We Are All Republicans, We Are All Federalists

Chapter Nine: The Election of 1812
Chapter Nine: The Election of 1812

Citizens of a small Virginian town voting in the election
The election of 1812 would much more contentious than America's previous few elections. It pitted a pro-war party against an anti-war party, and left it to a public tired of what they viewed as government inaction to decide who won. The Liberty Party would meet for the congressional nominating caucus uncertain of who was going to be nominated. By far the favorite was Secretary of State James Madison, who Jefferson supported to be his successor. Critics of him, however, pointed out his Virginia heritage and said they wanted a man from a new state to be their candidate after eight years of a Virginian. People who agreed with this rallied around men like the aging vice-president George Clinton, New Hampshire Senator John Langdon, Secretary of War Henry Dearborn, or Massachusetts Governor Elbrigde Gerry. Others wanted a man not as closely associated with Jefferson as Madison was, as they believed Jefferson's popularity was on the decline. They supported men like Senators James Monroe, Nathaniel Macon, or John Langdon. Finally, there were men who wanted to nominate a candidate from a state that they were afraid they might lose in the election, like Senator Macon from North Carolina or Attorney General John Breckinridge from Kentucky. Others wanted a former Federalist to run, worried that a former Democratic-Republican might finally cave in and approve the Embargo Bill. These people tended to gravitate around Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall. The pool of candidate would clear up, however, as men announced they did not want the office. Clinton, Gerry, and Breckinridge all claimed that they were in ill-health and did not want to be considered. Neither Monroe or Marshall did not want to challenge Madison, and Macon was angling for the position of President Pro Tempore of the Senate, currently held by Langdon. To secure this position, Macon threw his support behind Langdon. Dearborn would do the same when he realized his campaigning efforts were failing to gain much traction. Despite all the names that people put up against him, however, Madison would have little trouble securing the nomination. For the vice-presidential role, Langdon was chosen due to his supporter among many of the groups that had been hesitant to nominate Madison.

James Madison and John Langdon
The Democratic-Republicans had be reinvigorated since their last presidential effort, and decided that promising to declare war on Britain would be what was needed to sway the public to their side. The party that had four years earlier nominated a man who had not even want the nomination was now flooded with candidates. One man who did not want this nomination however was Aaron Burr. He instead pointed to son-in-law DeWitt Clinton, the newly elected senator for New York. Another candidate was Senator William B. Giles, who had managed to win his position in a close and surprise election. Senator Matthew Lyon considered running, but ultimately decided he was not popular enough and he also opposed war with Britain. The man who would ultimately be the candidate, however, was Speaker of the House John Randolph of Roanoke. Similar to Lyon, he personally opposed war with Britain. Unlike Lyon, however, he willing to support it if it was what the party wanted. After receiving the endorsement of Giles, Randolph had the number of supporters needed to defeat Clinton. To appease Burr, who still remained a potent force in the party, they would nominate Clinton to be his running-mate.

John Randolph and DeWitt Clinton
The Federalist Party had effectively reached their end, losing every election they participated in, and gaining almost no new members to replace the members they were losing. In light of this, the few remaining Federalist congressmen agreed to renominate their candidate from the previous election, Rufus King. King, who was trying to ease over to the Liberty Party, at first tried to decline the nomination, but was ultimately convinced to just run. In an attempt to get Hamilton to again be a member of their party, which many viewed as their only opportunity to survive, they would nominate former Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott Jr., a known friend of Hamilton. Despite the fact they had nominated a ticket, almost no one agreed to campaign for them, and absolutely no one expected them to win the election. They believed it would be lucky if they could even win a state's electoral votes.

Rufus King and Oliver Wolcott Jr.
The issue that dominanted the election was what to do about British impressment, as well as the rumors that had now been proven true that they had been providing weapons to Tecumseh's Confederacy. Madison and his supporters would point to the Battle of Tippecanoe to show the Liberty Party's decisive actions towards Tecumseh's Confederacy, but they still did not have a promise about what to do about British impressment. This put them at a disadvantage to the Democratic-Repubublicans, who promised that they would make the British sorry for their harassment of Americans, and take Canada from them. Their campaign rallies often took the form of the supporters dressing up in militia uniforms and marching through towns while Randolph supporters waved banners and shouted his praises. They would also drill in fields to impress the public. The Federalist supported negotiating with Britain, although many in the general populace were unaware of this due to the lack of Federalist campaigning. King wasn't even on the ballot on more than half the states, only appearing in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and the New England states. For the Liberty Party, their campaigning efforts focused on the west and south, where support for the war was large. Meanwhile, the Democratic-Republican focused on Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York, the four states worth the most electoral votes, and where they hoped they could spread their pro-war message. If they could secure these four states, they would need to win only eight more electoral votes to win the election. When election day arrived, neither side was certain in their ability to win the election.

