From records at Groton, we present the following family for Aaron and Lucy Bigelow:
16215.1 Jonathan, b 13 Sep 1781 Groton.
16215.2 Aaron, b 17 Aug 1783 Groton; an officer (Lt.) in the regular U.S. Army, he was killed at the Battle of Lundy's Lane on 25 July 1814; unmarried. (see below)
16215.3 Mary, b 7 Aug 1785 Groton; perhaps died young, (see 1790 census).
16215.4 Miriam, bapt 3 Jun 1787 Groton; d ____ ; m 29 May 1817 William Longley 3rd.
The Bigelow Family Genealogy, Volume I, page 155-156;
Howe, Bigelow Family of America;
censuses 1790, 1800;
town records Groton, MA;
military record Aaron Bigelow, jr;
Forge: The Bigelow Society Quarterly, vol.11, p.81, "Early Obits."
I'm a freelance writer doing some research on Battery Bigelow, a part of historic Fort De Soto in Pinellas County. This battery, now crumbling into
the Gulf of Mexico, was named for Lt. Aaron Bigelow who died in the Battle of Lundy's Lane in 1814. I have been searching for more information about him, and came across your family reunion, going on right now!
I'm wondering: Do you have any information on this young soldier, from the
21st US Infantry?
Many, many thanks
Anne L. Hall
HELLO and thanks to you and Larry Baxter . . .
I'm including a copy of the article that came out today here in St. Pete. I would have liked to have found Aaron Bigelow's service record, but couldn't
get it before deadline. Had to guess a bit at his role in the battle. This has been lots of fun . . . the highlight for me was finding the Bigelow
reunion going on at the peak of my search. Many thanks for your help. If you want a paper copy of this article, with photos, I'll be happy to send
it on.— Annie
Fort De Soto’s Crumbling Tribute
By Anne L. Hall
Waves smash against Battery Bigelow now — anglers rest their tackle boxes atop its heavy walls. This ragged section of Fort De Soto, built 100 years ago to defend Tampa Bay against Spanish attack, was toppled by storms and erosion instead of battle.
Battery Bigelow once supported two Driggs Seabury rapid-fire guns, but they were only fired in tests and training exercises, a history brochure from the Pinellas County Parks Department tells us. The brochure also tells us the battery was named in honor of 1st Lt. Aaron Bigelow of the 21st U.S. Infantry, who was killed at the Battle of Lundy's Lane in Ontario during the War of 1812.
But who was Aaron Bigelow that he should be remembered here?
The Battle of Lundy’s Lane was a vicious, six-hour battle fought near Niagara Falls, through heat, smoke and the darkness of night. It was the
bloodiest battle of the War of 1812.
According to census records, Aaron Bigelow was born on Aug. 17, 1783, in Groton, Mass., and was a lieutenant in the regular U.S. Army. He was unmarried when he was killed on July 25, 1814, a few weeks before his 31st birthday.
His father, Aaron Bigelow Sr, had been a private in the Continental Army and was on the Valley Forge muster rolls for December of 1777 to May of 1778. On the night of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, July 25, 1814, Aaron Bigelow and the 21st Infantry from Massachusetts, led by Col. James Miller, were given an impossible task.
THE BATTLE OF LUNDY’S LANE
British forces were massed at the top of a hill beside Lundy’s Lane where there was a red frame Presbyterian church with its small cemetery. The
British positioned their seven brass cannons in the cemetery and aimed them downhill.
At 6 p.m., U.S. Army General Winfield Scott ordered his forces to attack. Armed only with muskets, Scott’s troops charged through waist-high crops and over chest-high split-rail fences. They raced uphill straight into the cannon fire.
When Major-General Jacob Brown arrived with American reinforcements — General Eleazar Ripley's fresh troops and Colonel James Miller with the 21st Infantry Regiment — the officers were taken aback at the carnage and decided the guns had to be taken.
At 8:30 p.m., Scott’s devastated brigade was ordered into reserve, and Ripley's brigade was ordered to divert the British gunfire on the hill while
Miller led the 21st Infantry Regiment in capturing the blazing cannons.
The action was furious. Horse drawn artillery led the charge uphill: Riders were thrown off their horses, and many of the horses were killed. Miller led his men under shrubbery to the shelter of a rail fence within 20 yards of the British. They could see only a few yards away. He ordered his men to lean on the fence, take a breath, aim carefully and fire.
One volley surprised and overcame the British gunners, and the Americans took possession of the cannons.
But the British soldiers surged forward with fixed bayonets, and the armies began hand-to hand combat. Musket exchanges flashing only yards apart caused heavy casualties.
By now it was10 p.m. The struggle to keep possession of the guns would last another two hours in the oppressive summer heat. The smoke of artillery fire clung to the air. The men could only see by musket flash and rockets. They fought over fences and graves. In the din of gunfire and darkness, each side inadvertently fired upon its own troops. They fought to a standstill.
Then at 11:30, the British pushed once more for the captured guns. Scott moved his brigade back out into the line of fire and began attacking
the British in column, not line, with disastrous results. As Scott’s men pierced one of the British front lines, Ripley’s men fired on them, not able to distinguish American from British silhouettes. As it neared midnight, both ammunition and supplies were critically low. Scott, severely injured when a bullet tore apart his shoulder, was carried to the rear of the battlefield. Seven out of 10 of the regimental commanders
had been killed or wounded, and little order was left among the remaining American men.
After midnight, the U.S. forces retreated. Their supply lines were overextended, and they had lost too many men to hold the hilltop. Both sides were exhausted and had suffered heavy losses. The Americans took one British gun, but left the others to the British. The American forces retreated to their camp at Chippawa, taking their wounded with them. The next day the British took charge of disposing of the hundreds bodies covering the battlefield. In the July heat they piled British and American soldiers and the horses together and burned them on a massive funeral pyre.
Altogether 878 British and Canadian soldiers, and 860 American soldiers were killed in the Battle of Lundy’s Lane.
More views of Battery Bigelow, Fort Desoto