War of 1812 Reenactment Primary Source Journals and Diaries and Articles
War of 1812 Reenactment: As a War of 1812 Reenactor I have gone to many War of 1812 sites and have acquired many primary sources. The purpose of this page is to provide a list of pdfs of primary source journals, diaries, and articles for 1812 reenactors.
A Selection of War of 1812 Primary Sources:
The pictorial field-book of the War of 1812 by Ben Lossing. May also be able to navigate this URL to find a better text version. Or download the book in a .doc format here from my Google drive account.
St. Clair’s Defeat:
Below are some images of an account from a Lt. Gabius (Cabius?) Whitting (Whiting?) of the Corps of Artillery at Fort Constitution. If anyone knows what the images say or has a clearer copy please contact me. I’d love to put it on this page (and give proper credit).
Ohio Centinel Dec 1812 Correction about Battle of Massassinewa – zip file. a letter written into an Ohio paper by John Payne 1st LT Ky Vol. Light Dragoons and adj. to detachment offering a correction to the report.
Narrative of the Northwestern Campaign of 1813 by Stanton Sholes – zip file. Mississippi Historical Review Vol. 15, No. 4. March 1929. pp.519-525
Capt John Black War of 1812 zip file.
Alexander Bourne Diary_War of 1812 zip file.
Adam Walker Journal 4th US Infantry zip file.
Cradle of the Cockade A Play Zip file.
The Siege of Fort Meigs 1813 an eye-witness account by Alexander Bourne
The War of 1812 in Northwestern Ohio Background and Causes
The War of 1812 in Northwestern Ohio The Year of Disasters
We Lay There Doing Nothing John Jackson’s Recollection of the War of 1812
A Diary of the Attempted Relief of Fort Detriot – Zip file. Comes from Mississippi Valley Historical Review Vol.1, No.2 Sept 1914. p. 274-278.
A Forgotten Hero in a Forgotten War Crysler’s Farm. Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, 1990.
Memoirs of Captain Ephraim Shaler: A Connecticut Yankee in the War of 1812 John C. Fredriksen and Ephraim Shaler The New England Quarterly Vol. 57, No. 3 (Sep., 1984), pp. 411-420 (10 pages)
ZEBULON MONTGOMERY PIKE AND THE YORK CAMPAIGN, 1813 By: W. E. HOLLON New York History Vol. 30, No. 3 (July, 1949), pp. 259-275 (17 pages)
Colonel James Burn and the War of 1812: The Letters of a South Carolina Officer By: John C. Fredriksen and James Burn The South Carolina Historical Magazine Vol. 90, No. 4 (Oct., 1989), pp. 299-312 (14 pages)
Lawyer, Soldier, Judge: Incidents in the life of Joseph Lee Smith Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin 51 (1986) by Fredriksen , John C
The Battle of Chippawa: Infantry Tactics in the War of 1812 by: Jeffrey Kimball Military Affairs Vol. 31, No. 4 (Winter, 1967-1968), pp. 169-186 (18 pages)
Tecumseh Visits the Creeks zip file.
Western Campaign (frontier): Beyond the Mississippi
Dress and Uniforms and Headgear
Notes on the Uniform of the Solider at Fort Meigs – Covers US Army Regiments at Fort Meigs (both pre and post-seige), 10th Regiment of Ky Militia, Ky Mounted Troops, 12th Month Volunteers, Ohio Militia, Rangers/Scouts.
US Army and Militia headgear, caps, shakos, plates, cockades, and eagles. – zip file of the War of 1812 section. American Military Headgear Insigna. Campbell, Duncan J. and Michael J. O’Donnell. 2004. Alexandria, VA:O’Donnell Publications
Dry Books of Tactics: U.S.Infantry Manuals of the War of 1812 and After, Part 1. Military Collector and Historian 38 (Summer 1986) : 50-61. By Donald Graves.
1st Infantry. 1801 Standing orders – As written by Colonel John Hamtramck, and copied into the Company book of Captain Clemson, 1807, carried throughout the War of 1812. If interested in a copy contact the unit here. Makes mention of US Enlisted Men’s Messes:
“In garrison or whenever practicable the Regiment is to dine at one O’clock, at which time an Orderly officer is to visit the rooms and see that the Messes are sufficiently and properly served, that the Rooms are clean that the arms knapsacks and clothing are hung in the places alloted for them, and if any irregularities exist, to report them to the Officer commanding the regiment…..
