In the fall of 2019, I gave a presentation on mine research right into the usual soldier’s experience during the fight of Plattsburgh as component of the yearly Battle that Plattsburgh occasion at the Kent Delord home Museum. I’ve converted that presentation right into a two-part blog series, and this is the 2nd and final part. If girlfriend haven’t read it, take it a minute to read through component 1 first.
After digging intorecords and also first-hand account of what taken place at the battle and theaftermath (which us explored in component 1),I gained to take a closer look in ~ the reinforcement plans because that the forts andshortly afterwards, the degradation of the cantonment altogether.
Scan the Macomb’s original “Sketch that the foe Positions and also Batteries at the Siege that Plattsburgh from sixth sept. 1814 to 11th Inclusive” v Inset Close-up of creating on the Back
Macomb attracted the map shown above and contained it with his after-action report to the Secretary at battle in the work after the battle. You can see the vital on the bottom left and also the forts at the top facility – the title on the back, inset right here for girlfriend in the reduced right corner, reads, “Sketch of the enimy location & batteries at the siege the Plattsburgh from sixth sept. 1814 come 11th inclusive.” The misspelling of ‘enemy’ is noted here and in citations yet corrected somewhere else for my an individual sanity.
Rufus MacIntyre Letter and Map of Plattsburgh Cantonment ~ above Back, 1815
This renowned map wasdrawn by Rufus MacIntyre, one American captain at Sacketts Harbor. It’s attracted onthe back of a letter dated January 1, 1815 and also it defines the changes made tothe Plattsburgh fortifications after ~ the battle in September that 1814. Part ofthe original text was destroyed however a part of the reads:
The cantonment is perfectly exactly so far as the goes having actually omitted many buildings in the rear. The develops
Something Iencountered a lot during this research study was confusion concerning these historicmaps and also others throughout various archaeological reports and also recently publishedhistories. This has actually a lot of to perform with the fact that these 2 maps were copiedover and over by people and those historic copies have because ended up invarious historic societies and special collections libraries across thecountry. The two maps over are photocopies that the originals.
Hand-drawn Copy of Macomb’s ‘Sketch that the foe Positions’ Map indigenous SUNY Plattsburgh distinct Collections v inset close up of writing in the reduced right corner
This map above is ahand-drawn copy that Macomb’s‘Sketch that the foe Positions’ map – or i guess a photograph an unfavorable of a hand-drawncopy. These photo negatives were enlarged to show detail and also they can beaccessed at SUNY Plattsburgh’s unique Collections Library through use of a lighttable. I enlarged the signature at the bottom best of this image– the is signed‘copy the original’ and dated 1859. This is a decent copy of that initial Macombmap– other copies that I have actually encountered are not therefore great.
‘Plan the Forts & battery at Plattsburgh’ 1816, indigenous SUNY Plattsburgh one-of-a-kind Collections Library
This series of maps wasalso accessed at SUNY Plattsburgh’s one-of-a-kind Collections Library and they werethe exact same enlarged photo negatives together the Macomb copy– I very roughly placedthis series side-by-side as they would have actually fit together – the center two to be onesheet originally. This maps room dated march 1866, and also the inscription on thebottom left of the an initial map ~ above the left reads:
“N.B. This Sheets Nos. 1, 2, &3 representthe ground at Plattsburgh populated by the American Forts namely fort Brown,Fort Moreau and Fort Scott. It additionally shows the positions of the BritishBatteries. Forts Tompkins and also Gaines were put up after the brother retired.March 1866. Because that Report of inspection of Barracks watch (A. 2504).”
Part of the technicalreport I wrote for the city that Plattsburgh had to encompass all pastarchaeological investigate of the six sites listed in the contract. In one archaeologicalsurvey report indigenous 1995, there was an overlay the an historic map end thepresent job oval parade floor (now dubbed US Oval Park) where a survey hadtaken place.
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Close up of fort Moreau indigenous Previous Map, ‘Plan of Forts & battery at Plattsburgh’ 1816, native SUNY Plattsburgh one-of-a-kind Collections Library
This map is especiallyinteresting because it looks prefer there are triangulated dimensions betweenfeatures and there are likewise interior details in each of the forts. The historicoverlay map indigenous the 1995 historical report appeared to have the sameinterior lines in ~ the forts. I’m wondering if there are duplicates of this mapout there that the 1995 report supplied or if there are others the end there that Ijust haven’t viewed or couldn’t situate in time. If you know of more maps likethis, you re welcome let me know! This was a large mystery!
So we understand that thecantonment was fortified after the battle between 1814 and also 1816 – yet by 1819and with to 1825, much more and more troops were moved out that Plattsburgh and theforts were left to fall into disrepair. The grounds weren’t fully abandonedbut task moved far from the old forts. The old storehouses were offered astemporary barracks while new barracks were constructed – probably right over the oldones – and a lot of the bordering lands and buildings to be leased out tofarmers and other citizens.
