« ForrigeFortsett »
not silence it. A number of boats now passed over unannoyed, except from the one unsilenced gun. For some time after I had passed over, the victory appeared complete ; but in the expectation of future attacks, I was taking measures for fortifying my camp immediately the direction of this service I committed to lieutenant Totten, of the engineers. But very soon the enemy were reinforced by a detachment of several hundred Indians from Chippewa-they commenced a furious attack-but were promptly met and routed by the rifle and bayonet. By this time, I perceived my troops were embarking very slowly. I passed immediately over to accelerate their movements but, to my utter astonishment, I found that at the very moment when complete victory was in our hands, the ardour of the unengaged troops had entirely subsided. I rode in all directions, urged men by every consideration to pass, but in vain.--Lieutenant-colonel Bloom, who had been wounded in action, returned, mounted his horse, and rode through the ranks-was did also judge Peck, who happened to be here, exhorting the companies to proceed, but all in vain.
At this time a large reinforcement from Fort George was discovered coming up the river. As the battery on the hill was considered an important check against their ascending the heights, measures were immediately taken to send them a fresh supply of ammunition, as I had learnt there was left only 20 shot for the 18-pounders. The reinforcement, however, obliqued to the right from the road, and formed a junction with the Indians in the rear of the heights. Finding, to my infinite mortification, that no reinforcement would pass over; seeing that another severe conflict must soon commence; and knowing that the brave men on the heights were quite exhausted and nearly out of ammunition, all I could do was to send them a fresh supply of cartridges. At this critical moment I despatched a note to general Wadsworih, acquainting him with our situation-leaving the course to be pursued much to his own judgment--with assurance that if he thought best to retreat, I would endeavour to send as many boats as I could command, and cover his retreat by every fire I could safely make. But the boats were dispersed; many of the boatmen had fled, panic struck; and but few got off. But my note could but little more than have reached general W. about 4 o'clock, when a most severe and obstinate conflict commenced, and continued about half an hour, with a tremendous fire of cannon, flying artillery, and musketry. The enemy succeeded in re-possessing their battery, VOL. II.
and gained advantage on every side; the brave men who had gained the victory, exhausted of strength and ammunition, and grieved at the unpardonable neglect of their fellow-soldiers, gave up the conflict.
I can only add that the victory was really won; but lost for the want of a small reinforcement. One-third part of the idle men might have saved all.
I have been so pressed with the various duties of burying the dead, providing for the wounded, collecting the public property, negotiating an exchange of prisoners, and all the concerns consequent of such a battle, that I have not been able to forward this despatch at so early an hour as I could have wished. I shall soon forward you another despatch, in which I shall endeavour to point out to you the conduct of some most gallant and deserving officers. But I cannot in
ice close without expressing the very great obligation I am under to brigadier-general Wadsworth, colonel Van Rensselaer, colonel Scott, lieutenant-colonels Christie and Fenwick, and captain Gibson. Many others have also behaved most gallantly. As I have reason to believe that many of our troops fled to the woods, with the hope of crossing the river, I have not been able to learn the probable number of killed, wounded, or prisoners. The slaughter of our troops must have been very considerable. And the enemy have suffered severely.
General Brock is among their slain, and his aid-de-camp mortally wounded.
I have the honour to be, sir, with great respect and consideration, your most obedient servant, (Signed) STN. VAN RENSSELAER,
Major-General Major-General Dearborn.
AFFAIR AT ST. REGIS.
Letter from Major Young to Brigadier-General Bloom field,
Commander of the Northern Army. Head- Quarters, Camp, French-Mills, 24th October, 1812.
On the 22d I despatched several confidential friends to reconnoitre about the village of St. Regis: they returned with the information that the enemy had landed in the village, and that we might expect a visit from them immediately. number was stated by no one at less than 110, and from that
to 300; the most certain information fixed on the former number. It was also believed that the enemy were determined to make a stand at that place, and would speedily increase their number.—This determined me to make an immediate attempt to take out those already landed, before any reinforcement could arrive. I ordered the men to be furnished with two day's rations of provisions, with double rations of whiskey; and at 11 at night we marched with the utmost silence, that we might give as little alarm as possible. We took a circuitous route through the woods, and arrived at Gray's mills at half past 3, A. M. We found here a boat, a small canoe, and two cribs of boards. Captain Lyon's company crossed in a boat, captain M‘Niel's in the canoe, and the remainder, with our horses, crossed on the cribs. We arrived within half a mile of the village at 4 o'clock, where being concealed from the enemy by a little rise of the ground, we halted to reconnoitre, refresh the men, and make our disposition for the attack, which was arranged in the following order:
Captain Lyon was detached from the right, with orders to take the road running along the bank of the St. Regis river, with directions to gain the rear of captain Mountaigny's house, in which, and Donally's, the enemy were said to be quartered. Captain Tildon was detached to the St. Lawrence, with the view of gaining the route of Donally's house, and also securing the enemy's boats (expected to have been stationed there) to prevent their retreat.' With the remainder of the force I moved on in front, and arrived within 50 yards of Mountaigny's house, when I found by the firing that captain Lyon was engaged; at the same instant I discovered a person passing in front, and ordered him to stand; but not being obeyed, ordered captain Higbie's first platoon to fire, and the poor fellow soon fell. He proved to be the ensign named in the list of killed. The firing was at an end in an instant, and we soon found in our possession 40 prisoners, with their arms, equipments, &c.
