Red Barn Photograph by Geraldine Clark
By Craig Thornton
Story Published: Jul 26, 2012
The Sackets Battlefield Site’s third program in the War of 1812 Bicentennial series
“Boots & Slippers on the Ground: Sackets Harbor in the War of 1812”
Saturday July 28, 2012 – 11am
Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site’s red barn, off Hill Street
Archaeologists Finally Discover Pike’s War of 1812 Plattsburgh Encampment
After the American’s War of 1812 campaign failed to gain a foothold in British territory along Lake Champlain, Zebulon Pike and his troops went into winter quarters at Plattsburgh, New York. They stayed for three short months, marching out in early spring 1813. In snow often three feet deep they traveled 175 miles to Sackets Harbor, NY.
For more than a century, historians have debated just where that encampment was located. Archaeological investigations at the Zagreb site now provide conclusive evidence.
That site offers a rare opportunity to answer questions about the encampment’s history and archaeology of the War of 1812.
Listen to Dr. Timothy J. Abel on Saturday July 28 at 11 am at the Sackets Battlefield’s barn as he talks about the archelogy team’s discoveries of this summer.
Dr. Chester’s talk will discuss details of the battle of Big Sandy Creek in Jefferson County which took place in May 1814, an important victory for the United States in the War of 1812. He also will speak about the “Carrying of the Cable” which is another well known part of local history where a 9,600 pound cable, 22 inches in circumference had to be secretly carried miles overland to Sackets Harbor by 200 volunteer militia, where it was to be used for the frigate Superior.
Dr. Greg Chester first learned of the Battle of Big Sandy from his students while teaching at Jefferson Community College in Watertown, NY. His twenty-five year odyssey began with a simple question from several students, “Have you heard of the Battle of Big Sandy of the War of 1812 that lasted only ten minutes?” They informed him that there were some riflemen, local militia, and Indians fighting for the United States who defeated a roughly equal force of British who had gone up the creek and fallen into their ambush. This odyssey took him first on an adventure searching local libraries and historical societies in Jefferson County meeting exciting people and gathering fascinating stories and information. The project received a great boost when the mother of a friend introduced him to an elder, Harvey Richardson of Adams, NY, who had researched the battle for years. An historian from Kingston, Canada had told Harvey that someone should write a book about the battle because it was the “climactic battle of the war.” This set the goal for the project. The project revealed that Jefferson County was the focal point of the American war effort and yet was forgotten.