We know from historicdocuments that there to be an ordinance to make world stop removing sand fromFort Brown in 1852.
Close-up the ‘Plan the the Siege the Plattsburg and Capture that the brothers Fleet on Lake Champlain’
We also don’t know theboundaries of the fixed grave website on Crab Island native this battle. We have manyaccounts the describe people being buried there, a grasp of which werepopularized v the PlattsburghRepublican newspaper. This local document and others, and historicalaccounts choose Lossing’s books were a an excellent tool for development of public memoryand commemoration of occasions from the war. Simeon Doty had actually several interviews inthe papers and various books around his experience. He to be a teenager in theAmerican ranking stationed further north that Plattsburgh during the battle. Hereis one excerpt from an 1886 interview:
We went to Crab Island. I aided bury the dead there…We arrived at the north component of Crab Island. Over there were two hospitals there made the plank. The dead were carried off southward and also were buried in trenches without coffins, under command of one officer. Redcoats and bluecoats were put in together.
Shortly after the war,the owner that the island, Caleb Nichols composed up a invoice to the US federal government fortearing the ar up and also burying soldiers top top his property.
References come the gravesite would certainly still appear in the historical record indigenous time to time but nothing was ever really done to mark the cemetery until 1903, and also by the time the specific grave place was shed from public memory.
Since being understate regulate again, the island has actually been cared because that by very few people. Mr. RogerHarwood (Plattsburgh Historian) has been clearing the grounds with his ownequipment because that decades, while civilization like Harwood and also Mr. John Rock (Friends ofCrab Island Commodore) have put a the majority of time into acquiring a flag reinstalledand bringing people’s fist to the island as a ar of commemoration and aplace that demands to be conserved and cared because that long-term. In short, Harwood,Rock, and many others are working come rebuild public memory of the fight ofPlattsburgh so the these necessary stories might be happen on to our futuregenerations.
One last to mark ofconducting this research study was obtaining to crowd-source details through publicmeetings and also networking with neighborhood experts. I had actually the possibility to attendseveral meetings v the city and town of Plattsburgh and also Peru and meet peoplewho want to re-publishing their knowledge with me and aid me situate sources that Iwas either unaware of or had actually been unsuccessful in locating.
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This was a reallyrewarding endure both personally and professionally – it to be my experiencein this meetings the led me to describe a bit much more about the mechanism drivingthe study that i was contracted to execute with the city the Plattsburgh. Whenworking on cultural Resources monitoring (CRM) projects favor these you havelimited time come gather together much information as friend can and also it provides all thedifference once you uncover local experts and also an interested public the arewilling to spend time sharing their research, your stories, and also their resources.As a result, the researcher is able to elevate those vital stories and also helpconserve the regional public memory – sometimes through technological reports that mayinform future historic trail panels, exhibits, park displays, and more.
Image indigenous Keith A Herkalo’s “The war at Plattsburgh”, poem from “Niles’ Weekly Register,” vol. 9
I think it all boilsback down to why people are interested in background at all: us love story-telling.People love a an excellent story. Most often, your study turns right into a greatstory-telling session in ~ the historical culture where the hours fly by and also youhave to operation to catch the ferry before rush hour gets yes, really bad. You’reconnecting with various other interested people about the past and you’re connectingwith the past through an individual perspectives – collectively imagining andwondering what that was favor to be there in Plattsburgh leading as much as thisbattle. And then, choose a detective, you try to questioning the right inquiries andsearch for proof – and also primary accounts – that might tell you where peoplewere, when, and how castle felt and also what castle saw.
I want to end bysaying many thanks to a few of those folks that were so helpful to my research: Thanksto Keith Herkalo for offering me with duplicates of vital CRM report that Ihadn’t to be able to locate and also for fielding some of my questions. Many thanks to DonWickman because that fielding lots of inquiries of mine together well and also sending sources andmaps my way – her enthusiasm is contagious! and also a really big thank you to RogerHarwood and also Ed Scollon not just for your field of expertise on the subject yet forspending so lot time helping me the end with website visits come Valcour Island andCrab Island – it was such a blast walking there through both of girlfriend – and for divingsome of this sites v me too – friend both have actually such a wide range of knowledgeand it to be a delight to occupational with both the you. Thankyou so much!
Oh – and this last picture is MacDonough pointing the cannon top top flagship, Saratoga during the fight of Plattsburgh. There is a great folk tale about this particular rooster the you have the right to read an ext about in Lossing’s Pictorial Field-Book and elsewhere – this rooster came to be a sort-of mascot because that the American soldiers throughout the battle. He to be a sought-after bird in the cock-fighting ring continue on coast in the days leading as much as the battle and the sailors, “by ‘hook or by crook’…obtained possession of him” so that he was caged plank Saratoga on the morning of the battle.
I’m happy come field any kind of questions you might have – please call us! You deserve to reach me in ~ CherG