April 12, 1812: Lt Col Warren to Gen Shaw

General Shaw

On April 12, 1812, Lieutenant Colonel John Warren of the 3rd Lincoln, reports to Major General Shaw that his regiment has volunteered for service pursuant to the amended Militia Act. This act had created flank companies in each regiment. The militia was composed of volunteers supplemented by ballot, that is, men chosen by lot, if the sufficient quota was not met.  Warren notes that there was no need for a ballot. These companies were to train six days per month. They were to serve a supporting roles to British regular troops during the war. (For an interesting discussion of the militia see Steven D. Bennett's "The Militia Myth in the War of 1812.") Shaw had become a major-general in the militia responsible for training. Shaw would later not distinguish himself during the first capture of York during the War of 1812. The letter of Colonel Warren is reproduced below.


Fort Erie, 12th April, 1812. 


I have had the honor of receiving your circular letter of the 12th ulto., with the supplementary to the Militia Law, passed the last Session of the Legilsature, saying: That His Honor the President was anxious that the provision therein contained should be explained to the men under my command, and that whatever measures His Honor might find it expedient to adopt he would dispense with a ballot until the last emergency.
I have great satisfaction in acquainting you that the behavior of the 3rd Regiment of Lincoln Militia has precluded the necessity of a ballot.  Four companies of the Regiment are resident in the Township of Bertie and Humberstone, the other four companies reside in Willoughby, Crowland and Wainfleet, on the east side of the Chippawa to the distance of thirty miles up that creek.  It therefore became me to consider the ease of the men by lessening the fatigue of their assembling at too great a distance from their farms.  The first four companies were ordered to assemble in Bertie on the 9th instant and the other four companies to form at the mouth of the Chippawa on the 10th, at both of which places I attended. 
Of the Companies of Bertie and Humberstone every man voluntarily turned out, to the number of two hundred and six. The four companies at Chippawa also behaved well, out of two hundred and eleven on parade, only five stood fast. While the circles were formed at both places and I had read and explained the acts, the Officers were called upon to step forward and take the oath and after setting the example not the least hesitation was made, and every man, officers and privates, stood around while Messrs. Street and Crowell Wilson administered it. 
(Dominion Archives,  Militia Papers,  U.C., 1812

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