A drawing of a Tennessee militia doing a campaign drill for Randolph's campaign
When the results came in, it was the closest election in terms of electoral votes in U.S. History. Madison had won both the popular vote and more states. He would not win this election, however, due to one faithless elector. The faithless elector, the man who decided the election, was William Marbury from Maryland. Madison had won the state of Maryland, and in theory the election. This was prevented, however, when Marbury was selected to be one of the states electors. A member of the Liberty Party, Marbury held a grudge against Jefferson, however, as he believed that he had prevented him from being appointed by President Adams to a judicial position. As a result of this, he decided to spite Jefferson by voting against his designated successor in the election. When he cast his vote, he was unaware of the monumental impact it would have. In doing it, he gave Randolph the final electoral vote he needed to win the election, and denied the same to Madison. Randolph would secure 109 electoral votes from Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, and New York, as well as Marbury's deciding vote. Madison would secure 108 electoral votes from Louisiana, Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Conneticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire. King would secure no electoral votes. When the Liberty Party discovered what Marbury had done, they quickly voted to expel him from the party, and in the heavily Liberty Party state of Maryland, he was rapidly ostracized. The Liberty Party was surprised, however, that Virginia and especially New York had gone for the Democratic-Republicans, even if both were by narrow margins. For both, historians generally agree that it merely boiled down to public discontent with the Liberty Party and the effective campaigning efforts of the Democratic-Republican Party. With the Democratic-Republicans managing to narrowly gain the number of Senate seats needed to declare war, to many in America war seemed imminent.

William Marbury​
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Chapter Ten: The Randolph Presidency and the Beginning of the War of 1813
Chapter Ten: The Randolph Presidency and the Beginning of the War of 1813

President John Randolph
Having narrowly won his election to the presidency, John Randolph saw to it that a declaration of war made its way through Congress, although technically it would start in the final days of the Jefferson administration. Under the oversight of newly elected Speaker of the House, warhawk John C. Calhoun, the bill easily passed through the House. In the Senate, Randolph was not initially expecting a problem when his election to the presidency had been announced. The Democratic-Republican Party had managed to win just enough seats, and expected everything to go easily. All of this came to a screeching halt, however, when Democratic-Republican Senator Matthew Lyon announced he would vote against the declaration of war, which would kill the Democratic-Republican Party's biggest campaign promise. Unfortunately for Lyon, he was up for reelection, and he was defeated in his efforts by a Democratic-Republican who was willing to declare war. Following this humiliation, Lyon would switch his party allegiance to the Liberty Party. The other Vermont senator, long serving Stephen R. Bradley of the Liberty Party praised Lyon's principled stand, although he too would lose his seat in his next election in 1814. When Randolph was inaugurated and the declaration of war reached the Senate, Senators Langdon, Macon, Bradley, and newly seated Kentucky senator Henry Clay all would deliver passioned oratories against the bill, although Clay would do so more due to party platform than his actual beliefs, as he personally saw this upcoming war as an opportunity for expansion. They hoped to switch over just one Democratic-Republican senator, although their efforts would be in vain, as the bill would pass and be signed by President Randolph. In a show of political acumen and a painful fact to the Liberty Party, Randolph would withhold from appointing Senator William B. Giles to be his Secretary of State until after the vote, knowing the Liberty Party controlled Virginia legislature would likely elected Madison to take his place and then the Liberty Party could defeat the bill. The day after the declaration was approved, Randolph appointed Giles to be his Secretary of State, and as he expected Madison was elected to replace him. It was too late for the Liberty Party to stop the war, however. All they could do was buckle down and hope for the best.

John Calhoun, Stephen Bradley, Nathaniel Macon, Henry Clay, and William Giles
With war declared, Randolph went about making the preparations for it. Consulting with Senior Officer of the United States Army Major General James Wilkinson, he would devise a three-pronged offensive into Canada to seize it from the British. The smallest wing would be lead by Brigadier General William Hull along with 2,500 soldiers, mostly militia, headquartered in Fort Preble. Their goal was to march north and seize Quebec, the capital of the Lower Canada Territory. Wilkinson was to lead 4,000 soldiers, again mostly militia but with more regular troops than Hull, from Fort Niagara to seize York, the capital of the Upper Canada Territory. The final prong was for Major General Wade Hampton I to launch his campaign with 7,500 soldiers from Fort Detroit and destroy the warriors of Tecumseh's Confederacy, which were rumored to have retreated in Canada following Tippecanoe, alongside any British forces accompanying them. With this completed, he was to march to York to join with Wilkinson on marching on Ottawa and then Montreal. Hampton's army had the best of the regular U.S. Army forces, with 4 of the 9 regular infantry regiments. The other five regiments were scattered throughout the rest of nation, with two accompanying Wilkinson, one going with Hull, and one each stationed in Washington and New Orleans. With his plans set and the campaigns planned, Randolph would order the offensives to begin. Thus began the "Campaigns of Humiliation", as the first half of the War of 1813 came to be known.

William Hull, James Wilkinson, and Wade Hampton
During his time in office, Randolph would get to appoint two men to the Supreme Court. The first vacancy would occur with the 1814 death of Justice Robert T. Paine. To replace him, Randolph initial offered the post to New York Governor Aaron Burr, who would decline. Following this, Randolph would follow the advice of his Secretary of War Samuel Smith and nominate his brother Robert Smith. Although murmurs were heard about this, Smith's nomination would be passed, albeit narrowly. His second appointment would occur with the 1816 death of Justice Samuel Dexter. To replace him, Randolph would nominate Virginia representative Wilson C. Nicholas, who was also approved, but with a much larger margin than Smith due to him being seen as moderate by the Liberty Party, who by then controlled the Senate, and one of the few Virginian Democratic-Republicans who still respected and was associated with Thomas Jefferson.

