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Battle of the Thames... 1813... (War of 1812)
1840 Lithograph stone: 37.15 × 62.23 cm (14 5/8 × 24 1/2 in.) Mabel Brady Garvan Collection 1946.9.356 Geography: Made in United States Status: Not on view Culture: American Period: 19th century Classification: Works on Paper - Prints Provenance: Mabel Brady Garvan Collection, to 1946; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
Map of the Thames
Map of the Thames, Battle in 1813.
Battle of the Thames
An engraving depicting U.S. troops battling the British and their Indian allies along the Thames River in Ontario during the War of 1812. The Shawnee chief Tecumseh was killed in the Battle of the Thames, which took place on October 5, 1813.
Battle of the Thames
A painting depicting U.S. troops battling the British and their Indian allies along the Thames River in Ontario during the War of 1812. The Shawnee chief Tecumseh was killed in the Battle of the Thames, which took place on October 5, 1813.
Portrait of William Whitley.
| Oct. 6, 2021
Charge of the Forlorn Hope
By John Trowbridge,
Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office
FRANKFORT, Ky. –
NOTE: This is a guest article from SFC(R) John Trowbridge. He's a Kentucky Guardsman and former Command Historian that has compiled information on this topic from a variety of sources which aren't cited here. For more information on where this information has originated, please contact Mr. Trowbridge at the following:
The “Charge of the Forlorn Hope” during the Battle of the Thames on November 5, 1813, was one of the most heroic events in the annals of Kentucky’s Military History, in which twenty Kentuckians rode in the face of an enemy to certain death, to attract their fire, so that their companions might make an advantageous assault. Colonel Bennett Henderson Young, in his monograph on “The Battle of the Thames,” stated:
The ‘Forlorn Hope’ had been annihilated. On this fateful field it had won imperishable renown and carved out fadeless glory. It had been destroyed, but its members had magnified Kentucky manhood and written in the life blood of three-fourths of its number a story of courage and patriotic sacrifice which would live forever. Whenever and wherever their deed should be told it would command the world’s applause, and down through the ages excite in the hearts of Kentuckians noblest pride in the glorious immortality they had purchased by their unselfish, superb, and patriotic sacrifice for their country’s cause.
The Battle of the Thames
The Battle of Lake Erie, September 10, 1813, allowed William Henry Harrison’s Army to cross over into Upper Canada to fight the British and their Native allies. On the day of the demarcation of our troops into Canada, the following general order was issued:
Head Quarters on board the Ariel, Sept. 27, 1813.
The General intreats his brave troops to remember that they are the sons of sires whose fame is immortal. That they are to fight for the rights of their insulted country, whilst their opponents combat for the unjust pretensions of a master.
KENTUCKIANS—Remember the River Raisin but remember it only whilst the victory is suspended. The revenge of a soldier cannot be gratified upon a fallen enemy.
Robert Butler, A. Adj. General.
On October 2, 1813, Harrison’s Army began its pursuit of Major General Henry Proctor’s retreating army northeastward, along the river Thames until the morning of November 5
, when the armies met and faced off near Moraviantown, in what would become known as the Battle of the Thames.
Harrison’s army consisted of five brigades of Kentucky Militia led by Governor Isaac Shelby and 1,000 volunteer Cavalry under the command of Richard M. Johnson. There was also a small detachment from the 27
U.S. Infantry, bringing the total to approximately 3,500 men. The British had about 800 soldiers and Tecumseh 500 native warriors, for a total of 1,300.
On the morning of October 5
, the British formed a line of battle, placing a 6-pound cannon on the road and his troops in the woods from the road to a small swamp. Tecumseh and his warriors were in line in a black ash swamp on the British right to flank the Americans. Proctor’s plan was to drive the Americans off the road towards the Thames River.
After viewing the battlefield Harrison ordered Lieutenant Colonel James Johnson to conduct a frontal attack on the British line with his mounted Kentuckians. Johnson's Kentuckians broke through, the British cannon not having fired. The exhausted, dispirited, and half-starved British regulars fired a single ragged fusillade before retreating in disorder. Procter and about 250 of his men fled from the battlefield, while the rest of his soldiers threw down their weapons and surrendered.
