Defiance County

Winchester’s Camp #3 / Fort Starvation

Kentucky Volunteers 1812Camp #3 was located about six miles below Fort Winchester on the North bank of the Maumee River. The timeline being from November 2nd, 1812 through January 1st, 1813 three Kentucky Militia Regiments: Col. Allen’s !st Rifle Regiment, Kentucky Volunteer Militia; Col. Scott’s 1st Kentucky Volunteer Militia, Col. Lewis’s 5th Kentucky Volunteer Militia and one regiment of US Regulars, “17th , Regt.”, under the command of Col. Wells were stationed there. All the soldiers were from the Woodford County area of Kentucky. They were mustered in the service of their country, August of 1812, in order to reinforce General Hull at Detroit. When Hull surrendered to the British, their mission changed.  They were ordered to help lift the siege of Fort Wayne by the Indians.  They marched off in their summer uniforms of linen, only to end up in the heart of the Great Black Swamp in the middle of winter. The suffering incurred at Camp #3 ranks second only to the suffering of the Washington’s troop stationed at Valley Forge PA during the Revolutionary War. It is our mission to honor them for their sacrifice and service to their country. (Click on the photo at left to see a larger version)

    We will tell their story using period journals, eye witness accounts of the first owner of the property shortly after it was abandon by the military and a W.P.A. report of the site’s history during the construction of the Miami and Erie Canal and their ideas of honoring those soldiers that lie within the “Kentucky Burial Grounds.” 

ELLIS DARNELL, Kentucky Volunteer Militia

Nov. 2nd.  We moved across the River Maumee, opposite the point; it is a high piece of ground and very level, but in some degree wet and marshy; this movement was in order to get convenient to firewood.

Nov.3rd.  This late place of encampment is found not to answer a good purpose; therefore the General though it expedient to move from this to a piece of ground one-half mile lower down the river. As there were only a few wagons, one regiment moved at a time --- from 12 o’clock till after sunset before the last arrived at the place of destination. This last place appears to be very marshy, but not so much so as the former. It is very difficult to get a good place for an encampment at this time, as we have had several rainy days.

Nov. 4th. Troops have been engaged in fortifying this late place of encampment with breastworks, so that we may be prepared for our enemies, should they think proper to pay us a visit; the weather is very rainy which makes our situation extremely unpleasant, though not more so than we could expect from the climate and season. Four of this army have gone to the silent tomb today never more to visit their friends in Kentucky; the fever is very prevalent in camp; nearly every day there is one or more buried.

Nov.10th.  The army moved six miles down the river, in order to be better accommodated with suitable ground for camping, and to build more pirogues. This encampment is the driest we have been at for some time; the land and timber are not inferior to any. I trust this country was designed for more noble purpose than to be a harbor for those rapacious savages, whose manners and deportment are not more elevated than the ravenous beasts of the forest. I view that not far distant, when this country will be interspersed with elegant farms and flourishing towns, and be inhabited by a free and independent people, under an auspicious republic.

Dec. 1st. The troops were engaged in building huts, which are far preferable to tents.

Dec. 2nd. The General has issued an order for the camp to be picketed, which is three-quarters of a mile around. It is on the North side of the river, and is composed of three lines. Col. Well’s regiment on the right, Col. Scott’s, Lewis’s and part of Allen’s in front the remaining part of Allen’s on the left, the river in the rear. The pickets were nearly completed in one day, two feet in the ground and eight feet above.

Dec. 10th. The General has given orders to the commanding officers of regiments to cause each of their companies to be proved with a good pirogue sufficient to carry its own luggage, and cause all those who are without shoes to make themselves moccasins out of green hides. There are many who have not shoes and clothes sufficient to keep them from freezing, should we move from here while they are in this condition; the clothes that General flattered us with the expectation, and the clothes subscribed by the Kentuckians being not yet received, except a small part of the latter.

Dec.14th. An express arrived in camp, certifying that the boats, which started, from St. Mary’s on the 4th, laden with flour and clothing were frozen up in the St Mary’s River, and the escort was building a house to store the loading in.

Dec. 17th. Three hundred head of hogs arrived to our relief.

Dec. 20th.  The weather is excessively cold; the ice has stopped the navigation of the river, so that the plan of going to the Rapids by water is entirely frustrated; we had prepared about sixty pirogues for the voyage, which will be left here for our successors.

