Sidebilder
PDF
[blocks in formation]

her destruction by three firevessels, boats; but their object was defeated by the promptitude and gallantry of Captain Alexander, who pushed off with his own boats, and being followed by those of the other ships, chased the boats of the enemy up to the town of Alexandria. The cool and steady conduct of Mr. John Moore, midshipman of the Seahorse, in towing the nearest fire vessel on shore, whilst the others were removed from the power of doing mischief by the smaller boats of the Devastation, entitles him to my highest commendation.

The Meteor and the Fairy, assisted by the Anna Maria dispatch boat, a prize gun-boat, and a boat belonging to the Euryalus, with a howitzer, had greatly impeded the progress of the enemy in their works; notwithstanding which, they were enabled to increase their battery to eleven guns, with a furnace for heating shot. On the 3rd, the wind coining to the N. W. the Etna and the Erebus succeeded in getting down to their assistance, and the whole of us, with the prizes, were assembled there on the 4th, except the Devastation, which, in spite of our utmost exertion in warping her, still remained five miles higher up the river. This was the moment when the enemy made his greatest efforts to effect our destruction.

The Erebus being judiciously

attended by five row

placed by Captain Bartholomew in an admirable position for harassing the workmen employed in the trenches, was attacked by three field-pieces, which did her considerable damage before they were beaten off. And another attempt being made to destroy the Devastation with fire vessels, I sent the boats under Captain Baker to her assistance: nothing could exceed the alacrity with which Captain Baker went on this service, to which I attribute the immediate retreat of the boats and fire-vessels. His loss, however, was considerable, owing to their having sought refuge under some guns in a narrow creek thickly wooded, from which it was impossible for him to dislodge them. On the 5th at noon, the wind coming fair, and all my arrangements being made, the Seahorse and Euryalus anchored within short musket-shot of the batteries, while the whole of the prizes passed betwixt us and the shoal; the bombs, the Fairy, and Erebus, firing as they passed, and afterwards anchoring in a favourable position for facilitating, by means of their force, the further removal of the frigates. At three p. m. having completely silenced the enemy's fire, the Seahorse and Euryalus cut their cables, and the whole of us proceeded to the next position taken up by the troops, where they had two batteries, mounting from fourteen to eighteen guns, on a range of cliffs of about a mile extent, under which we were of necessity obliged to pass very close. I did not intend to make the attack that evening, but the Erebus grounding within range, we were necessarily called into action. On this occasion the fire of the Fairy had the most decisive effect, as well as that of the Erebus, while the bombs threw their shells with excellent precision, and the guns of the batteries were thereby completely silenced by about eight o'clock. At day-light on the 6th I made signal to weigh, and so satisfied were the whole of the parties opposed to us of their opposition being ineffectual, that they allowed us to pass without further molestation. I cannot close this detail of operations, comprising a riod of 23 days, without begging eave to call your attention to the singular exertion of those whom I had the honour to command, by which our success was effected. Our hammocks were down only two nights during the whole time; the many laborious duties which we had to perform were executed with a cheerfulness which I shall ever remember with pride, and which will ensure, I hope, to the whole of the detachments, your favourable estimation of their extraordinary zeal and abilities. To Captain Napier I owe more obligations than I have words to express. The Euryalus lost her bowsprit, the head of her foremast, and the heads of all her topmasts, in a tornado which she encountered on the 25th, just as her sails were clued up, whilst we were passing the Flats of Maryland Point, and yet, after twelve hours work on her refittal, she was again under weigh, and advancing up the river. Captain Napier speaks highly of the conduct of Lieutenant Thomas Herbert on this as well as on every other of the many trying occa

sions which have called his abilities into action. His exertions were also particularly conspicuous in the prizes, many of which, already sunk by the enemy, were weighed, masted, hove down, caulked, rigged, and loaded, by our little squadron, during the three days which we remained at Alexandria. It is difficult to distinguish amongst officers who had a greater share of duty than often falls to the lot of any, and which each performed with the greatest credit to his professional character. I cannot omit to recommend to your notice the meritorious conduct of Captains Alexander, Bartholomew, Baker and Kauah, the latter of whom led us through many of the . difficulties of the navigation; and particularly to Captain Roberts, of the Meteor, who, besides undergoing the fatigues of the day, employed the night in coming the distance of ten miles to communicate and consult with me upon our further operations preparatory to our passing the batteries. So universally good was the conduct of all the officers, seamen, and marines of the detachment, that I cannot particularise with justice to the rest; but I owe it to the long tried experience I have had of Mr. Henry King, first Lieutenant of the Seahorse, to o: out to you, that such was is eagerness to take the part to which his abilities would have directed him on this occasion, that he even came out of his sick bed, to command at his quarters, whilst the ship was passing the batteries; nor can I ever forget how materially the service is iudebted to Mr. Alexander Louthian, the Master,

for both finding and buoying the channel of a navigation, which no ship of similar draft of water had ever before passed with their guns and stores on board, and which, according to the report of a seaman now in this ship, was not accomplished by the President American frigate, even after taking her guns out, under a period of forty-two days. Enclosed is a list of killed and wounded, and also of the vessels captured. I have, &c. JAMEs A. Gordon, Captain. To Sir Alexander Cochrane, Commander-in

