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    Fine War of 1812 Correspondence Collection. Captain Benjamin Watson's 38 letters, primarily war-dated, and many with descriptive battle content. Also, there are 17 documents of a court martial. Watson was one of only 18 who survived the massacre at the Battle of Lundy's Lane. He describes conditions before and after this and other battles.

    The War of 1812, fought between the United States and Great Britain from 1812 to 1815, is considered the second American Revolution. It was caused by the British impressment of sailors and confiscation of American ships during the Napoleonic Wars. War was declared on June 18, 1812 and the early fights at Detroit and the Niagara River showed Americans that they were unprepared. The American Navy did well with victories by Isaac Hull who commanded the Constitution, and Stephen Decatur and Oliver Perry on Lake Erie. At the same time, the British captured Washington in August 1814 and burned the city. Americans won the battles of the Thames, Pittsburgh, and Fort McHenry, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write "The Star Spangled Banner." The British then negotiated to end the hostilities; the Treaty of Ghent, signed on December 24, 1814, brought the war to an indecisive end. But the Americans had a final triumph when Andrew Jackson's troops defeated the British decisively at the Battle of New Orleans on January 14, 1815. The war ushered in the Era of Good Feelings in America.

    The letters are to Frances, Benjamin Watson's wife, and written on plain paper. In part: "The British have approached to within about three miles... Skirmishes are continually taking place between our foraging parties and Pickets of the Red Coats and Indians...tremendous war whoop has become as familiar to our ear...October 19, 1812...we arrived here yesterday after a tedious march thru mud and bad weather...November 17 1812...I was seized about a fortnight since with the camp fever and that with bleeding, pukeing physicking want of appetite...Dec. 22 1812...covered at night only with two blankets for we had neither bedding nor tools and it snowed almost continually...Jan. 1813...the troops were a great many of them sick and dying...June 26 1813...they were attacked by one of the Enemy...muskets by the sentinels and the yells of the British and Indians...firing upon me...the British charged in upon the lane...twice they were repulsed by our fire...45 were killed & wounded...we were totally unsupported except by one Regiment...at which time the British were retreating in great haste, thus after having been severaly beaten...my horse was shot in the action...the situation is becoming critical...500 men were entirelly cut off, the whole being killed or taken prisoners...July 1813...the enemy are about 12 miles from this place... skirmishes are daily taking place... a party of about 40 men were yesterday cut off by the Indians, 6 of them were found dead in the field scalped and mangled in a shocking manner.. July 1813...our situation keeps us continually on the alert. I have not taken off my clothes except for the purpose of changing my linnen for more than two month... July 1814...we had a serious engagement...in which Capt. Reed was wounded...August 1814...we have had another battle, in which I had again the good fortune to escape, nearly one half the officers of the Army were killed or wounded... July 1814... skirmishing between our advanced parties and their Guards, and altho they cannoned us for 26 hours we list only 1 killed, 14 wounded...". Expanded transcripts included with lot. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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