Capt Upton Sinclair Fraser

Capt Upton Sinclair Fraser

Birth
New York, USA
Death 28 Dec 1835 (aged 40–41)
Bushnell, Sumter County, Florida, USA
Burial Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, USA
Plot 3, 1471
Memorial ID 2936553 · View Source
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CAPTAIN, US ARMY
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Upton Sinclair Fraser was born in 1794 in New York City, New York. Fraser was the only line officer under Major Dade’s command to not be a graduate of West Point.

Captain Fraser had begun his career as an infantry lieutenant in the 15th Infantry. He joined the 15th Infantry in 1814 and after a short term with the unit, he changed branches to serve in the artillery. Fraser served in the artillery branch during the War of 1812 and moved up through the ranks. Fraser made captain in 1828. At the time of Dade's Massacre, Captain Fraser outranked Captain Gardiner by 4 years and was second in command only to Major Dade.

By military tradition and custom, he should have been the commander of the detachment rather than Captain Gardiner prior to Major Dade’s voluntary assumption of command. Captain Fraser had commanded Fort Brooke off and on for months leading up to the December march along Fort King Road. Captain Fraser acknowledged Gardiner’s West Point education, training, and Gardiner’s experience in the field, and by agreement of the officers, Captain Fraser conceded command of the detachment to Captain Gardiner.

Captain Fraser was described by fellow officers as a brave officer and one who cared for his men, Fraser was also known to have the respect of the men of his command. He was known to be a man of letters and during the march, he left hand written notes along the route for the relief column meant to follow them to Fort King. His calmness along the march was noted by those around him each night while the others showed nervousness from the situation. His dedication to duty and leadership by example was demonstrated up until the battle commenced, as he regularly accompanied the advance guard as he did on the day of the ambush.

Information from: Staff Ride Handbook for Dade’s Battle, Florida, 28 December 1835. A Study of Leadership in Irregular Conflict, Captain Michael G. Anderson, 2013
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...On November 30, Indian Agent Wiley Thompson reported that four to five hundred Indians were camped near Tampa Bay, and he described their condition as deplorable due to the lack of provisions. A week later Thompson reported that Indians were disappearing into the interior. A number of friendly Indians were still encamped near Fort Brooke, but their pitiful condition and exposure to hostile Indians made it questionable whether they could be retained long enough to get them on transports. Captain Upton S. Fraser at Fort Brooke was requested to issue provisions to them. Fraser considered the Indians, in general, to be "decidedly in a state of hostility." On December 12, 1835, Captain Francis S. Belton arrived at Fort Brooke and assumed command of the post. He immediately wrote the War Department and described the situation at Fort Brooke. "The excited state of the Indians in this vicinity and the hostility demonstrated by the plunder and burning of property has induced extraordinary exertions by my predecessor in Command, Capt. Frazer [Fraser] 3 Art [Third Artillery] to place the position in a state of defense, which has been accomplished by great energy and perseverance. ... While Fort Brooke bustled with activity in the final month of 1835, Fort King was also the scene of great apprehension and preparedness. On November 28, the commanding officer of Fort King predicted an imminent attack and appealed for reinforcements. In response, General Duncan L. Clinch, who had command of all Florida troops, ordered reinforcements from Fort Brooke. Two companies, commanded by Captain George W. Gardiner and Captain Fraser, were to leave for Fort King on December 16. However, Captain Belton at Fort Brooke apparently decided to delay the march "on account of intelligence I had received of the force of the Mickasukies, a hostile bank of Indians and their strong position near the forks of the Withlacoochee." Captain Belton also may have been waiting for Major Francis Dade's Key West company, elements of which would be added to Gardiner's and Fraser's companies. Dade arrived at Fort Brooke on December 21. ... At six o'clock on the morning of December 24, 1835, Major Dade got his column underway. Besides Dade, there were six officers, ninety-nine enlisted men, the surgeon and the guide, Luis Pacheco. ... During the afternoon of December 28, Indians suddenly attacked the Indian agency at Fort King. Led by Osceola, the raid was swift and vicious. ... An official report was prepared by Lieutenant Joseph Harris, who added that the Fort King garrison was still looking for the two companies from Fort Brooke--"it is strange they have not arrived before." As Lieutenant Harris wrote his report at Fort King, Major Dade and 105 of his men lay dead in the barren pine woods some thirty-five miles to the south. The Indians had decided on war and had carried out their first attacks with astounding success. The ambush of Dade's command was accomplished on December 28, 1835, the same morning as Osceola's attack on the Indian Agency. News of Dade's massacre reached Fort Brooke by one of the two survivors of the attack. ... Among those of Dade's command who were buried that day was Captain Upton Fraser, a former commanding officer of Fort Brooke. ...

Exerpt taken from FRONTIER OUTPOST, 1824-42 by Donald L. Chamberlin Copyright, 1995 University of South Florida Department of History
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  • Maintained by: Camillia
  • Originally Created by: US Veterans Affairs Office
  • Added: 3 Mar 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2936553
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Upton Sinclair Fraser (1794–28 Dec 1835), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2936553, citing Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, USA ; Maintained by Camillia (contributor 47877030) .