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but four killed and four wounded. This great disparity in the loss on each side, is to be attributed to the very judicious position occupied by captain Holmes, who compelled the enemy to attack him at great disadvantage; this, even more than his gallantry, merits
Captain Holmes has just returned, and will furnish a detailed account of the expedition, which shall immediately be transmitted to you. I have the honour to be, &c.
Major general Harrison.
Lieutenant colonel commanding at Detroit.
Enemy's forces as stated by the prisoners:
Royal Scots, 101: 89th Regiment, 45; Militia, 50; Indians, 40 to 60-total, 236.
P.S. We took 100 head of cattle also from the enemy, intended for Long Point or Burlington.
FORT COVINGTON, March 10th, 1814.
I have the honour to submit in writing, that the expedition sent under my command against the enemy's posts, by your special orders of the 21st ultimo, had the good fortune, on the 4th instant, to meet and subdue a force, double its own, fresh from the barracks, and led by a distinguished officer.
I had been compelled to leave the artillery by the invincible difficulties of the route from Point au Plait to the Round O. No wheel carriage of any kind had ever attempted it before, and none will ever pass it until the brush and fallen timber are cut away, and the swamp cause-wayed or drained. After joining captain Gill, I began the march for Fort Talbot, but was soon convinced of its being impossible to reach the post, in time to secure any force which might be there or adjacent. This conviction, united with the information, that the enemy had a force at Delaware, upon the Thames, that I should be expected at Fort Talbot, and consequently, that a previous descent upon Delaware might deceive the foe, and lead him to expose me some point, in defending others he might think menaced, and coupled with the possibility that hearing of captain Gill's march to the Round O, by M'Gregor's militia, whom he had pursued, a detachment had descended the Thames to intercept him, determined to exercise the discretion allowed by the order, and to strike at once upon the river.
On the 3d instant, when only fifteen miles from Delaware, we received information that the enemy had left Delaware with the intention of descending the river, and that we should probably
meet him in one hour; that his force consisted of a light company from the Royal Scots, mustering for duty 120 men; a light company of the 89th regiment of foot (efficiency not known,) Caldwell's Indians and M'Gregor's militia, amounting in all to about 300 men. My command originally had not exceeded 180 rank and file. Hunger, cold and fatigue, had brought on disease, and though none died, all were exceedingly depressed, and sixteen had been ordered home, as unable to continue the march. I resolved therefore to avoid the conflict on equal grounds, and immediately retreated five miles, for the sake of a good position on the western bank of the Twenty Mile Creek, leaving captain Gill with twenty rangers to cover the rear, and to watch the enemy's motions. We had encamped but a few minutes, when captain Gill joined, after exchanging shots with the enemy's advance, in vainly attempting to reconnoitre his force. The Twenty Mile Creek runs from north to south, through a deep and wide ravine, and of course is flanked east and west by lofty heights. My camp was formed upon the western heights. The enemy's on the opposite. During the night of the 3d all was quiet. At sun-rise on the 4th, the enemy appeared thinly upon the opposite heights, fired upon us without effect, and vanished. After waiting sometime for their re-appearance, lieutenant Knox of the rangers was sent to reconnoitre. On his return he reported that the enemy had retreated with the utmost precipitation, leaving his baggage scattered upon the road, and that his trail and fires made him out not more than seventy men. Mortified at the supposition of having retrograded from this diminutive force, I instantly commenced the pursuit, with the design of attacking Delaware before the opening of another day. We had not, however, proceeded beyond five miles, when captain Lee, commanding the advance, discovered the enemy in considerable force, arranging himself for battle. The symptoms of fear and flight were now easily traced to the purpose of seducing me from the heights, and so far the plan succeeded. But the enemy failed to improve the advantage. If he had thrown his chief force across the ravine above the road, and occupied our camp when relinquished, thus obstructing my communication to the rear, I should have been driven upon Delaware against a superior force, since found to be stationed there, or forced to take the wilderness for Fort Talbot, without forage or provisions. Heaven averted this calamity. We soon regained the position at Twenty Mile Creek, and though the rangers were greatly disheartened by the retreat, and to a man insisted upon not fighting the enemy, we decided to exhibit on that spot, the scene of death or victory. I was induced to adopt the order of the hollow square to prevent the necessity of evolution, which I knew all the troops are incompetent to perform in action. The detachments of the 24th and 28th infantry occupied the brow of the heights. The detachment from the garrison of Detroit, formed the north front of the square, the rangers the west, and the militia
the south. Our horses and baggage stood in the centre; the enemy threw his militia and Indians across the ravine above the road, and commenced the action with savage yells, and bugles sounding from the north, west and south. His regulars at the same time charged down the road from the opposite heights, crossed the bridge and charged up the heights we occupied, within twenty steps of the American line, and against the most destructive fire. But his front section was soon shot to pieces. Those who followed were much thined and wounded. His officers were soon cut down, and his antagonists continued to evince a degree of animation, that bespoke at once their boldness and security. He therefore abandoned the charge, and took cover in the woods at diffused order, between fifteen, twenty, and thirty paces of our line, and placed all hopes upon his ammunition.
