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realized the high expectations I had formed of them, and have fairly entitled themselves to the gratitude of their country.
ANDREW JACKSON. His excellency Willie Blount, Nashville.
CAMP, NEAR CORNWALL, November 12th, 1813. SIR,
I have the honour to report to you, that yesterday, while the rear division of the army, consisting of detachments from the 1st, 3d, and 4th brigades, and placed under my command to protect the flotilla from the enemy, that hung on our rear, was under arms in order to move, agreeably to your orders, down the bank of the St. Lawrence, a report was brought to me from the rear guard, that a body of about 200 British and Indians had advanced into the woods that skirted our rear. General Swartwout, with the 4th brigade, was immediately ordered to dislodge them; general Covington, with the Sd brigade, at the same time, directed to be within supporting distance. General Swartwout dashed into the woods, and with the 21st infantry, (a part of his brigade) after a short skirmish, drove them back to the position of their main body. Here he was joined by general Covington. The enemy had judiciously chosen his ground among the ravines, which every where intersected the extensive plain, and discharged a heavy and galling fire upon our advanced columns. No opposition or obstacle, however, checked their ardour. The enemy retired for more than a mile before their resolute and repeated charges. During this time, the detachment of the 1st brigade under colonel Coles, whose greater distance from the scene of action retarded its arrival, rapidly entered the field. Being directed to attack the enemy's left flank, this movement was promptly and bravely executed amid a shower of musketry and shrapnell shells. The fight now became more stationary, until the brigade first engaged, having expended all their ammunition, were directed to retire to a more defensible position to wait for a re-supply. This movement so disconnected the line as to render it expedient for the first brigade likewise to retire. It should be remarked, that the artillery, excepting two pieces under captain Irvine, attached to the rear division, which from the nature of the ground, and the circuitous route they had to take, were likewise much retarded in their arrival, did not reach the ground until the line, for want of ammunition, had already began to fall back. When they were arranged, in doing which I was assisted by the skill of colonel Swift, of the engineers, their fire was sure and destructive. When the artillery was finally directed to retire, having to cross a deep, and excepting in one place, (to artillery) impassable ravine, one piece was unfortunately lost. The fall of its gallant commander, lieutenant Smith, and most of his men, may account for this
accident. In the death of this young man, the army has lost one of its most promising officers.
The squadron of the 2d regiment of dragoons, under major Woodford, was early on the field, and much exposed to the enemy's fire, but the nature of the ground, and the position of his line, did not admit of those successfull charges, which their discipline and ardour, under more favourable circumstances, are calculated to make. The reserve, under colonel Upham* and major Malcolm, did not arrive from the boats in time to participate in but a small part of the action ; but the activity and zeal they displayed while engaged, evinced the benefit that might have been derived from their earlier assistance.
The whole of the line was now re-formed on the borders of those woods from which the enemy had first been driven ; when, night coming on and the storm returning, and conceiving that the object you had in view, which was to beat back the enemy that would retard our junction with the main body below, to have been accomplished, the troops were directed to return to the ground near the flotilla ; which movement was executed in good order, and without molestation from the enemy.
I cannot close my representation of this battle, without indulging in a few remarks upon those officers, whose conduct will give a character to the conflict of this day. General Covington, whose readiness to enter the field was an earnest of his subsequent activity, received a mortal wound, while leading his men on to a successful charge. His troops still feeling the effects of his gallant example, continued to advance long after their brave commander had fallen. His fate will perpetuate the memory of the plain which has been crimsoned by his blood. Colonel Preston was severely wounded, while nobly fighting at the head of his regiment. The universal sympathy which is excited by the honourable misfortune of this amiable officer, attests the estimation which is entertained of his talents as a soldier, and his virtues as a man. Major Cumming, with whose military merits and exertions I have long been acquainted, met with a similar fate while leading to a charge, and undiscouraged by the wound continued to advance, until loss of blood obliged him to retire. Many platoon officers received disabling or slight wounds in the honourable discharge of their duty, a report of whose names and merits I have directed the several chiefs of brigades to make to me, in order that I may transmit it to you. It is with great satisfaction I acknowledge my warmest approbation of the gallantry and zeal which was constantly displayed throughout this eventful day, by brigadier general Swartwout, and colonel Coles, who commanded the detachment of the 1st brigade,
After the fall of general Covington, colonel Pierce, on whom the command of the 3d brigade devolved, conducted with
* Colonel Upham was not in this action. His boat had shoved off and was ten miles from the scene of action when the battle commenced. It was major Malcolm who headed the reserve and decided the conflict,
his characteristic coolness and valour, In speaking of the other numerous field officers who participated in this battle, colonels Gaines and Ripley, lieutenant colonel Aspinwall, and majors Morgan, Grafton and Gardner, their equal claim to applause forbids the invidious task of discrimination, I find a pleasure likewise in acknowledging the eminent service I derived from the experience and activity of adjutant general colonel Walback ; from the assistance of inspector general, colonel Johnson, and assistant adjutant generals, majors Beebe and Chambers; the latter was wounded in the honourable discharge of his duty. In addition to these acknowledgments, a sense of justice, as well as personal friendship, induces me to express my entire approbation of the conduct of lieutenant Henry Whiting, my aid de-camp, who was in this instance, as he has been during the whole campaign, my zealous and brave assistant. Lieutenant Worth, aid-de-camp to major general Lewis, led by a laudable ambition, left the flotilla, and volunteered his acceptable services to me or the field.
