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Lieutenant M'Chesney's gallantry recovered a piece of artillery, and prevented the capture of others. He inerits pro.notion for it.
On the evening of the 6th of June, I received the order No. 4, and joined the army at 5 in the afternoon of the 7th. I found it at the Forty Mile Creek, ten miles in the rear of the ground on which it had been attacked, encamped on a plain of a mile in width, with its right flank on the lake, and its left on the creek which skirts the base of a perpendicular mountain of a considerrable height. On my route I received No. 5 and 6, enclosed.
At 6 in the evening, the hostile fleet hove in sight, though its character could not be ascertained with precision. We lay on our arms all night. At dawn of day struck our tents, and descried the hostile squadron abreast of us, about a mile from the shore. Our boats which transported the principal part of our baggage and camp equipage lay on the beach ; it was a dead calm, and about 6, the enemy towed in a large schooner, which opened her fire on our boats. As soon as she stood for the shore, her object being evident, I ordered down Archer's and Towson's companies, with four pieces of artillery, to resist her attempts. I, at the same time, sent captain Totten, of the engineers (a most valuable officer) to construct a temporary furnace for heating shot, which was prepared and in operation in less than 30 minutes. Her fire was returned with a vivacity and effect (excelled by no artillery in the universe) which soon compelled her to retire. A party of savages now made their appearance on the brow of the mountain, (which being perfectly bald, exhibited them to our view,) and commenced a fire on our camp. I ordered colonel Chrystie to dislodge them, who entered on the service with alacrity, but found himself anticipated by lieutenant Eldridge, the adjutant of his regiment, who, with a promptness and gallantry highly honourable to that young officer, had already gained the summit of the mountain, with a party of volunteers, and routed the barbarian allies of the defender of the Christian faith. This young man merits the notice of government.
These little affairs cost us not a man. Sir James Yeo, being disappointed of a tragedy, next determined, in true dramatic style, to amuse us with a farce. An officer, with a flag, was sent to me from bis ship, advising me, that as I was invested with savages in my rear, a fleet in my front, and a powerful army on my flank, he, and the officers commanding his Britannic majesty's land forces, thought it their duty to demand a surrender of my army. I answered, that the message was too ridiculous to merit a reply.
No. 7 was delivered to me, about 6 this morning; between 7 and 8 o'clock, the four wagous we had, being loaded, first with the sick, and next with the ammunition, &c. the residue of camp equipage and baggage was put in boats, and a detachment of 200 men of the 6th regiment, detailed to proceed in them. Orders were prepared to be given them to defend the boats, and if assailed by any of the enemy's small vessels, to carry them by
boarding. By some irregularity, which I have not been able to discover, the boats put off without the detachments, induced probably by the stillness of the morning. When they had progressed about three miles, a breeze sprang up, and an armed schooner overhauled them; those who were enterprizing kept on and escaped, others ran to the shore and deserted their boats; we lost twelve of the number, principally containing the baggage of the officers and men.
At ten, I put the army in motion, on our return to this place. The savages and incorporated militia hung on our flanks and rear throughout the march, and picked up a few stragglers. On our retiring, the British army advanced, and now occupy the ground we left.
The enemy's fleet is constantly hovering on our coast, and interrupting our supplies. The night before last, being advised of their having chased into Eighteen Mile Creek, two vessels laden with hospital stores, &c. I detached at midnight, 75 men for their protection. The report of the day is (though not official) that they arrived too late for their purpose, and that the stores were lost.
I have the honour to be, &c.
MORGAN LEWIS. Honourable John Armstrong,
Secretary of War.
Report of killed, wounded and missing, in the action of the 6th of
June, at Stoney Creek,
HALIFAX, June 15th, 1813. SIR,
The unfortunate death of captain James Lawrence, and lieutenant Augustus C. Ludlow, has rendered it my duty to inform you of the capture of the late United States' frigate Chesapeake.
On Tuesday, June 1st, at 8 A. M. we unmoored ship, and at meridian got under weigh from President's Roads, with a light wind from the southward and westward, and proceeded on a cruise. A ship was then in sight in the offing, which had the appearance of a ship of war, and which, from information received from pilotboats and craft, we believed to be the British frigate Shannon. We made sail in chase, and cleared ship for action. At half past 4 P. M. she hove to with her head to the southward and eastward. At 5 P. M. took in the royals and top-gallant sails, and at half
past 5, hauled the courses up. About 15 minutes before 6 P. M. the action commenced within pistol shot. The first broadside did great execution on both sides, damaged our rigging, killed, among others, Mr. White the sailing master, and wounded captain Law
In about 12 minutes after the commencement of the action, we fell on board of the enemy, and immediately after, one of our arm chests on the quarter-deck was blown up by a band-grenade thrown from the enemy's ship. In a few minutes, one of the captain's aids came on the gun-deck to inform me that the boarders were called. I immediately called the boarders away,
and pro: ceeded to the spar-deck, where I found that the enemy had suce ceeded in boarding us, and gained possession of our quarter deck. I immediately gave orders to haul on board the fore-tack, for the purpose of shooting the ship clear of the other, and then made an attempt to re-gain the quarter-deck, but was wounded and thrown down on the gun-deck. I again made an effort to collect the boarders, but in the mean time the enemy had gained complete possession of the ship. On my being carried down in the cockpit, I there found captain Lawrence and lieutenant Ludlow, both mortally wounded; the former had been carried below, previously to the ship's being boarded; the latter was wounded in attempting to repel the boarders. Among those who fell early in the action, was Mr. Edward J. Ballard, the 4th lieutenant, and lieutenant James Broom, of marines.
