Who should become the first president of new england?


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Interesting to see Sir Brock live, and decide he's gonna lead troops back into New York. Much could come of that, particularly if the units stationed along the St. Lawrence end up following him....Canada becomes rather bigger as a result, anyone? 🙂
 
Interesting to see Sir Brock live, and decide he's gonna lead troops back into New York. Much could come of that, particularly if the units stationed along the St. Lawrence end up following him....Canada becomes rather bigger as a result, anyone? 🙂
hmm titles of Knighthood are given with either the first name or the full name, it is a severe breach of manners to ever refer to anyone as SIr and then the Surname only.
 
Chapter 2: Smyth bungles up.
Chapter 2: Smyth bungles up.

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I hear that many representatives in the Yankee congress believed that all of Upper Canada would be theirs to hold within a month of the declaration of war. I hadn’t heard such a great joke since I had the drinks with the lads in 1799 when we failed to invade Holland!” – Sir Isaac Brock.

“When Alexander Smyth took over command of the Niagara frontier, he was perhaps, the worst man for the job during that time. Born in Ireland, and a lawyer and politician by trade, he was completely inept at military matters. Something that America could have ill-afforded at a stage when their shore of the Niagara frontier was under threat from the forces that Sir Isaac Brock was starting to gather.

The 3rd and 4th Regiments of the York Militia had arrived from York to reinforce Brock’s men, and the stash of weapons seized from the American militias when they surrendered aided Brock’s progress in planning an invasion of Upper New York State. Smyth also glossed over the clandestine facts of war. Many American militia were devoid of shoes, proper food and proper sanitation works, even for that era, and it was no surprise to any physician or doctor that a small epidemic spread through his men early on after he took command of the Niagara frontier. The American Regulars, half trained, and more eager than experienced, lacked winter clothing and shivered in the cold. These facts which Smyth glossed over, or perhaps simply ignored, led to a good amount of deserters as well, from whom Brock would learn of the dismal condition of the American camp at Lewiston.


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An Illustration of a well-equipped American Militia, a rarity during the War of 1812.

On October 19th, Brock called a meeting between himself, the commanders of the regiments, and Major General Sheaffe as well. Brock had decided that with the American militiamen mutinous, and morale of the American troops low, it would be a great time to strike and go on the offensive and take the fight to the Americans. Brock’s plan was also aided by the fact that he was acutely aware about the political polarization of American officers. The 1812 Presidential Elections were about to come, and deserters and Mohawk spies that Brock had used had given Brock definitive proof that the Federalist Officers and Republican Officers were squabbling with one another over the presidential election, rather than actually trying to fight with the British Canadian forces. Together with all of these factors combined, Brock knew that this was the moment to strike.

He proposed a two pronged attack into the American shore of the Niagara River. Sheaffe would take command of half of the troops and cross into Buffalo and secure the town, whilst Brock and his half of the troops would cross into Lewiston and seize the town. Then the two would open up the road between Lewiston and Buffalo and give the British and Canadians a definitive foothold onto America. Sheaffe was very reluctant with this plan. For all purposes, Sheaffe was the anti-thesis of Brock. Whilst Brock was assertive and strong in his position, Sheaffe was calculating and sly in his. Brock liked to hit the enemy where it hurt and quickly rout the enemy whilst Sheaffe liked playing his cards to his chest and attacking when he had the definitive advantage. Nonetheless, Sheaffe was convinced by Brock, and around 2200 troops were given to Brock to command, and around 2700 troops were given to Sheaffe to command.

On October 26th, just when Smyth had been trying to convince General Henry Dearborn to spare 4000 troops for him over their letters, the British launched their attack at Lewiston and Buffalo…..” The Plans of 1812, University of Quebec, 2020.

“The Battle of the Niagara was perhaps one of the greatest masterpieces of Sir Isaac Brock. The man, knew his weakness of being brash and acting brashly in the field, and yet he knew Sheaffe’s calculating method to fighting, and he utilized both personalities of himself and his subordinate commander to his utmost advantage.

On 3 a. m. in October 26th, the Indian allies of the British, mainly Mohawks, swam quietly over the river from Hamilton’s cove and entered the American side of the shore. From there, the British commanders that had come alongside them managed to quietly move around 20 of these Indians into the outskirts of Lewiston from the north from where they started to set the granaries and ammunition stores of the town alight. The result was that The American troops and militia had to be diverted to putting the fires away. The Americans were already facing acute shortages of food and weapons, and losing the ones that they had would have been ruinous, and even the rash Smyth knew this. However as American sentries came forward, the Mohawk warriors withdrew from the town and instead wreaked havoc on the countryside next to the Niagara River and Lake Ontario as the British officers let them go ordering them to disrupt the line of communications between American regiments in the east and Smyth’s forces.

