Monday, June 3, 2024

Port Clinton War of 1812 Monument

Saturday was a beautiful day for a drive, so I headed out to Port Clinton – to stop at Cheesehaven, and to grab some "Then & Now" shots of some vintage postcards of the area as well. 

First up: this one, entitled "Monument, Northern Terminous [sic] Old Harrison Trail, War of 1812, Port Clinton, Ohio." 

It had been several years since I was out in Port Clinton, and I didn't realize that so much positive change had taken place on the lakefront. I discovered that the monument was part of beautiful Waterworks Park, home to the Port Clinton Lighthouse, Derby Pond and a nice beach.

Here's my "Now" shot.

There were several plaques on the monument. They're worth reading because the War of 1812 seems to be generally forgotten by the public and much of the fighting took place right here in Ohio. The plaque facing us in the photo reads:

American Expedition 1813
Across the De Lery Portage From Fort Seneca to Detroit and the invasion of Canada as noted in Captain R.B. McAfee's history 1816.
Major General Harrison on receiving word of Commodore Perry's victory proceeded to Fort Stephenson and "issued his orders for the movement of the troops and transportation of the provision military stores etc. to the margin of the lake preparatory to their embarkation." 
The troops were marched down the old Sandusky-Scioto trail to its northern terminus on Lake Erie. 
"In bringing down the military stores and provisions from posts on the Sandusky River to the vessels in the lake a short land carriage became necessary to expedite embarkation. 
It was deemed more safe and expeditious to transport the stores and drag the boats across the isthmus which was accomplished between the 15th and the 20th of the month (Sep. 1813). Each regiment was ordered to construct a strong fence of brush and fallen timber in front of its encampment which extended when finished from Portage River to Sandusky River. Within this enclosure their horses were turned loose to graze on ample pastures of excellent grass."

The other plaque related to the War of 1812 reads:

Captain Barclay's British fleet transporting General Proctor's British army sailed up the Sandusky River to make their assault on Fort Stephenson August 1st and 2nd 1813 of which General Sherman wrote: 

"The defense of Fort Stephenson by Croghan and his gallant little band was the necessary precursor to Perry's victory on the lake and of General Harrison’s triumphant victory at the Battle of the Thames. These assured to our immediate ancestors the mastery of the great west and from that day to this the west has been the bulwark of this nation." 
General Harrison sent expert riflemen from his army to help serve the guns on Commodore Perry's ships in the naval battle with the British fleet off this landing from which on September 10, 1813 Perry sent the following laconic note, "We have met the enemy and they are ours two ships two brigs one schooner and a sloop."  
General Harrison immediately marched his troops over the Old Sandusky-Scioto Trail to this landing, but transported the stores down the Sandusky River and dragged the boats across the De Lery Portage. From Sandusky Bay to Lake Erie the troops constructed a strong fence of brush and fallen timber across from Portage River to Sandusky River. Within this enclosure their horses were turned loose. General Harrison's army embarked on Commodore Perry's ships Sept. 20, stopping on Put-In-Bay and Middle Sisters Islands and landing in Canada Sept.27 where Proctor with his British regulars was defeated and Tecumseh with many of his British regulars was defeated and Tecumseh with many of his Indians killed in the Battle of the Thames, 5th October, 1813. The returning Ohio and Kentucky volunteers, with their British prisoners, collecting their horses here, marched to their homes over the old Sandusky-Scioto Trail, which has since been known as the Harrison Trail of the War of 1812.
Erected By The N.S.U.S.D. of 1812
State Of Ohio

You may have noticed that if you compare the vintage postcard and my photo, the rocks in the monument are in different positions – they don't match up. And the plaques are in different positions as well. Perhaps it happened during the restoration of the monument in 2013.

Here's another view of the monument from Saturday.

By the way, the N.S.U.S.D. OF 1812 is the National Society United States Daughters of 1812. According to the organization's website, "Founded in 1892 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Society United States Daughters of 1812 is a non-profit, non-political, women’s service organization for descendants of American patriots who rendered civil, military or naval service to our country during the years of 1784 to 1815 inclusive."
Next: the Lighthouse That Moved


Don Hilton said...


Cool post.

Did you happen to visit the blink-and-you-miss-it Battlefield Park in Danbury Township while you were there? It's on the south side toward Johnson Island.

See pg 29 of the Bicentennial Book.

Dan Brady said...

Hi Don! I must have blinked because I apparently drove right past it! I guess I was too busy thinking about smoked cheese!

Don Hilton said...

Smoked cheese’ll do that to you!

Save if for next time. And the Confederate Cemetery on Johnson Island’s pretty cool, but you gotta have 2 bucks in dollar bills to get across the causeway to see it. Unless you swim, I guess.