A Glimpse At Humanity In The War Of 1812

Community
A depiction of the engagement between the American Navy frigate USS Chesapeake and the Royal Navy frigate H.M.S. Shannon on 1 June 1813 off the coast of Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada. The officers and crew of the Shannon, commanded by Captain Philip Broke, are shown boarding and capturing the Chesapeake.
Colored lithograph by M. Dubourg (circa 1813)

John Hollyday served in the War of 1812, where the British invaded the fledgling United States and almost reconquered the territory they had lost only three decades before.


A touching letter to his wife, Eleanor, offers a unique view of the war.

John had recently joined his father, a Presbyterian pastor, in the territory that would later become the state of Ohio. Living on the banks of the Buckskin River with his wife and their son Wilson, he enlisted in the military in the spring of 1813. The war, mostly skirmishes at this point, was dragging on and the need for more troops was evident.

Within a few months, John found himself on banks of the Sandusky River. From the unseasonably cold barracks at Fort Stephenson, John paints a grim picture of the situation. "There is a grat deal of confution in the camp" because the barracks commander had recently been discharged. Apparently it was politically motivated, since the governor was involved.”

Unlike our professional military, discipline and cohesion fluctuated wildly across units. "18 of our men deserted this morning" because their commanding officer, obviously respected, had been replaced.

Related: Read this beautiful Revolutionary War letter.

John was having none of it. He was a proud American soldier and recognized the consequences of desertion for his future prospects: "I think it is best to stay to such time as I can go home in safety and with some honor."

Nothing is sugarcoated for his wife, Eleanor. She was a obviously a strong and capable military spouse in the finest American tradition. Despite her youth and family obligations, the corn was planted and everything else is in order. She was steadfast and dependable, as so many have been during the harsh years of warfighting.

John had no way of knowing how long the war would last, or how bad it would get. Two months after his letter was written, the American forces at Fort Stephenson would repulse a daring attack by the British.

About a year later, the British would dispatch an army of 4,000 to Washington, burning down the entire city save for the Marine Corps barracks. Men like John would continue to march, though, protecting the republic in its early years.

His letter closes ominously. Both the danger and love are palpable: "I remaine your affecionate husband till death." Such is the life of an American soldier.

Original copied from the Sandusky County Scrapbook.

May the 27th 1813

Fort Stephens Lore Sandusky

Affectionate Companion I received your letter this morning of the 23rd instent Which gave me a grate deal of satisfaction to hear that you are well and that Wilson is a good boy

It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to hear that the corn is planted and that you expect it will be tended for I did not look for that to be done

Our troops at this place is generaly well but at this time there is a grat deal of confution in the camp and I do not know what it will end in the governor has discharged Major Harper and sent another Officer to comand the fort and we are of opinion it was an arbetery act and in consequences of this there is 18 of our men diserted this morning

It was reported that the queen Sharlote was at the mouth of the river and would atact this place but our speyes that we sent out on that ocation is returned from the bay and we find that account to be groundless they likewise stat that they believe that thar was not an Indian within forty miles of this place

We have plenty to eat and drink but the weather is very cold for the season we have frost in the mornings at this place yet and the wind blows very cold

I would be desireous to get home but I cant any way to get to without doing as them that has gon and I think it is best to stay to such time as I can go home in safety and with some honor as I cant think to lose my time for nothing and be farther back than when I started

I have nothing of importance to write to you I comit you to the ruler of all the earth whom trus will keep us from all danger and bring us together again to injoy each others company which will be a very desireable time to us I trust

Remember me to my frends and to all that may think fit to inquire after me nothing more at present but remaine your affectionate husband till death

John Hollyday

Joel Marrable (Laquna Ross via CNN)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs put on leave an Atlanta-based administrator and reassigned the region's chief medical officer and seven other staff members while it investigates the treatment of a veteran under its care.

Joel Marrable's daughter discovered more than 100 ant bites on her father when she visited him in early September.

The daughter, Laquna Ross, told Channel 2 Action News: "His room had ants, the ceiling, the walls, the beds. They were everywhere. The staff member says to me, 'When we walked in here, we thought Mr. Marrable was dead. We thought he wasn't even alive, because the ants were all over him.'"

Read More Show Less
he amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) returns to homeport at Naval Base San Diego on February 25, 2015. (U.S. Navy/ Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Corwin Colbert)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A former U.S. Navy sailor was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday for having sexual contact with a 14-year-old Oceanside girl in 2017, federal prosecutors in San Diego said in a statement.

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Known for acting on impulse, President Donald Trump has adopted an uncharacteristically go-slow approach to whether to hold Iran responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, showing little enthusiasm for confrontation as he seeks re-election next year.

After state-owned Saudi Aramco's plants were struck on Saturday, Trump didn't wait long to fire off a tweet that the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran.

But four days later, Trump has no timetable for action. Instead, he wants to wait and see the results of investigations into what happened and is sending Pompeo to consult counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.

Read More Show Less

That sound you're hearing is Army senior leaders exhaling a sigh of relief, because the Army has surpassed its recruiting goal for the year.

After failing to meet recruiting goals in 2018, the Army put the pedal to the metal and "did some soul searching," said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to ensure that they'd meet their 2019 goal. It must have paid off — the service announced on Tuesday that more than 68,000 recruits have signed on as active-duty soldiers, and more soldiers have stuck around than they expected.

Read More Show Less

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein transformed into the Cigarette Smoking Man from "The X-Files" on Tuesday when explaining why UFO enthusiasts should avoid storming the mythical Area 51 installation in Nevada.

"All joking aside, we're taking it very seriously," Goldfein told reporters during the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. "Our nation has secrets, and those secrets deserve to be protected. The people deserve to have our nation's secrets protected."

Read More Show Less