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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The War of 1812 Museum in Plattsburgh, New York

When I was studying the War of 1812, the burning of Washington, D.C. was the major historical event of the war.  I knew that a battle occurred on Lake Champlain, at Plattsburgh in September, 1814, but I don't know the details.

Barb and Terry took Eric and me to the former Air Force Base in Plattsburgh to learn about the battle.... the War of 1812 Museum.

American troops were busy defending Sackets Harbor on Lake Ontario following a British raid on the shipyard in 1813. British troops were marching on Washington D.C. in August, 1814. 

With American military leaders and troops busy elsewhere, Sir George PrevostGovernor-in-Chief of Canada sent a force of 11,000 British soldiers and ships south from Canada toward Plattsburgh to take control of Lake Champlain and continue their invasion deeper into New York.  

Captain George Downie, in command of the British fleet had orders to destroy the American fleet.

***As it was in 1814, it is today....  History students focus on the British burning the White House in Washington, D.C. and do not pay attention to military movements in New York State.***

When British troops were spotted, word went out to area militias, numbering 1,000 men, to stand and fight the larger, better equipped British brigades.  Americans took out bridges and built abatis with sharply honed tree branches to slow down the enemy's advance.

The British pushed American 
forces southeast & crossed 

The opposing forces squared
off at Halsey's Corners

This is the bloodiest day of the
Battle of Plattsburgh.

The continuing skirmishes were buying the fledgling American Navy ships much needed time.... position themselves in Cumberland Bay,
 east of Plattsburgh.  

Commodore Thomas Macdonough 
planned to use his knowledge of the
winds & waters near Plattsburgh to
meet incoming British Ships.

The American ships were positioned and gunnery practice began.  Each cannon ball should hit its mark.

American ships met the British in Cumberland Bay on September 11, 1814.  Cannons fired continuously.  

A hit from an American cannonball blew one of the cannons on the British flagship Confiance off its mount. Captain Downie, was killed when the cannon crushed him.

Commodore Macdonough
was on the deck of
 the Saratoga.

He ordered the crew to use anchor and cable to swing the Saratoga around the Confiance and ordered close in cannon blasts into its undamaged side.  After capturing the enemy's flag ship, the rest of the British ships were captured or destroyed.

The British invasion south to the Hudson Valley was routed.  General Prevost stopped the siege of Plattsburgh and retreated north.  The British invasion had been thwarted.

American and British soldiers were buried, side by side, in Plattsburgh.  Enemies in life, they are neighbors in death.

Following the Battle of Plattsburgh, British and Americans negotiations in Ghent, Belgium to continued, without England being able to claim territory taken from America.  On December 24, 1814, The Treaty of Ghent was signed, ending the War of 1812.

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