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force, however large, should induce him to surrender it. So soon as the flag returned, a brisk fire was opened upon the fort, from the gun-boats in the river, and from a five and a half inch howitzer on shore, which was kept up with little intermission throughout the night.
At an early hour the next morning, three sixes, which had been placed during the night within 250 yards of the pickets, began to play, but with little effect. About 4 in the afternoon, discovering that the fire from all the guns was concentrated against the north-western angle of the fort, Croghan became confident that the object was to make a breach, and attempt to storm the works at that point. He therefore ordered out as many men as could be employed for the purpose of strengthening that part, which was so effectually secured by means of bags of flour, sand, &c. that the picketing suffered little or no injury; notwithstanding which, about 500 of the enemy, having formed in close column, advanced to assault the works at the expected point, at the same time making two feints on other parts of the fort. The column which advanced against the north-western angle, consisting of about 350 men, was so completely enveloped in smoke, as not to be discovered until it had approached within 18 or 20 paces of the lines ; but the
being all at their posts and ready to receive it, commenced so heavy and galling a fire as to throw the column a little into confusion; being quickly rallied, however, it advanced to the outer works, and began to leap into the ditch. At that moment a fire of grape was opened from a six-pounder, which had been previously arranged so as to rake in that direction, which, together with the musketry, threw them into such confusion, that they were compelled to retire precipitately to the woods.
During the assault, which lasted about half an hour, an incessant fire was kept up by the enemy's artillery, which consisted of five sixes and a howitzer, but without effect.
Before the attack was ended, the soldiers in the garrison supplied the wounded enemy in the ditch with water, by throwing over full canteens.
The whole number of men in the garrison was not more than 160. Their loss during the siege was 1 killed and seven wounded slightly. The loss of the enemy in killed, wounded, and prisoners, must have exceeded 150 ; one lieutenant-colonel, a lieutenant, and 50, rank and file were found in and about the ditch, dead or wounded. Those of the remainder who were not able to escape were taken off during the night by the Indians.
About 3 in the morning the enemy sailed down the river, leaving behind them a boat containing clothing and considera
ble military stores. Seventy stand of arms, and several brace of pistols, were afterwards collected near the works.
A few days after the assault, Proctor despatched a surgeon with a flag of truce, to assist in the care of the wounded, and with a request that such of the prisoners as were in a condition to be removed might be permitted to return to Malden, on his parole of honour that they should not serve until exchanged.
Harrison, in his reply, stated, that on his arrival at Fort Sandusky on the morning of the 3d, he found that major Croghan, conformably to those principles which are held sacred in the American army, had caused all the care to be taken of the wounded prisoners that his situation would permit; that his hospital surgeon was particularly charged to attend to them, and he was warranted in the belief that every thing which surgical skill could give was afforded. They have been liberally furnished too, he added, with every
necessary in their situation which the hospital stores could supply. Having referred to his government for orders respecting the disposition of the prisoners, he could not with propriety comply with the request for an immediate exchange. But he assures him, that as far as it depends upon him, the course of treatment which has been commenced towards them while in his possession would be continued.
It is impossible here to avoid contrasting the conduct of Proctor and Harrison, in two exactly parallel cases, the care of the wounded, and treatment of the surgeon sent for their relief after the battles of Frenchtown and Sandusky. In the one case the surgeon is treated with politeness, and only sent back because his aid is unnecessary, and the wounded are supplied with water by the garrison, even whilst the attack is carried on. The opposite conduct need not be repeated here. It has made too deep an impression to be so soon effaced.
$ 1. Norfolk threatened by a British squadron. § 2. Bombardment of
Lewistown. 3. Capture of the Dolphin, &c. $ 4. Action between the Fox and Adeline. 55. Annapolis and Baltimore threatened. $ 6. Burning of the villages of Havre-de-Grace, &c. 57. Attack on Cra. ney Island. $ 8. Outrages at Hampton. $ 9. Decatur's squadron driven into New London. 10. Attempt to blow up the Ramilies. 11. Explosion of a torpedo.
1. On the 26th of December, 1812, an order in council was issued by the British government, declaring the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays in a state of blockade, and on the 20th of March all the ports south of Rhode Island were included. During the winter, intelligence had been repeatedly received by American prisoners from Bermuda, of the arrival of a British squadron at that place, well stored with bombs and Congreve rockets, and with a considerable body of troops on board, for the purpose of destroying some of our southern cities. The alarm, then, that was excited at Norfolk may be easily conceived, when intelligence was received of the approach of this squadron, which on the 4th of February was perceived in the Chesapeake, standing towards Hampton Roads, to the number of two 74's, three frigates, a brig, and a schooner. The frigate Constellation had come down the bay, and anchored in Hampton Roads the day before, and on the arrival of the first news of the near approach of the hostile squadron, it being then ebb-tide, was fast aground at Willoughby spit. Fortunately, however, the flood made, and the ship was afloat, before the enemy hove in sight. She was immediately brought up Elizabeth river to Norfolk, and anchored between the two forts.
