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nies were immediately ordered to advance according to the previous instructions, which appeared exactly suited to the situation in which the enemy was found, and Newnan placed himself at the head of the centre company.
The Indians were now seen falling back and making preparations for battle, by unslinging their packs, trimming their rifles, and forming; and the Americans continued to advance, taking advantage of the trees in their progress, until within musket-shot of the enemy, when many of the Indians began to fire. The charge being now ordered, the enemy were forced precipitately to retire, and take refuge in a swamp. Unfortunately the riflemen, in filing to the right, inadvertently took too great a circuit, by which means a small swamp was interposed between them and the Indians, which rendered the victory less decisive than it would have been had the whole charged together before the Indians dispersed. The action, including the skirmishing on the flanks, lasted two hours and a half, the Indians having frequently attempted to outfiank and get in the rear of the detachment, but were always repulsed, by the companies extending to the right and left. The detachment had one killed and nine wounded in this affair. The loss of the Indians was more considerable. Among the killed was their king Payne.
The Americans remained on the ground to watch the motions of the Indians, who were now seen near the swamp, painting themselves, and in consultation, which indicated an intention of renewing the combat. Accordingly half an hour before sun-set, having obtained a considerable reinforcement of negroes and Indians from their towns, they commenced the most horrid yells, imitating the cries and noise of almost every animal of the forest, their chiefs advancing in front in a stooping serpentine manner, and making the most wild and frantic gestures, until they approached within two hundred yards, when they commenced firing. The soldiers remained perfectly still and steady behind logs and trees, until the enemy had approached somewhat nearer, when a brisk and well directed fire soon drove them back to their original ground. The action lasted until eight o'clock, when the enemy were completely repulsed. Two men were killed and one wounded; the enemy carried off several of their men before it was dark-after which all firing was at the spot from whence the flash arose. After thus fighting all day, the detachment had to work throughout the whole of the night, and by day-light had completed a tolerable breast-work of logs and earth, with port-holes.
As soon as it was dark, one of the officers was despatched to St. John's for reinforcements and provisions, and six of the men took the liberty to accompany him, taking with them some of the best horses.
For two days succeeding the battle, nothing was seen nor heard of the enemy; but on the evening of the third day they commenced firing at their works at long distance, and renewed it every day for five or six days, but without effect.
Seven or eight days having elapsed since the express had left them, hunger was staring them in the face, and they were now reduced to the necessity of eating one of the horses; they had no surgeon to dress the wounded, and apprehensions were entertained that the enemy would receive reinforcements from Augustine, or the Makasukie Indians. Expecting relief, however, every hour, Newnan was unwilling to leave the breastwork while a horse was left to eat; but one of the captains declared that he was determined to set off with his company; and many of the men, giving up all hopes of relief, talked of deserting in the night rather than perish or fall a sacrifice to the merciless negroes and Indians, whom they were taught to believe would surround them in great numbers in a few days.
In this trying situation, the few remaining horses being shot down, and the number of sick daily increasing, Newnan reluctantly assented to leave the works, and directed the litters to be prepared to carry the wounded. About nine in the evening they commenced their distressing march, carrying five wounded men in litters, and supporting two or three more ; and had not proceeded more than eight miles, when the men became perfectly exhausted from hunger and fatigue, and were unable to carry the wounded any
farther. This hasty retreat was peculiarly unfortunate ; for they had not left the breast-work more than two hours when twenty-five horse men with provisions, arrived to their relief, on a different road from the one they had taken, but, finding the place deserted, they returned to St. John's, two men that had been despatched on the path the horsemen came, by some means or other missing them. They again constructed a plan of defence, and a sergeant-major with one private was despatched to Picalata, to learn what had occasioned the delay of the supplies.
Here once more the spirit of insubordination began to display itself, and at three o'clock in the afternoon, Newnan was compelled again to order the march. They had scarcely marched five miles, however, before the front of the detachment discovered the heads of several Indians on both sides of the path, from among some pine trees that had been laid prostrate by a hurricane; at the same instant, the enemy fired upon the advanced party, and shot down four of them, one of whom died on the spot, and two survived but a few days. The moment the firing was heard, the detachment was ordered to charge, and the Indians were completely defeated in 15 minutes, many dropping their guns, and all running off without attempting to rally. Four of them were left dead on the field. The detachment lay on the battle ground all night, and next day marched five miles, when they again threw up breast-works between two ponds, living upon gophers, alligators, and palmetto stocks, until the arrival of the provisions and horses, when they were enabled to proceed to St. John's. The number of Indians in the first engagement was from 75 to 100. In the second engagement their number (including negroes, who are their best soldiers) was double that of the Americans ; and in the third engagement there appeared to be 50, which was nearly equal to their force, after deducting the sick and wounded. The number of killed and wounded among the Indians must have been at least fifty.
Another expedition of volunteers was sent against those Indians from the state of Tennessee in the month of February, 1813, by whom they were defeated in three engagements, and 38 killed, a number wounded, and seven taken prisoners. The detachment then burnt their settlements to the number of 386 houses, destroyed several thousand bushels of corn, and took 400 horses, and about the same number of cattle. The Indians entirely disappeared before the detachment left the settlement. In the three engagements the Americans lost only one killed and seven wounded.
