MILITARY GENERAL SERVICE 1793, CLASP, FORT DETROIT ‘J. COAKLEY, 41ST FOOT’
John Coakley, a ‘recruit from England’, enlisted into the 41st Foot on 6 May 1807 and joined the 41st in Canada . He saw extensive service in Canada and the north-west frontier of America during the War of 1812-15, including the attack on Fort Detroit on 16 August 1812. Subsequent to this action, Coakley was wounded at the battle of the River Raisin on 22 January 1813. This action took place near present day Monroe, in Michigan State, when a British contingent of 273 soldiers of 41st Regiment of Foot, 61 Royal Newfoundland Fencibles, 212 militia, 28 sailors from the Provincial Marine with a large number of Indians, defeated an American force of approximately 1400 men. The battle was fought in snow covered conditions and was a very bloody affair. Indeed British casualties of 185 killed and wounded were among the highest of the entire War and compared to the small numbers involved were staggering. During 3 attempted charges at American positions, over 120 men of the 41st were killed or wounded, near half their number!
Private Coakley belonged to Captain Joseph Tallon’s number 8 Company during his service in the 1812 War. Other Officers serving in this company included Lieutenant Benoit Bender and Lt John Highmore Jeboult. Although a detailed service would not be given for a Private Soldier, checking musters with the above officers service (which is recorded), there is no reason to believe Coakley was not present at the battles and actions of:
Maguga – 9th August 1812
Taking of Detroit – 16th August 1812
Raisin River (Frenchtown) – 18th and 22nd January 1813 (where wounded)
Fort Meigs – May – July 1813
Black Rock – 11th July 1813
Assault on Fort Stephenson (Sanduskey) – 2nd August 1813
Thames/ Moraviantown – 5th Oct 1813
Capture of Fort Niagara – 19th December 1813
Buffalo – 30th December 1813
American assault on positions at Fort Erie – 17th Sept 1814 – possibly at and possibly wounded as the 25th Sept 1814 to 24th December 1814 musters show he was in Hospital at York, Sick at Montreal and then seems to have been discharged as his name is crossed out of the first 1815 muster. John Coakley was apparently living in Canada when he claimed his medal, so presumably stayed on after discharged.
The 41st served in many smaller actions and other larger ones but since his Officers do not seem to have been present or they are just not mentioned, this will need fuller research.
Private Coakley is noted throughout the musters as ‘Cokely’ but it is clearly the man who received the MGS medal. There are no men with similar names, bar one; a Cornelius Cokely, probably a brother. Cornelius was in 9 Company and was killed in action whilst serving aboard and armed vessel at the battle of Lake Erie, 10th September 1813.
Condition VF, minor edge bruising and contact marks. Sold with detailed research on paper and CD, including musters for his service in 1812 – 15. A fantastic 1812 war medal to a soldier with an equally fantastic service.