THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (March 16-March 22)
Fuss and Feathers
On March 19, 1814 Winfield Scott, just 27-years-old, was promoted to brigadier general in the U.S. Army. It was the start of his long career as a general officer and a commander in the Black Hawk and Second Seminole wars, the Mexican-American War and the early days of the Civil War.
As a lieutenant colonel in the regular Army, Scott was captured at the Battle of Queenstown Heights in 1812. He and about 900 men were stranded on the Canadian side of the Niagara River when New York State militiamen refused to cross over into Canada to reinforce their beachhead.
It was one of several failed U.S. attempts to invade Canada but Scott was considered one of the few heroes of the defeat because he had crossed the river under fire and made his way up to the captured British artillery emplacement where U.S. regulars and New York militiamen were holding off a series of attacks by British, Canadian and Native American opponents. Scott, an artillery officer, took command when the militia and regular Army commanders were wounded.
Promoted to colonel after he returned to the United States in a prisoner exchange in 1813, Scott was wounded during the successful capture of Fort George on the Niagara Frontier between Canada and New York State in 1813.
Later in the year he will play a key role in the battles of Chippawa and Lundy’s Lane. Scott, who later commanded the U.S. Invasion force that captured Mexico City in 1847 during the Mexican War, would be promoted to lieutenant general – the first in the United States since George Washington held that rank.
Known as “Fuss and Feathers” for his flashy uniforms and attention to detail, Scott ran unsuccessfully for president in 1852 as the standard bearer of the Whig Party.
Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, Special Operations, THIS WEEK in the War of 1812, Traditions, Unconventional Warfare. Tags: Army, Battle of Queenstown Heights, Brigadier General, Niagara Frontier 1812, War of 1812 Bicentennial, Winfield Scott, winter warfare.