Robert Smith and Wilson C. Nicholas
Randolph and his cabinet:
President: John Randolph
Vice-President: DeWitt Clinton
Secretary of State: William B. Giles
Secretary of the Treasury: John Armstrong Jr.
Secretary of War: Samuel Smith
Attorney General: Thomas Sumter
Secretary of the Navy: Paul Hamilton
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Chapter Eleven: The Campaigns of Humiliation, Part One
Chapter Eleven: The Campaigns of Humiliation, Part One

A depiction of the Battle of York, part of Wilkinson's campaign to capture the town

When word of the Americans declaring war on Britain reached him, George Prévost called his two chief subordinates in the Canada territory, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada Isaac Brock and his subordinate Gordon Drummond. Since Tecumseh ordered a retreat of the warriors of his confederacy to the north, Brock had been communicating with them in preparation for the war he was expecting might occur with the Americans. From the scouts of Tecumseh's Confederacy, as well as some U.S. newspapers, Brock had gathered where the three points of attack were going to be, as well as rough estimates of their size. From this information, Prévost would form a battle plan. He would stay with a token garrison in the heavily fortified city of Quebec to repulse any advances made by Hull. He would give the bulk of the forces in the Canada territory to Brock, who, alongside the warriors of Tecumseh's Confederacy, were to halt Hampton's offensive. Drummond, meanwhile, was to perform a delaying movement and attempt to hold York. All three men would know, however, that considering the man that Drummond had at his disposal, he would likely be unable to halt the advances of the numerically superior force under Wilkinson. With this mind, Drummond was to make sure to avoid excessive casualties, while trying to inflict as heavy casualties on the Americans as possible. If York fell, then when Brock had defeated Hampton, he would unite his force with Drummond's and force Wilkinson back. With the plan set, both officers hurried back to the posts and took what little time they could to prepare a defense against the incoming Americans.

George Prévost, Isaac Brock, and George Drummond
When each of the three American commanders received the orders to start their offensives from Randolph, both Hull and Wilkinson would delay in starting to execute their plans. Only Hampton, the most aggressive of the three commanders, would move out from Fort Detroit, and begin marching into Canada. It was here that the first official battle of the War of 1813 would occur. In the Battle of Windsor, Canadian militia from the town would put up a stout defense, and twice repulse charges made by American militia. Eventually, Hampton would decide to commit his tactical reserve to the battle, the 4 regiments of regular infantry. In an attack lead by Jacob Brown, commander of the 7th U.S. Infantry regiment, the four infantry regiments would storm the hastily erected Canadian works while his two superior officers, Major General Hampton and Brigadier General Stephen Van Rensselaer, awaited the results from the rear. After a brutal hand to hand fight in the Canadian trench, the leader of the Canadian militia, Colonel Phineas Riall of the British Army, would agree to surrender his force and the town of Windsor. Hampton would triumphantly ride up and down his lines in the aftermath of this battle, and would write to President Randolph afterwords how the Canadian rabble had routed in the first sight of his arrival. Meanwhile, in a personal letter to his wife, Brown would commend the Canadians and their defenses, as well as Colonel Riall, who he said surrendered only after the utmost pressure had been applied and defeat was inevitable.

A painting of the Battle of Windsor, with a mounted Brown leading the charge
While Hampton was shedding the first blood of the war, Hull remained inactive. Many of the New England militiamen who he had been promised either did not show up or were being denied to him by the governments of the nearby states. Remembering the Canada campaign from the American Revolution, he refused to move his army on the offensive until the men he had been promised arrived. This would be a costly decision, as it only gave more time for Governor-General Prévost to raise more Canadian militia and strengthen his position in Quebec. Eventually, Randolph would see to it that Hull received the number of men he requested, and expected him to open a new front. In response to this, Hull would reply that he again needed more men to be able to take on the increased numbers now facing him because of Prévost's recruitment efforts. Following this debacle, Randolph would relieve Hull of command and replace him with Alexander Smyth, a man who had been serving as the commander of Washington's defenses, and had constantly been intriguing for a command. When Randolph summoned him to his Executive Mansion for a meeting with himself and Secretary of War Samuel Smith, Smyth would lay out his complicated and convoluted plan for taking Quebec. Figuring that probably anyone would be better than Hull, Randolph would approve Smyth as his replacement, and the campaign that he had wanted to begin months earlier finally was launched.

Alexander Smyth
While that was happening, Wilkinson launched his campaign to seize York. Facing him was 1,500 soldier under George Drummond, consisting of a few dozen regular British Army troops stationed as garrison, roughly 100 Native warriors from the Mohawk tribe, and the rest consisted of Canadian militia. Despite the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against him, Drummond delivered a brilliant result. Working closely with Lieutenant Colonel Charles de Salaberry, the commander of the Regular troops and his best subordinate in this campaign, Drummond would engage in a slow retreat towards York, making it cost Wilkinson in both men and supplies for every mile he moved forward. Hit and run attacks and sabotaging of American supply wagons were the prime elements of his strategy. Eventually, however, he would reached the outskirts of York, and he knew he would have to fight at least one traditional battle lest he lose his command. Coordinating with Salaberry, Drummond would organize a battle in which he would launch a surprise attack American forces. After the shock of the attack wore off, and the Americans rallied and steadied, they were to fall back and withdraw from the battle. Drummond has two goals in this battle. First was to buy time for any citizen of York who wanted to leave the town. Secondly was to make sure Wilkinson received a bloody nose before gaining the capital of the Upper Canada Territory. When Salaberry launched his assault, the American militia he first encountered panicked and broke, leaving it to the American regulars to establish a secure battle line for them to rally around. Once this occurred, Salaberry withdrew his troops in good order, and allowed Wilkinson to move in on his prize. Once he entered the city, Wilkinson, who some assumed might have been drunk at the time, ordered it to be burnt to the ground. Drummond at the head of his column would watch smoke billow upwards from the capital of the Upper Canada Territory.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles de Salaberry and the Burning of York. In the background of the illustration, there is a defiant Canadian waving the British flag and American officer threatening him with his sword
With York secured, Wilkinson tuckered down and awaited the arrival of Hampton. As far as he was concerned, his time campaigning was over until his arrival. Hampton, however, was starting to have troubles of his own. The further into Canada he marched, the more incidents against his army increased, and more and more Native warriors, presumed to be over Tecumseh's Confederacy, were launching lightning raids against his troops. Although the arrogant Hampton refused to admit it himself, his subordinates and soldiers were beginning to question the campaign they were undertaking, especially as rumors of Brock's and Tecumseh's force of British, Canadian, and Native drawing near grew more prevalent. At one point, Rensselaer would send Wilkinson a letter begging him to march out and come in support of Hampton's column. Wilkinson, who was very content in staying put where he was, would reply that he would only come if Hampton himself requested it, knowing that the vain general would never do such as thing. While the American generals argued among themselves, Brock and his close ally Tecumseh readied themselves for a retaliatory movement against Hampton to avenge the fall and burning of York. Thus the pieces were set and the players were ready for what would be the most humiliating event of the whole campaign characterized as the Campaign of Humiliation.
Chapter Twelve: The Campaigns of Humiliation, Part Two
Chapter Twelve: The Campaigns of Humiliation, Part Two

