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NEW YORK, November 7th, 1813.
I have the honour to inform you of the re-capture of the American schooner Sparrow, of Baltimore, from New-Orleans bound to this port, laden with sugar and lead. On the 3d the enemy's ship Plantagenet, chased the said vessel on shore near Long Branch, six miles distant from where the flotilla is stationed, and took possession of her with about 100 men. A detachment from the flotilla marched against them, attacked them, drove them from on board the vessel, and took possession under the fire of the enemy's ship and barges. In the affair we lost one man; the enemy's loss must have been considerable, as many have been seen to fall. The whole cargo, together with sails, rigging, &c. have been saved, vessel bilged.
Secretary of the Navy.
I have honour to be, &c.
HEAD QUARTERS, FOUR CORNERS, November 8th 1813.
I had the honour to receive, at a late hour last evening, by colonel King, your communication of the 6th, and was deeply impressed with the sense of responsibility it imposed, of deciding upon the means of our co-operation. The idea suggested as the opinion of your officers, of effecting the junction at St. Regis, was most pleasing, as being the most immediate, until I came to the disclosure of the amount of your supplies of provision. Colonel Atkinson will explain the reasons that would have rendered it impossible for me to have brought more than each man could have carried on his back; and when I reflected that in throwing myself upon your scanty means, I should be weakening you in your most vulnerable point, I did not hesitate to adopt the opinion, after consulting the general and principal officers, that by throwing myself back on my main depot, when all the means of transportation had gone, and falling upon the enemy's flank, and straining every effort to open a communication from Plattsburg to Coghnawaga, or any point you may indicate on the St. Lawrence, I should more effectually contribute to your success, than by the junction at St. Regis. The way is in many places blockaded and abatted, and the road impracticable for wheel carriages during winter, but by the employment of pack horses, if I am not overpowered, I hope to be able to prevent your starving. I have ascertained and witnessed the plan of the enemy is to burn and consume every thing in our advance. My troops and other means will be described to you by colonel Atkinson. Besides the rawness and sickliness, they have endured fatigues equal to a winter campaign, in the late snows and bad weather, and are sadly dispirited and fallen off; but upon this subject, I must refer you to colonel Atkinson.
With these means, what can be accomplished by human exertion, I will attempt. With a mind devoted to the general objects of the campaign,
I have the honour to be, &c.
His excellency maj. gen. James Wilkinson.
HEAD QUARTERS, BURLINGTON HEIGHT,
Lieutenant Le Breton having delivered your letter of the Sd instant, I have directed captain Merritt, of the Provincial dragoons, to proceed with a flag to fort George, as the bearer of this acknowledgment of your obliging communication.
The account given of the British officers, whom the fortune of war has lately placed at the disposal of the United States, is such as cannot fail affording very consoling reflections to this army and their anxious friends.
Though you must be sensible there are several points in your letter, respecting which it is wholly beyond my power to afford you the satisfaction of an "explicit declaration," yet, be assured, sir, I shall never feel the smallest degree of hesitation in joining you in any pledge, that it will ever be my anxious wish and endeavour to alleviate as much as possible the fate of those who may fall into my power by the chances of war.
Believe me, sir, I deprecate as strongly as yourself, the perpetration of acts of cruelty committed under any pretext; and shall lament equally with yourself that any state of things should produce them. No efforts of mine will be ever wanting to diminish the evils of a state of warfare, as far as may be consistent with the duties which are due to my king and country.
The Indians, when acting in conjunction with the troops under my command, have been invariably exhorted to mercy, and have never been deaf to my anxious entreaties on this interesting subject.
I shall not fail to transmit the original of your letter to the Lower Province, for the consideration of his excellency the commander of the forces.
I feel particularly anxious to be made acquainted with your instructions relative to the disposal of the gallant and truly unfortunate captain Barclay, whose wounds, I lament to hear, are such as to preclude all hope of his being ever again able to resume the honourable duties of his station. Under these circumstances I am induced to rely on your liberality and generous interference to obtain a release or parole, that he may be allowed the indulgence of immediately proceeding to the Lower Province. I have the honour to be, &c.
His excellency maj. general Harrison
JOHN VINCENT, Major general, British army.
By his Excellency,
MARTIN CHITTENDEN, Esq.
Governor, captain general, and commander in chief in and over the state of Vermont.
Whereas it appears, that the third brigade of the 3d division of militia of this state, has been ordered from our frontiers to the defence of a neighbouring state; and whereas it further appears, to the extreme regret of the captain general, that a part of the militia of said brigade have been placed under the command, and at the disposal of, an officer of the United States, out of the jurisdiction or controul of the executive of this state, and have been actually marched to the defence of a sister state, fully competent to all the purposes of self-defence, whereby an extensive section of our own frontier is left, in a measure, unprotected, and the peaceable, good citizens thereof are put in great jeopardy, and exposed to the retaliatory incursions and ravages of an exasperated enemy; and whereas disturbances of a very serious nature are believed to exist, in consequence of a portion of the militia having been thus ordered out of the state :
Therefore to the end that these great evils may be provided against, and as far as may be, prevented for the future:
Be it known, that such portion of the militia of said 3d division as may be now doing duty in the state of New York, or elsewhere, beyond the limits of this state, both officers and men, are hereby ordered and directed, by the captain general and commander in chief of the militia of the state of Vermont, forthwith to return to the respective places of their usual residence, within the territorial limits of said brigade, and there to hold themselves in constant readiness to act in obedience to the orders of brigadier general Jacob Davis, who is appointed, by the legislature of this state, to the command of said brigade.
