War of 1812-Aggressions of Great Britain-Tecumseh and the Prophet-Ohio Militia Ordered to Report at Dayton-General Munger Orders a Draft-Militia Bivouac Without Tents at Library Park--Governor Meigs Arrives-Issues a Call to Citizens for Blankets--Block Houses Built in Montgomery County-Colonel Johnston Holds Council of Shawnees-Generals Gano and Cass Arrive-Three Regiments of Infantry Formed-First Troops Organized by Ohio-General Hull and Staff Arrive --Governor Meigs Surrenders Command to Hull-The Governor and General Review Troops--The Three Regiments March Across Mad River to Camp Meigs-Leave Camp Meigs for Detroit--Difficult March--Arrive at Detroit in Good Spirits Munger's Brigade Disbanded-Army Contractors Make Purchases at Dayton-Hull's Surrender--Consternation of the People--Hand Bill issued at Dayton, Calling for Volunteers- Captain Steele's Company -- Suffering of Families of Soldiers-Kentucky Troops Arrive--Harrison Calls for Volunteers and Horses-Dayton Ladies Make 1,800 Shirts for Soldier.--Expedition Against Indians Near Muncietown--War Ended--Returning Troops Encamped on Main Street-Dayton Companies Welcomed Home
THE years of 1812 and 1813 were eventful years in the history of the town as Dayton was the rendezvous of the Ohio and Kentucky militia called out for service in the war against Great Britain. It might perhaps be correctly said that the treaty of peace signed in 1783 was succeeded by a merely nominal cessation of hostilities between the English and the Americans. The people of the United States had from the close of the Revolution been exasperated by the aggressions of Great Britain upon the neutral rights of this country, and still more by her encouragement of the barbarities of the savages, who, it was well known, had received not only sympathy, but guns, ammunition, and officers from the forts which she unrightfully held to assist them in their battles with our troops. The threatening movements of Tecumseh and the Prophet had led to a debate in Congress in December, 1811, on the propriety or necessity of invading and seizing Canada early in the spring of 1812, and by this means securing the western frontier before the savages had begun hostilities. But though Governor Hull, of Michigan, who from his residence on the border was informed of the plans of the Indians and their sympathizers, and aware of the extent of the danger that threatened, repeatedly urged the necessity of offensive and defensive measures upon congress, no heed was given to his wise suggestions. A private letter from Colonel Armstrong to the secretary of war, received in January, 1812, at last roused the apprehensions of the government, and, moved probably by the colonel's representations of the state of affairs, early in, (page 107) the spring an order was issued for raising troops in Ohio to join the army at Detroit.
In April, 1812, President Madison issued orders, calling out a force of twelve hundred Ohio militia for one year's service. In obedience to this order, Governor Return J. Meigs ordered the major-generals of the Western and Middle divisions of militia to report, with their respective quotas of men, at Dayton on the 29th of April. General Munger was ordered to raise a company in Dayton. No companies were raised in Preble and Miami counties, which were expressly exempted because that quarter was threatened by Indians, and it was not thought advisable to draw men from there.
The commissioned and non-commissioned officers of the First Battalion, First Regiment, Fifth Brigade, First Division of Ohio Militia, were ordered by Major David Reid, commanding the First Battalion to meet at Dayton at the usual parade ground, by , second Tuesday of April, armed and equipped as the law requires, for the purpose of a battalion muster. April 11th, the Centinal announces that Governor Meigs is expected in Dayton on the 20th to inspect the company of rangers that was being raised in this neighborhood, and to give them the necessary orders; and, also, that General Munger has received orders [mentioned above] for raising a company in his brigade to be marched to Detroit.
In its next issue it states that at the battalion muster, Tuesday, April 14th, advertised on the 11th, the orders were read and also the volunteer bill passed by congress, February 20th. "It was expected that a sufficient number would volunteer to obviate the necessity of a draft, but only twenty stepped forth at the call of their country." This was the only time that the Centinal had occasion to reprove the people for lack of patriotism. Hostilities were now just beginning, and the citizens were not fully roused; soon the war excitement rose to fever heat in Dayton. In consequence of the lack of volunteer-, the battalion was ordered to assemble on the 16th at Adams' Prairie, near the mouth of Hole's Creek, five miles from Dayton. Major Adams was also ordered to report with his battalion at that place "to have a draft if necessary." General Munger was determined to raise the new company, which was to be commanded by Captain Perry, wholly from these two battalions. The law authorized officers to call out all or a part of the militia under their command. In case of long service, if there were not enough volunteers, it became their duty to draft a sufficient number of men to fill the quota from the remainder of the militia. This was what they proposed to do on the present occasion.
(page 108) April 23d, Captain Perry's company of rangers was ordered to march immediately to Laramie.
The coats of the soldiers in the army of 1812 were blue, with scarlet collar and cuffs, and they wore cocked hats, decorated with a cockade and white feather.
April 29th, a man was killed and scalped near Greenville, and three murdered men were found in the woods near FortDefiance. This news produced much excitement.
The governor had appointed April 30th as a day of fasting and prayer. Religious services were held at the Dayton court house.
On the first of May, Major Charles Wolverton, of Miami County, who had been ordered to march with Captain Reuben Westfall's company, of that county, from Piqua to Greenville, and kill every Indian they saw, killed two Pottawatomies, wounded one of that nation, and captured two squaws and an Indian boy.
