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of war; the Caledonia belonged to the N. W. company, and was loaded with peltry.
Nothing that I can say, more than I have already said, in a former communication upon this subject, will add to the credit of lieutenant Elliott, and the gallant officers and men who accompanied him. The thing speaks for itself, and will, I am sure, be duly appreciated by all who have any idea of the difficulties that he had to encounter, after getting possession of these vessels.
I have the honour to be, respectfully, sir, your most obedient servant, (Signed)
ISAAC CHAUNCEY. Hon. Paul Hamilton, Secretary of the Navy.
Captain Harris H. Hickman to Lieutenant Elliott.
Washington, January 8, 1813. In answer to your note, requesting of me “ a general description of the armament and stores on board, at the time of the capture of the Adams, and the probable number of men,” I can state that I sailed from Malden in the Adams, and arrived at Fort Erie on the morning preceding the night in which you captured that vessel. I left her in the afternoon, and crossed in her boat to Buffaloe with a flag. When I left the Adams, she had on board five guns mounted (six and four pounders), and six long twelves in her hold. She had also on board a quantity of powder and ball, and a number of boxes of muskets. I am not able to state, of my own knowledge, the number of stands of arms, but I have been informed that nearly all the arms taken at Detroit were on board ; if that was the fact, the number must have exceeded two thousand. The number of the crew that I left on board could not vary much from sixty, and the number of American prisoners about thirty, including three officers.
I have the honour to be, respectfully, your obedient servant,
HARRIS H. HICKMAN. Lieut. 7. D. Elliott, U. S. N.
The Secretary of the Navy to Lieutenant Elliott. Sir,
Navy-Department, 27th October, 1812. I have received, with great satisfaction, your communication of the 9th instant, and have been desired by the president of the United States to return to you, and through you, to the officers and men under your command in the expedition to Fort Erie, which terminated to the glory of the American arms, his particular thanks.
I am, with great respect, sir, your most obedient servant,
PAUL HAMILTON. P.S. Your having abstained from fulfilling your intimation, that you would expose your prisoners to the enemy's fire is highly approved. Jesse D. Elliott, Esq., Lieutenant commanding, Black Rock.
BATTLE OF QUEENSTOWN.
Letter from Major-General Van Rensselaer, of the New York
Militia, to Major-general Henry Dearborn, transmitted by
the latter to the Department of War. Sir, Head-Quarters, Lewistown, October 14, 1812. As the movements of the army under
my command, since I had last the honour to address you on the 8th instant, have been of a very important character, producing consequences serious to many individuals ; establishing facts actually connected with the interest of the service and safety of the army: and as I stand prominently responsible for some of these consequences, I beg leave to explain to you, sir, and through you to my country, the situation and circumstances in which I have had to act, and the reasons and motives which governed me ; and if the result is not all that might have been wished, it is such, that when the whole ground shall be viewed, I shall cheerfully submit myself to the judgment of my country.
In my letter of the 8th instant, I apprised you that a crisis in this campaign was rapidly advancing; and that (to repeat the same words) “ the blow must be soon struck, or all the toil and expense of the campaign go for nothing; and worse than nothing, for the whole will be tinged with dishonour.”
Under such impressions, I had on the 5th instant written to brigadier-general Smyth, of the United States forces, requesting an interview with him, major-general Hall, and the commandants of the United States' regiments, for the purpose of conferring upon the subject of future operations. I wrote major-general Hall to the same purport. On the 11th I had received no answer from general Smyth; but in a note to me, of the 10th, general Hall mentioned that general Smyth had not yet then agreed upon any day for the consultation.
In the mean time, the partial success of lieutenant Elliot, at Black Rock (of which, however, I have received no official information), began to excite a strong disposition in the troops to act. This was expressed to me through various channels in the shape of an alternative; that they must have orders to act; or, at all hazards, they would go home. I forbear here commenting upon the obvious consequences to me, personally, of longer withholding my orders under such circumstances.
I had a conference with as to the possibility of getting some person to pass over to Canada and obtain correct information. On the morning of the 4th, he wrote to me that he had procured the man who bore his letter to go over. Instructions were given him ; he passed over-obtained such information as warranted an immediate attack. This was confidently communicated to several of my first officers, and produced great zeal to act ;-more especially as it might have a controuling effect upon the movements at Detroit, where it was supposed general Brock had gone with all the force he dare spare from the Niagara frontier. The best preparations in my power were therefore made to dislodge the enemy from the heights of Queenstown, and possess ourselves of the village, where the troops might be sheltered from the distressing inclemency of the weather.
