Tracking The military…
The historical framework of the United States military begins with the Revolutionary War, followed by the War of 1812, Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. So what was the military doing when not fighting these wars? There were the conflicts during the colonial years; there were also other wars, battles and imminent threats threaded throughout its history.
One Of Many Missions…..
The Territorial Government determined that their new acquisitions on the Saginaw would be utterly worthless unless the articles of the Treaty of Saginaw could be carried out in full. [History of Saginaw County, Michigan,1881]
The Sac and Fox Indians had for years annually made visits to Malden [near present day Windsor, Ontario, Canada], where they received thousands of dollars in presents from the British agents, and it was no infrequent occurrence for them to commit depredations upon the property of the whites as they passed to and fro along the route from Wisconsin. This annual tribute of the British had a tendency to strengthen an attachment between the Indians and British. It therefore became obvious that measures should be taken to stop the custom.
The Legislative Council asked for special powers from the United States, which, being conferred, a detachment of U.S. troops was ordered to proceed from the military outpost at Green Bay en route for the treaty grounds of the Saginaws in 1822. [History of Saginaw]
Why The Military in 1822……
An historical account of Genesee County noted the following about the 3rd U.S. Infantry: “The first road leading to Flint was cut through the forest from the Saginaw river to the Flint [river] by two detachments of the 3rd U.S. Infantry under Lieutenant Brooks and Bainbridge in 1822-23. It was little more than a bridle path. From the Flint river to Royal Oak [north of Detroit] the Indian trail was used and from there to Detroit a corduroy road was built across the swamps and low lands. [Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, Vol. 35, 1907]
That surprised me; I just hadn’t thought about a military presence (albeit brief] in Flint. I then wondered about the 3rd; who they were, why troops were in the interior of the peninsula, and why they were building a road in that location.
The 3rd Infantry….
Officers of this garrison were Major Daniel Baker, Captains John Garland, S.H. Webb; Lieutenants, Otis Wheeler, Edward Brooks, Henry Bainbridge, Charles Baker, William Allen, and Surgeon Zina Pitcher. The last named officer joined the command in October while the Surgeon, accompanied by Whitmore Knaggs, arrived overland from Detroit on July 25, 1822. The families of Major Baker, Captain Garland and Lieutenant Brooks accompanied the command, as also John Dean, sutler; Chauncey Bush, Elliot Gray and T.C. Sheldon, army contractors. [History of Saginaw]
Of the men who lived to reach another station [after leaving the Saginaw post], there are only a few survivors. All have served with the U.S. Regiment in the Mexican campaign. [History of Saginaw]
Why The 3rd Needed The Road….
Major Whitney, U.S. Quartermaster stationed at Detroit, needed to get supplies to troops stationed in Saginaw…after eight days of hard labor, the mission was successfully accomplished, by fording the Clinton river five times, the Thread, Cass and Flint rivers as well as Pine and Elm rivers, too. [History of Saginaw]
The following fall they abandoned the fort at Saginaw and moved to Detroit, by water, in two schooners. What did Major Baker, whose brother * [and other family members] died in Saginaw, think of the Saginaw valley? Baker reported that nothing but Indians, muskrats and bullfrogs could possibly exist there. [History of Saginaw]
*October 13, 1823 Baker, Lieutenant Horatio N. died 13th; Saginaw; of prevailing fever; 3rd US Infantry; Buried Detroit - Detroit Gazette, October 31, 1823
September 27, 1823 Baker, Frederick Sidney died 27th; age 14yrs; youngest son of Major Daniel Baker of the US Army post Saginaw - Detroit Gazette. Ibid
October 17, 1823; Baker, Gerusah M. died 15th; aged 24yr 6mth, daughter of Major D. Baker of US Army - Detroit Gazette, February 18, 1825. Ibid
Business Moves In….
The American Fur Company established a post in 1824 at the abandoned Saginaw fort. [History of Saginaw]
The Saginaw Valley Today….