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called the salt battery, mounting one 18 and a 4 pounder : this battery and those on Niagara fort, owing to a bend in the river, formed a cross fire on fort George to great advantage, which was seventeen times set in flames by our batteries on the 21st Nov. 1812.
Massacre at fort Dearborn....Gallant defence of forts Harrison
and Belle-vue...Forsyth's expedition..... Defeat of the enemy at Ogdensburgh..... Observations on the campaign of 1812.
In the following chapter are collected, in the order of time, such incidents of the war during the campaign of 1812, as are unconnected with the operations of the armies. Some important movements of the north-western army under Gen. Harrison, to. wards the close of this year, remain unspoken of ; but as the chief operations of that army were in the succeeding campaign, they will be deferred for the present.
Massacre at fort Dearborn....Gen. Hull, immediately upon learning of the fall of Mackapa was sensible that fort Dearborn,* could not be maintained, and accordingly gave orders for its evacuation : but the allies of the enemy had assembled in season to prevent the escape of the garrison, and to effect their destruction, The following extract of a letter from Capt. Heald, the then commanding officer at the fort, contains a relation of the bloody trans action :
“ On the 9th of Aug. I received orders from Gen. Hull to evacuate the post, and proceed with my command to Detroit by land, leaving it at my discretion to dispose of the public property as I thought proper. The neighboring Indians got the information as early as I did, and came in from all quarters in order to receive the goods in the factory store, which they understood were to be given them. On the 13th, Capt. Wells, of fort Wayne, arrived with about 30 Miamies, for the purpose of escorting us in, by the request of Gen. Hull. On the 14th, I delivered the Indians all the goods in the factory store, and a considerable quantity of provisions which we could not take away with us. arms and ammunition I thought proper to destroy, fearing they would make bad use of it, if put in their possession. I also destroy: ed all the liquor on hand, soon after they began to collect. The collection was unusually large for that place, but they conducted
• See page 56.
with the strictest propriety, till after I left the fort. On the 15tb, at 9 A. M. we commenced our march ; a part of the Miamies were detached in front, the remainder in our rear as guards, under the direction of Capt. Wells. The situation of the country rendered it necessary for us to take the beach, with the lake on our left, and a high sand bank on our right, at about 100 yards distance. We had proceeded about a mile and a half, when it was discovered the Indians were prepared to attack us from behind the bank: Timmediately marched up with the company to the top of the bank, when the action commenced ; after firing one round, we charged, and the Indians gave way in front, and joined those on our flanks. In about fifteen minutes they got possession of all our horses, provision and baggage of every description, and, finding the Miamies did not assist us, I drew off the few men I had left, and took possession of a small elevation in the open prairie, out of shot of the bank or any other cover. The Indians did not follow me, but assembled in a body on the top of the bank, and, after some consultation among themselves, made signs for me to approach them. I advanced towards them alone, and was met by one of the Potawatamie chiefs, called the black bird, with an in. terpreter. After shaking hands he requested me to surrender, promising to spare the lives of all the prisoners. On a few moments consideration, I concluded it would be most prudent to comply with his request, although I did not put entire confidence in his promise. After delivering up our arms, we were taken back to their encampment near the fort, and distributed among the different tribes, The next morning they set fire to the fort, and left the place, taking the prisoners with them. Their number of warriors was between four and five hundred, mostly of the Potawatamie nation, and their loss, from the best information I could get, was about 15. Our strength. was 54 regulars, and 12 militia, out of which 26 regulars and all the militia were killed in the action, with two women and 12 children. Ensign George Ronan and Doct. Isaac V. Van Voorbis, of my company, with Capt. Wells of fort Wayne, are, to my great sorrow, numbered among the dead. Lieut. Lina T. Helm, with 25 non-commission. ed officers and privates, and 11 women and children, were prisoners when we separated. Mrs. Heald and myself were taken to the mouth of the river St. Joseph, and being both badly wounded, were permitted to reside with Mr. Burnet, an Indian trader. In a few days after our arrival there, the Indians all went off to take fort Wayne, and in their absence I engaged a Frenchman to take us to Michillimackinac, by water, where I gave myself up as a prisoner of war, with one of my serjeants. The commanding officer, Capt. Roberts, offered me every assistance in his power, to render our situation comfortable while we remained there, and to enable us to proceed on our journey. To him I gave my pa.
role of honour, and reported myself to Col. Proctor, who gave us a passage to Buffalo."
