Trading, Smuggling, Privateering & British Assaults in summer 1814
Thanks to member Josh Smith for the following bio of George Ulmer; thanks also to Josh for sharing with us some of the transcriptions he made of the George Ulmer letters at the National Archives.
George Ulmer was in command of Fort Sullivan from December 1812 to July, 1813. He was a Revolutionary War veteran, land speculator, politician, and militia officer who lived in Lincolnville on the western side of Penobscot Bay. Between 1808 and 1812 he was in command of the Tenth Division of Massachusetts Militia, which was based in what are now Hancock, Washington and Penobscot counties in eastern Maine. After war broke out in 1812, he resigned his militia commission and accepted a federal commission to command a regiment of U.S. Volunteers, members of which signed up for one year of duty. Volunteers did not wear a uniform other than a cockade in their hat, although the national government provided them with weapons. In December, 1812 Ulmer arrived at Eastport to take command of what was called the “Eastern Frontier”: the border between Maine and the British province of New Brunswick, a command that stretched from Castine in the west along the coast as far east as Calais, with headquarters in Eastport. It was not a happy command. Ulmer found his command hampered by orders not to engage the enemy, a terrible shortage of supplies and equipment, officers who bickered and refused to cooperate, the hostility of smugglers and others in the Passamaquoddy region, and inadequate housing. His voluminous correspondence is a litany of complaints addressing all these issues. Well intentioned but ungifted as a commander, Ulmer’s command devolved into a shambles. In July, 1813 the U.S. Army relieved him of command.