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"A Mohawk memoir from the War of 1812" Topic

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19th Century

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2020 9:30 p.m. PST

"Norton's account is one of the more extensive memoirs from the war by any combatant, is full of detail, and, of course, is a rare document, being authored by an Indigenous person who played major roles as a war chief and a diplomatic figure between the Six Nations Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) of the Grand River and their British and other First Nations allies. Norton saw more action than almost anyone else between 1812 and 1814, being present at the captures of Detroit and Fort Niagara, the blockades of Fort George and Fort Erie, the battles of Queenston Heights, Fort George, Stoney Creek, Chippawa, and Lundy's Lane, as well as large number of front-line patrols and skirmishes. His account has a tremendous amount of detail that I would think re-enactors would find interesting. The text regularly mentions regiments and individuals of interest to the re-enacting community as well, including the York Militia (and describes the battle of York)."


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IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2020 6:20 a.m. PST

An excellent memoir. I am about a quarter of the way through it and it certainly gives a different though accurate viewpoint of many battles and their context to the Iroquois tribes.

Carl Benn does an outstanding job of verifying the accuracy and context of every sentence in Norton's journal in the footnotes on each page. Some may find the necessity of constantly reading the footnotes (a third of the page or more) while reading the text disruptive. However, I found the wealth of knowledge and context far outweighs the reading fluidity of the journal text.

Also, the notes provide detailed information on the many interrelationships between the Iroquois (other tribes too), the Indian Department, British Army, the militia, the governments of U.C., Canada, U.K. plus various American etc. These interrelationships are important to understanding the political, social and military context of the war.

For me the most interesting revelations of Norton's journal are recounting of the battles that he participated in. For example the Battle of Queenston Heights; there is much detail on how Norton and his 80 warriors tied up the Americans on the Queenston heights until British/Canadian troops arrived from Fort George and Chippewa. Also, there is much detail on who or what units he coordinated with in launching the final attack on the Americans.

So, if you like battlefield detail a long with context then this book is must for War of 1812 enthusiasts. Highly recommended.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2020 2:35 p.m. PST

Many thanks!


epturner Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2020 5:18 p.m. PST

Iron Duke;
Thanks for that summary. I shall add it to my "want" list.

Just started re-reading Latimer's book, after that dastardly Ross Macfarlane posted some nice 1812 game stuff on his blog.


Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2020 10:27 a.m. PST

Glad you like it my friend!.


Dave Jackson08 Jan 2020 11:22 a.m. PST

epturner, what's Ross' blog address?

Dave Jackson08 Jan 2020 11:30 a.m. PST
IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2020 3:25 p.m. PST

You are most welcome Eric.

Latimer's book is one of the best. I frequently refer to it when researching a particular War of 1812 battle along with Quimby.


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