« PreviousContinue »
my, with the assistance of the artillery, to prevent his front lin at least from interrupting the progress of our right. Should the enemy's militia be defeated, the brigade of ours in advance will immediately wheel upon the flank of the British regulars, and general M'Arthur will advance to attack them in front. In the mean tiine, his excellency governor Shelby can use the brigade in reserve of the second line to prolong the flank line from its front or left, or to reinforce any weak part of the line. In all cases where troops in advance are obliged to retire through those who are advancing to support them, it will be done by companies in files, which will retire through the intervals of the advancing line, and will immediately form in rear. The light troops will be particularly governed by this direction.
The disposition of the troops on the right flank is such as the commanding general thinks best calculated to resist an attack from Indians, which is only to be expected from that quarter. His excellency governor Shelby will, however, use his discretion in making any alteration which his experience and judgment may dictate. Lieutenant colonel Ball, lieutenant colonel Simral, and the general officers commanding on the flank line, are to send out small detachments in advance of the two former corps, and to the flank of the latter. Should they discover the enemy in force, immediately notice will be sent to the lines. The general commanding on the spot will immediately order the signals for forming in order of battle, which will be the beat "to arms."
All signals will be immediately repeated by all the drums of the line the signal for the whole to halt, is the retreat. Drums will be distributed along the heads of companies, and the taps occasionally given to regulate their march.
Lieutenant colonels Ball and Simral are to keep the general constantly advised of the discoveries made by the advanced parties. Where it shall become necessary for the corps of Ball and Simral to retire, they will form on the flank or in the rear of generals M'Arthur's and Calmes's brigades, and receive the orders of the brigadiers respectively.
Brigadier general Cass will designate such officers as he may deem proper, to assist captain Elliott, of the navy, in the arrangement of the troops. The general will be the signal for the whole to move. By command,
EDMUND P. GAINES, Col. Adj. Gen.
ROBERT BUTTLER, A. Adj. Gen.
NIAGARA, September 27th, 1813, 6 o'clock. A. M.
I received, at eight o'clock last evening, your interesting letter of the 22d, and shall employ its authorizations to the best pos sible effect.
Fifteen hundred men were embarked with orders to sail the day before yesterday, but a strong easterly wind has made it impossible to move.
The whole force, say three thousand combatants, after deductting the garrisons of Fort George and Niagara, were ready for embarkation yesterday, and as the weather is serene at this moment, I hope the whole may be able to move at dusk this day: I say at dusk because I am desirous to keep my neighbours under a delusion as long as possible; they are perplexed as to my intentions, and will not be able to penetrate them before they have discovered the course of my flotilla.
I have authentic information from York the evening of the 24th ins. nt. The brigade of the militia in the vicinity were required to semble the 25th, and six hundred men of the 41st and 49th reguments, second battalion, were daily expected there on their route to this neighborhood: this is good; and still better, three spacious block houses are ordered by sir George to be erected at York.
But, sir, here is one drawback; the tantalizing sir James Yeo was in shore with his fleet on the evening of the 24th, (Friday) about twenty-eight miles east of York. Where he is now, we know not, for he has not since been heard of, and Chauncey is just sending out the Lady of the Lake and the Neptune to reconnoitre York and the coast in that quarter. What may be the views of the knight? to gasconade, to retard my movement, or to enable De Rottenberg to follow me? I am unable to divine; but will not be longer delayed, and, therefore, shall be twenty miles to the eastward before to-morrow morning, should the weather permit. If sir James can be discovered, Chauncey will seek him, otherwise he will sail with me to cover my left flank.
As we have not a moment to lose, I shall proceed directly to Grenadier Island, writing you and sending orders to the commanding officer by a despatch boat, en passant.
After all, we are so straitened for transport that we shall not find room for more than fifteen day's provisions; indeed, we have little more to spare from this position, and therefore, our sole dependence must be on the magazines at Sackett's Harbor, of which the contractor should be personally advised. Heaven protect you. Truly yours,
Honourable John Armstrong,
U. S. SCHOONER ARIEL, MALDEN HARBOR,
I have the honour to acquaint you, that the army under major general Harrison, have this moment marched into Malden,
without opposition, and that the squadron are now at anchor off the town.
I have the honour to be, &c.
The Secretary of the Navy,
U. S. FRIGATE PRESIDENT,
Your having been informed of my leaving Boston on the 23d of April last, and of my departure from President Roads in company with the Congress, on the 30th of the same month; it w only remains for me to make you acquainted with my proceed s since the latter date.
In a few hours after getting to sea, the wind, which had been light from the westward, shifted to the south-east and obliged me to beat, consequently prevented our getting clear of the bay until the 3d of May, when, in the afternoon, while in chase of a British brig of war, near the shoal of George's Bank, we passed to windward of three sail, two of which, from their appearance and the information previously received, I judged to be the La Hogue 74, and Nymphe frigate, and the third a merchant brig. After getting clear of George's Bank the wind veered to the north-eastward, and we continued along east-southerly, in the direction of the southern edge of the gulf stream until the 8th of May, in longitude 60 west, latitude 39 30 north, when I parted company with the Congress. After parting company I shaped a course as near as the wind would permit, to intercept the enemy's West India commerce passing to the southward of the Grand Bank. Not meeting with any thing in this direction except American vessels from Lisbon and Cadiz, I next pursued a route to the northward on a parallel with the eastern edge of the Grand Bank, so as to cross the tracks of his West India, Halifax, Quebec, and St. John's trade. In this route, experiencing constant thick fogs for a number of days, and not meeting any thing, after reaching the latitude of 48 north, I steered to the south-east towards the Azores, off which, in different directions, I continued until the 6th of June, without meeting a single enemy's vessel, or any others, except two Americans. At this time falling in with an American ship bound to Cadiz, and receiving information that she had, four days before, passed an enemy's convoy from the West Indies bound to England, I crowded sail to the north-east, and, although disappointed in falling in with the convoy, I nevertheless made four captures, between the 9th and 13th of June.
