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o'clock this evening, without opposition, and took 'possession of the town in an hour after. Gen. Proctor has retreated to Sandwich with his regular troops and Indians, having previously burned the fort, navy yard, barracks, and public store houses ; the two latter were very extensive, covering several acres of ground. I will pursue the enemy to-morrow, although there is no probability of my overtaking him, as he has upwards of one thousand horses, and we have not one in the army. I shall think myself fortunate to be able to collect a sufficiency to mount the Gen. officers. It is supposed here that Gen. Proctor intends to establish himself upon the river French, forty miles from Malden. I have the honor to be, &c.
WILLIAM H. HARRISON.'
H. R. Detroit, Oct. 9, 1813. SIR-In my letter from Sandwich of the 23d ultimo, I did myself the honor to inform you, that I was preparing to pursue the enemy the following day. causes, however was unable to put the troops in motion until the morning of the 20 inst. and then to take with me only about one hundred and forty of the regular troops, Johnson's mounted regiment, and such of Governor Shelby's volunteers as were fit for a rapid march, the whole amounting to about three thousand five hundred men. То Gen. M’Arthur (with about 700 effectives) the protecting of this place and the sick was conmitted. Gen. Cass's brigade, and the corps of Lient. Col. Ball, were left at Sandwich, with orders to follow me as soon as the men re-. ceived their knapsacks and blankets, which had been left on an island in Lake Erie.
The unavoidable delay at Sandwich was attended with no disadvantage to us. Gen. Proctor had posted himself at Dalson's on the right bank of the Thames (or Trench) fifty six miles from this place, where I was informed he intended to fortify and wait to receive me. He must have believed, however, that I had no disposition to follow him, or that he had secured my continuance here, by the reports that were circulated that the Indians would attack and destroy
this place upon the advance of the army; as he neglected to commence the breaking up the bridges until the night of the 2d inst. On that night our army reached the river, which is twenty-five miles from Sandwich, and is one of 4 streams crossing our route, over all of which are bridges, and being deep and muddy, are unfordable for a considerable distance into the country—the bridge here was found entire, and in the morning I proceeded with Johnson's regiment to save if possible the others. At the second bridge over a branch of the river Thames, we were fortunate enough to capture a Lieut. of dragoons and eleven privates, who had been sent by Gen. Proctor to destroy them. From the prisoners I learned that the third bridge was broken up and that the enemy had no certain information of our advance. The bridge having been imperfectly destroyed, was soon repaired and the army encamped at Drake's farm, four miles below Dalson's.
The river Thames, along the banks of which our route lay, is a fine deep stream, navigable for vessels of considerable burden, after the passage of the bar at its mouth, over which, there is six and a half feet water.
The baggage of the army was brought from Detroit in buats protected by three gun-boats, which Com. Perry had furnished for the purpose, as well as to cover the passage of the army over the Thames itself, or the mouths of its tributary streams; the banks being low and the country generally open (prairies) as high as Dalson's, these vessels were well calculated for that purpose. Above Dalson's however, the character of the river and adjacent country is considerably changed.--The former, though still deep, is very narrow and its banks high and woody. The Commodore and myself therefore agreed upon the propriety of leavingthe boats under a guard of one hundred and fitty infantry, and I determined to trust to fortune and the bravery of my troops to effect the passage of the river. Below a place called Chatham and 4 miles above Dalson's is the third unfordable branch of the Thames; the bridge over its mouth had been taken up by the Indians, as well as that at M'Gregor's Mills, one mile above-several hundred of the Indians remained to dispute our passage, and upon the arrival of the advanced guard, commenced a heavy fire from the opposite bank of the creek as well as that of the
river. Believing that the whole force of the enemy was there, I balted the army, formed in order of battle, and brought up our two six-pounders to cover the party that were ordered to repair the bridge—a few shot from those pieces, soon drove off the Indians and enabled us, in two hours to repair the bridge and cross the troops. Col. Johnson's mounted regiment being upon the right of the army, had seized upon the remains of the bridge at the mills under a heavy fire from the Indians. Our loss on this occasion, was two killed and three or four wounded, that of the enemy was ascertained to be considerably greater. A house near the bridge containing a very considerable number of muskets had been set on tire--but it was extinguish+ ed by our troops and the arms saved. At the first farm above the bridge, we found one of the enemy's vessels on fire, loaded with arms and ordnance stores, and learned that they were a few miles ahead of us, still on the right bank of the river with the great body of the Indians. At Bowles' farm, four miles from the bridge we halted for the night, found two other vessels and a large destillery filled with ordnance and other valuable stores to an immense amount in flames-it was impossible to put out the fire--two twenty-four-pounders with their carriages were taken and a large quantity of ball and shells of various sizes. The army was put in motion early on the morning of the 5th ; I pushed on in advance with the mounted regimentand requested Gov. Shelby to follow as expeditiously as possible with the infantry; the Governor's zeal and that of his men enar bled them to keep up with the cavalry, and by 9 o'clock, we were at Arnold's Mills, having taken in the course of the morning two gun-boats and several batteaux loaded with provisions and ammunition.