On the other side of the battlefield a different story was played out. Tecumseh and his warriors continued to fight. Colonel Richard M. Johnson charged into the Indian position with twenty horsemen to draw attention away from the main American force following, Tecumseh and his warriors fired a volley that stopped the cavalry charge. It is said fifteen of Johnson's men were killed or wounded, Johnson himself was hit five times, and his main force became bogged down in the swamp mud. It is believed that Tecumseh was killed during this fighting. Colonel Johnson’s main force finally made its way through the swamp, and James Johnson's troops were freed from their attack on the British. American reinforcements were converging on the battle as word spread of the death of Tecumseh, and Indian resistance dissolved. There is still debate on who killed Tecumseh, Richard Mentor Johnson, William Whitley, and Private David King have been credited by various individuals to have killed the Great Shawnee Chief. Tecumseh is credited with having said:
When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.
In his book,
The Battle of the Thames
, Colonel Bennett Henderson Young described the Forlorn Hope in a romanticism-era style of writing:
The Forlorn Hope
In front of the column led by Johnson and Whitley was a company on foot, while in front of those, mounted, was what was known as the “Forlorn Hope.” Command of this band was given by Colonel Richard M. Johnson to his old friend William Whitley, who addressed his men:
Boys, we have been selected to second our colonel in the charge; act well your part; recollect the watch-word—Victory or Death!
The “Forlorn Hope” consisted of twenty men. Colonel Richard M. Johnson himself rode by its side. It was led by the grand old pioneer Colonel William Whitley, who had joined Captain James Davidson’s Company as a Private. The command was composed, so far as known, of the following persons:
William Whitley, Private, James Davidson’s Company, from Lincoln County.
Benjamin S. Chambers, Quarter Master, from Scott County.
Richard M. Johnson, Colonel, from Scott County.
Garrett Wall, Forage Master, from Scott County.
Eli Short, Assistant Forage Master, from Scott County.
Samuel A. Theobald, Judge Advocate, from Fayette County.
Samuel Logan, Second Lieutenant, Coleman’s Company, from Harrison County.
Robert Payne, Private, James Davidson’s Company, from Lincoln or Scott County.
Joseph Taylor, Private, J. W. Reading’s Company.
William S. Webb, Private, Jacob Stucker’s Company, from Scott County.
John L. Mansfield, Private, Jacob Stucker’s Company, from Scott County.
Richard Spurr, Private, Captain Samuel Combs’ Company, from Fayette County.
John McGunnigale, Private, Captain Samuel Combs’ Company, from Fayette County.
These twenty men, with Colonel R. M. Johnson and the pioneer William Whitley, at once advanced to the front. The main line halted for a brief space, until this advance could assume position, and when once they were placed, at the command “Forward! March!” they quickly and calmly rode to death.
In the thickets of the swamp, in which lay Tecumseh and his red soldiers, they peered in vain for a foe. Not a man stirred, but the ominous silence betokened only the more dreadful fire when the moment of contact should come.
Along a narrow space they advanced. Stunted bushes and matted and deadened grass impeded their horse’s feet, but these heroes urged their steeds forward with rapid walk, seeking the hidden foe in the morass that skirted the ground upon which they had aligned.
These were not unwilling victims to war’s savage sacrifices. They understood and realized the dangerous and deadly mission upon which they were bent; six hundred comrades rode behind but were partially removed from danger. This noble vanguard was the cynosure of all eyes, and their fellows watched with almost stilled hearts to hear the signal guns which meant wounding and death to these twenty men who were daring so much and who were ready to receive into their own hearts and bodies the leaden hail which in an instant all knew must be emitted from the ambush into which with open eyes, steady minds, and unblanched cheek this gallant band was now so bravely pushing. Fifteen hundred savages, with their cocked rifles at their shoulders and with their fingers upon the triggers, were waiting and watching only a few yards away, and behind trees and fallen logs and thick underbrush, with the silence of assassins, were longing for the word which should order them to pour death's missiles into the chivalrous squadron which, with absolute fearlessness, was seeking them in their lair.
