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Extract of a letter from captain John H. Dent, commanding naval
officer at Charleston, S. C. dated August 21st, 1813. « SIR,
“I have the honour to inform you that the privateer schooner Decatur, of this port, arrived here yesterday, with his Britannic majesty's schooner Dominico, her prize. She was captured on the 5th instant, after a most gallant and desperate action of one hour, and carried by boarding, having all her officers killed or wounded. She was one of the best equipped and manned vessels of her class I have ever seen. The Decatur mounts seven guns, and had a complement of 103 men at the commencement of the action, nineteen of whom were killed and wounded.
“I have the honour to be, &c.
“ JOHN H. DENT." Hon. Wm. Jones, Secretary of the Navy.
HEAD QUARTERS, FORT GEORGE, August 24th, 1813. SIR,
I have the honour to report, that at day break this morning the enemy attacked us at all our pickets, which retired towards the camp, pursued by his advance guards. A skirmish ensued in the village, with little effect upon us; after which he retreated, having come within reach of our cannon, but never within musketshot of our entrenchments. One captain of the 49th and a few privates have been brought in prisoners. We lost two men and a few wounded; the enemy left about fifteen dead on the different grounds. He is supposed to have brought his whole force into the field; but finding our position so strong, desisted from a general attack. Sir George Prevost was in person at the attack. His force is withdrawn out of our reach into his strong holds.
I have the honour to be, &c.
JOHN P. BOYD, B. G. C. Hon. J. Armstrong, Secretary of War.
CHARLESTON, (S C.) August 26th, 1813. SIR,
I have the honour to acquaint you, that I received a letter express, last night, from major Jenkins, commanding the St. Helena militia, stating that the enemy's two brigs, the Calibre and Charybdis, got under way on Monday morning, with an intention of proceeding to sea, when the wind shifted to the eastward; and in attempting to beat over the bar, one of them (supposed to be the Calibre) grounded on Cole Scarce Reef, and in a short time after bilged and became a complete wreck. The crew was taken off by the other, which now lies about five miles from Bay Point, waiting a wind to proceed to sea.
Major Jenking states, that they landed twice at a plantation of Mr. Pope's, and took one of his large canoes off, with some provisions. "It appears their object in entering Port Royal was princi. pally to sound the bar, and roadstead, which they have effected, as their boats were seen on that service the whole time they were at anchor. The officer who delivered major Jenkins's letter further states, that the wreck had entirely gone to pieces, a great part drifted on shore, among which were her boats and the stoler
I have the honour to be, &c.
JOHN H. DENT,
Honourable William Jones,
Secretary of the Navy.
Extract of a letter from General Ferdinand L. Claiborne, to General Flournoy, commanding the 7th Military District.
“CANTONMENT, MOUNT VERNON, September 3d, 1813. “SIR, On the 31st ultimo, I had the honour to receive
letter of the 24th, with its enclosure, forwarded by express to me, then at Easley's station, near the Creek line, and about 85 miles above this, on the Tombigbee.
“Colonel Hawkins's communications for some time past have unfortunately had a tendency to lessen our apprehensions, and to beget a belief of our almost perfect security. My little, but inestimable corps, have felt the effects begotten by the doubts which existed as to the real intention of the Creeks. It probably prevented yourself, and certainly governor Holmes, from sending troops to this exposed part of the country: About the 23d ultimo, I received information that 1200 Indians were on the eve of entering the territory, with the intention to attack the upper posts in the Tombigbee, that commanded by colonel Carson in the fork of the Tombigbee and Alabama rivers, and the one on Tensaw commanded by major Beasley. The Indians from the Black Warrior were to attack the upper posts; and those from the Alabama, that on Tensaw. This information was immediately communicated to colonel Carson and major Beasley, and my arrangements made for the defence of the three places threatened, in the best manner of which the limited means I possessed would admit.
“ With 80 men, I went myself to Easley's, and was joined by two detachments of volunteer militia under the command of colonel Haines, aid-de-camp to governor Holmes, and by a captain Cassity. The place was attacked at the time expected, and after several unsuccessful attempts to gain intelligence, my scouts fell in with 2 Chocktaw Indians, from whose information I was induced to believe, that no attack would soon be made. In fact they seemed rather to insiаuate that the enemy was rather intimidated, and
stated that the Chocktaws in the immediate neighbourhood, whe had joined them, had, at the instance of Pooshemataha, (a medal chief) withdrawn from them, intending to remain neutral; and that they had removed and were removing from the scene of action to à more secure place for their women and children. This I ascertained to be the fact. Their towns were visited by captain Wells of dragoons, and found abandoned. Under these circumstances I left Easley's station, and, on my way to this post, learned that major Beasley had been attacked. I reached this place at twelve o'clock last night, having rode 70 miles since morning.
“ The attack on major Beasley was made at about 11 o'clock, A. M. on the 30th ultimo. It was unexpected at the moment it occured, but the whole garrison was immediately under arms. The front gate was open, and the enemy ran in great numbers to possess themsevles of it. In the contest for the gate many fell on both sides : soon, however, the action became general, the enemy fighting on all sides in the open field, and as near the stockade as they could get. The port-holes were taken and retaken several times. A block-house was contended for by captain Jack, at the head of his brave riflemen, for the space of an hour after the enemy were in possession of a part of it, when finally they succeeded in driving this company into a house in the fort, and having stopped many of the port-holes with the ends of rails, possessed themselves of the walls. From the houses our troops made a gallant defence, but the enemy set fire to the roofs, and an attempt to extinguish the flames proved unsuccessful. The few who remained now attempted to retreat under the direction of captain Bailey of the militia, and ensign Chambliss of the rifle company, both of whom had been badly wounded. Previously to their retreat, they threw into the flames many of the guns of the dead men.