Dec. 21st.  The General has ordered the commandants of regiments to cause each company to be provided with sufficient number of sleds to convey their baggage to the Rapids. It is said these sleds are to be pulled by men, as we have not a horse in camp able to pull an empty sled.

Dec, 27th. Part of the clothing arrived from Kentucky.

Dec, 29th. The Americans now about communing one of the most serious marches ever perform us. Destitute in a measurer. Have cloth, shoes, and provisions, the most essential articles necessary for the existence and preservation pf the human species in this world, and more particularly in this cold climate. Three sleds are prepared for each company, each to be pulled by a packhorse, which has been without food for two weeks, except brush, and will not be better fed while in our service; probably the most of these horses never had harness on, but presumption is they will be too tame; we have prepared harness out of green hides; the sick were left at Camp #3, with a company from each regiment as a guard.

The weather took a change the Second of January. It commenced snowing, and continued two days and nights; after it ceased, it was twenty to twenty-four inches deep. On the Third, the army resumed its march, wading through a deep snow. We stopped early in the afternoon to prepare our encampment; to rake the snow away, make fires, and pitch our tents, was no trifling task; and after this we had to get bark or bushes to lie on. On the next day the snow melted and the ground thawed, which operated much against. We marched two miles, which tried the strength and activity of our noble steeds. The General had remained behind at Camp #3, more styled “Fort Starvation.”

SAMUEL ROHN, Early Pioneer whose family settled on Camp #3

1883 History of Defiance County.

Samuel Rohn was born May 18, 1812, in Northampton County, Penn. And came with his parents, William and Elizabeth {Landis} Rohn to Ohio in 1821, and located in Miami County, in the town of Pique, where he remained until 1822; when they removed to Camp No. 3 of General Winchester in Richland Twp., Defiance County, where he found the pickets of Winchester’s army still standing, covering about forty acres. Mr. Rohn found a good many Indian brooches, tomahawks and arrowhead along the old Indian trace that ran through his farm. He had also found blacksmith tools, formerly used by the soldiers of General Winchester along with wagon tires an the relics of wagons used by his army in 1812. Richland Twp. Was organized in 1824, many early meetings were held at Camp No. 3. His father William was one of the first Trustees of the Twp. Camp No. 3 is located on Section 23 of the twp. Many members of the Rohn Family are buried in a cemetery on the Rohn farm.  The Rohn house still stands today {2007}, though no longer owned by the Rohn family.

1936 W.P.A. REPORT, Topic #624, Defiance Co., District #13, Cemeteries.
The Old Kentuckian Burial Ground at Winchester’s Camp Number Three
Located in the Independence Dam State Park.

This historic burial ground is situated four miles east of the City of Defiance on US Rt 24 {424} on the bank of the Maumee River in Independence Dam State Park. In fact it now comprises a part of the park. It is directly across the road from the old Rohn House, mentioned under Architecture, The Miami and Erie Canal takes up a part of this old burial ground.

When the canal was built in 1837-1848, thousands of bones were found, as the canal was dug directly through the burial ground, these bones were all reburied and this place is now called the Old Kentuckian Burial Ground. {The Park Board under the supervision of Mr. Abram Smith and Edward Bronson of Defiance has been trying for some time to raise money enough to erect a memorial to these Kentucky dead, who gave their lives that winter} circa “1936”. The plot is about 75 yards wide, the length is not known. The winter of 1812-1813 was the hardest winter ever suffered by white men in this part of the world. About ninety percent of the soldiers buried here were from Kentucky.

It was here that that Captain Johnny Logan, the Indian Warrior and Army Scout, who joined the American forces and left his own people, died. Having been wounded several miles farther down river at the mouth of Turkey Foot Creek. Later his body was moved to Fort Winchester and was there buried with full military honors. As many as 300 Kentuckian soldiers of General Winchester’s Army may be buried here.

List of Known Soldiers that died at Fort Winchester

Pvt. William Bratton
Pvt. William Woodruff
Pvt. Andrew Robb
Pvt. James Kenney Jr.
Pvt. Taber Leavell
Pvt. James Hill
Lt. John M. Robinson
2nd Sgt. James H. Bomar
Pvt. John  French

List of Known Soldiers that died at Camp #3

Pvt, Chirstain Shayrock
Lt. Thomas Coleman
Corp. Bland Ballard
Pvt. Moses Leon
Pvt. John Muldrough
Pvt. James Burrass
Pvt. John Clark
Pvt. Samual Henderson
Capt. William Ellis
Capt. Johnny Logan “Indian Scout”

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