Friday, June 29, 2012

A Festival Overture for Independence

In the spangled twilight, on the West Lawn of the Capitol, the conductor points the baton. Cellos and violas create a pastoral scene that is interrupted by horns competing with cymbals. The culmination is an explosion of percussive sound, sound that descends into ringing victory bells. With the dying of the final thundering victory sounds, a counter point appears in the sky, first as a hissing sound that becomes a sprinkling of lights, and then a whizzing sound that becomes a light splay of multi-colored clusters, and finally a thundering as the crowd below “ah”s at the dome of light. This is a “Capitol Fourth” enjoyed on the Mall of our Nation’s capital city.

Friday, June 15, 2012

War of 1812 Continued

The Militia from Rockingham County

Rockingham County was assigned the 58th and 116th Regiments. Many companies in the Regiments were designated “Riflemen.” The commanders along the Chesapeake often desired riflemen from the mountain areas of Virginia for their weaponry skills. The local Regimental leaders of the 58th were Lt. Col. George Huston and Majors St. Clair Kirtley, William Beard, and Isaac Pleasants. The Regimental leaders of the 116th were initially led by Lt. Col. John Koontz and Majors William Bryan and Archibald Rutherford. Lt. Col. John Koontz (April 1814)[1] and Lt. Col. George Huston (August-September 1814) were assigned to the 4th Virginia Regiment. Only the County companies captained by Daniel Matthews (116th) and Joseph Mauzy (58th) served along side their local leaders. The 4th Virginia Regiment was station in the Norfolk area.

Friday, June 8, 2012

War of 1812

An Overview

On June 18, 1812, President James Madison signed the war bill and the “Free Trade and Sailors’ Rights War” or “War of 1812” against the British began. The War lasted two years and eight months, ending February 17, 1815 with the Treaty of Ghent in which the parties in the conflict agreed to the status quo antebellum.

In this article, we begin with an abbreviated overview of some of the interesting events and outcomes of the war for the United States. We conclude with an effort to describe the participation of the Rockingham County militia in the War. Scholars of the War debate the cause or causes of the War. There is no denying that British Government’s treatment of American seamen and its interference with American merchant ships irked the United States Government. The fact that British seaman often preferred the conditions on American ships over the conditions on their own ships contributed to the tensions. The Federal law that American ship owners provide medical services for sailors appealed to British sailors. Also, the British Navy had been at War with France since the French Revolution 20 years ago. The parties in “The Great War” on the European continent viewed the American issues as pesky nuisances.