Military Subjects:  War of 1812


 

The War of 1812 Magazine

Issue 3: June 2006

Articles

Robert Walcot: The Man Who Could not Possibly have Shot General Brock

By: Guy St. Denis

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in the "Journal for Army Historial
Research," Volume Eighty Three, Number 236, Winter 2005, pp. 281-290 and
is reprinted here with the permission of the author.

Robert Walcot

Robert Walcot
(Collections of the Library of Congress)

In 1880, an old man living in Philadelphia launched a lawsuit against a New York city bank.  Robert Walcot was determined to recover a deposit he had lodged with the Irving National Bank in 1854.[1]  But the weight of ninety-nine years had confined Walcot to his bed, and so it was impossible for him to travel any great distance.  The Marine Court of New York, however, obligingly sent a  representative to take down his deposition, which was done in the presence of both Walcot’s and the National Bank’s lawyers.  During the course of these preliminary proceedings, the bank’s lawyer - who was determined to test the plaintiff’s memory - asked Walcot to expand upon a passing remark he made in reference to his military service during the War of 1812.  Walcot complied with a narrative of events leading up to, and including, the Battle of Queenston Heights.  These reminiscences were interesting enough in their own way, but there was nothing particularly noteworthy about Walcot’s experience ... until he bluntly confessed:  “I shot and killed General Brock.”[2]

This General Brock was none other than Major-General Isaac Brock, who in 1812 was both the military commander and civil administrator of Upper Canada - a territory better known today as southern Ontario.  In late June of that eventful year, news of the American declaration of war against Great Britain reached Brock’s headquarters at York, now Toronto, where the British general was in charge of a force that was less than adequate for the defense of the province.  With only a small army of regulars at his disposal, Brock was hopelessly outnumbered by an enemy whose regiments were even then massing at various points along the border of a vast frontier.  To make matters worse, Upper Canada was thinly populated by a mix of people whose attitudes toward the war ranged from defeatist to disaffected.  This sad state of affairs quickly became manifest through high absentee rates among the militia, a lack of commitment from former Native allies, and the openly inimical activities of emboldened rebels.  To say that Brock’s prospects for a successful defense of Upper Canada were bleak would be an understatement.  Despite the odds, however, he led an expedition to Detroit and compelled the surrender of a large American force.  The effect was electric, and inspired the populace of Upper Canada with the general’s conviction that their colony could be defended.  As confident as he was, Brock was not invincible.  The following October, while gallantly leading a charge to retake a captured redan battery at Queenston Heights, near Niagara Falls, the “Hero of Upper Canada” was killed by a shot to the chest.

Major-General Sir Isaac Brock

Major-General Sir Isaac Brock
Courtesy of Captain Michael Mellish,
St. Peter Port, Guernsey

In death, Brock became a heroic figure of legendary status whose name commanded just as much respect in the United States as it did in Canada and Great Britain.  Not surprisingly, when Walcot confessed to having shot General Brock, he caused a sensation - first among his audience, and then on the front page of the Philadelphia Times.  One of the men who heard Walcot’s claim must have also been responsible for passing it along to the newspaper. In any event, other papers picked up on the story, and before long Walcot’s revelation was making the editorial rounds north of the Canadian border.[3]  In the Niagara region of Ontario, however, the news was greeted with a fair degree of skepticism.  After all, Walcot was just the latest of several claimants for the same dubious distinction.  Still, his telling of Brock’s death was the most engaging, and in time it might have been accepted as the only correct version -  had it not been for Miss Janet Carnochan.  This respected local historian from what is now Niagara-on-the-Lake had her doubts, which she freely expressed whenever it appeared that too much faith was being placed in Walcot’s claim.  On one such occasion, in 1913, Miss Carnochan was quoted as saying, “I have seen this account before, [and] I have said that I thought it impossible to know who killed Sir Isaac Brock.  No doubt others fired.”[4]  Miss Carnochan was decidedly of the opinion that the shot could have been fired by any one of the Americans defending the redan battery overlooking Queenston, even though it was widely accepted that Brock had been singled out for death by one of the enemy soldiers.[5]  Regardless, Miss Carnochan had a valid point, and she used it on more than one occasion to suppress Walcot’s claim.  Still, she was never able to completely dispel the notion that Robert Walcot might have been the man who shot General Brock, and it never occurred to her that it might be possible to investigate the matter.  But it is possible, simply by investigating Walcot himself.

