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commodore's boat was cut in two; a shot went through the rocket boat; one of the small schooners, carrying two 32 pounders, had a shot which raked her from aft, forward ; the boats, generally, suffered ; but I have not ascertained what loss they sustained in men.
“ Yesterday a gentleman of this county, by the name of Parron, who lives at the mouth of the creek, came up, and said, that himself and brother had been taken and carried on board. That he had been landed from the commodore, to inform the inhabitants, that if they remained at home quietly, they should not be molested, but if on la ding he found their houses deserted, he would burn them all, as he had done the house of a Mr. Patterson, and the barn of Hr. Skinner (our purser). Saturday and yesterday, the enemy were employed on the Patuxent River, in landing on the banks to plunder stock, &c. It was on Sunday evening they burnt the property of Mr. Patterson and Skinner. Mr. Parron inforins me, that commodore Barrie, of the Dragon, always commanded, and is much disappointed at his defeats, for that he had wrote to adıniral Cockburn, that if the admiral would send him a frigate and brig, he would most assuredly destroy the Flotilla. The frigate is the Acasta, the brig the Jasseur. They left only 200 men, and one small boat on board the Dragon, at the mouth of the Patuxent, so that there must have been in the affair on Friday, upwards of 800 men! They came with a band of music playing."
UNITED STATES' SHIP SUPERIOR, SACKETT'S HARBON,
June 20th, 1814. SIR,
Knowing that the enemy was constantly receiving naval and military stores at Kingston, by the St. Lawrence, I thought it might be practicable to surprise and capture a brigade of boats with stores on board, and either destroy or bring them off. For this purpose I directed lieutenant Gregory to take three giys with only their crew and one settee in each boat, and proceed down the St. Lawrence, secrete himself on some of the islands, and watch a favourable opportunity to surprise a brigade of loaded boats, and either bring them off or destroy them, as circumstances would point out.
Lieutenant Gregory left here with his party on the evening of the 15th instant, and proceeded to the “ Thousand Islands," where he hauled his boats on shore and concealed them : saw two brigaires of boats pass, one up the river with troops, of course too strong for our little party; the other down the river enpty, and not worth taking
Lieutenant Gregory found the enemy had gun-boats stationed between Kingston and Prescott, within about six miles of each other, and that they had a telegraph look out, in almost every high island, so that they convey intelligence with great expedition.
Yesterday morning, between 9 and 10 o'clock, lieutenant Gregory finding himself discovered, and a gun-boat close to him, he instantly formed the bold design to board her, which he did, and carried her without losing a man: one of the enemy was badly wounded. She proved to be the fine gun-boat Black Snake or Number 9, and mounted one eighteen pounder and manned with 18 men, chiefly royal marines, (a list of which is enclosed). Lieutenant Gregory manned his prize and proceeded up the St. Lawrence, but was soon discovered and pursued by a very large gun-boat mounting two heavy guns and rowed with upwards of forty oars, which overhauled him fast. He kept possession of his prize until the enemy threw their shot over him ; he then very reluctantly (but I think properly) took out all his prisoners and scuttled the gun-boat, which sunk instantly, and escaped the enemy although so heavily loaded. Lieutenant Gregory arrived safe this morning with all his prisoners.
Permit me to recommend this gallant young officer to your notice and patronage. He is not surpassed by any of his grade in zeal, intelligence, and intrepidity. Sailing master Vaughan and Mr. Dixon, each commanding a gig under lieutenant Gregory, are entitled to my acknowledgments for their zeal and activity on all occasions to render service to their country, more particularly on the last expedition, when, from their knowledge of the river, they rendered the most important services by pointing out the proper channels to elude the pursuit of the enemy.
Will you be pleased to direct in what manner the prisoners are to be disposed of.
I have the honour to be, &c.
ISAAC CHAUNCEY. Secretary of the Navy.
Extract of a letter from general P. Stuart, of the Maryland
militia, to the Secretary of War, dated June 23d, 1814. “I have ordered on to Washington, under an officer who is directed upon his arrival to report himself to you, five prisoners and one deserter. The prisoners were taken on the 21st instant by a detachment of Maryland militia under my command, aided by a squadron of horse from the district of Columbia, under the command of major Peter.
“ The cruel course of war waged by the enemy upon our extensive water courses, has forced me to call into service a great body of our militia.
“I must express my thanks for the aid so promptly sent from your department. It was a source of considerable regret that major Peter of the artillery, notwithstanding his great exertions, could not join us till morning By his aid, I feel confident we could have destroyed the enemy's schooner sent up to take off
the residue of the tobacco. Major Peter's squadron acted with promptitude and ardor, displaying a temper which will render them essentially useful to the nation. The frequent injuries which arise to the service from intelligence communicated to the enemy, have determined me to suffer no deserter to remain within my command.”
Sunday, June 25th, 1814.-10 A. M. SIR,
This morning, at 4 A. M. a combined attack of the artille ry, marine corps and flotilla, was made upon the enemy's two frigates, at the mouth of the creek. After two hours engagement, they got under way and made sail down the river. They are now warping round Point Patience, and I am now moving up the Patuxent with my flotilla. My floss is acting midshipman Asquith killed, and ten others killed and wounded.
Mr. Blake,* the bearer of this, was a volunteer in my barge. He will give you every other information.
With respect, &c.
JOSHUA BARNEY. The Secretary of the Navy.
