Page images

enemy. Sir George Prevost has ordered the militia of the upper province to be called out en masse. They are to assemble on Saturday next. And if, after your departure, the enemy opposite here should take it in his head to retain all his regular force, and play off his skill against the inexperience of our militia, we might have occasion to fear a repetition of former scenes in the present war.

Our proposition (in case of your leaving this place) is, that we be permitted to raise, between this and the first of October, a volunteer force of from 1,000 to 1,200 men, exclusive of Indians. That we add to it as many of the militia stationed on the lines as may be willing to join us. That we be furnished with a small train (say 4 pieces) of field artillery, with experienced officers and inen to fight them; and that with this force we be authorized to invade the enemy's country.

Should you think proper to confer such an authority on us, and direct that the volunteers shall be furnished with arins, ammunition, provisions, &c. and receive pay while in actual service, we pledge our lives that before the close of the season we will occupy the whole of the valuable and populous pen nsula opposite this river, and either capture, destroy, or disperse all the enemy's force

You may perhaps make it convenient to send an answer by the bearer, captain Hall.

We are, sir, most respectfully, &c.


Major general Wilkinson.

in this quarter.

FORT GEORGE, September 18th, 1813. GENTLEMEN,

Your letter of yesterday which reached me last evening, gives you a claim to my acknowledgments, and to those of your country. But as I am altogether unauthorized by law or instruction to sanction your plan for the levy of a body of volunteers, and as your anticipations, propositions, and suggestions embrace a range and a character upon which I have neither right nor authority to deliberate, I have considered it my duty to transmit a copy of your letter to the secretary of war, now at Sackett's Harbor, by express, for his deliberation and decision.

I hope he may find it convenient and proper to meet your views, and have only to add, that you shall be advised of his answer without a moment's delay, after it may

reach my hands.
With high consideration and respect,

JAMES WILKINSON. Po Peter B. Porter, major Cyrenius Chapin, and Joseph M. M'Clure,

Extract of a letter from general Wilkinson to the Secretary of

War, dated September 20th, 1813. i am well again, and that's a good thing, for I have been during my sickness somewhat of a smell fungus.

« Now indeed would be a fine time to slip into the St. Lawrence if Chauncey could keep sir James blockaded above Kingston, and command the river below at the same time, and our preparations were completely matured, but it is an herculean task to extract order from chaos. No time has or shall be lost on my part; but we cannot, when prepared at all points, controul the winds. It was last night only the transports from Oswego arrived; and if I am not hardly opposed by weather, I hope I shall have 1000 men afloat by the 26th, and complete my embarkations on the 30th, after which, until we reach Grenadier Island, I must look to our squadron and the heavens for safety.

Chauncey tells me he is liable to be blown off from his station, and in such case sir James may slip out by him, but promises to follow him. It is material, to prevent the enemy from following and cutting our rear, that some competent force should take post on the St. Lawrence below Kingston; and I pray of you to make this arrangement with Chauncey. Before I left Sackett's Harbor, I ordered a dozen slip keel boats to carry 50 men each, and to row 30 oars, to be armed with a light cannon in their bow.

“ This armament is to sweep the St. Lawrence of the enemy's gun boats, and to take post in advance when and wherever it may be advisable. I beg you, if necessary on your part, to give effect to this order.

“We have just received advice confirmatory of a naval combat on lake Erie, in which it is said Perry has taken the whole British squadron on the 10th instant, and brought the vessels into “ Putney harbor at the islands”-his own vessel, the Lawrence, barely capable of being floated. The action lasted six hours. This will cancel

your news from our commodore. “The enclosed letter from general M-Clure breathes a good spirit, but he will not be up for several days. In the mean time I shall prepare his orders, to be ready to give him the command.

“ A body of horse, a small one at that point where the fate of the island is to be decided by combat (for believe not that we shall get possession of Montreal without a battle) will be invaluable. Burn has been ordered hence sometime before my arrival, to recruit his cavalry and prepare them for action, and I shall order him by express to-morrow to incline by indirect dilatory marches towards Hamilton, there to look for further orders, somewhere about Antwerp or that quarter. From Denmark or Champion he is to advise the commanding officer at Sackett's Harbor of his movements.

“De Rottenberg is under the full belief that I mean to attack him, and I shall keep up the delusion as long as possible.

“ The snail's pace of the reinforcements approaching this divi: sion, and, pardon me, their direction and route occasion me surprize. Of what avail will be the detachments under colonels Randolph and Coles, which are, I learn from Washington, on their march to this place, where they cannot, or will not arrive before the 15th proximo. If these detachments had been ordered on by all the available water communications from Annapolis to Albany, they could have reached Sackett's Harbor in season, and a column of 800 men would have been found an important desideratum in our impending operations. Where also are the 1000 men reported to me by colonel Duane as being ready for march before I reached Philadelphia? I must hope near Sackett's Harbor. I put these questions to you that I may apprize you of facts, that you, with whom it rests, may apply the remedy, for I find we possess little military subordination or respect, and that a chiet of an army is obeyed more from courtesy than principle or professional obligations.