And the said brigadier general Jacob Davis is hereby ordered and directed, forthwith, to see that the militia of his said brigade be completely armed and equipped, as the law directs, and held in constant readiness to march on the shortest notice, to the defence of the frontiers: and, in case of actual invasion, without further orders, to march with his said brigade, to act, either in co-operation with the troops of the United States, or separately, as circumstances may require, in repelling the enemy from our territory, and in protecting the good citizens of this state fron: the ravages of hostile incursions.
And in case of an event, so seriously to be deprecated, it is hoped and expected that every citizen, without distinction of party, will fly at once to the nearest post of danger, and that the only rallying word be-" our country."
Feeling, as the captain general does, the weight of responsibility which rests upon him, with regard to the constitutional duties of the militia, and the sacred rights of our citizens to protection from this great class of the community, so essentially necessary in all free countries: at a moment too, when they are so eminently exposed to the dangers of hostile incursions and domestic difficulties, he cannot conscientiously discharge the trust reposed in him by the voice of his fellow citizens, and by the constitutions of this state and the United States, without an unequivocal declaration, that, in his opinion, the military strength and resources of this state must be reserved for its own defence and protection, exclusively; excepting in cases provided for by the constitution of the United States; and then, under orders derived only from the commander in chief.
Given under my hand at Montpelier, this 10th day of November, in the year of our Lord 1815, and of the independence of the United States, the 38th.
By his excellency's command,
SAMUEL SWIFT, Secretary.
To Governor Chittenden's Proclamation.
To his Excellency
MARTIN CHITTENDEN, Esq.
Governor, Captain General, and commander in chief in and over the State of Vermont.
SIR, A most novel and extraordinary proclamation from your excellency, "ordering and directing such portion of the militia of the third brigade in the third division of the militia of Vermont, now doing duty in the state of New York, both officers and men, forthwith to return to the respective places of their usual residence," has just been communicated to the undersigned officers of said brigade. A measure so unexampled, requires that we should state to your excellency, the reasons which induce us absolutely and positively to refuse obedience to the order contained in your excellency's proclamation With due deference to your excellency's opinion, we humbly conceive, that when we are ordered into the service of the United States, it becomes our duty, when required, to march to the defence of any section of the union. We are not of that class who believe that our duties, as citizens or soldiers, are circumscribed within the narrow limits of the town or state in which we reside; but that we are under a para
mount obligation to our common country, to the great confederacy of the states. We further conceive, that while we are in actual service, your excellency's power over us, as governor of the state of Vermont, is suspended.
If it is true, as your excellency states, that "we are out of the jurisdiction or controul of the executive of Vermont," we would ask from whence your excellency derives the right, or presumes to exercise the power of ordering us to return from the service in which we are now engaged? If we were legally ordered into the service of the United States, your excellency must be sensible that you have no authority to order us out of that service. If we were illegally ordered into service, our continuance in it is. either voluntary or compulsory. If voluntary, it gives no one a right to remonstrate or complain; if compulsory, we can appeal to the laws of our country for redress against those who illegally restrain us of our liberty. In either case, we cannot perceive the right your excellency has to interfere in the business. Viewing the subject in this light, we conceive it our duty to declare unequivocally to your excellency, that we shall not obey your. excellency's order for returning; but shall continue in the service of our country, until we are legally and honourably discharged. An invitation or order to desert the standard of our country, will never be obeyed by us, although it proceeds from the governor and captain general of Vermont.
Perhaps it is proper, that we should content ourselves with merely giving your excellency the reasons which prevail upon us to disregard your proclamation; but we are impressed with the belief, that our duty to ourselves, to the soldiers under our command, and to the public, requires that we should expose to the world, the motives which produced, and the objects which were intended to be accomplished by such an extraordinary proclamation. We shall take the liberty to state to your excellency plainly, our sentiments on this subject. We consider your proclamation as a gross insult to the officers and soldiers in service, inasmuch as it implies that they are so ignorant of their rights, as to believe you have authority to command them in their present situation, or so abandoned as to follow your insidious advice. We cannot regard your proclamation in any other light, than as an unwarrantable stretch of executive authority, issued from the worst of motives, to effect the basest purposes. It is, in our opinion, a renewed instance of that spirit of disorganization and anarchy which is carried on by a faction, to overwhelm our country with ruin and disgrace. We cannot perceive what other object your excellency could have in view, than to embarrass the operations of the army, to excite mutiny and sedition among the soldiers, and to induce them to desert, that they might forfeit the wages to which they are entitled for their patriotic services.
We have, however, the satisfaction to inform your excellency, that although your proclamations have been distributed among the