When the National Bank’s lawyer asked Walcot to elaborate on his military service during the War of 1812, it was meant as a test of the old man’s memory.  Walcot willingly complied, and in the process he provided the means by which to test his honesty.  It was just a matter of verification, but no one ever thought to check Walcot’s facts ... until now.  In order to proceed, however, it is first necessary to know what Walcot told his audience back in 1880.

According to Walcot, he was a 31 year-old blacksmith at Newtown Roads,  Massachusetts when the United States declared war against Great Britain in June of 1812.  He also admitted that he was not keen to fight, and that he only did so under “the pressure of a draft.”  It was sometime after the capitulation of Detroit, which occurred in mid-August, that Walcot was pressured into joining Lieutenant Colonel John Chrystie’s Thirteenth Regiment of the regular army.  Walcot remembered setting out for the Niagara frontier in September, embarking from Charlestown Neck - the peninsula on the north shore of the Charles River opposite Boston. On 11 October, his regiment made camp at the Four Mile Creek on Lake Ontario, just east of the American Fort Niagara.  There Walcot was promptly assigned to the Concord Artillery of the Thirteenth Regiment, under the command of Captain Nathan Leonard.  Before Walcot had a chance to adjust to his new surroundings, he and his regiment were on the march again, and this time through a severe rainstorm.  Their destination was Lewiston on the Niagara River, but their objective was Upper Canada.

Upon his arrival at Lewiston, which is nearly opposite to Queenston on the Canadian side of the river, Walcot was one of the forty artillerists selected who would accompany Lieutenant Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer’s pre-dawn invasion of British territory.  Early in the morning of 13 October, the landing was accomplished and the British defending the base of the heights at the south end of Queenston were routed.  During this action, Van Rensselaer was severely wounded, and succeeded in his command by Captain John E. Wool.  Although Wool himself was wounded, as evidenced by the blood that trickled out of his shoes, he stayed the course by leading an attack up the heights.  Many of the artillerists who followed him had also been injured during the initial assault, including Walcot who suffered a  gunshot wound to his right leg.  Yet, Wool and his men managed to dislodge the British defenders, and in the process Brock was “hurried from the little battery.”  The general mustered his troops in Queenston and ordered them to retake the battery.  When the British ranks broke in the midst of a sharp fight and fled down the heights, Brock rushed forward to rally his men.

It was at this point in the narrative that Walcot revealed his part in the British general’s death.  As the old man recalled:

I could see General Brock as he approached, leading the charge, and by his side rode another general officer.  Brock was a fine-looking man and, I understood, very well liked.  Up to this time I had not fired a shot at the enemy, although I was considered an excellent marksman.  When the English began their ascent I left my post and went to an infantryman and asked him to lend me his gun.  He did so.  I asked him:  ‘How many balls are there in this?’  He said there was one.  I asked him for another and rammed it in the gun.  I went to the edge of the line and, taking aim, fired at Brock.  His face was partly turned to the troops as I fired.  He fell almost instantly, and I hurried back to my post.[6]

Before Walcot could get back in line, his captain ordered him to be placed under arrest for insubordination.  “I attempted to inform him what I had done,” Walcot insisted, “but he would not listen.”[7]

Walcot concluded his account by describing how, later in the day, the battle began to go badly for the Americans.  As British reinforcements made their way to Queenston for a counter-attack, the American militia refused to cross the river to assist their countrymen.  The British, infuriated by the death of their general, proceeded to rout the Americans in every direction and showed their enemy no mercy.  From out of the midst of this blood-bath, Walcot and several others ran to the river and began to swim across it.  Three or four soldiers were shot dead in the attempt, and Walcot himself was hit by a musket ball in the back of his neck.  Being robust and athletic, however, he managed to make it through the river’s dangerous currents and back to the New York shore.