The order making Dayton the rendezvous of the militia had been issued by Governor Meigs early in April, but when on May 1st the first companies arrived, no preparations for their accommodation had been made. They bivouacked on the common, now LibraryPark, without tents or other camp equipage till the middle of the month. Many of them were without even blankets. By the 7th of the month twelve companies had arrived, and eight or ten more were expected in a few days. There was not room for all these companies, which contained eight hundred men in all, within the town, and some of them encamped just south of Dayton. Governor Meigs arrived in town to inspect the troops and give orders on the 6th of May. His arrival was announced by a salute of eighteen guns by the citizens. In the afternoon he reviewed the militia. On the 7th he issued the following appeal from his headquarters, at McCullum's tavern, to the men and women of the State:
" A CALL ON THE PATRIOTISM OF THE CITIZENS OF OHIO.
"The situation of our country has compelled the government to resort to precautionary measures of defense. In obedience to this call, eight hundred men have abandoned the comforts of domestic life, and are here assembled in camp at the distance of some hundred miles from home, prepared to protect our frontier from the awful effects of savage and of civilized warfare. But the unprecedented celerity, with which they have moved, precluded the possibility of properly equipping them. Many, very many, of them are destitute of blankets, and without these indispensable articles, it will.be impossible for them to move to their point of destination.
(page 109) " CITIZENS OF OHIO! This appeal is made to You. Let each family furnish one or more BLANKETS, and the requisite number will be completed. It is not requested as a boon; the moment your blankets are delivered, you shall receive their full value in money; they are not to be had at the stores. The season of the year is approaching when each family may, without inconvenience, part with one.
"MOTHERS! SISTERS! WIVES! Recollect that the men, in whose favor this appeal is made, have connections as near and dear as any that bind you to life. These they have voluntarily abandoned, trusting that the integrity and patriotism of their fellow-citizens will supply every requisite for themselves and their families; and trusting that the same spirit which enabled their fathers to achieve their independence, will enable their sons to defend it.
R. J. Meigs
"Governor of Ohio.
“Headquarters, Dayton, May 7, 1812."
There were two thousand Indians in Ohio in 1812, one thousand, nine hundred and seventy of them being in the northwest corner of the State. The latter were divided into five tribes: Shawnees, seven hundred; Ottawas, five hundred and fifty; Wyandots, three hundred; Senecas, two hundred and twenty; Delawares and Muncies, two hundred. It became necessary, on account of the hostile attitude of the Indians, to build two or three block houses in Montgomery County, west from the Miami River to Preble County, as rallying places, for the settlers of Preble, Dark, and Miami counties were in special danger, and as many as a hundred settlers and their families from that locality fled from their homes. The flight of these families increased the alarm in other localities. Scouting parties of MiamiCounty militia were constantly out on duty to the north and west of Piqua.
Soon after Governor Meigs arrived in Dayton, he ordered General Munger and a small number of the Dayton troops to make "a tour to Greenville, to inquire into the situation of the frontier settlements." The General returned on Sunday, the 10th of May, and reported that an Indian trader, by the name of Conner, who resided at FortDefiance, had been advised by friendly Indians to move in from the frontier, and also that the Prophet was seventy miles from Greenville, and that an attack would be made in about six weeks. He also learned that the Prophet was said to be rebuilding his town, and that his party was as strong as ever. The governor immediately ordered a completely equipped company of riflemen from General McArthur's command, to march at once to Greenville and another to Piqua for the protection of the frontier inhabitants, who were flying in every direction.
(page 110) On the 8th Colonel Johnston, by order of the governor, held a council of the Shawnee chiefs front Wapakoneta at Piqua. Great anxiety was felt to know whether the Indians would declare for peace or war. The report of the capture of six Indians and a squaw by the militia near Troy came on the 14th. On the 15th a party of five or six whites, who were planting corn, was attacked near Greenville by Indians, and one of them wounded. The Indians assembled at Piqua decided for peace, but though Colonel Johnston believed their professions of friendship, the inhabitants generally distrusted them. All through the war, by means of appeals through the newspapers and various regulations and proclamations, Colonel Johnston endeavored to keep faith with the friendly Shawnees, and at the sane time to defend Indians and whites from each other. The frontiersman could not believe an Indian less treacherous or more worthy of consideration than the wild beasts which he shot whenever they showed themselves within range of his gun. Even the more intelligent and humane inhabitants of Ohio largely shared this distrust and contempt of all Indians; and Indians, professedly friendly, did many things which confirmed the evil opinion the whites had of them. Soon after one of Colonel Johnston's appeals for a just and humane treatment of the Indians was printed, an article unjustly inveighing against him and his Indian friends appeared in the Centinal. Among other statements, it was said that at the time he was assuring the people that the Indians would not annoy the whites in any way, lie ordered them to bring him the ears of all the hogs that they killed, that he might pay the owners for the loss of their swine.
On Sunday, the 14th of May, Governor Meigs left Dayton for Cincinnati, where he expected to meet General hull and return to town in his company, but arrived on the 15th without the general. On Wednesday, the 13th, General Gauo and General Cass arrived in Dayton with between six hundred and seven hundred men. There were now about fourteen hundred troops here, a large proportion of whom were volunteers. The Centinal announces that Captain Mansfeld's and Captain Sloan's companies of volunteers, and three companies from the eastward, were expected in a few days. Governor Meigs was making a great effort to supply the troops with blankets, provisions, and all necessaries.
Captain Mansfield arrived from Cincinnati May 20th with his company of light infantry. On the 21st three regiments of infantry - the First, Second, and Third - were formed. These troops, numbering fifteen hundred, were the first organized by the authorities of the State of Ohio. Duncan McArthur was elected colonel of the First, James Denny and William A. Trimble majors; James Findlay colonel of the Second, (page 111) Thomas Moore and Thomas B. Van Horne majors; Lenis Cass colonel of the Third, Robert Morrison and Jeremiah R. Munson majors. The First regiment was encamped south of town, and the other two on the commons. After the assignment of companies and election of officers, a better state of military discipline was maintained than had previously been possible.
