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Copy of a Letter from Commodore Lewis to the Secretary
of the Navy. Sir,
Off Sandy-Hook, July 6, 1813. I have the pleasure to inform you of the capture of the British sloop tender Eagle, which for some time had been employed by commodore Beresford for the purpose of burning the coasters, &c. Her force was two officers and eleven men, with a 32 brass howitzer.
This service was performed in a most gallant and officerlike manner by sailing-master Percival, who, with volunteers from the flotilla which I have the honour to command, jumped on board a fishing smack, ran the enemy alongside, and carried him by a coup de main.
I am sorry to add, that in this little affair the enemy lost the commanding officer, one midshipman mortally wounded, and two badly. I am happy to say we suffered no injury, which is to be attributed to the superior management of sailing-master Percival, and the coolness with which his men fired, for which they all deserve well of their country. I have the honour to be, &c.
Com. U. S. Flotilla. Hon. William Fones, Secretary of the Navy, Washington.
P.S. The capture was on Sunday the 4th instant.
Copy of a Letter from Commodore Lewis to the Secretary
of the Navy. Sir,
New York, Nov. 7, 1813. Í have the honour to inform you of the recapture of the American schooner Sparrow of Baltimore, from New Orleans bound to this port, laden with sugar and lead. On the 3d the enemy's ship Plantagenet chased the said vessel on shore, near Long Branch, six miles distant from where the flotilla is stationed, and took possession of her with about one hundred men. A detachment from the flotilla marched against them, attacked them, drove them from on board the vessel, and took possession under the fire of the enemy's ship and barges. In the affair we lost one man; the enemy's loss must have been considerable, as many were seen to fall. The whole cargo, together with sails, rigging, &c. have been saved. Vessel bilged. I have the honour to be, &c.
J. LEWIS. Hon. William Fones, Secretary of the Navy.
Copy of a Letter from Commodore Jacob Lewis, commanding
the New York Flotilla, to the Secretary of the Navy. Sir,
New York, Nov. 30, 1813. I have to inform you, that on the 29th, the flotilla force recaptured from the Plantagenet, a schooner from New Orleans, loaded with cotton and lead.
The enemy had chased the schooner on shore about 13 miles from where the flotilla lay at anchor; however, before the enemy had time to get the vessel off, or to unlade the cargo, they were attacked, beaten off, and the vessel taken possession of. The enemy sent a flag to demand a ransom for the schooner and cargo, stating she was in their power, and unless we consented to ransom the vessel, he would destroy her, also all the houses on the shore. All his threats did not answer his purpose; the vessel and cargo are ours. I have the honour to assure you
my consideration and respect, Hon. William Jones, Secretary of the Navy; Washington.
P. S. One man wounded in the affair. Hon. Wm. Fones, &c.
CRUIZES OF COMMODORE CHAUNCEY ON LAKE ONTARIO.
Copy of a Letter from Lieutenant Chauncey to Commodore
Sackett's Harbour, 18th June, 1813, 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, with provisions and ammunition.
Enclosed is a list of one ensign, 15 non-commissioned officers and privates found on board, with six men attached to the vessel. I have the honour to be, &c. (Signed)
OLCOTT Copy of a Letter from Commodore Chauncey to the Secretary
of the Navy.
U. S. ship General Pike, at anchor of Niagara, Sir,
After leaving Sackett's Harbour I stretched over for the enemy's shore, and from thence stood up
August 4, 1813.
winds being light, I did not arrive off this port until the evening of the 27th ult. On the 24th I fell in with the Lady of the Lake, on her return to Sackett's Harbour, with prisoners from Fort George. I transferred the prisoners to the Raven, and ordered her to Sackett's Harbour. The Lady of the Lake I despatched to Fort George, for guides for the head of the lake. General Boyd having informed me that the enemy had a considerable deposit of provisions and stores at Burlington Bay, I was determined to attempt their destruction. On the 25th I was joined by the Pert, and on the 27th the Lady of the Lake, with guides, and captain Crane's company of artillery, and colonel Scott, who had very handsomely volunteered for the service. After conversing with colonel Scott upon the subject, it was thought adviseable to take on board 150 infantry, which, by the extraordinary exertions of that excellent officer, were embarked before 6 o'clock the next morning, and the feet immediately proceeded for the head of the lake; but owing to light winds and calms, we did not arrive to an anchorage before the evening of the 29th. We sent two parties on shore, and surprised and took some of the inhabitants, from whom we learned that the enemy had received considerable reinforcements within a day or two, and that his force in regulars was from 600 to 800 men. We however landed our troops and marines and some sailors the next morning, and reconnoitred the enemy's position; found him posted upon a peninsula of very high ground, and strongly intrenched, and his camp defended by about 8 pieces of cannon. In this situation it was thought not adviseable to attack him with a force scarcely half his numbers, and without artillery; we were also deficient in boats, not having a sufficient number to cross the bay with all the troops at the same time. The men were all re-embarked in the course of the afternoon, and in the evening we weighed and stood for York; arrived and anchored in that harbour at about 3, P. M. On the 31st ran the schooners into the upper harbour; landed the marines and soldiers under the command of colonel Scott, without opposition; found several hundred barrels of flour and provisions in the public storehouse, five pieces of cannon, eleven boats, and a quantity of shot, shells, and other stores, all of which were either destroyed or brought away. On the 1st instant, just after having received on board all that the vessels could take, I directed the barracks and the public storehouses to be burnt. We then re-embarked the men, and proceeded for this place, where I arrived yesterday. Between 400 and 500 men left York for the head of the lake 2
days before we arrived there. Some few prisoners were taken, some of whom were paroled; the others have been landed at Fort George.