Defence of fort Harrison.... On the 3d September, 1812, fort Harrison was invested by the Indians ; but the garrison," under Capt Taylor, made a most gallant resistance. The particulars will be found in the following extract of a letter from Capt. Tayior to Gov. Harrison :
“ On Tuesday evening the 3d inst. after retreat beating, four guns were heard to fire in the direction where two young men (citizens who resided here) were making hay, about 400 yards dis. tant from the fort. I was immediately impressed with an idea that they were killed by the Indians, as I had that day been informed that the prophet's party would soon be here for the purpose of commencing hostilities. Prudence induced me to wait until 8 o'clock the next morning, when I sent a corporal with a small party to find them, which he soon did : they had been each shot with two balls, and scalped and cut in the most shocking manner. I had them brought in and buried. In the evening of the 4th inst. old Joseph Lenar, and between 30 and 40 Indians arrived from the Prophet's Town, with a white flag; among whom were about ten women, and the men were composed of the different tribes that compose the Prophet's party. A Shawa. noe man, that spoke good English, informed me that old Lenar intended to speak to me next morning, and try to get something to eal. At retreat beating I examined the men's arms and found them all in good order, and completed their cartridges to 16 rounds per man. As I had not been able to mount a guard of more than six privates and two non-commissioned officers, for some time past, and sometimes only a part of them every other day, from the unhealthiness of the company ; I had not conceived my force adequate for the defence of this post, should it be vigorously attacked. I had just recovered from a very severe attack of the fever, and was not able to be up much through the night. After tatoo I cautioned the guard to be vigilant, and ordered one of the non-commissioned officers, as tbe centinels could not see every part of the garrison, to walk around on the inside during the whole night, to prevent the Indians taking any advantage of us, provided they had any intention of attacking us. About 11 o'clock I was awakened by the firing of one of the centinels ; I sprung up ran out, and ordered the men to their posts ; when my orderly sergeant (who had charge of the upper block house) called out that the Indians had fired the lower block house (which contained the property of the contractor, which was deposited in the lower part, the upper post having been assigned to a corporal and ten privates as an alarm post). The guns had begun to fire pretty smartly from both sides. I directed the buckets to be got ready and water brought from the well, and the fire extinguished immediately, as it was hardly preceivable at that time; but from de. bility or some other cause, the men were very slow in executing my orders.....the word fire appeared to throw the whole of them into confusion; and by the time they had got the water and broken open the door, the fire had unfortunately communicated to a quantity of whisky (the stock having leaked several holes through the lower part of the building, after the salt that was stored there, through which they had introduced the fire without being discovered, as the night was very dark,) and in spite of every exertion we could make use of, in less than a moment it ascended to the roof, and baffled all our efforts to extinguish it. As that block house adjoined the barracks that make part of the fortifications, most of the men immediately gave themselves up for lost, and I had the greatest difficulty in getting any of my orders executed .....and, sir, from the raging of the fire; the yelling and howling of several hundred Indians ; the cries of nine women and children (a part soldiers’and a part citizens' wives, who had taken shelter in the fort); and the desponding of so many of the men, which was worse than all; I can assure you that my feelings were very unpleasant.....and indeed there were not more than 10 or 15 men able to do a great deal, the others being either siek or convalescent; and to add to our other misfortunes, two of the stoutest men in the fort, and whom I had every confidence in, jumped the picket and left us. But my presence of mind did not for a moment forsake me. I saw, by throwing off part of the roof that joined the block house that was on fire, and keeping the end perfectly wet, the whole row of buildings might be saved, and leave only an entrance of 18 or 20 feet for the Indians to enter, after the house was consumed; and that a temporary breastwork might be erected to prevent their even entering there.....I convinced the men that this could be accomplished, and it appear. ed to inspire them with new life, and never did men act with more firmness and desperation. Those that were able (while the others kept up a constant fire from the other block house and the two bastions) mounted the roofs of the houses, with Doct. Clark at their head, who acted with the greatest firmness and presence
of mind, the whole time the attack lasted, which was seven hours, · under a shower of bullets, and in a moment threw off as much of the roof as was necessary. This was done only with the loss of one man and two wounded, and I am in hopes peither of them dangerously. The man that was killed was a little deranged, and did not get off the house as soon as directed, or he would not have been hurt ;. and although the barracks were several times in a blaze, and an immense quantity of fire against them, the men used such exertions that they kept it under, and before day raised a temporary breast-work as high as a man's head, although the Indians continued to pour in a heavy fire of ball, and an indu
merable quantity of arrows during the whole time the attack lasted, I had. but one other man killed inside the fort, and he lost his life by being too anxious.....he got into one of the gallies of the bastions, and fired over the pickets, and called out to his com rades that he had killed an Indian, and neglecting to stoop down, in an instant he was shot dead. One of the men that jumped the pickets, returned an hour before day, and running up towards the gate, begged for God's sake that it might be opened. I suspected it to be a stratagem of the Indians to get in, as I did not recoilect the voice.....I directed the men in the bastion, where I happened to be, to shoot him let him be who he would, and one of them fired at him, but fortunately he ran up to the other bastion, where they knew his voice, and Doct. Clark directed him to lie down close to the pickets behind an empty barrel that happened to be there, and at day light I had him let in. His arm was broken in a most shocking manner, which he says was done by the Indians, and which I suppose was the cause of his returning. I think it probable that he will not recover. The other, they caught about 130 yards from the garrison, and cut him all to pieces. After keeping up a constant fire until about six o'clock the next morning, which we returned with some effect ; at day-light, they removed out of the reach of our guns. A party of them drove up the horses that belonged to the citizens here, and as they could not catch them very readily, shot the whole of them in our sight, as well as a number of their hogs. They drove off the whole of the cattle which amounted to sixty five head, as well as the public oxen. I had the vacany filled up before night, (which was made by the burning of the block house) with a strong row of pickets which I got by pulling down the guard house. We lost the whole of our provisions, but must make out to live upon green corn until we can get a supply, which I am in hopes will not be long. I believe the whole of the Miamies or Weas were among the Prophet's party, as one chief gave liis orders in that language, which resembled Stone Eater's voice, and I believe Negro Legs was there likewise, The Indians suffered severely, but were so numerous as to take off all that were shot."
Defence of fort Bellevue.....On the 5th September, 1812, the garrison at fort Belle-vue, an American post on the Mississippi, near St. Louis, was attacked by upwards of 200 Winabagoes. It is one of the most inellgible positions for defence upon the Mississippi. The parade ground is within musket shot of an eminence that completely commands the fort, and is surrounded to within a few paces of the pickets and block-houses, by hollows or chasms, from which the Indians threw upwards of five hundred pieces of burning timber on the roofs of the block-houses, and emitted a constant sheet of fire onevery side, from guns, fiery arrows and brands,