressive considering the total number of eligible men in the entire province was not much more than six thousand. Not surprisingly, British commanders for much of the war regularly complained about the militia, rarely crediting them and almost always questioning their loyalty to Britain.”

From, “The Weight of Vengeance, The United States, the British Empire, and the War of 1812”, by Troy Bickham


As for the rest:

Quote:
I believe it’s of some interest to look at how Simcoe reacted to the 1794 crisis in relations between the U.S. and Britain that resulted from British seizures of U.S. ships in the Caribbean. Alan Taylor in his book The Civil War of 1812 wrote on page 54:


"While Dorchester sensibly planned for only the defensive war appropriate to the scanty British forces in Canada, Simcoe wanted to conquer the United States. In letters to his superiors in London, he promised within three months to rout the American army in the Ohio country, destroy forts in western Pennsylvania, burn the settlements of western New York, and neutralize Kentucky. During the following year he offered to sweep across Pennsylvania to rout President Washington at Philadelphia."
This piece has been taken out of context. Simcoe was indeed anti-US, but his job as Lt. Gov. of Upper Canada included military defense et al, the line between his authority and that of "Governor-in-Chief" i.e. Lord Dorchester, the former Guy Carleton, whose association with Quebec and the Canadas dated back to the days of Wolfe, Murray, the siege and attack of Arnold & Montgomery, was less defined than it would be if Dorchester had been ranked a "Governor General". Such being the case, Simcoe made sure that he had the ear of the Colonial Secretary; Lord Grenville, then Henry Dundas. Dorchester was shrewd and no shrinking violet, but he had considered Upper Canada indefensible in the event of war; abandonment was the likely option. Simcoe, a man of action simply played both sides, with some effect.

" ... what I stated to the king's ministers before I left England I affirm to be true, that Upper Canada is not to be defended remaining within it, that is, on a defensive plan." - John Graves Simcoe

This may be a bit simplistic but historically, Dorchester's sensible defensive measures included supporting the First Nations in their struggle with the US as a barrier between the US and Upper Canada, and ordering Simcoe to build and garrison a new fort at the "Miami Rapids" i.e. on the Maumee River, in Ohio. In Feb 1794, Dorchester meeting with members of the Western Tribes, advised them re: the US, “I shall not be surprised if we are at war with them in the course of the present year, and if we are a line must then be drawn by the King's Warriors.” Dorchester's comments made into the US press, the US gov't protested, Dorchester was chastised by his boss Colonial Secretary Henry Dundas (later ennobled as Lord Melville), he resented it AND Simcoe, and Dorchester resigned. Taylor deals with some of this in “The Divided Ground”, where he provides some of the needed context.

Quote:
[I do like Taylor’s books and he may be writing another on the War of 1812, only this time on the conflict in the south. Never did understand why Taylor and Stagg were not used on that PBS documentary. I was doing some searching on YouTube late last year and they had a copy of that documentary, Explosion 1812, and I looked at it. Let’s just say I wasn’t impressed and I’ll leave it at that. As for the comments by Taylor, I had the feeling there was a disconnect between some of Taylor’s comments and the claim by Dan Snow that the events at York changed “the outcome of the war.” Having read Taylor’s book The Civil War of 1812 he never put that much emphasis on the result of the U.S. raid on York.
I figured you & Kevin/Massena would find parts of this program a bit hard to swallow. Dan Snow’s Canadian side (from his mother) usually comes across as a bit awkward and “golly-gee” on television. In this case though Snow was the presenter and narrator, according to the National Post the show was written and directed by Mick Grogan, a Stratford, Ont. filmmaker, and Oxford University history grad. I believe Grogan relied heavily on Canadian Pierre Berton’s work, just my opinion, and the show is not without merit. You must admit though, the Robertshaw explosive’s experts bits were a hoot!

Quote:
Sorry, but I’m not convinced “there’s little doubt” that Jefferson knew of what was happening in Upper Canada at that time. If there is some evidence to support that claim then I’m more than willing to stand corrected. As for Jefferson’s reaction to the British attack on the Chesapeake, I think that was a normal human reaction to an act of war. If Taylor is correct in his claim that Jefferson had “precious little interest in Canada prior to the Chesapeake crisis of 1807,” then with no British aggression there would have been no plan to retaliate by attacking the British colonies.

