Second Campaign

The residue of the year 1813 and the first seven months of 1814, were distinguished by nothing but the formation of volunteer corps of the various species of arms, and the recruiting of regular soldiers, &r distant service. Still there was no organization of the troops into battalions or regiments. Nearly all were strangers, not only to the evolutions of the line, but to the roost simple manoeuvre of the field. The manual exercise, and a knowledge of the drill taught in the school of the company, was the utmost science that most of them could pretend to and the whole body, with the exception of the few who had served the year before, was almost as little qualified to take the field, as the same number of ordinary militia. The service of the preceding year, had indeed been productive of some beneficial effect, but the grand essential qualification of an array, THAT OF KNOWING HOW TO ACT, AND MOVE IN CONCERT, was wholly wanting.

In this defenseless and unprepared condition, not dreaming of danger, were the inhabitants of Philadelphia, on the 26th of August, when the news of the unfortunate battle of Bladensburg, and the capture of the city of Washington, both of which events took place on the 24th, suddenly reached them. All was consternation. Terror was depicted in every countenance. Already had the fears of some anticipated, ere that moment, the destruction of Baltimore, and not a few, were found, who predicted, the identical day, when the enemy would dictate to Philadelphia, the terms of her capitulation. These alarms, however premature, had a most happy effect.

They taught the people the folly of slumbering, whilst the foe was at the gates and aroused the dormant spirit of thousands, who had hitherto, regarded danger, as at a distance. A public meeting of the citizens of Philadelphia, was immediately convened, and a Committee of Defense was appointed, with ample power to adopt such measures, as the urgency of the occasion might demand.

Consentaneously with this measure. General Bloomfield resolved upon organizing a Camp, and upon accepting the services of such Volunteer Corps, as were prepared to offer. With that view, he dispatched an Officer of the regular army, to selects suitable spot at Kennett's Square, in Chester County, about 86 miles southwest of Philadelphia, thirteen miles from Wilmington, and eight or nine miles from Chad's Ford. This place was designated, as the point of Rendezvous, and some companies immediately took up their march, and proceeded to the spot.

The first City Troop of Cavalry, commanded by Captain Charles Ross marched at the same time, for Mount Bull, a height on the Chesapeake, fire miles from Turkey Point, and thirteen from Elkton, commanding an extensive view of the Bay, where it established its permanent Head Quarters, aid from which, a line of vendettas, extending to the City,, and communicating daily with the Camp, was formed.

The companies as they arrived on the ground, at Kennet's Square, which was designated as ''Camp Bloomfield'', were posted, and a course of discipline and duty, strict as that, which was practiced in the regular army, was at once introduced. To this rigid system, originally enforced, by Captain Charles W. Hunter, acting as Brigade Major; under Gen. Bloomfield, and subsequently adhered to the respective Officers in command, is chiefly to be ascribed to the high character which, 'the Advance Light Brigade,' then in its primitive discordant elements, afterwards acquired.'

On the 7th of Sept Lieut. Col. Clemson, of the U. S. Army, assumed the command of the Troops, which were, by this time, reinforced by some companies of regulars. On the 14th, Brigadier General Cadwalader, who had, a few days before, been appointed by the Governor,* to the command of the First Brigade, of the First Division of Pennsylvania Militia, and who arrived in Camp, on the preceding day, took command, and relieved Col. Clemson, who a few days afterwards moved, with the regular troops, to take ap a position near Iron Hill, a few miles in advance of the Brigade. On the same day upon which tho General took command, the Infantry in camp at that time, consisting of eight companies, were organized into a Regiment by the election of the field Officers, whose names appear, on the annexed Muster Roll. On the same month, the companies of Artillery were organized into a Battalion, of which Capt. Provost was chosen Major".1