Desperate members of Hampton's army try to break out the encirclement at the Widow's Cabin during the Battle of Spencer Creek
As Hampton drove deeper into Canadian territory and marched ever closer to linking up with Wilkinson, he began to more and more dismiss the reports of a united force of British, Canadian, and Native soldiers. Despite reports from his scouts and sympathizing civilians to the contrary, he believed that the force of Brock and Tecumseh were not near to him, and that the British forces he was facing he far outnumbered. When word of these beliefs reached Brock, he decided he could use them to his advantage. He would position himself alongside Spencer Creek, which he knew was along the path that Hampton was following based on reports he had received from spies he had in Hampton's camp. Knowing the low opinion that Hampton held of Canadian militia, he positioned them on a small ridge. Also knowing that the dense forest would act as a bottleneck to Hampton's forces, and that he would have to charge his men forward in a very thin formation, he then stationed Tecumseh's warriors into that forest, and they were to charge and shatter the American column into two on his command. Finally, with the few British regulars he had, he positioned them to get behind the American column, and try and block the Hampton from retreading the easy path he had followed when he retreated, forcing him and his men to haphazardly escape through the woods, which concealed many of Tecumseh's warriors. With his plans sets, he readied himself for the arrival of Hampton's forces.

A view behind the lines of the Canadian militia moments before the battle begun
For Hampton, he again ignored warnings that Brock had set an ambush for his army, and to not march along Spencer Creek, as it was a trap. When Hampton reached the narrow winding path that clung to Spencer Creek, he arranged his column as follows. At the front, he placed three of his regular infantry regiments. Behind them, he rode alongside the cavalry militia that served as his bodyguard. Behind them was the infantry militia, which had his second in command Brigadier General Stephen Van Rensselaer at its head. Finally, at the rear of his column marched the 7th U.S. Infantry Regiment under Colonel Jacob Brown. Brown had fallen out of favor with Hampton as Brown's reports about the Battle of Windsor contradicted the glowing narrative as told by Hampton. As punishment, Hampton placed his regiment at the rear of the column to deny him an important role in any upcoming battle, and to be the last to unite with Wilkinson when they marched into York. When the Hampton spotted the Canadian militia on the ridge, he halted the column, and began to ride back to Rensselaer to create a plan about what to do with about the men. At this time, one of the Canadian militiamen fired his rifle, which killed a lieutenant in the U.S. infantry regiment that stood across from their line. Enraged by this, Hampton decides to forego his meeting with Rensselaer, and order a charge of his regular infantry to sweep the infantry off the ridge. Thus began the Battle of Spencer Creek.

The charge of the 6th U.S. Infantry Regiment, which was at the head of Hampton's column.
As the initial American charge stalled out in front of the Canadian defense, Hampton dispatched an aide to Rensselaer ordering him to bring the 7th U.S. Infantry up to help in the charge. It was as Rensselaer was speaking with Brown and preparing to make the necessary preparations to clear the militia out of the way for Brown's advance that Tecumseh's launched his attack. The American militia, which Hampton had placed under Rensselaer's command, were now for the most part separated from the commander, and began panicking. As Tecumseh sliced the American column in two, Hampton began to realize the devastating mistake he had made in ignoring the warnings. Hoping that they could still break through, Hampton ordered his regular infantry to continue trying to break through the defense of the Canadian militia. At first, Hampton planned on using the infantry militia trapped in the pocket with him in a coordinated attack to break out, but all order had been lost among the infantry militia in the pocket, so Hampton turned to the sole remaining reserve he had, his cavalry militia. Leading a charge into the dense undergrowth, Hampton began his efforts to break out. It was at this time that a shot, reputedly fired by Tecumseh's chief warchief Roundhead, struck Hampton in the shoulder, dismounted him, and led to his capture. After the battle, as a reward for his accuracy, Tecumseh's would take Hampton's large plumed hat and give it to Roundhead as a trophy. At heavy loss, the rest of the cavalry militia, now under Colonel Richard M. Johnson managed to cut a swath through Tecumseh's line and what they believed to be freedom.

