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averaging less than five hundred men, and colonel Johnson's regiment of mounted infantry, making in the whole an aggregate something above 3000. No disposition of an army opposed to an Indian force can be safe, unless it is secured on the flanks and in the rear.
I had therefore no difficulty in arranging the infantry conformably to my general order of battle. General Trotter's brigade of 500 men formed the front line, his right upon the road and his left upon the swamp. General King's brigade as a second line, 150 yards in the rear of Trotter's, and Childs's brigade, as a corps of reserve, in the rear of it. These three brigades formed the command of major general Henry; the whole of general Desha's division, consisting of two brigades, were formed en potence upon the left of Trotter.
While I was engaged in forming the infantry, I had directed colonel Johnson's regiment, which was still in front, to be formed in two lines opposite to the enemy, and, upon the advance of the infantry, to take ground to the left, and forming upon that flank, to endeavour to turn the right of the Indians. A moment's reflection, however, convinced me, that from the thickness of the woods and swampiness of the ground, they would be unable to do any thing on horseback, and there was no time to dismount them and place their horses in security; I therefore determined to refuse
my left to the Indians, and to break the British lines at once by a charge of the mounted infantry; the measure was not sanctioned by any thing that I had seen or heard of, but I was fully convinced that it would succeed. The American backwoodsmen ride better in the woods than any other people. A musket or rifle is no impediment to them, being accustomed to carry them on horseback from their earliest youth. I was persuaded, too, that the enemy would be quite unprepared for the shock, and that they could not resist it. Conformably to this idea, I directed the regiment to be drawn up in close column, with its right at the distance of fifty yards from the road, (that it might be, in some measure, protected by the trees from the artillery) its left upon
the swamp, and to charge, at full speed, as soon as the enemy delivered their fire. The few regular troops of the 27th regiment, under the command of their colorel (Paul), occupied, in column of sections of four, the small space between the road and the river, for the purpose of seizing the enemy's artillery, and some ten or twelve friendly Indians were directed to move under the bank. The crotchet, formed by the front line and general Desha's division, was an important point. At that place, the venerable governor of Kentucky was posted, who, at the age of sixty-six, preserves all the vigour of youth, the ardent zeal which distinguished him in the revolutionary war, and the undaunted bravery which he manifested at King's Mountain.
With my aids-de-camp, the acting assistant adjutant general captain Buttler, my gallant friend commodore Perry, who did me the honour to serve as my volunteer aid-de-camp, and brigadier general Cass,
who having no command, tendered me his assistance, I placed myself at the head of the front line of infantry, to direct the movements of the cavalry and give them the necessary support. The army had moved on this order but a short distance, when the mounted men received the fire of the British line, and were ordered to charge; the horses in the front of the column recoiled from the fire; another was given by the enemy, and our column, at length getting in motion, broke through the enemy with irresistible force. In one minute, the contest in front was over. The British officers, seeing no hopes of reducing their disordered ranks to order, and our mounted men wheeling upon them and pouring in a destructive fire, immediately surrendered. It is certain that three only of our troops were wounded in this charge. Upon the left, however, the contest was more severe with the Indians. Colonel Johnson, who commanded on that flank of his regiment, received a most galling fire from them, which was returned with great effect. The Indians still further to the right advanced and fell in with our front line of infantry, near its junction with Desha's division, and, for a moment, made an impression on it. His excellency governor Shelby, however, brought up a regiment to its support, and the enemy, receiving a severe fire in front, and a part of Johnson's regiment having gained their rear, retreated with precipitation. Their loss was very considerable in the action, and many were killed in their retreat.
I can give no satisfactory information of the number of Indians that were in the action, but they must have been considerably upwards of one thousand. From the documents in my possession, (general Proctor's official letters, all of which were taken) and from the information of respectable inhabitants of this territory, the Indians kept in pay by the British, were much more numerous than has been generally supposed. In a letter to general De Rottenburg, of the 27th instant, general Proctor speaks of having prevailed upon most of the Indians to accompany him. Of these it is certain that fifty or sixty Wyandot warriors abandoned him. *
The number of our troops was certainly greater than that of the enemy, but when it is recollected, that they had chosen a position that effectually secured their fank, which it was impossible for us to turn, and that we could not present to them a line more extended than their own, it will not be considered arrogant to claim for my troops the palm of superior bravery.
In communicating to the President through you, sir, my opinion of the conduct of the officers who served under my command, I am at a loss how to mention that of governor Shelby, being convinced that no eulogium of mine can reach his merits. The
* A British officer, of high rank, assured one of my aids-de-camp, that ou the day of our landing, general Proctor had, at his disposal, upwards of three thousand Indian warriors, but asserted that the greatest pait had left hile previous to the action.
governor of an independent state, greatly my superior in years, in experience and in military character, he placed himself under my command, and was not more remarkable for his zeal and activity, than for his promptitude and cheerfulness with which he obeyed my orders. The major generals Henry and Desha, and the brigadiers Allen, Caldwell, King, Childs and Trotter, all of the Kentucky volunteers, manifested great zeal and activity. Of governor Shelby's staff, his adjutant general, colonel Walker, ren. dered great service, as did his aids-de-camp general Adair, and majors Barry and Critterden. The military skill of the former was of great service to us, and the activity of the two latter gentlemen could not be surpassed. Ilness deprived me of the talents of my adjutant general colonel Gaines, who was left at Sandwich. His duties were, however, ably performed by the acting assistant adjutant general, captain Buttler. My aids-de-camp, lieutenant O'Fallon and captain Todd, of the line, and my volunteer aids John Speed Smith and John Chambers, esquires, have rendered me the most important services from the opening of the campaign. I have already stated that general Cass and commodore Perry assisted me in forming the troops for the action. The former is an officer of the highest merit, and the appearance of the brave commodore cheered and animated every breast.
