« PreviousContinue »
The number of Indians, in the first engagement, from every circumstance that appeared, must have been from 75 to 100. In the second engagement, their number, including negroes (who are their best soldiers) was double our's; and, in the third engagement, there appeared to be 50, which was nearly equal to our force, after deducting the sick and wounded. From every circumstance I am induced to believe that the number of killed and wounded among the Indians, must be at least fifty.
I have the honour to be
yours, &c. DANIEL NEWMAN.
His Excellency David B. Mitchell.
PITTSBURG, October 23d, 1812.
I embrace this opportunity to render you an account of the garrison of Chicago.
On the 9th of August last, I received orders from general Hull to evacuate the post and proceed with my command to Detroit, by land, leaving it at my discretion to dispose of the public property as I thought proper. The neigbouring Indians got information as early as I did, and came in from all quarters in order to receive the goods in the factory store, which they understood were to be given them. On the 13th, Captain Wells, of fort Wayne, arrived with about 30 Miamies, for the purpose of escorting us in, by the request of general Hull. On the 14th, I delivered the Indians all the goods in the factory store, and a considerable quantity of provisions which we could not take away with us. The surplus arms and ammunition I thought proper to destroy, fearing they would make bad use of it if put in their possession. I also destroyed all the liquor on hand soon after they began to collect. The collection was unusually large for that place; but they conducted themselves with the strictest propriety till after I left the fort. On the 15th, at 9 o'clock in the morning, we commenced our march: a part of the Miamies were detached in front and the remainder in our rear, as guards, under the direction of captain Wells. The situation of the country rendered it necessary for us to take the beach, with the lake on our left, and a high sand bank on our right, at about 100 yards distance.
We had proceeded about a mile and a half, when it was discovered that the Indians were prepared to attack us from behind the bank. I immediately marched up with the company to the top of the bank, when the action commenced; after firing one round, we charged, and the Indians gave way in front and joined
those on our flanks. In about fifteen minutes they got possession of all our horses, provisions, and baggage of every description, and finding the Miamies did not assist us, I drew off the few men I had left, and took possession of a small elevation in the open prairie, out of shot of the bank or any other cover. The Indians did not follow me, but assembled in a body on the top of the bank, and after some consultations among themselves, made signs for me to approach them. I advanced towards them alone, and was met by one of the Potawatamie chiefs, called the Black Bird, with an interpreter. After shaking hands, he requested me to surrender, promising to spare the lives of all the prisoners. On a few moments consideration, I concluded it would be most prudent to comply with his request, although I did not put entire confidence in his promise. After delivering up our arms, we were taken back to their encampment near the fort, and distributed among the different tribes. The next morning, they set fire to the fort and left the place, taking the prisoners with them. Their number of warriors was between four and five hundred, mostly of the Potawatamie nation, and their loss, from the best information I could get, was about fifteen. Our strength was fifty-four regulars and twelve militia, out of which, twenty-six regulars and all the militia were killed in the action, with two women and twelve children. Ensign George Ronan and doctor Isaac V. Van Voorhis of my company, with captain Wells, of fort Wayne, are, to my great sorrow, numbered among the dead. Lieutenant Lina T. Helm, with twenty-five non-commissioned officers and privates, and eleven women and children, were prisoners when we were separated. Mrs. Heald and myself were taken to the mouth of the river St. Joseph, and being both badly wounded, were permitted to reside with Mr. Burnet, an Indian trader. In a few days after our arrival there, the Indians all went off to take fort Wayne, and in their absence, I engaged a Frenchman to take us to Michilimackinac by water, where I myself up as a prisoner of war, with one of my sergeants. The commanding officer, captain Roberts, offered me every assistance in his power to render our situation comfortable while we remained there, and to enable us to proceed on our journey. To him I gave my parole of honour, and came on to Detroit and reported myself to colonel Proctor, who gave us a passage to Buffaloe; from that place I came by the way of Presque Isle, and arrived here yesterday.
I have the honour to be yours, &c.
Thomas H. Cushing, Esqr.
AFFAIR AT ST. REGIS.
HEAD QUARTERS, CAMP FRENCH MILLS,
October 24th, 1812.
On the 22d I despatched several confidential friends, to reconnoitre about the village of St. Regis; they returned with the information, that the enemy had landed in the village, and that we might expect a visit from them immediately. Their number was stated by no one at less than 110, and from that to 300; the most certain information fixed on the former number.
