Event marks 200 years since War of 1812

WGRZ June 8, 2014


CHEEKTOWAGA, NY – Two hundred years ago, the War of 1812 was still going strong. In fact, U.S. forces were preparing to invade Canada and capture Fort Erie.

In Western New York today, bicentennial commemorations continued with this service in Cheektowaga’s War of 1812 cemetery.

The event included tributes to American and Canadian troops, a sign of the two centuries of peace along the border since the war ended in 1814.

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So. Maryland ready to party like its 1812

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Bicentennial ‘Great Cable Carry’ Will Honor War of 1812 Militia Effort


May 30, 2014

by Timothy W. Scee II
Special to Newzjunky.com

SACKETS HARBOR, N.Y. — It is often said that history repeats itself and, nearly 200 years after American militias from the north country carried a five-ton rope to assist efforts during the War of 1812, local historical societies are hoping to resurrect the same sense of patriotism in June with a bicentennial walk.

During the June 7 and 8 event – dubbed the Great Cable Carry of 2014 – north country volunteers and local Boy Scouts of America troops will carry a 6-inch wide, 600-foot hemp rope, 20 miles from the town of Ellisburg to the village of Sackets Harbor on the same trail used two centuries ago, looping through several hamlets and villages along the way.

Event co-organizer Elaine J. Scott, of Henderson, said the bicentennial cable carry will be the third over nearly three decades since members of the 10th Mountain Division first secured the rope from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and marched the original path in 1989.

“What happened was we talked ourselves right into being organizers, it was really something,” Ms. Scott said.

Having always been interested in local history, especially pertaining to the War of 1812, the cable carry organizer only recently found out her ancestors had helped in that very mission that started May 29, 1814.

Following the battle of Big Sandy Creek, in which British troops were ambushed by Americans and Oneida tribes, American troops needed to transport equipment from the creek to a ship in Sackets Harbor, called Superior, but could not use wagons to carry a 600-foot hemp rope.

Starting at night, to keep out of British sights, American civilians slipped the 22-inch wide rope over their shoulders and carried it to the destination within three days.

“They were farmers, they were shopkeepers, they were just regular people like your volunteer fire departments today,” Ms. Scott said. “They immediately came down and started taking all of the supplies out of the boats, loading their own farm wagons and taking them to Sackets Harbor.”

She said more volunteers were eager to support the cable carry as it passed through settlements on its way to the shipyard.

“As this thing moved closer to Sackets Harbor, more and more people came out,” she said.

While the rope used for next month’s cable carry will weight significantly less than the original rope, organizers say just as much teamwork will be required to move the rope across its 19.8-mile trek.

“They have to work together as part of a team and really experience this volunteer spirit,” Ms. Scott said.  “Even though the rope is only 6 inches in circumference, they will still have this great accomplishment.

The Great Cable Carry 2014 will begin at 9:15 a.m, Saturday, June 7, at the state Department of Environmental Conservation South Landing Bridge, Route 3, Ellisburg, at the Battle of Big Sandy monument.

Participants will end the day with a stop near Roberts Corners before continuing the next day to Smithville and, finally, Sackets Harbor.

Ms. Scott said individuals interested helping to carry the rope can join along the route and travel any distance.  Comfortable walking shoes, heavy-duty work gloves and a towel for shoulder padding are recommended, however, according to organizers.

Water, restrooms and snacks will be available along the route for participants.

The Great Cable Carry of 2014 is being hosted by the South Jefferson, Mannsville, Henderson, Sackets Harbor and Sandy Creek historical societies, the Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance and Daughters of 1812.

Questions about the event may be e-mailed to cablecarry1814@yahoo.com.  Participation forms may be filled out at http://www. hendersonhistoricalsociety. com/partform.html.

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Re-enactment will mark bicentennial of 1814 cable carry

Watertown Daily Times

The above photo depicts the 2006 cable carry re-enactment in Ellisburg. The event was held as practice for this year’s bicentennial, to be carried out next weekend from Ellisburg to Sackets Harbor.

SACKETS HARBOR — Elaine J. Scott, Henderson historian, insists that the significance of the War of 1812 cable carry is often downplayed.

“It’s a really important story,” said Ms. Scott, recording secretary with the Henderson Bicentennial Committee. “From what we understand, the movement ended the War of 1812 on this frontier. Once the supplies got to Sackets Harbor, they were able to equip a warship and the British did not have anything comparable.”

History buffs will have a chance to learn all about the event’s significance today and June 7 and 8 with the bicentennial cable carry re-enactment.

The 1814 cable carry began with the Battle of Big Sandy Creek, fought during the night of May 29. At the time, equipment was being moved from Brooklyn to Sackets Harbor for armament of the frigate USS Superior, which would carry 66 heavy guns and have a crew of about 700 men.

“This would have been the largest frigate in the American Navy during the War of 1812,” said Patrick Wilder, committee member. “The ship would drive the British off of Lake Ontario and back to Kingston and upper Canada.”

But before all that could occur, the Americans had to move the supplies up Lake Ontario. A skirmish occurred in Sandy Creek when Americans and Oneida Indians ambushed British forces.

The first part of the re-enactment at 10 a.m. today will honor those fallen in the Battle of Sandy Creek. Crowds will gather at the South Landing Bridge, Ellisburg, where the battle occurred. Sandy Creek town and village historian Charlene Cole will be the host.

“I’m going to talk about the whole battle,” Ms. Cole said. “In the other part of the presentation the Daughters of the War of 1812 will place a wreath.”

The bigger part of the event will be held June 7 and 8.

