« PreviousContinue »
You have, within a few days, opened your way to the Tallapoosie, and destroyed a confederacy of the enemy, ferocious by nature, and grown insolent from impunity. Relying on their nunbers, the security of their situation, and the assurances of their prophets, they derided our approach, and already exulted, in anticipation of the victory they expected to obtain. But they were ignorant of the influence of government on the human powers, nor knew what brave men, and civilized, could effect. By their yells, they hoped to frighten us, and with their wooden fortifications to oppose us. Stupid mortals! their yells but designated their situation the more certainly; whilst their walls became a snare for their own destruction. So will it ever be when presumption and ignorance contend against bravery and prudence.
The fiends of the Tallapoosie will no longer murder our women and children, or disturb the quiet of our borders. Their midnight flambeaux will no more illumine their council-house, or shine upon the victim of their infernal orgies. In their places, a new generation will arise, who will know their duty better. The weapons of warfare will be exchanged for utensils of husbandry; and the wilderness, which now withers in sterility, and mourns the desolation which overspreads her, will blossom as the rose, and become the nursery of the arts. But before this happy day can arrive, other chastisements remain to be inflicted.
It is indeed lamentable, that the path to peace should lead through blood, and over the bodies of the slain: but it is a dispensation of Providence, to inflict partial evils that good may be produced.
Our enemies are not sufficiently humbled; they do not sue for peace. A collection of them awaits our approach, and remain to be dispersed. Buried in ignorance, and seduced by their prophets, they have the weakness to believe they will still be able to make a stand against us. They must be undeceived, and made to atone for their obstinacy and their crimes, by still further suffering. The hopes which have so long deluded them, must be driven from their last refuge. They must be made to know that their prophets are impostors, and that our strength is mighty, and will prevail. Then, and not till then, may we expect to make with them a peace that shall be lasting.
Extract of a letter from general Jackson to governor Blount.
March 28th, 1814. “ I took up the line of march on the morning of the 24th instant, and having opened a passage of 52 miles over the ridges which divide the waters of the two rivers, I reached the bend of the Talapoosie three miles beyond where I had the engagement of the 220 January, and at the southern extremity of New Yorcau on
the morning of the 27th. This bend resembles in its curvature that of a horse shoe, and is thence called by that name among the whites. Nature furnishes few situations as eligible for defence; and barbarians have never rendered one more secure by art. Across the neck of land which leads into it from the north, they have had erected a breast-work of the greatest compactness and strength, from five to eight feet high, and prepared with double rows of port holes very artfully arranged. The figure of this wall manifested no less skill in the projectors of it, than its construction : an army could not approach it, without being exposed to a double and cross fire from the enemy, who lay in perfect security behind it. The area of this peninsula, thus bounded by breast-works, includes, I conjecture, 80 or 100 acres.
“ Having maintained for a few minutes a very obstinate conflict, muzzle to muzzle, through the port holes, in which many of the enemy's balls were welded to the bayonets of our muskets, our troops succeeded in gaining the opposite side of the works. The event could no longer be doubtful. The enemy, although many of them fought to the last with that kind of bravery which desperation inspires, were at length routed and cut to pieces. The whole margin of the river which surrounded the peninsula, was strewed with the slain.
“ Among the dead was found their famous prophet Monahooe, shot in the mouth by a grapeshot, as if Heaven designed to chastise his impostures by an appropriate punishment. Two other prophets were also killed; leaving no others, as I learn, on the Talapoosie. Our loss was 26 white men killed and 106 wounded, Cherokees 18 killed and 36 wounded. Friendly Creeks 5 killed and 11 wounded.
“The loss of colonel Williams's regiment of regulars is 17 killed and 55 wounded, two of whom have since died. Amongst the former were major Montgomery, lieutenant Somerville, and lieutenant Moulton, who fell in the charge made on the works. No men ever acted more gallantly or fell more gloriously.
“Of the artillery company commanded by captain Parish, 11 were wounded, one of whom, Samuel Garner, has since died, Lieutenants Allen and Ridgely were both wounded. The whole company acted with its usual gallantry. Captain Bradford of the 17th United States' infantry, who acted as chief engineer, and superintended the firing of the cannon, has entitled himself, by his good conduct, to my warmest thanks.
“ To say all in a word, the whole army who achieved this fortunate victory, have merited, by their good conduct, the gratitude of their country. So far as I saw or could learn, there was not an officer or soldier who did not perform his duty with the utmost fidelity. The conduct of the militia on this occasion has gone far towards redeeming the character of that description of troops. They have been as orderly in their encampments, and on their line of march, as they have been signally brave in the day of battle,
In a few days I shall fake up the line of march for the Hickory ground; and have every thing to hope from such troops.”
The following extract from the life of general Jackson, by his aid,
John Reid, brevet major, United States' army, pourtrays the difficulties which surrounded the general prior to the battle of Tohopeka or the Horse Shoe.