Captain William Van Cleve's company of riflemen, of this county, volunteered their services to the governor, and they and a number of others, as more than the State's quota of troops had already been mustered into the service, were formed into battalions and regiments, and employed in guarding supply trains and keeping open a line of communication with the army.
The Centinal reported that on May 21st five or six men, who were covering corn near Greenville, were fired upon by five Indians; one of the men was wounded. They immediately pursued the savages, killed one and wounded another.
General Hull and his staff, having arrived in town, made McCullum's tavern headquarters. The usually quiet village was now all animation and noise, as officers, quartermasters, and commissaries were preparing for the departure of the regiments for Detroit. The broad and generally almost deserted streets were alive with bustling citizens and country people, gazing with curiosity at the uniforms and equipments of the passing soldiers, and the stores were full of customers; companies were drilling; mounted officers and couriers galloping in different directions; lines of wagons and pack horses laden with provisions, ammunition, and camp equipage, coming in from Cincinnati or the neighborhood, and Montgomery County farmers and business men, even when they were enrolled among the volunteers, were many of them reaping a golden harvest.
On the 25th Governor Meigs surrendered the command, the duties of which he had faithfully discharged, to General Hull. In the morning Governor Meigs and General Hull and their staffs rode out to the camp south of town and reviewed the First Ohio. The review was followed by addresses, aid then the general and governor returned to McCullum's for dinner. In the afternoon they rode to the camp at what is now LibraryPark, and after making an inspection of arms, accoutrements, and equipments, reviewed the two regiments. After the review the soldiers formed in close column and listened to addresses by the governor and general, which were reported in full in the next number of the Ohio Centinal. Early on the morning of the 26th the three regiments, with General Hull and his staff at their head, crossed Mad River at the ford, nearly (page 142) opposite the head of the present Webster Street, and marched to a prairie three miles from town, on the west bank of Mad River. They named their camp for Governor Meigs. The American flag was ram up, the" troops forming a hollow square around it, and greeting it with cheers, and expressing their determination mot to surrender it but with their lives. The troops, supplied with teats and equipage by the government, were more comfortable at CampMeigs, and also better drilled and disciplined, than they had been at their other encampments.
On the 26th, Governor Meigs ordered Captain William Van Cleve's company of riflemen, then in camp at Adams' Prairie, on Hole's Creek, to march to the frontier of the State west of the Miami, under the direction and charge of Colonel Jerome Holt.- Colonel Molt was ordered to assist the inhabitants of the frontier in erecting block houses in suitable places and to adopt any mode he might think best for the protection of the settlements. The roads from CampMeigs to Piqua were kept free from Indians by patrols of militia. Captain Sloan's troop from Cincinnati arrived at CampMeigs on the 27th.
On Monday, the 1st of June, the troops which were- designated by the government, the Northwestern army, left CampMeigs on their march for Detroit. The troops were in high spirits. A crowd of people from this vicinity, the governor and his staff, and many strangers from Cincinnati and Kentucky, were assembled to witness the departure of the first army of Ohio for the seat of war. They were not encumbered with artillery, which was to be supplied on their arrival at Detroit. The column was formed as follows: Cavalry on the right; next in line, the Second regiment; then the Third Ohio, and on the extreme left the First regiment, followed by the wagon train and brigades of pack mules. A crowd of people followed the troops the first day, some of them sleeping in camp the first night and not returning home for a day or two. The regiments marched out what is now the old Troy pike, but was then known as the Staunton road. They camped the first evening at Staunton, a mile east of Troy. It had been the intention of General Hull to march up the Miami to Laramie, thence over to the Auglaize and then down to the rapids of the Maumee. Bateaux and keel-boats had been loaded here with core-meal, four, corn, and pork, which the troops were to escort up the Miami, but the river was so low that the boats stranded on the shoals the day they started. The plans were accordingly changed. The men were paid of and remained in camp till the 6th, when they marched to Urbana, arriving on the 7th and camping in the eastern part of the town.
Governor Meigs had gone to Urbana from Dayton on the 3rd to hold (page 113) a council with chiefs of the Shawnee and Wyandot nations. For the purpose of impressing the chiefs with the power of the United States government, the regiments at Urbana were paraded and reviewed on the afternoon of the 8th by the governor.
The First regiment was ordered on the 11th to cut a road through the woods to the Scioto. On the 16th they began to build two block houses on the south bank of the Scioto and a stockade, which were called FortMcArthur.
On the 15th the remainder of the army, which had been increased by the arrival of the Fourth regiment of the United States Infantry and several militia companies to two thousand, five hundred men, left Urbana.. They arrived at FortMcArthur on the 19th. They marched with a strong rear guard and with companies of riflemen on the flanks of the army, as the woods were full of hostile Indians.
June 21st the Second regiment was ordered to continue the road to Blanchard's ford of the AuglaizeRiver. A company was left as a garrison at FortMcArthur, and the remainder of the army marched on the
22d. The way lay through the swamps and twelve miles from the fort they "got stuck in the mud." Here they built FortNecessity. Block houses similar to this.were erected all along the route to store provisions, to be forwarded as needed to the troops under the escort of the militia. Twenty miles further on they built FortFindlay on the site of the town of that name. Here the Third regiment was ordered forward to clear the road for the army, now beginning its march through the BlackSwamp, part of which is called at the present day Hull's Prairie. The road was in places knee-deep in mud, and badly cut up by cavalry and pack horses and the one hundred and six heavily loaded army wagons. Thirteen wagons stuck in the mud and were abandoned. The men plodded wearily along through the deep mire for thirty-five miles, yet reached and crossed the Maumee on the 30th in fne health and spirits, and continued their march to Detroit. General Hull had, for the protection of stores and public property, and to keep open his line of communication, left garrisons of militia at Dayton, Piqua, Urbana, St. Mary's, Fort McArthur, Fort Findlay, and Fort Greenville. General Munger was ordered up with his command of militia from Hole's Creek to CampMeigs after the departure of the army from Dayton. His duty was to keep the roads to Piqua and Urbana open and to guard the public stores here, a service of some importance, as quartermaster's ordinance, and commissary's supplies were forwarded to the front by way of Dayton.
Captain Perry's company of rangers were constantly out skirmishing with parties of Indians between St. Mary's and Fort Wayne. They (page 114) killed all their captives. On the 8th of July they were ordered to go as far as Vincennes. The governor in order, if necessary, to organize a second army, kept bodies of Ohio militia in camp in the southern and western parts of the State, and at points along the line of communication with Detroit. A number were at FortMeigs ready to report on short notice. On the 10th, Governor Meigs, who was then at Chillicothe,
disbanded General Munger's brigade, supposing that their services would no longer be needed.
On the 1st of July, Lieutenant Gwynne, of the United States Army, opened a recruiting office in Dayton. A bounty of sixteen dollars was offered to men enlisting for five years, and three months additional pay and one hundred and sixty acres of land were promised to recruits, or their heirs, serving their time out, wounded, or killed in the service. Men enlisting for eighteen months were to receive the bounty, but no land. Boys, with the consent of parents or guardians, were enlisted as musicians.
Army contractors, during the summer, purchased grain and stock of the farriers at advanced prices. One of the contractors advertised for six hundred head of cattle, four hundred horses, and three thousand barrels of flour; and another for flour, whisky, beef, cattle, vinegar, and bacon, to be delivered at Dayton or any of the block houses that might be agreed upon.
At on Saturday, August 22d, the news of the surrender of Bull's army reached Dayton. The people of this neighborhood and on the frontier were much alarmed by this terrible disaster. It was supposed that he could not have been induced to surrender, unless compelled to do so by the overwhelming superiority of the enemy. The distress and indignation of the Western people may be imagined-it would be difficult to find words strong enough to express it-when they learned that, while Hull had an army of two thousand, five hundred men well supplied with arms, artillery, ammunition, provisions, cattle, sheep, horses, and stores of all kinds, General Brock, of the British Army, was poorly supplied with artillery, and had but one thousand, three hundred and thirty men, three hundred and thirty regulars, four hundred militia, and six hundred Indians; yet Iull surrendered without firing a gun. Our soldiers were released on parole, landed at various points on the shore of Lake Erie, and gradually made their way home. The people throughout te State were panic-stricken. The British Army was known to consist principally of Indians, and it was feared that, instigated by British ofcers, roving bands of savages would soon begin a barbarous warfare upon the defenseless people of Kentucky and Ohio. The suspense was dreadful (page 115) for a time. A large number of professedly neutral Indians were in attendance at the council called at Piqua by United States commissioners, and it was very uncertain how they would be affected by the extraordinary reverse at Detroit. Fortunately they remained friendly, and their presence, instead of endangering the people and the public stores, was a protection to the frontier.
The citizens who had collected in large numbers at the Centinal office, on August 22d, to hear the news, recommended the immediate issue of a handbill, containing a statement of the alarming information just received, and requesting every able-bodied man who could furnish a firelock to repair to Dayton the next day, for the purpose of marching immediately to the defense of the frontier; to guard the public stores at Piqua, and watch the movements of the Indians in that quarter. The response to this call justified the Centinal in heading its editorial, relating the occurrences of the following two or three days, "Prompt Patriotism," and in challenging "the annals of our country to produce an example of greater promptitude or patriotism."
The bad news came Saturday . The consternation and astonishment were followed by immediate action, and by Sunday morning a company of seventy men was raised, organized, and completely equipped. It was commanded by Captain James Steele, and marched in a few hours for Piqua. Men and women worked hard to get the soldiers ready to march, and probably few of them went to bed Saturday night.
During Sunday five companies of volunteers and two of drafted militia from different parts of MontgomeryCounty, and a troop of horse commanded by Captain Caldwell, and a rifle company commanded by Captain Johnson, from WarrenCounty, arrived here. Captain Caldwell's troop of horse went to Piqua early Monday morning. The other six companies, numbering in all upwards of four hundred men, were organized into a battalion. Major Adams, who had been chosen major of the battalion, marched in the afternoon with three hundred and forty-one completely equipped men, all volunteers, the two companies of drafted militia being left here at CampMeigs, subject to the orders of Governor Meigs. Monday evening and Tuesday several other companies from adjoining counties passed through Dayton for "the frontier." As soon as the news of Hull's surrender reached Governor Meigs, he ordered forty thousand dollars worth of the public property to be removed from Piqua to Dayton, and part of it had arrived before the 26th. Tuesday afternoon three hundred and fifty men, under the command of Captain Jenks, who had volunteered before the news of the surrender of Detroit (page 116) was received, arrived on their way to the front and camped at CampMeigs. A brigade from GreeneCounty, commanded by General Benjamin Whiteman, marched on this day.
General Munger, commander of the Fifth Brigade of the First Division of Ohio Militia, was ordered by Governor Meigs, who was now at Urbana, to organize troops and take immediate measures for the defense of the frontier within his command. He was to cause block houses to be erected at suitable places, and to "advise the inhabitants to associate and erect suitable stations of defense in such way as to accommodate families." "The astonishing fate of General Hull's army," writes the governor, "has exposed the frontier to barbarians. I have written express to the secretary of war on the subject of defense. I hope soon to see the Kentucky army here, when a regular system of operations will be adopted. In the meantime you will direct and advise the most judicious course."
