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Pierre Charles Courtois in War of 1812
Posted by: Michael Cootware Date: April 01, 2001 at 06:50:03
  of 60

I've recently identified Pierre Charles Courtois' British service in the War of 1812. His American service in this war has been know for sometime. I found that the Regiment de Meuron, came to Canada for the War of 1812 in May 1813 from Malta. Remembering from Charles obituary that he had come from Malta with a British Regiment, I looked into this regiment. This is what is recorded in the Regiment de Meurons 'Book of the Regiment':

Pierre Courtois, # 1600, rifleman, enroled May 30, 1809, at Gibraltar,
22 years old, 5 feet 8 inches, born in Chambery, in Savoie, France;
desertion September 2, 1813, from Chambly. They striked out his name
October 28, 1815.

The desertion date agrees with what the obituary says. Chambly is just a little north of Burlington, Vermont, where Charles enlisted in the American service. A birth year of 1787, closely matches the age given in many census' of Charles and his family, taken between 1840 and 1870. And as noted in his death notice from St. Peters parish in Plattsburg, he was also known as Pierre Charles Courtois, so the name fits.

Also from the history of the Regiment de Meuron, they had recruited many French prisoners that had been kept on prison pontoons off the coast of Cadiz, Spain. Most of these French prisoners had been captured in July 1808, at the Battle of Bailen (or Baylen) where General Pierre Dupont surrendered his entire command. So again we have a match to the obituary, that Charles had been captured by the British in 1808. The majority of these prisoners on these pontoons, died there because of the extremely poor conditions.

Concerning the Belle Isle birth place listed on the obituary. The Belle Isle archives have been searched by two different people searching the records of all four parishes on the island for any record of a Charles Courtois or Pierre Charles Courtois. Both individuals have come up empty, and reported to me that Courtois is not even a Belle Isle family name. This new information explains why.

With this new information to guide us, maybe we are getting very close to discovering Charles ancestry. I'm now looking to get in contact with someone close to the archives nearest Chambery, as it's on the opposite side of the country as Belle Isle (it's near the Alps).

Again here is the obituary and the death notice to make it easier to compare the related details I've pointed out.

death notice from St. Peters Parish in Plattsburg:

"This day 31st January 1875 the body of Pierre Charles Courtois was buried,
born 97 years. Witnesses were Edouard Renaud and Wiliam Lamy. Alec Trudeau,

Burlington Free Press: February 12, 1875

Mr. Charles Cortwite (pronounced Cootware) of Plattsburg, whose death was announced last week, was born in Belle Isle, France, in 1779, and enlisted in the French service at the early age of 14. He served under Napoleon Bonaparte, was in the wars of Portugal and England, was on board a French ship at the battle of Trafalgar. In 1808 he was taken prisoner by the British, near Cadiz, Spain, and soon after enlisted in a British regiment and sent to Malta for five years. The regiment came out to Canada, and in September, 1813, Mr. Cortwite deserted from the British service and came to Burlington, where he enlisted in the U.S. Dragoons. He served in nearly all the battles on the northern frontier, until he lost a leg at Fort Erie in 1814. He had been a pensioner since 1849.

Michael Cootware

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