Summary Information
Title: March of the Pittsburgh Blues Copybook
Collection Number: DAR.1939.02
Creator: Pentland, Charles

Collection Dates: 1812-1813
Extent: 0.21 linear feet (1 box)

Language: English

This copybook was hand-copied from Charles Pentland's original journal, documenting the military activities of the Pittsburgh Blues between September 10, 1812 and September 10, 1813. The entries highlight the Battle of Mississinewa, the Siege of Fort Meigs, the distances and destinations of daily marches, and a membership roster of the unit. Digital reproductions of this collection are available online.

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Date Published:

July 2007

Finding aid prepared by Matt Gorzalski.
Revision Description:
September 2011:
Content digitized.


Charles Pentland was a private in the Pittsburgh Blues, a company-sized military unit established in 1807 in Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Blues were among the first units to respond to Governor Simon Snyder's call for troops to serve in the Old Northwest during the War of 1812. Pennsylvania strongly supported the war against Great Britain, as their sixteen votes in Congress constituted both the largest single bloc in favor of war, and, not surprisingly, was one of the first states to answer President James Madison's call for volunteer soldiers.

The Pittsburgh Blues were unique among other units as they were designated for federal services outside of the Pennsylvania state border. Captained by James R. Butler, they were noted for their highly successful campaigns. The Pittsburgh Blues originally camped at Grant's Hill, present day Pittsburgh, before navigating the Ohio River into Ohio and landing in Cincinnati along with other army units. They were often partnered with Colonel Fenton's Pennsylvania volunteers and militia from Kentucky and Tennessee. From there they marched into Indiana and faced their first military engagement against the Miami Indians approximately a mile east of present day Jalapa, and seven miles northwest of present day Marion. The battle, known as the Battle of the Mississinewa, took place in November and December of 1812. The objective was to eliminate a concentration of hostile tribesmen that threatened communication lines. During the battle, the Pittsburgh Blues successfully defended a surprise attack on the American camp. It was the last battle the Miami Indians fought as a nation.

Other notable military engagements were the successful defense of the Ohio Forts Meigs and Stevenson in April and May of 1813, respectively. At Fort Meigs, they captured 42 enemy troops and routed their Indian allies. Illness and casualties ultimately prevented the Pittsburgh Blues from an invasion of Canada in October of 1813.

Collection Scope and Content Notes

This is a hand-copied volume of Charles Pentland's original journal, documenting the experiences of the Pittsburgh Blues in the War of 1812. The author of the copybook is unknown. The copybook covers the march of the Pittsburgh Blues from Pennsylvania to Indiana and back between September 10, 1812 and September 10, 1813. The entries mainly discuss the length and destinations of daily marches. The Battle of Mississinewa is highlighted in the entries of December 17 and 18, 1812, and the Siege at Fort Meigs is highlighted in the April 26, 1813 entry. These include brief accounts of the battles along with the number of casualties. The copybook also contains a membership roster of those enlisted in the Pittsburgh Blues. The volume is mostly legible but in fragile condition. Although it is a copybook, its appearance suggests that it is contemporary with the early nineteenth century.

Subject Terms

  • Mississinewa, Battle of, Indiana, 1812

Corporate Names
  • Pittsburgh Blues (Militia unit).

Personal Names
  • Butler, James R.
  • Pentland, Charles

  • Fort Meigs (Ohio) -- Siege, 1813
  • Fort Stevenson (Ohio) -- Battle, 1813
  • Indiana -- History -- War of 1812
  • Mississinewa Lake (Indiana)
  • Ohio -- History -- War of 1812
  • Ohio River Valley -- History -- War of 1812
  • Pennsylvania -- History -- War of 1812
  • United States -- History -- War of 1812 -- Campaigns

  • Soldiers

  • Diaries

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of the Buhl Foundation to the Darlington Memorial Library in 1939.

Alternate Format:

Digital reproductions of this collection are available online.

Custodial History:

This collection was located in the Darlington Memorial Library in the University’s Cathedral of Learning until 2007 when it was moved to the ULS Archives Service Center for processing, storage, preservation and service. However, it remains in the custodianship of the ULS Special Collections Department.

Preferred Citation:

March of the Pittsburgh Blues Copybook, 1812-1813, DAR.1939.02, Darlington Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Matt Gorzalski in June 2008 and digitized by the DRL in September 2011.


No copyright restrictions.


  • Fredriksen, John C. "The Pittsburgh Blues and the War of 1812: the Memoir of Private Nathaniel Vernon."Pennsylvania History, Vol. 56, no.3 (1989): 196-212.
  • Holliday, Murray. "The Battle of Mississinewa." Indiana History Bulletin, 45, no. 12 (1968): 152-156.
  • "The Westmoreland Soldiers in the War of 1812." History of Westmoreland County, 1 (2000): 152-156.

Collection Inventory

Box 1
Volume 1 March of the Pittsburgh Blues Copybook, 1812-1813