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Lake Champlain, Lake George, and Richelieu River
HISTORY TIMELINE
By James P. Millard

Part VII (a)- THE WAR AND ITS AFTERMATH: 1814 AND BEYOND
The Young Nation Again Victorious

JANUARY 1814- DECEMBER 1814

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January 1814
General Alexander Macomb is placed in charge of the American forces along the Lake Champlain frontier. An excellent officer, his accomplishments at the Battle of Plattsburg will be largely overshadowed by those of Thomas Macdonough of the navy.

 
January 7
"In Philadelphia in poverty died Gen. Ira Allen, a brother of Ethan Allen and Vermont's founder and great diplomat during the trying years of the Revolution. His remains were deposited in public grounds and his grave remains unmarked..."**


January 8

"A detachment of infantry from Chateaugay Four Corners ordered to Plattsburgh by Gen. Wilkinson, reached there after a forced march of forty miles that day..."**
January 10
"Other detachments of troops having arrived Wilkinson repaired to Plattsburgh in person while the camp at French Mills was broken up and all magazines and provisions forwarded to Lake Champlain..."**

March 2, 1814
"About the first of the month Maj. Forsyth, with 300 Riflemen and Dragoons had been sent to the lines near Champlain to protect the frontier and break up an illicit intercourse which had been carried on with the enemy during the winter, while Gen. Macomb and Col. Clark had been sent to the Vermont frontier for a similar purpose. The British becoming alarmed had occupied Lacolle and strengthened the forts at St. Johns and Isle Aux Noix."**

March
22

"Clinton County records show that 80 rods of land, corner Bridge and Peru streets were deeded to Gen. Benj. Mooers. The house, a wooden one painted yellow was built and occupied by Thomas Green. Many years later it was bricked up."** [This is the house, still standing, that was occupied by Macomb as American headquarters during the Battle of Plattsburgh. jpm]

March
26

"Wm. Baker, a sergeant of the British Army (103rd regiment of Infantry), was executed as a spy on the sand ridge between Court and Brinkerhoff streets..."**[Plattsburgh]
March 29
"4,000 men were collected at Champlain, of whom 100 were cavalry and 304 artillerists, having 11 pieces of cannon of small calibre. With this force Wilkinson planned an attack against Major Hancock of the 13th who, with 600 men, occupied a stone grist-mill on the banks of the Lacolle river about five miles north of the lines."**

March
30

"In the morning the American army marched out of Champlain upon the Odelltown road now nearly impassable for artillery, obstructed as it was by fallen trees and heavy snow drifts. Major Forsyth and his Rifles led the advance, followed by the 30th and 31st and part of the 11th under Col. Clark; two corps of infantry under Bissell and Smith and a reserve of 800 men under Macomb brought up the rear. The attack on the stone mill ended disastrously for the Americans, their loss amounting to 104 killed and wounded, among them several brave officers while the British loss reported was but 10 killed and 46 wounded. At sundown the whole army retired to Odelltown."**

April
6, 1814

"Com. Macdonough wrote to Peter Sailly, Collector of Customs: " I have rec'd only this morning your favr of 29th ultim, owing to the impractibility of crossing the lake." He then gives the information that the " B. flotilla has been at Rouses point since a few Days," and that their ship will soon be ready to "display the English Collours." He speaks of the great danger lest the enemy seize the boats and sink them loaded with stones at the mouths of rivers and creeks, telling Mr. Sailly that he will know best as to the advisability of placing strong batteries at the mouth of the Saranac, and closing with: "It will do no good to growl; but I may observe that we are going to be in a desperate situation on the shores of this lake as long as the British can navigate it, Stop all Communication and plunder our Shores."**

The letter is written with evident haste, with several erasures and changes. An inventory of military stores such as boxes of candles, soap, pounds of beef, pork, etc. occupies the margin and the commander signs himself Yrs. Ths. McDonough. **

April 11
"The Saratoga, destined to be Macdonough's flag ship, was launched at Vergennes, only forty days from the tree in the forest to the vessel on the lake. Her equipment had not yet arrived and the roads were impassable for the heavily loaded wagons which were to draw the naval stores from Troy.**

May 9, 1814
"Capt. Daniel Pring entered the lake with the brig Linnet, five sloops, and thirteen galleys. Several of the enemy's vessels had been anchored near Rouses Point since the second of April when the northern end of the lake was free from ice."**

