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The War of 1812


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Transcription contributed by Martie Callihan 17 January 2005

Sources:
The History of Warren County Ohio
Part III. The History of Warren County by Josiah Morrow
Chapter VII. Military History
(Chicago, IL: W. H. Beers Co, 1882; reprint, Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1992)
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War of 1812

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Before the declaration of war against England, in June, 1812, the people of Southwestern Ohio were frequently alarmed with reports of Indian incursions. Tecumseh and his brother, the Prophet, had been laboring for years to bring about a union of the Indian tribes in a war against the whites. The battle of Tippecanoe was fought November 7, 1811. The Indians were defeated, but, until the commencement of the war with England, the Government was constantly engaged in negotiations with them to prevent more formidable hostilities. Not content with negotiations, the Government, in April, before the declaration of war, organized a military force at Dayton, consisting of three regiments of infantry, in addition to one regiment of regulars. This force was placed under the command of Gen. Hull, and was afterward surrendered to the

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British in August, 1812. The news of Gen. Hull's surrender spread gloom and alarm among the people from Cincinnati to the frontier. The whole region of the Miamis was left exposed to Indian depredations. Soon after came the rumor that the British and Indians under Tecumseh were approaching by the Maumee River, and that Fort Wayne was besieged.

During the year 1812, many councils were held at Piqua by representatives of the Government with Indian chiefs for the purpose of securing friendly relations with them. While one of these was in progress, Gov. Meigs, Jeremiah Morrow and Thomas Worthington being, the United States Commissioners, a rumor was spread throughout the southern part of Warren County that the Indians had proved treacherous, had massacred the representatives of the Government, and were marching southward. Men left their plows in the furrow, seized their rifles and rushed to the defense of their homes.

Although their situation was such as to give rise to feelings of uneasiness as to the safety of their own homes, the great majority of the people of Warren County were in favor of the war with England. On the reception of the news of the formal declaration of war, the people held meetings, passed resolutions of approval, and took steps to respond to the call for troops.

Lebanon was the rendezvous of the troops raised in 1812 from the counties of Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont; In August, 1812, four companies of riflemen, commanded respectively by Capt. Joel Collins, Capt. Means, Capt. Leonard and Capt. Hinkle; a company of artillery commanded by Capt. Joseph Jenkinson; and a company of light infantry commanded by Capt. Matthias Corwin, assembled in Lebanon, where the commissioned officers met and elected Joseph Jenkinson, Major. They took up their line of march for Urbana by way of Dayton, making, according to James McBride, quite a formidable appearance. Before reaching Dayton, they received the news that Gen. Hull and his army were prisoners of the enemy, and that the British and their Indian allies were marching to meet them. At Urbana, they were united with a battalion under the command of Maj. Galloway, of Xenia. The commissioned officers of the two battalions met and elected Capt. David Sutton, of Deerfield, Warren County, Colonel of the regiment. "Col. Sutton," says McBride, in his biography of Joel Collins, "had raised a company and gone out with the first army as a Captain. He had been sent into the interior, by the order of Gen. Hull, for the purpose of transacting some business connected with the army, and consequently was not present at the time of their capitulation. He was with Jenkinson's battalion, on his return, when they received intelligence of Hull's surrender. Any person alive now who was living at that time must remember the consternation that this news produced throughout the whole community. So strong a feeling of patriotism pervaded the country at that time that it appeared as if every able-bodied man who could possibly raise a horse and a gun was on the move for the frontier. In a few days, a large, promiscuous multitude were assembled in and about Urbana, but they were without leaders, and knew not what to do." William Henry Harrison, however, soon took the command, and applied his energies to the proper organization of the army on the Northwestern frontier.

The first Kentucky troops that arrived in Ohio after Hull's surrender were a brigade of militia under the command of Brig. Gen. John Payne. They arrived at Piqua September 3, 1812, and Gen. Harrison determined to send forward a detachment for the relief of Fort Wayne. Maj. Jenkinson, in whose battalion were riflemen from Warren and neighboring counties, was ordered to send one of his companies to act as road-cutters and open a wagon-way along Wayne's old trace from Fort Loramie to St. Mary's; another company to escort a train of wagons on their way to Fort Wayne; another to relieve a company of

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militia from Ohio, stationed at Loramie's; and the remainder of the battalion to remain at Piqua. Maj. Jenkinson permitted the Captains to decide the matter by lot as to the company which should be assigned to each particular duty. Tickets were prepared and drawn from a hat. It fell to the lot of Capt. Matthias Corwin's company of volunteers from Warren County to escort twenty wagon-loads of supplies, and to Capt. Joel Collins' company of Butler County volunteers to open the road. In 1840, Gen. Charles Anthony thus addressed a political meeting in Columbus, Ohio:

"When the brave Harrison and his gallant army were exposed to the dangers and hardships of the Northwestern frontier—separated from the interior, on which they depended for their supplies, by the brush-wood and swamps of the St. Mary's country, through which there was no road—where each wagoner had to make his way wherever he could find a passable place, leaving traces and routes which are still visible for a space of several days' journey in length— there was one team which was managed by a little, dark-complexioned, hardy looking lad, apparently about fifteen or sixteen years old, who was familiarly called TOM CORWIN."

From what has already been said, it is evident that there were stirring times in Warren County during the opening scenes of the war. Fears of the Indians, news of Hull's surrender, calls for volunteers and upon farmers for wagon-loads of provisions; the encampment of troops at the little village of Lebanon produced an intense excitement, and animated the whole population with a determination to avert the desolation that threatened the frontiers, and to wipe out the disgrace with which American arms had been stained by the opening movement of the war. Enlistments in the county must have been rapid, but no record of their numbers, or even the names of the commanders of companies, can now be found. The files of the Western Star, the only paper then printed in the county, for that period, are lost, but in a single paper still in existence, dated August 27, 1812, the announcement of Hull's surrender is made under the head of "To Arms! To Arms! " and from the same paper it appears that a light infantry company from Lebanon and volunteers from other parts of the county left Lebanon for Piqua on the 25th of August, and on the afternoon of the same day, Thomas Ross induced twenty men to volunteer in Lebanon, after which they marched through the town, endeavoring to induce, others to join them. From other newspaper accounts, it appears that on Sunday, August 23, 1812, Capt. Caldwell, with a troop of horse from Warren County, rode through Dayton to Piqua. and Capt. Johnson, with a rifle company from the same county, reported at Camp Meigs, on Mad River, near Dayton. The following notice was published in the Lebanon Star in August, 1812:

To all those brave and patriotic young men who wish to enlist in defense of the honor and independence of their country, a bounty of $16 will be paid, and 160 acres of land and three months' extra pay at the expiration of five years' service.
DANIEL CUSHING, Capt. of Artillery, U. S. Army.

Drafts were resorted to in order to fill the quota of Ohio, and a number of citizens of Warren County were drafted. The troubles of the Shakers of Union. Village on account of their refusal to perform military service began in September, 1813, an account of which we obtain from their own journals:

June 1, 1812. Richard McNemar and Samuel Rollins go to Dayton to see the Governor respecting military matters that concern believers.
September, 1818. About the 7th and 8th, we have military troubles. Seven of the brethren are drafted to join the Northwestern army, and were required to go to Lebanon and join the detachment of Maj. Fye.
September 11. Brethren furloughed until called upon to march.
September 16. They are called to Lebanon to march.
September 18. They are marched under guard to Dayton.
September 22. Brethren return home from Dayton; arrive after night; much joy among the people.

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October 1. Our drafted brethren are taken again to Lebanon under pretense of being deserters.
October 8. They are marched off from thence to Xenia, thence to Franklinton, thence to Sandusky, etc., etc. It is supposed they will be kept in the army six months.
November 24. Our brethren arrive home from the military department, viz.: Samuel Rolling, David Spinning, Robert Baxter, William Davis, Jr., Rufus E. Davis, Adam Gallaher and Samuel McClelland, the two latter Buseron Brethren. [Buseron was a Shaker community on the Wabash, commenced about 1808.]

It is impossible to learn, at this day, the number of men from Warren County who served their country in the last war with England. A list even of the commissioned officers from the county cannot be obtained. There are on file in the Adjutant General's office at Columbus only nine of the muster rolls of the war of 1812. As the terms of service for which the men were called out were generally short, not exceeding six months, the number of persons who served at some time during the war was quite large, and the names of the commissioned officers would form an extended list. The military system under which the war was carried on would by no means have answered the purposes of the Government in the great war of the rebellion. In many cases, the raw militiamen had scarcely learned to drill as soldiers when their terms of service expired, and they were succeeded by fresh, untrained recruits. But in every vicissitude of the conflict, the conduct of the people of the county was patriotic and honorable. They volunteered with alacrity, and endured the hardships of the campaigns in the Northwest with patience and cheerfulness.


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This page created 17 January 2005 and last updated 20 March, 2011
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