As communication lines were hit, and the granaries and ammunition stores were on fire, around half an hour after 3 a.m. the British redan opened fire at Lewiston and the guns from Fort Erie opened fire at the fortifications at Buffalo.

Under the cover of the chaos, and the cover given by the British guns, both Brock and Sheaffe embarked from the Canadian shore. Brock had 7 ships under him all of which would hold around forty to fifty troops. Sheaffe had 9 ships under him which could hold approximately the same amount of troops. The first landing on the American side was made Colonel MacDonell and Captain Dennis as they immediately went on the offensive utilizing their advantage. The American troops in Lewiston were forced to go on the defensive as Smyth’s subordinate, Colonel Totten barely managed to reorganize the militia under his command into a defensive position on Lewiston Heights.

In the South, Sheaffe was opposed by Smyth’s personal forces. Smyth had around 2500 troops under his command, of which 700 were regular troops, mainly detachments and companies of the US 13th Regiment, and the rest were New York Militia troops. Sheaffe whilst very much a cautious general knew how to act aggressively as well. And this time, he coordinated his attacks with Brock. As soon as news came that MacDonnel, Dennis and Brock had begun their attack Lewiston arrived to Sheaffe, Sheaffe moved forward and attacked the American troops under Smyth, just as said commander of the American troops had been trying to establish a secure line of communications with Lewiston.

The attack took him by surprise it seems. Smyth after the initial reports came in about a fire in Lewiston had believed that the main attack would come from Lewiston and thus had sent much of his militiamen towards the north where they would reinforce Totten against Brock. This played right into the hands of Sheaffe, as he would gain numerical superiority over the American troops based at Buffalo. By 5 a.m, Sheaffe’s troops had managed to storm the heights of Black Rock and completely blocked the route towards Lewiston. The heights also granted Sheaffe a lot of strategic mobility and was able to utilize the heights to his advantage as British pounder guns were floated across the river and then pulled in Black Rock from where they started to pound Smyth’s positions as well. This in turn started to limit Smyth’s area of mobility and capabilities against Sheaffe, as he didn’t have a good amount of troops, rapidly dwindling stores of supplies, men dying from disease and his line of communications and reinforcements cut off.

Up in the north, Brock was having a tougher fight than what Sheaffe was experiencing towards the south. Totten was no great commander like Brock, however he was competent enough to be able to defend Lewiston properly unlike his superior at Buffalo who was being pushed back by Sheaffe. Far to the north, where the Niagara River fell into Lake Ontario, Fort George and Fort Niagara were exchanging blows with one another with their long distance guns, however even Fort Niagara was in a bad shape. It was undermanned with only 120 men, and the native Americans had cut off their logistical lines as well, forcing them to start rationing their goods as well. Nevertheless, Brock did not really have a plan to attack Fort Niagara during the Battle of the Niagara. He intended to take Buffalo and Lewiston first and then let Fort Niagara starve itself to submission, knowing the futility of trying to waste time with the Fort.

By dawn break, Brock’s men had also landed a second wave at Devil’s Hole, and under the order’s of their commander, swerved up north to hit Totten at his flanks. Half of their detachment also swerved south and besieged Fort Schlosser. Fort Schlosser by 1812 was already more than 50 years old, and by that point obsolete in its defense, with only two warehouses and four cannons being available during the battle to protect the fort. The companies of the 41st Regiment of the Foot besieged the Fort, and by 8 a.m, the fort had been stormed by the 41st Regiment and set alight by the men of the 41st Regiment.


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The remains of Fort Schlosser in the 1840s.

By dawn break, Sheaffe had also managed to push Smyth steadily down towards the Buffalo River. Smyth had sent orders of reinforcements down south towards Rochester, however the road to Rochester was a muddy one, and full of undergrowth and forest and would most importantly take up too much time. Smyth was then forced to confront the horrible possibility that he would have to surrender Buffalo to Sheaffe. Nonetheless, to his credit, Smyth continued to fight on, however it was much in vain. Smyth’s militiamen slinked off the battle, with their morale breaking every step they took behind, and the regulars of the US Army were inexperienced and unable to stop the accurate rolling fire from the British redcoats. They put up a strong fight, however Smyth’s own ignorance came to bite him during the battle. His negligence of his ammunition stores, shoes, clothes of his troops made sure that basic equipment for his troops had begun to dwindle rapidly and by 9 a.m., it had begun to become abundantly clear to Smyth that he would not be able to hold Buffalo for any longer. He tried to escape, with the forces that he had, however Sheaffe had anticipated the move. He had sent the Mohawk forces under his command, some 300 of them, towards the east of Black Rock, and when Smyth tried to retreat by clinging to the shoreline of Buffalo river, he found himself facing the 300 Mohawk troops as well. And by that point, the battle in Buffalo was over. Smyth refused to surrender for a good amount of time, but by 11 a.m., he surrendered himself and the 700 troops under his command to Sheaffe, who then stopped his troops and consolidated his hold over Buffalo.


