Monday, January 10, 2011

General William Arnold by William D. Arnold.

I received a nice letter from a Mr. William D. Bostick with a lot of great amount of information, on William Arnold. I found the information very interesting. I asked Mr. Bostick if I could reproduce the letters here and he was kind enough to do so.

With regard to 2nd Lt William Arnold of Kentucky, I wrote an earlier biography archieved at

Came across some additional information on his service (below)

Arnold, William, 2nd Lieut., U.S. Rifles. Rgt. Commander Col. T.A. Smith. AGO Washington DC March 18th 1823 to be 2-Lieut. Dec. 3 1812 Order book 1813 to 1815 Malden. Oct 17 1813 attached to Capt. Hamilton’s Co. – promoted Lieut. May 11 1814. MoRet (monthly return, i.e., muster) Sackett’s Harbor June 30 181?. A.R. Oct 1814. Present order dated Ref Fall Nov-5-1814. Ordered to Knoxville, Tenn, on recruiting service. MoRet Columbia SC Mar 15, 1815, Absent at Columbia OH GA AR Columbia Apr 30 1815 Present. MoRet Chalk Hill, near Columbia SC Jun 30, 1815. Absent with leave at Frankfort, KY.
Note the recruiting trip to East Tennessee (see below), and the reference to leave of absence to Frankfort, KY, where his parents resided. This is William Arnold, Second Lieutenants, Rifle regiment, Kentucky (commissioned Dec. 3, 1812)[1].

This military service is cited in a letter of introduction, written by Arnold’s former commanding officer, Edward P. Gaines:

Headquarters Western department, Memphis, Tenn., March 10, 1833
Dear Sir: I do myself the honor to introduce to your attention General William Arnold, whose name you will recognize as an officer of the First when you were lieutenant colonel of the United States rifle regiment.
General Arnold visits Mexico with a view to ascertain and vindicate claims to lands in Texas in which he and some of his much-respected friends of this state are interested. He will advise you of the nature of his claims, about which I have had the means of knowing little or nothing. Of his military service, however, I have had the satisfaction to witness much, so much indeed, as to have it in my power to say that no other officer of his age or rank known to me contributed more to the achievements of the year 1811 upon the Ontario and Niagara frontier than General (then lieutenant) Arnold. He was one of the victors of Sandy creek[2] under Appling and of Conjockeity [Kenjockety Creek[3], Buffalo, NY] under Morgan, victories the first of which probably saved the fleet while in a state of preparation at Sackett’s Harbor. The last contributed mainly to save Brown’s division of the Army the day previous to my taking command, after which this first-rate sharpshooter was employed most actively in various conflicts at and in the vicinity of Fort Erie, where he was ever in the foremost of his regiment in feats of unsurpassed gallantry.
With a knowledge of these scenes of meritorious services, many of which I doubt not your recollection of the details of the war on the northern frontier has rendered familiar to you, I could not permit General Arnold to leave me for Mexico without an introduction, as I believe he has not had the pleasure of being personally known to you.
Being convinced that you will find him to be worthy of the confidences of his countrymen and neighbors and incapable of betraying any trust confided to him, I take pleasure in recommending him to your friendly attention, and I avail myself of the occasion to offer assurances of my best wishes for your health and happiness. Very respectfully your friend,
Edward Pendleton Gaines
(to) Colonel Anthony Butler, U.S.M.R. Mexico

Thus, “our” William Arnold is the same person as then-Lieutenant William Arnold, who was assigned to Roane County during the War of 1812. This is a surmise, based on place (Roane Co.), time (present before the 1824 wedding to Ms King), and assumed progression in rank (Lieutenant by 1813, Colonel before 1824 (probably before 1817; see [5]), and General by 1826).

Lieut. Wm. Arnold, of the 39th Regiment of Regulars, was sent to Kingston, TN, to recruit for the war (of 1812); one of his most distinguished recruits was private citizen Sam Houston (future Governor of Tennessee and Texas).[i] Houston and Arnold appear to have been close friends. A lesser-known soldier also recruited by Lieut. Arnold in 1813 was Littleton Davis. [ii]

Sam Houston enlisted in 1813. A first-hand observer wrote that “Lieutenant William Arnold, of the thirty-ninth regiment of Regulars, was sent to Kingston on recruiting service. ... Soon after this (the enlistment of Sam Houston and others), Lieut. Arnold had received 39 soldiers, and was ordered to send them forth to join the troops, marching to the Creek War, under the command of Col. John Williams, of Knoxville, who commanded this regiment of regulars in person at the battle of Horse shoe, and afterwards became a distinguished Senator in Congress from Tennessee. Soon after Houston left Kingston, his friends applied to President Madison for his promotion, who commissioned him as Ensign.”[iii]

Brittain (1999), Roane County Tennessee Militia Companies, 1806-1820 & 1828-1839, p. 48, refers to “Captain Arnold’s Co.” Thus, Lt. Arnold may have advanced in rank while in East Tennessee.

[1] See
[2] The Battle of Big Sandy was a decisive American victory in which American militia and Oneida Indians launched a surprise attack on British soldiers who were chasing them inland from Lake Ontario. … Maj. Daniel Appling and 130 regular riflemen were assigned to Woolsey as an escort, while 150 Onieda warriors were to meet them along the way. With only 8 miles left to travel, they pulled into Sandy Creek to await a further escort of marines and troops being sent from Sackets Harbor. .. The morning of May 29, Capt. Richard Smith of the U.S. Marines left Sackets Harbor with 100 officers and men, followed later by Commandant Charles Ridgely and a party of sailors. Prior to this force being sent, Brig. Gen. Edmund Gaines had sent a troop of dragoons with a couple of artillery pieces west along the road to Sandy Creek. .. The British had suffered a stunning defeat, for a minor skirmish it had important results. Yeo was now short the boats captured, and 200 officers and men.
[3] The Battle of Black Rock and Buffalo, New York, in the War of 1812, was fought (December 30, 1813) on the banks of Scajaquada [Kenjockety] Creek near the junction with the Niagara River. The battle was a British victory. The British forces drove off the hastily-organized defenders and engaged in considerable plundering and destruction. The operation was conceived as an act of retaliation for the burning by American troops of the Canadian village of Newark (present day Niagara-on-the-Lake).