Richard M. Johnson and Native riflemen during the battle. In the distance, it depicts Hampton falling wounded from his horse.
As Johnson lead his cavalry to what he assumed to be freedom, he was horrified to realize the nightmare was not over yet. What he arrived to see was a desperate battle between the 7th U.S. Infantry and Brock's regular soldiers, centered around a cabin owned by a former Loyalist widow, which became known as the Widow's Cabin. Rensselaer and the remaining infantry militia that had not been caught in the encirclement had begun fleeing by now, leaving it to Brown to fight his way out. Johnson decided to commit his forces to breaking the British line. By now, both Brown and Brock, who was leading the regular British infantry, had been lightly wounded in the fighting, although both continued in the fight. As Johnson's cavalry crashed into the side of the British line, the shock provided the advantage that Brown needed, and he was able to create a temporary break in Brock's line, allowing for the majority of the 7th to flee. Johnson would not live to see this result, however, as he had been shot from his horse to fatal effect.

Johnson's cavalry charging into Brock's infantry
Despite large portions of the 7th Infantry escaping, as well as the majority of the cavalry and infantry militia who had not gotten trapped in the pocket, Brock believed he could still deliver a devastating blow, if only the Canadian militia could contain the rest of the regular U.S. infantry in the pocket a little while longer. It was at this time, however, that they finally managed to break through. Realizing the desperate situation they were in, the commanders of these men took no time to gloat, and ordered their men to retreat through the forest. Thus began a hellish nightmare for the men as Native ambushes on small scales picked off a few men at a time until they finally managed to escape the forest. The infantry militia that remained trapped in the pocket, seeing the futility of further resistance, agreed to surrender. This would bring an end to the battle, but Brock was not done of his destructive plans for the remains of Hampton's army. He instead looked to finish the job he had started, and after a night of rest ordered his men to move out.
Chapter Thirteen: The Campaigns of Humiliation, Part Three
Chapter Thirteen: The Campaigns of Humiliation, Part Three

Brock and Tecumseh in a meeting, with Roundhead approaching them at right and informing them of Rensselaer's request for surrender
After the thorough beating he and his army had received at the Battle of Spencer Creek and the subsequent retreat, Rensselaer, who now commanded the army, hoped to receive a reprieve from the enemy to rebuild his force and gather the scattered elements of it. To provide a central point for the disparate parts of the army to rally to, Rensselaer positioned the portion of the army that he still held command over in Fort Detroit, and he sent out the remnants of the cavalry militia, now under Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Hamilton Daveiss of Tippecanoe fame, to spread the word and raise more militiamen. Brock, ever the aggressive commander, was intent on denying this to Rensselaer, and as soon as the next morning came after Spencer Creek he began his preparations to crush Rensselaer.

Stephen Van Rensselaer
A mere two weeks after Rensselaer and his force had settled in to Fort Detroit, Brock was within miles of the stronghold. Rensselaer sent urgent letters to Daveiss ordering him to return with the cavalry and any new recruits he had gained from his mission. When Daveiss arrived back at the fort, he presented to Rensselaer the fifty men he had managed to gather. Of these men, only half had come with arms, and even fewer had actually served in the army previously. Not long after Daveiss arrival, Brock slammed the door shut on escape or reinforcement, and laid siege to Fort Detroit. The last letter Rensselaer had sent out before being the siege's beginning was to Brown, who with the 7th Infantry had not yet come to fort. When Brown received the letter, he ignored it. On a strategic level, this made sense, as all that would be accomplished by him bringing his forces to join Rensselaer would be the loss of even more of the U.S.'s precious regular troops. Historians also believe that Brown's decision to stay where he was and leave Rensselaer to his fate with influenced by how Rensselaer had abandoned him and his men during Spencer Creek. As Brown showed no sign of coming, and more and more of the warriors of Tecumseh's Confederacy came to join in the siege, Rensselaer began to lose hope of escaping.

Rensselaer awaiting a reply from Brown days before the siege. This illustration also shows the civilians soon to be trapped in the fort​

In this desperation, he had approved three break out missions for three different small groups of his army. The first he let occur was a plan by Colonel Zebulon Pike of the 8th Infantry for him and a few compatriots to slip out and try and contact Brown. Pike and his half dozen fellow escapees successfully eluded the guards, and slipped into the night. A few days later, the men would stumble into Brown's camp. At this point, Pike relayed his message to Brown, but Brown again refused to go out on a suicide mission. He did allow Pike and his six men to stay with them to wait out the end of the siege. Next to occur would be when Major Thomas Jesup of the 6th Infantry asked for permission to escape alongside the remaining men of companies A, B, and C of his regiment. These companies had been the hardest hit companies of the hardest hit regular regiment during the Battle of Spencer Creek, and the total number of men asking to leave numbered no more than two dozen men after hard fighting at Windsor and Spencer Creek. In his appeal, Jesup would tell Rensselaer that he had these men had not survived these battles only to captured now. Rensselaer, by this point an increasingly broken man, nodded when Jesup finished his request. During the escape from the fort, the musket of one of the men would accidentally fire, but no action was taken against them. This had led many to believe that both Brock and Tecumseh knew men were escaping, and decided to allow it on a small scale to sow fear in the local populace to prevent the raising of another force. The final force trying to escape they would not ignore, however. Rensselaer ordered Daveiss and his cavalry regiment to attempt to escape and raise a relief force. Daveiss would comply, and once again under the cover of darkness they would exit the fort. Seeing the large number of men, and fearing that it was a sally out, Tecumseh would begin move forces to the point where Daveiss was attempting to breach. After he had managed to break through the siege line and open a path of escape, he did just that, much to Tecumseh's surprise. Following this, however, both Brock and Tecumseh would crack down on escape attempts, and when a few Americans soldiers attempted to flee the next night, they were shot dead.

Zebulon Pike, Thomas Jesup, and Joseph Daveiss
As Brock and Tecumseh began to really apply the pressure, Rensselaer began to lose heart. He consulted with Colonel William H. Winder, his second in command and commander of the 9th U.S. Infantry, concerning surrendering of the fort. Both men were shaken by the recent serious of reversals, and both had also lost their faith in the return of Brown, Pike, or Daveiss. They also believed they were heavily outnumbered. In reality, they still had the numerical advantage. Eventually, Rensselaer's spirit broke. This has often been attributed to a time during which he reviewing the fortress. He spotted a young militia officer walking with his family. Moments later, a cannon shot would rip in, eviscerating his head and upper torso, and splattering his wife and young daughter with his innards, although some cite this story as apocryphal. Regardless of this was true or not, Rensselaer's will would break, and on October 14, roughly five months after the campaign began with the Battle of Windsor, Rensselaer would send a messenger out to treat for terms of surrender. When Brock and Tecumseh received word of this, they rapidly agreed to meet. The meeting between delegates would be swift. The British would send out Roundhead to represent them. Rensselaer originally planned to send out Colonel Duncan McArthur, the commander of his militia forces, but McArthur did not believe surrender was necessary, and was unwilling to negotiate something he did not believe in. After McArthur's rejection, Rensselaer would turn to Winder. When the surrender proceedings began, Roundhead knowingly took advantage of the stereotypes many American held about Natives, and made good use of this in the negotiations with the weak-willed Winder who feared a massacre. Roundhead would bring back to Brock and Tecumseh an unconditional surrender of the American forces in Fort Detroit. On October 17, the ceremony would proceed, and Rensselaer would surrender his sword to Brock. Despite destroying the army containing the cream and largest portion of America's regular army, Brock would again not rest for long. After two days of rest, he would again march off into Canada with the British regulars and the majority of the Canadian militia, leaving Tecumseh and his warriors alongside a small number of Canadian militia to garrison the fort and harass Midwestern militiamen. Although America's humiliation had reached its zenith, it was not over quite yet.

Rensselaer's surrender to Brock​
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God this is embarissing, but those names are amazing. We need to start naming people Zebulon again. Democratic-Republicans really off to a good start with their first presidency. Always the smart play going for a short victorious war, always.
Chapter Fourteen: The Campaigns of Humiliation, Part Four
Chapter Fourteen: The Campaigns of Humiliation, Part Four

The American assault on Quebec, with the mortally wounded Alexander Smyth at center
Following his crushing victory at the Siege of Fort Detroit, many were expecting Brock to rest his forces before moving them out again. Brock, however, still had one last goal he desired to complete before the finish of his campaign season for the year. York, capital of the Upper Canada Territory, of which he was Lieutenant Governor, still remained in American hands. With Hampton's invasion force now not only repulsed, but destroyed and scattered, Brock intended to liberate the city from the Americans occupying it. When he arrived near the outskirts of the town, he linked his force up with that of George Drummond, who despite abandoning the town due to being outnumbered still remained in the vicinity, acting as a guerrilla and harassing American patrols and supply trains. With the two forces united, as well as the arrival of some fresh Canadian militia, they now outnumbered the American garrison in the town, which was still under the control of James Wilkinson, who was content to get heavily inebriated while receiving reports of the failures of Hampton and Rensselaer. When his scouts brought in reports that the British forces now outnumbered his, and were approaching their defenses, he dismissed the aide and told him to let him plan their strategy. Following a delay of two days, something that would prove very costly for the Americans, Wilkinson announced that he believed that the American forces would be unable to hold the town, and ordered a retreat. Third in command Brigadier General George Izard railed against this decision, claiming that the American defenses were solid, and that they were not that heavily outnumbered. Wilkinson was secured in his decision, however, when second-in-command Brigadier General Thomas H. Cushing, a fellow American Revolution veteran and frequent drinking companion, decided to endorse the command. With the plan receiving the support of both the commander and the second-in-command, Izard realized he could not win out, and promised to support the movement.

George Izard and Thomas H. Cushing
Brock was, for one of the few times in his campaigns, surprised by the movement of the enemy. He had been preparing for an all-out assault on York. Instead, he triumphantly rode at the head of the column alongside Drummond and Salaberry as they marched back into York and reclaimed the town. With enemy retreating and their supply lines feeble, Brock thought that now was a prime time to attack. Only allowing his men to stay in York for the night, he moved out the next day to attack Wilkinson's column. With the Americans moving rather slowly due to being burdened down by loot and having not been drilled for a while, Brock caught up to them at Queenstown Heights, where Wilkinson had established his camp when reports came that Brock was pursuing them. When Izard was informed that they were making their stand here, he was enraged. He personally berated Wilkinson for retreating from the better defensive position they previously had. This outburst nearly cost Izard his command, although he did force Wilkinson to acknowledge the folly of his decision. But it was too late for the Americans to retreat any further, as Brock had arrived and was positioning himself for an attack, in what would become known as the Battle of Queenston Heights.