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Alexander Smyth, whose extreme negligence of logistics, and his disease ridden troops led to the American defeat at the Niagara Front.

Up north, Brock had been having trouble. Whilst detachments of the 41st had hit Totten’s flanks, Totten had been able to utilize the small fishing creeks south of Lewiston to his advantage and stall the 41st Regiment in the series of creeks south of Lewiston. This forced Brock, after hours of pinning and pincer movements to backtrack and stick to an older but acknowledged strategy…….” The War of Isaac Brock, Penguin Publishers, 1998.

“Brock had been unable to outsmart Totten for about 6 hours, and even though the American losses in face of Brock’s own losses were far more, Totten and the Americans had been able to hold the line. By 9 a.m, Brock knew that it was time to change strategy. He stopped his offensive action against Totten in Lewiston and instead started to engage the Americans in pinning fire, and waited for reinforcements from Queenston to arrive. The reinforcements of Queenston under Captain John Norton and Captain John Brant. Brant and Norton arrived ashore with their companies about half an hour after 9, when Brock gave them their others. Brock would put heavy pressure on Totten and continue the pinning maneuvers against Totten, however the 300 men under Norton and Brant were ordered to move into Tuscarora village, from where they would be able to hit the backside of Totten’s forces and force Totten to surrender.

Norton and Brant quickly took their orders and implemented them. They only encountered the odd American militia messenger on their way to Tuscarora village and by a quarter past 10, they reached the village before they swung west and then hit the backside of Totten’s troops and Lewiston itself.

By that point, it had become abundantly clear to Totten that he was being surrounded from virtually all sides, and that the only way to retreat was upwards. He pulled his forces towards northern Lewiston, and from there, by 11 abandoned Lewiston Brock and his forces as Brock’s forces, the 41st, and Norton and Brant’s men entered the town and secured it. Meanwhile the detachments that had taken Fort Schlosser and some detachments from the militia under Sheaffe had also moved north and connected with one another at Oak Bluff, joining the frontlines together.


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Colonel Totten, the only competent American officer present in the Battle of the Niagara.

Totten withdrew his forces and fled north towards Fort Niagara. In the middle of the way, he found bands of Native American troops operating as British allies. He managed to quickly ambush the Native American troops and continue his retreat upward. By midday he had managed to enter Fort Niagara. Brock did not initially pursue the Colonel into the fort.

However Fort Niagara was already starting to become heavily strained by the dwindling ammunition available to them. Smyth’s negligence of all things related to logistics made it impossible for the Fort and its store sustain its own defense and supply Totten’s men. Totten took overall command of the fort and decided instead to hold the fort until reinforcements from Rochester could arrive and relieve them.

However Brock was no fool. By the time that he had finished consolidating his hold over Lewiston by 1, he and his forces pursued Totten’s men and then surrounded Fort Niagara by 2 with Fort George supporting Brock’s men in besieging Fort Niagara. Fort Niagara was held by courageous American troops, however even American troops fighting dysentery and lack of clothes could not put up under the pressure.

Despite this, the Americans continued to fight. Perhaps one of the greatest follies of the War of 1812 on part of the American government was that they didn’t put much stock into medical supplies, and medicine as a whole, which meant that even under kind conditions, medicine was scarce in the American army and navy. Under the conditions that Totten and Fort Niagara was under, medicine was nowhere to be found in the Fort. Totten had growing cases of dysentery, wounds and bloodloss but had no medicines to provide aid with.

By afternoon, Brock had managed to move his 6 pounder guns from Queenston and Lewiston up north to Fort Niagara, which with the aid of the guns from Fort George were starting to pound the fortress. By later afternoon and early evening, the Red Barracks of Niagara Fortress fell to Brock’s repeated attempts to take the fort, and the major resistance to the British attacks now only came from the Northern and Southern Redoubts as they tried to repel the British attacks. The Northern Redoubt was commanded by Totten and the Southern Redoubt was commanded by Captain Nathaniel Leonard. The Southern Redoubt was the first to fall as by 4 p.m, the 4th Militia Regiment of York managed to seize the redoubt and half an hour after 4, Totten surrendered the fort to Brock’s forces as well.