On the surface, Walcot’s story offers a compelling first-hand account of the Battle of Queenston Heights.  But a closer reading reveals a troubling similarity with another account of the same affair.  In 1869, an American historian by the name of Benson J. Lossing published his Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812.  While Lossing used first-hand accounts whenever possible, he makes no reference to Walcot or his participation in the Battle of Queenston Heights.[8]  Obviously, the old man from Philadelphia did not contribute to the making of Lossing’s book, and so the logical conclusion is that he must have plagiarized it.  Admittedly, there is also the possibility that any similarity between Walcot’s recollection of the Battle of Queenston Heights and Lossing’s account of the same action is purely coincidental.  After all, one would expect as much if Walcot was in fact at the Battle of Queenston Heights.  However, Walcot’s story also contains statements which are clearly at variance with the historical record, and which tend to negate the likelihood that he spoke from experience.

The first of these statements has to do with Walcot’s service in Lieutenant Colonel John Chrystie’s Thirteenth Regiment of Infantry.  Walcot recalled joining the American army “under the pressure of a draft,” although the government of the United States did not enact conscription during the War of 1812.[9]  It is difficult to conceive, therefore, how he could have felt the pressure of a non-existent draft, especially in Massachusetts, one of the New England states so opposed to the war.  Equally implausible is Walcot’s departure from Massachusetts with the Thirteenth Regiment ... which was raised in New York State.[10]  Given these contradictions, it seems as though Walcot did not possess a thorough knowledge of his own recruitment during the War of 1812.

The second offending statement involves the manner of Brock’s death.  According to Walcot, he “could see General Brock as he approached, leading the charge, and by his side rode another general officer.”[11]  The suggestion here is that Brock met his end while on horseback, which certainly was not the case.  The general was on foot when he received the fatal shot, a fact that Walcot should have distinctly remembered had he in fact been the soldier who pulled the trigger.  Instead, it appears that the old man unwittingly perpetuated a long standing mistake.  A few years after the War of 1812, Robert Christie of Quebec published his Military and Naval Operations in the Canadas.[12]  In it he describes Brock’s fateful charge, which he confuses with that undertaken by Lieutenant Colonel John Macdonell who, during a subsequent attempt to retake the redan battery on Queenston Heights, was shot from his horse and died an agonizing death as a result.[13]  Interestingly enough, Lossing relates that Brock “fell from his horse at the foot of the slope,” and cites Christie as one of his sources.[14]Lossing no doubt repeated Christie’s mistake, and Walcot in turn appears to have elaborated upon Lossing’s flawed account.

Although Walcot’s story gives the impression that Brock was shot while leading the charge on horseback, suggesting that his flawed information was derived from Lossing’s Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812, the description of the incident as it was printed in the Philadelphia Times is sufficiently vague to allow Walcot some benefit of the doubt.  Arguably, he might simply have neglected to note that Brock had dismounted before the British began their ascent.  However, the Times also reported remarks Walcot made in reference to his life following the War of 1812, which prompted an attempt at confirmation using official and other records.  This exercise was intended to gauge the level of Walcot’s honesty, but instead revealed the extent to which the old man was not all he claimed.

It was the National Bank’s lawyer who, intent on testing the plaintiff’s memory, enticed Walcot to make the above-mentioned remarks.  Walcot was happy to comply, and he began by reciting his experiences during the War of 1812.  He then went on to disclose a lifetime of other achievements - achievements which became increasingly more impressive.  First, he was promoted to a captaincy in the American army, a rank he held for the rest of the War of 1812.  Then he went on to supervise the construction of lighthouses along the Chesapeake Bay.  Later, during the American Civil War, he developed an improved army tent pole, which he patented and smuggled into the Confederacy for a considerable profit - as well as a personal acquaintance with a grateful President Jefferson Davis.[15]  The man who shot General Brock led an impressive life indeed, and one which lacks any record of his various achievements.

