Category Archives: War of 1812

Stories about the War of 1812 including important battles, dates and people who helped fight America’s Second Revolution.

The Making of a War of 1812 US Dragoon Miniature – Part 1

This past year at the NGS and FGS conferences, the “Preserve the Pensions – War of 1812” booth, I modified, assembled, and painted War of 1812 Soldier Miniatures. This endeavor resulted in 95 miniature soldiers and 3 artillery groups (5 artillerymen, limber, and gun). If you have not had a chance to purchase one of the soldiers for a donation of $100.00 and/or an artillery set for a donation of $500.00, there is still time as 15 miniature soldiers are left and will be available at RootsTech 2015.

The entire process took many hours and days to complete (8 to 10 months). Due to the labor and material (which I donated), I decided to not produce any more, thus making the ones that were created a limited edition.

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However, with the success of the War of 1812 Soldiers and Artillerymen miniatures, and urging from several friends, I have decided to round out the collection by creating and painting War of 1812 Dragoon miniatures. There will be a total of 8 Dragoons afoot ($100.00 donation each), and 10 Dragoons on horses ($200.00 donation each), and 3 Dragoons in a miniature diorama ($250.00 donation each).

They will be available for RootsTech 2015; but if you can pre-purchase one ahead of time. (Information on how to do that will be forthcoming). I have also decided to take you through the entire process from out of the box, modifying and assembling, painting, to the finishing touches.

So before we go any further we should define just what a dragoon is, and how he is relates to Cavalry and how he is different from Mounted Volunteers. Cavalry were usually men mounted on horses and armed with sabers and pistols. They are trained to fight primarily from the saddle. They were used to scout, flank, and pursue the enemy. Within the Cavalry arm there are several different types of units, such as Heavy, Light, Carabiniers, Cuirassiers, Lancers, Chasseurs, Hussars, Mounted Volunteers, and Dragoons.

Mounted Volunteers are men recruited from a nearby location and are often armed with rifles. They are used primarily as “quick infantry” able to transfer quickly on the battlefield from one threaten area to another. These troops were usually not that reliable.

Dragoons were specialized cavalry mounted on horses and armed with sabers and short barreled rifles. They are trained to harass the enemy from the flanks, and to scout. When attacked, they are supposed to just fade away and appear again usually in the enemy’s rear. These were the “hit and run” specialists. The United States actually trained some of the best in the world. The US Dragoons often credited the Native Americans with the tactics that they used.

In the War of 1812 there were two regiments of Light dragoons; however in 1814 the second regiment was consolidated with the first. After the war (June 1815) the regiment was included as part of the Corps of Artillery order of battle. Several states such as Maryland had State Dragoons.

I started to organize my workshop for this project in early October of this year after acquiring the boxes of Dragoons to modify in order to make them US Dragoons and to position them in some unique poses. The first order of business was to remove them from the boxes. This photo represents a few of them.

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The next step was to organize them in potential figures with all possible material needed to modify and assemble them. The next two photos show the organization and the various tools of the trade needed for this part of the process.

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After the organization, I proceeded to modify and assemble the miniatures. The next photo shows the completion of that portion of the project. They are now ready for the application of the primary base (dry wall spackle).

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This entire project will take me up to RootsTech 2015 for completion. There are many more steps to go before the final product is ready for your display case, thanks to your donation to the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions. Please, stay tuned to this blog for further progress on your War of 1812 Dragoon.

~ Mike



Major General Patterson : War, Three Times

In every war, there are the necessary leaders, the necessary foot soldiers. Some are forever preserved in the history texts across the country, and some are largely forgotten, except to that small group of avid historians, academics, and researchers. Major General Robert Patterson was a man of  influence – good and bad – during three United States conflicts: the War of 1812, the Mexican American War, and the Civil War. His story, along with thousands of others, deserves to be told.

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Major General Robert Patterson

Robert Patterson was born on 12 January 1792 in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. His family was forced to leave due to his father’s acts as a insurrectionist, and he immigrated to America in 1799. Enlisting as a young man, he served in the 2nd Pennsylvania Militia during the War of 1812, rising from captain to colonel. Before the end of the war, he would join the United States Army, and was ultimately discharged in 1815 as a Captain of the Quartermaster General Department.

