Major Henry Leavenworth

 

Major Henry Leavenworth was a native of Delhi, New York, and had been a lawyer in peacetime. Under his command the 9th Infantry Regiment had fought at the battles of Sackets Harbor and Crysler's Farm. At 31 years of age, he was considered by some to be the finest battalion officer in the US Army.

When General Winfield Scott's First Brigade met the British and Canadians at Chippewa, Leavenworth's 349 man strong 9th Infantry was combined with a 200 man detachment of the 22nd Infantry. Under Major Leavenworth's leadership, the combined 9th/22nd was the force which formed the American line facing the British on the battlefield. When the British 100th Regiment of Foot attacked across the plain, the 9th/22nd stood steadfast and held the line, while the 25th and 11th Infantry wheeled into the right flank of the British formations.

Once the flank was turned, the British General in command had no choice but to order a full retreat, leaving the battlefield to the Americans, and insuring a victory for the United States Army.

As Scott's First Brigade entered the field at the start of the battle, it was the combined 9th/22nd, along with the 25th Infantry, who were mistaken for local militia by the British. However, as the American units advanced and deployed under heavy fire, without falter, it became apparent the British had been mistaken, and that these troops opposing them were well disciplined soldiers of the regular army.

It was then the British commander was said to have uttered the exclamation "Those are regulars, by God".

Thus, Major Henry Leavenworth was the commanding officer of the 22nd Infantry
when they received their unofficial motto "Regulars, by God".

 

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The city of Leavenworth, Kansas and the Army post of Fort Leavenworth were named after COL Henry Leavenworth.

The garrison of Fort Leavenworth is the oldest continuously active military post west of the Missouri River, and notable for its role in the development of the West.

When Mexico obtained its independence from Spain in 1821, trading routes were opened to supply goods and merchandise to the Native American people. Conflict between the new citizens of Mexico and the Native Americans was almost inevitable as the trade routes crossed the latter’s territory. Traders were soon appealing to the U.S. government for protection and help. The government responded by establishing a series of military posts west of the Missouri River, including Fort Leavenworth.

In 1827 the War Department directed Colonel Henry Leavenworth, one of the Army’s most distinguished officers, to ascend the Missouri River until he reached the mouth of the Little Platte River, where he was to establish a permanent cantonment. After exploring the area, Leavenworth determined that what is now the Kansas side of the river offered a more advantageous position, and he began constructing Cantonment Leavenworth. Due to its strategic location on both the Oregon and Santa Fe trails, Fort Leavenworth was a key stop for westbound settlers. The flat land near the river contained corrals and supply yards, and it was here that traders and wagon trains began their long journey into Mexican territory. In 1828, the first post office in Kansas was established at Fort Leavenworth.

 


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