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and of general Tannehill's brigade, reporting a total of 1650 as many as 413 had volunteered to cross into Canada. I deeemed myself ready to cross “ with 3000 men at once," according to your orders.
Preparatory thereto, on the night of the 27th November, I sent over two parties; one under lieutenant-colonel Bærstler; the other under captain King, with whom lieutenant Angus of the navy, at the head of a body of seamen, united. The first mentioned party was to capture a guard and destroy a bridge about five miles below Fort Erie; the second party were to take and render useless the cannon of the enemy's batteries and some pieces of light artillery. The first party made some prisoners, but failed to destroy the bridge; the second party, after rendering unserviceable the light artillery, separated by some misapprehension. Lieutenant Angus, the seamen, and a part of the troops returned with all the boats, while captains King, Morgan, Sproul, lieutenant Houston and about 60 men, remained; captain King, notwithstanding, with those under his command, advanced to the enemy's batteries, attacked and took two of them in succession, rendered unserviceable the cannon, and took a number of prisoners. In descending the Niagara some distance, two boats were found, on board of which captain King sent his prisoners, all his officers, and half of his men. His high sense of honour would not allow him to quit the remainder. He was captured with them.
Orders had been given that all the troops in the neighbourhood should march at reveille to the place of embarkation. A part of the detachment sent in the night having returned, and excited apprehensions for the residue ; about 350 men under colonel Winder, put off in boats for the opposite shore; a part of this force had landed, when a superior force with a piece of artillery, appeared. A retreat was ordered, and colonel Winder's detachment suffered a loss of 6 killed and 22 wounded, of whom 6 were officers.
The general embarkation commenced as the troops arrived; but this being the first time the troops had embarked, the whole of the scows were occupied by about one-third part of the artillery, while about 800 regular infantry, something upwards of 200 twelve-months' volunteers, and perhaps 200 of those militia who had volunteered their services for a few days occupied all the boats that were ready. The troops thus embarked moved up the stream to Black Rock, without sustaining loss from the enemy's fire. It was now afternoon, and they were ordered to disembark and dine.
The enemy showed a force estimated at 5 or 600 men drawn up in a field at some distance from the river; and had one piece of artillery, said to be a nine-pounder, ready to fire on our troops.
There remained unembarked a part of the artillery, a few cavalry, the volunteers under colonel M'Clure, amounting on that day to 340 men, a detachment from general Tannehill's brigade number unknown and little relied on.
There were also sundry crowds who might perhaps have followed the army had it been successful. Recollecting your
instructions to cross with 3000 men at once ;” and to consult some of my principal officers in “ all important movements;" I called for the field officers of the regulars and twelve-months' volunteers embarked. Colonel Porter not being found at the moment, captain Gibson was called as the senior officer of artillery.
These questions were put-Is it expedient now to cross over? Is the force we have sufficient to conquer
oppo site coast ?
The first question was decided in the negative, by colonels Parker, Schuyler, Winder, lieutenant-colonels Bærstler and Coles, and major Campbell. Colonel Swift, of volunteers, alone gave an opinion for then crossing over.
The second question was not decided-Colonel Parker, colonel Schuyler, lieutenant-colonel Coles, and major Campbell, were decidedly of opinion the force was insufficient. Colonel Winder, colonel Swift, lieutenant-colonel Berstler, and captain Gibson deemed the force sufficient.
I determined to postpone crossing over until more complete preparations would enable me to embark the whole force at once, according to your instructions.
The next day was spent in such preparations; and the troops were ordered to be again at the place of embarkation at eight o'clock on the 30th November. On their arrival they were sent into the adjacent woods, there to build fires, and remain until three o'clock in the morning of the 1st December, when it was intended to put off two hours before daylight, so as to avoid the fire of the enemy's cannon, in passing the position which it was believed they occupied below; to land above Chippewa, assault that place, and, if successful, march through Queenstown for Fort George. The contractor was called on to furnish rations for 2500 men for four days, when it was found he could furnish the pork but not the flour Sixty barrels were required, and only thirty-five furnished.
The embarkation commenced, but was delayed by circumstances, so as not to be completed until day-light, when it was found that the regular infantry 688 men, the artillery 177, colonel Swift's volunteers amounting to 230, six companies of federal volunteers amounting to 276 men, about 100 militia of colonel Dobbin's regiment, and a few men in a boat with Mr. P. B. Porter, contractor's agent, who was to pilot the enterprise, had embarked; the whole on board without the commissioned officers, being 1500 men, or thereabouts : and it was now two hours later than the time fixed on for setting i
There were some groups of men not yet embarked ; they were applied to, requested, and ordered by the brigademajor, to get into the boats ; they did not: he estimated their number at 150; it was probably greater.
It then became a question whether it was expedient to invade Canada, in open day-light, with 1500 men, at a point where no reinforcements could be expected for some days. I saw that the number of regular troops was declining rapidly, I knew that on them chiefly I was to depend.