In obedience to this command, General Munger marched with his brigade to Piqua, where lie superintended the removal of the public stores. Captain Steele's company, which was at Piqua, was ordered by General Munger to march to St. Mary's, which was the most advanced frontier post. Captain Steele was placed in command of the post, and Private Joseph H. Crane was sergeant-major. They built block houses for the defense of St. Mary's.
The following is a copy of the pay-roll of Captain Steele's company while at St. Mary's. It contained but fifty-two names, though seventy were enrolled on August 23rd, so that part of the men were probably at this time engaged in scouting or other duty. Perhaps some did not go farther than Piqua:
Captain, James Steele; lieutenant, George Grove; ensign, James McClain; first sergeant, John Folkerth; second, Ralph Wilson; third, John Strain; fourth, James Henderson; frst corporal, Matthew Patton; second, Alexander Grimes; third, George Harris; fourth, David Henderson; privates, Joseph H. Crane, John Deaver, David Brier, John McCabe, John Rowan, Samuel Walton, Joshua Greer, George Newcom, John Newcom, Simpson McCarter, George Ward, William Bay, James Miller, John Lowe, Daniel Sunderland, William Vanosdarl, William Montgomery, James Petticrew, James McClain, John Holderman, Samuel King, James Brier, Ira Smith, Abraham Smith, George Wollaston, Lewis Gordon, Jeremiah Collins, Jonathan Mayhall, David Rife, Robert McCleary, William Van Cogk, James Ray, John Enoch, Henry Jennings, William McCorkle, Andrew Robeson, Moses Hatfeld, Moses McNair, Alexander Guy, William Fryback, Caleb Worley.
(page 117) The accidental preservation and publication in the Dayton Journal of this pay-roll enabled a number of widows and children of the men to obtain land warrants from the government.
It is impossible for the present generation to realize the horrors and sufferings of the first year of the war. In King's "History of Ohio" it is stated that "an eye-witness described the country as depopulated of men, and the farmer women, weak and sickly as they often were, and surrounded by helpless little children, were obliged, for want of bread, to till their fields until frequently they fell exhausted and dying under the toil to which they were unequal." The people of Dayton and vicinity had their full share of their trials and labors.
Monday afternoon, August 31st, Colonel Wells arrived with between three and four hundred men of the Seventeenth United States Regiment, lately recruited in Kentucky, and also Captain Garrard, with a volunteer troop of horse, from Bourbon County, Kentucky. They left the next day. On Tuesday morning, September 1st, General W. H. Harrison, who had been appointed commander-in-chief of the Kentucky volunteers, arrived in town and remained a few hours, and as a mark of respect and approbation, the citizens announced his arrival by firing a salute of eighteen guns. While they were receiving General Harrison in front of the court house square, Brigadier-General Payne arrived, with three Kentucky regiments, making a force of eighteen hundred men, and marching up Main Street, halted near Second Street. They were also greeted with a discharge of cannon. A Mr. Wright, while engaged in firing the salute, had one hand shot of and the other badly injured. The Centinal, in an editorial in its next issue, says that, "in the present hour of gloom and despondency, no event could have given more general satisfaction than the appointment of General Harrison." "We trust the gallant Kentuckians, under their accomplished leader, will retrieve the tarnished honor of our country." The people congratulated themselves a few months later that the army now had a mail instead of an old woman to lead them. General Harrison left Dayton for Piqua Tuesday afternoon.
The following letter from the Kentucky volunteers, thanking the people of Dayton for the attentions they had received from them, was published in the Centinal on the 2d of September:
"STATE OF OHIO,
"CAMP NEAR DAYTON,
"September 1, 1812.
The commander of the Kentucky volunteers begs leave to return to the citizens of Dayton the thanks of himself and the army under his (page 118) command for the tribute of respect paid to them in passing through town. They flatter themselves that, in the hour of trial, they will not be found unworthy of the confidence of their country. They feelingly commiserate with the citizen who, in paying them that tribute, was maimed by the accidental going of of the cannon; and they beg leave to present to him a small sum of money, a voluntary contribution of the ofcers towards defraying the expenses of his cure.
"By order of the general.
“ASA PAYNE, Aid-de-camp.
THOMAS SMITH, Secretary.”
At this time two regiments of MontgomeryCounty militia were stationed at Piqua; Major Adams' battalion was ordered to St. Mary's, and Colonel Jerome Holt and his regiment to Greenville, where they were directed to build a block house and stockade. Reinforcements were sent to Laramie, and the defenses there strengthened. FortMcArthur was garrisoned with Ohio militia, and the works there and at FortManary and Urbana were enlarged. As the Indians were threatening Fort Wayne, it became necessary to obtain reinforcement for Major Adams' battalion, who were about to march from St. Mary's to the relief of that post. The following address and call for troops were therefore issued by Governor Meigs and General Harrison:
"PIQUA, September 2, 1812.
"Fellow-Citizens of Ohio:
"At a moment like this I appeal to your valor and patriotism. Major General Harrison will, rendezvous a respectable force of Kentucky volunteers at Dayton, on the 15th instant, for a short expedition. " General Harrison desires to add to his troops any number of volunteers from the State of Ohio, who will serve on the expedition, not exceeding thirty days.
"All those who will embrace this favorable opportunity of distinguishing themselves under an able commander, and of rendering to the State of Ohio a valuable service, will, in their equipment and movements, follow the directions of General Harrison hereto subjoined. "R. J. MEIGS, Governor of Ohio."
" VOLUNTEERS WANTED.
