« PreviousContinue »
to accept his thanks. The general is under the highest obligations to his staff for their conduct, as well in the action of the fifth as for the assistance which he received from them throughout the siege. Major Hukill, the acting inspector general, distinguished himself by his assiduity in forwarding the part of our works which was most necessary and which was most exposed to the fire of the enemy. From major Graham, his aid-de-camp, his volunteer aid-de-camp, J. Johnson, esq. and from lieutenant O'Fallon, acting assistant adjutant general, as well as from the deputy quarter-master, Mr. Eubank, he received the greatest assistance.
It rarely occurs that a general has to complain of the excessive ardour of his men, yet such appears always to be the case whenever the Kentucky militia are engaged. "It is indeed the source of all their misfortunes. They appear to think that their valour can alone accomplish any thing. The general is led to make this remark from the conduct of captain Dudley's company of the
regiment, as he has understood that that gallant officer was obliged to turn his espontoon against his company to oblige them to desist from a further pursuit of the enemy, in compliance with an order from the general. Such temerity, although not so disgraceful, is scarcely less fatal than cowardice. And in the instance above, had it been persisted in, would have given a different result to the action, as the whole of the enemy's force which were placed near the batteries, would have been precipitated upon the rear of our detachment. The pursuit being stopped, allowed time for a new disposition under cover of our cannon, and the enemy's batteries were attacked and carried without difficulty.
JOHN O FALLON,
Acting assist. Adj. Gen.
LOWER SANDUSKY, May 13th, 1813. SIR,
Having ascertained that the enemy (Indians as well as British) had entirely abandoned the neighbourhood of the Rapids, I eft the command of Camp Meigs with general Clay, and came here last night. It is with the greatest satisfaction l'inform you, sir, that the loss of the Kentucky troops in killed, on the north side of the river, does not exceed fifty. On the 10th and 11th instant, I caused the ground which was the scene of action, and its environs, to be carefully examined, and after the most diligent search, forty-five bodies only of our men were discovered; amongst them was the leader of the detachment, colonel Dudley. No other officer of note fell in the action. I have strong reason to believe that a considerable number of the Kentuckians effected their retreat up the river to fort Winchester. General Proctor did not furnish me with a return of the prisoners in his possession,
although repeatedly promised. His retreat was as precipitate as it could properly be, leaving a number of cannon ball, a new elegant sling carriage for cannon, and other valuable articles. The night before his
departure, two persons that were employed in the British gun-boats (Ainericans by birth) deserted to us. The information they gave me was very interesting: they say that the Indians, of which there were from 1600 to 2000, left the British the day before their departure, in a high state of dissatisfaction, from the great loss they had sustained in the several engagements of the 5th, and the failure of the British in accomplishing their promise of taking the post at the Rapids. From the account given by these men, my opinion is confirmed of the great superiority of the enemy which were defeated by our troops in the two sallies made on the 5th inst. That led by colonel Miller did not exceed 350 men, and it is very certain that they defeated 200 British regulars, 150 militia, and 4 or 500 Indians. That American regulars (although they were raw recruits) and such men as compose the Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and Petersburg (Va.) volunteers, should behave well is not to be wondered at; but that a company
of militia should maintain its ground against four times its number, as did captain Sebree's, of the Kentucky, is truly astonishing. These brave fellows were at length, however, entirely surrounded by Indians, and would have been cut off, but for the gallantry of lieutenant Guynne, of the 19th regiment, who, with part of captain Elliott's company, charged the enemy, and released the Kentuckians. I enclose you a list of the killed and wounded during the whole siege ;-it is considerably larger than I supposed it would be, when I last wrote you-but it is satisfactory to know, that they did not bleed uselessly, but in the course of successful exertions. The return does not embrace those who fell on the north-western side of the Miami.
You will also receive, herewith, a monthly return of the troops
camp Meigs for the last month ; the communication with the other posts being cut off, the returns were not received. A copy of general Clay's report to me, of the manner of his executing my order, for the attack on the enemy's batteries, is likewise forwarded, by which it will be seen that
intentions were per: fectly understood, and the great facility with which they might have been executed, is apparent to every individual who witnessed the scene.
Indeed the cannon might have been spiked, the carriages cut to pieces, the magazine destroyed, and the retreat effected to the boats, without the loss of a man, as none were killed in taking the batteries, so complete was the surprise.
An extensive open plain intervenes between the river and the hill, upon which the batteries of the enemy were placed; this plain was raked by four of our eighteen pounders, a twelve and a six. The enemy, even before their guns were spiked, could not have brought one to bear upon it. So perfectly secured was their
retreat, that the 150 men who came off, effected it without loss, and brought off some of the wounded, one of them on the backs of his comrades. The Indians followed them to the woods, but dared not enter into the plain.
I am unable to form a correct estimate of the enemy's force. The prisoners varied much in their accounts; those who made them least, stated the regulars at 560, and militia at 800, but the numbers of the Indians
were, beyond comparison, greater than have ever been brought into the field before ; numbers arrived after the seige commenced. I have caused their camps on the south-east side of the river, to be particularly examined, and the general opinion is, that there could not have been fewer on that side, than 1000 or 1200; they were, indeed, the efficient force of
I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your favours, of the 14th, 18th, and 28th ultimo, and 5th instant.
I am sorry to inform you, that major Stoddard died the night before I left the Rapids, of a lock-jaw, produced by a slight wound, from a fragment of a shell, which struck him on the thigh. Several have died in this way, from their great and unavoidable exposure to the cold; but perhaps there were never so many instances of desperate wounds likely to do well.