Few of them succeeded in escaping. Both the officers are missing, and supposed to be dead. Nine of the volunteers and three of the volunteer militia have reached this, several of them wounded. A few citizens who fought in the stockade, but not enrolled in any company, also escaped, one of them leaving a wife and six children, who were probably burnt to death. Major Beasley fell gallantly fighting at the head of his command near the gate, at the commencement of the action. Captain Jack was killed about the close of the scene, having previously received two wounds. Captain Middleton also distinguished himself, having received four or five wounds before he fell. He was active and fought bravely from the commencement of the action until he died. Lieutenant S. M. Osborn, of Wilkinson county, after receiving two wounds, was taken into a house, but requested to die on the ground, that he might as long as possible see the men fight. The other officers fell nobly doing their duty; and the non-commissioned officers and privates deserve equally well. The action continaed nntil five in the evening.
Our loss is great: sixty-five, including officers and men, were killed belonging to the first regiment of Mississippi territory volunteers, and twenty-seven volunteer militia, officers included. Many respectable citizens, with numerous families, who had abandoned their farms for security, were also killed or burnt in the houses into which they had fled. The loss of the enemy must have been from 150 to 200 killed and wounded. Their force is supposed to have been from 5 to 700.
“At the mills of Messrs. J. and W. Pierce, about a mile from the post, is a small guard, commanded by lieutenant Montgomery, which were stationed previous to, and at the time of, the attack; but it is believed he abandoned his position in time to save his command. He has not yet been heard of, but I hope made good his retreat to Mobile.
“ Lieutenant colonel Ross, whilst at Mobile, hearing of the fate, or probable fate, of our troops on Tensaw, ordered captain Blue, of the 7th United States' regiment, with 100 men, to this place, and he arrived about day-break this morning, and will here wait your orders. We are busily engaged in fitting this cantonment for defence, and will be prepared to give a good account of the enemy, should an opportunity oifer. They will, however, not attack us until they unite all their forces; but when they do, you may rely on their being warmly received. It is my belief that they cannot bring a force against us which we will not be able to defeat; but we can do no more than defend ourselves in this place.
“I have not heard from colonel Carson. He has a good stockade, and a garrison of about 150 volunteers, and within 200 yards is a station, in which are many families, and about 50 fighting men. Should the Indians attack the colonel, he will certainly defeat them. Dent and Scott's companies are ordered from Easley's to St. Stephens, where are also the broken companies of Morrison and Foelckill. In the Chocktaw factory at St. Stephens, there is much public property. At this place we have the papers belonging to the land-office; the citizens having left them and fled to the different forts, and the enemy will enrich themselves with plunder. I have not a force which will enable me to guard this extensive frontier, and the country must rest upon governor Holmes, in part, for aid. I know that your situation will not admit of your drawing much, if any force, from Mobile and Mobile point, and that you have no disposable troops on the Mississippi. Manac, a half breed, who can be relied on, was at Pensacola about ten days ago. He says, that while he was there, three vessels with Spanish troops arrived.
Judge Toulmin and a great many families have left this part of the country, and gone to Mobile. I fear many negroes will run off to the enemy; indeed they are already in possession of about 100 of them, and a large quantity of stock and other property.'
“Six o'clock, P. M. An express this moment arrived from general Flournoy, with orders for the 3d United States' regiment to march immediately.
“ The volunteer cavalry are also under similar orders."
UNITED STATES' SLOOP PRESIDENT,
Near Plattsburg, September 9th, 1813. SIR,
I have the honour to inform you that I arrived here yesterday from near the lines, having sailed from Burlington on the 6th, with an intention to fall in with the enemy who were then near this place; having proceeded to within a short distance of the lines, I received information that they were at anchor there. Soon after, they weighed and stood to the northward out of the lake; thus if not acknowledging our ascendancy on the lake, evincing an unwillingness (although they had the advantage of situation, owing to the narrowness of the channel in which their galleys could work, when we should want room) to determine it.
I have the honour to be, &c.
THOMAS MACDONOUGH. Hon. Wm. Jones, Secretary of the Navy.
U.S. BRIG NIAGARA, OFF THE WESTERN SISTERS,
Head of lake Erie, September 10th, 1813, 4 P. M. SIR,
It has pleased the Almighty to give to the arms of the United States a signal victory over their enemies on this lake. The British squadron, consisting of two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop, have this moment surrendered to the force under my command, after a sharp conflict.
I have the honour to be, &c.
0. H. PERRY. Hon. Wm. Jones, Secretary of the Navy.
U.S. SCHOONER ARIEL, PUT-IN-BAY,
September 13th, 1813. SIR,
In my last I informed you that we had captured the enemy's fleet on this lake. I have now the honour to give you the most important particulars of the action. On the morning of the 10th instant, at sun-rise, they were discovered from Put-in-Bay, when I lay at anchor with the squadron under my command. We got under weigh, the wind light at south-west, and stood for them. At 10 A. M. the wind hauled to south-east and brought us to windward; formed the line and bore up. At 15 minutes before 12, the enemy commenced firing; at five minutes before 12, the action commenced on our part. Finding their fire very destructive