Shortly after the Concord founding fathers created a new town in March of 1812, they answered a call to arms to protect it.
In May of 1812, deployments began to arrive in Western New York in response to growing tensions between the United States and Great Britain. In June of 1812, President James Madison signed a declaration of war against Great Britain and all of its dependents.
The artifacts are from the naval battle on Lake Erie, according to Echoes Through Time Director Steve Teeft.
In August of 1812, Detroit fell to the British army, which seized two American ships, the USS Caledonia and the USS Brig Adams. In October of 1812, the now-British ships sailed down Lake Erie to Fort Erie, Ontario. Onboard were a number of U.S. prisoners of war, originally from Detroit.
On Oct. 9, 1812, Lieutenant Joseph Eliot of the U.S. Navy and Captain Nathan Towson of the U.S. Infantry crossed the Niagara River to recapture two British ships moored at Fort Erie in Canada. Two boats carrying 100 infantrymen and sailors crossed the Niagara River, under the cover of darkness, to board the HMS Caledonia ad HMS Detroit.
Following an artillery duel between batteries on Canadian and U.S. shores, Colonel Winfield Scott’s men drove off a British detachment and scuttled the vessel, which burned to the waterline and sank in 20 feet of water.
The U.S. captured two British ships. One was put into active use and one was scuttled. The U.S. men released 40 prisoners and captured equipment, food, four cannons and 200 muskets.
In 1972, four scuba divers recovered relics from the ship, which was located in 20 feet of water off a privately-owned property on Squaw Island. These artifacts were later donated to the Echoes Through Time Museum.
The items recovered from the shipwreck include:
U.S. model 1795 Springfield musket .69 Caliber, stock, barrel and ramrod; U.S. model 1795 Springfield bayonet; British 2 model Brown Bess, .75 caliber stock and barrel; a strand of grapeshot and a number of grapeshot balls; several cannonballs; various ships’ carpentry tools; two boarding Pike tips; two navigational tools, a sounding iron and a speed iron and one boarding grappling hook.
The items will be on display until September, after which time they may be viewed in downtown Buffalo and the central branch of the Erie County Public Library.
The Concord Historical Museum is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. or by appointment, which can be made by calling 592-0094.
The Echoes Through Time Museum is located in the Eastern Hills Mall and can be contacted by calling 870-0174.
The exact number of Concord men who fought in the War of 1812 is not known. According to “Briggs History of the Town of Concord,” “quite a company” was raised by Samuel Cochran, town founder and designated ensign for the area. The company numbered more than 370 men.
The company defended Black Rock the night Buffalo was burned. The only injuries sustained during this battle were a flesh wound and a foot injury caused by a cannon’s rolling over Cochran’s foot.
Cochran returned to Springville after he attained the rank of major general. He opened and ran a public house on the corner of Main Street and Cochran Avenue until his death in 1840.
The Cochran public house was moved away from Main Street in the 1880s and still stands as an apartment building on Cochran Avenue.