May
10, 1814

"Pring anchored his fleet near Providence Island; Gen. Izard at Plattsburgh notified Macomb at Burlington of the approach of the enemy and late that night the latter sent the news to Vergennes and Capt. Thornton with 50 light artillerymen in wagons to man the battery. All night the selectmen of the lake towns worked running bullets for the approaching conflict."**

May
13

"Friday, the British flotilla consisting of a brig (the Linnet, with 20 guns, commanded by Capt. Dan'l Pring), 6 sloops and schooners and 10 row-gallies passed up the lake from Rouses Point, and in the afternoon appeared off the village of Essex. The soldiers of one row-galley, after giving chase to a small row boat which escaped up the Bouquet, landed on the north side of that river and plundered a farm house. The fleet anchored for the night off Split Rock, while the militia officers at Vergennes spent the night running bullets and Capt. Winans made preparations for blowing up his vessel, the steamer Vermont, rather than permit her falling into the hands of the enemy."**

May 14
"Early Saturday morning, the British flotilla sailed from Split Rock and attempted to enter Otter Creek to force their way to Vergennes to destroy the shipping, but were prevented by the fire from the works at the entrance, commanded by Capt. Thornton of the artillery and Lieut. Cassin of the navy."**
May 15
"Macdonough's squadron sailed out of Otter Creek into the Narrows, and away to the north, cruising all summer about the lake, and drilling for the engagement that was deemed inevitable."**

May
16

"The steamboat Vermont, the first on the lake, on her trip between Burlington and Plattsburgh, escaped capture by three gunboats from the British fleet under Captain Pring, in ambush under the shore of Providence Island opposite Cumberland Head, through the discovery and revelation of the plot by Duncan McGregor of Alburgh, Vt."**

May
29

"Macdonough brought his fleet out of Otter Creek and cast anchor that same evening off Plattsburgh."**

June
11, 1814

"A light brigade, under the command of Gen. Smith, Forsyth's regiment of riflemen and two companies of artillery, were encamped near the mouth of Dead Creek."**
June 17
"The troops at Dead Creek advanced as far as Chazy."**

June
24

"Lieut.-Col. Forsyth with 70 of his riflemen penetrated Canada as far as Odeltown where he was attacked by a detachment of 250 British light troops. He returned to Champlain with the loss of one killed and five wounded. A few days later he was ordered forward again for the same purpose when, as his men retreated closely pursued by 150 Canadians and Indians, he was shot down by an Indian. Forsyth's riflemen instantly fired upon the enemy who now retreated leaving 17 dead upon the field."**

June
27

"Smith's brigade, fourteen hundred strong, occupied Champlain while Col. Pierce of the 13th was at Chazy with 800 men and about 1,200 men occupied the works at Cumberland Head at Dead Creek. Macdonough's fleet lay at anchor in King's Bay while the British held LaColle with a force of 3,600 and had strong garrisons at Isle aux Noix and St. Johns and forces at L'Acadie and Chambly."**

June
28

Smuggler's, especially on the Vermont side of the lake, were still finding it hard to reconcile the fact that their country was at war with Canada. Two enormous spars are intercepted enroute to Canada down the lake. The spars being towed are each over 80' long and are obviously headed to Isle aux Noix for use on the soon to be constructed Confiance.2 The British Admiralty, long concerned over a shortage of standing timber for masts in the Richelieu region of Lower Canada, has actively encouraged this sort of activity from those near the border. The trade in illicit goods with the British army remains brisk throughout the war.

July 1814
Under orders from General Izard a battery of four 18-pounders, with a redoubt at its rear, is constructed at Cumberland Head. This battery, known as Fort Izard, proves ineffective due to its location, and within a few weeks the cannon are removed.1

July 23
"The keel of the Eagle was laid at Vergennes."**

July
31

"Macomb's brigade, consisting of the 6th, 13th, 15th, 16th, and 29th Regiments set out in boats from Cumberland Head for Chazy Landing while Bissell's brigade, comprising the 5th, 14th, 30th, 31st, 33d, 34th, and 45th Regiments started for Chazy by land. There were now 4,500 men at or in the rear of the village of Champlain. Invalids and 200 effective were left to finish the works on the Head while a working party of 400 under Col. Fenwick were completing the three redoubts in that village."**

August
11, 1814

"The new brig, carrying 20 guns, was launched at Vergennes and named the Eagle."**

