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detachment under colonel Lewis was made at the earnest solici tations of his officers, and perhaps contrary to his judgment. However deeply to be lamented, sir, the destruction of the detachment under general Winchester may be as a national calamity, and as it regards the families of the valuable individuals who have fallen, it has by no means destroyed my hopes of success with regard to the accomplishment of the principal objects of the campaign, unless the weather should be uncommonly unfavourable. I shall return to the Rapids in a few days with a force considerably superior to any that the enemy can collect in the upper district of Canada. I can discover no despondence amongst the troops that are with me, and I trust that something may yet be done to compensate us for the hardships and difficulties which we every moment sustain.
The account given by major M'Clanehan and captain Groves, of the action of the 22d, is that the enemy commenced just after revellie to throw shells amongst our troops before the officers and men had risen from their beds. They were however formed, but very inconveniently posted, and being entirely surrounded, they were taken in twenty minutes. The general endeavoured to rally them after they had passed the river, but without effect. Forty or fifty with the general broke through in that direction, but from the depth of the snow those on foot were soon exhausted, and were in a short distance overtaken by the Indians. The general frequently attempted to form them to oppose the Indians, but his efforts were ineffectual. I am unable to say what are the proportion of the killed and prisoners. Some of the Frenchmen whom I have seen, assert that five hundred were killed; others, eight. I am still, however, in hopes that the greater part are prisoners. I have seen one man who asserts that he saw general Winchester killed, scalped, and his bowels taken out. Such are the allies of a power which boasts its attainments in every art and science, and such the war associates of British officers who claim distinction for their nice feelings and delicate sense of honour.
I have the honour to be, &c.
WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON. But 2 officers and 25 or 30 privates have reached my camp from the battle of the river Raisin.
Honourable James Monroe,
acting Secretary of War.
OTTER CREEK, January 12th, 1813.
I have taken the liberty to send per express to inform you that the enemy are apprized of your being at the Rapids, and have removed all the friends of our government to Malden prison,
and at present we are beset with spies. I expect the guard to search for me every moment. I have, agreeably to my orders from Mr. Shields, your acting contractor, engaged fifty barrels of flour, and two hundred bushels of wheat. If you, sir, see proper to send a detachment of cavalry and riflemen, with arms and ammunition for thirty men for this place, we can secure, it is supposed, three thousand barrels of flour and a great quantity of corn and wheat. There are but forty or fifty soldiers garrisoned at the river Raisin, and not one hundred savages; there is not one thousand English, French, and savages at Malden.
If you do not come to-morrow or the next day, you will not find a man at this place. The English are collecting all the savages to rally at the river Raisin for the purpose of giving battle. They are engaging sleighs to transport the flour and grain to their Pandora's box, Malden. Five hundred true and brave Americans can secure the district of Erie. A timely approach of our armies will secure us from being forced to prison, and the whole place from being burned by savage fury. Your humble servant, &c.
P. S. Please to excuse this scroll, as I write in the woods without a fire.
His excellency Gov. Harrison,
HEAD QUARTERS N. W. ARMY, PORTAGE RIVER,
I have the honour to enclose herewith, a duplicate of my letter of the 25th instant, together with the official report of colonel Lewis to general Winchester of the action of the 18th in
That you may be enabled to judge of the propriety of the steps which were taken by me previously to the unfortunate event at the river Raisin, I proceed to give you an account of the situation of the troops and the arrangements I had made for their advance: the left wing of the army under the immediate orders of general Winchester, consisting of the 6th regiment Kentucky troops, a battalion of Ohio infantry, and a detachment of regulars under colonel Wells.
The importance of keeping a considerable force on this line after the advance of the army, from its vicinity to the Indian tribes of the Wabash and lake Michigan, induced me to direct' general Winchester to take with him three Kentucky regiments and the regular troops only. With these, amounting to about thirteen hundred men, he marched from his camp, five miles below the mouth of the Auglaise river, on the 31st ultimo. On the
evening before, he despatched an express, informing me of his intention to march the next morning. This express was sent through the woods to general Tupper's camp, fourteen miles advanced of Urbanna, upon Hull's road. A violent snow storm prevented it from reaching general Tupper until the 9th instant, and it was not until the 11th, that it came to me at Upper Sandusky. I immediately gave orders for several droves of hogs, which had been stopped on their route, to proceed towards the Rapids, and I directed the artillery to be prepared to progress as soon as the general's arrival at the Rapids should be announced, which I directed him to do by express, to be sent immediately to Upper Sandusky. Not hearing from the general for some days, I began to conclude that his progress had been stopped by a considerable thaw, which took place about the 1st of the month. On the evening of the 16th instant, I received a letter from general Perkins, enclosing one from general Winchester to him, of the 15th, informing of his arrival at the Rapids on the 10th ;-that it was his intention to advance against the enemy, and directing him (genera. Perkins) to send a reinforcement to the Rapids, of one battalion. Alarmed at this information, I despatched an express with the enclosed letter, by the direct route to the Rapids, and set out myself to Lower Sandusky, and reached it on the evening of the 17th. On the morning of the 18th, the battalion which general Winchester applied for, marched from Lower Sandusky. About 2 o'clock on the morning of the 19th, a letter from general Winchester was received, of which the enclosed is an extract. I gave immediate orders for the 2d regiment of Perkins's brigade (which consists of two regiments only) to march immediately for the Rapids, and proceeded thither myself. On my way, I received the general's letter of the 19th, informing me of the success of colonel Lewis, a copy of which I had the honour to enclose you from the Rapids. Upon my arrival at the latter place, on the morning of the 20th, I found that general Winchester had marched the preceding day, having left general Payne with about three hundred of the Kentucky troops. It was not until late on the 21st instant, that major Colgrove was enabled to extricate his baggage from the horrid swamp which separates the Miami and Sandusky rivers. He encamped that evening near the Miami bay, and by marching early on the following morning, he had arrived within fifteen miles of the river Raisin, when he was informed of the total defeat of our troops there.