General Brock personally scouting out the American position at Queenston Heights, as the buff of smoke of a sniper taking a shot at him can be seen in the distance
Wilkinson's plan for the battle was simple. Izard's division, consisting entirely of militia, would hold the left of his defensive position on the hill, while Cushing's division, consisting of the regular troops and militia, would hold the right, with the regular troops holding the right flank. Brock's plan was similarly simple, charge up and sweep the Americans from their hilltop positions. When informed of the plan, General Roger H. Sheaffe, commander of Brock's militia contingents, balked at the idea of storming the American position atop the hill. Turning to General Drummond, the man he had placed in charge of the regular troops, Brock said he would personally charge with the regular troops against the harder position of the American right, leaving Sheaffe to attack the easier target of the American left. With the plan set, Brock told the commanders to position their troops for battle. On his order, all of his troops advanced. On his right, Sheaffe and the militia made little head way against the stout resistance posed against them under Izard. On the British left, it was a different story. Following the example of Brock, the regulars were determinedly advancing under a hail of fire from Cushing's men. Roughly two dozen yards from the American line, Brock would go down with a wound slightly below the knee. Despite the injury, Brock urged his men on, and soon they were in the American defenses. Then, a struck of luck occurred for the British. Cushing, rather than shifting men from his regular troops which were under less pressure, ordered a withdrawal. Whether this was due to drunkenness, cowardice, or sheer stupidity his later court-martial could not decide. Regardless, Cushing's men began to fall back, forcing Izard to retreat as well lest he be flanked by the British. Thus, Brock had won what he would refer to as his greatest battle, even if his left leg would have to be amputated as a result. Despite the glory he viewed in it, it would also be his final battle in the war. Due to the hard campaigning and brutal battles, Brock's army was heavily used up. Because of this, Governor-General Prévost would order the battered remains of Brock's force to rejoin him in Quebec, as the Upper Canada Territory was now secure. Despite wanting to continue the fight, orders were orders, and Brock began his march to Quebec, leaving behind a small garrison in York under Salaberry. He would not arrive at the town, however, before the American force sent to attack it arrived.

General Brock leading his men forward during the Battle of Queenston Heights
When placed in command of the American column to assault Quebec, Smyth would follow the example of his predecessor, and procrastinate for a month before beginning his movement. Randolph would prove to be less patient with Smyth than Hull, however, and he began applying the pressure for Smyth to start moving. Seeing that the implication of remaining in place would likely be the loss of command, Smyth ordered his column to begin the march. The day after they began moving, the ill-fated Siege of Fort Detroit began. Despite this, Smyth continued his movement, and after a month of marching, he finally reached Quebec's outer defenses by mid-November. By then, snow had began to lightly fall, and it soon started covering the ground. It was at this moment that Smyth realized the terrible implication of his task. He was to capture a heavily fortified city with roughly 2,000 tired men with snow beginning to fall. Despite the terrible odds, Smyth still ordered an assault on the city walls. It went as well as it would seem, and over 400 Americans became causalities before the massacre ended, including a fatally wounded Smyth. The one bright spot in the battle would be Knox's Artillery Militia. Major General Henry Knox, commander of West Point Academy, organized and financed the regiment for service in the upcoming war, making sure to assign three of his best artillery students to command the batteries. He intended to lead the regiment into battle, but Randolph refused to let Knox leave his post, although he would let the artillery regiment join Smyth's column. It was during the battle that regiment would gain notoriety. With batteries under Lieutenants Thomas Biddle, Samuel Ringgold, and Thomas Childs the cannon pounded the fort's defenses. At one point, Governor-General Prévost himself would walk out to oversee the fight. It was at that moment that a stray grape shot round managed to knock his hat off his head, which would eventually blow over to the American lines, where the artillery men would "capture" it, and parade it after the battle. In sharp-tipped newspaper reports after the remains of the army retreated back into America, they would claim that the only thing that had been gained in the campiagn was Prévost's hat, although the three lieutenants of Knox's Artillery Militia would be welcomed home with much acclaim for their conduct.

Thomas Biddle, Samuel Ringgold, and Thomas Childs
Following the terrible failure of all three of the offensive columns into Canada, Randolph began to despair. This was only made worse when he received reports that the British had sent out to forces to land on American soil in retaliation, one to strike their capital in Washington, and the other to attack the crucial trading hub at New Orleans. To his administration's credit, Randolph had been able to foresee that these two cities might come under assault, and had placed a regular infantry regiment in each to defend them. As Randolph and his Secretary of War Samuel Smith began desperate preparations to protect these two towns, they also authorized the transfer of most of the remaining troops from the former three prongs to the Midwest, where recently promoted Brigaider General Jacob Brown was preparing a campaign to retake Fort Detroit and scatter the enemy forces in the area. He left the two skeleton garrisons left behind to the command of Brigadier General Henry Dearborn and Major General Henry Knox to replace the shamed Wilkinson and dead Smyth. These two officers he had previously denied field commands, but desperation again drove Randolph's decision making. Just when all hope seemed lost, Randolph received reports that in Lake Erie Master Commandant Oliver H. Perry had managed to defeat a British naval force, and that Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough had managed to do the same in Lake Champlain. For once, the war seemed to be looking up for the American side, and President Randolph hoped to be able to turn the whole affair around and win some victories before sending out peace negotiators to end the war that he was growing to hate more and more.

