The War of 1812 in the western territories has been misunderstood and widely ignored by mainstream historians. In fact, interest is growing in the events, battles and skirmishes that took place in the Mississippi valley. British involvement was limited but to a certain degree effective in obtaining the help of certain tribes of native Americans to harass, rob and destroy the small American settlements on the frontier. When war was declared, the Americans began an extensive effort in creating networks of forts and military stations across the frontier. In the Missouri territory, Americans built or created over forty-five forts and raised militia groups and Missouri Rangers. In the Illinois territory, over sixty-five forts were erected, with militia and Illinois Rangers also being formed. Fort Bellefountaine near St. Louis, were "bullet proofed" and used to patrol up and down the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.
Indian attacks were indiscriminate but lethal. The Battle of Cote Sans Dessein in the Missouri territory was an attempt to destroy an entire settlement by the Rock River Sac , Fox and other joining tribes. The Battle of the Sinkhole near St. Louis found the Sac and Fox leader Black Hawk surrounded, but he managed to elude his American pursuers. Campaigns against the tribes included the Peoria expedition, the removal of the Miami from the Booneslick, and the ill-fated Prairie du Chein expedition. Attacks by Indians didn't end in the Missouri territory till 1817, two years after the war was over. Individuals such as William Clark, Daniel Boone, his sons Nathan and Daniel Morgan, Henry Dodge, Augustus Chouteau, Zachary Taylor, William Ashley, John Colter, Zebulon Pike, all had parts to play in the War of the 1812 in the west.
Living History Groups
Boone's Rangers and Clemson's First US have been officially in existence since 1987. Originally holding most events at Fort Osage (one of the recreated US factory forts), the group has expanded in attending events at Fort Madison, Iowa (one of the other recreated US factory forts), Fort Massac, Illinois, Prairie Du Chein, Wisconsin and Mississinewa, Indiana. The Rangers and the First US have attended special functions which has included the Battle of New Orleans and have appeared in documentaries for PBS. Some of our members have helped in the excavation of Fort Bellefountaine in the past few years. Since many of our members participate in other living history groups, it is not uncommon to see our group attend Mexican War events such as Fort Gibson in Oklahoma.
The War of 1812 in the West Symposium is held each year and is sponsored by the Rangers and First US Infantry. The symposium includes scholarly presentations on various topics dealing with the war and is open to the public. Sites for the symposium are rotated through the state of Missouri and have been held at the General Daniel Bissell Home (near Fort Bellefountaine) in St. Louis, Missouri, Arrow Rock State Park (the Booneslick area) near Booneville, Missouri and at Fort Osage, near Kansas City, Missouri.
Membership is mainly through a person's dedication to portraying the War of 1812 as a Boone's Ranger or First US regular. It also includes $10.00 yearly dues that pays for a bi-monthly issue of The Dispatch, the group's newsletter. One can subscribe to the newsletter if not wishing to be a member by sending $10.00 to the editor. The newsletter includes events and comments about the groups activities as well as historical information about the War in the west. Fort those who become members, a handbook is available which describes the history, clothing, accoutrements of the Rangers and First US Infantry. Though there are no by-laws, constitution or other trappings of some organizations, the Rangers and First US regulars operate on a "gentlemen's agreement" and elections once a year for a captain for the regulars and a sergeant for the rangers.
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To contact us or to send subscriptions to , please direct to:David C. Bennett
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This page was created by John Sek © 1998-2007.