We have never seen the real value of the militia, and at the same time their total inadequacy in their present state, more strikingly exemplified than in the official narratives of those Indian expeditions. The materiel, the stamina of the militia, cannot be surpassed; but as to all other military requisites they are totally worthless. When we see them encountering fatigue, cold, and hunger, without a murmur, and displaying in battle the most undaunted bravery and resolution, we cannot but lament that all those valuable qualities should be rendered of none effect by the total want of subordination and discipline, without which zeal, numbers, and courage avail nothing.
It rests with the national legislature to apply the remedy to this evil. The constitution has clothed them with the
power, and it is to be hoped they will no longer refuse to make use of it. The system ought either to be abolished altogether, as a most extravagant waste of time or money, or it ought to be made (and it is surely capable of being made so) a powerful and certain means of national defence, by a proper system
of national instruction.
$ 1. The Bonne Citoyenne challenged. 52. Capture and destruction of
the Java. $ 3. Capture and destruction of the Peacock. $ 4. Cruise of the Chesapeake. 5 5. Captured by the Shannon. § 6. Capture of the Argus. 57. Capture of the Boxer. S 8. Cruise of the President and Congress. $ 9. Cruise of the Essex. § 10. Loss of national vessels. $ 11. American privateers. § 12. The Rolla. § 13. The Comet. $14. The General Armstrong. S 15. The Decatur.
1. On the arrival of the Constitution frigate at Boston, after the capture of the Guerriere, captain Hull received permission to remain on shore for the settlement of his affairs, and commodore Bainbridge was appointed to command in his room. After undergoing the necessary repairs, she sailed on a cruize to the East Indies, towards the end of October, accompanied by the Hornet sloop of war, commanded by captain Lawrence'; but in running down the coast of the Brazils, they found the Bonne Citoyenne, a British ship of war, loaded with specie, lying in the port of St. Salvador. The Bonne Citoyenne was a larger vessel, and had a greater force both in guns and men than the Hornet; but so eager was captain Lawrence to engage her, that he sent, through the American consul at St. Salvador, a challenge to her commander, captain Greene, pledging his honour that neither the Constitution, nor any other American vessel, should interfere. This pledge was confirmed by commodore Bainbridge, who, to show his sincerity, left the Hornet before St. Salvador, and sailed on another cruize. The commander of the Bonne Citoyenne, however, did not see fit to accept of the challenge, but suffered himself to be blockaded by the Hornet.
$ 2. On the 29th of December, a few days after leaving St. Salvador, about ten leagues from the coast of Brazil, at nine in the morning, Bainbridge discovered two strange sail, one of which stood in for the land, the other off shore towards the Constitution. At half past eleven, the private signal for the day being made, and not answered, it was concluded she was an enemy. The American ensign was hoisted at twelve, and shortly after the enemy hoisted her colours. About half past one, the vessel being perceived to be a British frigate, Bainbridge tacked ship, and stood towards her, when she immediately bore down with the intention of raking, which was avoid
ed by wearing. At two, the enemy being then within a half a mile of the Constitution, and to windward, and having hauled down her colours except the union, Bainbridge ordered a gun to be fired ahead of her to make her show her colours, which was followed by abroadside ; on which the enemy hoisted her colours, and immediately returned the fire.
A general action now commenced with round and grape-shot, the British frigate keeping at a much greater distance than the commodore wished, but he could not bring her to closer action without exposing his ship to being raked. A number of maneuvres were now made by both vessels to obtain a raking position, during which the wheel of the Constitution was shot entirely away. Bainbridge now determined to close with the enemy, notwithstanding the danger of being raked, and accordingly set the fore and mainsail, and luffed up close to her.
About 4 o'clock, the fire of the enemy being completely silenced, and her colours in the main rigging being down, it was supposed she had struck, and the Constitution shot ahead to repair the rigging, leaving the enemy a complete wreck. It was shortly after, however, discovered that the colours were still flying; and accordingly, after repairing some of the damage, the Constitution took a position across the enemy's bows, in order to rake her, but this she prudently avoided by striking her flag.
Bainbridge now sent his first lieutenant on board the prize, which proved to be the Java, a frigate of the same rate as the Guerriere and Macedonian, but with a much larger complement of
men, having had upwards of 400 on board at the commencement of the action, 100 of them being supernumeraries intended for the British ships of war in the East Indies. There was also on board lieutenant-general Hislop, appointed to the command of Bombay, major
Walker and captain Wood of his staff, and captain Marshall, master and commander in the British navy, going to the East Indies to take command of a sloop of war there. The commander was captain Lambert, a very
distinguished officer, who was mortally wounded in the action.
The action lasted an hour and fifty-five minutes, in which time the Java was completely dismasted, not having a spar of any kind standing. She had been fitted out in the most complete manner, and had copper on board for a 74 and two brigs building at Bombay; but the great distance from our coast, and the disabled state of the vessel, forbidding every idea of attempting to take her to the United States, after removing the prisoners and their baggage, she was set on fire, and soon after