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"James Madison & the War of 1812" Topic

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©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2019 9:42 p.m. PST

"James Madison was a close friend and political ally of Jefferson. Madison's home, Montpelier, near Orange, Virginia, is about 27 miles from Monticello. Madison and Jefferson exchanged frequent visits when able, and their collected correspondence fills three hefty volumes. Madison was selected as Jefferson's successor by Republicans in Congress and won the election of 1808 easily. As Jefferson's Secretary of State and closest advisor, Madison's transition to the higher office was essentially seamless, yet he inherited most of the same problems with which Jefferson had been dealing…."
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robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2019 3:54 p.m. PST

The United States "probably gained more than it lost." Would anyone care to total up the corpses for "probably?"

Note to future administrations: when you can see the pressure toward war building for at least five years, try to have--oh, I don't know: Maybe an army, a navy and a banking system to pay everyone?--before the war starts. Try not to follow the example of Jefferson, who guts the army, builds a navy of rowboats, dissolves the bank, and then whines because you can't take Canada with raw militia.

We should have hanged Jefferson and Madison in the smoldering ruins of Washington.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2019 12:05 p.m. PST



Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2019 3:01 p.m. PST

Would anyone care to total up the corpses for "probably?"

Why don't you do it since you brought it up? You can begin with New Orleans in 1815 and then the Niagara campaign in 1814. They were the bloodiest land battles of the war. The three actions on the Niagara were Chippawa, Lundy's Lane, and Fort Erie.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2019 4:20 a.m. PST

I put this together from different sources (referenced) on the casualties incurred by both sides in the Niagara campaign of 1814:

Niagara Campaign 1814-Casualties
For the Battles of Lundy's Lane and Chippawa and the siege of Fort Erie the following is a statistical abstract assembled from four books on the period:

-The US Army in the War of 1812: An Operational and Command Study (two volumes) by Robert Quimby.

-Amateurs, To Arms: A Military History of the War of 1812 by John Elting.

-Red Coats and Grey Jackets: The Battle of Chippawa by Don Graves.

-Where Right and Glory Lead: The Battle of Lundy's Lane by Don Graves.

The study by Robert Quimby is the primary volume that was used in most of the research and 'discussion' on this subject in a previous thread. The data assembled is generally close, but it shows the strengths of the armies in the actions stated as well as the casualties. Further, the parameters used for the assembling of data may have been different in all four volumes (that is an assumption on my part). For the Battle of Chippawa in Don Graves' two books, which is included in both volumes, the strengths differ a little which is why this statistical extract was put together from four different books from thrree different authors. Two other excellent volumes can also be consulted, 1812 by Jon Latimer and The War of 1812 by Henry Adams. All of these books are excellent and reliable and the differences in numbers come from the research of the historians who wrote them. I enthusiastically recommend all of them if you are interested in the War of 1812, especially on the Niagara frontier in 1814.

Any errors in page numbers, mathematics, and/or transcription are, of course, mine.

Strength at Chippawa:

Graves 1 (Red Coats and Gray Jackets):
US: 1300 (page 101)

On page 165 in Appendix A the US strength in regulars, including artillery, is 1609. Added to this are 500 militia and Indians for the total on the field of 2109. Scott's brigade, which was involved in the fight is listed as 1319 regulars, all ranks.

British: 1200 (page 102)

On page 167 in Appendix B the total strength in British regulars, including artillery and cavalry, is 1500, plus 500 Indians and militia. British infantry on the field is 1360 which were involved in the fight.

Graves 2 (Where Right and Glory Lead):

US: 1319 (page 48)
British: 1350 (page 80)

US: 1300 (page 187)
British: 1500 (page 187)

US: 1300 (page 527)
British: 1500 (page 527)

Casualties at Chippawa:

Graves 1:
US: 278 (page 134)
British: 481 (page 133)

Graves 2:
US: 295 (page 90)
British: 456 (page 90)

US: 268 (page 187)
British: 415 (page 187)

US: 262 (Scott's brigade) (page 527)
British: 512 (page 527)

Strengths at Lundy's Lane:

Graves 1: Not covered.
Graves 2: From Appendices A and B on pages 257-264, for 25 July 1814
US: 2688
British: 4638

US: 2200 (pages 190-196)
British: 3500 (pages 190-196)

US: 2800 engaged (page 544)
British: 2800 engaged (page 544)

Casualties at Lundy's Lane:

Graves 1: Not covered.

