Adam Peck Jr. in the War of 1812
The story below is about Adam Peck Jr.’s service in the War of 1812, however, many men in our various family lines served in this major war. The story below shows what all of the men who fought endured in that war.
200th Anniversary of the War of 1812
by Susan Moore Teller, program presented November 8, 2015
The fact that I am born at all was altered directly by the War of 1812, as my 3rd great-grandparents. Adam Peck Jr and Elizabeth Gayle were greatly impacted by it. Adam served in this war from the very beginning. In 1813, he was captured by the British at Fort Niagara near Canada, marched as a prisoner to Quebec, Canada, continued to serve as a Ranger (like Special Forces today) on to the final, victorious battle at New Orleans with General Andrew Jackson.
Adam’s future wife, Elizabeth Gayle, was married to his brother, Patrick Peck as that battle began on December 1, 1814. Patrick died of dysentery sometime prior to December 12th beside the Mississippi in the arms of his brothers, Adam and Moses Peck, begging them to care for his young wife and three small children “forever.” Adam married the widow “Eliza Peck” on July 16, 1816 and they raised the three children, William Richbourg Peck born 1808, Elizabeth Sharkey Peck born 1810, and Louisa Ann Peck, born 1812 who were Patrick’s and six more of their own. The youngest child born, James Henry Peck born 1830, is my own 2nd great-grandfather.
General Andrew Jackson marched into New Orleans on December 1, 1814 and the final battle was held after long planning on January 8, 1815. There were many conflicts earlier called “skirmishes” where men died in combat while protecting the ramparts constructed on the Plains of Chalmette from British invasion, beginning on December 3, 1814, in preparation for the final battle. The last big battle, held January 8, 2015, on the site of Jackson’s choosing was a stunning victory against the best army of Europe, fought by the men who had beaten Napoleon, up against a “rag-tag” army of US Military forces, militia, Indians, blacks, pirates, shopkeepers and anyone else who would fight. How Andrew Jackson’s genius in planning and executing that battle changed the world we live in today is rarely mentioned, even on this year of the 200th anniversary in 2015 of the final battle held January 8th , 1815.
The battle action actually began when the British first landed on the American shore, on December 3, 1814, continuing, with guerilla attacks initially on the British by the Americans under Jackson, then continuing steadily while extensive breast works were dug and prepared under Jackson’s direction, then in an initial major cannon exchange on December, another major one on January 1, 1815 and culminating with the final battle January 8, 1815 when more than two thousand British were killed in a final desperate direct assault by the British into heavy anti-personnel cannon fire by Jackson’s forces, compared to twelve (yes, twelve) causalities on the American side. The cannon, cannon balls and other gun powder was supplied by the pirate Jean Lafitte, contacted by General Andrew Jackson who requested his aid. Patrick died of dysentery beside the Mississippi River during this long siege of New Orleans. His brothers went on to serve throughout the campaign. The nation I live in was greatly impacted by the War of 1812, although today it is called the “forgotten war.” While it seems to be well known by the final, victorious defeat of the British by Jackson’s forces, which took place on Jan. 8, 1815, most disregard it as “the peace treaty was signed December 24, two weeks before.”
Few mention the ratification of the treaty on Feb. 16, 1815 was required to actually END the war, fewer still acknowledge the terms the British had planned to force on the young United States after their expected trouncing of those defending New Orleans. The Brits planned to demand the US relinquish the Louisiana Purchase to British possession, and define their western border as the east border of the Mississippi River, leaving Britain in control of the Mississippi from Canada to New Orleans. They meant to give the Northwest Territory to their Indian Allies in this war, halting the US northern boundary at the Ohio River. They hoped to incorporate the New England States, which had threatened to secede due to their trade with Britain, leaving the United States a far tinier country than we live in today. After their disastrous unexpected defeat at New Orleans, the terms were changed to “status quo” they keep Canada as we know it today, we keep what had previously been ours, including the Louisiana Purchase Jefferson implemented. This was not at all that planned earlier by the British, but few of us ever hear of this history of our nation.