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Patrick Driscol
Fictional Character
Trail of Glory
POD: March 27, 1814
Appearance(s): 1812: The Rivers of War
1824: The Arkansas War
Type of Appearance: Direct
Nationality: Confederacy of the Arkansas (born in Ireland, and briefly a citizen of the United States)
Religion: Presbyterian
Date of Birth: 1782
Occupation: Soldier, Politician
Spouse: Tiana Driscol
Affiliations: United States Army

Arkansas Chiefdom

Patrick Liam Driscol (b. 1782) was one of the central figures in the founding of the Confederacy of the Arkansas. A veteran of several wars, he was the first Principal Chief (more often called Laird) of Arkansas Chiefdom, and was the Confederacy's bulwark against invasion.

Early lifeEdit

Driscol was born in County Antrim, Ireland to Scottish Presbyterian stock. He, his brothers, and his father participated in the Rebellion of 1798; only Patrick Driscol survived. After this was crushed, he served in the armies of Napoleon for a time before emigrating to the United States. Here, he joined the army during the War of 1812. In each instance, he was fighting his hated enemy, the English.

NiagaraEdit

In June, 1814, Driscol was a sergeant in the Army of the Niagara under the command of Brigadier Winfield Scott. Driscol was soon in a close working relationship with Scott, who had successfully trained the men in his command based upon a European system. Here, he met Anthony McParland, a young boy who'd attempted to desert. While four other deserters were immediately executed under Driscol's supervision, MacParland was spared on Scott's orders (to Driscol's disgust). Scott also ordered Driscol to oversee MacParland's training from then on. Driscol also made sure that none of McParland's fellow soldiers would give him a hard time.

Scott informed Driscol that Napoleon had abdicated on April 6, 1814. Scott's commanding officer, General Jacob Brown, decided that the Americans needed to engage the British immediately.

Driscol served as an adviser to Scott during the July campaign. During the Battle of Chippewa on July 5, 1814. Driscol received a musket ball to the left arm. While he could no longer directly participate, with McParland's help, he saw the hated "Sassenach" defeated. Hours later, Driscol's arm was amputatedWhen Scott transferred Driscol to Washington for further care. Driscol was horrified by the prospect of a trained doctor tending him, but did not wish to disobey a direct order. However, Driscol was in no shape to make the trip right away. McParland offered to take Driscol to his family's farm to allow the sergeant recuperate before making the final journey, an offer Driscol eagerly accepted.

Driscol stayed with the McParlands for several weeks, into August, while he healed. Word came of the Battle of Lundy's Lane, which he concluced was a draw, rather than the victory the British were claiming. When it was clear that the fighting would be moving south, Driscol decided he'd healed enough to move on to Washington.

The Road to WashingtonEdit

On August 24, 1814, Driscol and McParland was residing in a Baltimore boarding house owned by a Mrs. Young. When Driscol learned that General William Winder would be in overall command of the defense of Washington from the invading British, he immediately concluded that the incompetent Winder would let the capital fall.

Initially content to stay put in Baltimore, Driscol decided help defend Washington after Dr. Jeremy Boulder arrived in the boarding house. Fearful of the treatments he'd be subject to, Driscol claimed he and McParland had been called Washington. They immediately fled, and were able to commandeer a wagon driven by freedman Henry Crowell, and made their way to Washington. Half-way there, they collected a group of militiamen led by Corporal John Pendleton. Pendleton's men were part of General Tobias Stansbury's Fifth Regiment, but had been unable to find the Fifth Regiment. Driscol immediately ordered them as an escort, formally making them part of Scott's First Brigade, which heartened the militia.

When they reached Washington, they found it a ghost town. Driscol was able to learn that the Battle of Bladensburg had already taken place, that the Americans under Winder had been routed, and that the British were marching on the city. Driscol took his ragtag group to the executive mansion. The group came across some sailors who'd been in the command of Commodore Joshua Barney, who generally cursed William Winder as a traitor. Driscol was able to convince them to join his band after informing them that he was under Winfield Scott's command. Driscol also reasoned that the Capitol Building (still under construction) would make a very defensible position.

Meeting Sam HoustonEdit

At the Executive Mansion, Driscol first met Sam Houston, who was elequently attempting to convince former War Department accountant William Simmons to leave behind two twelve-pound cannons, After some cajoling and lying from Houston (which Driscol easily spotted), Simmons relented, and left the guns. For his own part, Driscol didn't directly participate in the argument, but he directed his formidable glare at Simmons. Driscol agreed to stay with Houston, and presented actual naval gunners who could operate the twelve-pounders. Houston and Driscol quickly realized which of whom was the more experienced soldier, and Houston agreed to listen to Driscol's advice. Both realized that the Capitol Building was a virtual fortress, and relocated there.