Walcot’s promotion to a captaincy came after his recuperation, and for no seemingly better reason than his having survived the Battle of Queenston Heights.  But, if Walcot actually held a captain’s commission in the American army, then Fancis B. Heitman surely would have uncovered some proof of it.  Heitman was the man responsible for producing the Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army.  Published in 1903, this compilation outlines the military careers of all commissioned officers in the American army from the time of its organization in 1789.  There is one notable exception, however.  Robert Walcot’s entry is conspicuously absent.[16]  It is not likely that Heitman, who is still noted for the thoroughness of his work, somehow overlooked Walcot’s commission.  Rather, it seems that Walcot never held the rank of captain in the United States army.

Walcot fares only slightly better in terms of his having superintended the construction of lighthouses along the Chesapeake Bay.  The only known record of Walcot’s participation in the improvement of navigation along the eastern seaboard of the United States was uncovered by an avid historian of American lighthouses.  In his Maryland Lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay, F. Ross Holland lists Walcot as a co-partner with Thomas Evans in an unsuccessful bid to construct a lighthouse on Bodkin Point in Chesapeake Bay, some fifteen miles down the Patapsco River from Baltimore, Maryland.[17]  The year was 1822, and the man appointed to supervise the construction of this and other lighthouses on Bodkin Point was a naval officer named William B. Barney.[18]  Interestingly enough, it was Barney who rejected the bid submitted by Evans and Walcot, and it was Barney’s position that Walcot assumed years later in 1880.

As for Walcot’s entrepreneurship during the American Civil War, there is no reason to believe that he developed an improved tent pole - or that he ever knew Jefferson Davis, for that matter.  If Walcot received a patent for his tent pole, as he claimed he had, then it would have been registered with the United States Patent Office.  However, a search of the College Park Patent and Trademark Depository Library at the University of Maryland failed to produce any documentation for Walcot’s invention.[19]    As in the case of his patent, one would expect any personal dealings Walcot had with Jefferson Davis to have been recorded somewhere in the Confederate president’s correspondence, which survive to a considerable extent.  The Papers of Jefferson Davis Project at Rice University, Houston, Texas, consist of approximately 100,000 entries in a searchable database, and is the most comprehensive source of documents written by, to, or about President Davis.  But despite the promise of such a vast collection, a search for any mention of Walcot proved just as futile as the quest for his improved tent pole patent.[20]

None of the remarks Walcot made about his life following the Battle of Queenston Heights can be substantiated, although relevant records still exist by and large.  This disappointing result, when added to his suspected plagiarism of Lossing’s account of the Battle of Queenston Heights, as well as the discrepancies involving his military service during the War of 1812 and the manner of Brock’s death, only serves to place Walcot in a very bad light.  Of course, these findings are all circumstantial and do not actually disprove Walcot’s claim to have shot General Brock.  There is, however, a source of information that provides fairly conclusive evidence by which to judge Walcot’s claim.  Unfortunately for Walcot, this information does nothing to strengthen his case.  In fact, it has quite the opposite effect.

At the end of December in 1884, four years after Walcot recounted his thrilling adventures at the Battle of Queenston Heights, his attorney submitted an application on his behalf for an army pension.[21]  Incidentally, Walcot was then living with one of his daughters at Somerville, Massachusetts - near Boston.[22]  When Walcot’s application was delivered to the United States Pension Office in Washington, D.C., it was routinely dealt with and filed under a variant spelling of his name.[23]  Eventually, this application was transferred to the National Archives, also in the American capital, where it remained undisturbed until recently discovered.[24]

Unlike some pension files, Walcot’s folder contains a good deal of information - including a reference to the wound he received in the back of his neck.  This is a reassuring feature, as it confirms Walcot’s identity in what is otherwise a very contradictory document.  The most glaring inconsistency regards Walcot’s age, which he listed in late 1884 as being eighty-nine years.[25]  Four years earlier, when he first confessed his role in Brock’s death, he led his guests to believe that he was one year shy of being a centenarian.[26]  Miscalculations of this kind regarding age are not uncommon, even to the extent of a decade or more.  However, there is another inconsistency, and one that cannot be glossed over.  It pertains to Walcot’s statement of service, which is markedly different from the one he gave in 1880.  At that time, the old man was heard to say that he had served in the Thirteenth Regiment under Lieutenant Colonel John Chrystie.[27]  Yet, in providing an account of himself at the end of December, 1884, Walcot insisted that it was the Twenty-seventh Regiment of the regular army under Captain Sanderson.[28]   An added complication is the non-existent draft.  Initially, Walcot suggested that he had been drafted in September of 1812, but in his pension application he revised the date to 12 November 1812 - almost a full month after the Battle of Queenston Heights![29]

