THE CHATEAUGAY PLATOON post #11 (Epinetus Wheelwright)


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Then there was Epinetus Wheelwright who was originally from Britain. His father, his father’s father, and the father before that were all manufacturers of wagon and carraige wheels. Epinetus often told the story of how his family had manufactured all the carriage wheels for the Royal Family. No one ever questioned him but then no one had ever asked Epinetus to make or repair a wheel.

They would have been pleasantly surprised if they had done so.

Epinetus had large and strong hands. It could have been something that developed over several generations of wheel-wrighting. From another point of view maybe the family was in that business because of their naturally large and strong hands.

We should leave that question for Charles Darwin.



THE CHATEAUGAY PLATOON post #10 (Doc Stanton)


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The seventh member of the platoon was Doc Stanton. Doc was not his real name but no one could remember what it really was; that is – – if they ever knew. Doc would never answer the question of what his real name was.

But ‘Doc’ was an appropriate name for Stanton. He knew every wild plant and which ones were good for remedying any ailment. Doc also knew which plants made the best poultice and which ones to avoid.

And Doc knew about wars too.

He used to say “War can be compared to some poultice powders. It is so corrosive that after it has eaten away at the enemy it devours the government, rotting its bones. It penetrates to the very marrow of life. War, at first, repels the enemy; but if it is not stopped at that point it goes on to attack the country internally. And when it is left on its own it goes so far that it no longer has limits and cannot be stopped. It wishes to devour even more countries.”

Doc always carried a vial of mercury for those instances when nothing else would work on typhoid fever and parasites.




THE CHATEAUGAY PLATOON post #9 (Jay Johnson)


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jay-johnsonWe can’t overlook Jay Johnson. Jay was originally from Boston but the Adirondack Mountains and cool tannic colored streams were too much for him to resist. At the end of his first trip to the Adirondacks Jay went back to Boston and sold all his worldly possessions. He bought a gun, a fishing pole, a back-basket made of whipped willow and a ticket for a stagecoach ride to Burlington, Vermont. From there he sailed across Lake Champlain and landed in Port Kent, New York; just a short buckboard ride to his destination of Ausable Forks.

Jay found idyllic peace of mind on those cold Adirondack streams. The solitude there was far from the solitude of life in Boston where no one spoke to each other or made eye contact.

Everyone in Boston appeared to be an “island unto himself”; the opposite of what English poet John Donne had so clearly wished in 1624.




THE CHATEAUGAY PLATOON post #8 (Dean ‘Lecturer’ Smith)


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Next was ‘Lecturer’ Smith. His real name was, quite appropriately, Dean Smith. The nickname was given to him by his fellow platoon members. None of them could remember who started calling him Lecturer, but the name stuck because Lecturer always seemed to be lecturing someone about their bad habits; or if not that then promptly disagreeing with whoever was making a point.  Lecturer would then give his own opinion about what piece of history really occurred, or how that mechanism really worked, or what really was the truth, or what really – – – well – – – you get the point.




THE CHATEAUGAY PLATOON post #7 (Ezekiel Pratt)


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ezekial-prattFourth in the platoon, not by any order – – – alphabetical, rank, size or arrogance – – – was Ezekiel Pratt. Ezekiel was one who typically sat on the roots of a tree with his back against it as he played his banjo. It wasn’t that he didn’t get along with his fellow platoons-men, it was simply that he found the twang of the banjo more satisfying than the discussions of his companions. However, they all knew that they could count on Ezekiel when it came to matters of battle.



THE CHATEAUGAY PLATOON post #6 (Micah Ferris)


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The remainder of the platoon remained on equal footing with each other. It was not that they didn’t have varying ranks, but rank only matters in time of war; not in death.

However, there was Micah Ferris, a plow-smith by trade and a marksman by talent.

A marksman with both his rifle and his thoughts.




Micah was always the silent one. When in a group he would remain quiet until the discussion was finished. Then, after everyone had spoken his peace, Micah would offer one – – – just one – – – insight that would make the group wonder where such a deep thought had been hiding when the arguments had been raging. And they would all accept his opinion without saying anything to each other.



THE CHATEAUGAY PLATOON post #5 (Sergeant Zacharias Asher)


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Next in command of the Chateaugay Platoon was Sergeant Zacharias Asher. Sergeant Asher was the totem of a bear. He was barrel chested and had arms the size of a black cherry tree; and his personality was not much smoother than the its bark – – – or his bark for that matter.



















Sergeant Asher controlled most of the men with intimidation. He growled and threatened and carried on conversations nose-to-nose. He didn’t do this because he was tough. He did it so that no one would ever challenge him.

His roar was like the thunder of a storm; it was frightening.

But the real danger of a storm is the lightning.

No one wanted to find out if Sergeant Asher could conjure up lightning.




THE CHATEAUGAY PLATOON post #4 (Lieutenant Preserved-Fish MacAdam)


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Lieutenant Preserved-Fish MacAdam could not lead these men. Each soul had to find his own rightful place.

As you will soon discover, all souls are not alike.

And Lieutenant Preserved-Fish MacAdam’s soul was very different than most.


Lieutenant MacAdam was a rather tall man with a white closely cropped beard and a wild mustache. His cheeks and eyes always had that dark and hollow look; even when he was alive. He was thin, wiry, and his face was creased with the leathery lines of an outdoorsman; which he had been. He was a creature of the forest, not much different than those creatures he had hunted and trapped in the Adirondack Mountains.

Lieutenant MacAdam will fit well in these North Woods.




THE CHATEAUGAY PLATOON post #3 (Finding Their Place)


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A farm had been overrun by beasts of burden that moved heavy iron canons from here to there and back. The fields were rutted and would not be harvested for many years.


The bodies of those fifteen American soldiers of the Chateaugay Platoon had fallen into these ruts; and were hidden by the early November rain. Neither the British nor Americans ever found the bodies. Eventually, the water-saturated earth froze into tall crystals of ice and mud. Then, in April, a thaw allowed the frozen earth to fall into the ruts.


The bodies disappeared forever.


Their souls, however, walked the darkened chasms of the Chateaugay, Ausable, Saint Regis and Salmon Rivers; and many other small streams. They were obliged, as fallen combatants, to find their rightful place on this earth.





THE CHATEAUGAY PLATOON post #2 (The Context)


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The souls of those fifteen men who died on the battlefield of Chateaugay were members of the Chateaugay Platoon, commanded by Lieutenant Preserved-Fish MacAdam.


On 26 October 1813, a British force consisting of 1,630 regulars, volunteers, militia and Mohawk warriors repelled a large American force of about 2,600 regulars who were attempting to invade Lower Canada and ultimately attack Montreal.

The Battle of the Chateauguay in the autumn of 1813, by Henri Julien



Few homes were destroyed. A British canon fired on Chateaugay from 200 yards couldn’t seem to hit anything; if it wasn’t for a little luck. The homes were few and the streets were mud. At least the hotel was full.


Full of soldiers.