This summers genealogy research trip included a trip into Washington D.C. for research at the National Archives.

Madeleine had made arrangements to meet with a researcher for help in finding the War of 1812 records for Benjamin Clough our 3x great grandfather. Benjamin Clough had not shown up in the pension files but it was known that he had served so we did the obligatory trek to do a little research in this countries greatest repository, the National Archives.

What an awesome experience. The building itself is impressive. Situated on the Capital Mall a short walk from our hotel. A monumental building amongst many.  The main doors are massive and are no longer how you enter.  Still I made my sister hike up those front steps to do another photo op. In order to be handicap accessible the entry is at the side, and not quite as impressive. Still if you are a genealogist you should try to make the trip at least once.

Once we were processed through to do research Madeleine quickly requested the file we were hoping to view. We were allowed to view only one file at a time and were not allowed to sit down together and share.

While they had many rules in place , I was amazed that papers almost 200 years old were available to look at  without  the required white glove  treatment. The file for Capt. Benjamin  J.  Clough contained 13 original sheets of paper  along  with  two original envelopes.

War of 1812

A conflict between the United States and Britain from June 1812 to February 1815. The conflict was an inconvenience for Britain who was heavily involved fighting the Napoleonic wars with France. The British embargoes on French shipping affected America economically and was further exacerbated by the many incidents where the British Navy pressed Americans merchant sailors into the Royal Navy. Furthermore Britain supported Indian raids on Americans migrating into the frontier. The Conflict was ended by the signing on December 24 1814 of the Treaty of Ghent. News of the treaty did not reach the states until February 1815.

  • June 18, 1812 Declaration of War signed by President James Madison
  • 1813  early death and disability pensions for disabled veterans and veterans’ widows and their children.
  • December 24, 1814 Treaty of Ghent signed.
  • 1816 Additional provisions for widows, orphans and disabled veterans. Allows guardians to turn over bounty and land warrants in exchange for half pay pension for five years.
  • 1850 Bounty Land Act for 9 month service 160 acres, 4 months 80 acres, and 1 month 40 acres.
  • 1855 Bounty Land Act for 14 days service 160 acres. Those who already received less could file for the balance up to 160 acres.
  • 1871 Service pension for minimum 60 days service and an honorable discharge. Veterans Widows married before February 17, 1815.
  • 1878 Service pension served minimum 14 days or in any battle, received an honorable discharge. Veteran widows married to pensioner prior to his death.

Captain Benjamin J. Clough applied for his first Land Bounty in October 1850. The following is that initial request that I have transcribed here. There are a few words I was unable to decipher and those are indicated as, ……. .  It is a great story of his time during this conflict. (Click on images to enlarge)

State of New York

County of Erie SS: On this 24 day of October 1850. Personally appeared before me, the undersigned, a Justice of the Peace, duly authorized by law to administer matters, within and for the county & state above named, Benjamin J. Clough aged 65, a resident of Hamburg in the county & state aforesaid ; who, being duly sworn according to law, declares, he is the identical “Benjamin J. Clough”, who was a Lieutenant & afterwards a Captain of the 48 Regt. of the NY State Militia, in the war with Great Britain declared by the United States on the 18th day of June 1812.

That in September of 1812 there being a vacancy in the captaincy of his said company – this deponent, as commandant thereof, received an order from Lt. Col Wm. Warren commandant of his said regt. to call out his company to form a guard having its headquarters at “Eighteen Mile Creek” to guard the coast at that point on the Frontier. That under that call about twenty or twenty five of his company volunteers, with whom, under his command, at that point he served for three months, when he was permitted to disband his men: he, this deponent was not discharged, but was directed by his commanding officer, to hold himself as a minute man.

