Page images

lington, taking possession of that post, and giving peace to the Upper Province and our frontier. We were prepared to march in 24 hours, when the arrival of commodore Chauncey with orders for that excellent officer, general Harrison, to repair immediately with his army to Sackett's Harbour, frustrated it. I remonstratedagainst his

going off, as will be seen in a correspondence between the general and myself ; but in vain. By this movement all my expectations were blasted, and I foresaw the consequences, unless a reinforcement was immediately sent on to supply the place of the drafted militia whose term of service would shortly expire. I considered my force, which had become ungovernable, as then insufficient to go against the enemy. The object of the last expedition to the Twenty Mile Creek, is fully explained in the general order which I issued on my return. For six weeks before the militia were discharged, I wrote, and continued writing, to the Secretary of War, the necessity of sending on a detachment of militia or regular troops ; that I found it impossible to retain the militia in service one day beyond their term; I also stated, from the best information, the enemy's forces. I offered a bounty of two dollars per month, for one or two months, but without effect. Some few of colonel Bloom's regiment took the bounty, and immediately disappeared, and I was compelled to grant a discharge to the militia and volunteers, which left me about 60 effective regulars of the 24th United States infantry, under captain Rogers, to garrison Fort George. I summoned a council of the officers, and put the question—Is the fort tenable with the present number of men ?” They unanimously gave it as their opinion, that it would be madness in the extreme to pretend to hold it, and recommended its evacuation immediately, as the enemy's advance was then within eight miles. I accordingly gave orders for the arms, ammunition and public stores, of every description, to be sent across the river, which was principally effected (though the enemy advanced so rapidly that ten of my men were made prisoners) and ordered the town of Newark to be burnt. This act, however distressing to the inhabitants and my feelings, was by order of the Secretary of War, and I believe at the same time proper. The inhabitants had twelve hours notice to remove their effects, and such as chose to come across the river were provided with all the necessaries of life. I left captain Leonard in the command of Fort Niagara, with about 160 effective regulars, and pointed out verbally, and particularly in a general order, how he should prepare for an attack, which would certainly take place. I stationed colonel Grieves's artillerists, consisting of about twenty men, with two pieces of artillery, at Lewiston, under the command of major Bennet, and made them a present of 400 dollars for volunteering their services three weeks; but before that place was attacked they nearly all deserted, except the officers, who bravely defended themselves, and cut their way through the savages. The Canadian volunteers,


about 40 in number, under major Mallory, an officer of great merit, I stationed at Schlosser, and went myself to Buffalo to provide for the safety of that place, and Black Rock, which I trust is out of danger, having called out the militia of Niagara en

The public are now in possession of some of the leading facts which have governed my conduct in the discharge of the trust assigned me, and I appeal to the candour of every dispassionate man to determine with what justice my feelings as a citizen, and pride as a soldier, have been wounded, and my character aspersed. If insubordination to the orders of superiors are justifiable, I may have failed in my defence. If to have suppressed the risings of mutiny is reprehensible, then also am I not justified. If to have enforced the disciplinary laws of a camp is a proceeding unwarranted, then have I been in error. But, fellow citizens, I do not think so meanly of you as to credit the monstrous supposition, that you will deliberately advocate such strange hypothesis. Your prejudices against me have been the result of feelings misled by the acts of my enemies, and not the result of your sober judgment, operating upon facts and principles. Those facts are now before you. On those facts judge me in your candour, and I will abide your decision.


Captain Shaler, of the privateer governor Tompkins, to his agents

in New York, dated

AT SEA, January 1st, 1814. Two days after despatching the Nereid I took a whaleman, from London, bound for the South seas; but she being of no value I took out such stores, &c. as I could stow; and being much lumbered with prisoners and baggage, I put them on board and ordered her for Falmouth.

The chasing this ship had taken me soine distance off my ground, and, owing to calms, I could not regain it until the 25th ultimo, when at sun-rise three sail were discovered ahead, and we made sail in chase. The wind being light, we came slowly up with them. On a nearer approach they proved to be two ships and a brig. One of the ships had all the appearance of a large transport; and from their manouvres, they appeared to have concerted measures for a mutual defence; and the large ship appeared prepared to take the bulk of an action. Boats were seen passing to and from her ; she had boarding nettings almost up to her tops; she also had her topmast studding sail booms out, with the sails at their ends, ready for a running fight. Her ports appeared to be pointed, and she had something on deck resembling a merchantman's boat; and, after all, what the deuce do you think she was? Why have a little patience and I will tell you.

one of

At 3 P. M. a sudden squall struck us from the northward, and the ship not yet having received it, before I could get in our light sails, and almost before I could turn round, I was under the guns, not of a transport, but of a LARGE FRIGATE, and not more than one-third of a mile from her. I immediately hauled down English colors, which I previously had up, set three American ensigns, trimmed our sails by the wind, and commenced a brisk fire from our little battery ; but this was returned with woeful interest. Her first broad side killed two men, and wounded six others, two of whom severely, one since dead. It also blew up

my salt boxes, with two nine pound cartridges. This communicated fire to a number of pistols, and three tube boxes that were lying on the companion way; all of which exploded, and some of the tubes penetrated through a small crevice under the companion leaf, and found their way to the cabin floor; but that being wet, and the fire screen broken up, no further accident took place.