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Fort Niagara.

The Battle of Niagara was a disastrous battle for the Americans, right after their disastrous defeat at the Battle of Queenston Heights. This battle not only reaffirmed the strategic mobility of the British troops under Sir Isaac Brock, and to many extent, Major General Sheaffe, but it also in hindsight, exposed many failings with the American manner in which they pursued the war. The Battle of Niagara saw 78 dead British troops, around 311 wounded and 40 captured by the Americans. However, the Americans themselves faced 183 troops killed, around 400 wounded, 900 captured, with a Colonel and Brigadier General under hostage.

The Battle of the Niagara also saw the British troops gain a strong foothold on the American side of the Niagara River, and this exposed all of Upper New York to an invasion from Brock’s forces. This had huge implications for the future, as General Henry Dearborn was forced to withdraw troops from Plattsburgh, and the West to reinforce Upper New York. This would have highly disastrous results when Tecumseh would strike in the West after American troops had been withdrawn to reinforce Upper New York. And when Tecumseh struck, he struck hard......." The Military History of The War of 1812, University of Cambridge, 2015.

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Map of the Niagara Front, red denotes the British lines, and blue denotes the US lines.

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This does not look good for the Americans large swathes of the north are now effectively open to a large enough British force which is not good
 
This does not look good for the Americans large swathes of the north are now effectively open to a large enough British force which is not good
Not exactly. The roadways are absolutely atrocious during this time. And Brock will need reinforcements before trying to push into Upper New York. He can't do that with 5000 to 6000 troops. Though yes, this is not a good result for America.
 
I don't know much about war 1812 and north american history in general but will this have any effect in eastern seaboard? Like this tl anyway
 
Good work. Later, when the blockades start biting the New Englanders, it would be nice if some kindly British forces could provide the civilians with provisions... you know, for propaganda reasons,

Northstar
 
Good work. Later, when the blockades start biting the New Englanders, it would be nice if some kindly British forces could provide the civilians with provisions... you know, for propaganda reasons,

Northstar
let's just say John Lowell Jr, Timothy Pickering and Josiah Quincy are going to take a center stage in new england
 
let's just say John Lowell Jr, Timothy Pickering and Josiah Quincy are going to take a center stage in new england
Well if Andrew Jackson's victory in New Orleans is butterflied - which should be simple enough - then the Federalists won't be disgraced. In fact, with more British victories and American losses, things might come to a head in New England way before any major engagements happen on the Gulf coast.

I'm really looking forward to reading a TL as it develops. My only (hopefully) constructive criticism is that you're somewhat repetitive in your writing. I know part of it will come with editing, but some sentences like "the small fishing creeks south of Lewiston to his advantage and stall the 41st Regiment in the series of creeks south of Lewiston." and "The companies of the 41st Regiment of the Foot besieged the Fort, and by 8 a.m, the fort had been stormed by the 41st Regiment and set alight by the men of the 41st Regiment."

"Creeks south of Lewiston" and "41st Regiment" being the repeat offenders (forgive the pun).

I've written a bit of fiction before and know when you're writing it can be good to have a fresh pair of eyes pick up on these things, but I also know that it can be disheartening to have someone point out minor things like this - what approach would you like myself and other readers to take? Would you like me/us to point out such distractions or just keep quiet and let you discover them when you reread each chapter yourself?

Northstar
 
Well if Andrew Jackson's victory in New Orleans is butterflied - which should be simple enough - then the Federalists won't be disgraced. In fact, with more British victories and American losses, things might come to a head in New England way before any major engagements happen on the Gulf coast.

I'm really looking forward to reading a TL as it develops. My only (hopefully) constructive criticism is that you're somewhat repetitive in your writing. I know part of it will come with editing, but some sentences like "the small fishing creeks south of Lewiston to his advantage and stall the 41st Regiment in the series of creeks south of Lewiston." and "The companies of the 41st Regiment of the Foot besieged the Fort, and by 8 a.m, the fort had been stormed by the 41st Regiment and set alight by the men of the 41st Regiment."

"Creeks south of Lewiston" and "41st Regiment" being the repeat offenders (forgive the pun).

I've written a bit of fiction before and know when you're writing it can be good to have a fresh pair of eyes pick up on these things, but I also know that it can be disheartening to have someone point out minor things like this - what approach would you like myself and other readers to take? Would you like me/us to point out such distractions or just keep quiet and let you discover them when you reread each chapter yourself?

Northstar
Ah if they're too glaring then you can tell me. Small mistakes like that I sort out myself after rereading and such. New England things are going to come to a head in mid to late 1813.
 
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