Unaware of the conflicting nature of Walcot’s war record, the staff of the United States Pension Office began a search for evidence of his military service in Captain George Sanderson’s Company of the Twenty-Seventh Regiment.  When Walcot’s name could not be located in the registers of the regular army, the search was expanded by consulting the lists of the Massachusetts militia.  Again, there was no trace of Walcot.[30]  With this negative result, a letter was sent to Walcot’s attorney asking for additional information.  That was at the end of March, 1886.  When there was no reply by mid-September, the Pension Office began to fear the worst.  A follow-up letter was mailed out, and this time Walcot’s attorney answered with a confirmation that his client was in fact dead.[31]  Robert Walcot’s death had taken place on 9 April 1885, not even four months after he filled out an application for a pension.[32]  Unable to pursue the matter further, the Pension Office had no choice but to close Walcot’s file.

Just as the United States Pension Office could find no record of Walcot’s service during the War of 1812, the Canadian historian Robert Malcomson was unable to find evidence that he was at the Battle of Queenston Heights.[33]  In his book, A Very Brilliant Affair, Malcomson provides a detailed examination of the battle in which Brock was killed.  Included are appendices containing the names of all the American and British soldiers who were known to have seen action that memorable day.  On the American side, Lieutenant Colonel John Chrystie is listed at the head of the Thirteenth Regiment.[34]  But Walcot’s name is not enrolled under Chrystie’s command.  As for Captain George Sanderson’s company of the Twenty-Seventh Regiment, it is nowhere to be found, and for good reason.  There was no such regiment, at least not at the time in question.  The Battle of Queenston Heights was fought in October of 1812, but the Twenty-seventh Regiment was not officially organized until the end of January in 1813.[35]

Walcot’s reputed service in the Twenty-seventh Regiment is evidently just one more falsehood. Yet, his ability to name Captain George Sanderson’s company suggests that Walcot must have had some knowledge of the regiment he attempted to exploit.  But how could an old man living in Massachusetts in 1884 know anything about a regiment raised at the time of the War of 1812, and in far-off Ohio?  A possible explanation involves George Sanderson himself.  In 1870, Sanderson told the story of his life to the secretary of the Western Reserve Historical Society at Cleveland, Ohio.  After his death the following year, Sanderson’s reminiscences - including his command in the Twenty-Seventh Regiment - were published in the Cleveland Herald.[36]  Quite possibly, it was a copy of this article that provided Walcot with all the information he needed to appropriate the Twenty-Seventh Regiment for his own dishonest purpose.

Why Walcot decided to switch regiments is anybody’s guess.  He might have thought it best to distance himself from the Thirteenth Regiment and all the publicity that resulted from his claim to have shot General Brock, since such a famous association might focus undue attention on his application and jeopardize his chances for a pension.  The relatively obscure Twenty-seventh Regiment must have seemed a safe alternative, notwithstanding the similar temptation it posed.  In October of 1813, this regiment participated in the American invasion of Upper Canada, which ultimately led to the Battle of the Thames and the death of another famous leader.[37]  Much to his credit, however, Walcot refrained from claiming that he had also shot the great Shawnee warrior chief Tecumseh.