August 16
"In the afternoon, Com. Macdonough, accompanied by a body guard, visited Capt. Caleb Hill at his home on Isle la Motte and consulted with him in regard to depredations made by certain sailors from his fleet upon property on the Island. That the offenders should be punished, if caught, was decided and Macdonough returned, his boat laden with green corn, new potatoes and garden truck which Capt. Hill had given him from the house garden. That evening a party of desperate men, including an officer, pretending to be British, entered the house, and while being served with refreshments, murdered Capt. Hill in his own kitchen. His young son, Ira, while trying to escape, was struck by an officer with a sword, cutting a gash from below the right eye, through the mouth to the end of the chin, inflicting a scar which was carried through life."**

August
20

" 'I must not be responsible for the consequences of abandoning my present strong position. I will obey orders and execute them as well as I know how. Maj.-Gen. Brisbane commands at Odelltown; he is said to have between five and six thousand men with him. Those at Chambly are stated to be about four thousand.'--Gen. Izard to the Secretary of War"**

August
23

"General Izard wrote to the War Department that he had decided to remove west by way of Lake George and Schenectady with 4,000 men, leaving the sick and convalescents and about 1,200 men under Brig. Gen. Macomb to garrison Plattsburgh and Cumberland Head. The same day Macomb sent to Williams, commanding the Secret Corps, desiring that his agents obtain further information in regard to the enemy's force."**

August
30

"Major General Brisbane advanced his division to Champlain."**

August
31

"Gen. Izard, having waited in vain for different orders, withdrew from Plattsburgh and marched his army of 4,000 troops along the new State road through Pleasant Valley on their way to the Niagara Frontier. Almost immediately, an officer came riding furiously shouting the news of a British invasion from the north and warning out the militia..."**

Macomb appeals to Vermont Governor Chittenden to send the militia. Chittenden sticks with his earlier conviction that the militia cannot serve outside of the state but he does urge General John Newell of Charlotte and General Samuel Strong of Vergennes to ask for volunteers to serve in New York.

"On the same day Gen. Mooers ordered out the militia of Clinton and Essex en masse to resist the invasion of the British and couriers on horseback hastened to alarm the surrounding villages and towns."**

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September 1, 1814
" 'Macdonough to-day anchored his fleet in Cumberland Bay. Sir George Prevost following (Gen. Brisbane) with all his combined forces, amounting to 15,000 well disciplined troops, threw himself into the little village of Champlain. Immediately on his arrival there, he indeavored [sic] to disaffect the minds of the inhabitants toward their own government, and draw them over to the enemy; failing in this, he proceeded to impress wagons and teams in the vicinity for the purpose of transporting their baggage and military stores.'--Mrs. Davidson."**

Captain George Downie arrives at Isle aux Noix. His orders are to assume command of naval forces on Lake Champlain from Capt. Daniel Pring. (Downie will die in battle on September 11th. See The Demise of Capt. Downie at the Battle of Plattsburg.)

September 2
"The 1,500 men (mostly recruits and invalids) left at Plattsburgh after the sudden march of Gen. Izard, worked bravely at the defences, each man, bound to defend with his life if need be, the fort at which he labored. Fort Moreau, about midway between river and lake, was garrisoned by Col. Melancton Smith and his command; Fort Scott, near the shore of the lake, by Major Vinson; while Fort Brown, on the bank of the Saranac, was in charge of Lieut. Col. Storrs with detachments of the Thirtieth and Thirty-first regiments. The blockhouse, on the south side of a deep ravine, half way between the river and lake, nearly opposite to the entrance to the government reservation from Hamilton Street, was defended by Capt. Smith and part of his company of convalescents, Lieut. Fowler with a detachment of artillery being at the blockhouse on the point."**

September 3
"At Champlain was encamped, under Sir George Prevost, commander-in-chief, an army of from 11,000 to 14,000 men, including artillery, infantry, light dragoons, miners and sappers, with Canadian chausseurs and a Swiss regiment; all tried and seasoned troops, many of them Wellington veterans. The same day the inhabitants were fleeing from Plattsburgh south, many finding an asylum at the "Union," where a few days later, from the crest of Hallock hill, they with the young Quakers watched the distant battle and heard the cannonading."**

Capt. Pring, with a small fleet of gunboats, occupies the western shore of Isle La Motte. He promptly establishes a battery of 3 long 18-pounders to protect Chazy Landing.