Into their minds came memories of those they loved half a thousand miles away, in peaceful Kentucky homes. Years these heroes lived in the few seconds required to pass the narrow space between them and their foes. Before their eyes came images of those dearer than life itself. Wives, sisters, mothers, sweethearts, seemed to be gazing at them from every side, and with affection's instinct they almost reached out to touch those imaginary forms which hovered about them in this supreme moment. They could hear tender voices calling, they could feel the imprint of love’s kiss upon their lips and catch the brave words spoken at parting four months before, when they set out at their country’s call to face danger and if need be, death in her service; but all these only urged them forward in duty’s path and gave them calmer and nobler purpose in the conflict which was now upon them. Seconds were transformed into years. Almost breathless, and with an anxiety which temporarily stilled every physical function, the battalion waited for the instant when death's messengers should be turned loose and in their fury be hurled upon the brave men who composed the advance.
The suspense was brief. A loud, clear, savage voice rang out the word “Fire!” The sharp crackling of half a hundred rifles was the response, and then the deafening sound of a thousand shots filled the air. The smoke concealed those who fired the guns, but the murderous effect was none the less terrible. Of the twenty, one alone escaped unhurt or failed to be unhorsed. A mass of fallen, struggling horses, a company of wounded, dying men, lay side by side. The bleeding beasts whinnied to dead masters, and wounded masters laid their hands on the quivering bodies of their faithful steeds. Of the twenty, fifteen were dead, or to die. Their leader, with a dozen wounds (Johnson received 5 wounds), still sat erect, his judge advocate, Theobald, close to his side. The remainder were lost in the battle’s confusion.
The “Forlorn Hope” had met its fate. Its mission was to receive the fire of the savages, when their fellows and comrades might safely charge upon the red men with guns unloaded. Its purpose had been fulfilled. The promise of its commander to save all life possible, spoken at Great Crossings, in Kentucky, on the 18
of May, had been kept, but the “Forlorn Hope” had been annihilated.
Bennett Henderson Young went on to describe what occurred following the battle and the subsequent burial of the dead:
Through the grasses and willows of the swamp, and along the ridges among the trees, search was made for the dead and wounded. At one place the dead were close together; at the spot where the immortal “Forlorn Hope” had received the concentrated fire of Tecumseh and his warriors, the richest sacrifice had been made.
The tall, stalwart form of the brave Whitley was there. His trusty rifle was in his hand, his powder horn swung over his shoulder, and his hunter’s knife in its sheath, and with his face to the foe they found the fearless soldier, now past threescore years, pierced by many bullets, lying at the side of his chivalrous leader, where he had gone down to death for his beloved country.
A few feet away lay all the dead of the “Forlorn Hope.” Colonel Johnson had been carried a few hundred yards south to a tent.
Lieutenant Logan, mortally wounded, had expired, and among the dead horses were found the lifeless forms of the other heroes who had so gloriously fallen in the advance upon the Indian line.
Less than twenty yards west were the bodies of the warriors who had disputed the passage across the swamp with the Kentucky mounted soldiers.
The corpses of the white slain were gathered and lain side by side on a small knoll just northeast of where the men had fallen and where the British artillery had been placed to command the road along which the Kentuckians had advanced.
The British dead were also collected, and now that death, the great leveler, and peacemaker, had done his work, the opposing slain lay calmly and quietly side by side on the mound which had been selected for a common sepulcher.
Over the bodies of the foe and friend blankets were spread, and there, with guards about them, they remained through the hours of the night, awaiting burial on the morrow.
In the morning two trenches were dug, one for the British, the other for the Kentucky dead. A blanket was their only coffin. Side by side, with hands folded over their stilled hearts, these patriots were laid in foreign soil. Their features and forms were imposing and majestic even in their rude cerements.
These hardy and warlike men were not unaccustomed to burials in the wilderness, but as they wrapped the bodies of their dead comrades in their winding sheets, which were only linsey blankets, and forever hid their faces from the light of day, they dropped tears upon these inanimate forms and bewailed that fate which gave them so rude a tomb on hated English soil.
There was no sound as the loose earth fell upon the soft and yielding blankets; the trenches were quickly filled. On the beech trees, which were to be the sentinels to stand guard over the Kentucky dead, were carved with hunting-knives the names of those who had found graves beneath their protecting shade. The tragedy was ended, and these glorious dead were left forever in the solitude of the Canadian forest. The firing squad performed the last sad rites, the drums beat a dirge, and William Whitley and his comrades, without monumental stone, have slept fourscore and ten years in a strange land.
