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Being obliged, from the nature of the ground, to act on foot, it was impossible that my own personal observation should reach to every officer. Some part of this report must therefore rest upon the information of others.
It is the business of this communication to speak of the conduct of individuals ; yet you will permit me to premise, althougla well known to yourself already, that the object of the left column was to penetrate, by a circuitous route, between the enemy's batteries, where one-third of his force was always kept on duty, and his main camp, and that it was subdivided into three divisionsthe advance of 200 riflemen, and a few Indians, commanded by colonel Gibson, and two columns moving parallel to, and 30 yards distant from, each other. The right coluinn was commanded by lieutenant colonel Wood, headed by 400 infantry, under major Brook, of the 23d, and followed by 500 volunteers and militia. being, parts of lieutenant colonels Dobbin's, M.Burney's and Fleming's regiments, and was intended to attack the batteries,
The left column of 500 militia, was commanded by brigadier general Davis, and comprised the commands of lieutenant colonels Hopkins, Churchhill and Crosby, and was intended to hold in check any reinforcements from the enemy's camp; or both columns (circumstances requiring it, which frequently happened) to co-operate in the same object.
After carrying by storm, in the handsomest style, a strong block house, in rear of the third battery, making its garrison prisoners, destroying the three 24 pounders and their carriages in the third battery, and blowing up the enemy's magazine, and after co-operating with general Miller in taking the second battery, the gallant leaders of the three divisions
all fell nearly at the same time; colonel Gibson, at the second battery, and general Davis and lieutenant colonel Wood in an assualt upon the first.
Brigadier general Davis, although a militia officer of little experience, conducted on this occasion with all the coolness and bravery of a veteran, and fell while advancing upon the enemy's entrenchments. His loss as a citizen as well as a soldier, will be severely felt in the patriotic county of Genessee. Colonel Gibson fully sustained the high military reputation, which he had before go justly acquired. You know how exalted an opinion I have always entertained of lieutenant colonel Wood of the engineers. His conduct on this day was what it uniformly has been, on every similar occasion, on an exhibition of military skill, acute judgment, and heroic valor. Of the other regular officers, lieutenant colonel M.Donald and major Brook, senior in command, will report to you in relation to their respective divisions. Permit me, however, to say of these two officers, that, much as was left to them by the fall of their distinguished leaders, they were able to sustain their parts in the most admirable manners and they richly deserve the notice of the government.
· Of the militia, I regret that the limits of a report will not permit me even to name all of those, who on this occasion established claims to the gratitude of their fellow citizens; much less to particularize individual merit. Lieutenant colonels Hopkins, M.Burney, Churchhill and Crosby, and majors Lee, Marcle, Wilson, Lawrence, Burr, Dunham, Kellogg, and Ganson, are entitled to the highest praise for their gallant conduct, their steady and persevering exertions. Lieutenant colonel Dobbin being prevented by severe indisposition from taking the field, major Hall, assistant inspector general, volunteered his services to join major Lee in the command of the volunteer regiment; and major Lee and every other officer speaks in the highest terms of the gallant and good conduct of this young officer.
Captain Fleming, who commanded the Indians, was, as he always is, in the front of the battle. There is not a more intrepid soldier in the army. I should be ungrateful were I to omit the names of captains Knapp and Hull of the volunteers, and captain Parker and lieutenant Chatfield of the militia, by whose intrepidity I was, during the
action, extricated from the most unpleasant situation. Captains Richardson, Buel and Kennedy, lieutenants Parkhurst and Brown, and adjutants Dobbin, Bates and Robinson, particularly distinguished themselves. The patriotic conduct of captain Elliot, with twenty young gentlemen, who volunteered from Batavia, and of major Hubbard with fourteen men, exempted by age froin military duty, should not be omitted. They were conspicuous during the action.
You will excuse me if I shall seem partial in speaking of my own family, consisting of my brigade major Frazer, my volunteer aid-de-camp Riddle, both first sieutenants in the 15th infantry) captain Bigger of the Canadian volunteers, Messrs. Williams and Delapierre, volunteer aids for the day, all of whom, except Mr. Williams, were wounded.
