Brig. Gen. John Payne, Kentucky Light Dragoons

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John Payne

Birthdate: (73)
Birthplace: Orange County, Province of Virginia
Death: September 9, 1837 (73)
Scott County, Kentucky, United States
Place of Burial: Great Crossing, Scott, Kentucky, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of William Payne, II and Ann Payne
Husband of Elizabeth Payne
Father of Col. Asa Payne; Robert Payne; Nancy Offertt; Sally Payne; Elizabeth Sebree and 2 others
Brother of Mildred Riley and Unknown Daughter Payne
Half brother of Ann Payne; "Colonel" William Payne; Edward Payne, Sr. and Sanford Payne

Occupation: Military - Brigadier General, State of Kentucky Militia; Senator
Managed by: Dale Edward Smith
Last Updated:

About Brig. Gen. John Payne, Kentucky Light Dragoons

General John Payne, who was a Brigadier General led the Kentucky Light Dragoons in the War of 1812 (in particular the Battle of the Thames). John and Betsy had 13 children and lived in the stone house now located in the Canewood Sub-Division in Scott's County, Kentucky.

From the English Wikipedia page on the Battle of the Thames:

William Henry Harrison's force totaled at least 3,500 infantry and cavalry. He had a small detachment of regulars from the 27th U.S. Infantry and five brigades of Kentucky militia led by Isaac Shelby, the 63 year-old governor of Kentucky and a hero of the American Revolutionary War. He also had 1,000 volunteer cavalry under Colonel Richard Mentor Johnson. Most were from Kentucky but some of them were from the River Raisin area spurred on by the slogan "Remember the River Raisin".


Shortly after daybreak on October 5, after ordering his troops to abandon their half-cooked breakfast and retreat a further two miles, Procter formed the British regulars in line of battle with a single 6-pounder cannon. He planned to trap Harrison on the banks of the Thames, driving the Americans off the road with cannon fire. However, he had taken no steps towards fortifying the position (e.g. by creating abatis or throwing up earthworks) so the ground presented no obstacle to the American mounted troops, while scattered trees masked the British fire. Tecumseh's warriors took up positions in a black ash swamp on the British right to flank the Americans. Tecumseh himself rode along the British line, shaking hands with each officer, before joining his warriors.[12]

General Harrison surveyed the battlefield and ordered James Johnson (brother of Richard Mentor Johnson) to make a frontal attack against the British regulars with his mounted Kentucky riflemen. Despite the Indians' flanking fire, Johnson broke through, the British cannon having failed to fire. The exhausted, dispirited and half-starved British troops fired only one ragged fusillade before giving way. Immediately Procter and about 250 of his men fled from the field. The rest surrendered.

Tecumseh and his followers remained and carried on fighting. Richard Johnson charged into the Indian position at the head of about 20 horsemen to draw attention away from the main American force, but Tecumseh and his warriors answered with a volley of musket fire that stopped the cavalry charge. Fifteen of Johnson's men were killed or wounded, and Johnson was himself hit five times. Johnson's main force became bogged down in the mud of the swamp. Tecumseh is believed to have been killed in this fighting. The main force finally made its way through the swamp, and James Johnson's troops were freed from their attack on the British. With the American reinforcements converging and news of the death of Tecumseh spreading quickly, Indian resistance quickly dissolved.

Colonel Johnson may have been the soldier who shot Tecumseh, though the evidence is unclear. William Whitley, a Revolutionary War veteran, is another credited with the killing of Tecumseh. Whitley, of Crab Orchard, Kentucky, volunteered for the raid on Tecumseh's camp, and was killed during the attack. Before his death, he requested that General Harrison have his scalp removed when his body was found and sent to his wife.

After the battle, American mounted troops moved on and burned Moraviantown, (marked today by the Fairfield Museum on Longwoods Road) a peaceful settlement of Christian Munsee Indians who had no involvement in the conflict. Because the enlistments of the militia component of Harrison's army were about to expire, the Americans then retired to Detroit. Three currently active battalions in the Regular Army (1-6 Inf, 2-6 Inf and 4-6 Inf) perpetuate the lineage of the old 27th Infantry Regiment, elements of which were at the Battle of the Thames.

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Brig. Gen. John Payne, Kentucky Light Dragoons's Timeline

April 8, 1764
Orange County, Province of Virginia
March 19, 1788
Age 23
Virginia, United States
December 20, 1789
Age 25
Scott, Kentucky, USA
October 10, 1791
Age 27
Scott, Kentucky, USA
November 16, 1793
Age 29
Age 33
January 4, 1800
Age 35
Scott, Kentucky, USA
March 16, 1806
Age 41
Scott County, Kentucky, United States
September 9, 1837
Age 73
Scott County, Kentucky, United States