At dinner drum, the Roast Beef is to be beat, precisely at One O’clock each day, when the men off duty are to assemble to Dinner. The dinner of those on guard are to be sent them by the non Commissioned officers of their different squads.
Every Mess will furnish themselves with two corse table clothes. A knife fork spoons and plate for each man, and the men of each barrack room must have two corse towels, one of which is to be fastened on a roller behind the door for the men to wipe themselves with.
The officers commanding companies will be pleased to see the above articles purchased as cheap as possible, the expense is trifling and will add much to the comfort of the men.
The non commissined officers of squads are to be answerable that a clean table cloth and towel be supplied twice a week, the room to pay for the washing. no man is permitted to clean himself or any thing belonging to him during Dinner time. ……
No mess shall consist of less than six men and not more than eight, unless permitted to the contrary, and no mess is to presume to sit down to dinner until the orderly officer has seen it, and no person to be permitted to eat his dinner at any other time, or to set at table without his hands are very clean.
A man in each room is to cook for the day, and to take the dinner to the men on guard. Soldiers who have families may be permitted to live by themselves.”
3 Shots minute sources:
There is a reference in “Red Coat and Brown Bess” by Anthony Darling:
“On parade he was expected to deliver by word of command one shot
every fifteen seconds.”
There is a footnote:
Simes, Thomas The Military Medly,p.23 London 1768. Cited in Peterson,
Op. Cit. P 160. On the battlefield, three shots a minute would
probably be average for a well-trained and disciplined body of men
Food and Rations
Raynor, Laura A., and Douglas J. Kennett. “Dietary Variability among a Sample of United States Soldiers during the War of 1812.” Historical Archaeology, vol. 42, no. 4, 2008, pp. 76–87. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25617530. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
Wine Measures – The 1805 book “The Scholars arithmetic or Federal Accountant” by Daniel Adams has a mention of the terminology of how to measure wine:
2 pints MAKE ONE Quart;
4 quarts MAKE ONE gallon;
10 gallons MAKE ONE Anchor of Brandy;
18 gallons MAKE ONE Runlet;
31 1/2 gallons MAKE ONE half hogshead;
42 gallons MAKE ONE Tierce;
63 gallons MAKE ONE hogshead;
2 hogsheads MAKE ONE pipe or Butt;
2 pipes MAKE ONE Tun.
Hardtack – Biscuits, Hard Tack, and Crackers in Early America by Stuart Wier Boulder, Colorado July 2014 digs up a mention of hardtack during the War of 1812 and provides a couple of period recipes. Though, it’s not clear if these are more “biscuit” or more “hardtack”.
A hardtack recipe – though I’m not sure how accurate this is.
1 Part Water
4 Parts Flour
Salt to Taste
Flour/Water salt into dough, Knead
Roll into 1/4in. thickness.
Cut into 2in. squares.
Bake at 275 degrees until bottom is brown. Same for other side.
Leave in oven, overnight to cool.
Officers and Upper Command
United States Army Officers in the War of 1812: A Statistical and Behavioral Portrait October 2012 The Journal of Military History 76(4):1001-1034 by JC Skaggs
QM Corps Part 1_Pub_10-12-1 – Covers a brief mention of the US Quartermaster Corps in the War of 1812 but mostly covers WW2.
War of 1812 Navy Documentary History in 3 volumes (zip file link to my dropbox account)
U.S. Navy Petty Officers in the Era of the War of 1812 October 2012The Journal of Military History 76(4):1035-1052 by Michael Crawford
History of the American privateers, and letters-of-marque, during our war with England in the years 1812, ’13 and ’14. Interspersed with several naval battles between American and British ships-of-war. By George Coggeshall.
Privateering in Early America Carl E. Swanson First Published December 1, 1989
“The Sport of Arbitrary Men”: The Privateer Nonsuch and a Search at Sea in the War of 1812. by Leiner, Frederick C. Journal of Military History. Oct2012, Vol. 76 Issue 4, p1147-1164. 18p.
The Militia System and the State Militias in the War of 1812 by Robert L. Kerby. Indiana Magazine of History Vol. 73, No. 2 (June 1977), pp. 102-124 (23 pages)
Biological Warfare in Eighteenth-Century North America: Beyond Jeffery Amherst February 2000 The Journal of American History 86(4):1552-80 by Elizabeth Fenn
The Illinois River Potawatomi in the War of 1812 by David Edmunds
Contemplator – a good source for period music
Sgts Appointment NY Militia. Provenance unknown.
Traveling Pay Document made on Rag Paper. Notes on size could be 7×5 inches or 5×25 inches? Provenance unknown.