In his message to both Houses of Congress, given at Washington on December 7, 1813, President James Madison made comment on the victory at the River Thames:
This result is signally honorable to Major-General Harrison, by whose military talents it was prepared; to Col. Johnson and his mounted volunteers, whose impetuous onset gave a decisive blow to the ranks of the enemy; and to the spirit of the volunteer militia equally brave and patriotic, who bore an interesting part in the scene; more especially to the chief magistrate of Kentucky at the head of them, whose heroism signalized in the war which established the independence of his country, sought, at an advanced age, a share in hardships and battles, for maintaining its rights and its safety.
The Battle of the Thames was an American victory. The British had lost control of Southwestern Canada, Tecumseh, the great Shawnee Chief, was dead and his dreams of an Indian Confederation collapsed. The battle ended the major fighting in Upper Canada and the Old Northwest Territory however, it would be another fourteen months before the War of 1812 would finally come to an end.
Today, the forest that once covered the battlefield has long since disappeared, it is now rich farmland. Only a few trees along the riverbank tell that once a dense wood covered the battlefield. Bennett Henderson Young travelled to the battlefield in 1903 and described the site. He would also condemn Kentucky for not having honored her dead from the battle:
The murmuring ripples of the Thames are the only requiem of these gallant slain, and the waving wheat and the rustling corn-leaves whisper that beneath their roots rest some of war's richest treasures—the ashes of the Kentuckians who died for their country on the battlefield of the Thames.
It is not to the credit of Kentucky that she has permitted her dead thus to sleep. The bones of the Raisin's dead were collected and borne to Frankfort and deposited in the State lot, but the Thames’ dead have been left un-honored by any suitable mark, and in the ninety years passed since their sepulture I could learn of no Kentuckian, except myself, who had come to visit the spot where these noble heroes sleep their last sleep.
The exact location of the final resting place of the honored dead of the Battle of the Thames is unknown.
Kentucky Casualties at the Battle of the Thames – October 5, 1813
In his official report following the Battle of the Thames, dated October 9, 1813, to Secretary of War, John Armstrong, Major General William Henry Harrison makes the following statement concerning the casualties sustained by his forces during the battle:
“Our loss is seven killed and twenty-two wounded, five of which have since died.”
The actual number is closer to twenty-six killed and thirty wounded, at least seven would die from the wounds they had sustained in the battle.
The Death of a Kentucky Soldier at the Battle of the Thames
From Major John Richardson’s book,
War of 1812
. Richardson served as a Gentleman Volunteer in the 41
Regiment of Foot, British Army, during the war. The British soldiers would have faced the First Battalion, Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James Johnson.
The only documented casualty with the First Battalion during the battle was First Sergeant Zachariah Jameson, of Captain Benjamin Warfield’s Company. Richardson’s narrative:
In this affair, I had an opportunity of witnessing the cruel dexterity and dispatch with which the Indians us the tomahawk and scalping knife. A Kentucky rifleman, who had been dismounted within a few yards of where I stood—and the light company, to which I was attached, touched the left flank of the Indians—was fired at by three warriors of the Delaware tribe. The unfortunate man received their several balls in his body, yet, although faint from loss of blood, he made every exertion to save himself. Never was fear so strongly depicted on the human countenance, and the man’s hair (for he was uncovered) absolutely seemed to me to stand on end, as he attempted to double a large fallen tree, in order to elude the weapons of his enemies. The foremost of his pursuers was a tall powerful man—a chief whom I well knew, having, only a few days before we commenced our retreat, obtained from him a saddle in exchange for a regimental coat, purchased at the sale of the effects of Lieut. Sutherland, wounded at Maguaga. When within twelve or fifteen paces of the rifleman, he raised and threw his tomahawk, and with such precision and force, that it immediately opened the skull, and extended him motionless on the earth. Laying down his rifle, he drew forth his knife, and after having removed the hatchet from the brain, proceeded to make a circular incision throughout the scalp. This done, he grasped the bloody instrument between his teeth, and placing his knees on the back of the victim, while at the same time he fastened his fingers in the hair, the scalp was torn off without much apparent difficulty and thrust, still bleeding, into his bosom. The warrior then arose, and after having wiped his knife on the clothes of the unhappy man, returned it to its sheath, grasping at the same time the arms he had abandoned, and hastening to rejoin his comrades. All this was the work of a few minutes.
