Saturday, January 21, 2023

Sir William Howe's dog


  As happens far too often in my life a little fact lead me down a rabbit hole of inquiry.  Here, a little meme found me doing a but of research on a trivial point in history.  

  Here is the meme I was sent.  A interesting but trivial matter.  But the more I looked the more I found!

From Wikipedia, "Dogs in the American Revolutionary War" article:

"Returning General Howe's Terrier"

"Like George Washington and many other commanders, General Sir William Howe, a British commander, kept dogs with him while he was in battle. During a surprise attack on the British at Germantown on October 4, 1777, Howe's fox terrier, Lila, was lost in the commotion and ended up joining the American Army as it withdrew from the battlefield back to its encampment. When Howe's dog found its way into Washington's headquarters marquee, Washington was alerted that the dog's collar had Howe's name engraved. Washington ordered that the terrier be returned to Howe and included a polite note."

Next, a book about the incident:

"General Howe's Dog: George Washington, the Battle for Germantown and the Dog Who Crossed Enemy Lines"

The actual note can be found in the National Archives.  It reads,

"General Washington's compliments to General Howe. General Washington does himself the pleasure to return to him a dog, which accidentally fell into his hands, and, by the inscription on the collar, appears to belong to General Howe."

Sir William Howe called this,  "an honorable act of a gentlemen." 

Lastly, a commercial from a dog food company about the event: 


Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Battle of Cowpens 17 January 1781



                         Anniversary of the battle today.

And one of my table top battles of it here:

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Castillo de San Marcos


   On our way down to Florida we stopped in St. Augustine to break up the ride.  The old town was over run with tourists  looking for something to do before New Years eve.  Too crowded for our taste.  So we wondered over to the fort, which us magnificent.  We did not go in but walked the grounds.  I have been to the Fort a number of times during my service with the NPS.   Black Powder training was held at a National Guard post just west of here.  So every two years I was sent to teach at the two week course.

 From the city website here is a quick history:  "The oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, the  Castillo de San Marcos is a large Spanish stone fortress built to protect and defend Spain's claims in the New World. It's a National Monument and, at over 315 years old, it's the oldest structure in St. Augustine. It's also one of the main attractions visitors to St. Augustine come to see.


  Construction began on the Castillo de San Marcos in 1672 and lasted 23 years until 1695. Many Spanish forts preceded the Castillo. However, this one made of coquina was impenetrable to enemy attack and was fire resistant.

  The fort came under fire for the first time in 1702. British forces, led by General Moore, burned the city but could not penetrate the Castillo's walls. Subsequent attacks in 1728 and 1740 yielded similar results, and the British were never able to take St. Augustine by force.

  In 1763 however, Florida became a British colony by signing the Treaty of Paris, thus beginning a 20-year period of English rule. The Castillo was used as a military prison during the Revolutionary War, and at one time it held three signers of the Declaration of Independence within its walls.

  At the end of the Revolutionary War, Florida was returned to Spain in 1784 until Florida became a United States Territory in 1821. The Americans called the Castillo Fort Marion, honoring the revolutionary patriot from the Carolinas, General Frances Marion. The U.S. Government used Fort Marion as a prison for Native Americans in the late 1800s. Natives from both Florida and the Great Plains were held at the fort during this time.

  The fort was officially taken off the active list of fortifications in 1900 and it was preserved and recognized as a National Monument in 1924. Congress renamed the fort in 1942, reverting to the Spanish name, the Castillo de San Marcos. At over 315 years old, the fort is a lasting landmark of seventeenth-century St. Augustine."

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Williamsburg At Night


  On the way down to Florida, to escape the cold and winter of the North East.  At least for a short while.   Janine is driving and I am navigating.  We are not stopping for too much sight seeing along the way as we just want to get there.

  But we did a quick nights stop at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.  It was night time but that made it a unique and enjoyable time to wander up and down the main street.  

 Some of the houses and buildings were lighted up. We also caught part of some evening programs. It was great fun.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

US Army Uniforms 1813


  American Army uniforms of the War of 1812 is a very complex subject.   Uniforms changed considerably throughout the war.  The uniforms worn early in the war were very different then those worn at the end of the war.  More importantly units didn't always receive new items immediately when they became available. Mid War uniforms are a case in point.

 Throughout the 1813 campaign season the American regular infantry wore a hybrid uniform. On paper, the US Army had an entirely new uniform in 1813. This was a plain coatee without the lace adorning earlier versions of the garment, and a ,new leather shako. But as any student of military history can tell you, the dictates from on high do not always translate into changes in the field; at least not right away;  sometimes if ever.  The American army throughout the 1813 campaign season (a third of the war), wore a hybrid of the 1812 and 1814 uniform.

  On paper the United States Army  had an entirely new uniform.  This was to be a plain coatee without the lace the earlier coatee had  plus a new leather shako.

  The leather shako was delivered very quickly to the front lines, and most units had them in hand for the 1813 campaign season.

  The regimental coats were another story. The old laced 1812 coatee continued to be worn by a substantial number of units, and because of shortages of blue dye, it was delivered to units in various shades of grey, "drab", brown, and black. According to Rene Chartrand, the Army specified that, "the mixed color coatees and garments were to be cut as prescribed in the February 1812 regulations, with red collars and cuffs, and white lace binding."

  The units wearing this old coat/new cap configuration, were as follows (coat color follows listing):

12th US: Drab, red facings

14th: Brown for some, Drab faced with Red for others.

21st: Blue, red facings

16th: Black, red  facings

  And here is yet another exception to the rule. The War of 1812 is filled with them.   The 25th US Infantry had the old felt shako and a blue coat faced with red (and with minimal lace). 

  So, if you are interested in adding something different or unusual to your collection looking into these different coatee colors.

For more information:

Chartrand, Rene. A Most Warlike Appearance: Uniforms, Flags and Equipment of the United States in the War of 1812. Ottawa: Service Publications, 2010

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Battle of Princeton 3 January 1777


For my re fight of this battle please see:

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy New Year 2023


  Wishing you all a most happy and healthy 2023.  Here is to hoping this is a better year then the last.