Driscol also first met his future wife, Tiana Rogers, niece of prominent Cherokee leader John Jolly. Although Tiana had once announced she'd marry Houston, Driscol's arrival confused matters.

The CapitolEdit

Upon arriving at the Capitol Building, Houston's hodepodge force began setting up defenses, including positioning the cannons they had between the buildings for the House of Representatives and the Senaate.

When artilleryman Charles Ball pointed out that two guns left by the army were inoperable, Henry Crowell, uggested that his employer, Foxall's Foundary, would have guns, ammunition, and shot. Houston dispatched McParland, Crowell, Ball, and a group of dragoons under Corporal John Pendleton to requisition what they could. Houston, Driscol and the remaining men continued to fortify the building as best they could.

Late in th evening, British troops turned over the injured Commodore Joshua Barney to Houston's custody. This gave the British an opportunity to see the defenses Houston and his men were erecting. Barney gave his blessing to Houston and Driscol, although his injury was too severe to allow him to participate directly. Barney did share his observations about Congreve rockets with Driscol, leading Driscol to conclude that they appeared frightening but were completely ineffective.

The Battle of the CapitolEdit

When the shooting began, Driscol closely advised Houston on how to proceed. Driscol had complete faith in the artillerymen, who were all seasoned veterans, and so convinced Houston to simply stay out of their way and let them do their job. When Driscol stated that he would move throughout the battle to make sure the less experienced men weren't flagging, Houston ordered Driscol to take James and John Rogers with him. During a barrage of Congreve rockets, Driscol, Houston and John Ross had a lengthy conversation about several subjects, pointedly ignoring the barrage in the hopes of keeping morale up.

Driscol collected a platoon and secured them in one room. He ordered that no one discharge their muskets until a British officer was in range. The first to appear was General Robert Ross. While the barrage didn't kill Ross, his horse was killed and the general received several wounds. He was carried from the field, unconscious. When Admiral George Cockburn rode forward to continue the attack, Driscol's platoon shot Cockburn's horse out from under him, but he was not badly injured and quickly hustled off the field as the British began a retreat.

Driscol continued to suprvise the Capitol. He even attempted to shoot Cockburn when the admiral set out to burn the city. Driscol's men missed Cockburn. Not long after that, the British retreated, leaving the injured General Robert Ross, whom Driscol collected.

On August 25, it began raining. Driscol attempted to keep his own counsel, but he was approached by Tiana Rogers, who acknowledged his stolen glances. While he privately acknowledged his attraction to her, he was not comfortable with discussing it. Before the conversation could continue, he was appraoched by Houston, John Ross, and Secretary of State James Monroe with a proposed plan that would in time birth the Confederacy of the Arkansas. Initially, the plan offended Driscol's egalitarian sensibilities, which he made clear to Monroe. However, Monroe was able to convince Driscol of the viability of the plan before he took his leave. Left alone, Driscol soon convinced John Ross of the same thing.

Word came that the First Lady, Dolley Madison, had returned, and was ordering a victory celebration. Driscol, much against his preferences, attended. He was again confronted by Tiana Rogers, who informed him that she would be returning south in coming month. She also made it clear that she fancied Driscol, who in turn, invited her to join him for a visit to General Ross.

The meeting with Ross was the beginning of an unusual friendship. They realized that they'd probably been on opposing sides in at least one battle. Driscol also learned that Ross was in fact, Irish born. Ross complimented Driscol. realizing that he was the person most responsible for the professionalism of the defense of the Capitol building. A month later, Ross this opinion clear in an interview. Houston confirmed this, much to Driscol's horror, and his anonymity was forever lost. In September, he was promoted to major.

The Road to New OrleansEdit

While stationed in Washington, the relationship between Driscol and Tiana Rogers continued to grow. While Sam Houston occassionally drank on the pretext of a broken-heart, in truth, he was not so hurt as he let on.[1] Driscol was also a brief confidante of the Monroe, who'd taken the office of Secretary of War in addtion to the Secretary of State[2] As it was clear that the British would next move against New Orleans. General Andrew Jackson, located in the Floridas, was preparing to meet a British invasion. Monroe briefly considered sending Driscol's former commander, Winfield Scott, newly recovered from his injuries. However, Driscol, realizing how touchy Scott could be about his own vanity, and sensing that Jackson was equally touchy, recommended against it. Thus, the task went to Houston. Scott did not know of Driscol's roll. When the two met again on October 9, just as the expedition was setting out, Scott was quite warm with Driscol, and (much to Driscol's annoyance) merely cordial with Houston.[3]

Before arriving in New Orleans, the expedition visited John Jolly's island, where Driscol spend a great deal of time with John Rogers, Tiana's father. Here, and on the road, Driscol began the beginnings of a plan for his eventual civilian life, which involved the founding of an iron foundary in New Orleans, and the possible expansion of that foundary into Arkansas. The plan included Henry Crowell, Charles Ball and his men, and John Rogers.

