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The War Of 1812

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at Frenchtown

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Lacroixs Company
1812 History

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SHORT HISTORY OF LACROIX'S

COMPANY OF MICHIGAN MILITIA

The company was named after its Captain, Hubert Lacroix, reputedly the first man from the River Raisin settlement to volunteer for active duty in the War of 1812.  Lacroix was born in Montreal in 1779.  He came to the River Raisin in 1800, where he resided until his death in 1827.

Members of Lacroix’s recreated militia company on the march at the 2005 Commemoration of the Batttle of the River Raisin.

Lacroix's company of Volunteer Infantry of the Michigan militia was mustered into service on May 18, 1812.  Their period of active duty lasted just 2 months and 30 days, until General Hull’s surrender of Detroit and all of Michigan Territory on August 16 of that same year.

Administratively, Lacroix's company was attached to Major James Witherell's battalion of volunteers and drafted men, based in Detroit.  It was raised in the River Raisin area, however, out of volunteers from the 2nd Regiment of Michigan Territorial Militia.  By and large, it remained stationed at the Raisin, although some elements were sent to Detroit at various times. 

There was some question at first whether Lacroix should take orders from Major Witherell in Detroit, or from Colonel Anderson, the commander of the 2nd Michigan at French Town.  No official ruling was recorded, but it appears the company took orders from either source, as the situation demanded.

From existing rosters, it can be seen that the company numbered 81 men.  All of them, even the officers, were issued muskets and bayonets by the government. Pay (for privates) was set at $6.66 per month.  Official payrolls indicate they never received any actual money until a couple years after the war ended.   It was then decided they should be paid as members of the Michigan Legionary Corps.

The company command structure consisted of the following: Hubert Lacroix, captain; François Lasselle, lieutenant; Duncan Reid, ensign; Ambrose Charland, Robert Glass, and Hyacinth Lajoy, sergeants; Roswell Hatch, Joseph Malette, and Louis Lajoy, corporals. 

The first duty of the new company was to help construct Hull's military road, so he could bring his American army to Detroit.  Colonel Anderson ordered Captain Lacroix to take charge of the work and assigned him a force of 150 men. 

By July 4, 1812, when Hull's army came through, they were working on the bridge over the River Huron, building stockades or blockhouses, and scouting out the enemy.  On August 4, Colonel Anderson reported the Wyandots had gone over to the British and large bands from other tribes were crossing through the area on their way to Fort Malden.   A number of citizens were captured or killed between Swan Creek and the River Huron, and Anderson feared the mail had been taken.

During this time, Lacroix's men were often ordered to escort the mail to Detroit and back, mounted on their own horses.  One such escort, led by Ensign Reid, fell into an ambush near Brownstown.  The Indians captured the mail, along with a horse belonging to Private Claude Couture.  Elements of Lacroix's company may have been at the Battles of Brownstown and Monguagon on August 5th & 9th.

The garrison at the River Raisin was included in the terms of General Hull's surrender at Detroit.  The troops assembled at the Wayne stockade, where all government issued weapons were confiscated and the men released as prisoners of war on parole.  Captain Lacroix was arrested, but later released.

The surrender did not necessarily terminate everyone's military activities.  Many violated their parole and went off to join other units, or turned out to fight during the Battle of the River Raisin. 

One example was Antoine Mominie.  In his request for an invalid's pension after the war, Mominie stated he was "a private in the company commanded by Captain Hubert Lacroix in the 2nd Regiment of Michigan volunteers commanded by Colonel John Anderson." 

Unfortunately for Mominie's pension application, his debilitating wound was suffered during the January 18, 1813, Battle of French Town, where he had attached himself to Captain McCracken's company of Kentucky volunteers.  Since, at that time, Lacroix's company was still technically on parole and ineligible to fight, and since Mominie was never listed on the official roles of McCracken's company, the War Department denied his claim.

Now, almost two centuries after the War of 1812, we are looking back at the stirring events of those days, and Lacroix's company of Michigan militia is once again on the march.  Sponsored and supported by the River Raisin Battlefield Visitor Center and the Friends of the River Raisin Battlefield, modern-day company members research and reproduce many aspects of the life and times of the original unit.   They try to educate themselves and the general public by re-creating the clothing, equipment, and lifestyles of Lacroix's militiamen and their families.  They also increase the public's awareness and interest in the War of 1812 by participating in a variety of historic and commemorative events, including the annual commemoration of the Battle of the River Raisin.

Interested in joining the Lacroix's re-enactment group?

Do you enjoy...  Travel? Camping? Family Fun? Cooling out of doors? Teaching others?
Marching in Parades? Discovering how things were done in the past?
Exploring historic sites? Experimenting with ancient weaponry?
The camaraderie of shared interests?
......... then our living history group is for you!!!

Join Lacroix's Company of Michigan Volunteers of the 2nd Michigan
Territorial Regiment

Contact ralphnaveaux@att.net or call 734.289.2253

 Attend one of our training workshops scheduled for 2pm, Sunday March 25 & April 29, 2012
at the River Raisin National Battlefield Park Visitors Center
1403 East Elm Ave Monroe, Michigan 48162

 

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