Page images
PDF
EPUB

She has lost 8 killed and 15 wounded, among the latter her first lieutenant, who has lost his arm. I am happy to say the Peacock received no material injury: her fore yard and two men slightly wounded; she received not one shot in her hull. The brig had upwards of one hundred thousand dollars on board.

I have the honour to be, &c.

JOHN B. NICOLSON. Honourable William Jones,

UNITED STATES' SHIP GENERAL PIKE, SACKETT'S HARBOR,

May 1st, 1814.

SIR,

I am happy to have it in my power to inform you, that the United States' ship “ Superior” was launched this morning, without accident. The Superior is an uncommon beautiful, well-built ship, something larger than the President, and could mount 64 guns, if it was thought advisable to put as many upon her. This ship has been built in the short space of eighty days, and when it is taken into view, that two brigs of 500 tons each, have also been built, rigged, and completely fitted for service, since the first of February, it will be acknowledged, that the mechanics employed on this station have done their duty.

I have the honour to be, &c.

ISAAC CHAUNCEY. Honourable William Jones.

UNITED STATES' SLOOP PEACOCK, May 5th, 1814. SIR,

As my letter of yesterday was too late for the mail, I address you again in the performance of a duty which is pleasing and gratifying to me in a high degree, and is but doing justice to the merits of the deserving officers under my command, of whom I have hitherto refrained from speaking, as I considered it most correct to make it a subject of a particular communication.

To the unwearied and indefatigable attention of first lieutenant Nicolson in organizing and training the crew, the success of this action is in a great measure to be attributed. I have confided greatly in him, and have never found my confidence misplaced. For judgment, coolness, and decision in times of difficulty, few can surpass him. This is the second action in which he has been engaged this war, and in both he has been successful. His great pride is to earn a commander's commission, by fighting for, instead of heiring it.

From second lieutenant Henley, and lieutenant Voorhees (actting third, who has also twice been successfully engaged) I received every assistance that zeal, ardor and experience could afford. The fire from their two divisions was terrible, and directed with

into port.

the greatest precision and coolness. In sailing master Percival, whose great wish and pride is to obtain a lieutenant's commission, and whose unremitting and constant attention to duty, added to his professional knowledge, entitle him to it in my opinion, I found an able as well as willing assistant. He handled the ship as if he had been working her into a roadstead. Mr. David Cole, acting carpenter, I have also found such an able and valuable man in his occupation, that I must request, in the most earnest manner, that he may receive a warrant: for I feel confident that to bis uncommon exertions, we, in a great measure, owe the getting our prize

From 11 A. M. to 6 P, M. he was over her side stopping shot holes, on a grating, and when the ordinary resources failed of success, his skill soon supplied him with efficient ones. Mr. Philip Myers, master's mate, has also conducted himself in such a manner as to warrant my recommendation of him as a master. He is a seaman, navigator, and officer; his family in New York is respectable, and he would prove an acquisition to the service. My clerk, Mr. John S. Townsend, is anxious to obtain, through my means, a midshipman's warrant, and has taken pains to qualify himself for it, by volunteering and constantly performing a midshipman's duty. Indeed I have but little use for a clerk, and he is as great a proficient as any of the young midshipmen, the whole of whom behaved in a manner that was pleasing to me, and must be gratifying to you, as it gives an earnest of what they will make in time; three only have been to sea before, and one only in a man of war; yet they are as much at home, and as much disposed to exert themselves, as any officer of the ship: Lieutenant Nicolson speaks in high terms of the conduct of Messrs. Greeves and Rodgers (midshipmen) who were in the prize with him.

Į have the honour to be, &c.

L. WARRINGTON, Honourable William Jones,

Extract of a letter from Commodore Chauncey to the Secretary of

the Nary. ENITED STATES' SHIP GENERAL PIKE, SACKETT'S HARBOR,

May 7th, 1814, “I received a letter from captain Woolsey last evening, dated at 6 o'clock P. M. on the 5th instant. The enemy had been cannonading Oswego about three hours when the express came away, without doing any injury. He had been twice repulsed in his attempt to land, and the officers and men in high spirits, and expected to be able to hold out until reinforcements arrived. Colonel Mitchell and captain Woolsey are both exceller:t officers, and I may say, without disparagement to any other corps, that the Bd regiment of artillery is one of the best disciplined corps in tlii

army, and is remarkable for the great number of scientific and correct officers in it-we therefore may expect a most gallant defence of Oswego. If the enemy has succeeded in taking the place, he has paid dearly for it. The attack, I presume, was renewed yesterday morning, as the guns we heard distinctly at this place from morning until about 2 P. M. when the firing ceased."

UNITED STATES' SHIP GENERAL PIKE, SACKETT'S HARBOR,

May 7th, 5 o'clock P. M. 1814. SIR,

The enemy's fleet passed in sight about an hour since, at a great distance, and standing for Kingston. We have several vague reports, that the enemy landed from 1500 to 3000 men, and that they carried the fort at Oswego by storm and put the garrison to the sword; others, that the garrison, with captain Woolsey and seamen, surrendered, and that the enemy was marching to the falls. All these reports are unquestionably much exaggerated, and if it should turn out that Oswego has been taken, it will be found that the troops and seamen did their duty, and that the enemy has paid dearly for the place.

I have the honour to be, &c.

ISAAC CHAUNCEY, Honourable W. Jones, Secretary of the Navy.