I herein enclose you a return of the killed and wounded, by which you will perceive that every officer, upon whom the charge of the ship would devolve, was either killed or wounded, previously to her capture. The enemy report the loss of Mr. Watt, their first lieutenant, the purser, the captain's clerk, and 23 seamen killed ; and captain Broke, a midshipman, and 56 seamen wounded.
The Shannon, had, in addition to her full complement. an officer and 16 men belonging to the Belle Poule, and a part of the crew belonging to the Tenedos.
I have the honour be, &c.
GEORGE BUDD. The Ilon. William Jones,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington,
Return of killed and wounded on board the Chesapeake, in her
action with the Shannon.
SACKETT'S HARBOR, June 18th, 1813. SIR,
According to your orders of the 14th instant, I proceeded off Presque Isle, in the schooner Lady of the Lake. On the morning of the 16th fell in with and captured the English schooner Lady Murray, from Kingston, bound to York, loaded with provisions and ammunition.
Enclosed is a list of one ensign, fifteen non-commissioned offi. cers and privates, found on board, with six men attached to the vessel.
I have the honour to be, &c.
WOLCOTT CHAUNCEY. Commodore Chauncey.
MONTREAL, June 18th, 1813. SIR,
I deem it my duty to embrace the earliest opportunity possi. ble to give you a more detailed account of the affair of the 6th in. stant near Stony Creek, than I have before had it in my power to do.
On the morning of the 5th I arrived at Forty Mile Creek. The detachment under general Winder was then under marching orders for Stony Creek. After a short halt the whole marched for that place and arrived there between five and six o'clock, P. M. at which place a small picket of the enemy was posted, but retired on our approach. The advanced guard pursued, and soon fell in with a picket of about 100 strong, under colonel Williams. A skirmish ensued. I hastened to the main body. Williams retreated, and our advance pursued. The pursuit was continued rather longer than I could have wished, but returned to their proper position in the line of march, not far from sun-set. I had ordered the 13th and 14th, who were in the rear, to take a position for the night, near the mouth of the creek, to cover the boats, (should they arrive) which would be on the route which I intended to pursue the next morning; and a favourable position presenting itself, I encamped with the residue of the troops (except captain Archer's company of artillery, which encamped with the 13th and 14th) on the spot where we had halted, with an advanced picket from half to three quarters of a mile in front, with express orders for them to keep out constantly a patrole. A right and left flank guard and a rear guard were also posted. I gave positive orders for the troops to lay on their arms. Contrary to my orders fires were kindled; but there are doubts whether this operated for or against us, as the fires of the 25th, which were in front, and by my orders had been abandoned, enabled us to see a small part of the enemy, while the fires on our left enabled the enemy to see our line. On the whole, I think it operated against us. I did expect the enemy would attack us that night, if he intended to fight; but perhaps this was not expected by all. I had my horse confined near me, and directed that the harness should not be taken from the artiklery horses. I directed where and how the line should be formed, in case of attack. About an hour before day-light on the morning of the 6th, the alarm was given. I was instantly up, and the 25th, which lay near me, was almost as instantly formed, as well as the 5th and 23d, wbich was on the left, under the immediate eye of general Winder. Owing to the neglect of the front picket, or some other cause, the British forces say that they were not hailed, or an alarm given, until they were within 300 yards of our line. The extreme darkness prevented us from seeing or knowing at what point they intended to attack us, until an attack was made upon our right. A well directed fire was opened upon them from the 25th, and from nearly the whole line. After a few minutes I heard several muskets in our rear, in the direction of the rear guard, and then expected that the enemy had gained our rear by some path unkown to us, and was about to attack us in the rear.
I instantly ordered colonel Milton, with the 5th, to form in our rear near the woods, to meet such circumstances as might take place, knowing that I could call him to any other point if necessary, at any moment. I had observed that the artillery was not covered, and directed general Winder to cause the 23d to be formed so far to the right, that their right should cover the artillery. At this moment I heard a new burst of fire from the enemy's left, on our right, and not able to see any thing which took place, I set out full speed towards the right, to take measures to prevent my right flank from being turned, which I expected was the object of the enemy. I had proceeded but a few yards before my horse fell under me, by which fall I received a serious injury. Here was a time when I have no recollection of what passed, but I presume it was not long. As soon as I recovered, I recollected what my object was, and made my way to the right, and gave major Smith such directions as I thought proper, to prevent his right from being turned by surprise. I was then returning toward the centre, and when near the artillery, heard men, who, by the noise, appeared to be in confusion, it being the point at which I expected the 23d to be formed; I expected it was that regiment.
I approached them, and as soon as I was near enough, I saw a body of men, who I thought to be the 23d, in the rear of the artillery, broken. I hobbled in amongst them, and began to rally them, and directed them to form ; but I soon found my
mistake; it was the British 49th who had pushed forward to the head of their column, and gained the rear of the artillery. I was immediately disarmed, and conveyed down the column to its rear. It was not yet day, and the extreme darkness of the night, to which was added the smoke of the fire, put it totally out of our power to see the situation of the enemy. This was all that saved their columns from sure and total destruction, of which some of their oflicers are aware. After seeing the situatioji of the column-as I