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March of the Pittsburgh Blues Copybook

What's online?

The entirety of the copybook was scanned and is presented online.

What's in the entire collection?

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.

About the Pittsburgh Blues

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.

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. Illness and casualties ultimately prevented the Pittsburgh Blues from an invasion of Canada in October of 1813.


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