[i] S.E. Roberts (1980), Roots of Roane County, Tennessee 1792-.
[ii] Roane County Tennessee Minute Book, 1816-1818, p. 213 (20-Oct-1817).
[iii] Bailey, Roane County, Tennessee, Newspaper abstracts (1998), Page 183

In a follow up letter Mr. Bostisk, give this additional information. He also asked a question which I was unable to answer, maybe one of my readers has a answer for him.

Those of you who have question or answers can reach Mr. Bostick at the following.

General Arnold is my "almost famous" relation! His father, Major John Arnold, fought in the Indian Wars, Revolution, and War of 1812. William joined his friend and former comrade Sam Houston (whom he had recruited for the War of 1812) in Colonial Texas, but inconveniently died before the Texas Revolution; his former political rival in Tennessee was David Crockett.

Question: (Have you ever seen reference to James B. Theobold for those early wars? He went by the title of Col., and was brother-in-law to William Arnold. The only service reference that I found was in "Index to War of 1812 Pension Files," for a widow's certificate for "Theobald, James F., Patsy, srv Capt Jacob Stucker's Co. KY Mil." The James Theobald who served under Stucker was listed as a Pvt.)

On January 10, 2011, Mr. Bostick, sent two more mail with some interesting information.

(1). Theobold. apparently was a "colorful" and rather elusive character (I lost track of him after the 1830 census) - he married Patsy Arnold (dau of Major John), so the War of 1812 widow's cert sounds promising, if I can figure out how to access it. Don't know when or how he became "Col. Theobold," as he was referred to in contemporary (1820-1830) records. There were other famous KY "Theobold/Theobald" during the War of 1812, e.g., at the Battle of the Thames (where Major John Arnold fought alongside General Harrison). My direct ancestor, Joel Bird Prewett, apparently also served briefly during the War of 1812, and received a military land warrent - he also married a dau of Major John Arnold.

(2). This link may be of interest to persons interested in the War of 1812:
Featured Database: War of 1812 Muster Rolls

(Source: Olive Tree Genealogy Blog via RSS Feed, 22/Oct/2010)

Also, the current issue (Jan/Feb 2011) of "Family Chronicle" magazine has several pages devoted to "US Records of the War of 1812," and mentions the digitization project for the War of 1812 pensions

I mentioned the other Kentucky "Theobald" in that war; Samuel was particularly interesting, volunteering to draw fire from the enemy:
The history of Franklin County, Ky.
Frankfort, Ky.: Roberts Co. Print., 1912, 307 pgs.
p. 59: Samuel A. Theobald, a lawyer from Frankfort, was Judge Advocate in Richard M. Johnson's regiment, and was one of the immortal "Forlorn Hope" consisting of 20 men who volunteered to advance in front of the army at the Thames in order to draw the fire of the Indians.. In the history of the world there has never been a braver act than was performed by Samuel A. Theobald on that 5th day of October, 1813 (War of 1812)

James Theobold seems to have similarly held a fatalistic world view:

James G. Cisco, "Madison County," From The American Historical Magazine, Vol. 7, No. 4 (October 1902), pp. 328-348.
(Ca 1822): A little later a Mr. Theobald built another tavern on College street near the end of what is now Liberty street. College street was then called "Knotchy Trace," and was the main road of the new county.
.. Besides the taverns, as they were then called, which in Jackson's earlier days were kept by Thomas Shannon, and James Theobald, Major Charles Sevier conducted one which was situated on the lot on Main street west of Shannon street.
The first society organization in the county was called the "Sacrificial Club." It had thirteen members, among whom were William Armour, Charles Sevier, W. R. Harris, Stokeley D. Hays, John B. Cross, B. G. Stewart, W. R. Hess, Colonel Theobold and Adam Huntsman. The names of the others are lost. The origin and the object of that organization are unknown at this day, but it is reported to have originated on an occasion when those old pioneers had been for several days worshiping at the shrine of Bacchus. After they had reached a point where they began to wish that they had been engaged in some other occupation, one of them proposed that a human sacrifice should be offered as a propitiation for their sins. The proposition was favored and they agreed to east lots to determine who should be the victim, each having previously bound himself, in the most solemn manner, to abide the result. Major John B. Cross, who was at that time, one of the members of the court of pleas and quarter session of this county, and had been an Indian fighter under Jackson, was the member on whom the lot fell. A pen of logs was then built on the corner of Lafayette and Liberty streets, the present situation of the Murray Block, which was filled with the most combustible material that could be found, and thus an altar having been prepared, the master of ceremony deprived Major Cross of his apparel, put on him a white robe, and having delivered him to two high priests of the Sacrificial Club, they led him to the altar, put him on it in an erect position and then deliberately proceeded to apply to it the torch which was to set it aflame; but before that act could be successfully accomplished the Major was saved from death by fire through the timely appearance of a man, who was neither a member of the club nor knew that for its manifold sins one of its members had been selected as the propitiation. Major Cross lived for many years after he was thus saved from death and was one of the most honored citizens of this county which he represented in the Legislature of this State whenever he sought that honor.

No comments: