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Extract of a letter from brigadier general Izard to major general
“ PLATTSBURG, December 6th, 1813. “ There is an unavoidable delay in the returns of the regiments, of this division, proceeding from the extreme inexperience of the officers of all grades, now with them ; almost every efficient officer is either sick, or was furloughed by major general Hampton at the moment of his own departure : those that remain are barely enough to perform the routine of duty in this cantonment."
Extract of a letter from general Wilkinson to the Secretary of
MALONE, December 8th, 1813. “ The unavoidable delay of the express (as no reliance can be placed in the mail from this place) enables me to send you the copy of a letter from general Izard, dated the 6th instant, which exhibits additional expositions of the pernicious and unwarrantable conduct of major general Hampton. I will not charge this man with traitorous designs, but I apprehend, in any other government, a military officer who first defeated the object of a campaign by disobedience of orders, and then, without authority, furloughed all the efficient officers of the division he commanded on a national frontier, in the vicinity of an enemy, would incur heavy penalties.”
GENERAL ORDERS. HEAD QUARTERS, FORT NIAGARA, December 12th, 1818. Captain Leonard will, as soon as possible, have a proportion of hand grenades in the different block houses, and give
directions to the officers of the infantry where they should be posted with their men, in case of an attack; and should they not be able to maintain the outworks, to repair to the block and mess houses; and have every thing arranged in such a manner as though he expected an immediate attack.
Much is expected of captain Leonard, from his long experience and knowledge of duty; and the general feels confident he will be well supported by lieutenant Loomas, of the artillery, as well as the officers of the infantry. By order of brigadier general George M'Clure.
DONALD FRASER, Lieutenant 15th U. S. Inf. f Vol. A. de Camp.
ADDRESS OF GENERAL M-CLURE. To the inhabitants of Niagara, Genesee and Chataugay. The present crisis is truly alarming. The enemy are preparing to invade your frontier, and let their savages loose upon your families and property. It is now in your power to avoid that evil, by repairing to Lewistown, Schlosser and Buffalo. Every man who is able to bear arms is not only invited but required to repair to the above rallying points, for a few days, until a detachment of militia arrives. The enemy are now laying waste their own country; every man who does not take up arms, or who are disposed to remain neutral, are inhumanly butchered, their property plundered, and their buildings destroyed. Information has just been received that six or eight of their most respectable inhabitants, between Queenston and Fort George, have fallen victims to their barbarity. Every man in the province is required to take up arms, and he that refuses is wantonly butchered. What then, fellow citizens, have you to expect from such an enemy, should they invade
frontier? Think of the consequences; be not lulled into a belief, that because you reside a few miles from the river, that you are secure: No, fellow citizens, the place to meet them is on the beach. Then you will have it in your power to chastise them ; but should they be suffered to penetrate into the interior with their savages, the scene will be horrid !
If, then, you love your country and are determined to defend its rights; if you love your families, and are determined to protect them; if you value your property, and are determined to preserve it, you will fly to arms and hasten to meet the enemy, should they dare to set foot on our shores.
Since the above was prepared, I have received intelligence from a credible inhabitant from Canada, (who has just escaped from thence) that the enemy are concentrating all their forces and boats at Fort George, and have fixed upon to-morrow night for attacking, Fort Niagara ; and should they succeed, they will lay waste our whole frontier. In that case, our supply of arms, which are deposited at Fort Niagara, will be cut off. * Therefore all who have arms, accoutrements or ammunition, will do well to bring them, and all who have horses will come mounted.
GEORGE M'CLURE, Brigadier general commanding Niagara frontier. NRAD QUARTERS, BUFFALO, December 18th, 1813.
Extract of a letter from commodore Stephen Decatur to the
Secretary of the Navy.
NEW LONDON, December 20th, 1813. “Some few nights since, the weather promised an opportunity for this squadron to get to sea, and it was said on shore that we
intended to make the attempt. In the course of the evening two blue lights were burnt on both the points at the harbour's mouth as signals to the enemy, and there is not a doubt, but that they have, by signals and otherwise, instantaneous information of our movements. Great but unsuccessful exertions have been made to detect those who communicate with the enemy by signal. The editor of the New London Gazette, alarm them, and in a hope to prevent the repetition of these signals, stated in that newspaper, that they had been observed, and ventured to denounce those who had made them in animated and indignant terms. The consequence is, that he has incurred the express censure of some of his neighbours. Notwithstanding these signals have been repeated and have been seen by twenty persons at least in this squadron, there are men in New London who have the hardihood to affect to disbelieve it, and the effrontery to avow their disbelief.
“ I have the honour to be, &c.
“ STEPHEN DECATUR." Honourable William Jones, Secretary of the Navy.
HEAD QUARTERS, BUFFALO, December 22d, 1813.“ SIR,
I regret to be under the necessity of announcing to you the mortifying intelligence of the loss of Fort Niagara. On the morning of the 19th instant, about four o'clock, the enemy crossed the river at the Five Mile Meadows in great force, consisting of regulars and Indians, who made their way undiscovered to the garrison,which, from the most correct information I can collect, was completely surprised. Our men were nearly all asleep in their tents: the enemy rushed in and commenced a most horrible slaughter. Such as escaped the fury of the first onset, retired to the old mésshouse, where they kept up a destructive fire on the enemy, until a want of ammunition compelled them to surrender. Although our force was very inferior and comparatively small indeed, I am induced to think that the disaster is not attributable to any want of troops, but to gross neglect in the commanding officer of the fort, captain Leonard, in not preparing, being ready, and looking out for the expected attack.
I have not been able to ascertain correctly the number of killed and wounded. About twenty regulars have escaped out of the fort, some badly wounded. Lieutenant Peck, 24th regiment, is killed, and it is said three others. You will perceive, sir, by the enclosed general orders, that I apprehended an attack, and made the necessary arrangements to meet it, but have reason to believe, from information received by those who have made their escape, that the commandant did not in any respect comply with those orders.
On the same morning a detachment of militia, under major Bennet, stationed at Lewiston Heights, was attacked by a party of savages : but the major and his little corps, by making a des perate charge, effected their retreat after being surrounded by several hundred, with the loss of six or eight, who doubtless were killed; among whom were two sons of captain Jones, Indian interpreter. The villages of Youngstown, Lewiston, Manchester, and the Indian Tuscarora village, were reduced to ashes, and the inoffensive inhabitants who could not escape, were, without regard to age or sex, inhumanly butchered by savages headed by BRITISH officers painted. A British officer who is taken prisoner avows that many small children were murdered by their Indians. Major Mallory, who was stationed at Schlosser, with about forty Canadian volunteers, advanced to Lewiston Heights, and compelled the advanced guard of the enemy to fall back to the foot of the mountain. The major is a meritorious officer ; he fought the enemy two days, and contended every inch of ground to the Tonawanta creek. In these actions lieutenant Lowe of the 23d regiment United States army, and eight of the Canadian vo.lunteers were killed. I had myself, three days previous to the attack on the Niagara, left it with a view of providing for the defence of this place, Black Rock, and the other villages on this frontier. I came here without troops, and have called out the militia of Genesee, Niagara, and Chataugay counties en masse.
This place was then thought to be in most imminent danger, as well as the shipping, but I have no doubt is now perfectly secure. Volunteers are coming in, in great numbers; they are, however, a species of troops that cannot be expected to continue in service for a long time. In a few days one thousand detached militia, lately drafted, will be on. I have the honour to be, &c.
GEORGE M CLURE,
Brigadier general commanding, Ilonourable John Armstrong, Secretary of War.
HEAD QUARTERS, NIAGARA FRONTIER,
December 30th, 1813. SIR,
I have only time to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 25th instant, and to add that this frontiet is wholly desolate. The British crossed over, supported by a strong party of Indians, at a little before daylight this morning, near Black Rock. They were met by the militia under my command with spirit; but overpowered by numbers and discipline of the enemy, the militia gave way and fled on every side; every attempt to rally them was ineffectual. The enemy's purpose was obtained, and the flouvishing village of BUFFALO LAID IN RUINS. The Niagara prospect of uniting our forces, of driving the enemy from Bur
. frontier now lies open and naked to our enemies. Your judgment will direct you what is most proper in this emergency. I am exhausted with fatigue and must defer particulars till to-morrow. Many valuable lives are lost. I have the honour to be, &c.
A. HALL, Major general. Governor Tompkins.
GENERAL M-CLURE TO THE PUBLIC.
GENESEE, NEW YORK, January 1st, 1814. The late descent of the enemy on our frontier, and the horrid outrages committed on our defenceless inhabitants by the British allies, being laid to my misconduct as commanding officer of the American forces on the frontier, and although my conduct has been approved by the Secretary of War, the commander in chief of this state, and by general Harrison, before his departure, still I deem it a duty which I owe to my own reputation, in order to put a stop to the evil reports which are propagated against me, without knowing my orders, or the means which I had in my power to execute them, to give a brief statement of my most prominent acts since I have had the honour of so important a command. On my arrival at Fort George, and previous to the departure of general Wilkinson with his army from that post, I suggested to the general the necessity of marching out against the enemy at Cross Roads and Four Mile Creek; that his army, with the addition of
my militia, were sufficient to take or destroy all the British forces in that neighbourhood, which would leave nothing more for the militia to do than to protect and keep in order the inhabitants of that part of the province, as otherwise our frontier would be liable to be invaded. This proposition, however, was not agreed to, as the general's instructions were of a different nature. The general left with me colonel Scott and 800 regulars, who were to remain until I considered my force sufficient to hold the fort without them, when they were to march to Sackett's Harbour.
About the 12th of October, the British army commenced their retreat towards the head of the lake. I issued orders for my militia to pursue, which was promptly obeyed. We advanced as far as the Twelve Mile Creek, and within a short distance of the enemy's rear guard, when colonel Scott sent an express, requesting me to return, and said that he would abandon the fort next day, and march with his troops for Sackett's Harbour; and at the same time detained my provisions and ammunition compelled me to abandon the further pursuit of the enemy, and induced them to make a stand on the heights of Burlington. I was then left with about 1000 effective militia in Fort George, and 250 Indians, a force not more than sufficient to garrison the post. On the arrival of general Harrison's army, I was elated with the