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Lieutenant Colonel William Charles Shortt

The Battle of Fort Stephenson
The British Viewpoint


Lieutenant Colonel William Charles Shortt

Lt. Col. William C. Short was born about 1764 in Trichinopoly, East Indies, eldest son of Major John Shortt, Madras Native Infantry. He attended Eton, and when about 18 entered military service in the 24th Foot Regiment, serving as ensign, lieutenant and captain. In 1799 he was appointed captain in the 99th Foot Regiment. In 1803 he became captain in the 41st Foot Regiment, was promoted to Brevet Major in 1805, and Brevet Lieutenant Colonel in 1812. He was killed in the Battle of Fort Stephenson on August 2, 1813.

He married July 30, 1809 in Niagara, Upper Canada (Ontario), Jane Crooks. A son James Symington Shortt was baptised in Niagara 27 May 1812. In December 1819 the son, an orphan, applied for a Royal Bounty until he would be 18. He married and had 1 son and 3 daughters.

In 1909-10 Col. Webb C. Hayes of Fremont corresponded with the Shortt family in England. Three of James S. Shortt's children were then deceased, the son (unmarried) and two daughters. The daughter then living there was the widow of Col. Robert Armstrong. She owned an oil painting of her grandfather Lt. Col. Wm. C. Shortt, painted when he was in the 24th Regiment. By her kindness a photo of it, reproduced above, was sent to Col. Hayes. (The name is correctly spelled Shortt.)

[Reprinted by permission, from the Sandusky County Historical Society's History Leaflet No. 4, September 1967]

Lieutenant James George Gordon

Lieut. James G. Gordon was a son of James Bentley Gordon of Londonderry, Ireland, a clergyman and graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, in 1773. The father married in 1779 a daughter of Richard Bookey of Wicklow. They were parents of several children, including James G. the eldest son.

The son James G. Gordon, born in the 1780's, was appointed lieutenant in the 41st Foot Regiment on July 23, 1810. he was probably about 30 at the time of his death in the battle of Fort Stephenson on August 2, 1813.

[Reprinted by permission, from the Sandusky County Historical Society's History Leaflet No. 4, September 1967]

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Burial of the British Casualties

The two histories of Sandusky County (Everett 1882, Meek 1909) refer to the burial of the British dead by the Americans. The rank and file, it is said, were buried "in the bottom east of the fort and near the river" (Ev. 506). The officers Shortt and Gordon were buried "with honors due to their rank and bravery" (Ev. 115) on land just west of the fort, now occupied by Fremont junior high school. A map published in 1869 shows these two graves.

In 1891, when the old high school was being erected on this site, "graves and bones of two soldiers were found" (Meek 92). They had been buried in caskets and were appropriately reinterred. With the remains were found metal buttons bearing the regiment's number, 41. Some were retained and are now in Fort Stephenson Museum, Birchard Library.

These burials, long known, had never been marked. During the Fort Stephenson Sesquicentennial in 1963, The Sandusky County Historical Society dedicated a commemorative wood marker at the south-east corner of the junior high school, at High and Garrison streets. This was replaced with a bronze tablet, affixed to the stone wall of the building at the same location, and rededicated in September 1965, patriotic societies and school children participating.

The bronze tablet on the junior high wall reads as follows

IN COMMEMORATION

LT. COL. WM. C. SHORTT, LT. J. G.

GORDON, 1 SERGEANT, 1 DRUMMER, AND 21

RANK AND FILE OF THE 41 ST REGIMENT

BRITISH REGULARS, WHO DIED IN THE

ASSAULT OF FORT STEPHENSON, AUGUST 2,

1813; AND THE SUCCEEDING AMITY

BETWEEN THE CONTENDING NATIONS.

[Reprinted by permission, from the Sandusky County Historical Society's History Leaflet No. 4, September 1967]

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The Rank and File

Many accounts of the battle mention officers Shortt and Gordon, but the names of the other British casualties have remained unknown. In June 1963 the Public Record Office, London, England, was contacted. It was learned that old original military records of the 1813 period were in their custody. In July they kindly sent with their compliments a photostat copy of a 41st Regiment report covering the battle date.

This official record revealed the hitherto unknown names which are listed below, and here published for the first time. The record also shows birthplace and trade, as listed. Names have been rearranged for easier reference. The record is in faded old handwriting; an asterisk (*) indicates possible error in deciphering it. The Public Record Office assisted with modern spelling of place names.



"Non-Commissioned Officers, Drummers & Privates of the 41st Regiment of Foot who have died...during the month from the 25th July to the 24th August 1813"

Killed in Action - August 2, 1813

Rank & Name
Place of Birth
Trade When Enlisted
1.
Pvt. George Bellows*
Flanders
hosier
2.
Drummer John Bishop
Birmingham
brassfounder
3.
Pvt. Thomas Burge
Baltonsborough, Somerset
sawyer
4.
Pvt. William Butson
Northway, Somerset
laborer
5.
Pvt. William Collison
Wolstanton, Staffordshire
potter
6.
Pvt. William Cork
South Cerney, Gloucestershire
laborer
7.
Pvt. Isaac Danford*
Longbridge, Wiltshire
laborer
8.
Pvt. James Elsby
Frodsham, Cheshire
laborer
9.
Corp. Joseph Fisher
Uley, Gloucestershire
clothdresser
10.
Sgt. James Lander
Stoke Damerel, Devon
cordwainer
11.
Pvt. Robert Lee
Charlton, Wiltshire
weaver
12.
Corp. Daniel McDevitt
Leckpatrick, Tyrone (Ireland)
weaver
13.
Pvt. John Prescott
Wellington, Somerset
laborer
14.
Pvt. Hanry Sasse
Guelderland (Holland)
laborer
15.
Pvt. John Shanahan
Mitchelstown, Cork (Ireland)
laborer
16.
Pvt. Giles Smith
Lismore
cordwainer
17.
Pvt. John Wardle
Catterall, Lancashire
cotton printer
18.
Pvt. James Westlake
High Ham, Somerset
laborer
19.
Pvt. James White
Laverstock, Wiltshire
laborer
20.
Pvt. Thomas Williams*
Pembroke
laborer

DIED OF WOUNDS - 1813

Rank & Name Died Place of Birth Trade When Enlisted
21.
Pvt. Abner Middleton Aug 3 Bursham, Staffordshire potter
22.
Pvt. Thomas Pomroy Aug 4 Salterton, Devon smith
23.
Pvt. James Webb Aug 24 Melksham, Wiltshire laborer

[Reprinted by permission, from the Sandusky County Historical Society's History Leaflet No. 4, September 1967]

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