The 2d regiment of Perkins's brigade arrived there on the 21st, and I immediately ordered the remaining part of the Kentucky troops under general Payne, to proceed with all possible expedítion to the river Raisin. I was still uneasy for the troops there, but supposing general Winchester had obtained the best information of the strength of the disposable force of the enemy, and as I sent him three hundred men more than he deemed sufficient for maintaining his ground, and as there were a thousand reasons
which made it necessary to maintain it if practicable; I did not think it proper to order him to retreat, although the advance in the first instance was contrary to my wishes, and opposed to a principle by which I have been ever governed in Indian warfare, i. e. never to make a detachment but under the most urgent circumstances. Amongst the many reasons why the post at the river Raisin should be maintained, the protection of the French inhabitants was not the last. The greater part of these people had received our troops with open arms. Many of them had sallied out of their houses upon the arrival of colonel Lewis, with their arms in their hands, and had even, in the opinion of some of our officers, won the palm of valour from our troops. They attacked and killed the straggling Indians wherever they met them; their houses were all open to our men, and they offered to give up the whole of the provisions which yet remained to them, upon condition that they should not again be abandoned to the fury of the savages, or subjected, for what they had done, to be immured in the prisons of Malden. I had also been informed that the supplies to be procured there were considerable (see Day's letter enclosed in No. 3), and the assistance to be derived from the caryalls of the inhabitants was an object of the greatest importance. The former of these motives had made so strong an impression upon the minds of the general and his troops, that I am persuaded that nothing but a reiterated order to retreat, would have produced obedience upon the part of the latter. These reasons, together with the respect which it was necessary to shew to the opinion of an officer of high rank and experience, whose opportunities of procuring the most correct information, was much better than mine, produced the determination to support, rather than with draw the detachment from the river Raisin. Indeed it appears that there was not time for either, after my arrival at the Rapids When I left Upper Sandusky, the artillery was ordered to be sent on immediately to the Rapids, escorted by three hundred men. Detachments were also ordered for the pack horses, wagons and sleds, which were constantly progressing thither. Another battalion could also have been drawn from Lower Sandusky, so that the troops at the Rapids would have been almost daily increased. On this day they would have amounted to twenty-five hundred, with two pieces of artillery; and in four or five days more, the Virginia brigade and Pennsylvania regiment would have increased them to thirty-eight hundred, with a further supply of artillery. By the 5th of February the whole force, four thousand five hundred, which I contemplated assembling at the Rapids, would have been there; and provisions and munitions of war in abundance.
I should have been enabled to advance to the Rapids again this day or to-morrow, but for a most unfortunate rain, which has broken up the roads so as to render them impassable for the artillery, although it is fixed on sleds. The whole train is stopped
twenty-five miles from this. I have reason to believe the Miami river has broken up.
I have the honour to enclose you a report made to me by major M'Clanehan, the senior of the two officers who escaped from the action at the river Raisin. It requires no comment from me. I have the honour to be yours, &c.
Honourable James Monroe,
WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON.
acting Secretary of War.
CAMP AT FRENCH TOWN,
January 20th, 1813, on the River Raisin.
In obedience to your order, I proceeded on the march with the detachment under my command to Presquile on the 17th instant, where the reinforcement under the command of lieutenant colonel Allen arrived at 7 o'clock P. M. On the 18th, as I informed you it was my determination, we set out for the camp of the enemy at this village. From an early start, together with the advantage of a passage on the ice of the lake, and the rapid march we made, we were enabled to meet them by 3 o'clock in the evening.
When we were within three miles of the enemy, correct information was obtained that they were prepared to receive us. Having arranged the troops in the following order-they were directed to prepare for action: the right wing composed of the companies commanded by captain McCracken, subalterns lieutenant Williamson and ensign M'Clary; captain Bledsoe, subalterns ensign Morrison (acting as lieutenant,) and ensign Chiner; captain Matson, subalterns ensign Nash (acting as lieutenant) and ensign Caldwell. The left wing composed of the companies commanded by captain Hamilton, subalterns lieutenant Moore and ensign Heron; captain, Williams, subalterns lieutenant Higgins and ensign Havraw; captain Kelly, subalterns lieutenant M.Guine and ensign Wash. The centre composed of the companies commanded by captain Hightowen (17th United States' regiment,) subalterns lieutenant Holden and ensign Butler; captain Collier, subalterns lieutenant Story and ensign Fleet; captain Sebree, subalterns lieutenant Rule and ensign Bowles. Lieutenant colonel Allen commanding the right wing, major Groves the left, and major Madison the centre. Captain Ballard (acting as major) was placed in the advance of the whole with two companies, one commanded by captain Hickman, subalterns lieutenant Chinn, the other by captain Claver, subalterns lieutenant Comstock, and also captain James with his spies. In this order we proceeded within