This, together with the tremendous fire from the frigate, I as.. sure you, made warm work on the Tompkins's quarter deck; but thanks to her heels, and the exertions of my brave officers and crew, I have still the command of her. When she opened her fire upon me, it was about half past three. I was then a little abaft her beam. To have attempted to tack, in a hard squall, would at least have exposed me to a raking fire; and to have attempted it and miss would have been attended with the inevitable loss of the schooner. I therefore thought it most prudent to take her fire on the tack on which I was; and this I was exposed to from the position which I have mentioned until I passed her bow; she all the while standing on with me, and almost as fast as ourselves; and such a tune as was played round my ears, I assure you, I never wish to hear again in the same key. At 4 her shot began to fall short of us; at half past four, the wind dying away, and the enemy still holding it, his shot again began to reach us; got out sweeps, and turned all hands to. I also threw over all the lumber from the deck, and about 2000 weight of shot from the after hold. From about 5, A. M. all his shot fell short of us. At about 25 minutes after 5, the enemy hove about, and I was glad to get so well clear of one of the most quarrelsome companions that I ever met with. After the first broadside froin the frigate, no shot struck the hull of the Topkins; but the water was literally in a foam all around her. The moment before the squall struck us, I told Mr. Farnum that she was too heavy or us, and he went forward with a glass to take another look ; when the squall took the schooner as if by magic, and was up with her before we could get in our light sails.

My officers conducted themselves in a way that would have done honour to a more permanent service: Mr. Farnum, first lieutenant, conducted himself with his usual vigor. Mr. Acheson,

sailing master, performed his part in the style of a brave and accomplished seaman. Messrs. Miller and Dodd, second and third lieutenants, were not so immediately under my eye; but the precision and promptitude with which all my orders were executed, is sufficient proof that they are to be relied on. Mr. Thomas, boatswain, and Mr. Caswell, master's mate, were particularly active, and deserve encouragement.

The name of one of my poor fellows, who was killed, ought to be registered on the book of fame, and remembered with reverence as long as bravery is considered virtue. He was a black man, named John Johnson. A 24 pound shot struck him in the hip, and took away all the lower part of his body. In this state the poor brave fellow lay on deck, and several times exclaimed to his shipınates, “ Fire away my boys !—No haul a color down.” The other was also a black man by the name of John Davis, and was struck in much the same way. He fell near me, and several times requested to be thrown overboard, saying, “ He was only in the way of others.” Whilst America has such tars, she has little to fear from the tyrants of Europe.

From the circumstance of her shot being 24 pounders, (which I assure you is the case, as we have felt and weighed them) I am of opinion it was the Laurel, a new frigate which I had information of. A gentleman whom I took, told me she was in the fleet; that she was built and manned on purpose to cope with our frigates; and that if she got sight of me, she would certainly take me; as she was the fastest sailer he ever saw.



have a list of the killed and wounded. In every thing else we are in good. order and high spirits.

Yours respectfully,

NATHANIEL SHALER, Killed 2. Wounded 6; one of whom since dead.


85 miles above Fort Stoddert, January 1st, 1814. SIR,

On the 13th ultimo, I marched a detachment from this post with the view of destroying the towns of the inimical Creek Indians, on the Alabama, above the mouth of the Cahaba. After having marched about 80 miles, from the best information I could obtain, I was within thirty miles of a town, newly erected on ground called Holy, occupied by a large body of the enemy, under the command of Weatherford, the half breed chief, who was one of those who commanded the Indians that destroyed the garrison at Mims, in August last, and who has committed many depredations on the frontier inhabitants. I immediately caused a stockade to be erected for the security of the heavy baggage and sick. On

the morning of the 22d the troops resumed their line of march chiefly through woods, without a track to guide them. When near the town, on the morning of the 23d, my disposition for attack was made. The troops advanced in three columns. With the centre column I advanced myself, ordering Lester's guards and Wells's troop of dragoons to act as a corps of reserve. About noon the right column, composed of twelve months' volunteers, commanded by colonel Joseph Carson, came in view of the town called Eccanachaca (or Holy Ground), and was immediately vigorously attacked by the enemy, who were apprized of our approach, and had chosen their field of action.

Before the centre, commanded by lieutenant colonel Russell, with a part of the 3d regiment of United States' infantry and mounted militia riflemen, or the left column, which was composed of militia and a party of Choctaws, under Pushamuttalia, commanded by major Smoot, of militia, who were ordered to charge, could come generally into action, the enemy were repulsed, and were flying in all directions, many of them casting away their arms. Thirty of the enemy were killed, and, judging from every appearance, many were wounded. The loss on our part was one corporal killed, and one ensign, two sergeants, one corporal and two privates wounded.

A pursuit was immediately ordered; but from the nature of the country, nothing was effected. The town was nearly surrounded by swamps and deep ravines, which rendered our approach difficult, and facilitated the escape of the enemy. In the town we found a large quantity of provision and immense property of various kinds, which the enemy, flying precipitately, were obliged to leave behind, and which, together with two hundred houses, were destroyed. They had barely time to remove their women and children across the Alabama, which runs near where the town stood. The next day was occupied in destroying a town, consisting of sixty houses, eight miles higher up the river, and in taking and destroying the enemy's boats. At the tova last destroyed was killed three Indians of some distinction. The town first destroyed was built since the commencement of hostilities, and was establisued as a place of security for the inhabitauts of several villages. The leader Weatherford, Francis, and the Choctaw Sinquistur's son, who were principal prophets, resided here. Three Shawanese were among the slain.

Colonel Carson, of the volunteers, lieutenant colonel Russell, of the 3d reriment United States' infantry, and major Sinout, of the militia, greatly distinguished themselves. The activity and zeal of the assistant deputy quarter master general, captain Wert, and m brigade major, Kennedy, merit the approbation of government. I was inuch indebted to my aid-de-camp, lieutenant Calvit, of volunteers, to lieutenant Robeson, of tre 3d regiment, and major Caller, of militia, who acted as my aids on that day, for the

« PreviousContinue »