From my reading no one knows why most of the militia of York did not appear to help the British. Carl Benn in his short book, The Battle of York, states on page 37: “History has not told us why the militia were not there….” Robert Malcomson in his book Capital in Flames also did not have an answer where exactly they were. In the documentary Explosion 1812 Dan Snow states: “Two hundred years later what Shaw did or did not do remains one of the great unanswered questions of the battle for York.” Shaw (Æneas Shaw) was the commander of the militia. They go on in the documentary to speculate that he may have taken the militia to guard his house.
Maj. Gen. Æneas Shaw had served with Simcoe during the Rev., he’d come to Upper Canada at Simcoe’s request and was known as a capable and honourable officer. I’m less inclined to believe in any deliberate disregard of duty on his part than I am in the cases of Chewett & Allan. The aftermath regarding the York Militia is more important, Andy Robertshaw’s time in the archives featured in Explosion was of greater significance than being just a barometer.

I look forward to any work from Taylor re: the War of 1812 in the south. I had more to say but I'm pressed for time and I've already dithered long enough.
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Originally Posted by Massena View Post
A good summary of the situation can be found in Amateurs, To Arms! by John Elting, 1-10 for the US Army and 67-69 for the US Navy.
A poor, opinionated, and unsourced summary of the situation can be found in Amateurs, To Arms! by John Elting.

Quote:
The US Army numbered 4,000 all ranks in 1801 when Jefferson assumed office. He had it reduced almost immediately
Congress reduced it a year after Jefferson took office. The Act of February 20th, 1802 halted all recruiting of the "augmented army." This included the 5th-16th Regiments and the Dragoon regiment (except for the original two dragoon companies).

Quote:
to 3,200 composed of two infantry regiments an artillery regiment and a small corps of engineers (7 officers and 10 cadets). He did have the sense to found the US Military Academy in 1802,
The two Regiments of Artillerists and Engineers (1st with sixteen companies, and the 2nd with twelve) were reduced and reorganized into a single regiment of twenty companies (so real loss was only eight companies), and the Engineers were separated from the artillery and professionalized. A step up. The 3,200 is authorized strength. Actual strength hovered around 2,700 until the 1808 Augmentation.

Quote:
About a third of the officers were dismissed, but the traitorous general, James Wilkinson, was retained.
Reduced the size of the army by a third the officers will be reduced by a third. It goes without saying. Wilkinson was the only general officer when Jefferson took office. All other general officers were riffed in May of 1800. Adams takes the fall for this one, and Washington appointed him brigadier general in the first place.

Quote:
The army's strength fell below 2,400 by 1807.
As mentioned, it fluctuated depending on recruitment/loss rates. This has always been true.

Quote:
The Leopard-Chesapeake incident prompted Jefferson and Congress to authorize five new infantry regiments, one of riflemen, one of light dragoons, and one of light artillery. However, by 1812 the army numbered 6,750 out of the 10,000 authorized.
Actually, about 5,200. The 6,700 figure was what it was at at the declaration of war-- six months on. Still, that 5,200 was more than the 4,000 or so at the Augmented army's height (with an authorized strength of about 14,000. When Washington left office, the army was authorized 2000 infantry, 800 artillery, and 125 cavalry, or just about 3,000. Jefferson's peacetime force, organized somewhat differently, essentially equaled Washington's.

Quote:
The Secretary of War, Henry Dearborn, did his best to modernize the army, making sensible corrections,
Such as?

Quote:
but he was also economy-minded which greatly hindered any long-term improvements.
Such as?

Quote:
Madison's new Secretary of War was William Eustis who sold the army's horses
I haven't found anything in the primary record to support this. Cite?

Quote:
and Wilkinson's moved a large portion of the army to the 'pesthole' of Terre aux Boefs south of New Orleans
Against Eustis' direct orders. He was ordered further north, and eventually did move, after which, he was relieved of his command and court martialed. That the court acquitted him cannot be laid at the hand of neither Eustis nor Madison.

Quote:
Eustis would not allow the purchase of 'mosquito nets, chickens, eggs, or wine for the hospital.'
Wrong, wrong, and wrong. All these things were purchased for the hospital. The Congressional Enquiry on the Mortality of the Army at New Orleans (which also acquitted Wilkinson) makes it clear that all of these were purchased for the hospital in quantity.

Quote:
900 men died of disease and 166 deserted.
686 deaths (of all causes, but mostly disease), 108 deserted, and 58 discharged (for disability (mainly), term of service expiration, etc). All figures readily available in the ASP.