Colonel Richard M. Johnson’s (2
) Regiment, Kentucky Mounted Infantry
Killed in Action (KIA)
Captain James Coleman’s Company
Robert Scott Private
Captain William M. Rice’s Company
Andrew Banta Private
James Turner Private
Captain Samuel R. Combs Company
Jonathan Baler Private
George Coffer Private
Joseph Combs Private
Isaac Foster Private
James Gist Private
George S. Howard Private
Hightown Hackey Private
John Haly Private
*John McGinnigal Private Forlorn Hope
Graham Nelson Private
Horatio Owens Private
Jonathan Owens Private
Henry Rodgers Private
James Ripper Private
James Roper Private
Howard Southerland Private
John Southerland Private
George Tangler Private
John Talbot Private
Captain James Davidson’s Company
*Joshua Brown Private Forlorn Hope
Zachariah Eastan Private
*William Whitley Private Commander of the Forlorn Hope
Special note was made of Colonel William Whitley, leader of the Forlorn Hope:
William Whitley was a famous Kentucky pioneer. He was born in Virginia, August 17, 1749, and moved to Kentucky in 1775. He was one of the most adventurous of the pioneers who came to the Commonwealth. Thoroughly acquainted with Indian methods, brave as a lion, he allowed no Indian aggression or invasion to go unpunished.
He and his wife first lived at Boonesborough, where their daughter, Levisa was born, one of the first white children born in the state. They then moved on to Harrod's Fort, and finally, in 1781, built what was known as Whitley's Fort, two miles northwest of Crab Orchard. He surveyed large tracts of land in this area. Here he built one of the first brick houses erected in the state. He called his home Sportsman’s Hall where he entertained many of the most distinguished men in the early history of Kentucky. Today, the home is a state shrine, part of the Kentucky Department of Parks.
On the hill overlooking his home he built the first racetrack in Kentucky, naming it Sportsman’s Hill; the course ran counterclockwise and was the forerunner to Churchill Downs.
He fought in seventeen battles, rescued many captives, and in 1794, with Major Orr, organized what is known as the Nickajack Expedition in which the Tennessee Indians were severely punished for their forays into Kentucky.
For the 1813 Thames Campaign he might have claimed exemption from military service due to his age (he was 64 at the time) and after all he had done over the years in the settling of Kentucky. However, on May 20, 1813, his brave spirit carried him into the war, serving as a private in Captain James Davidson’s Company. He was designated by Colonel Richard M. Johnson to take command of “The Forlorn Hope.”
The evening before the battle, he told General Desha and to his friend, John Preston, his premonition that he would die in the upcoming battle. Two hours before his death he killed three Indians across the river Thames and swam his horse to obtain their scalps, which were returned to Kentucky in his gripsack after his death.
It was claimed by some of his friends that he fired the shot which killed Tecumseh; the weight of historical evidence is against this fact. When John Preston, his friend, brought back his horse,
, to the widowed wife, she threw her arms in great despair around the animal's neck, and with weeping bewailed her desolate fate.
Whitley often exercised a poetic talent, on his powder horn was inscribed these lines:
William Whitley, I am your horn,
The truth I love, a lie I scorn;
Fill me with the best of powder,
ire make your rifle crack the louder.
See how the dread, terrifick ball
Makes Indians bleed and Toreys fall;
You with powder I'le supply
For to defend your liberty.
William Whitley gave up his life for his country on foreign soil and sleeps in an unknown and unmarked grave hundreds of miles from the home.
Whitley County, created in 1818, was named in honor of Colonel Whitley, and its county seat, Williamsburg, formerly known as Whitley Courthouse, was called from Whitley’s first name. Whitley City in McCreary County, Kentucky and Whitley County in Indiana are also named in his honor.
