Major Henry Leavenworth
July 5 and July 25, 1814
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 on July
Leavenworth's 349 man strong 9th Infantry was combined with a 200 man detachment of the 22nd Infantry.
No field officers of the 22nd Infantry were present at the time so command of the detachment from the 22nd
Infantry was relegated to Leavenworth.
Under Major Leavenworth's
leadership the combined 9th/22nd was the force which formed the
right and center
of 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 because of the grey jackets they wore. 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".
Leavenworth also commanded the
22nd Infantry at the Battle of Lundy's Lane on July 25, 1814
after Colonel Hugh Brady was wounded during the battle and could no longer mount his horse
and the 9th and 22nd Regiments were once again combined under Leavenworth's command.
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 latters 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 Armys 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.
Top illustration from the Kansas Historical Society website
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