Quote:
40 officers died or resigned.
Haven't even bothered to look up this one.

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And this was out of a strength in Louisiana of 2,000. Where Dearborn was competent, Eustis was not.
Again in error. About 2000 of the Additional Army were ordered to New Orleans. More than 700 of the peace establishment were already there. 2,700+ not "2000." Source as above.

So far all that you have shown is that the source of your "facts" (and not Eustis) is incompetent. If the Major Leagues represents professional historians, your source would have been cut from A Ball.

Tuebor
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Old 13 Sep 16, 07:36
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And what are your sources?

You have a habit of not listing them or quoting from them.

Why is that?
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Old 13 Sep 16, 08:06
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Originally Posted by Tuebor View Post
So far all that you have shown is that the source of your "facts" (and not Eustis) is incompetent. If the Major Leagues represents professional historians, your source would have been cut from A Ball.
Comments such as these are as unnecessary as they are false.
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Old 13 Sep 16, 11:05
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So far all that you have shown is that the source of your "facts" (and not Eustis) is incompetent.
If it comes down to a choice between Col Elting's material and what you have posted, then I'll take Col Elting's every time.

Not only have you not cited your material, but you more often than not resort to pejorative comments about those with whom you disagree. If nothing else, that is unseemly and tends to merely demonstrate the bankfuptcy of your positions.

By the way, what have you written and published?
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Old 13 Sep 16, 11:43
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Concerning the issue of Eustis ordering the selling of the horses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuebor View Post

I haven't found anything in the primary record to support this. Cite?
History of Military Mobilization in the United States Army 1775 -1945 by Marvin A. Kreidberg, Lieutenant Colonel, Infantry, United States Army and Merton G. Henry First Lieutenant, AGC, United States Army. Department of the Army pamphlet no. 20 - 212.

On page 39:

Quote:
The Act of April 12, 1808, authorized a light artillery regiment, but since artillery units were expensive Secretary of War Dearborn, treading cautiously, authorized only one battery, whose horses were purchased in May 1808. The enthusiastic battery commander, Capt. George Peter, labored arduously to recruit and train his men, to assemble his equipment, and to train his animals. This promising beginning towards mobile artillery fire support came to an untimely and abrupt end in the spring of 1809 when a new Secretary of War, William Eustis, in the interest of economy ordered the artillery horses sold. This economy completely immobilized the artillery for three more years at a time when mobilization measures should have been emerging,
I forgot to mention that the book that I'm referring to is available for free, as a pdf, online here.
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Old 13 Sep 16, 17:03
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I believe that if they are researched, most of Tuebor's 'points', if not all, will rapidly fall apart.

His 'points' on both artillery and the US Navy and the Jefferson administration have already been shown to be incorrect.

Excellent posting on your part.
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Old 18 Sep 16, 11:24
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Massena,

When someone writes a masters thesis and a number of professors are listed as having approved it is it expected that those professors actually read the thesis? I ask this because I just finished reading this thesis and found some errors that should not have been made.

The author states on page 134: "In his attempt at Western reclamation, General William Henry Harrison achieved the United States’ only major land victory against Britain in 1812. At the Battle of the Thames...." This battle occurred in 1813 not in 1812 and what is more amazing the author goes on to acknowledge this on page 140. The author refers to "Battles of 1813" and puts the Battle of the Thames in the correct year. He ends up with two different years for the same battle.

Another remarkable error is when writing about Queenston Heights he states on page 135: "Over 250 soldiers were killed, to include Captain Zebulon Pike...." Pike was not at Queenston Heights. He was with the 15th Infantry at Plattsburgh under Dearborn and was a colonel. He would be killed at York in Upper Canada in April 1813 just a month after promotion to brigadier general. Also, the author writes Queenstown Heights instead of the correct Queenston Heights.

It seems to me there is some sloppy writing and research by this author and I wonder how many other errors he made. At least one of those professors should have seen such obvious errors.
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Old 20 Sep 16, 20:55
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Most of the naval officers and all of the naval construction personnel were discharged and work on the ships-of-the-line was stopped.
The material that had been carefully gathered for their construction was carelessly stored and eventually rotted.
1. Work on the ships-of-the-line could not have been stopped as they were still in the process of purchasing timber. The timber was still being purchased during the first two or three years of the Jefferson administration. They were not built, because there was no Congressional authorization to build them. Remember, the Adams administration and Sixth Congress (in a bipartisan manner) had only authorized thirteen frigates. Jefferson was not allowed by law to build the ships. In late 1805, Jefferson did request Congress to authorize the construction of the battleships, and the House Committee assigned to look into the matter did in fact recommend their building, but the House, as a whole, referred it back to the committee as there was little support for the measure, and there it appears to have died.