September 4
" 'The enemy's guard is within eighteen miles from us. Some of the bold and brave militia-men have exchanged shots with them.'--Eleazer Williams"**

" 'According to the best of my recollection, however, the town (Plattsburgh) was deserted by the inhabitants on or about the fourth of September, 1814'--Mrs. Davidson."**

The Law office of Julius C. Hubbell in Chazy is used as a headquarters for the advancing British. Still standing, the quaint little building is now the public library.

"The main body of the invading army had indeed reached Chazy and Lieut. -Col. Appling, Capt. Safford and Lieut. M.M. Standish with a troop of New York State cavalry were sent out on the State road as an advance guard, while Capt. Sproul, with two cannon and 200 American soldiers went to defend Dead Creek bridge. About 700 of the militia of Clinton and Essex counties came pouring into Plattsburgh, in response to the call of Gen. Mooers, and the Vermonters rallied in great number under Gen. Strong. Early in the morning the boys of Capt. Aiken's company, who, only the week before had been pupils in the Academy, marched to West Chazy where they remained all night."**

September 5
General Macomb orders the removal of 720 sick and invalid troops to Crab Island.

"The British made their appearance at West Chazy and Aiken's Volunteer Riflemen 'gave a good account of themselves by annoying the enemy from behind stumps, fences, &c., and disputed the ground with them all the way to Plattsburgh.' That night, the right wing of the British army under Col. Wellington (a nephew of the Duke of Wellington) encamped about two miles north of Beekmantown Corners, on the farm of Miner Lewis. In Plattsburgh, Eleazer Williams wrote:-- 'A council of war was held last evening. My department was again called upon to state the force of the enemy. Every arrangement was made and settled how to receive him. All are in activity--*** our fleet in the bay are manoeuvering--the gunboats are exercising near the shores, in preparation to annoy the enemy whenever he may approach and attack the village. All are solemn-it cannot be otherwise- they (the soldiers) are determined that Plattsburgh shall not be attacked or surrendered, without the expense of British and American Blood. At night, 12 o'clock-- The enemy are now at Douglas Place, at the separation of the Lake and the Back Road, as it is called.' " **


September 6

"About noon the British army reached Plattsburgh and took possession of the village north of the Saranac. Their right wing, under Col. Wellington, had been only temporarily checked by the loss of their leader at Culver Hill and the skirmish which had preceded that, near Beekmantown Corners, and later, at Halsey's Corners. Meanwhile, the left wing had been somewhat delayed by obstructions placed in the road, by an encounter at Dead Creek bridge and the firing of the American gun boats at the mouth of the Creek. Overwhelmed, however, by the immense number of the enemy, the defenders had retreated in good order to their works on the east side of the river, pulling up the planks of the bridge. Prevost chose for his headquarters the Thomas Allen farm, on the hill west of the village, from the summit of which the British commander could overlook the lake and watch for the appearance of his fleet. His troops encamped on the high ground in the vicinity, now known as Prospect Heights. Lieut. Gen. de Rottenburgh, second in command, established himself west of Prevost, towards Hammond hill, with Gen. Powers and his command opposite on the south side of the road, but further west. Maj. Gen. Robertson, was at the Isaac Platt farm, where the dead and wounded of the recent engagements had been carried. Brisbane was at the Boynton farm, then occupied by Samuel Lowell and the Qr. Master General took possession of the Capt. Nathaniel Platt homestead, where that  patriot still remained, although the Bailey family had retired to the "Union" at Peru."**


September 8

" 'The Vermont militia have begun to come. Captain Farnsworth, of St. Albans, with his rifle company, ninety-six strong, have just arrived. This is a fine and noble corps. Evening-- Generals Macomb and Mooers, and Commodore Macdonough were together this evening, in consultation, the result of which is that I am once more compelled to put the whole corps of Rangers in motion.'--Williams"**


