The North Country’s Forgotten War of 1812 General

Brigadier-General Thomas Brigdum Benedict of De Kalb, St. Lawrence County, NY commanded the northern frontier from Sackets Harbor to Salmon River from June to December 1812. Many people have heard of General Jacob Brown and Captain Benjamin Forsyth, but not Benedict. Who was this man who commanded at Ogdensburg before Forsyth arrived?

The public and re-enactors can learn about this forgotten general at the Ogdensburg Public Library, 3:00 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25. There is no charge for this Battle of Ogdensburg Weekend event, part of the River Shiver winter festival.

&#8220We invited Bryan Thompson to speak about Benedict because Bryan knows more about the War of 1812 in the North Country than most people can imagine,&#8221 said Tim Cryderman, Vice President to Forsyth’s Rifles. &#8220Brigadier-General Benedict, who dedicated his life to public service in St. Lawrence County, deserves to be remembered.&#8221

Thompson, the municipal historian for the Town of De Kalb, is a retired teacher. Interestingly, as we enter into the bicentennial of the War of 1812, he is the descendant of at least four St. Lawrence County veterans of that long-ago conflict.

&#8220Bryan Thompson received New York State Archives Hackman Research Fellowship to research General Benedict and other War of 1812 soldiers from De Kalb,&#8221 noted Mr. Cryderman. &#8220For almost 20 years he has chronicled local history in 30 published articles and given many presentations.&#8221

In 2009 Thompson received the Bruce W. Dearstyne Award for excellence in educational use of local government records (Dearstyne is a regular contributor here at New York History). The Battle of Ogdensburg Weekend includes re-enacted battles on Lighthouse Point at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 and Sunday Feb. 26. Saturday events include a 10:00 a.m. wreath ceremony at Sheriff York’s grave in Riverside Cemetery and the Winter Ball (English Country Dancing) at Centennial Towers at 7:30 p.m.

Sheriff York and his men faced the British alone on Feb. 22. 1813. They fired a brass six-pounder at the invaders. When his men fled, York remained alone serving his gun. A British officer said to his soldiers, &#8220There stands too brave a man to shoot.&#8221 York was taken prisoner.

Illustration: Map of Ogdensburg during the War of 1812 from Benjamin Lossing’s Field Book of the War of 1812.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>