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thought proper to retreat down the river, and commodore Barney has taken advantage of his absence to pass his flotilla up the Patuxent. I was constrained to precipitate the attack before I was fully prepared, from the circumstance of all the enemy's small vessels having left the river. The ground I was obliged to occupy for a battery, consisted of a high bluff point, having the Patuxent on the right, and St. Leonard's Creek on the left, with which the communication was over a flat piece of ground, subject to be enfiladed from the Patuxent, and the hill on which the guns were to be placed, liable to a severe fire from the same quarter; therefore, in case of an attack, the enemy might have rendered our situation very uncomfortable, by stationing a small vessel so as to command the low ground I speak of.
We committed a great many blunders during the action, or our success would probably have been more complete. I forbear to enter into minute particulars, lest I should cast an indirect censure on some officers, perhaps undeserved, for I must acknowledge, I was so much engaged at the battery, as to have but an indistinct knowledge of what passed elsewhere. But the fact is, the infantry and light artillery decided upon retreating without my orders, before they had lost a single man killed or wounded; and at the time too, when the enemy were manouvring to the rear of our position with their barges. The consequence of this moving was very disadvantageous; the men at the guns perceiving the infantry retreating, and the enemy getting into the rear, their numbers began sensibly to diminish, and I was pretty soon left with only men enough to work one gun, which I was necessitated to turn to the rear for the sake of keeping the barges in check. Finally, the few men that remained were so exhausted with fatigue, we found it impracticable to fire any more, and the limbers and horses which had been ordered down the hill, having disappeared and gone, I know not where, I found myself under the painful necessity of spiking the guns, to prevent their being used by the enemy, should he get possession of them.
I might, in justice to the infantry, acknowledge they did not take to flight, but quitted the ground in perfect order; after a while I was able to halt them, and bring them back. In the mean time the enemy were getting under way, and retiring down the river: from the precipitancy of his retreat, I infer he must have suffered considerably. From some untoward circumstances, I had it not in my power to observe the effect of each shot we fired, otherwise I think its destruction would be complete.
Commodore Barney furnished me with twenty excellent men from his flotilla to work the guns. By some mismanagement in loading with the hot shot, one poor fellow had his arm blown off, which is the only material accident we sustained. One of the enemy's rockets passed through an ammunition box, which had been injudiciously placed, and exploded it, which did some dam
age. An ammunition cart near it was covered with the fire, but fortunately did not explode. Some other trifling accidents were sustained.
We commenced in the night an epaulment to cover our guns; but the work progressed so little, from the shortness of time, I did not think it best to occupy it. We retreated our guns so as barely to allow the muzzles to peep over the hill. This brought us on descending ground, in a ploughed cornfield. The recoil of the gun downwards, every time it was fired, gave us excessive labour to bring it up to its position. In other respects it answered admirably. The enemy found it impossible to hit either the guns or the men. Every shot aimed by them, either fell short and struck the bank, or flew clear over. Towards the close of the firing, they adopted the method of using small charges of powder, which just threw his shot over the hill, probably firing from his carronades; but the effect was not more decisive.
To prevent the enemy taking alarm in the night, from our movements, we were necessitated to halt our ammunition wagons and carts above a quarter of a mile from the battery, and pass all our stores; even the bricks of which our furnace was constructed, were brought that distance by hand. This fatigued the men excessively. I felt certain, if the enemy should open upon us, even at a random fire, it would be impossible to get any thing done for the confusion it would create.
I ought to mention, that the situation in which the infantry and light artillery were placed, was a trying one for new raised troops. Most of the shot which missed the battery, fell among them. I had anticipated that disadvantage, but it was unavoidable. It was indispensable to have them covered by some rising ground from the waters of the Patuxent, and the position chosen, was the only one compatible with that view, and the design I had in posting them, to protect the rear of our battery.
The battalion of the 38th regiment, joined us but last evening, after a hard day's march, and were immediately marched to the ground. Some of their men were completely exhausted, and the whole excessively fatigued and half famished.
Commodore Barney's flotilla was at hand, ready to open upon the enemy, the moment a favourable opportunity should offer. He commenced firing soon after us, and drew off that of the enemy for a while. I have not seen him since the action, but understand he lost several men, killed and wounded.
I hope, on the whole, taking into consideration our not being fully prepared, the excessive fatigue the men had undergone, and that we have attained the object in view, which was the release of commodore Barney's flotilla, the affair will not reflect dishonour on our troops.
I have the honour to be, &c.
General John Armstrong, Secretary of War.
GENERAL BROWN'S GENERAL ORDERS.
ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE, LEFT DIVISION,
July 2d, 1814. Major general Brown has the satisfaction to announce to the troops of his division, on this frontier, that he is authorized by the orders of his government, to put them in motion against the enemy. The first and second brigades, with the corps of artillery, will cross the straights before them this night, or as early tomorrow as possible. The necessary instructions have been given to the brigadiers, and by them to the commanding officers of regiments and corps.
Upon entering Canada, the laws of war will govern-men ound in arms, or otherwise engaged in the service of the enemy, will be treated as enemies; those behaving peaceably, and following their private occupations, will be treated as friends. Private property in all cases will be held sacred; public property, wherever found, will be seized and disposed of by the commanding general. Our utmost protection will be given to all who actually join, or who evince a desire to join us.