September 9

"Prevost was now busily engaged in bringing up his battering trains and supplies; erecting batteries and otherwise preparing for the siege. The Americans had already burned fifteen or sixteen buildings on the north side of the river which afforded protection to the enemy; also, their own barracks and hospitals near the forts, while their sick and convalescent had been removed to Crab Island, where those who were able manned a battery mounting two six pounders. Skirmishes with the enemy at the two bridges and at the different forts along the river were frequent. During the day, Allen, Travis and Williams of Aiken's Volunteers came near being captured or killed by a guard of the enemy, while securing supplies from a barn within the enemy's lines. That night was dark and stormy. Williams says:--'A corps of the regular troops, under Captain MacGlassin, about 11 o'clock, crossed the Saranac, and stormed, at the point of the bayonet, a bomb-battery of the enemy, near Weight's printing office. My brother John was the leader of this detachment, and was the cause of the death of the engineer of the battery. Having accomplished the duty assigned them, they returned to the forts whence they had issued, with honor and victory.' "**
September 10
"The entire British fleet was now anchored off the south end of Isle La Motte, where the gun-boats, under Capt. Pring, had been since the 7th. Com. Downie arrived the 8th and the British officers now took possession of the stone house built be Samuel Fisk, still standing. Macdonough's fleet had been anchored a little north of Blanchard's Point previous to the first of the month, but soundings made with reference to an engagement there proving unsatisfactory, the fleet had withdrawn to Cumberland Bay."**

September
11

"A few minutes before 9, Downie gave the signal for the squadron to advance. In the momentary hush before the battle, Macdonough with his officers about him, knelt upon the deck of his flagship and repeated the prayer appointed by the Church to be said before a fight at sea. A moment more and the carnage had begun. Downie fell early in the fight but the battle raged for two hours and twenty minutes, when the British colors were hauled down. Macdonough wrote to the Hon. W. Jones, Secretary of the Navy.-- 'The Almighty has been pleased to grant us a signal victory on Lake Champlain in the capture of one frigate, one brig and two sloops of war of the enemy." At the beginning of the battle on the bay, the enemy had opened his batteries on our forts and the fighting continued in different quarters nearly all day. But as night fell no time was lost by the vanquished foe in making their escape as best they could over the muddy and nearly impassable roads northward."**

For a full account of the Battle of Plattsburgh, click HERE.
September 12
"Commodore Macdonough caused the wounded to be removed to his own hospital on Crab Island and there, south of the hospital tents, the dead of both armies were buried in trenches together. The same day the Vermont volunteers returned home."**

September 13
"The New York militia were disbanded and the most severely wounded of the enemy were paroled and sent to the English hospital at Isle aux Noix. This day the body of Lieut. Stansbury, who mysteriously disappeared from the Ticonderoga during the action, rose to the surface of the water, and was found to have been 'cut in two with a round shot.' He was a son of Gen. T. E. Stansbury."**

September
14

"The remains of the lamented Gamble, Stansbury, Carter and Barron were placed in separate boats, manned by crews from their respective vessels. The sad procession then moved to the Confiance, where the British officers joined them with their dead. At the lakeshore the funeral party was met by a large concourse of soldiers and civilians and, as the procession slowly wended its way to the village cemetery, minute guns were fired from the fort. In the centre of that peaceful spot, friend and foe were laid to rest, the flags for which each had fought, furnishing a pall."**

September
15

"The English prisoners who were able, left Plattsburgh for Greenbush, N.Y. by steamboat in charge of Capt. White Youngs."**

September
23

"At three o'clock p.m. , a naval dinner at Green's hotel was tendered Commodore Macdonough by the grateful citizens of Plattsburgh. The Commodore, accompanied by Generals Macomb and Mooers, and officers of the army and navy then present, was escorted from Macomb's quarters to the hotel by the president and vice-president of the day (Peter Sailly, Esq. and the Hon. William Bailey); the Hon. Henry Delord and John Warford, Lewis Ranson and William Swetland, Esqrs., the committee of arrangements; the judge and sheriff of the county and other prominent citizens. On the way a national salute was given and the cloth was removed, many toasts were drunk amid the booming of cannon and strains of martial music furnished by Macomb's band.--'OUR COUNTRY-- May she be the first and greatest object of our concern-- for her sake let honor be given to her heroes and defenders'-- First toast of the hour."**

December
24, 1814
The War of 1812 officially ends with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent.

Sources/Notes:

** THREE CENTURIES IN THE CHAMPLAIN VALLEY: A COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL FACTS AND INCIDENTS- TERCENTENARY EDITION. 1909: Compiled and Edited by Mrs. George Fuller Tuttle. Saranac Chapter, D.A.R. Plattsburgh, NY.
1
Allan S. Everest, "The War of 1812 in the Champlain Valley" (Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, New York: 1981) 146
2
Ibid., 152

This is the conclusion of TIMELINE VII (a) The War and Its Aftermath: The Young Nation Victorious

   
The TIMELINE continues HERE

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