Walcot’s attempt to defraud the American government, besides casting considerable doubt on his reputation, completely undermines his claim to have been the man who shot General Brock.  But apart from his attorney, his family, and perhaps a few friends, no one was aware of his failure to convince the United States Pension Office that he had fought in the War of 1812.  With Walcot’s rejected application filed and forgotten, there was no reason for anyone to question his claim whenever it happened to be rediscovered - at least not until Miss Carnochan began expressing her low opinion of it.  This esteemed lady remained vigilant thereafter, and it was only toward the end of her long life that Walcot’s claim was allowed to stand uncontested.[38]  In the years since Miss Carnochan’s death in 1926, there has been an increasing acceptance of Walcot’s claim.  This disturbing trend has become especially apparent in recent decades, and no doubt because Miss Carnochan’s strenuous objections have long been forgotten.  Another factor working in Walcot’s favour is his account of the Battle of Queenston Heights, which is sufficiently accurate to lend credibility to his claim that he shot General Brock.  But as Walcot’s rejected pension application reveals, he could not possibly have taken aim at Brock for the simple fact that he was not at the Battle of Queenston Heights.

The picture that emerges of Robert Walcot is one of an impersonator who simply assumed the identity of Brock’s unknown killer.  It was a role he could step into quite easily, given that all the necessary details of the Battle of Queenston Heights were readily available to him in Lossing’s Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812.  Armed with this ready-made script, Walcot was able to give a convincing performance as the man who shot General Brock.  But, as it turns out at long last, the only person Walcot shot was himself - figuratively, and in the foot.

Guy St-Denis is an independent scholar of southwestern Ontario history, whose most recent book is Tecumseh’s Bones (McGill-Queens University Press, 2005).  He is currently researching a new biography of Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, and encourages contributions of information from interested readers.  Mr. St-Denis may be contacted by mail at 9-270 North Centre Road, London, Ontario N6G 5E2, Canada or by email at guy.stdenis@gmail.com.

Notes

[1].  An unsuccessful search for the records of this case suggests that Walcot did not proceed with his lawsuit against the National Bank.

[2].  Times (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 22 Nov. 1880, p. 1, c. 1.

[3].  For example, the Globe of Toronto, today’s Globe and Mail, reprinted a condensed version of the article a short time later.  See:  Globe (Toronto, Ontario), 29 Nov. 1880, p. 5, c. 3.

[4].  Sarnia Daily Observer (Sarnia, Ontario), 1 Dec. 1913, p. 6, c. 5.  Brock was knighted for his capture of Detroit.

[5].  Robert Malcomson, A Very Brilliant Affair (Toronto, Ontario, 2003), 153.  Malcomson quotes George Jarvis, a gentleman volunteer in the 49th Regiment who was near Brock when he was killed, and remembered seeing one of the American defenders of the redan battery come forward and take deliberate aim at the British general.

[6].  Times, 22 Nov. 1880, p. 1, c. 1.

[7].  Ibid.

[8].  Moreover, Lossing lists the sources he consulted in compiling his account of the Battle of Queenston Heights, and Walcot is not listed among them.  See:  Benson J. Lossing,  Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812 (New York, New York, 1869), 403-4.

[9].  Regarding the question of conscription, see:  Lawrence Delbert Cress, Citizens in Arms (Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1982), 173.

[10]. U[lysses]. G[rant]. McAlexander, History of the Thirteenth Regiment United States Infantry (Place of publication unknown, 1905), 198.  The Thirteenth Regiment set out for the Niagara frontier from Greenbush, New York in mid-September of 1812.  See:  Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser (Albany, New York), 29 Sep. 1812, p. 3, c. 1.  See also:  Malcomson, A Very Brilliant Affair, 119, 128.

[11]Times, 22 Nov. 1880, p. 1, c. 1.

[12]. The mistake about Brock having been shot while on horseback also appears in Charles Ingersoll’s Historical Sketch of the Second War between the United States of America and Great Britain, which is another of Lossing’s sources.  As noted, this mistake appears to have originated with Robert Christie’s Military and Naval Operations in the Canadas, which was published in 1818, and which Ingersoll admits to having used in preparing his own account of the Battle of Queenston Heights.  See:  Robert Christie, Military and Naval Operations in the Canadas (Quebec, Lower Canada, 1818), 83; Charles Ingersoll, Historical Sketch of the Second War between the United States of America and Great Britain (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1845), 92, 94.

[13]. Malcomson, A Very Brilliant Affair, 156.

[14]. Lossing,  Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812,  399.

[15]Times, 22 Nov. 1880, p. 1, c. 1.

[16]. Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington, [D.C.], 1903).  All variations of Walcot’s name, including Walcott and Wolcott, were searched.