A rapid at the river at Arnold's mills affords the only fording to be met with for a considerable distance, but, upon examination, it was found too deep for the infantry: Having, however, fortunately taken two or three boats and some Indian canoes on the spot, and obliged the horsemen to take a foot-man behind each, the whole were safely crossed by 12 o'clock. Eight miles from the crossing we passed a farm, where a part of the British troops had encamped the night before, under the command of Col. Warburton. The detachment with Gen, Proctor had arrived
the day before at the Moravian towns, 4 miles higher up. Being now certainly near the enemy, I directed the advance of Johnson's regiment to accelerate their march for the purpose of procuring intelligence. The officer commanding it, in a short time, sent to inform me, that his progress was stopped by the enemy, who were formed across our line of march. One of the enemy's waggouers being also taken prisoner, from the information received from him, and my own observation, assisted by some of my officers, I soon ascertained enough of their position and order of battle, to determine that, which it was proper for me to adopt.
From the place where our army last halted, to the Moravian downs à distance of about three and a half miles, the road passes through a beach forest without any clearing, and for the first two mileg near to the bank of the river. At from two to 300 yards from the river, a swamp extends parallel to it, throughout the whole distance. The intermediate ground is dry, and although the trees are tolerably thick, it is in many places clear of underbrush. Across this strip of land, its left appayed upon the river, supported by artillery placed in the wood, their right in the swamp covered by the whole of the Indian force, the British troops were drawn up.
The troops at my disposal consisted of about 120 regulars of the 27th regiment, five brigades of Kentucky volunteer inilitia infantry, under his Excellency Gov. Shelby, averaying less than five hundred men, and Col. Johnson's regimenit of mounted infantry, making in the whole an aggregate, something about 3000. No disposition of an army opposed to an Indian force can be safe unless it is secured on the flanks and in the rear. I had therefore no difficulty in arranging the infantry couformably to my general order of battle. Gen. Trotter's brigade of 500 meu, formed the front line, his-right upon the road and his left upon the swamp. Gen. King's brigade as a second line, 150 yards in the rear of Trotter's, and Chiles' brigade as a corps of reserve in the rear of it. These three brigades formed the command of Major-General Henry; the whole of Gen. Desha's division, consisting of two brigades, were formed en polence upon the left of
Whilst I was engaged in forming the infantry, I had directed Col. Johnson's regiment, which was still in front, to be formed in two lines opposite to the enemy, and upon the advance of the infantry, to take ground to the left, and forming upon that flank to endeavor to turn the right of the Indians. A moment's reflection, however, convinced me that from the thickness of the woods and swampness
of the ground, they would be unable to do any thing on horseback, and there was no time to dismount them and place their horses in security. I therefore determined to refuse my left to the Indians, and to break the British lines at once by a charge of the mounted infantry; the measure was not sanctioned by any thing I had ever seen or heard of, but I was fully convinced that it would succeed. The American back woodsmen ride better in the woods than any other people. A musket or rifle is no impediment to them, being accustomed to them from their earliest youth. I was persuaded, too, that the enemy would be quite unprepared for the shock, and that they could not resist it. Conformable to this idea, I directed the regiment to be drawn
up in close column, with its right at the distance of 50 yards from the road, (that it might be, in some measure, protected by the trees from the artillery) its left upon the swamp, and to charge at full speed as soon as the enemy bad delivered their fire. The few regular troops of the 27th regiment, under Col. Paul, occupied in a column of sections of four, the small space between the road and the river, for the purpose of seizing the enemy's artillery, and some ten or twelve friendly Indians to move under the bank. The crotchet formed by the front line, and Gen. Desha's division, was an important point. At that place the venerable Governor of Kentucky was posted, who, at the age of sixtysis, preserves all the vigor of youth, the ardent zeal which distinguished him in the revolutionary war, and the undaunted bravery which he manifested at King's mountain. With my aids-de-camp, the acting assistant Adj. General, Capt. Butler, my gallant friend Com. Perry, who did me the honor to serve as my volunteer aid-de-camp, and Brig. Gei. Cass, who having no command, tendered me his assistance, I placed myself at the head of the front line of infantry, to direct the movements of the cavalry, and give them the necessary support.