On the 17th of Sept. the Brigade took up the line of march, proceeded on on the road towards Wilmington, and encamped in the evening, on Gregg's farm, about three miles from that town. On the 20th it changed its position, by removing to a field, half a mile distant. On this spot, designated in the Orders, ''Camp Brandywine'', it continued until the 29th, when, as it was intended, to take np a permanent position, a more eligible site, fir water and salubrity, was selected at a distance of about two miles in a western direction; which was occupied on the last mentioned day. To this encampment, was given the name of ''DUPONT", from the Proprietors of the ground, whose extensive Manufacturing establishments on the Brandywine, are so well known. It was on this field, that the Brigade, by a constant attention to discipline and tactics, acquired so perfect a knowledge, of that part of the Military art, which relates to evolutions, and the dudes of a Camp, that it was considered, by experienced Officers, to have had, no superior, in the service.

In the month of November, some apprehensions having been entertained, by General Gaines, then commander of the District, that the enemy who had during the whole summer and autumn, maintained his position, at the Delaware, meditated a landing, on some part of its western shore, ordered Col. Irvine, of the Army, who at that time, occupied a station, two miles below New Castle on the Frenchtown road, with a detachment of regular Troops to proceed with his command some distance below, and directed General Cadwalader, to replace him, with 600 men. The companies detailed for this service were, as follows, viz

Artillery
The Independent Artillerists. Captain Linnard

Infantry
I. The First Company Washington Guards, Captain Mifflin.
II. The Second Company Washington Guards, Capt. Swift
IIL The Independent Blues, Captain Browne.
IV. Second Company Union Guards, Capt. Murray,
V. The Delaware County Fencibles, Captain Serrill

The Order for this Movement, was received on the afternoon, of the 15th of November, and under circumstances which created a general belief that meeting with the enemy, would shortly take place. On the morning of the 16th, this Detachment, under the command of Lieut. Col. Raguet, proceeded to the designated spot, where it arrived, after a march of thirteen miles by 2 o'clock.

The Staff appointments, having been made by the commanding Officer, the Organization of the Detachment stood as follows:

Condy Raguet,-Lieutenant Col. Commanding
Samuel S. Voorhees, Major
Thomas R. Peters, Adjutant
Frederick W. Sperry, Quarter Master
Samuel Israel, Assistant Quarter Master
James S. Ferguson, Surgeon
Cephas O. Childs, Sergeant Major
William S. Hobson, Quarter Master Sergeant
John Tryer, Drum Major
_____ _____ Fife Major

The Detachment reached the ground, occupied by Col. Irvine, just at the moment that Officer was leaving it, where it continued without the occurrence of any material event until the latter end of the month. A commissioned Officer was daily detailed, and stationed at New Castle for the purpose of collecting from travelers, seafaring people, and watermen, such intelligence, respecting the position, and operations of the enemy, as might be obtainable and a report of the result of his inquiries was made to the commanding Officer. In addition to this source of intelligence, a line of vendettas had ten extended, from Fort Penn, at the head of the Delaware Bay, to camp Dupont, by Capt. Ross's troop, which was ordered to communicate with the Detachment, and by this means, a daily intercourse was maintained between all the Branches of the Army. The lateness of the season, however, deterred the enemy from attempting to ascend the Bay, and all expectation of meeting him in the field, was abandoned. Two deserters from the fleet, in the Chesapeake, fell into the hands of the vendettas, who brought them to the Camp, near New Castle (which was named after the commanding General) where they were examined, and sent under guard, to the City, to be delivered over to the Marshal.

On the 28th of November, in consequence of the cold, heavy rains, which filled many of the tents with water, and rendered the ground (which was nevertheless the best site for an encampment, in the vicinity) so slippery with clay, as to be almost impracticable, for the sentries to walk their rounds, the Camp of the Detachment was broken up, and the troops were marched into quarters at New Castle, where a Church, and the Court House, and a private dwelling, were politely offered by the inhabitants, for their reception. All the rules of discipline and duty, which were applicable to quarters, were enforced, and a proper and correct deportment was observed to the citizens, whose hospitality, during the continuance of the Detachment, in the neighborhood, had been conspicuous.

