War of 1812 - Artefact of the Week - January 4, 2013

Document signed by US Colonel Zebulon Pike

Parks Canada: X.72.387.1

This piece of routine military correspondence, confirming the employment of a civilian contractor for the transportation of fuel (likely firewood), straw, forage for horses and provisions, is counter-signed by Colonel Zebulon Pike of the 15th Infantry Regiment at “Cantonment Seranac [Saranac]” in February 1813. The military camp, located in Plattsburgh, NY, was the scene of incredible suffering during the winter of 1812-1813 as Pike’s troops were poorly equipped for the harshness of the season.

Prior to the War of 1812 Pike had become famous as an explorer of the southwest of North America. Pike’s Peak, Colorado, is named after him.

Promoted to Brigadier General in March 1813, Pike was given command of the US amphibious attack on York, Upper Canada, on April 27, 1813. He was fatally wounded when the powder magazine at Fort York blew up. Pike was crushed by falling debris and died after being evacuated to a ship of the invasion fleet. .

Document signed by US Colonel Zebulon Pike Document signed by US Colonel Zebulon Pike
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