After the Lake was frozen over in the winter of 1812.13 He received orders from Col Warren to raise a guard to guard the coast at and where the mouth of 18 mile creek which he did as before by calling upon his men to volunteer and actually served under the last …… order & in command of that guard for the space of two months when he was reinforced by Capt. Johnson & his company of the same regiment, who then, having a Captain’s .command …., took the command, and this deponent continued in active service in the …. …,

… … him, for the term of two months service, making 4 months service under the last …….. call. Soon after which he was again ordered by Col. Warren to raise a company of volunteers to guard the ……. at Buffalo and Mack Rock, which he did and actually served. in command of his said company for one month where he received orders to, & did, disband his men: but immediately afterwords received an order from Col. Warren to raise a company to go to Fort George in Canada which he did. He went with his company under command of Maj. C. Chapin & Genl. P.B. Porter to Fort George, in which detachment he served about one month, at the end of which time he marched his company home to Hamburg & disbanded them.

Again he volunteered with & in command of his company under General Harrison proclamation, crossed the river at Mack Rock, marched to Fort George to join the standard of that General, when, about one month after starting from home, Genl. Harrison, informed the volunteers that his purpose of taking Burlington Heights must be abandoned on account of orders, which had received from Head Quarters, to repair to Sackett Harbor, when he verbally discharged the said volunteers, but recommended them to go on under Genl. McClure as there would soon be a Pay Master along, when they could get their pay. Whereupon this deponent with his company continued under command of Genl. McClure & marched toward Burlington Heights, & when they had reached 20 Mile Creek, they were ordered to retreat, & they crossed the river to Fort Niagara where they were commanded by Genl. McClure to deposit their arms at that Fort which they did & returned home.

Immediately after which and about the last of November 1813 he again volunteered with his company to guard the lines at Mack Rock, which he did and continues to serve at that place until Buffalo was burned Dec. 31, 1813-14 – after which he was at home, chiefly, until the latter part of July 1814, when, again under an order from Col Warren he volunteered with his company to go to Fort Erie to join Genl. Brower, which he did, and continued to serve under that engagement in the said war until the 27th day of September 1814 where he was directed to discharge his men.

And he further declares, that from the time he was first called out in September 1812 until the fall of 1814 he was never discharged but after the occasions, on which he was called out as aforesaid, had ceased to require the aid of his force, he was told that he could let his men disperse with the understanding that he should and would hold himself in readiness at a moment’s warning which he did. He was not at home during all of that period more than two or three months, which was chiefly during the winter after the burning of Buffalo.  He may have made some mistakes in the order of some of the events above mentioned, but the leading facts are there and he believes the dates to be so. During all the said service, this deponent had actual command of his company though only a few: by commission; until the 2nd day of March 1814 where he received a commission from his Excellency D.D. Tompkins Gov. as Captain of said company, in the 48th regt. …….., which is herewith ………….

He makes this declaration for the purpose of procuring the bounty land to which he may be entitled, under the act granting bounty land to a certain officers & …….. rights have been engaged in the service of the United States … ………… 28, 1830                                         Benj am J. Clough

……… to & subscribed before me, the day and year above written. …. I hereby certify, that I believe the said Benjamin J. Clough to be the identical man who served as aforesaid, and that he is of the age above stated.                 C.T. Shattuck, Justice of the Peace of Erie Co N.Y.

Albert S. Baker is hereby appointed my agent and attorney, to whom I wish all correspondence to be addressed.           Benj am J. Clough

This deposition was sent in response to the Bounty Land Act of 1850 whereupon Benjamin received 40 acres. Benjamin recounts at least 11 months total as noted in the margins of this deposition therefore he could have received the full 160 acres at that time. But alas the government conclusion is stated in the document here dated January 24 1851.

It appears from documents in this Office that Benjamin H. Clough Captain Company of New York Militia entered service on the 25th of July 1814 and served till the 25th of September 1814 and from 20th of September 1814 to the 23 of November 1814. No other service has been found in this office..

 

 

That totals about 4 months.  What he received was for 1 month service. It appears they figured he was short 2 days for 4 months actual recorded service. Benjamin later made application and was awarded in 1856 the remaining 120 acre bounty he was entitled to.

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