[Here follows a list of killed, four in number, and one wounded, mortally. Equipments, one stand of colours, two batteaux, 38 guns, &c.]
After searching, in vain, for further military stores, we recrossed the river at the village, and returned to camp by the nearest route, where we arrived at 11, A. M. The batteaux with baggage, &c. arrived a few minutes before us. We had not a man hurt. I cannot close this letter without stating to your excellency, that the officers and soldiers, for their con
duct on this occasion, deserve the highest encomiums; for so strict was their attention to duty and orders, that we entered the place without being even heard by the Indians' dogs. The prisoners I have just sent off to Plattsburgh, to wait the disposition of your excellency. I am, &c.
G. P. YOUNG, Major, Commanding the Troops stationed at F. Mills. Brig.-Gen. Bloomfield, commanding advanced N. Army.
CRUIZE OF THE SQUADRON ON LAKE ONTARIO.
Letter from Commodore Chauncey to the Secretary of the Navy. Sir,
Sackett's Harbour, 6th November, 1812. As I have reason to believe that the Royal George, Prince Regent, and Duke of Gloucester, have gone up the lake with troops to reinforce Fort George: and as I have reason to believe that other troops are waiting at Kingston for their return, destined for the same port; I have determined to proceed with the force I have ready in quest of the enemy. My present intention is, to take a position on the Canada shore, near some small islands, called the “ False Ducks," where the enemy are obliged to pass, and where I will wait their return to Kingston. If I should succeed in my enterprize (which I have little doubt of), I shall make an attack upon Kingston, for the purpose of destroying the guns and public stores at that station.
I shall proceed for my station this evening, or to-morrow morning, with the following vessels, to wit: brig Oneida, and schooners Hamilton, Governor Tompkins, Conquest, Growler, Julia, and Pert: mounting altogether 40 guns of different calibres, and 430 men, including mariners.
With this force I hope to give a good account of the enemy, although he is more than double our force in guns and
consists of the following vessels, as near as I can ascertain, to wit: The ship Royal George, 26 guns, 260 men -ship Earl Moira, 18 guns, 200 men-schooners Prince Regent, 18 guns, 150 men-Duke of Gloucester, 14 guns, 80 men—Taranto, 14 guns, 80 men-Governor Simcoe, 12 guns, 70 men-Seneca, 4 guns, 40 men--making a grand total of 108 guns and 890 men.
The officers and men, under my command are extremely anxious to meet the enemy. We cannot command success, but we will endeavour to deserve it.
I have the honour to be, very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,
ISAAC CHAUNCEY. The Hon. Paul Hamilton, &c.
Letter from Mr. S. T. Anderson, enclosing one from Commo
dore Chauncey, to the Secretary of the Navy. Sir,
Sackett's Harbour, 13th Nov. 1812-at night. Since the enclosed letter from the commodore was written, the Growler has returned with a prize, and in her captain Brock, brother to the late general of that name, with the baggage of the latter. By the prize we learned, that the Earl of Moria was off the False Ducks, and the commodore has put off in a snow storm in the hope of cutting her off from Kingston.
From information received from captain Brock, there is no question but Kingston is very strongly defended. He expressed surprise to find our vessels had got out of the harbour after having been in it; and says that the regiment to which he belongs is quartered there 500 strong, besides other regulars, and a well appointed militia. The resistance made fully justifies this report. Be assured, sir, that in the action of which the commodore has given you an account, the national honour has been most ably supported. In great haste, your most obedient servant,
SAML. T. ANDERSON. The Hon. Paul Hamilton, Secretary of the Navy. Sir,
Sackett's Harbour, 13th Nov. 1812. I arrived here last evening in a gale of wind, the pilots having refused to keep the lake. On the 8th I fell in with the Royal George, and chased her into the bay of Quanti, where I lost sight of her in the night. In the morning of the 9th we again got sight of her, lying in Kingston channel. We gave chase, and followed her into the harbour of Kingston, where we engaged her and the batteries for one hour and +5 minutes. I had made up my mind to board her, but she was so well protected by the batteries, and the wind blowing directly in, it was deemed imprudent to make the attempt at this time; the pilots also refused to take charge of the vessels.
Under these circumstances, and it being after sun-down, I determined to haul off and renew the attack next morning. We beat up in good order under a heavy fire from the Royal George and batteries to Four-mile-point, where we anchored.