On the morning of the 30th of November, the Brigade broke up its Encampment at DUPONT, and marched into Wilmington, where it was joined by the Detachment from New Castle. The whole left Wilmington, and reached Chester on the ensuing day, and on Friday, the 2nd of December, early in the afternoon, entered Philadelphia. Such a sight, as the march of a body of three thousand well disciplined, and uniformed soldiers, with all their baggage and Munitions of War, had not been witnessed, since the period of the Revolution, and it may safely be said, that a more proud and joyous day, was never before, experienced, by the inhabitants of Philadelphia.

The very flower of the youth, and the best hopes of a nation, Citizens of every rank and profession, (AND OF EVERY POLITICAL NAME) were , there commingled, in the ranks, united in a common cause, THE DEFENSE OF THEIR COUNTRY and exhibiting to the Monarchies of Europe, the glorious spectacle, of PRACTICAL EQUALITY. Wives met their husbands, parents their sons, and Sweethearts their lovers, with all the anxious delight, so incident to a separation, which involves the absent party in peril, tor although, no occasion of meeting the enemy, had been presented, yet, an expectation of service, in the field of battle, was perpetually and universally entertained, and the present moment, was only regarded, as an armistice, which would be followed in the spring, by an early and sanguinary campaign.

The service upon which the First City Troop was engaged, was of too important a nature, to admit of its returning with the Brigade, and it was, accordingly detained on duty, a short time longer, and did not reach the City, until the 12th of December.

In addition to the Advance Light Brigade, a great body of Troops, amounting to nearly ten thousands men, was assembled in the neighborhood of Marcus Hook, 25 miles from Philadelphia, on the Delaware, under the command of Major Gen. Isaac Worrall. This force began to assemble in September, and did not finally break up its encampment, until the 5th of December. It was composed of Militia, from various counties in the State, and a respectable number of Volunteer corps. As General Cadwalader reported directly, to the commander of the District, and as his Brigade acted independently, of the Troops at Marcus Hook, very little intercourse was maintained, between the two bodies. With the latter therefore, we had not a sufficient acquaintance to enable us to speak of their discipline.

During the autumn of 1814, a large number of Volunteer Companies, were organized in the City and County, but did not take the field. The Citizens also, under the direction of the Committee Of Defense, occasionally, occupied themselves, in constructing Breast works, or Fortifications, on the west side of the Schuylkill, and a martial spirit seemed to have been so extensively diffused, through the whole community, that there would have been no want of soldiers, for the ensuing campaign, had occasion Inquired them.

The Brigade was not dismissed from the service of the United States immediately after its return, but was held subject to future orders. On the 14th of December, General Cadwalader was named by General Gaines, on his departure to New Orleans in General Orders, as his successor, in the command of the Fourth United States Military District, by which occurrence, the command of the Brigade devolved upon the senior officer. Col Biddle. The troops were mustered, inspected and dismissed in the following order:

Capt. Keims' company, on the 5th of December
Capt. Anderson's company, on the 6th of December
Capt. Serrill's company, on the 6th of December
Capt. Ross's troop, on the 12th of December
Col. Humphrey's regiment of Riflemen, on the 12th of December
Capt. Bacne's company of Flying Artillery, on the 24th of December
Capt. Rawle's troop of Cavalry, on the 24th of December
Lieut Col. Berry's detachment of militia, on the 2nd of January, 1815
Col. Biddle's Regiment of Infantry, on the 3rd of January
Lieut. Col Prevost's Regiment of Artillery, on the 3rd of January

The preliminary Articles of Peace, signed at Ghent, on the 24th December, were ratified by the President, on the 18th of February, and put an end to the aspiring hopes of those who were fondly anticipating the operations of another year.

Footnote:

1. On the 14th of November, the same Artillery Companies, with the others, which subsequently arrived in Camp, were organized into a Regiment, by the Election of the Field Officers, whose names appear on the Master Rolls.

History of Philadelphia


Source: A History of Philadelphia: With a Notice of Villages, in the Vicinity, Printed and published by Daniel Bowen, 1839


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