In 1814, rather than risk another battle on the water, the Americans obtained help from militia members and local farmhands to move the rest of the material by land. This included carrying an estimated 9,000-pound, 600-foot-long and 22-inch-thick cable intended for the USS Superior’s anchor line and rigging. Although the actual event occurred over the course of four days, the trip for the re-enactment has been cut to two. “At any one time 200 men could pick this up,” Mr. Wilder said.

The re-enactment of the two-day event will begin at 8:30 a.m. June 7, with a ceremony to honor the 19 fallen British and Oneida Indians. A ceremony by the Historical Association of South Jefferson will commence at 9 a.m. at the Department of Environmental Conservation parking lot on Route 3, South Landing. Following that, volunteers, including about100 Boy and Girl Scouts, will set out for the day on their 10.7-mile walk to conclude just before 4 p.m. A 19.8-mile march will follow on Sunday, concluding about 3 p.m. in Sackets Harbor.

A full schedule of events is available at www.hendersonhistoricalsociety.com.

Anyone interested in taking part in the event is welcome to attend.

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Somerset’s War of 1812 veterans get overdue honor



Jeremy Cox, DelmarvaNow.com May 25, 2014


They are the forgotten combatants of a forgotten war.

But local historians are trying to change that in Somerset County.

A group of about 15 people formed a caravan on the day before Memorial Day to pay tribute at one cemetery after another to the men who fought in the War of 1812.

The informal procession braved biting deer flies as it hopscotched among five burial grounds around the marshy southern end of the county.

The ceremonies were nearly identical to those staged last year on the day before Veterans Day. At that time, the Somerset County Historical Society focused its first round of tributes on men buried at three cemeteries in Princess Anne.

“This is a day for us to remember the sacrifice made for country and for consolation that their service was not in vain,” intoned the Rev. Kirk Dausman of Rehoboth Presbyterian Church. (The surrounding town swapped the second “o” for an “e” in its name long ago, but the church never did.)

At each burial site, historian Sean O’Rourke read each veteran’s name, and one volunteer from the crowd stooped to plant a 15-starred American flag in the rain-softened dirt.

Driven by the war’s bicentennial anniversary, O’Rourke has spent the past few years determining the final resting places of the war’s veterans around Somerset. And he has expanded the list of known sites from a mere handful to around 80, he said.

He hopes such tributes continue past 2015, the 200th anniversary of the last year of the war.

The ceremonies Sunday honored men ranging from privates to a general — though Robert Jenkins Henry, who is buried at Coventry Episcopal Cemetery in Rehobeth, wouldn’t achieve that rank until after the war.

The events, now in their second year, highlight not only the men, but also the region’s role in the pivotal war, said Warner Sumpter, chairman of the Somerset County War of 1812 Committee.

Many local troops enlisted in the military and fought in battles far from the Eastern Shore. But the region saw bloodshed of its own.

British troops bivouacked at Tangier and Smith islands. For those troops, Somerset County would serve as a “refrigerate,” Sumpter said. Their barges would float up rivers and creeks in search of food and supplies to sustain their 26,000 at the ready to leap at Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Members of the militia, once alerted to such threats, would respond. Sometimes, they arrived in time to ward off the intruders; sometimes not, Sumpter said.

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‘Star Spangled Nation’ on display at Connecticut River Museum

“Gun Deck Aft” by Rovert C. Sticker, oil on panel. “U.S. Frigate Constitution vs. H.M. 6th Rates Cyane and Levant” by Patrick O’Brien, oil on canvas depicts the Feb. 20, 1815, battle which took place in the Eastern Atlantic, off Madeira Island.

ESSEX >> Lovers of marine art should be pleased by this traveling maritime art show, “1812 Star Spangled Nation: Commemorating the Bicentennial of the War of 1812,” that contains artwork not seen by the public before.The Connecticut River Museum at the foot of Main Street is the host for the exhibition, which features 25 maritime paintings by 16 artists, all members of the American Society of Marine Artists.

The works show the arenas of military action that unfolded during this war which was largely fought on the water. According to Jennifer White-Dobbs of the museum, the exhibit is comprised of three theaters of war: the oceans, the Great Lakes and the bays, estuaries, sounds and rivers of the Eastern United States.

The oils and watercolors depict scenes of famous engagements as well as lesser-known vessels and locales. While many of the works present traditional views of the great naval vessels on the high seas or in action, others feature more personal views of men, giving the war a human face.

Viewing the paintings cold stirs up a patriotism similar what many may feel on this Memorial Day weekend. Six of the paintings feature the American warship the U.S. Frigate Constitution in various settings: sailing into the night, escaping from a British squadron, battling Britain’s H.M Frigate Guerriere and challenging Britain’s H.M. Frigate Java at close range.

Featured as well in the exhibition are two close-up views of the murderous gun decks of U.S. ships. In another painting, Britain’s bombship H.M. Volcano is shown bombarding America’s Fort McHenry, best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from the British.

There is a painting of rowboats filled with British soldiers, who are preparing to row up the Connecticut River to attack the town of Essex, which at the time was called Pettipaug. In all, 136 British sailor and marines rowed the 6 miles up the river against the tide to attack the town.

The overwhelming British force arrived in Essex shortly after 3 a.m. on April 8, 1814, and they were met with only a trace of defensive gunfire. The Americans were forced to retreat, while the British methodically burned or captured 27 American ships in Essex. It was the largest single loss of American ships in the entire War of 1812.

In addition to the exhibition of maritime paintings of the War of 1812, the Connecticut River Museum is featuring public discussions about the war. Also, a video of the paintings in the exhibition is available, courtesy of the American Society of Marine Artists.

Jerome Wilson is a freelance writer who lives and writes about Essex. He is a frequent contributor to the ShoreLine Times.


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Focus turns to preserving history unearthed in Patterson Park dig


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