« ForrigeFortsett »
which afforded the garrison little opportunity of annoying them, except such as had the impudence to peep over the banks. To counteract the effects of the fire-brands and arrows with matches, which were thrown upon the block houses, surringes were made of gun barrels and the roofs kept wet : by these means all the attempts of the Indians to fire the block-houses were defeated. They however continued to invest the fort for several days, waiting a favourable wind to set fire to a factory near the garrison, hoping thereby to effect their object. But Lieut. Hamilton anticipated their designs, and took a favorable opportunity to fire the factory when it would not endanger the garrison.
The Indians, being thus baffled in all their attempts to fire the works, withdrew from the fort on the 9th. No lives were lost at the garrison, and but one wounded. The Indians had many killed, as they were seen to fall from the garrison. Lieuts. Hamilton and Vasques did themselves great honour in so ably defending this fort.
Forsyth's expedition....On the 20th Sept. Capt. Forsyth, with 70 of his rifle company, and 34 militia men, embarked on board a num. ber of boats, at Cape Vincent, and went over to a small village called Gananoque, in the town of Leeds, for the purpose of destroying the king's store house at that place. They landed unobserved, a short distance from the village, a little before sunrise on the morning of the 21st, but were soon after discovered and fired upon by a party of the British, consisting of about 125 regulars and militia. The Americans returned the fire with so much effect, that the British retreated in disorder, and were pursued to the village, where they again rallied, but soon finding the contest too warm for them, they fled over a bridge and made their escape, leaving behind ten of their number killed, (besides several who were seen to fall into the stream as they were fired upon when passing the bridge) and 8 regulars and a number of militia prisoners. Capt. Forsyth had only one man killed and one slightly wounded..... The number of wounded on the part of the enemy, was not ascertained. The militia prisoners were discharged on parole. Capt. Forsyth and his party, with 8 prisoners and 60 stands of arms, two barrels of fixed ammunition, one barrel of powder, one barrel of flints, and some other articles of public property, which they had taken from the enemy, then returned to Cape Vincent ; not however, till they had set fire to his majesty's store. house, which was consumed, together with a quantity of flour
Defeat of the enemy at Ogdensburg......On the fourth of October the British made an attack upon the village of Ogdensburg. The Friday and Saturday preceding, they cannonaded the town for several hours each day, from the fort at Pres. cot; and on Sunday, having prepared 40 boats, with from 10 to
15 armed men in each, and six pieces of artillery, they advanced to storm the town. When they advanced within a short distance, the American troops, umder Gen. Brown,* commenced a warm fire upon them, which continued, on both sides, for about two hours, at which time the British, having two of their boats so knocked to pieces as to render it necessary to abandon them, and one taken, on board of which was six men, were compelled to relinquish the unprofitable contest, and fled pricipitately to Prescot. No damage was sustained on our side, except the injury of some buildings by their cannonading.
Observations on the campaign of 1812..... The army of the United States, upon the declaration of war, consisted of eleven regiments, of the old peace establishment. We are not precisely informed how full these regiments were, but believe they ought not to be estimated at more than five bundred men each.
In 1811, congress passed an act for raising ten additional regiments of 2000 men each, to be enlisted for five years. By subsequent acts, however, these regiments were divided into twenty, to consist of 1000 men each, and enlistments authorized for eighteen months. Little progress had been made in enlistments for the new regiments, at the time of the declaration of war. It was, however, immediately undertaken, and with considerable success ; but it could hardly be expected to add much to the real force of this campaign.
In addition to this force, congress had put at the controul of the president, upon the happening of either of the exigencies pointed out in the constitution, 100,000 militia, apportioned among the several states as stated, p. 12 ; and also authorized him to accept the services of such volunteer companies as might tender their services, not exceeding 50,000 men. Such portion of this force as was in actual service, was divided into three armies, called the north-western, centre, and northern. The first, under the immediate command of Gen. Hull, consisted of about 500 regu. lars, and 2000 militia from the state of Ohio, and the territory of Michigan. This army commenced offensive operations in Upper Canada, opposite Detroit, as early as the 12th of July; but finally retreated to Detroit, and surrendered Aug. 16th. The second, under the immediate command, first of Gen. Van Rensselaer of the New York militia, and afterwards of Gen. Smyth, consisted of near 2000 regulars, and 3000 New-York militia.
This army was distributed along the Niagara river, from fort Niagara to Buffalo. The third, under the immediate command, first of Gen. Bloomfield, and afterwards of Gen. Dearborn, consisted of about 5000 men, regulars, and Vermont and New-York militia. This army was not actively employed during the campaigo.
At that time of the New York militia.
The following is a list of the general officers of the United States' army for the year 1812 :
Major Generals....Henry Dearborn and Thomas Pinckney.
Brigadier Generals....James Wilkinson, Wade Hampton, James Winchester, William Hull, John Chandler, Joseph Bloomfield, Thomas Flournoy, John Armstrong, William H. Harrison, and John P. Boyd.
To form a just estimate of the merits of the American armies for the campaign of 1812 is indeed a difficult task.