Any number of volunteers, mounted and prepared for active service, to continue for twenty-five or thirty days, will be accepted to rendezvous at the town of Dayton, on the Big Miami, on the 15th inst. "It is expected that the volunteers will provide themselves with salted provisions and a portion of biscuits; those who are unable to (page 119) them will be furnished if possible. Those brave men who may give their country their services on this occasion may be assured that an opportunity of distinguishing themselves will be offered. "I shall command the expedition in person, and the number of troops employed will be adequate to the object proposed.
"I will also hire a number of substantial horses; fifty cents a day will be allowed for each horse provided with saddle and bridle.
"Those patriotic citizens, who are unable to afford personal assistance, will render essential service to their country by furnishing the horses, which must be delivered in Dayton on the 14th inst., to a person who will be authorized to receive and receipt for them.
"WILLIAM H. HARRISON.
"Headquarters, Piqua, September 2, 1812."
"September 5, 1812, 4 A. M.
"I requested you in my last address to rendezvous at Dayton on the 15th inst. I have now a more pressing call for your services! The British and Indians have invaded our country and are now besieging (perhaps have taken) Fort Wayne. Every friend to his country, who is able to do so, will join me as soon as possible, well mounted, with a good rifle and twenty or thirty days' provisions. Ammunition will be furnished at Cincinnati and Dayton, and the volunteers will draw provisions (to save their salted meat) at all the public deposits. The quartermasters and commissaries will see that this order is executed.
"WILLIAM H. HARRISON."
The brigade of Kentuckians, under command of General Payne, who, after a short stay in Dayton, had proceeded to Piqua, were ordered to St. Mary's on Sunday, the 6th, and a thousand men also marched to the same place from Urbana.
Three hundred mounted infantry frond Kentucky, commanded by Major Richard M. Johnson, arrived here on Sunday. They proceeded to Piqua on Monday, but bivouacked Sunday night on Main Street. On Monday, September 7th, General Harrison left Piqua for St. Mary's to take command of the troops, which lie had been concentrating there for the expedition to Fort Wayne. Just before he left for his army he issued an. address to the people of Ohio, calling for about eight hundred horses, each provided with a saddle and bridle, as he wanted to mount at least one of his regiments of infantry on horseback. The terms were fifty cents a day for each horse and equipments, to be paid for by (page 120) the United States should they be lost, or should the horses die any other than a natural death. Jesse Hunt and Peyton Short were authorized to engage the horses, and they issued the following notice:
"HEADQUARTERS, PIQUA, September 8, 1812.
The subscribers will attend in Dayton, at the house of Major David Reid, on the 15th and 16th of this month to receive and receipt for horses.
The army collected at St. Mary's numbered four thousand, and General Harrison marched for Fort Wayne on September 9th. The distance was fifty-five miles, and he arrived on the 12th. The enemy, without awaiting the chances of a battle, fled before him in all directions. He destroyed the Indian villages, and then returned to St. Mary's. Major Adams' battalion, from this county, was discharged, and returned home, where their prompt patriotism shown in volunteering for the defense of the frontier, without an instant's delay, was highly appreciated. There was no regularly organized hospital here, but many sick and wounded soldiers received medical and surgical care and nursing in Dayton from our physicians and patriotic women. Dr. John Steele, who settled here in 1812, devoted himself to this work, as did other doctors, who, dying early or removing soon after to other places, are not so well known to our community.
In September General Harrison was commissioned major-general in the, United States Army and commander-in-chief of the troops in the Northwest Territory, and ordered to take Detroit. The courier, who passed through Dayton to St. Mary's with this good news, received a warm welcome.
Brigadier-General Winchester and staff dined in Dayton on Sunday, the 13th. They were on their way to join General Harrison, who, declining to serve as second in command under Winchester had been made commander-in-chief. Winchester was another old Revolutionary relic of the Hull stamp. The unfortunate Hull was court-martialed, found guilty of cowardice and unsoldier-like conduct, and sentenced to be shot, but was pardoned by the president.
September 16, 1812, a regiment of Kentucky volunteers, under command of Colonel Pogue, and several companies of Indiana militia were encamped at CampMeigs, awaiting General Harrison's orders. On the 17th, General Harrison having received his commission, began to prepare for his campaign against Canada. His troops were neither drilled nor supplied with sufcient ammunition, provisions, and other (page 121) necessaries. Ordinance and commissary supplies were immediately obtained from the government, but he was obliged to request contributions of warm clothing and blankets from the citizens of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. Captain Steele's company, which had volunteered for short service, was now returning home, and by then he sent this appeal to the ladies of Dayton:
"HEADQUARTERS, ST. MARY'S, September 29, 1812.
General Harrison presents his compliments to the ladies of Dayton and its vicinity, and solicits their assistance in nicking shirts for their brave defenders, who compose his army, many of whom are almost destitute of that article, so necessary to their health and comfort. The materials will be furnished by the quartermaster; and the general confidently expects that this opportunity for the display of female patriotism and industry will be eagerly embraced by his fair country-women.
"WILLIAM H. HARRISON.
“P.S. – Captain James Steele will deliver the articles for making the suits on application.”
The shirts were made of materials furnished by the Indian department, and which had been prepared for annuities for the tribes in arms against the government, but withheld in consequence of their hostile attitude.
The ladies of Dayton and this neighborhood, "with a zeal and promptitude honorable to themselves and the State," and without compensation, immediately set to work, and by October 14th had eighteen hundred shirts ready for the use of the army. A large quantity of clothing was afterwards sent to the Kentucky troops, via Dayton, from Paris, Kentucky.