PHILADELPHIA, June 25th, 1814. SIR,
On Sunday last the British frigate Belvidera captured a small schooner belonging to Indian river, about ten miles above Cape Henlopen; and after having her in possession thirty-four hours, ransomed her for 800 dollars. I was yesterday morning on the eve of leaving this, with about 30 officers and men, who are employed here in the equipment of the Guerriere, to join the flotilla, buť received information that the Belvidera left the bay on the 21st.
The flotilla is down as low as Egg Island Flats, from which it came up to New Castle only the day before the Belvidera came into the Bay, for the purpose of replenishing its provisions.
With great respect, &c.
JOHN RODGERS. The Secretary of the Navy.
CAMP NEAR ST. LEONARD'S, June 26th, 1814. SIR,
We decided on attacking the enemy this morning at daybreak; after two and a half or three hours cannonading, he
* Mr. T. P. Andrews, of Washington, accompanied Mr. Blake ; they both acted as captains of marines, under major William B. Barney.-Edit.
thought proper to retreat down the river, and commodore Barney has taken advantage of his absence to pass bis fotilla up the Patuxent. I was constrained to precipitate the attack before I was fully prepared, from the circumstance of all the enemy's small vessels having left the river. The ground I was obliged to occuру
for a battery, consisted of a high bluff point, having the Patux. ent on the right, and St. Leonard's Creek on the left, with which the communication was over a flat piece of ground, subject to be enfiladed from the Patuxent, and the hill on which the guns were to be placed, liable to a severe fire from the same quarter; therefore, in case of an attack, the enemy might have rendered our situation very uncomfortable, by stationing a small vessel so as to command the low ground I speak of.
We committed a great many blunders during the action, or our success would probably have been more complete. I forbear to enter into minute particulars, lest I should cast an indirect censure on some officers, perhaps undeserved, for I must acknowledge, I was so much engaged at the battery, as to have but an indistinct knowledge of what passed elsewhere. But the fact is, the infantry and light artillery decided upon retreating without my ordlers, before they had lost a single man killed or wounded; and at the time too, when the enemy were manouvring to the rear of our position with their barges. The consequence of this moving was very disadvantageous; the men at the guns perceiving the infantry retreating, and the enemy getting into the rear, their numbers began sensibly to diminish, and I was pretty soon left with only men enough to work one gun, which I was necessitated to turn to the rear for the sake of keeping the barges in check. Finally, the few men that remained were so exhausted with fatigue, we found it impracticable to fire any more, and the limbers and horses which had been ordered down the hill, having disappeared and gone, I know not where, I found myself under the painful necessity of spiking the guns, to prevent their being used by the enemy, should he get possession of them.
I might, in justice to the infantry, acknowledge they did not take to ilight, but quitted the ground in perfect order ; after a while I was able to halt them, and bring them back. In the mean time the enemy were getting under way, and retiring down the river: from the precipitancy of his retreat, I infer he must have suffered considerably. From some untoward circumstances, I had it not in my power to observe the effect of each shot we fired, otherwise I think its destruction would be complete.
Commodore Barney furnished me with twenty excellent men from his flotilla to work the guns. By some mismanagement in loading with the hot shot, one poor fellow had his arm blown off, which is the only material accident we sustained. One of the enemy's rockets passed through an ammunition box, which had been injudiciously placed, and exploded it, which did some dam
age. An ammunition cart near it was covered with the fire, but fortunately did not explode. Some other trifling accidents were sustained.
We commenced in the night an epaulment to cover our guns; but the work progressed so little, from the shortness of time, i did not think it best to occupy it. We retreated our guns so as barely to allow the muzzles to peep, over the hill. This brought us on descending ground, in a ploughed cornfield. The recoil of the downwards, every
time it was fired, gave us excessive labour to bring it up to its position. In other respects it answered admirably. "The enemy found it impossible to hit either the guns or the men. Every shot aimed by them, either fell short and struck the bank, or flew clear over. Towards the close of the firing, they adopted the method of using small charges of powder, which just threw his shot over the hill, probably firing from his carronades; but the effect was not more decisive.
To prevent the enemy taking alarm in the night, from our movements, we were necessitated to halt our ammunition wagons and carts above a quarter of a mile from the battery, and pass all our stores; even the bricks of which our furnace was constructed, were brought that distance by hand. This fatigued the men excessively. I felt certain, if the enemy should open upon us, even at a random fire, it would be impossible to get any thing done for the confusion it would create.
I ought to mention, that the situation in which the infantry and light artillery were placed, was a trying one for new raised troops. Most of the shot which missed the battery, fell among them. I had anticipated that disadvantage, but it was unavoidable. It was indispensable to have them covered by some rising ground from the waters of the Patuxent, and the position chosen, was the only one compatible with that view, and the design I had in posting them, to protect the rear of our battery.
The battalion of the 38th regiment, joined us but last evening, after a hard day's march, and were immediately marched to the ground. Some of their men were completely exhausted, and the whole excessively fatigued and half famished.
Commodore Barney's flotilla was at hand, ready to open upon the enemy, the moment a favourable opportunity should offer. He commenced firing soon after us, and drew off that of the enemy for a while. I have not seen him since the action, but understand he lost several men, killed and wounded.
I hope, on the whole, taking into consideration our not being fully prepared, the excessive fatigue the men had undergone, and that we have attained the object in view, which was the release of commodore Barney's flotilla, the affair will not reflect dishonour on our troops.
I have the honour to be, &c.
DECIUS WADSWORTH. General John Armstrong, Secretary of War.