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

man sloop of war, when Captain Pearse informed us, that the United States frigate the Adams had got into the Penobscot; but from the apprehension of being attacked by our cruizers, if she remained at the entrance of the river, she had run up as high as Hamden, where she had landed her guns, and mounted them on shore for her protection. On leaving Halifax, it was my original intention to have taken possession of Machias, on our way hither; but on receiving this intelligence, the Admiral and myself were of opiuion that no time should be lost in proceeding to our destination, and we arrived here very early on the morning of the 1st instant. The fort of Castine, which is situated upon a peninsula of the eastern side of the Penobscot, near the entrance of that river, was summoned a little after sun-rise, but the American officer refused to surrender it, and immediately opened a fire from four twenty-four pounders upon a small schooner that had been sent with Lieut.Col. Nicholls (commanding Royal Engineers) to reconnoitre the work. Arrangements were immediately made for disembarking the troops; but before a landing could be effected, the enemy blew up his magazine, and escaped up the Majetaquadous River, carrying off in the boats with them two field pieces. As we had no means of ascertaining what force the Americans had on this peninsula, I landed a detachment of royal artillery, with two rifle companies of the 60th, and 98th regiments, under Col.

Douglas, in the rear of it, with

orders to secure the isthmus, and to take possession of the heights which command the town ; but I soon learned that there were no regulars at Castine, except the party which had blown up the magazine, and escaped, and that the militia which were there had dispersed immediately on our landing. Rear Admiral Griffith and myself next turned our attention to obtaining possession of the Adams, or, if that could not be done, to destroying her. The arrangement for this service having been made, the Rear-Admiral entrusted the execution of it to Capt. Barrie, Royal Navy, and as the co-operation of a land force was necessary, I directed Lieut.-Colonel John, with a detachment of artillery, the flank companies of the 29th, 62nd, and 98th regiments, and one rifle company of the 60th, to accompany and co-operate with Captain Barrie on this occasion; but as Hamden is twenty-seven miles above Castine, it appeared to me a necessary measure of precaution first to occupy, a post on the western bank, ' which might afford support if necessary to the force going up the river, and at the same time prevent the armed po

[blocks in formation]

assembled

the 29th regiment, and to maintain it till further orders. As soon as this was accomplished and the tide served, Rear Admiral Griffith directed Captain Barrie to proceed to his destination, and the remainder of the troops were landed that evening at Castine. Understanding that a strong party of militia from the neighbouring township had assembled at about four miles from Castine on the road leading to Blue Hill, I sent out a strong patrole on the morning of the second, before day-break. On arriving at the place, I was informed that the militia of the county had assembled there on the alarm guns being fired at the Fort at Castine upon our first appearance, but that the main body had since dispersed and returned to their respective homes. Some stragglers were, however, left, who fired upon our advanced guard, and then took to the woods; a few of whom were made prisoners. No intelligence having reached us from Captain Barrie on Saturday night, I marched with about seven hundred men and two light field pieces upon Buckston at three o'clock on Sunday morning the 4th instant, for the purpose of learning what progress he had made, and of affording him assistance if required. This place is about eighteen miles higher up the Penobscot than Castine, and on the eastern bank of the river. Rear Admiral Griffith accompanied me on this occasion, and as we had reason to believe that the light guns which had been taken from Castine were secreted in the neighbourhood of Buckston, we threatened to destroy the town unless they were delivered up, and

the two brass 3 pounders on tra

velling carriages were in conseguence brought to us in the course of the day, and are now in our possession. At Buckston we received very satisfactory accounts of the success which had attended the force employed up the river. We learned, that Captain Barrie had proceeded form Hamden up to Bangor; and the Admiral sent an officer in a boat from Buckston to communicate with him, when finding there was no necessity for the troops remaining longer at Buckston, they marched back to Castime the next day. Having ascertained that the object of the expedition up the Penobscot had been attained, it was no longer necessary for me to occupy Belfast; I, therefore, on the evening of the 6th, directed Major General Gosselin to embark the troops and to join me here. Macchias being the only place now remaining where the enemy had a post between the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy bay, I ordered Lieutenant Colonel Pilkington to proceed with a detachment of royal artillery and the 29th regiment to occupy it; and as naval assistauce was required, Rear Admiral Griffith directed Captain Parker, of the Tenedos, to co-operate with Lieutenant Colonel Pilkington on this occasion. ... On the morning of the 9th, Captain Barrie, with Lieutenant Colonel John, and the troops which had been employed with him up the Penobscot, returned to Castine. It seems the enemy blew up the Adams, on his strong position at Hamden being at

[blocks in formation]

Captain Gell of the 29th grenadiers. Herewith I have the honour to transmit a copy of the report made to me by Lieut. Col. John on this occasion, in which your Lordship will be pleased to observe, that the Lieut.-Col. speaks very highly of the gallantry and good conduct displayed by the troops upon this expedition, under very trying circumstances; and I beg to call your Lordship's attention to the names of those officers upon whom Lieut.-Colonel John particularly bestows praise. The enterprise and intrepidity manifested by Lieut.-Colonel John, and the discipline and gallantry displayed by the troops under him, reflect great honour upon them, and demand my warmest acknowledgments; and I have to request your lordship will take a favourable opportunity of bringing the meritorious and successful services performed by the troops em. ployed on this occasion under the view of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent. As Rear Admiral Griffith will mo doubt make a detailed report of the naval operations on this occasion, I forbear touching upon this subject further than to solicit your Lordship's attention to... that part of Colonel, John's report, in which he “attributes the success

« ForrigeFortsett »