Early in October Major Adams raised a company of mounted riflemen who expected to march at once to Fort Defiance, but as the Indians from the Mississinewa River region were becoming very troublesome to the inhabitants of Preble and Greene counties, the new Dayton company was ordered to Fort Greenville. The Indians murdered any of the people of those counties whom they found outside of the block houses and stole many horses and cattle. Two little girls were killed on the 2nd of October within half a mile of Greenville. The savages did not make their way to Dayton, but they approached near enough to alarm the people, who did not feel assured that their turn to take refuge in block houses would not conic. General Winchester on the 4th of October arrived at FortDefiance from Fort Wayne with his command and rebuilt the fort. His force consisted of three Kentucky regiments, four (page 122) companies of soldiers of the United States Army, a troop of horse, and Captain Ballard's company of spies. Owners of Horses, saddles, and bridles, taken at Dayton for the army, were notified that they would be retained as government property and paid for agreeably to the valuations. An agent was sent here to receive the army horses, of which the valley was full, and which had strayed from the camps and battle-fields. General Harrison was maturing his plans for the campaign, in the latter part of October, and had arranged for the advance of his army in three columns by different routes to the Maumee Rapids, and thence in a body to Detroit. But the country was inundated by the heavy rains which fell in November, and as the roads were impassable, he was obliged to defer all military movements till spring. He established his headquarters at Franklinton, FranklinCounty. The Pennsylvania and Virginia troops were stationed at Upper Sandusky. The Ohio, Indiana, and some Virginia volunteers were at Urbana, under command of General Tupper. As long as the rivers continued in good boating condition, supplies were to be forwarded in boats up the Miami to St. Mary's, across the portage, then down the Auglaize and Maumee, across the lake and up to Detroit. When cold or dry weather, rendered the roads passable, supplies were to be sent through Urbana and FortFindlay, but during the war all stores or reinforcement by whatever route, by land or water, they proceeded, went via Dayton.
In the fall the deputy commissary general notified the people that the public stores must be forwarded at all risks by water, and issued the following order:
"It has become necessary to run boats front the mouth of the Great Miami to Laramie loaded with public property, and it is expected that those who own dams will immediately make arrangements for letting the boats pass with expedition and safety; otherwise their dams will be injured. The public boats must pass at all risks."
The line of communication was guarded against the Mississinewa Indians by detachments of the militia of this valley stationed at Dayton, Greenville, St. Mary's, and Urbana. The ladies of Dayton, though not formally organized into a soldier's relief society, were constantly engaged in making or collecting clothes and supplies for MontgomeryCounty volunteers in the field or in the hospitals. War was no new thing to many of them, as their relatives had served in the Revolution or under St. Clair and Wayne, and former experience enabled them to prepare speedily and in the best manner the articles that were most needed. Though the muddy roads to Urbana were almost impassable, supplies were constantly forwarded by army agents stationed at Dayton till the (page 123) fall of 1813. They bought up all the salt meat, grain, flour, horses, cattle, tow linen, and similar articles that farmers or merchants and traders would sell. It was a difficult matter to transport supplies through the almost bottomless mud of the roads and over the swollen unbridged streams which were crossed by rope ferries. Traveling was not quite so difficult when the ground was frozen. Colonel Robert Patterson, the forage-master, advertised for fifty ox-sleds and fifty horse-sleds, which it was hoped the farmers would hire or sell to the government. Country boys, too young to volunteer as soldiers, were employed as teamsters. The farmers furnished horses, oxen, and sleds on condition that they should not be taken further than Urbana or St. Mary's. Supplies purchased here were delivered to Colonel Robert Patterson, forage-master, at the government store-house, on the west side of Main Street, between Monument Avenue and First Street. He paid three dollars a day for sleds that would haul six barrels of four. Eight dollars a barrel was paid by the government for flour delivered at Piqua or Urbana, and ten dollars if delivered at St. Mary's. Seventy-five cents a gallon was received for whisky delivered at the latter place.
On the 1st of December a detachment of soldiers, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel John B. Campbell, of the Nineteenth United States Infantry, arrived in Dayton, where, as they were only partially mounted, they remained until the 11th to procure horses. They also, while here, drew ten (lays' rations and forage. On the 11th, leaving their heavy baggage here, they left Dayton for an expedition against the Indians in the Miami villages, near Muncietown, on the Mississinewa, a branch of the Wabash. Colonel Campbell's force was about seven hundred strong, and consisted of Colonel Sunrall's regiment, Captain Garrard and Captain Hopkins' companies of cavalry, from Kentucky; Captain Elliot's company of infantry, recruited in this State; Captain Marrigell's company of cavalry, and Captain Butler's and Captain Alexander's company of infantry, from Pennsylvania. The utmost secrecy as to the object of the expedition and great caution. to prevent surprise by the Indians was observed during the march. A third of the command was on guard every night. The weather was bitterly cold and the ground covered with snow during the latter part of their march. Early on the morning of the 17th of December, having marched all night, they surprised and destroyed the first of the Indian villages. Three others were taken and destroyed the same day. The next clay, shortly after sunrise, the savages attacked our troops and were routed. 'thirty Indians were killed during this expedition, fully sixty wounded, and forty-three taken prisoners. Our loss was eight killed and forty-eight wounded. Nearly half the (page 124) horses were killed or lost.The soldiers who had been killed were interred, and stretchers made for those, of whom there were forty, who were too badly wounded to ride. Late in the afternoon the army began their return, and after proceeding three miles, encamped for the night. The next day they marched fourteen miles and camped. One half the men were placed on guard, while the others erected breast works. The men had exhausted their supply of provisions and forage; snow and ice rendered the roads almost impassable; the wounded were suffering from cold and exposure and from lack of surgical attention and nursing, and the bands, feet, and ears of nearly every man in the force were frosted. On the 22d, Major Adams arrived from Greenville with ninety-five men, and immediately supplied the almost starving soldiers with a half ration each. The next day Colonel Holt also came to their assistance with provisions, so that they were 'able to march to Greenville, which they reached on the 24th. While in camp twelve miles this side of Greenville, a resolution of thanks to Colonel Holt and Major Adams and their men for the prompt and efficient relief they had afforded them, was voted by Colonel Campbell's command.