GENERAL ORDERS. HEAD QUARTERS, SACKETT'S HARBOR, May 12th, 1814, Major general Brown has the satisfaction of announcing to the troops of his division, that the detachment under the cominand of lieutenant colonel Mitchell, of the corps of artillery, have, by their gallant and military conduct on the 5th and 6th instant, gained a name in arms worthy of the nation they serve and the cause they support. For nearly two days they maintained an unequal con test against ten times their numbers, and but yielded their post when the interest of their country made that measure necessary.

The companies composing this gallant detachment were Boyle's, Romayne's, M'Intires, and Pierce's, of the heavy artillery, and a few seamen under the command of lieutenart Pearce of the navy-in all, less than three hundred men, The enemy's force by land and water exceeded three thousund.

HEAD QUARTERS, SACKETTS HABOR,

May 12th, 1814 SIR.

Enclosed is an abstract from the report of lieutenant colonel Mitchell, of the affair at Oswego. Being well satisfied with the

manner in which the colonel executed my orders, and with the evidence given of steady discipline and gallant conduct on the part of the troops, I have noticed them in the general order, a copy of which is enclosed.

The enemy's object was the naval and military stores deposited at the falls, 10 miles in the rear of the fort. These were protected. The stores at the fort and village were not important.

I am, &c.

JACOB BROWN, maj. gen. Ilon. Secretary at War.

LIEUTENANT COLONEL MITCHELL'S REPORT.

I informed you of my arrival at fort Oswego on the 30th ultimo. This post being but occasionally and not recently occupied by regular troops, was in a bad state of defence. Of cannon we had but five old guns, three of which had lost their trunnionswhat could be done in the way of repair was effected-new platforms were laid, the gun carriages put in order, and decayed pickets replaced. On the fifth instant the British naval force, consisting of 4 large ships, 3 brigs and a number of gun and other boats, were descried at revellie beating about 7 miles from the fort. Information was immediately given to captain Woolsey of the navy, ( who was at Oswego village) and to the neighboring militia. It being doubtful on what side of the river the enemy would attempt to land, and my force (290 effectives) being too small to bear division, I ordered the tents to be pitched on the village side, while I occupied the other with my whole force. It is probable that this artifice bad its effect and determined the enemy to attack where, kom appearances, they expecied the least opposition. About one o'clock the fleet approached. Fifteen boats, large and crowded with troops, at a given signal, moved slowly to the shore. These were preceded by gun boats sent to rake the woods and cover the landing, while the larger vessels opened a fire upon the fort. Captain Boyle, and lieutenant Legate, (so soon as the debarking boats got within range of our shot) opened upon them a very successful fire from the shore battery, and compelled them twice to retire. They at length returned to the ships, and the whole stood off from the shore for better anchorage. One of the enemy's boats, which had been deserted, was taken up by us, and some others by the militia. The first mentioned was sixty feet long, and carried thirty-six oars and three sails, and could accommodate 150 men. She had received a ball through her bow, and was nearly filled with water.

Picket guards were stationed at different points, and we lay on our arms during the night.

At day break on the 6th the fleet appeared, bearing up under easy sail. The Wolfe, &c. took a position directly against the fort and batteries, and for 3 hours kept up a heavy fire of grape, &c. Finding that the enemy had effected a landing, I withdrew my small disposable force into the rear of the fort, and with two companies, (Romayne's and Melvin's) met their advancing columns, while the other companies engaged the flanks of the enemy. Lieutenant Pierce of the navy and some seamen, joined in the attack, and fought with their characteristic bravery. We maintained our ground about 30 minutes, and as long as consisted with my farther duty of defending the public stores deposited at the falls, which no doubt formed the principal object of the expedition on the part of the enemy.

Nor was this moyement maile precipitately. I halted within 400 yards of the fort. Captain Romayne's company formed the rear guard, and, remaining with it, I marched to this place in good order, destroying the bridges in my rear. The enemy landed 600 of De Watteville's regiment, 600 marines, two companies of the Glengary corps, and 350 seamen.

General Drummond and commodore Yeo were the land and naval commanders. They burned the old barracks and evacuated the fort about 3 o'clock in the morning of the 7th.

Our loss in killed, is 6 ; in wounded 38—and in missing 25. That of the enemy is much greater. Deserters, and citizens of ours taken prisoners and afterwards released, state their killed at 64 and wounded in proportion-among them are several land and navy officers of merit.

I cannot close this despatch without speaking of the dead and the living of my detachment. Lieutenant Blaney, a young man of much promise, was unfortunately killed. His conduct in the action was highly meritorious. Captain Boyle and lieutenant Legate merit my highest approbation, and indeed I want language to express my admiration of their gallant conduct. The subalterns M Comb, Ansart, King, Robb, Earl, M'Clintock and Newkirk, performed well their several parts.

It would be injustice were I not to acknowledge and report the zeal and patriotism evinced by the militia, who arrived at a short notice, and were anxious to be useful.

Extract of a letter from captain Macdonough to the Secretary of

the Navy

“VERGENNES, May 14th, 1814. “ I have the honour to inform you, that an engagement between our battery at the mouth of Oiter Creek, and eight of the enemy's galleys, with a bomb-vessel, has terminated by the retreat of the enemy, who it is supposed came with an intention of blockading us.

« PreviousContinue »