The following information is concerning Private Joshua Brown, from the Journal of Nat Crain:
. . .We returned and buried our dead the next morning. I went over the Indian battleground and saw Tecumseh's dead body, then partly stripped of clothing, where he fell bout forty yards from the edge of the swamp. He was wounded in three places, the fatal shot being in his right breast. It was reported that Dick Johnson killed him, but a comrade, John Lamb, and myself, who made a close examination of everything on the ground, thought that Brown, from Stanford, Kentucky, who lay dead near Tecumseh, had killed him. About 120 warriors lay dead on the Indian battleground.
Colonel John Donaldson’s Regiment, Kentucky Volunteers
Killed in Action (KIA)
Field and Staff, Donaldson’s Regiment, Kentucky Volunteers
Uriel B. Chambers Sergeant Major
Captain John Crawford’s Company
George W. Carter Private
Died of Wounds (DOW) Sustained During the Battle of the Thames
1. Samuel Logan
, Second Lieutenant, Captain James Coleman’s Company. Engaged until, October 10, 1813. Member of the Forlorn Hope.
2. James Decker
, First Sergeant, Captain Jacob Elliston’s Company. Engaged until, October 12, 1813.
3. Jonathan Levi
, Farrier, Captain James Davidson’s Company. Engaged until, October 13, 1813.
4. Robert Smith
, Private, Captain William Rice’s Company. Engaged until, October 14, 1813.
5. William Farrel
, Private, Captain James Davidson’s Company. Engaged until, October 16, 1813.
6. William Jackson
, Private, Captain George W. Botts’ Company. Engaged until, October 19, 1813.
7. William Guthrie
, Private, Captain James Coleman’s Company. Engaged until, October 21, 1813.
Captain James Sympson’s Journal entry for October 21
. . . I saw fresh graves and more a-digging; and on our progressing some distance toward Lower Sandusky, there lay a man dead, wrapped in his blanket, without any one with him, his friend having gone in quest of means to bury him.
Survivors of the “Forlorn Hope”
1. Benjamin S. Chambers
, Quartermaster, Field and Staff, Kentucky Mounted Infantry,
appointed May 20, 1813; discharged November 19, 1813.
Chambers was a native of Virginia, he had come to Kentucky at an early age, residing in Kentucky for 30 years. He was a lawyer by profession living in Georgetown, Scott County. He served as a State Representative from Scott County in 1812, 1813 and 1829, and clerk of the Scott Circuit Court. In January 1833, he moved his family to Little Rock, Arkansas Territory, where he worked as Receiver of Public Moneys for the Little Rock Land District, and Counselor and Attorney at Law. Chambers died on October 13, 1833, leaving his wife and six young children, all daughters.
2. Richard Mentor Johnson
, Colonel, Field and Staff, Kentucky Mounted Infantry, appointed May 20, 1813; discharged November 19, 1813.
Johnson was a native of Kentucky. He was a lawyer by profession and was admitted to the Kentucky bar in 1802, opening his office at Great Crossing.
Johnson was elected to the House of Representatives in 1806 in the early Federal period. He became a friend and allied himself with fellow Kentuckian Henry Clay as a member of the War Hawks who were in favor of war with Britain in June 1812. Johnson was commissioned a Colonel in the Kentucky Militia at the beginning of the war and commanded a regiment of mounted volunteers from 1812 to 1813. He and his brother James served under Major General William Henry Harrison in Upper Canada at the Battle of the Thames. Many soldiers reported that he personally killed the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, a claim that he would use to his political advantage.
After the war, Johnson returned to the House of Representatives. The Kentucky legislature appointed him to the Senate in 1819 to fill the seat vacated by John J. Crittenden. With his increasing prominence, Johnson was criticized for his interracial relationship with Julia Chinn. Johnson treated Chinn as his common law wife, much to the consternation of some of his constituents. It is believed that because of this, the state legislature picked another candidate for the Senate in 1828, forcing Johnson to leave in 1829, but his Congressional district voted for him and returned him to the House in the next election.