Being now in the latitude of 46 north, and longitude 28 west, I determined on going into the North Sea, and accordingly shaped a course that afforded a prospect of falling in with vessels bound to Newfoundland from St. George's channel, by the way of Cape
Clear, as well as others that might pass north about to the northward of Ireland. To my astonishment, however, in all this route I did not meet with a single vessel, until I made the Shetland Islands, and even off there, nothing but Danish vessels trading to England under British licenses. At the time I reached the Shetland Islands, a considerable portion of my provisions and water being expended, it became necessary to replenish these, previous to determining what course to pursue next; and I accordingly, for this purpose, put into North Bergen on the 27th of June; but, much to my surprise and disappointment, was not able to obtain any thing but water, there being an unusual scarcity of bread in every part of Norway, and, at the time, not more in Bergen than a bare sufficiency for its inhabitants for four or five weeks. This being the case, after replenishing my water, I departed on the 2d of July and stretched over towards the Orkney Islands, and from thence towards North Cape, for the purpose of intercepting a convoy of 25 or 30 sail, which it was said would leave Archangel about the middle of July, under the protection of two brigs or two sloops of war; and which was further confirmed by two vessels I captured on the 13th and 18th of the same month. In this object, however, the enemy had the good fortune to disappoint me, by a line of battle ship and a frigate making their appearance off the North Cape on the 19th of July, just as I was in momentary expectation of meeting the convoy. On first discovering the enemy's two ships of war, not being able, owing to the haziness of the weather, to ascertain their character with precision, I stood toward them, until making out what they were, I hauled by the wind on the opposite tack to avoid them; but owing to faint, variable winds, calms, and entire day-light, (the sun in that lati tude, at that season, appearing at midnight several degrees above the horizon) they were enabled to continue the chase upwards of 80 hours; during which time, owing to different changes of the wind in their favour, they were brought quite as near to us as was desirable. At the time of meeting with the enemy's two ships, the privateer schooner Scourge, of New York, which I had fallen in with the day before, was in company; but their attention was so much engrossed by the President that they permitted the Scourge to escape without appearing to take any notice of her.
Being thus disappointed in meeting the convoy, and a still further portion of my provisions being expended, I determined to proceed to a more westerly station, and accordingly steered to gain the direction of the trade passing out of, and into, the Irish channel. In this position, between the 25th of July and the 2d of August, I made three captures, when, finding that the enemy had a superior force in that vicinity, I found it expedient to change my ground; and after taking a circuit round Ireland, and getting into the latitude of Cape Clear, steered for the banks of Newfoundland, near to which I made two more captures, and by the latter one found that the Bellerophon 74, and Hyperion frigate
were on the eastern part of the bank, and only a few miles to the westward of me; I however did not fall in with them. From the eastern edge of the Grand Bank, to which I had beat all the way from the north-west coast of Ireland, (the wind having prevailed, without intermission, from the 1st of August to the middle of September from west to southwest) I steered for the United States, without seeing a single vessel of any kind until the 22d of the present month, being near the south shoal of Nantucket, I met with a Swedish brig and an American cartel (the Russian ship Hoffnung) from London, bound to New-Medford.
By this time my provisions, and particularly bread, was so nearly consumed as to make it indispensibly necessary that I should put into the first convenient port after gaining the requisite information of the disposition of the enemy's cruizers, as could enable me to steer clear of a superior force; and this I was enabled to do in a manner which I shall communicate in another letter. On the 23d instant I captured his Britannic majesty's schooner High Flyer, (a tender to admiral Warren) with which vessel I now have to inform you of my arrival at this port.
Annexed is a list of vessels captured and destroyed, in which were made 271 prisoners. I have now, however, only 55 prisoners on board, having sent to England, on parole, 78 in the Duke of Montrose; 76 in the Greenland ship, Eliza Swan, and 60 in the barque Lion, of Liverpool.
During my cruize, although I have not had it in my power to add any additional lustre to the character of our little navy, I have, nevertheless, rendered essential service to my country, I hope, by harrassing the enemy's commerce, and employing to his disadvantage, more than a dozen times, the force of a single frigate.
My officers and crew have experienced great privations since! left the United States, from being nearly 5 months at sea, and living the last three months of that time upon a scanty allowance of the roughest fare; and it is with peculiar pleasure I acquaint you that they are all in better health than might be expected, although you may well suppose that their scanty allowance hasnot been of any advantage to their strength or appearance.
The High Flyer was commanded by lieutenant Hutchinson, second of the St. Domingo. She is a remarkable fine vessel of her class, sails very fast, and would make an excellent light cruizer, provided the government have occasion for a vessel of her description.
Just at the moment of closing my letter, a newspaper has been handed me containing captain Broke's challenge to my late galiant friend captain Lawrence, in which he mentions, with considerable emphasis, the pains he had taken to meet the President and Con gress with the Shannon and Tenedos.
It is unnecessary at present to take further notice of captain Broke's observations than to say, if that was his disposition, his