The FILI and the War of 1812
In the War of 1812, North Carolina’s chief military concern was the protection of it’s coastline. There was fear of British attack, and frequent rumors of British warships off the coast. On July 11, 1813, a British fleet of one large battleship and over one hundred smaller craft landed at Ocracoke and Portsmouth. Letters and orders flew thick and fast. Adjutant General Calvin Jones called on all to help. “Our State has been invaded, and this is the moment of my departure for New Bern”, he announced. All those who may tender their services are invited immediately to repair to New Bern, armed efficiently with muskets, rifles, sabers and pistols, to be organized under my order. All the munitions in the Fayetteville Arsenal were ordered to the coast and the F.I.L.I. marched off to the defense of Wilmington.

In preparation for deployment to Wilmington, the following entry, dated July 19, 1813, appears in the Original Muster Book; “At a meeting of the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry Company held at the Town House this day, for the purpose of making necessary arrangements, preparatory to their departure from this place, agreeable to the orders of Brigadier General (Thomas) Davis, for the defense of the sea coast, the following resolutions were approved, viz. Resolved that Duncan Thompson and John Huske be appointed to provide bread, bacon and spirits, for the general use of the Company. Resolved that John Smith and John R. Adam be a committee for the purpose of providing wagons, pots, kettles and all other things necessary for the use of the Company. Resolved that the sum of five dollars be collected from each member of the Company for the purchase of the above articles, and paid to the above committees. Resolved that the Company meet tomorrow morning, wearing uniforms for the purpose of having their arms examined.” An entry in the original Muster Book, dated July 21, 1812, reads as follows: “Agreeable to the orders of Brigadier General (Thomas) Davis, commenced a march to Wilmington this day, under the command of Lieutenant William Berry Grove.”

A letter from Brigadier General Thomas Davis to Governor William Hawkins describes the F.I.L.I.’s deployment to Wilmington; “I have the honor to inform Your Excellency, that I have so far succeeded in executing your orders, that as early as Wednesday morning last, the Independent Company, consisting of about 40, proceeded to Wilmington. They were in high spirits, and completely equipped. Munitions of war were sent with them. Cheerfulness, combined with celerity of movement in this Company, augur well.” The following letter was addressed to Lieutenant William Berry Groove, and is evidence, honorable to the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry, of its service during the War of 1812;

“To Lieutenant W.B. Grove: Sir - I am commanded by His Excellency, the Commander-In-Chief of the State of North Carolina, to express, through you, to the Officers and Privates of your Company, the very high approbation which they merit, and which they have met with, for their prompt and soldier-like march to one of the vulnerable points of our State when it was invaded. And to His Excellency it is a high Gratification that all composing your Company have done all that could be expected from Officers and Soldiers. Stimulated by this laudable example, it is confidently hoped the Militia of the State of North Carolina will derive much benefit. On your arrival in the town of Fayetteville, you will dismiss from duty the members composing yours. I am, with much regard, Your Obedient Servant, F.N.W. Burton, Aid.”

The War of 1812 Muster Roll

A Muster Roll of Officers and Men of the “Grand Olde Company” in the War of 1812. Captain John Winslow, Commanding Officer, was absent from his home on business of a public nature when the F.I.L.I. was deployed.

Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers

Lewis Barge
Nathan Branson
William Broadfoot
Neill Buie
John L. Hadley
John Jarott
Joseph W. King
William Lumsden
Archibald McLean
Evander McIver
Roderick McIntosh
Duncan McNeill
John McPhaul
Thomas McRackan
Martin McPherson
John Murchison
Alexander McGilvary
John McKinnon
Daniel Munn
Bethel Oglesby
Charles Rhodes
Peter Smith
Samuel Salmon
Duncan Thompson
Cyrus P. Tillinghast
Calvin Weeks
William Beatty
Thomas Maxwell
W.T. Cole
Archibald Taylor

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