At the Battle of Plattsburgh on September 11 1814, General Macomb fought off the British invasion. Using his knowledge of the land and with ingenious manoeuvres, the enemy was held off until the victory at Lake Champlain. This battle is one of the most impressive in American history. Only 3,400 troops were deployed against 11,000 of the British allied forces. Being a great strategist, the General employed a manoeuvre known as abatis which involves knocking down trees to form a barrier and create a fortification. This was very skilfully executed hence the British numbers diminished rapidly.
In recognition for his services, the President awarded Major General Macomb with a unique gold medal by the resolution of Congress on November 3, 1814 which commemorated this battle. The resolution stated Resolutions, expressive of the sense of Congress, of the gallantry and good conduct with which the reputation of the arms of the United States has been sustained by the Major General Macomb. The medal was officially awarded to him in 1815 by President of the United States, James Madison.
Along with the medal is a handwritten letter issued by the United States Department of War dated May 26, 1815 and signed by War secretary Alexander J. Dallas (1759-1817). This letter informs General Macomb of the resolution of Congress and his being awarded a gold medal by the President of the United States.
Major General Alexander Macomb remains an important figure in American history. A town founded in 1830 was also named after him; Macomb, McDonough County, Illinois. Road names and monuments also pay tribute to Major General Macomb as well as his bronze statue in Detroit and funerary monument at the Congress of Washington.
Provenance: by direct descent, Susan Watts Macomb (1849-1928). The grand-daughter of Major General Macomb, Susan Watts Macomb married Frederic Sears I Grand d'Hauteville. The medal has remained in the family to the present day.