1812: John Stark Edwards to Ebenezer Benedict

Don Troiani’s Painting of a western militiaman in the War of 1812 era.

The following letter was written by John Stark Edwards (1777-1813), a native of New Haven, Connecticut. He was the grandson of Princeton President Jonathan Edwards and the son of Pierpont Edwards—the founder of the Connecticut Land Company that settled the Western Reserve of Ohio. After graduating from Princeton in 1796 and earning his law degree, John Stark Edwards left New Haven for the Northwest Territory to take charge as sales agent of his father’s lands in the Reserve. He arrived in Warren, Trumbull county, Ohio in 1799 and was one of the first lawyers to settle in the Reserve.

In March 1811, Edwards was commissioned Colonel of the 2nd Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 4th Division of the Ohio Militia. When news of General William Hull’s surrender at Detroit in August 1812, reached those living in the Reserve, it caused great excitement and the settlers feared they might expect raids by the British and Indians. Many settlers fled in panic to the South and to the East. This letter was written at the time of that excitement, ordering men of his command to join Capt. Daniel Dull to a point near the Huron river where Camp Huron was built.

The Roll of Capt. Ebenezer Benedict’s Company is available on the web but it does not include the names of those privates mentioned in this letter. Two of the privates names, Jacob Earl and Robert Freeman are listed among the those on the Roll of Capt. Daniel Dull’s Company. See also Roster of Ohio Soldiers in the War of 1812.

John Starke Edwards Home in Warren, Ohio


Warren [Ohio]
September 26th 1812


I am ordered by General [Simon] Perkins to detach from the regiment under my command seventy-two men including officers—each private to furnish himself with a blanket & knapsack, and to be clothed & prepared for a winter campaign. Your proportion of that number will be five privates to make up which Jacob Earl, Robert J. Freeman, & Joseph Netterfield & Levi Benedict who are now on duty will be taken. The other one will be taken from the privates of your company highest on the class rolls that have not been discharged. If he is now on duty, you will return his name to me forthwith but if at home, you will muster him at Warren on Saturday next by ten o’clock a.m. prepared to march to Huron, there to join the company under the command of Capt. Daniel Dull.

With respect, yours &c. — John S. Edwards, Col. Commanding
2d Regt., 3rd Brigade, 4th Division Ohio Militia

[to] Capt. Ebenezer Benedict

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s