After the battles came to an end, Captain Patterson returned home to Pennsylvania, where he engaged in manufacturing and established several mills. He was involved in both local and national politics, being one of the five Col. Patterson’s in the Pennsylvania Convention that nominated Andrew Jackson for the Presidency in 1836.

At the start of the Mexican American War, Patterson again stepped forward to fight. Leading a volunteer unit, he eventually would see action at both the Siege of Veracruz and the Battle of Cerro Gordo, where he was wounded. His enlistment time expired when in Jalapa, and so he returned to Philadelphia, and grew his business to become one of the largest mill-owners in the United States.

His Civil War term was not so glorious. As Major General of Pennsylvania volunteers, he received vague orders to retake Harper’s Ferry. He failed to act quickly on these orders, however, and was ultimately held responsible for the Confederate Army’s reinforcement troops unopposed march to the First Battle of Bull Run. He was mustered out in 1861, less than a year after rejoining.

Memorial for Major General Robert Patterson. Image courtesy Windy Rudnicky.

Memorial for Major General Robert Patterson. Image courtesy Windy Rudnicky.

At least two of his sons also had military careers; Brigadier General Frances E. Patterson and Union Brevet Brigadier General Robert E. Patterson. Major General Patterson died on August 17, 1881, and is buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

Although Robert Patterson’s military career may not be one filled with heroic’s and glamour, it is one that tells of a man that saw history being made, three times over. His place in history should be remembered, as well as all of the men and women that wear the uniform of the United States military. Thanks to the historic preservation effort being undertaken today, many more stories are being saved, as we digitize the War of 1812 Pension files.



Book Review: The Civil War of 1812

The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels & Indian Allies by Alan Taylor

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Alan Taylor has written a superb book about the War of 1812, entitled The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels & Indian Allies. I recently discovered this book at the Minnesota Historical Society store. However, it can be ordered from Amazon or other websites. Dr. Taylor is a historian who is specialized in early American history, and has published at least fifteen books on various aspects of his specialization. He has won two Pulitzer Prices and the Bancroft Prize for his works.

As quoted in the Introduction in the book, “The War of 1812 looms small in American memory, forgotten as insignificant because it apparently ended as a draw that changed no boundary and no policy.”  There were some patriotic episodes that have been remembered, such as the resistance of Fort McHenry which inspired the national anthem, and the burning of the White House and Capitol. But the War of 1812 is often referred to as the “Forgotten War.”

As the title implies, Dr. Taylor addresses a multiplicity of subjects relevant to the War of 1812, including the British, American, and Canadian involvements, as well as the Indian role in this three year battle. The Americans looked at this war as its final victory of the American Revolution. Canadians look at it as a struggle between Loyalists and rebels. The British still believed that “any natural-born subject owed his allegiance for life [to the British crown, even if he had been naturalized in another country, such as the United States].” The American Indians and the Irish rebels also played vital roles. There were two migration streams that collided – the Irish to American and Americans to Canada in the civil war of 1812. Irish-Americans served in disproportionate numbers in the armies that invaded Upper Canada.

Emphasis in this book is placed upon the borderlands of the battles, not upon the War of 1812 as a national history of America. It does not promote either the American or Canadian patriotism. This borderlands history examines the people on both sides of a new and artificial border. There was a contested area between Montreal on the east and Detroit on the west. Thus, this borderlands history focuses upon the two Great Lakes of Erie and Ontario and also upon the three rivers that connect Detroit, St Lawrence, and Niagara. This border region saw most of the fighting and destruction in the war.

Alan Taylor concluded:: “Like the revolution, the War of 1812 was a civil war between competing visions of America: one still loyal to the empire and the other defined by its republican revolution against that empire. But neither side would reap what it expected from the war. Frustrated in their fantasies of smashing the other, the Loyalists and the Republican Americans had to learn how to share the continent and to call co-existence victory.”

This book is a must-read for anyone who is engaged in learning about the War of 1812. So many facets of this war are presented with intriguing chapter headings such as Deserters, Blood, Invasions, Crossings, Scalps, Flames, Traitors, Soldiers, Prisoners, Honor, and Peace. It is a highly-documented study of the war with one hundred ten pages of Notes and twenty-eight pages of Bibliography. You come away with an entirely new focus on the facets of the War of 1812.