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History of Belpre, Washington Co., Ohio
By C. E. Dickinson, D. D.
Formerly Pastor of Congregational Church
Author of the History of First Congregational Church
Marietta, Ohio
Published for the Author by
Globe Printing & Binding Company
Parkersburg, West Virginia


WAR OF 1812
Page 99

     IT is the verdict of historians that the war with Great Britain, usually denominated the War of 1812, was justified, that is according to the worlds standard of justification at that time.  There was a strong party in the United States opposed to this war.  Great Britain had acknowledged our independence, but since her politicians had previously controlled the colonists it was hard for them to surrender all their dictation.  Their officers impressed our seamen, searched our ships on the seas, made many and vexatious aggressions on our commerce, and, perhaps most inexcusable of all incited the Indians to make depredations on our frontier.  This latter was probably from a desire to secure possession of what was then known as the North West Territory.  For such reasons as these war was declared under the administration of James Madison, June 18, 1812.  The Democratic party was the war party.  The Federalists desired as strongly as the Democrats that the wrongs perpetrated by Great Britain should be corrected but they believed that this could be done by diplomacy without resort to arms.  The majority of the people in Washington, and were not very much interested in carrying on the war; their enthusiasm very much aroused.  It was only twenty-three years after the first log house was erected in Belpre, and the number of inhabitants was still small.  Requisitions were made on all parts of the country for men and for certain political reasons it was thought best in Belpre that these men should be secured by draft rather than by voluntary enlistments.  Belpre furnished her quota of men who performed faithful and loyal service.  The sentiment of Belpre people at that time is well described in a letter written by Col. John Stone to Anselm T. Nye many years later and copied in Williams History of Washington County, page 134, as follows:  "The patriotism of Belpre did

[Pg. 100]
not prompt her citizens to deeds of peril on the Canada line.  The people believed the government could have made a treaty of it had taken the right course.  The Berlin and Milan decrees of Napoleon were as obnoxious as the British orders in Council, and to declare war against one government and not the other was to discriminate.  If war was the remedy to maintain our rights - we were in every way unprepared."
     "The blundering management of the war in the northwest gave cause for the severest criticism, and perhaps gave rise to the idea of the necessity of a Silver Grey organization.  Col. Nathaniel Cushing had command of a company of Silver Greys, whose valor had been tried in their youth, who had seen Indians since, heard the war whoop, and helped to bury the scalped dead, but the men who threw up their caps for the war of 1812 looked upon these old soldiers as tories and sometimes called them so.  Perhaps I might mention some circumstances to show who they were, and how well they bore the appellation, not accepted it, and how they stood when a tory was an enemy to this country.  There was some slipping away from the legal call of the Military Officers, but enough were found to fill the drafts as they occurred.  All who went into the service were given an honorable discharge.  There were a great many sick and ailing when the order for a draft was announced so much so that old Mr. Allen who was ferryman at the mouth of Little Hocking, and who was commonly known as Old Charon said: "Nearly all the drafted men profaned themselves sick."
     "Edward B. Dana and Bial Steadman were Captains in the regiment of Washington county militia as then organized.  They were citizens of Belpre and Belpre at that time contained double its present territory.  The bounds officers.  Hence Cap

[Pg. 101]
-tain Dana's company, though called a Belpre company, extended into Warren while Captain Steadman's Company was all in Belpre, and within the bounds of these two companies were formed the Silver Greys.  I am not aware that either Captain E. B. Dana or Captain Bial Steadman performed any other service than to call out the requisition made on their companies and other duties connected with that service.  I was a corporal in Captain Dana's company, and performed the duty of notifying the drafted men in the draft of 1813.  It was the duty of commanders of companies, when they received a requisition to draft the number of men called for and forward them to the place of rendezvous, they were not authorized to use compulsion.  If the drafted man did not go or furnish a substitute he was subject to a fine.
     Officers were detailed in the order of the dates of their commissions and took with them their non commissioned officers governed by a rule fixed by law.  A suit grew out of the drafting of an apprentice who never returned to service, in which case the aggrieved master, a strong advocate of the war, sought his remedy in court against the Captain and paid the costs in "Goodno vs. Bial Steadman, on appeal from William Brownings docket."  Whether he cursed the war I do not know, but have no doubt he cursed his luck and the Captain too.
     Omitting all dates, Quartermaster or Contractor Craig purchased a large number of ox teams in Belpre and vicinity and forwarded them to head quarters under his nephew, W. B. Putnam, Wagonmasters, Absalom Misner Cummings and Porter, who performed their duties in a satisfactory manner and were honorably discharged.  The drafted men who served were Elam Frost, Nehemiah Morse, Lemuel Cooper and Samuel Barkley.  The men who hired substitutes were Jarvis Burrough, William Burroughs, and I think George Dana and Joseph Dilley.  The substitutes were Joel Bennet, Curtis, and Hinman.  Pardon Cook served in the Company commanded by Captain Charles Devol.  Berkley and others from Belpre were in Captain John Thornilley's company, Captain Dana's Company extended into Warren and Cooper may have been a citizen of that township at the time.  To confirm the statement that Belpre people were called tories a drafted man said: "When spoken to, I was always called tory except at roll call."
     Concerning the sentiment of the people of Washington County at that time James Lawton of Barlow wrote.  "In regard to the war of 1812, a large class of the then voters thought it unnecessary and impolitic.  My father and most of his neighbors took that view of it.  Of course we rejoiced at our victories, but farther than that took but little interest in it.  Doubtless the case was different

[Pg. 102]
in some quarters and many prominent citizens participated in it, but with comparatively few exceptions, it was not the case here."  Notwithstanding their political preferences the good people of Belpre met the requirements of their rulers and loyally bore their share in the burdens of the war.
     It was greatly to the credit of the people of Belpre that, notwithstanding the prevailing sentiment, they respected every call of the government and performed their duties with faithful loyalty.  This war continued for two and one-half years and the most important engagement was that of New Orleans, Jan. 8th, 1815, which was after the treaty of Ghent, but the news of that treaty had not reached this Country.  Of that battle Edward Everett Hale says: "This Battle made the fame of Andrew Jackson.  It made him President of the United States.  It gave the Nation a just confidence in its power for war, properly led, and it had much to do with the birth of national feeling which is the great and important result of the war of 1812.  But it took place fifteen days after the treaty of peace had been signed at Ghent.
     It may be interesting to us now at the close of the greatest war in human history to give an account of the uniform worn and rations furnished to a United States Army a century ago.  "The regulation coat was a "swallow tail" made of dark blue cloth; faced and trimed with buff, buttons of white metal with U. S. A. on them; the hat a tall bell crowned affair with no brim except a small visor in front; to this was added a stock for the neck of polished leather wide enough to fit up snug under the chin.
     In 1813 Timothy Buell, Esq. of Marietta entered into a contract to furnish rations to the soldiers in Washington County as follows: "Fifteen cents was to be paid for each complete daily ration consisting of eighteen ounces of bread or flour; one and one quarter pounds of beef or three quarters of a pound of salt pork; one gill of Rum, whiskey, or brandy at the rate of two quarts of salt, four quarts of vinegar, and one and one-half pounds of candles to each one hundred rations.
     The uniform now used fits the body quite closely and is of a color not easily discernable in the smoke of battle

[Pg. 103]
and the cost is very much increased.  Instead of a daily allowance of Alcoholic liquor it is now a criminal offense to furnish such liquor to our soldiers in training camps or in active service, showing a marked change in sentiment, during the Century.





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