Historic Markers Across Alabama



War of 1812 1812-1815



Marker ID:  
Location: 200 Monroe Street Northwest, Huntsville AL
County: Madison
Coordinates: N 34° 44.103    W 086° 35.312
  34.73505    -86.58853333
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None
 



Text:

I am Private Darbin Abolt of the 7th US Infantry Regiment, part of which is commanded by Captain Zachary Taylor, our future president. I was already in the Army when he declared war on the British in June 1812. We were fed up with the British interfering with our trade with France, whom they were already at war with, attacking and boarding our ships and impressing our sailors into their Navy, and supporting the Indians against our settlements. It was insulting to our national honor and we were ready for another war with the British. In my first action I fought the Shawnees. The Chief was Tecumseh who sided with Britain because settlers were moving into his ancestral land. We were outnumbered, but under Captain Taylor we held the fort and claimed victory. The US Army gained control over Lake Erie in 1813 and seized parts of western Ontario. Both campaigns ended the Indian confederacy and an independent Indian state in the Midwest under British sponsorship. In the Southeast, in 1814, General Andrew Jackson defeated the Creek nation at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend ending its bid for independence. However, the British, having defeated Napoleon, now had enough men to send three large invasion armies to New York, Baltimore, and the Gulf coast. They captured and burned Washington in September 1814 but later failed to take Fort McHenry guarding Baltimore. man named Francis Scott Key witnessed the bombardment of the fort and wrote a right catchy poem about it which we sing using an old British drinking song. It’s called “The Star-Spangled Banner” and became our national anthem. By January 1815, all three invasions were defeated. The 7th Infantry was in New Orleans when the Redcoats marched forward. We held our positions and killed many of them in vicious fighting. It was the greatest defeat they had ever suffered. This victory ended the fighting but a peace treaty had been signed in Belgium six weeks before. After this battle, the 7th was proudly called “Cottonbalers” and still is to this day.

1812 - 1815
I am Private Louis Drolet, New Orleans Militia, 1st FMOC (Free Men of Color) Battalion. I’m proud of Louisiana because it was the first state in the Union to commission a military officer of African descent and in 1812 was the first to authorize our black volunteer militia with black line officers. The First and Second Battalions of Free Men of Color have over 600 men. We fought with General Jackson against the British in New Orleans in December 1814 and January 1815. I wore civilian cloths, but I was issued and trained with a smooth-bore, flintlock musket like the Regular Army. I could load and fire three times a minute but the musket being unrifled could only hit a man at under 100 paces. The Tennessee and Kentucky militia had mostly hunting rifles and could hit a man at 200 paces or more. As a result, the British were usually out of my range and I was angry that I could not fire more effectively! However, the rifle takes a bit longer to load and does not have a bayonet. So when the British charged, I could repel them with my faster firing musket and bayonet! During the morning, the British attacked along three routes and the action was hot and heavy. We held our part of the line, but the British got through near the river. They were pushed back in some vicious bayonet and hand-to-hand fighting by the Marines and the 7th and 44th US Infantry Regiments. The British retreated from the scene of the battle and later boarded ships and left. We surveyed an awful scene of slaughter on the fields beyond our ramparts. The whole plain and the side of the river from the edge of the water were covered with fallen British soldiers. When the butcher’s bill was tallied we had 71 casualties and the redcoats had over 2,400! We had won a great victory, securing the Gulf Coast and New Orleans for America, and awakening a strong sense of nationalism in our country. General Jackson praised an adjacent battalion of French-uniform clad men of color with the following – “The battalion of city militia realized my anticipations and behaved like veterans.” However, the U.S. government still did not allow the general arming of men of color until almost 50 years later.

Erected 2013.



Notes:

More Information:
Wikipedia - War of 1812
Wikipedia - Timeline of the War of 1812
Wikipedia - Burning of Washington
Wikipedia - Battle of Baltimore
Wikipedia - Francis Scott Key
Wikipedia - The Star-Spangled Banner



End of War of 1812 1812-1815