Lieutenant-colonel Fenwick's flying artillery, and a detachment of regular troops under his command, were ordered to bę up in season for Fort Niagara. Orders were also sent to general Smyth, to send down from Buffaloe such detachments of his brigade as existing circumstances in that vicinity might warrant. The attack was to have been made at four o'clock in the morning of the 11th, by crossing over in boats from the old ferry opposite the heights. To avoid any embarrassment in crossing the river (which is here a sheet of violent eddies) experienced boatment were procured to take the boats from the landing below to the place of embarkation. Lieutenant Sims was considered the man of greatest skill for this service. He went ahead, and in the extreme darkness, passed the intended place far up the river-and there, in a most extraordinary manner, fastened his boat to the shore, and abandoned the detachment. In this front boat he had carried nearly every oar which was prepared for all the boats. In this agonizing dilemma stood officers and men, whose ardour had not been cooled by exposure through the night to one of the most tremendous north-east storms, which continued, unabated, for twenty-eight hours, and deluged the whole camp. The approach of day-light extinguished every prospect of success, and the detachment returned to camp. Colonel Van Rensselaer was to have commanded the detachment.
After this result, I had hoped the patience of the troops would have continued until I could submit the plan suggested in my letter of the 8th, that I might act under and in conformity to the opinion which might be then expressed. But my hope was idle; the previously excited ardour seemed to have gained new heat from the late miscarriage--the brave were mortified to stop short of their object, and the timid thought laurels half won by an attempt.
On the morning of the 12th, such was the pressure upon me from all quarters, that I became satisfied that
refusal to act might involve me in suspicion and the service in disgrace.
Viewing affairs at Buffaloe as yet unsettled, I had immediately countermanded the march of general Smyth's brigade, upon the failure of the first expedition ; but having now determined to attack Queenstown, I sent new orders to general Smyth to march; not with the view of his aid in the attack, for I considered the force detached sufficient, but to support the detachment should the conflict be obstinate and long continued.
Lieutenant-colonel Christie, who had just arrived at the four mile creek, had, late in the night of the first contemplated attack, gallantly offered me his own and his men's service; but he got my permission too late. He now again came forward; had a conference with colonel Van Rensselaer, and begged that he might have the honour of a command in the expedition. The arrangement was made. Colonel Van Rensselaer was to command one column of 300 militia ; and lieutenant-colonel Christie a column of the same number of regular troops.
Every precaution was now adopted as to boats, and the most confidential and experienced men to manage them.. At an early hour in the night, lieutenant-colonel Christie marched his detachment, by the rear road, from Niagara to camp. At seven in the evening lieutenant-colonel Stranaham's regiment moved from Niagara Falls; at eight o'clock, Meads ; and at nine, lieutenant-colonel Blan's regiment marched from the same place. All were in camp in good season. Agreeably to my orders issued upon this occasion, the two columns were to pass over together; and soon as the heights should be carried, lieutenant-colonel Fenwick's flying artillery was to pass over; then major Mullany's detachment of regulars.; and the other troops to follow in order.
At dawn of day the boats were in readiness, and the troops commenced embarkation under the cover of a commanding battery, mounting two eighteen pounders and two sixes. The movement was soon discovered, and a brisk fire of musketry was poured from the whole line of the Canada shore. Our battery then opened to sweep the shore, but it was for some minutes too dark to direct much fire with safety. A brisk cannonade was now opened upon the boats from three different batteries_our battery returned their fire, and occasionally threw grape upon the shore, and was itself served with shells from a small mortar of the enemy's. Colonel Scott, of the artillery, by hastening his march from Niagara falls in the night, arrived in season to return the enemy's fire with two six pounders.
The boats were somewhat embarrassed with the eddies, as well as with a shower of shot: but colonel Van Rensselaer, with about 100 men, soon effected his landing amidst a tremendous fire, directed upon him from every point; but to the astonishment of all who witnessed the scene, this van of the column advanced slowly against the fire. It was a serious misfortune to the van, and indeed to the whole expedition, that in a few minutes after landing, colonel Van Rensselaer received four wounds--a ball passed through his right thigh, entering just below the hip-bone-another shot passed through the same thigh, a little below the third through the calf of his leg-and a fourth contused his heel. This was quite a crisis in the expedition. Under so severe a fire it was difficult to form raw troops. By some mismanagement of the boatmen, lieutenant-colonel Christie did not arrive until some time after this, and was wounded in the hand in passing the river. Colonel Van Rensselaer, still able to stand, with great presence of mind ordered his officers to proceed with rapidity and storm the fort. This service was gal. lantly performed, and the enemy driven down the hill in every direction. Soon after this both parties were considerably reinforced, and the conflict was renewed in various places-many of the enemy took shelter behind a stone guard house, where a piece of ordnance was now briskly served. I ordered the fire of the battery directed upon the guard house ; and it was so effectually done, that with eight or ten shot the fire was silenced. The enemy then retreated behind a large store house ; but in a short time the rout became general, and the enemy's fire was silenced except from a one-gun battery, so far down the river as to be out of the reach of our heavy ordnance, and our light pieces could