We ought to reflect that the nation had been in profound peace for four and twenty years, and that consequently the art of war had been almost wholly lost. We had not remaining any officers of experie ence to conduct our armies, and not a single company that had seen service. In addition to this, the whole system for the recruiting, feeding, clothing, and maintaing an army, was, as it were, to be created. Many of the necessary munitions of war were to be provided. Platoon, staff, and many of the general officers were to be selected from the body of the American people, upon conjecture merely as to their merits. It was therefore to be expected, that many of them would be found incompetent, and undeserving. The campaign has therefore proved, that our generals needed, at least, experience, and our officers and soldiers discipline. It was indeed disastrous, but it was not without its consolations. The great body of the army was found to be brave to a fault ; and many officers gave earnest of their future glory. A Miller, a Snelling, a Van Rensselaer, a Scott, a Christie, a Wadsworth, and a Wool have done immortal honour to themselves and country; and Maguago and Queenstown wil De lasting monuments of their fame.
Naval operations on lakes Ontario and Erie... Attack on Sacket's
Harbour.... The Julia.....Capt. Chauncey....His cruize...Battle in Kingston harbour..... Capture of the Detroit and Caledonia..... Biography of Capt. Elliot.
The reader will no doubt rejoice with us, that we have at length passed the most barren and uninteresting part of the campaigo, and have arrived at a field of incidents and achievements most interesting in themselves, and honourable to our country..... achievements that have filled our enemy, the world, and even ourselves with astonishment and admiration. But we will not de. tain our readers upon achievements that need only bė faithfully related to be duly appreciated.
Operations on lake Ontario..... When war was declared the American f. rce upon lake Ontario consisted only of the Oneida of 16 guns, under the command of Lieut. Woolsey. The British had beed for a considerable time previous actively employed in equip. ping vessels of war on that lake. Their force consisted of five sail, viz. the Royal George, of 22 guns, the Prince Regent, of 16, the Earl Moira, of 12, the Seneca, of 8 and the other unkown. On the 19th July Lieut. Woolsey, of the Oneida, lying in Sackets' Harbour, discovered from the mast-head of his brig, the whole British force about five leagues distance, beating up for the Harbour with the wind ahead. The troops were immediately called to arms, and expresses sent to call in the neighboring detachments and volunteers, who arriveil in the course of the day, to the amount of nearly 3000. Soon after sunrise, the Prince Regent brought to and captured the custom boat, about seven miles from the harbour, on her return from Gravelly Point. The boat's crew were liberated and set on shore, with a message to Col. Bellenger, the commandant at the harbour, demanding the surrender of the Oneida, and the late British schooner Nelson, siezed for a breach of the revenue laws, and ficting for a privateer; and declaring, that in case of a refusal to surrender the vessels the squadron would burn the village, or lay the inhabitants under contribution. Soon after this, Capt. Woolsey left the harbour in the Oneida, and ran down within a league of the squadron ; when he returned and moored his vessel on a line with a battery, with springs on his cables. Capt. Woolsey being the most experienced engineer present, left the Oneida under the command of a Lieutenant, and went on shore and took the command of a 32 pounder on the battery, the other guns of which consisted of nine pounders.
By this time the enemy had arrived within gun-shot, the Royal George, as flag ship, ahead, and firing was commenced from the 32 pounder. This was returned by the squadron, which stood off and on....and a brisk cannonading was reciprocally continued for more than two hours, all our guns being well manned and served ....and it was plainly discovered that the Royal George and Prince Regent were much injured. At this time, as the flag ship was wearing to give another broadside, a ball from the 32 pounder was seen to strike her and rake her completely; after which the squadron fired but a few guns and bore away for Kingston, not a man being hurt on our side.
The action was maintained within point blank shot. Most of the enemy's balls struck the rocks below the battery, and one 32
pound shot was picked up by our citizens, it having lodged near the breast work.
The Julia.....On the 31st of July, the schooner Julia, late the Lord Nelson) of about 60 tons, carrying three guns, one a 32 pounder, and 40 men, was put under the command of Capt. Dickson, and despatched to Ogdensburgh, to convoy seven schooners to Sackets' Harbour. As she arrived at the narrows, about eler. en miles from Ogdensburg, she anchored and hailed a smack, with six men on board. They gave no answer, but pulled off..... The Julia fired a shot ahead of them, but they continued their course. Capt. Dickson ordered his crew to fire on them ; and so effectually was his order executed, that four were killed, and two leaped from the smack and swam ashore.
The Parl Moria and Duke of Gloucester, then lying at Elizabethtown, came out, and after firing a broadside at the Julia, which did no injury, for. some unknown reason, retreated under the fort. Capt. Dickson pursued them, and fired his 32 pounder about one hundred times, with great effect. Screeches were distinctly heard on board the enemy, and the splinters were seen to fly mast high almost every shot.
_Capt. Chauncy.....Jn the month of Sept. Capt. Isaac Chauncy was appointed to superintend the building and command of the American fleet on lake Ontario. He arrived at Sackets' Harbour in the month of October; and so great were his exertions, that on the 8th of Nov, following he was enabled to sail with an aggregate force of 40 guns, and 430 men. Having learned that the British fleet, then consisting of an aggregate force of 108 guns, and 890 men, were separated, he determined to take an advantag'ous position near the False Ducks, (a number of small islands, so called, on the Canada shore, near which the enemy must pass to get into Kingston, and attack and defeat either portion of this squadron, if possible.
The following is an extract of Capt. Chauncy's official letter to the Secretary of the Navy, dated Nov. 13, 1812, detailing the events of the cruise :
« On the 8th I fell in with the Royal 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 King. ston channel.
We gave chase and followed her in the harbour of Kingston, where we engaged her and the batteries for one hour and forty minutes. I bad made up my mind to board her, but she was so well protected by the batteries and the wind blow. ing directly in, it was deemed imprudent to make the attempt at that vine.....the pilots also refused to take charge of the vessels. Under these circumstances, and it being after sundown, I deter