In 1836, Johnson was the Democratic nominee for vice-president on a ticket with Martin Van Buren. Campaigning with the slogan “Rumpsey Dumpsey, Rumpsey Dumpsey, Colonel Johnson killed Tecumseh.” Johnson fell one short of the electoral votes needed to secure his election. The Senate elected him to the vice-presidential office, becoming the nation’s ninth vice president. Johnson proved such a liability for the Democrats in the 1836 election that they refused to renominate him for vice president in 1840. Johnson tried to return to public office but was defeated. He finally was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1850, but died of a stroke on November 19, 1850, just two weeks into his term.
3. John L. Mansfield
, Private, Jacob Stucker's Company, Kentucky Mounted Infantry,
enlisted May 20, 1813; discharged November 19, 1813.
Mansfield was a native of Scott County, Kentucky, and a printer by trade. He was mortally wounded during the battle and his fellow soldiers wanted to move him to a place of safety and security while the battle still raged. Mansfield, refused to be moved, stating “I shall die in a few minutes, return to the charge and gain the victory that I may die in peace.”
4. Robert Payne
, Private, Captain James Davidson's Company. In the Adjutant General’s
War of 1812 Report, the only Private Robert Payne listed is a member serving in Captain Jacob Stucker’s Company, Kentucky Mounted Infantry, enlisted May 20, 1813; discharged November 19, 1813.
Kentucky Highway Historical Marker – Payne-Desha House built ca. 1814-15 by Robert Payne, Georgetown, Kentucky.
No additional information on Robert Payne, possibly from Scott County.
5. Eli Messix Short, Jr.,
Assistant Forage Master, Field and Staff, Kentucky Mounted Infantry, appointed May 20, 1813; discharged November 19, 1813.
Short was a native of Sussex, Delaware, born January 19, 1772. He was living in Scott County during the War of 1812. In 1819, moved along with sons, Abraham, Denard, John and Jefferson to what would later become Percy, Randolph County, Illinois. He died there on February 25, 1846.
The affidavits below were completed in Scott County, Kentucky, March 1814, validating the wound sustained by Eli Short at the Battle of the Thames:
I do hereby certify that I saw Mr. Eli Short (who acted as assistant Forage Master in Co. C, Richard M Johnson's Reg. of Mounted Volunteers) some few minutes before the battle commenced near the Moravian Town on the 5th of Oct. last and that he was well and took place in the line of battle at the post assigned him. I do not recollect seeing him again until the battle was over. I then found him among the wounded and was told by Mr. Modica (Gist?) that he assisted in bring Mr. Short off the battlefield. I have every reason to believe he got his wound when in the faithful discharge of his duty, he went with the Reg't at the commencement of its service and continued until he was legally discharged. Mr. Eli Short appears to have been wounded by a musket ball which punctured his right thigh about two or three inches above the knee and lodged in or against the thigh bone and there remaining. The wound at this time is cured up. His knee is very much stiffened so that the thigh appears to be two inches shorter than the other and bent so that his right foot pointing five or six inches to the left of its proper position.
Given under my hand this 30th day of March 1814.
[Massie served as a lieutenant in Captain Jacob Stucker's Company.]
I do hereby certify that I saw Mr. Eli Short (who acted as assistant Forage master in Co. C, Rich. M Johnson Reg't of Mounted volunteers in the United States service) some short time before the battle near the Moravian Town on the 5
of October last commenced, he was then executing the order of the Col. in forming the line of battle, I do not recollect seeing him again until the next morning when I found him wounded and in a great rack of misery. He was shot in the right thigh a little above the knee. I have no hesitation in saying that Mr. Eli Short is a good soldier and that he got wounded in fighting the battle of his country. He is a farmer in the county and has a wife and eight children much dependent on him for their support.
Given under my hand this 30 March 1814.
[Johnson served as a Third Lieutenant in Captain Jacob Stucker’s Company.]
The following is the Doctors Phillip J. Rootes and James Leggett’s statement concerning Short’s condition:
Upon examination of Eli Short, a farmer in Scott County, Kentucky, who received a gunshot wound the fifth of last October, from the enemy near the Moravian Towns, the ball penetrated the Femur (or Tibia) about two inches above the knee and cannot with safety be extracted. It has destroyed the ligament that connects the patella (or knee pan) to the Tibia (or Shin Bone) in as much as to cause the leg to be contracted two inches shorter and has in a great degree injured the flexor and extensor muscles, in consequence of the above injuries sustained form the above described wound we are of the opinion he will never be able to perform any hard bodily labour.