The gallant captain Bradford will recover.
I shall go from here, to Upper Sandusky, and shall take my station at Delaware or Franklinton, until the troops are assembled. General Clay, who commands at the Rapids, is a man of capacity, and entirely to be relied on.
I have the honour to be, &c.
WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, The Hon. John Armstrong,
Secretary of War.
Killed 81,-wounded 189, in the seige of camp Meigs and the several sorties of the 5th of May, 1813.
CAMP AT FORT MEIGS, May 13th, 1813. SIR,
On the 5th instant, about 8 o'clock, A. M. descending the Miami of the lake, about midway to the Rapids, with 1200 of the Kentucky troops in the eighteen flat bottomed boats, I was met by captain Hamilton and a subaltern, who delivered me, (as he said) the orders of major general Harrison, to the following effect:
“ You must detach about 800 men from your brigade, who will land at a point I will show, about one or one and a half miles above the fort, and I will conduct them to the British batteries on the left bank of the river. They must take possession of the
enemy's cannon, spike them, cut down the carriages, and return to their boats.”
Observing that the British force at their large batteries, was inconsiderable, but that their main force was at the old garrison, about 14 miles below, on the same side of the river; that the Indian forces were chiefly on the right bank of the river: “The balance of the men under your command, must land on the right bank, opposite to the first landing, and will fight their way through the Indians to the fort:” observing that the route thus to be taken, would be shown by a subaltern officer there, in company with captain Hamilton, who would land the perogue at the point on the right bank, at which the boats would land.
The order of descending the river in boats, was the same as the order of march in the line of battle, in solid column, each officer taking position according to his rank. Colonel Dudley, the eldest colonel, led the van, and in this order the river had been descended. As soon as captain Hamilton had delivered these orders, being in the thirteenth boat from the front, I directed him to proceed immediately to colonel Dudley, and order him to take the men in the twelve front boats, and execute general Harrison's orders on the left bank of the river; and to post his (captain Hamilton's) subaltern on the right bank to conduct myself with the men in the six boats to the fort. I ordered the five boats in the rear to fall in a line, and follow me. High winds and the rapidity of the current, drove four of the rear boats ashore, in the attempt to follow on according to order, where they remained a short time, sufficient, however, to detain them half, or three quarters of a mile to the rear. To land according to order, I kept close along the right bank, until opposite colonel Dudley's landing. There I found no guide left to conduct me to the fort, as captain Hamilton had promised. I then maile an attempt to cross the river and join colonel Dudley, but from the rapid current on the falls, I was unable to land on the point with him. Being nearly half way across the river, and the waves running too high to risk the boats; then driving down the current sidewise-veered about the boat and rowed the best way we could to save our boat.
My attempt to cross the river to colonel Dudley, occasioned all the boats, (I presume in the rear of me) and which were then out of hailing distance, to cross over and land with colonel Dudley. Having been defeated in landing on the left, we then endeavoured to effect one on the right, even without a guide: but before a landing could be effected, we received a brisk fire from the enemy on shore, which was returned and kept up on both sides. And I was in this unavoidable situation, compelled to make fort Meigs, with no other force than about 50 men on board, (the other boats being still in the rear) and to receive the enemy's fire, until we arrived under the protection of the fort. Colonel Boswell's command (except the men in my boat) having landed to join colonel Dudley, were, as I have been informed, ordered by captain
Hamilton immediately to embark and land on the right hand shore, about a mile above the fort, and prepare to fight his way through to the garrison.
The colonel embarked, landed, as he conceived, at the point, pursuant to captain Hamilton's order, and was forming his men in order of battle, when he was met by captain Shaw, and ordered to march into the garrison at open order, the safest route.
When my own boat landed, we were met by two men who took charge of the boat, as we understood, to bring her under the protection of the fort batteries. Believing our baggage to be thus made safe, we forbid our servants to carry any portion of it, but loaded them with cannon ball, which they bore to the fort. Our baggage was, however, taken by the Indians in a very short time after we left the boat. Upon receiving the orders of captain Hamilton, I asked if he had brought spikes to spike the enemy's cannon, to which he replied he had plenty.
I am, sir, respectfully, &c.
GREEN CLAY, Brig. Gen. His excellency major general Harrison.
P. S. Captain Hamilton, on delivering the orders of general Harrison, observed, that the object of landing and marching a portion of the troops on the right bank, was to draw the attention of the Indians, and by thus engaging them, afford an opportunity to the garrison to make a sally, and by a circuitous route, surprise and
carry the batteries and cannon of the enemy below the fort on the right bank.
BRIGADE HEAD QUARTERS,
Camp, Four Mile Creek, May 26th, 1813.
Conformity to the general order of the 25th and 26th instant, the first brigade will embark at 3 o'clock to-morrow morning. The several regiments will hold themselves in readiness accordingly. The boats of the brigade will form in three lines succeeding, colonel Scott's advance party. The 15th regiment, formed in column of battalion, the right in front, will precede. The 6th and 16th will successively follow in the same order. Colonel M-Clure's volunteers will flank the right of the brigade, and move accordingly. Four pieces of the light artillery will move in the rear of the 18th regiment, and four in the rear of the 16th regiment; the first four to form on the right of the brigade, the other to form on the left of the brigade. The troops will land in column, and form immediately in order of battle. Colonel Miller, of the 6th, on the right, major King, of the 15th, in the