[17]. F. Ross Holland, Maryland Lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay (Crownsville, Maryland, 1997), 10.  According to Walcot’s genealogy, he was living in Baltimore at the time of the unsuccessful bid.  See:  William Richard Cutter, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts (New York, New York, 1908), 1603-4.

[18]. Holland, Maryland Lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay, 6.

[19]. The author is grateful to Jim Miller, senior reference librarian, College Park Patent and Trademark Depository Library at the University of Maryland, who conducted the search for Walcot’s alleged patent.

[20]. The author is indebted to Lynda Crist, editor of The Papers of Jefferson Davis Project at Rice University, Houston Texas, who searched the Davis database for reference to Robert Walcot.

[21].  National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Federal Pension Applications/War of 1812, Robert Wolcott, no. SO-34887, claim, 30 Dec. 1884.

[22].  This daughter was Mary Ann (Walcot) Teasdale, whose husband, George Teasdale, is listed as a witness to Robert Walcot’s pension application.  See:  Cutter, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, 1603; NARA, Federal Pension Applications/War of 1812, Robert Wolcott, no. SO-34887, claim, 30 Dec. 1884.

[23].  There are a number of variations on the name Walcot, including Walcott, and Wolcott. In this case, the variant spelling was Wolcott.

[24].  The author wishes to thank Derien Andes of Pleasantville, New Jersey, who assisted in the discovery of Robert Walcot/Wolcott’s pension file.

[25].  NARA, Federal Pension Applications/War of 1812, Robert Wolcott, no. SO-34887, claim, 30 Dec. 1884.

[26].  Times, 22 Nov. 1880, p. 1, c. 1.

[27].  Ibid.

[28].  NARA, Federal Pension Applications/War of 1812, Robert Wolcott, no. SO-34887, claim, 30 Dec. 1884.  Heitman lists the captain’s name as Saunderson, which appears to be a mistake.  See:  Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, I:861.

[29].  NARA, Federal Pension Applications/War of 1812, Robert Wolcott, no. SO-34887, claim, 30 Dec. 1884; Times, 22 Nov. 1880, p. 1, c. 1.

[30].  NARA, Federal Pension Applications/War of 1812, Robert Wolcott, no. SO-34887, survivor’s brief, 20 Oct. 1886. 

[31].  Ibid., survivor’s brief, 6 Jan. 1885- 20 Oct. 1886; ibid., letter, Black to Binney, 17 Sep. 1886; ibid., Binney to [Black], 21 Sep. 1886.

[32].   Somerville, Massachusetts, City Clerk’s Office, Records of Deaths, Robert Walcott, 9 Apr. 1885, no. 171.  The cause of Walcot’s death is listed as Bright’s Disease.

[33].  Malcomson, A Very Brilliant Affair, 294n31.

[34].  Ibid., 239-40.

[35].   Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, I:126.

[36].   Cleveland Herald, supplement, 18 Nov. 1871, p. 5, c. 5.  Twenty years earlier, Sanderson published his reminiscences of the early settlement of Fairfield County, Ohio.  Included is a cursory account of the War of 1812, and a list of the men who served under Sanderson.  Walcot’s name is not among them.  See:  George Sanderson, A Brief History of the Early Settlement of Fairfield County (Lancaster, [Ohio], 1851), 31-2.

[37].  Regarding the participation of the 27th Regiment at the Battle of the Thames, see:  John Sugden, Tecumseh’s Last Stand (Norman, Oklahoma, 1985), 110.

[38].   In 1923, three years prior to Miss Carnochan’s death, Walter R. Nursey presented Walcot’s claim in a revised edition of his Story of Isaac Brock.  Perhaps mindful of incurring Miss Carnochan’s wrath, Nursey was careful not to endorse Walcot’s claim.  See:  Walter R. Nursey, Story of Isaac Brock (Toronto, Ontario, 1923), 214.  Janet Carnochan, it should be noted, died on 31 Mar. 1926.  See:  Globe, 1 Apr. 1926, p. 4, c. 2; ibid., p. 11, c. 1.



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