It would be useless, sir, after stating the circumstances of the action, to pass encomiums upon colonel Johnson and his regiment. Veterans could not have manifested more firmness. The colonel's numerous wounds prove that he was in the post of danger, Lieutenant colonel James Johnson, and the majors Payue and Thompson were equally active though more fortunate. Major Wood of the engineers, already distinguished by his conduct at Fort Meigs, attended the army with two six pounders. Having no use for them in the action, he joined in the pursuit of the enemy, and with major Payne of the mounted regiment, two of my aidsde-camp, Todd and Chambers, and three privates, continued it for several miles after the rest of the troops had halted, and made many prisoners.
I left the army before an official return of the prisoners, or that of the killed and wounded, was made out. It was however ascertained that the former amounts to 601 regulars, including 25 officers. Our loss is 7 killed and 22 wounded, 5 of which have since died. Of the British troops 12 were killed and 22 wounded. The Indians suffered most-33 of them having been found upon the ground, besides those killed on the retreat.
On the day of the action, six pieces of brass artillery were taken, and two iron 24 pounders the day before. Several others were discovered in the river, and can be easily procured. Of the brass pieces, three are the trophies of our revolutionary war, that were taken at Saratoga and York, and surrendered by general Hull. The number of small arms taken by us and destroyed by the enemy, must amount to upwards of 5000; most of them
had been ours and taken by the enemy at the surrender of Detroit, at the river Raisin, and at colonel Dudley's defeat. I believe that the enemy retain no other military trophy of their victories than the standard of the 4th regiment; they were not magnanimous enough to bring that of the 41st regiment into the field, or it would have been taken.
You have been informed, sir, of the conduct of the troops under my command in action; it gives me great pleasure to inform you, that they merit also the approbation of their country for their conduct, in submitting to the greatest privations with the utmost cheerfulness.
The infantry were entirely without tents, and for several days the whole army
subsisted upon fresh beef, without bread or salt.
I have the honour to be, &c.
WILLIAM H. HARRISON. General John Armstrong, Secretary of War.
P. S. General Proctor escaped by the fleetness of his horses, secorted by 40 dragoons and a number of mounted Indians.
HEAD QUARTERS, DETROIT, October 11th, 1813. DEAR GOVERNOR,
You will have heard before this reaches you, that I was fortunate enough to overtake general Proctor, and his tawny allies, and to give them a complete drubbing. I have 601 prisoners of the British regulars, officers included, among which there are two solonels.
Nothing but infatuation could have governed general Proctor's conduct. The day that I landed below Malden, he had at his disposal upwards of 3000 Indian warriors: his regular force, reinforced by the militia of the district, would have made his number nearly equal to my aggregate, which, on the day of landing, did not exceed 4500. The papers have greatly exaggerated the number of militia from Kentucky: those which embarked with me at Portage, did not amount to 3000 rank and file; and several hundred of them were left in the islands.
The Indians were extremely desirous of fighting us at Malden. I enclose you Tecumseh's speech to Proctor; it is at once an evidence of the talents of the former, and the greater defect of them in the latter. His inferior officers say, that his conduct has been a series of continued blunders. He manifested, indeed, some judgment in the choice of his field of battle, as he was so posted that I could not turn him, and could only oppose a line of equal extent to his. However, the contest was not for a moment doubtful. The greater part of his Indians were in the air, (according to the Persian military phraseology) and his regulars broken and made prisoners by a single charge of mounted infan
try. We took upon the ground, or near it, a fine brass field train of artiliery. Several of the pieces are trophies of the revolution, taken at Saratoga and York, and surrendered by general Hull. The number of small arms and military stores, taken by us, or destroyed by the enemy, is immense. My force in action, of all descriptions, was short of 2500.
I am preparing an expedition to Michilimackinac, and another to Long Point, to destroy at the latter a depot of provisions.
I shall send orders to general Gano, by this conveyance. It is probable that the greater part of his troops may be dismissed in a short time. The Indians in this neighbourhood, are submitting at discretion.
I am your friend,
WILLIAM H. HARRISON. His excellency Gov. Meigs.
SPEECH OF TECUMSEH In the name of the Indian chiefs and warriors, to major general Proctor, as the representative of their great Father, the king.
Father-Listen to your children! Youlave them now all before
you. The war before* this, our British father gave the hatchet to his red children, when our old chiefs were alive. They are now dead. In that war, our father was thrown on his back by the Americans, and our father took them by the hand without our knowledge it and we are afraid that our father will do so again at this time. Summer before last, when I came forward with my red brethren, and was ready to take up the hatchet in favour of our British father, we were told not to be in a hurry—that he had not yet determined to fight the Americans. Listen!— When war was declared, our father stood up
and gave us the tomahawk, and told us that he was now ready to strike the Americans ; that he wanted our assistance; and that he would certainly get us our lands back, which the Americans had taken from us.
Listen —You told us that time, to bring forward our families to this place; and we did so, and you promised to take care of them, and that they should want for nothing, while the men would go and fight the enemy; that we need not trouble ourselves about the enemy's garrisons; that we knew nothing about them; and that our father would attend to that part of the business, You also told your red children that you would take good care of their garrison here, which made our hearts glad,
* The revolutionary war.