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AFFAIR AT ST. REGIS.
HEAD QUARTERS, CAMP FRENCH MILLS,
October 24th, 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. Their 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 those already landed, before any reinforcement could arrive. I ordered the men to be furnished with two days 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, P. M. "We found here, a boat, a small canoe, and two cribs of boards; captain Lyon's company crossed in the boat; captain M`Neil's, in the canoe, and the remainder, with our horses, crossed on the cribs. We arrived, within half a mile of the village, at 5 o'clock; where, being concealed from the eneiny by a little rise of ground, we halted to reconnoitre, refresh the men, and make 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 Montaigny's house, in which, and Donally's, the enemy were said to be quartered. Captain Dilden was detached to the St. Lawrence, with a 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 a hundred and fifty yards of Montaigny'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, &c.-4 killed-1 wounded mortally; took 1 stand of colours, 2 batteaux, 38 guns,--40 men.
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 conduct on this occasion, deserve the highest encomiums; for so strict was their attention to duty and orders, that we entered the place without even being heard by the Indians' dogs. The prisoners I have just sent off' to Plattsburg, to await the disposition of your excellency.
I have the honour to be, yours, &c.
G. D. YOUNG,
NAVY DEPARTMENT, October 27th, 1812. SIR,
I have received, with great satisfaction, your communication of the 9th instant; I 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, yours, &c.
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, Esqr.
Lieut. Commanding, Black Rock.
U. S. SHIP UNITED STATES, AT SEA,
October 30th, 1812. SIR,
I have the honour to inform you, that on the 25th instant, being in the latitude 29, N. longitude 29 30, W. we fell in with, and, after an action of an hour and a half, captured his Britannic Majesty's ship Macedonian, commanded by captain John Carden, and mounting 49 carriage guns (the odd gun shifting.) She is a frigate of the largest class, two years old, four months out of dock, and reputed one of the best sailors in the British service. The enemy being to windward, had the advantage of engaging us at his own distance, which was so great, that for the first half hour we did not use our carronades, and at no moment was he within the complete effect of our musketry or grape-to this circumstance and a heavy swell, which was on at the time, I ascribe the unusual length of the action.
The enthusiasm of every officer, seaman and marine on board this ship, on discovering the enemy—their steady conduct in battle, and precision of their fire, could not be surpassed. Where all met my fullest expectations, it would be unjust for me to discriminate. Permit me, however, to recommend to your particular notice, my first lieutenant, William H. Allen. He has served with me upwards of five years, and to his unremitted exertions in disciplining the crew, is to be imputed the obvious superiority of our gunnery exhibited in the result of this contest.
Subjoined is a list of the killed and wounded on both sides. Our loss, compared with that of the enemy, will appear small. Amongst our wounded, you will observe the name of lieutenant Funk, who died in a few hours after the action-he was an officer of great gallantry and promise, and the service has sustained a severe loss in his death.
The Macedonian lost her mizen-mast, fore and main-topmasts and main yard, and was much cut up in her hull. The damage sustained by this ship was not such as to render her return into port necessary, and had I not deemed it important that we should see our prize in, should have continued our cruise. With the highest consideration, I am, yours, &c.
STEPHEN DECATUR. The Hon. Paul Hamilton.
CAMP RUSSEL, October 31st, 1812. SIR,
This will inform you, that I arrived at this place, from Vincennes, after general Hopkins had marched his mounted riflemen up to fort Harrison. I took with me, a part of three companies of United States' rangers, where I was joined by governor Edwards, with his mounted riflemen; the whole of our strength amounted to 360 privates. We penetrated very far into the Indian country, with an expectation of co-operating with general Hopkins, who, by appointment, was to meet us at the Peoria, on the Illinois river. In this, we were sadly disappointed, as we could get no intelligence of his army. This prevented us from doing as much damage to the Indians, as otherwise we could have done. As our numbers were too weak to make any delay in that quarter; as this was farther than any troops had hitherto penetrated, we stole a march upon the celebrated Pimartam's town, situated about 21 miles above Peoria, and immediately át the head of Peoria lake. This was a well built town, and contained a number of Indians ; between the town and river, was a dismal swamp, in which they immediately flew for shelter, returning a few scattering shots. Our men nobly pursued them through the swamp; and also others, as they were crossing the Hlinois river. The men also pursued them to the opposite bank, and brought back some of their canoes, and several dead bodiesthe governor states, to be upwards of 20 killed, of the enemy. This was a flourishing town, with an immense deal of Indian plunder in it, together with a great deal of corn; all of which was committed to the flames. I believe not less than 80 horses fell into our hands belonging to the enemy. Several white persons' scalps were also found among their plunder. I had the immediate command of the battalion, and the superior command was retained by his excellency the governor. On this expedition we were fortunate; we had but 4 men wounded, none of which is mortal. This tour was performed from camp, and back to the same place, in 13 days. I have the honour to be yours, &c.
Colonel 7th Dist. Comdg. The Secretary of War.
AT SEA, longitude 32, latitude 33, November 1, 1812. SIR,
I wrote you on the 18th ultimo, by the British packet Swallow, informing you of having captured that vessel with between an hundred and fifty and two hundred thousand dollars on board; and I now write you by a British South Sea ship, loaded with oil, captured yesterday, one of two ships under convoy of the frigate Galatea.
The above ship is manned by the Congress, and it is now blowing so fresh, that I cannot learn from Captain Smith her name, having separated from him yesterday in chase of the Galatea whilst he was manning the prize, and owing to excessive bad weather, last night, was unable to join him to day.
I got within six or seven miles of the Galatea by sun-set, but the extreme darkness of the night enabled her to escape.
With the greatest respect, I am, &c.
JOHN RODGERS. The Hon. Paul Hamilton, Secretary of the Navy.
SACKETT'S HARBOR, November 13th, 1812. SIR,
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 Roy. al 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 harbor of Kingston, where we engaged her and the batteries for one hour and 45 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 that time, the pilots also refused to take charge of the vessel. 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 4 mile point, where we anchored. It blew heavy in squalls from the westward during the night, and there was every appearance of a gale of wind. The pilots became alarmed, and I thought it most prudent to get into a place of more safety. I therefore (very reluctantly) deferred renewing the attack upon the ships and forts until a more favourable opportunity
At 7 Ă. M. on the 10th, I made the signal to weigh, and we beat out of a very narrow channel, under a very heavy press of sail to the open lake. At 10 we fell in with the
Sincoe running for Kingston, and chased her into the harbor. She escaped by running over a reef of rocks under a heavy fire from the Governor Tompkins, the Hamilton and the Julia, which cut her very much. All her people ran below while under the fire of these vessels. The Hamilton chased her into nine feet water before she hauled off. We tacked to the southward, with an intention of running to our station at the Ducks, but it coming on to blow very heavy, the pilots told me it would be unsafe to keep the lakes. I bore up for this place, where I arrived last night.
In our passage through the bay of Quanti, I discovered a schooner at the village of Armingstown which we took possession of, but finding she would detain us (being then in chase of the Royal George) I ordered lieutenant Macpherson to take out her sails and rigging and burn her, which he did. We also took the schooner Mary, Hall, from Niagara, at the mouth of Kingston harbor, and took her with us to our anchorage. The next morning. finding that she could not beat through the channel with us, I ordered the sailing master of the Growler to take her under convoy and run down past Kingston, anchor on the east end of Long Island, and wait for a wind to come up on the east side. I was also in hopes that the Royal George might be induced to follow for the purpose of re-taking our prize, but her commander was too well aware of the consequences to leave his moorings. We lost in this affair one man killed, and three slightly wounded,