Graves 2:
US: 861 (pages 196-197)
British: 878 (pages 195-196)

US: 861 (page 195)
British: 876 (page 195)

US: 853 (page 544)
British: 878 (page 544)

Strengths at Fort Erie:

Graves 1: Not covered.

Graves 2:
US: 2125 + (page 212)
British: 2500+ (page 220)

US: 2000+ (pages 247-252)
British: 3000+ (pages 247-252)

US: 2200 (page 552)
British: 2250 + (page 554) (1200 more arrived after the repulse of the British assault on the fort)

Casualties at Fort Erie:

Graves 1: Not covered.

Graves 2:
US: 573 (pages 220-221; 227)
British: 1421 (pages 220-221; 227)

US: 595 (pages 247-252)
British: 1512 (pages 247-252)

US: 595
British: 1514

Total Losses for the Campaign:

US: 1712-1729
British: 2755-2780

US: 1724
British: 2803

US: 1710
British: 2904

As Don Graves' excellent Fix Bayonets! and its main protagonist Thomas Pearson were mentioned in the previous 'discussion' I thought the data extract from the book would be of interest. At the very least it will finish the data that was under 'discussion.'

Statistical Abstract for the Niagara battles, 1814.

Chippawa-5 July 1814:

1.1350 (page 372)
2.1319 (page 448)

1. 1500 (page 360).
2. 1200 (page 372).
3. 1360 (page 448).

Those listed for Chippawa are for the engaged infantry only, between whom the action was decided. The artillery, militia, and Indians are not listed.
I was a little confused by the strengths listed in the book so I decided to put all of them in the list.

US: 328 (page 372).
British: 515 (page 372).

Lundy's Lane-25 July 1814:
Initial: 1250 (page 381)
Total: 2850 (page 385)

Initial: 2000 (approximate, page 381).
Total: 3600 (page 386)

US: 860 (Page 394)

British: 878 (page 394)

Fort Erie:

US: not listed.


US: 511 (incomplete)(page 404).

British:1421 (pages 400 and 404)

The Pearson issue:
Scott was at most a brigade commander during that era. Yes he trained up his brigade well but he was also beaten/held off by Thomas Pearson which allowed Riall to concentrate his dispersed forces. While during Lundys Lane he got his brigade decimated.

Pearson was out numbered as he only had some Indians and Light troops and did his job and taught Scot a lesson.

From Fix Bayonets! A Royal Welch Fusilier at War, 1796-1815:
‘Unfortunately for the firebreathing young American general, he had just met Thomas Pearson, the living soul of obstinacy, who was about to give him an object lesson in the proper way to carry out a delaying action with light troops, a lesson likely not contained in the library of military texts, mostly French, kept in the large portable bookshelf that accompanied Scott on campaign.'-page 357.

‘On 4 July 1814, however, Scott got an object lesson from Pearson on the proper way to conduct a delaying action.'-page 358 (caption).

Pearson commanded the British ‘light brigade' at Chippawa which consisted of the light companies of the 1st, 8th, and 100th Foot, the 2d Lincoln Militia Regiment, and Indians.-page 363.

Subsequent to Pearson's delaying action against Scott on 4 July, on 5 July Pearson was faced with Major Thomas Jesup's 25th Infantry Regiment, 354 strong (strength on page 448): ‘Jesup had, however, prevented Evan's 8th Foot from supporting the 1st and 100th Foot in their musketry battle with Scott's brigade-and he had also outfought Thomas Pearson.'-page 370.

Apparently, both Pearson and Jesup were skilled infantrymen able to hold in check or delay superior numbers in the field under trying circumstances.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2019 4:33 a.m. PST

For New Orleans, the best on the subject is Robin Reilly's The British at the Gates. John Elting's Amateurs, To Arms also has an excellent chapter on New Orleans. Robert Quimby's two-volume study, The US Army in the War of 1812 is also excellent. For ease of use, the casualties listed below are taken from Amateurs, To Arms!

British losses:

23 December 1814:
46 KIA, 167 WIA, 64 MIA.

8 January 1815:
291 KIA, 1262 WIA, 484 missing or prisoners.

American losses:

23 December 1814:
24 KIA, 115 WIA, 74 MIA.

8 January 1815:
13 KIA; 39 WIA, 19 MIA.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP20 May 2019 8:17 a.m. PST

And you can add the battles of Bladensburg and North Point where, even though the militia ran at Bladensburg, the British suffered more casualties.

At North Point, the Maryland militia, better organized and led, conducted a successful delaying action against the British, killed the British commander and inflicted more casualties than they lost.

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