“I send this by the privateer Fox to commodore Chauncey, with à request that he accelerate its progress to you. This place neither stops a gap, extends our possessions, nor covers or protects a country; it is good for nought, but to command the ground it occupies, and therefore I shall dismantle and abandon it.

Extract of a letter from the Secretary of War, to general Wil

kinson, dated

SACKETT'S HARBOR, September 22d, 1813. DEAR GENERAL,

“ Your letters of the 16th, 17th, and 18th instant, have been this moment received; I hasten to answer them. The main object must be prosecuted; Chauncey is not broken down; he can and will command the lake, and while he does so, our position at Fort George may be maintained. If the enemy's sick list amounts to one thousand four hundred out of three thousand, the enemy ean undertake nothing with effect. In this view of the subject, elose with P. B. Porter's proposition, made in the following words, viz: “Our proposition (in case of your leaving this place) is, that we be permitted to raise, between this and the 1st of October, a volunteer force of from one thousand to one thousand two bundred men, exclusive of Indians; that we add to it as many of the militia stationed on the lines as may be willing to join us; that we be furnished with a small train (say four pieces of fiell artillery with experienced officers and men to fight them) and that with this force we be authorized to invade the enemy's country.” Rod. man's corps may, join Porter. Any volunteers you may have with the army, whose times are near expiring, and who are desirons of continuing in service, may do so also. We will cover

the whole

by a requisition upon governor Tompkins for additional militia. The enemy's fleet have left the Chesapeake, I believe for Halifax, whence the land troops are to be sent into Canada : another motive for quick movements.

My last letters by Chauncey of the 18th or 19th, gave you all we yet know. Prevost has left Kingston, it is said for Quebeck; more probably for Montreal.

“ Yours faithfully and forever,


Extract of a letter from major general Harrison to the Secretary

of War, dated

“ HEAD QUARTERS, BASS ISLAND, September 22d, 1813.

“The greater part of the troops are here with me, and the whole will, I believe, be up by twelve o'clock. I shall proceed as far as the Middle Sister in the course of the night and to-morrow, and in the following night get so near the enemy's coast as to land two or three miles below Malden by eight o'clock in the morning. These prospects may, however, be retarded by adverse winds. Commodore Perry gives me every assistance in his pow



September 23d, 1813. SIR,

I have the honour to inform you that I landed the army under my command, about three miles below this place, at three o'clock this morning, without opposition, and took possession of the town in an hour after. General Proctor has retreated to Sandwich, with his regular troops and Indians, having previously burned the fort, navy yard, barracks, and public store houses the two latter were very extensive, covering several acres of ground. I will pursue the enemy to-morrow, although there is no probability of overtaking him, as he has upwards of 1000 horses, and we have not one in the army. I shall think myself fortunate to be able to collect a sufficiency to mount the general officers. It is supposed here, that general Proctor intends to establish himthe river French, forty miles from Malden.

I have the honour to be, &c.

WILLIAM H. HARRISON The Secretary of War.

self upon


Put-in-Bay, September 24th, 1813. SIR,

I have the honour to acquaint you that about 1200 troops were yesterday transported to a small island, distant about four leagues from Malden, notwithstanding it blew hard, with frequent squalls. This day, although the weather is not settled, the squadron will again take over as many more. We only wait for favourable weather to make a final move. I need not assure you, sir, that every possible exertion will be made by the officers and men under my command to assist the advance of the army; and it affords me great pleasure to have it in my power to say, that the utmost harmony prevails between the and navy.

I have the honour to be, &c.

0. H. PERRY. Hon. Wm. Jones, Secretary of the Navy.


NASHVILLE, September 24th, 1813. SIR,

You will forthwith call out, to rendezvous in the shortest practicable time, at Fayetteville, Lincoln county, 2000 of the militia and volunteers of your division, and march them to repel an approaching invasion and attack, to be made by the Creek indians on the frontier of Madison county, M. T. and the frontier of this state; which information I have this moment received, by express, from captain M'Clellan, of the United States' army, commanding officer at fort Hampton, communicated under cover of a letter received from captain Brahan, of Huntsville. The United States' contractor will, by your order, furnish provisions, and W. B. Lewis, esquire, assistant deputy quarter master, will furnish ammunition and other necessary supplies in his department. You will require the muster master, or inspector, colonel R. Hayes, to muster the troops into service. Delay is inadmissible. You will observe my order of the 14th August last.

Your obedient servant,

WILLIE BLOUNT. Major general Andrew Jackson,

3d division Tennessee militia,

[ocr errors]


September 25th, 1813, SIR,

After I had the honour of addressing you on the 15th, I continued to blockade the enemy until the 17th, when the wind blowing heavy from the westward, the enemy having run into Kingston, and knowing that he could not move from that place

« PreviousContinue »