They arrived at Dayton on Sunday, the 27th, where they rested for several days before proceeding to their headquarters at Franklinton.
Only two hundred and three of the men were fit for duty; two of the wounded had died on the road. The Centinal says that "their solemn procession into town with the wounded extended on litters, excited emotions which the philanthropic bosons may easily conceive, but it is not in our power to describe them." Sympathy (lid not exhaust itself in words; the soldiers were taken into the houses, scarcely a family taking less than four or five, and Sunday was devoted by the ladies of Dayton to the care of the wounded and the refreshment of their weary comrades. This work of mercy prevented the usual Sunday services at the churches. Religious services for the troops were appointed for the next Wednesday, and the following order was issued by Colonel Campbell:
"DETACHMENT ORDER, DAYTON, OHIO,
December 28, 1812.
The troops will attend divine service on Wednesday, the 30th inst., in camp, at . When we consider the wonderful interposition of Divine Providence in our favor during the last fatiguing, dangerous, and distressing expedition, gratitude for these favors requires our united and sincere thanksgiving for our deliverance. I hope the troops, whom I had the honor to command in time of peril ' that tried men's souls,' will attend (page 125) with suitable decency and join in devoutly expressing our obligations to that Being whose protection we have all felt and witnessed.
JOHN B. CAMPBELL
After remaining here a few days, Colonel Campbell's force went on to Franklinton, but many of their wounded were left in Dayton and remained for some time. They were carefully nursed by our people. Several of them died and were buried here.
One thousand Indians of the Miami and Delaware tribes, which had been reduced to a starving condition by Campbell's expedition, came to Piqua to place themselves under the care of the Indian agent employed by the government.
Heavy rains began early in January, 1813, which again made the roads difficult to travel, and soldiers, artillery, wagons, and pack horses moved slowly, yet they were kept in motion, and Dayton continued the thoroughfare for everything passing to the frontier.
A company was organized here in January, 1813, by Captain A. Edwards and marched immediately. Captain Edwards, who was a Dayton physician, had served as a surgeon in the army in 1812.
About the middle of January an engagement at the River Raisin, for which General Winchester was responsible, resulted in defeat and the loss of thirty-two officers and four hundred and seventy-four non-commissioned officers and privates, who were killed, wounded, or missing. General Harrison fortunately soon arrived and checked the disaster. A deep snow had fallen in the north and lay long on the ground, which made the continual motion of the troops this winter hard and disagreeable to them. The soldiers, many of them having no means of obtaining new shoes when their old ones wore out, made themselves moccasins this winter of undressed hides.
Ohio and Kentucky troops, whose term of enlistment had expired, returned home through Dayton in February and usually spent a night on Main Street. The river was high, and stores in large quantities were sent by boat from Cincinnati, and also through the swamps from Laramie Creek to the Auglaize and thence to FortDefiance.
Reinforcements were required in the spring, and two new Ohio regiments were to be raised. General Harrison, by his personal efforts and visits to Urbana, Franklinton, Chillicothe, Cincinnati, and Dayton, succeeded in obtaining the desired recruits, who were soon on the march in small bodies for the north.
In April General Green Clay's brigade of Kentuckians passed (page 126) through here, ,pending the night in the rain on Main Street, which was nothing but a mudroad, and was deep in mire at that time. Slow and difficult as marching through the almost bottomless mud was, they arrived at headquarters in time for the opening of the campaign at FortMeigs, on the rapids of the Maumee. The British and Indians besieged it in the latter part of April, but soon retreated and retired to Canada.
On the 12th of may between twenty and thirty Indians arrived in Dayton as hostages from the Miami tribe.
On the 19th of May James Flinn, second lieutenant of the Second Company of United States Rangers, opened a recruiting office here to enlist thirty or forty good rangers for one year (unless sooner disbanded); pay, one dollar a day. He had recruited his company here in 1812. This year occurred Perry's victory on Lake Erie, Harrison's repulse of Proctor, and the defeat of the British at the battle of the Thames, which ended the war in the West. Returning Ohio and Kentucky soldiers were now constantly on the march from the north through Dayton, and the town was full of people from different parts of the country who had come to meet relatives serving in the various companies. Sometimes the volunteers encamped in the mud on Main Street became a little noisy and troublesome.
The Dayton companies received an enthusiastic welcome home. Streets and houses were decorated, and a flag was kept flying from the pole erected on Main Street. A cannon was also placed there, which was fired whenever a company or regiment arrived. The people at the signal gathered to welcome the soldiers, whom they were expecting, and for whom a dinner on tables set out of doors was prepared, and the rest of the day was given tip to feasting, speeches, and general rejoicings. Our companies had all returned by the first of December, but as they had been in constant and active duty since their departure for the front, a number of brave men had fallen on the battlefield, and others cane home in enfeebled health or suffering from wounds which shortened their lives, so that many families in this neighborhood had more cause for sorrow than for joy when the troops gayly marched into town. The war, though virtually over in the West, had not quite ended along the lower end of Lake Erie, and a few of the Ohio militia did not return home till 1814, and others during 1814 and 1815 were called out for short periods for duty at St. Mary's, Fort Wayne, Fort Defiance, and Greenville.
The Americans and British had a number of skirmishes at Detroit in 1814, but the former held their own. In 1815 peace was declared.