Nothing was wanted now, to put the troops in motion, and actively to prosecute the war, but necessary supplies. Remonstance, entreaty, and threats, had long since been used, and exhausted. . Every mean had been resorted to, to impress on the minds of the contractors the necessity of urging forward, in faithful discharge of their duty; but the same indifference and neglect were still persisted in. To ward off the effects of such great evils,-evils which he foresaw would again eventuate in discontent and revolt, Jackson resolved to pursue a different course, and no longer. depend on persons who had so frequently disappointed him. He accordingly despatched messengers to the nearest settlements, with directions to purchase provisions at whatever price they could be procured. This course, to these incumbents on the nation, afforded an argument much stronger than any to which he had before resorted. Thus assailed in a way they had not before thought of, by being held and made liable for the amount of the purchases, they exerted themselves in discharge of a duty they had hitherto shamefully neglected. Every expedient had been tried, to urge them to a compliance with the obligations they were under to their government ; until present, none had proved effectual. In one of his letters, about this time, the general remarks : ' I have no doubt, but a combination has been formed, to starve us out, and defeat the objects of the campaign ; but McGee ought to have recollected that he had disappointed and starved my army once; and now in return, it shall be amply provided for, at his expense. At this point, he was to have delivered the rations, and whatever they may cost, at this place, he will be required to pay; any price that will ensure their delivery, I have directed to be given.' The supplying an army by contractors, he had often objected to, as highly exceptionable and dangerous. His monitor, on this subject, was his own experience. Disappointment, inutiny, and abandonment by his troops, when in the full career of success, and an unnecessarily protracted campaign, were among the evils already experienced, and which he wished, if possible, to be in future avoided.
“ Under these and other circumstances which seemed to involve much more serious consequences, the general had but little repose or quietness; every thing was working in opposition to his wishes. The East Tennessee brigade, under the command of
Doherty, having been instructed to halt, until adequate supplies sh"uld be received at head quarters, had already manifested many symptoms of revolt, and was with much difficulty restrained from returning immediately home. Added to their owo discontents, and unwillingness to remain in service, much pains had been taken by a personage high in authority, to scatter dissension amongst them, and to persuade them, that they had been improperly called out, and without sufficient authority ;-that the draft was illegal, and that they were under no necessity to serve. Arguments like these, urged by a man of standing, were well calculated to answer the end desired ; what the governing motive
rise to a course of conduct so strange, is difficult to be imagined; none was ever avowed, and certainly none can be given, that will account for it satisfactorily. On the morning that general Doherty was about to proceed to head quarters, he was astonished to find a beating up for volunteers, to abandon his camp and return home. Notwithstanding all his efforts to prevent it, one hundred and eighty deserted. His surprise was still greater, on learning, that a captain from Carter county, had been instructed by major general Cocke, that in the event of his marching back any number of the troops, he would take upon himself to discharge them, on their return to Knoxville. Before this, Cocke had been at the camp of Doherty, and had, by different means, attempted to excite mutiny and disaffection among the troops. As a reason for being unwilling to.go with them in command, he stated, that they would be placed in a situation which he disliked to mention, and one which his feelings would not enable him to witness: that they were going out to be placed under the command of general Jackson, who would impose on them the severest trials, and where they would have to encounter every privation and suffering. He represented, that at head quarters there was not a sufficiency of provisions on hand to last five days ; nor was there a probability that there would be any change of circumstances for the better ;-that should they once be placed in the power of Jackson, he would, with the regular force under bis command, compel them to serve as long as he pleased. Expressions like these, to men who hail never before been in the field, and coming from one who had already been employed in a respectable command, were well calculated to poduče serious impressions. Doherty, who was a brigadier in the first division, was at a loss to know how he should proceed with his own major general, who had obtruded hiniself into his camp, and was endeavoring to excite a revolt ; he accordingly despatched an express to head quarters, to give information of what was passing. The messenger arrived, and, in return, received an order from general Jackson to Doherty, commanding him, peremptorily, to seize, and send under guard to Fort Strother, every officer, without regard to his rank, who should be found, in any manner, attempting to excite his army to mutiny. General Cocke, perhaps appre
hending what was going on, had retired before this order arrived, and thus escaped the punishment due to so aggravated an offence."
PROVINCE OF LOWER CANADA,
Odell Town, March 31st, 1814; SIR,
We have had an affair with the enemy, in which our troops have given him another test of firmness and valour.
Pursuant to the designs communicated to you in my last, and to accomplish your views if in my power, I entered Canada yesterday morning, and was met by the enemy near this place, about eleven o'clock, whom we forced at every point of attack on the route to La Cole, distant from hence one league, and from St. John's six. We reached the former post about three o'clock, and found there a strong corps in possession of a spacious lofty stone mill, of which I had received some information. An eighteen pounder had been ordered forward to effect the destruction of this building, but it broke down, and after being repaired, the only road of approach through a deep forest was reported to be impracticable to a gun of such weight. An opinion prevailed at the same time with the chief engineer, major Totten, founded on intelligence previously received, and several of the best informed officers, that an iron twelve would suffice to make a breach ; but after a fair and tedious experiment at 300 yards distance only, it was discovered our battery could make no impression.
Brigadier generals Smith and Bissell, covered our guns, and brigadier general Macomb, with a select corps, formed the re
The enemy had been reported, from a source considered strictly confidential, to 2500 strong, and his first attack of my right favoured the report, from the use he made of congreve rockets and other indications of deliberate preparation; the corps, therefore, were held in high order to receive his combined attack. Yet believing in the efficacy of our battery, dispositions had been made to intercept the enemy, should he evacuate the post, and to give it the utmost effect, we were obliged to take ground near the margin of the field, which encompassed the mill. During the cannonade, which was returned with vivacity by the enemy's gallies (I presume) several sorties and desperate charges were made from the mill upon our battery, which were repulsed with incredible coolness by the covering corps, at the expense of some blood and some lives on both sides ; it is reported to me, that in the last charge, a captain of grenadiers and fifteen men fell together, but I cannot vouch for the fact. Finding all our attempts to make a breach unsuccessful, I withdrew the battery, called in my detachments, and having removed our dead and wounded, and every thing else, fell back to this place about six o'clock,