Permit me now to add, sir, that though the result of this action was not so brilliant and decisive as I could have wished, and the first stages of it seemed to promise, yet when it is recollected that the troops had long been exposed to hard privations and fatigues, to inclement storms from which they could have no shelter ; that the enemy were superior to us in numbers, and greatly superior in position, and supported by 7 or 8 heavy gun boats; that the action being unexpected, was necessarily commenced without much concert; that we were, by unavoidable circumstances, long deprived of our artillery; and that the action was warmly and obstinately contested for more than three hours, during which there were but a few short cessations of musketry and cannon; when all these circumstances are recollected, perhaps this day may be thought to have added some reputation to the American
And if, on this occasion, you shall believe me to have done my duty, and accomplished any one of your purposes, I shall be satisfied.
Allow me to adjoin my regret, which is felt in common with the army, that the severity of your indisposition deprived us of your presence on this occasion. The adjutant general has been directed to furnish a report of the killed, wounded, and the casualties.
I have the honour to-be, &c.
JOHN P. BOYD, Brig. Gen. Comdg. Major general Wilkinson.
HEAD QUARTERS, NEAR CORNWALL, (U.C.)
November 12th, 1813. SIR,
I this day had the honour to receive your letter of the 8th instant, by colonel Atkinson, and want language to express my
pororw for your determination not to join the division under your command with the troops under my immediate orders.
As such resolution defeats the grand objects of the campaign in this quarter, which, before the receipt of your letter, were thought to be completely within our power, no suspicion being entertained that you would decline the junction directed, it will oblige us to take post at French Mills, on Salmon river, or in their vicinity, for the winter.
I have the honour to be, &c.
JAMES WILKINSON. Major general Ilampton.
Extract from the general order of general Wilkinson, of No
vember 13th, 1813. “The troops are to embark without loss of time; yet are not to be hurried in leaving the Canadian shore, from whence the commander in chief is compelled to retire by the extraordinary, unexampled, and, it appears, unwarrantable conduct of major general Hampton, in refusing to join this army with a division of 4,000 men under his command, agreeably to positive orders from the commander in chief, and as he has been assured by the Secretary of War, of explicit instructions from the war department.
“ Thus deprived of a large portion of his promised force, the commander in chief feels himself bound by a sense of regard to this meritorious corps, and of sacred duty to the United States, to spare the lives of brave men, and not to hazard the character or interest of the nation, by an unequal conflict. He, with lively regret and the deepest mortification, suspends the attack on Montreal. But he assures the army that it is not abandoned.”
HEAD QUARTERS, NEWARK, November 15th, 1813, DEAR SIR,
Being ordered to return to the westward, you will be pleased to resume the command which you received previous to my arrival at this pace.
The orders which you heretofore have received will govern you. It will be necessary that you keep a vigilant eye over the disaffected part of the inhabitants, and I recommend that you make use of the zeal, activity, and local knowledge which colonel Willcocks certainly possesses to counteract the machinations of our enemy, and ensure the confidence of our friends, among the inhabitants. It will, however, I am persuaded, be your wish, as it is your duty, to guard the latter as much as possible from oppression.
The volunteers which were lately called out will be retained as long as you consider their services necessary; the drafted mi: litia, until further orders are received from the Secretary of War.
There can be little doubt of its being the intention of the enemy to send the greater part of the troops, which they have at Burlington and York, to Kingston, and to make York the right of their line. They may, however, have a small command at Burlington, and those may be so securely posted as to render them safe from any desultory expedition you may set on foot ; but it is desirable to have any supplies which they may have collected in the neighborhood destroyed; and should the success below be not such as to promise possession of the whole of the Upper Province, may be destroyed.
Captains Leonard and Reed, or either of them, are appointed to muster your troops, when and where you think proper.
In closing this communication, I should not do justice to my feelings, if I were not to acknowledge the zeal and talents with which you have managed your command. Your conduct appears to me to have been extremely judicious and proper throughout, and your troops exhibit a state of improvement and subordination which is at once honourable to your officers and themselves.
I am &c.
WILLIAM H. HARRISON, Brigadier general George M'Clure.
IIEAD QUARTERS, FRENCH MILLS, ADJOINING THE PROVINCE
OF LOWER CANADA, November 16th, 1813, SIR,
I beg leave to refer you to the journal which accompanies this letter, for the particulars of the movements of the corps under my command, down the St. Lawrence, and will endeavour to exert my enfeebled mind to detail to you the more striking and important incidents which have ensued my departure from Grenadier Island, at the foot of Lake Ontario, on the 3d instant.
The corps of the enemy from Kingston, which followed me, hung on my rear, and in concert with a heavy galley, and a few gun-boats, seemed determined to retard my progress. I was strongly tempted to halt, turn about, and put an end to his teasing; but, alas! I was confined to my bed : major general Lewis was too ill for any active exertion ; and above all, I did not dare suffer myself to be diverted a single day from the prosecution of the views of government. I had written major general Hampton on the 6th instant by his adjutant general colonel King, and had ordered him to form a junction with me on the St. Lawrence, which I expected would take place on the 9th or 10th. It would have been unpardonable had I lost sight of this object a moment, as I deemed it of vital importance to the issue of the campaign.
The enemy deserve credit for their zeal and intelligence, which the active universal hostility of the male inhabitants of the country enable them to employ to the greatest advantage. Thus, while menaced by a respectable force in rear, the coast was lined