2. The timber, ordnance, etc survived well into the War of 1812. I have yet to find out its ultimate fate. It may have indeed rotted, but may have been used for other construction. Secretary of the Navy, Paul Hamilton, hinted at building the '74's in December of 1811, but again Congress would not go for it. It was not until 1813, and after a good deal of good press for the USN, that Congress was finally able to allow itself to authorize the construction of Ships of Line. One wonders, though, if in the end that was wise.

Quote:
Repairs and maintenance on all ships was postponed and neglected.
The Adams administration had done little more than purchase the property for five navy yards (Congress only authorized two, and there was a big stink up about it later) and build a few buildings. The two docks authorized and funded were never built, and the money reverted back to the Treasury at the end of the Adams Administration. Jefferson did request Congress to build a massive multi-ship drydock at the Washington Naval Yard (on a plan drawn up by Joshua Humphreys). Congress thought it too experimental and did not go for it. It was recommended by a committee that the two docks authorized by the Fifth Congress to be refunded and constructed. I have not yet been able to find the result of that recommendation, but am still searching.

Repairs and maintenance continued as before, and funds were provided for that in every budget, and the records show that the ships were undergoing constant repair. In at least one case a supplementary spending act was passed for that purpose to make up for shortfalls in the original appropriations bill. The Adams administration built very little in the way of actual shore architecture and the Jefferson Administration spent quite a bit just building storage sheds at the like, especially for the timber.

Quote:
Jefferson had 278 gunboats of dubious value constructed to guard US harbors
The "Gunboat Navy" was only part of a proposed naval expansion, and went in a couple of stages. Jefferson had tried to get the six ships-of-the-line, but was denied. The gunboats were meant to augment a new series of fortifications to built anew (the so called "Second System"), BUT were primarily ordered as a result of the CHESAPEAKE-LEOPARD Affair to provide a near term defense of the sea coast as at that time very little existed for its defense. It was not meant to be anything more than an emergency defensive measure. I should also point out that it was a bipartisan vote. Less than a third of the Federalists voted against it, and some championed it. Final vote, in the House, was 111-19.

[/quote]and when Madison took office he ignored the navy. By 1812, two out of three frigates in ordinary at the Washington Navy Yard had been allowed to rot beyond repair and the third was converted into a hulk. [/quote]

GENERAL GREENE was in bad shape by the end of 1802, and was one of the reason she was recommended for sale, but Congress decided to convert into a sheer hulk instead as she was not worth much. Robert Smith, Secretary of the Navy during the Jefferson Administration, wished to sell her and the frigate ADAMS because they were falling out of repair, were a modified merchant design, and were built out of unseasoned timber. Congress decided to keep ADAMS.

Quote:
When war was declated three frigates needed extensive work to be seaworthy; one was being refitted and had no crew nor stores; three were ready for service but were not in good condition, and one was being converted into a sloop-of-war.
Ships (even today) are in a constant state of disrepair. Nearly every single ship that returned from a cruise required(s) repair. There was nothing out of the ordinary (pardon the pun) for the state of the USN in 1812. NEW YORK and BOSTON rotted out. The former seems to have had some issues with that from early on, and the latter was in ordinary for less than five years (ships can last in ordinary for decades). More research needs to be done, but I suspect, like GENERAL GREENE they were built out of unseasoned or improperly seasoned wood. It was interesting that BOSTON's frames were made of white oak instead of live oak, which suggests that the builders used whatever was locally available in her construction. Even if the ship had been completely neglected while laid up, she should not have rotted as completely as she did at the latitude of Washington.


Quote:
The Washington Navy Yard was active, but it was the only one that was.
Other than those at Portsmouth, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Norfolk.

What is not mentioned in the posts were the increases in size of the peace time establishment of the Navy made during the Jefferson administration. While small (not including gunboats), they did add increase the navy from thirteen authorized under Adams to eighteen at the beginning of 1812, and that takes into effect the losses of four frigates to action or decay.


All the above taken from the American State Papers, Naval Affairs, Volume I; United States Statutes at Large; and the Annals of Congress.

Tuebor

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