The expedition arrived in New Orleans on December 14, to relative chaos behind the American lines. Louisiana governor William C.C. Claiborne had proposed that freedmen form two battalions, and Jackson had accepted those battalions, one under the command of Majors Louis Daquin and Pierre Lacoste respectivley. This did not sit well with plantation owners all over Lousiana, who protested to Jackson. Jackson, while holding an ill-view of blacks, was utterly disgusted with the plantation owners for their short-sightedness. Houston and Driscol were present for the aftermath of a loud confrontation between Jackson and several plantation men.

Time was of the essence, however, as Admiral Alexander Cochrane was known to be on his way. Jackson enlisted Driscol (with Houston's support) to train the two Negro battalions, fully expecting to meet the British in two weeks at most. Driscol began laying the foundation of his plan. He agreed to Jackson's request, after convincing Jackson to detach Charles Ball and the black sailors, as well as three cannons. Jackson agreed, although not without some grumbling. Driscol also convinced Jackson to award a $200 bonus to any freedmen who joined, particularly laborers (most Negroes in the city being ironworkers of some sort). Houston also backed Driscol's requests, knowing full well that Driscol was also laying a foundation for his future. Driscol confirmed this when they were out of Jackson's office.[4]

When word came of a British advance under John Keane on December 23, 1814, Jackson rushed out to meet and stop the advance. Driscol (who realized just how lucky Jackson was that the cautious Keane wa in command) was not part of this attack. He remained in New Orleans, and was tasked by Jackson to burn the city to the ground should the British advance continue on. Happily, Driscol did not need to take that step. Instead, he passed the evening at the Trémoulet House with Tiana Rogers and her father, Captain John Rogers, and her two brothers. John Rogers realized that Driscol and Tiana were in love, and more or less gave his blessing to the union. He also correctly intuited that Driscol had a vague plan for the voluntary westward movement of the Cherokee and the end of slavery.[5]

On January 1, 1815, Houston, word came that Robert Ross, now quite ill, wished to be surrendered to the Americans, and that Driscol and Tiana care for him. Driscol was astonished by this news, but accepted Jackson's command.

Jackson ordered Sam Houston to parlay with the British to arrange transfer of to the Americans. During the course of the parlay, Houston took note of the British positions, and shared his observations with Jackson. Specifically, Houston was concerned that the British were widening the canals southern of their lines. Jackson realized that the British could be preparing to land a force on the west bank of the river. He also realized that the only force to meet them would be under the command of General David Morgan, who had no taste for fighting. Jackson ordered Houston to prepare to cross the river to support Morgan. He also ordered Patrick Driscol and his new unit be ready as well.

When Houston told Driscol of what he'd seen and what Jackson wanted, Driscol was quite open about his belief that the British plan was to overwhelm Morgan's position, take the guns under his command, and turn them against the Americans. Houston had no choice but to accept the logic of this.[6]

Driscol made his preparations, while Tiana tended to Robert Ross. The British general's fever broke on January 4. On that day, Ross admitted to Driscol that he'd come to disapprove of the instution of slavery. Driscol himself hated slavery. While Ross was not quite that firm, the issue helped to further forge their unusual bond.[7]

That night, as he and his unit were preparing to leave, Driscol finally admitted to Tiana that he loved her. After consumating their relationship, Driscol headed out with his men.[8]

The Battle of the MississippiEdit

The "Freedmen's Iron Battalion" arrived at the so-called "Morgan Line" on the night of January 7, 1815. Driscol was horrified by the poor preparations, and began deploying his men accordingly,[9] and was prepared for the British attack in the early morning hours of January 8.[10] Driscol was not surprised when the initial American line broke in the face of a British bayonet charge. Morgan rode after them, trying to exhort them back to the battle. With Morgan's men gone, Driscol and the Iron Battalion, behind a hastily assembled but otherwise stout earthenworks, began their bombardment of the advancing British. The Battalion's primary goal was to force the British commander, William Thornton, to keep advancing on their position, while at the same time refusing to retreat until Sam Houston and his men arrived.[11]

Literary NoteEdit

While an incident involving a young deserter who was spared by Winfield Scott did take place, the names of the private and the sergeant who was given the task of training the private were not recorded. Thus, Driscol is largely a character of Eric Flint's imagination, and is not considered historical at this wiki.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Trail of Glory, Ch. 32.
  2. Ibid., Ch. 31.
  3. Ibid., Ch 32.
  4. Ibid., CH. 36.
  5. Ibid, ch. 38
  6. Ibid., ch. 40.
  7. Ibid., CH. 41.
  8. Ibid., Ch. 42.
  9. Ibid., Ch. 43.
  10. Ibid., Ch. 44.
  11. Ibid., Ch. 45.

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