Jacob Brown, Henry Dearborn, Henry Knox, Oliver H. Perry, Thomas Macdonough​
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This War of 1811 will be a black mark on American history and damage the nation's pride. I wonder if America will turn its eyes south to make up for the humiliation?
Chapter Fifteen: The Washington Campaign
Chapter Fifteen: The Washington Campaign

A picture of the Battle of Lookout Creek, highlighting Andrew Jackson's role in the engagement
With all three of their offensive prongs all rebuffed, America was now a nation of the defensive. As far as President Randolph was concerned the dreams of conquering Canada were shattered, replaced by the reality of having to prepare two of America's most important coastal cities, Washington and New Orleans, for defense against British landings. Then landed the hope of being able to wrest control of the Midwest from Tecumseh's Confederacy, but it would take time for General Brown to organize his forces. What remained important now was the most pressing threat, the British invasion of Washington, scheduled to land first. As soon as word had reached London of the American declaration of war, the government had decided on the two American cities for invasion. The nature of finding troops to divert from the Napoleonic Wars, and the subsequent Atlantic voyage they would have to undergo had delayed this endeavor. But the time that the British ships were spotted off the shore could not have been a better time for them. American morale was at an all-time low. Their main armies could not reach Washington in time, even if they were in good enough shape to have made much of a difference. Overall, when Major-General Robert Ross, himself being a very competent officer, entered into the Chesapeake Bay, he was a man confident of victory.

Major General Robert Ross
What Ross didn't know was that he was about to face one of the greatest personnel choices of the Randolph presidency. Once Alexander Smyth was deployed to take command of the New England theater of command, Randolph had not bothered to appoint a new commander of Washington's defenses, content to leave it to Secretary of War Samuel Smith to see to them, as he was unaware of the planned British offensive. It was shortly afterwards that he brought former fellow Democratic-Republican congressman Andrew Jackson to the capital, as Jackson was looking for a military posting, and Randolph was eager to give him one. It was a few days after Jackson's arrival that news reached Randolph of the planned British landings, and he saw the perfect opportunity for Jackson. He appointed Jackson to the command of Washington's defenses, and left it to Jackson to save the nation's capital. Jackson would meet with his senior officers, and be pleasantly surprised by their competency. Commanding the regular infantry regiment posted in Washington was Colonel Alexander Macomb, while commanding the Virginia militia brought up for the crisis was Robert B. Taylor. Macomb was a distinguished veteran, having seen service in the army raised in preparation for the Quasi War, as well as the Tripoli War. Taylor, meanwhile, had not seen combat prior to the war, but was a diligent and courageous officer, and willing to listen to orders. Commanding Washington's artillery and serving as Jackson's de facto chief of artillery was Major George Armistead of the regular army, another veteran of the Tripoli War. Finally, serving of chief engineer was Lieutenant Sylvanus Thayer, a graduate of West Point and a promising officer of much potential. With his officers, Jackson began making his preparations for battle, such as overseeing the strengthening of defenses, studying the lay of the land, and raising more militia, including the arrival of the Maryland militia under John Stricker, a capable officer and a veteran of the distinguished Maryland Line during the American Revolution.

Washington's Defenders: Andrew Jackson, Alexander Macomb, Robert B. Taylor, George Armistead, Sylvanus Thayer, and John Stricker
As Jackson had expected, Ross had planned his landings to come up from the Chesapeake Bay, and then to march north to seize Washington. In preparation for this, Jackson and his men fortified the high ground in front of the beaches, which he hoped would ensure that any British landing would be a costly endeavor. Macomb, however, raised the point that the British might land further north if they saw Jackson's defenses. After some debate with his council of war, Jackson would agree to dispatch Macomb with most of the regular infantry north to move in correspondence with any British attempt to slip past his fortifications. This decision would prove to be one of the most fortuitous of the war. As Jackson had expected, however, Ross had planned his landings at the site of Jackson's fortifications, and decided to attack rather than delay the movement and lose face. Thus began the Battle of Lookout Creek, named for the nearby body of water. What followed was a seeming repeat of Bunker Hill, but with the Americans secure in their ammunition supply. Armistead's artillery pounded the British landing craft and its occupants, and atop the fortifications designed by Macomb and Thayer, the American militia poured lethal fire into the British ranks. All their attempts to overrun the defenses were repulsed, but General Ross was not quite ready to admit defeat yet, and under the cover of darkness he withdrew his battered troops and prepared his movements for the next day.

A lithograph of the Battle of Lookout Creek
Despite the opinion of some of his subordinate commanders that a renewed assault in the morning could break through the American lines, Ross was adamant he would not commit his troops to another slaughter. He instead decided to leave a diversionary force on the front from that day's fighting, while shifting most of his forces north than driving into the rear of Jackson's line. In theory, this plan was sound. Unfortunately, the site that Ross choose to be his second landing ground was also were Macomb and the regular infantry were stationed. Thus, when Ross and his already tired men landed, they were brutally surprised by volleys from Macomb and his men obscured in the forest. Thus began the Battle of Deep Creek as it is informally referred to, although many historians consider it merely a continuation of the previous day's battle. Facing the prospect of another assault, but this time against a unseen foe, many in the British ranks wavered. To boost their morale, Ross mounted his horse and led them in their next attack, which would ultimately come to naught. Rallying his men once more, Ross again urged them to attack the Americans obscured in the woods. This time, an American sniper would shoot him fatally from his horse, and in the subsequent rout, the Americans burst forth from the woods and fell upon the British, with fighting on the beach reminiscent of Marathon as the American bayonetted their panicking foe. In the end, the remaining British forces, left leaderless following the fall of second-in-command Colonel Arthur Brooke on the first day and the death of Ross on the second, decided to abandon the Washington campaign although. For this decision, the returning men would face ridicule and humiliation when they returned home to their native land. On the whole affair, one disgruntled sergeant who had seen combat in both the Battles of Lookout Creek and Deep Creek would say "Let the poltroons in Parliament say what they want. I would not charge those defenses again, or force my men to do the same, to protect me from all their censures and words of dishonor they could muster."

A painting of the Battle of Deep Creek​
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