I called together the officers commanding corps of the regular army. Colonel Parker being sick, those present were colonel Porter of the artillery, colonel Schuyler, colonel Winder, and lieutenant-colonel Coles. I put to them this question: Shall we proceed? They unanimously decided that we ought not.
I foresaw that the volunteers who had come out for a few days would disperse. Several of them had, on the evening of the 28th, broken their muskets because they had not seen a battle. I foresaw that the number of regular troops would decrease, the measles affected them generally; the constant use of fresh meat had produced dysenteries; and they were now in tents in the month of December. I informed the officers that the attempt to invade Canada would not be made until the army was reinforced; and directed them to withdraw their troops, and cover them with huts immediately.
The volunteers and neighbouring people were dissatisfied, and it has been in the
of the contractor's agent to excite some clamour against the course pursued. He finds the contract a losing one at this time; and would wish to see the army in Canada, that he might not be bound to supply it.
I am sorry the situation of the force under my command had not been such as to make the propriety of a forward movement obvious to all. Circumstanced as we were, I have thought it my duty to follow the cautious counsels of experience, and not precipitation, to add to the list of our defeats.
You will perceive my motives by my letter of the 30th of October, wherein I said, “ I would cross in three days, if I had the means. Without them it would be injustice to the nation and myself to attempt it. I must not be defeated.”
Allow me to recommend to your attention and that of the secretary at war, captain William King of the 13th infantry, as an officer of the first class. His dauntless bravery, refined mind, high sense of honour, and ambition to distinguish himself, render him a fit subject for promotion, and he is perhaps the best disciplinarian in the army.
I have the honour to be, with perfect respect, sir, your most obedient,
Brigadier-General. Major-General Dearborn.
Statement of the number of troops embarked on the morning of
the 1st of December, on the Niagara river, under the command of Brigadier-General Smyth.
From official returns—12th and 20th infantry 214; 5th and 13th infantry 271 ; 14th and 23d infantry 214; artillery 177; colonel M'Clure's volunieers 276.
By estimate-Colonel Swift's volunteers 230; two companies of Dobbins' regiment 100; with general Porter 30. Total 1512.
I certify that the strength of the 12th, 20th, 5th, 13th, 14th and 23d infantry, the artillery, and colonel M'Clure's volunteers embarked, are stated from official returns, and that no other troops than the above were embarked when the enterprise was abandoned. JAMES BANKHEAD,
Captain and Brigade-Major.
INDIAN WARFARE. The following documents contain all the official intelligence
which has appeared respecting the Indian War in 1812. The first letter contains the account of an expedition from Georgia against the Florida Indians. The others contain the proceedings of various detachments of the North
Western Army, under General Harrison. Letter from Colonel Newnan to his Excellency David B. Mit
chell, Governor of Georgia. Dear Sir,
New-Hope, St. John's, Oct. 19, 1812. I have now the honour of transmitting to your excellency an account of the several engagements which have taken
place between the Lotchaway and Alligator Indians, and the detachment of Georgia volunteers under my command. As the object of this expedition, and the views of the persons engaged in it, have been misconstrued, and mis-statements relative to its protraction circulated, I ask the indulgence of your excellency to detail every transaction from its commencement to its termination.
I arrived upon St. John's, in obedience to your orders, about the 15th of August, with the whole of my detachment, consisting (including officers) of about 250 men, and with few on the sick report. I immediately waited on colonel Smith, before Augustine, and received orders dated the 21st of August, to proceed immediately against the hostile Indians within the province of East Florida, and destroy their towns, provisions, and settlements. I then returned to the detachment upon the St. John's, and made every preparation to comply with my orders, by despatching parties to procure horses from the few inhabitants that had not fled from the province, in preparing packs and provisions, and taking every step which I deemed necessary to insure success to the enterprise. In consequence of the sickness of myself and nearly one half of the detachment, the period of our marching was delayed until the 24th of September; and when just upon the eve of departing, an express arrived from colonel Smith, informing me that his provision waggons and the escort was attacked by a body of negroes and Indians, and ordering me to join him immediately with ninety men, and bring all the horses and carriages I could command, for the removal of his baggage, field-pieces, and sick, he having only 70 men fit for duty. I marched to the relief of the colonel with 130 men and 25 horses, and assisted him in removing to the block-house upon Davis's creek. This service delayed for a few days our expedition to the nation; and when the detachment again assembled upon the St. John's, and were about to commence their march, the men had but six or seven days to serve. About this time I received a letter from colonel Smith, advising me to propose to the detachment an extension of their service for 15 or 20 days longer, as the time for which they were engaged was deemed insufficient to accomplish any object of the expedition. This measure I had contemplated, and its sanction by the colonel met with my most hearty approbation; for I was unwilling to proceed to an enemy's country with a single man, who would declare, that, in any event, he would not serve a day longer than the time for .which he had originally volunteered. I accordingly assem