The following from the book,
Early History of Randolph County, Illinois
, gives details of Short’s life in Illinois:
Reverend Eli Short, who settled a short distance southeast of present-day Steeleville, was a Baptist minister. He saw no wrong in such action and built a distillery. Short also planted a large orchard and produced cider in liberal quantities. In season, he dispensed cider to those coming to his place to attend church services in a room of his home. While conducting such a service, in keeping with a common practice of the ministers of the time to propound a question and seek an answer from the writings of the prophets, he had set forth a question. Seeking an answer, he shouted, "And what does Daniel say?" Daniel Malone, a member of the congregation, taking his question as a cue, answered— “I think it is time to have another drink of cider.” The proceedings that followed are not recorded. According to tradition this Eli Short was the one who slew Tecumseh in the battle of Tippecanoe. [Tecumseh was killed at the Battle of the Thames.]
6. Richard Spurr,
Private, Captain Samuel Combs' Company, Kentucky Mounted Infantry, enlisted May 20, 1813; discharged November 19, 1813.
Richard Spurr a native of Fayette County, stated in later life that he had seen William Whitley and an Indian fire at each other, and that both were killed.He also claimed that he had “carried Col. Whitley’s and the Indian’s remains into camp, and that General Harrison recognized the Indian as Tecumseh. . .”
Spurr died on April 21, 1853, at the age of seventy-six.
7. Joseph Taylor
, Private, John W. Reading's Company, Kentucky Mounted Infantry, enlisted August 15, 1813; discharged November 19, 1813.
No additional information was found on Joseph Taylor.
8. Samuel A. Theobald
, Judge Advocate, Field and Staff, Kentucky Mounted Infantry, appointed May 20, 1813; discharged November 19, 1813.
Theobald was a native of Bourbon County, Kentucky, born December 22, 1790. He was “educated in medicine” at Transylvania University, at Lexington, and there he practiced medicine for twenty years. He served as Richard M. Johnson’s Judge Advocate during the Thames Campaign in 1813, and his younger brother, James, was with him in that battle. Another brother, Thomas S., was in the military service on the frontier for twelve months as a Lieutenant of rangers.
For the last thirty years of his life, Theobald was engaged in cotton-planting, living near Greenville, Mississippi. Both Samuel and his wife, Harriet died the same day, March 8, 1842, at Greenville, Mississippi.
9. Garrett Wall
, Forage Master, Field and Staff, Kentucky Mounted Infantry, appointed May 20, 1813; discharged 19 November 1813.
Wall a native of Scott County, served as a Kentucky State Representative, 1817-1818, and Kentucky State Senator, 1828-1830.
In the January 4, 1834, edition of the
is an article entitled, “Celebration of the Victory at the Thames,” Garrett Wall is mentioned:
Col. Garrett Wall, who led the forlorn hope in the charge upon the Indians, under Col. R. M. Johnson, when toasted, delivered an address, in which he described the charge in a very forcible and interesting manner, and related some incidents which present the intrepid bravery of Col. Johnson in the strongest light.
10. William S. Webb
, Private, Captain Jacob Stucker’s Company, Kentucky Mounted Infantry, enlisted May 20, 1813; discharged November 10, 1813.
Webb was a native of Scott County. No other information found.
Order of Battle
Army of the Northwest - General Staff:
Major General William Henry Harrison, commanding.
Inspector-General: Colonel George Walker.
Military Secretary: Major William T. Barry.
Judge Advocate General: Major Thomas Barr.
Adjutant General: Joseph McDowell.
Aide-de-Camp: Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.
Aide-de-Camp: Brigadier General Lewis Cass.
U. S. Regulars:
Kentucky Mounted Volunteers: Colonel Richard Mentor Johnson, commanding.
Kentucky Militia: Governor Isaac Shelby, commanding.
British and Native Forces
Major General Henry Proctor, commanding.
(Welsh Regiment of Foot: Colonel Augustus Warburton.
Local Militia: unknown.
Battle of the Thames
Charge of Forlorn Hope
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