Plundering is prohibited. The major general does not apprehend any difficulty on this account, with the regular army, or with honourable volunteers, who press too the standard of their country to avenge her wrongs, and to gain a name in arms. Profligate men who follow the army for plunder, must not expect that they will escape the vengeance of the gallant spirits, who are struggling to exalt the national character. Any plunderer shall be punished with death, who may be found violating this order. By order of the major general.
Č. K. GARDNER, Adjt. Gen.
In pursuance of the above orders, the army passed the Niagara river on Sunday morning, 3d instant. The brigade of general Scott, and the artillery corps of major Hindman, landed nearly a mile below Fort Erie, between two and three o'clock, while general Ripley, with his brigade, made the shore about the same distance above. The enemy was perfectly unapprised of these movements. General Scott led the van, and was on shore before the enemy's picket, which was stationed at this point, fired a gun; the guard discharged their guns and retreated.
In the morning, a small Indian corps was crossed over. fort was approached on the right and left, and the Indians skirted the woods in the rear. General Brown now demanded a surrender of the garrison, and gave the commander two hours for consideration. In the mean time, a battery of long 18's was planted in a position which commanded the fort. The enemy surrendered prisoners of war-marched out of the fort at six, stacked their arms, and were immediately sent across the river to the American shore; there were upwards of 170 prisoners, of the 8th and 100th
regiments, among which were seven officers. Major Burke commanded the fort.
The schooners Tigress and Porcupine assisted in crossing the troops, and lay during the day within cannon-shot of the fort.
Captain Camp, of the quarter master general's department volunteered in the expedition, and crossed in the boat with general Scott.
During the mo n'ng, the enemy fired two or three cannon from the fort, which killed one man, and wounded two or three others. We learn the enemy had one killed.
There are several pieces of ordnance in the garrison, and some military stores.
Thus has the Niagara been crossed, and a fort captured, without scarcely the loss of a man.
CRUIZE OF THE ESSEX.
ESSEX JUNIOR, July 3d, 1814-at sea.
I have done myself the honour to address you repeatedly, since I left the Delaware; but have scarcely a hope that one of my letters has reached you; therefore consider it necessary to give you a brief history of my proceedings since that period.
1 sailed from the Delaware on the 27th of October, 1812, and repaired with all diligence (agreeably to the instructions of commodore Bainbridge) to Port Praya, Fernando de Noronho, and Cape Frio, and arrived at each place on the day appointed to meet him. On my passage from Port Praya to Fernando de Noronho, I captured his Britannic majesty's packet Nocton; and after taking out about £11,000 sterling in specie, sent her under command of lieutenant Finch, for America. I cruized off Rio de Janeiro, and about Cape Frio, until the 12th January, 1813, hearing frequently of the commodore, by vessels from Bahia. I here captured one schooner, with hides and tallow. I sent her into Rio. The Montague, the admiral's ship, being in pursuit of me, my provisions getting short, and finding it necessary to look out for a supply, to enable me to meet the commodore by the 1st April, off St Helena, I proceeded to the island of St. Catharine's (the last place of rendezvous on the coast of Brazil,) as the most likely to supply my wants, and, at the same time, afford me that intelligence necessary to enable me to elude the British ships of war on the coast, and expected there. I here procured only wood, water, and rum, and a few bags of flour; and hearing of the commodore's action with the Java, the capture of the Hornet by the Montague, and of a considerable augmentation of the British force on the coast, several being in pursuit of me, I found it necessary to get to sea as soon as possible. I now, agreeably to the commodore's plan, stretched to the southward, scouring the coast
as far as Rio de la Plata. I heard that Buenos Ayres was in a state of starvation, and could not supply our wants, and that the government of Monteviedo was inimical to us. The commodore's instructions now left it com pletely discretionary with me what course to pursue, and I determined on following that which had not only met his approbation, but the approbation of the then Secretary of the Navy.
I accordingly shaped my course for the Pacific; and after suffering greatly from short allowance of provisions, and heavy gales off Cape Horn, (for which my ship and men were ill provided,) I arrived at Valparaiso on the 14th March, 1813. I here took in 'as much jerked beef, and other provisions, as my ship would conveniently stow, and ran down the coast of Chili and Peru. In this track I fell in with a Peruvian corsair, which had on board 24 Americans, as prisoners, the crews of two whale ships, which she had taken on the coast of Chili. The captain informed me that, as allies of Great Britain, they would capture all they should meet with, in expectation of a war between Spain and the United States. I consequently threw all his guns and ammunition into the sea, liberated the Americans, wrote a respectful letter to the viceroy, explaining the cause of my proceedings, which I delivered to her captain. I then proceeded for Lima, and re-captured one of the vessels as she was entering the port. From thence I shaped my course for the Gallapagos islands, where I cruized from the 17th April until the Sd October, 1813; during this time I touched only once on the coast of America, which was for the purpose of procuring a supply of fresh water, as none is to be found among these islands, which are, perhaps, the most barren and desolate of any known. While among this group, I captured the following British ships, employed chiefly in the spermaceti whale fishery, viz.