Our regulars being uncovered, were ordered to kneel, that the brow of the heights might partly screen them from the enemy's view. The firing increased on both sides with great vivacity; but the crisis was over. I knew the enemy dare not uncover, and of course that no second charge would be attempted. On the north, west and south front, the firing had been sustained with much coolness, and with considerable loss to the foe. Our troops on those fronts being protected by logs hastily thrown together, and the enemy not charging, both the rifle and the musket were aimed at leisure, perhaps always told. The enemy at last became persuaded, that providence had sealed the fortune of the day. His cover on the east front was insufficient; for as he had charged in column of sections, and therefore, when dispersing on either side of the road, was unable to extend his flanks, and as our regulars presented an extended front from the beginning, it is evident that a common sized tree could not protect even one man, much less the squads that often stood and breathed their last together; and yet upon his regulars the enemy relied for victory, In concert, therefore, and favoured by the shades of twilight, he commenced a general retreat, after one hour's close and gallant conflict.
I did not pursue for the following reasons. First, we had triumphed against numbers and discipline, and were therefore under no obligation of honour to incur additional hazard. Second, in these requisites (numbers and discipline) the enemy were still superior, and the night would have ensured success to an ambuscade. Third, the enemy's bugle sounded the close upon the opposite heights. If then we had pursued, we must have passed over to him, as he did to us, because the creek could be passed on horseback at no other point, and the troops being fatigued and frost-bitten, and their shoes cut to pieces by the frozen ground, it was not possible to pursue on foot. It follows that the attempt to pursue would have given the enemy the same advantage that produced the defeat.
Our loss in killed and wounded, amounted to a non-commissioned officer and six privates, but the blood of between 80 and 90 brave Englishmen, and among them four officers, avenged their fall. The commander, captain Barden of the 89th, is supposed to have been killed at an early stage of the contest. The whole American force in action, consisted of 150 rank and file, of whom 70 were militia, including rangers. The enemy's regulars alone, were from 150 to 180 strong, and his militia and Indians fought upon three fronts of our square.
I am much indebted to all my regular officers, and trust their names will be mentioned to the army and to the War Department. Without intending a discrimination, it must be acknowledged, that the exertions of lieutenants Kouns and Henry of the 28th, and Jackson and Potter of the 24th, were most conspicuous, because fortune had opposed them to the main strength of the foe. Captain Lee of the Michigan dragoons, was of great assistance before the action, at the head of the advance and spies, and my warmest thanks are due to acting sailing master Darling, of the United States' schooner Somers, who had volunteered to command the artillery. Ensign Heard of the 28th, acting as volunteer adjutant, merits my acknowledgments, and especially for his zeal in defending my opinion against a final retreat, when others permitted their hopes to sink beneath the pressure of the moment.
The enemy's wounded and prisoners were treated with the utmost humanity. Though some of our men were marching in thin stocking feet, they were not permitted to take a shoe even from the dead.
I have the honour to be, &c.
A. H. HOLMES, Capt. 24th Inft.
Lieutenant colonel Butler.
UNITED STATES' SIIP UNITED STATES, NEW LONDON,
I have the honour to forward to you enclosed, a despatch received by me from captain Capel, the commanding officer of the British squadron before this port, written in reply to an application of mine, for the release of an American seaman, detained against his will on board the frigate Statira.
Hiram Thayer, born in the town of Greenwich, in the county of Hampshire, and commonwealth of Massachusetts, was impressed into the naval service of Great Britain, in the month of August, 1803, and detained ever since. About six years ago, when the Statira was put in commission, he was transferred to her, and has been constantly on board her to this day. I am informed, and in fact it was stated by captain Stackpole to lieutenant Hamilton, who was charged with the flag, that the late general Lyman, our
consul at London, made application to the Lords Commissioners for the discharge of Thayer, but they were not satisfied with the evidence of his nativity.
John Thayer, the father of Hiram, assures me, that the certificate of the select-men, the town clerk, and the minister of Greenwich, were forwarded some time ago to Mr. Mitchel, the resident agent for American prisoners of war at Halifax, but does not know the reason why he was not released then. The son has written to his father, and informed him that on his representing to captain Stackpole, that he was an American citizen, and would not fight against his country, that captain Stackpole told him “ if they fell in with an American man of war, and he did not do his duty, he should be tied to the mast and shot like a dog."
On Monday the 14th instant, John Thayer requested me to allow him a flag to go off to the enemy and ask for the release of This I granted at once, and addressed a note to captain Capel, stating that I felt pursuaded that the application of the father, furnished as he was with conclusive evidence of the nativity and the identity of his son, would induce an immediate order for his discharge. The reply is enclosed. The son descried his father at a distance in the boat, and told the first lieutenant of the Statira that it was his father, and I understand that the feelings manifested by the old man on receiving the hand of his son, proved, beyond all other evidence, the property he had in him. There was no doubt left on the mind of a single British officer of Hiram Thayer's being an American citizen; and yet he is detained, not as a prisoner of war, but compelled, under the most cruel threats, to serve the enemies of his country.
Thayer has so recommended himself by his sobriety, industry and seamanship, as to be appointed a boatswain's mate, and is now serving in that capacity in the Statira: and he says there is due to him from the British government about two hundred and fifty pounds sterling. He has also assured his father, that he has always refused to receive any bounty or advance, lest it might afford some pretext for denying him his discharge whenever a proper application should be made for it.
I have the honour to be, &c.
Honourable W. Jones, Secretary of the Navy.
SIXTH AND SEVENTH DISTRICTS, FORT HAWKINS,
I have the honour of enclosing to your excellency the official account of a decisive victory over the hostile Creek Indians, achieved by the military talents and enterprize of general Jackson, supported by the distinguished valor and good conduct of