It was also believed that the enemy were determined to make a stand at that place, and would speedily increase their number: this determined me to make an immediate attempt to take those already landed, before any reinforcement could arrive. I ordered the men to be furnished with two days rations of provisions, with double rations of whiskey; and at 11 at night, we marched with the utmost silence, that we might give as little alarm as possible. We took a circuitous route, through the woods, and arrived at Gray's Mills, at half past 3, P. M. We found here, a boat, a small canoe, and two cribs of boards; captain Lyon's company crossed in the boat; captain M'Neil's, in the canoe, and the remainder, with our horses, crossed on the cribs. We arrived, within half a mile of the village, at 5 o'clock; where, being concealed from the enemy by a little rise of ground, we halted to reconnoitre, refresh the men, and make disposition for the attack, which was arranged in the following order :-captain Lyon was detached from the right, with orders to take the road, running along the bank of the St. Regis river, with directions to gain the rear of captain Montaigny's house, in which, and Donally's, the enemy were said to be quartered. Captain Dilden was detached to the St. Lawrence, with a view of gaining the route of Donally's house, and also securing the enemy's boats, expected to have been stationed there to prevent their retreat. With the remainder of the force, I moved on in front, and arrived within a hundred and fifty yards of Montaigny's house, when I found by the firing, that captain Lyon was engaged. At the same instant, I discovered a person passing in front, and ordered him to stand; but not being obeyed, ordered captain Higbie's first platoon to fire, and the poor fellow soon fell; he proved to be the ensign named in the list of killed. The firing was at an end in an instant, and we soon found in our possession 40 prisoners, with their arms, &c.-4 killed-1 wounded mortally; took 1 stand of colours, 2 batteaux, 38 guns,-40 men.
After searching in vain for further military stores, we recrossed the river at the village, and returned to camp by the nearest route, where we arrived at 11 A. M.-the batteaux, with baggage, &c. arrived a few minutes before us. We had not a man hurt. I cannot close this letter, without stating to
your excellency, that the officers and soldiers, for their conduct on this occasion, deserve the highest encomiums; for so strict was their attention to duty and orders, that we entered the place without even being heard by the Indians' dogs. The prisoners I have just sent off to Plattsburg, to await the disposition of excellency.
I have the honour to be, yours, &c.
G. D. YOUNG,
Major, commanding troops at French Mills.
Brig. General Bloomfield.
NAVY DEPARTMENT, October 27th, 1812.
I have received, with great satisfaction, your communication of the 9th instant; I have been desired by the President of the United States, to return to you, and through you, to the officers and men, under your command, in the expedition to fort Erie, which terminated to the glory of the American arms, his particular thanks.
I am, with great respect, yours, &c.
P. S. Your having abstained from fulfilling your intimation that you would expose your prisoners to the enemy's fire, is highly approved.
Jesse D. Elliott, Esqr.
Lieut. Commanding, Black Rock.
U. S. SHIP UNITED STATES, AT SEA,
I have the honour to inform you, that on the 25th instant, being in the latitude 29, N. longitude 29 30, W. we fell in with, and, after an action of an hour and a half, captured his Britannic Majesty's ship Macedonian, commanded by captain John Carden, and mounting 49 carriage guns (the odd gun shifting.) She is a frigate of the largest class, two years old, four months out of dock, and reputed one of the best sailors in the British service. The enemy being to windward, had the advantage of engaging us at his own distance, which was so great, that for the first half hour we did not use our carronades, and at no moment was he within the complete effect of our musketry or grape-to this circumstance and a heavy swell, which was on at the time, I ascribe the unusual length of the action.
The enthusiasm of every officer, seaman and marine on board this ship, on discovering the enemy-their steady conduct in battle, and precision of their fire, could not be surpassed. Where all met my fullest expectations, it would be unjust for me to discriminate. Permit me, however, to recommend to your particular notice, my first lieutenant, William H. Allen. He has served with me upwards of five years, and to his unremitted exertions in disciplining the crew, is to be imputed the obvious superiority of our gunnery exhibited in the result of this contest.
Subjoined is a list of the killed and wounded on both sides. > Our loss, compared with that of the enemy, will appear small. Amongst our wounded, you will observe the name of lieutenant Funk, who died in a few hours after the action-he was an officer of great gallantry and promise, and the service has sustained a severe loss in his death."
The Macedonian lost her mizen-mast, fore and main-topmasts and main yard, and was much cut up in her hull. The damage sustained by this ship was not such as to render her return into port necessary, and had I not deemed it important that we should see our prize in, should have continued our cruise.
With the highest consideration, I am, yours, &c.
CAMP RUSSEL, October 31st, 1812.
SIR, This will inform you, that I arrived at this place, from Vincennes, after general Hopkins had marched his mounted riflemen up to fort Harrison. I took with me, a part of three companies of United States' rangers, where I was joined by governor Edwards, with his mounted riflemen; the whole of our strength amounted to 360 privates. We penetrated very far into the Indian country, with an expectation of co-operating with general Hopkins, who, by appointment, was to meet us at the Peoria, on the Illinois river. In this, we were sadly disappointed, as we