I have the honour to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Extract of a letter from Commodore Chauncey to the Secretary
of the Navy, dated on board the ship General Pike, at Sackett's Harbour, 13th August, 1813.
Sir, I arrived here this day with this ship, the Madison, Oneida, Governor Tompkins, Conquest, Ontario, Pert, and Lady of the Lake. The Fair American and Asp I left at Niagara. Since I had the honour of addressing you last I have been much distressed and mortified: distressed at the loss of part of the force intrusted to my command, and mortified at not being able to bring the enemy to action. The following movements and transactions of the squadron, since the 6th instant; will give you the best idea of the difficulties and mortifications that I have had to encounter.
On the 7th, at day-light, the enemy's fleet, consisting of 2 ships, 2 brigs, and 2 large schooners, were discovered, bearing W. N. W. distant about 5 or 6 miles, wind at west. At 5 weighed with the fleet and mano vred to gain the wind, At 9, having passed to leeward of the enemy's line, and abreast of his van ship, the Wolfe, hoisted our colours and fired a few guns, to ascertain whether we could reach him with our shot. Finding they fell short, I wore and hauled upon a wind on the starboard tack, the rear of our schooners.then about 6 miles astern. The enemy wore in succession, and hauled upon a wind on the same tack, but soon finding that we should be able to weather him upon the next tack, he tacked and made all sail to the northward, As soon as our rear vessels could fetch his wake, tacked and made all sail in chase. In the afternoon the wind became very light, and towards night quite calm. The schooners used their sweeps all the afternoon, in order to close with the enemy, but without success. Late in the afternoon I made the signal of recal, and formed in close order. Wind during the night from the westward, and after midnight squally: kept all hands at quarters and beat to windward, in hopes to gain the wind of the enemy. At 2, A. M., missed two of our schooners. At day-light discovered the missing schooners to be the. Hamilton and Scourge. Soon after spoke the Governor Tompkins, who informed me that the Hamilton and Scourge both overset and sunk in a heavy equall about two o'clock; and distressing to
relate, every soul perished except 16. This fatal accident deprived me at once of the services of two valuable officers, lieutenant. Winter and sailing master Osgood, and two of my best schooners, mounting together 19 guns. This accident giving to the enemy decidedly the superiority, I thought he would take advantage of it, particularly as, by a change of wind, he was again brought dead to the windward of me. Formed the line upon the larboard tack and hove to. Soon after 6, A. M., the enemy bore up and set studding sails, apparently with an intention to bring us to action. When he had approached us within about 4 miles, he brought to on the starboard tack. I wore and brought to on the same tack. Finding that the enemy had no intention of bringing us to action, I edged away to gain the land, in order to have the advantage
of the land breeze in the afternoon. It soon after fell calm, and I directed the schooners to sweep up and engage the enemy. About noon we got a light breeze from the eastward. I took the Oneida in tow, as she sails badly, and stood for the enemy. When the van of our schooners was within one and an half or two miles of his rear, the wind shifted to the westward, which again brought him to windward. As soon as the breeze struck him, he bore up for the schooners, in order to cut them off before they could rejoin me; but with their sweeps, and the breeze soon reaching them also, they were soon in their station. The enemy, finding himself foiled in his attempt on the schooners, hauled his wind and hove to. It soon after became very squally and the appearance of its continuing so during the night, and as we had been at quarters for nearly forty-eight hours, and being apprehensive of separating from some of the heavy sailing schooners in the squall, induced me to run in towards Niagara, and anchor outside the bar. General Boyd very handsomely offered any assistance in men that I might require. I received 150 soldiers, and distributed them in the different vessels, to assist in boarding or repelling boarders, as circumstances might require. It blew very heavy in squalls during the night. Soon after day-light discovered the enemy's fleet, bearing north ; weighed and stood after him. The winds soon became light and variable, and before 12 o'clock quite calm. At 5 fresh breezes from north, the enemy's fleet bearing north, distant about 4 or 5 leagues. Wore the fleet in succession and hauled upon a wind on the larboard tack. At sun-down the enemy bore N. W. by N. on the starboard tack. The wind hauling to the westward, I stood to the northward all night, in order to gain the north shore. At day-light tacked to the