Every exertion was now made for the defence of the place, by calling out the militia, &c.; the recruits at the barracks were brought down to the fort, and the gun-boats stationed in the most favourable position to resist the expected attack. No attempt, however, was made upon the town. The squadron confined its operations to the capturing and destroying the bay craft, and forming an effectual blockade of the waters of the Chesapeake.
52. About the same time a British squadron entered the Delaware bay, which consisted of the Poictiers, 74, the frigate Belvidera, and several small vessels, and for some weeks were
employed in fixing buoys, intercepting and capturing the outward and inward bound vessels, and burning the bay craft. On the 16th of March, sir J. P. Beresford, the commander of the squadron, transmitted a letter to Lewistown, a small fishing town near the mouth of the bay, addressed to the first magistrate, requesting him to send twenty live bullocks, with a proportionate quantity of vegetables and hay, on board the Poictiers, for the use of the squadron, which should be immediately paid for at the Philadelphia prices. The request was accompanied with a threat, that, in case of a refusal, he should burn the
This demand was positively, though politely, refused, as a compliance would be an immediate violation of the laws, and an eternal stigma on the nation.” To which Beresford answered, “ that the demand he had made was, in his opinion, neither ungenerous, nor wanting in that magnanimity which one nation ought to observe to another with which it is at war. It is in my power," continues he, “ to destroy your town, and the request I have made upon it, as the price of its security, is neither distressing nor unusual. I must, therefore, persist, and whatever sufferings may fall upon the inhabitants of Lewis, must be attributed to yourselves, by not complying with a request so easily acquiesced in.”
Nothing further passed on the subject, till the 6th of April, when they renewed the demand, and fired several 32 pound shot into the town, previous to sending the flag on shore, to show that they were serious in their threats. In Beresford's letter on this occasion, he urges that no dishonour can be attached to complying with his demand, in consideration of his superior force. “ · I must, therefore," continues he, “consider your refusal to supply the squadron as most cruel on your part to the inhabitants. I grieve for the distress the women and children are reduced to by your conduct, and earnestly desire they may be instantly removed.” To this letter merely a verbal reply was returned, that the commander, colonel Davis, was a gallant man, and had already taken care of the ladies. On the return of the flag, a cannonade was commenced from four launches with 24 and 18 pounders ; two sloops, with 32 pounders and a mortar; a pilot boat, with six pounders; and a schooner with 12 twelve pounders, covered by the frigate Belvidera.
The town, being seated on a considerable eminence, sustained little or no injury; the rockets passing over, and the bombs falling short. The fire from an eighteen pounder on shore, which was supplied by shot thrown by the enemy, silenced one of their most dangerous gun-boats. Above 600 shot were fired at
the place, a great part of which was afterwards dug by the boys out of the sand, viz. 40 of 321b., 96 of 18lb., 156 of 12's and 9's, with a large quantity of 6's and grape, besides shells and remains of rockets. Not a man was killed on the side of the Americans during this attack.
On the forenoon of the following day, a number of small boats approached the shore, apparently with the intention of landing; but, being gallantly met by the militia on the beach, they were recalled by a signal from the squadron.
0 3. In the Chesapeake, the principal part of the squadron began to move up the bay about the beginning of April. On the 3d they anchored off the mouth of the Rappahannock, for the purpose of attacking the Dolphin, a privateer schooner of 10 guns, and three letters of marque bound for France, which had taken shelter in the river on the approach of the squadron.
Their tenders and launches, to the number of 17, being manned and sent up the river, a furious attack was made on the vessels, which unfortunately lay becalmed. Two of the letters of
marque were speedily taken, they making but a slight resistance ; the third was run ashore, and most of her crew escaped. The Dolphin bore the brunt of the action. The whole force of the
enemy was soon directed to her, and she gallantly sustained the contest for two hours, when, at last, they succeeded in boarding her. Even then, however, she did not strike. The fight continued for some time on deck, until, overpowered by numbers, the Americans were forced to submit, the enemy having previously pulled down the colours.
94. A few days previous to this affair, a most unfortunate action took place here between the American privateer Fox and the United States schooner Adeline and two gun-boats. The schooner and gun-boats were proceeding down the bay, under the command of lieutenant Sinclair, and at 'midnight made a harbour under Gwinn's island, near the mouth of the Rappahannock. After having anchored in a line across the channel, Sinclair was hailed by the Fox, and each taking the other to be an enemy, and consequently refusing to send a boat on board, Sinclair fired a musket ahead of the privateer, which she instantly returned with a broadside.
The schooner and gun-boats then opened their fire, and in fifteen minutes silenced the privateer. Being hailed, however, to know if she had struck, she renewed the action without answering, and in fifteen minutes more was again silenced. On being a second time hailed, she once more opened her fire, which she continued for half an hour, and then cut her cable, and escaped up the bay. On board the Fox the captain and five men were