Lieutenants Frazer and Riddle were engaged for most of the preceding day with fatigue parties, cutting roads for the advance of the column through the swamp, and falling timber to the rear, and within 150 yards of the enemy's right: which service they executed with so much address as to avoid discovery ; and on the succeeding day they conducted the two columns to the attack. Frazer was severely wounded by a musket ball while spiking a gun on the second battery. Riddle, after the first battery was carried, descended into the enemy's magazine, and after securing (with the assistance of quarter master Greene of the volunteers, whose good conduct deserves much praise) a quantity of fixed ammunition, blew up the magazine and suffered severely by the explosion. I must solicit, through you, sir, the attention of the general government to these meritorious young men. Captain Bigger is an excellent officer, and rendered me much assistance, but was dangerously wounded. The other young gentlemen are citizens, and deserve much credit for their activity, and for having volunta
rily encountered danger. My aid-de-camp, major Dox, was con fined at Buffalo by
sickness. On the whole, sir, I can say of the regular troops attached to the left column, of the veteran volunteers of lieutenant colonel Dobbin's regiment, that every man did his duty, and their conduct on this occasion reflects a new lustre on their former brilliant achievements. To the militia, the compliment is justly due, and I could pay them no greater one, than to say, that they were not surpassed by the heroes of Chippewa and Niagara in steadiness and bravery.
The studied intricacy of the enemy's defences, consisting not only of the breast-work connecting their batteries, but of successive lines of entrenchments for a hundred yards in the rear, covering the batteries and enfilading each other, and the whole obstructed by abattis, brush and felled timber, was calculated to produce confusion among the assailants, and led to several contests at the point of the bayonet. But by our double columns and temporary irregularity in the one, was always corrected by the other. Our success would probably have been more complete, but for the rain which unfortunately set in soon after we commenced our march, which rendered the fire of many of our muskets useless, and by obscuring the sun, led to several unlucky mistakes. As an instance of this, a body of 50 prisoners who had surrendered, were ordered to the fort in charge of a subaltern and 14 volunteers; the officer mistaking the direction, conducted them towards the British camp in the route by which we had advanced, and they were re-taken with the whole of the guard, excepting the officer and one man, who fought their way back. Several of our stragglers were made prisoners by the same mistake. But, sir, notwithstanding these accidents, we have reason to rejoice at our signal success, in inflicting a vastly disproportionate injury on the enemy, and in wholly defeating all his plans of operation against
I have the honour to be, &c.
P. B. PORTER,
Brig. Gen. comdg. volunteers and militia, Major General Brown, Commanding, &c.
Naines and rank of the officers killed, wounded, and missing,
Killed-lieutenant colonel E. D. Wood, captain and brevet lieutenant colonel of engineers; captain L. Bradford, 21st infantry; captain H. Hale, 11th infantry; captain L. G. A. Armstead, ist riflemen.
Wounded-Staff, brigadier general Ripley, 2d brigade, dangerously, shot through the neck ; 1st lieutenant Crawford, 11th infantry; brigade major 1st brigade, slightly, shot in the arm ; 9th infantry, lieutenat colonel Aspin wall, severly, left arm amputated ; captain Ingersol, slightly, in the head; 1st lieutenant E (hilds, severely, bayonet wound through the thigh 11th infantry
ist lieutenant W. F. Hale, dangerously, shot in the body; 21 lieutenant I. Clarke, severely in the body ; 3d lieutenant Stevenson, severely, through the thigh; 3d lieutenant Davis, dangerously, through the body; 19th infantry, major Trimble, dangerously, shot through the body; ensign Neely, slightly, shot in the thigh ; 21st infantry, ensign Cummings, severely, in the arm ; 23d infantry, 1st Tieutenant Brown, slightly, in the arm; ensign O'Fling, mortally, since dead; 1st riflemen, captain Ramsey, severely, in the groin; 3d lieutenant Cobb, severely, in the body; 4th riflemen, colonel James Gibson, mortally, since dead; 1st lieutenant Grant, severe wounds in the arm and side
Missing-1st lieutenant Ballard, adjutant 4th riflemen, prisoner.
OF THE MILITIA-killed-brigadier general Davis, of volunteer brigade; captain Buel, of lieutenant colonel Crosby's regiment; lieutenant Brown, of lieutenant colonel M'Burney's regiment; lieutenant W. Belknap, of lieutenant colonel Flemming's regi. ment; ensign Blakely, of lieutenant colonel M'Burney's regiment.
Wounded-Staff, major general P. B. Porter, sword wound in the hand; 1st lieutenant Frazer, 13th infantry, brigade major, severely, in the leg; 1st lieutenant Riddle, 15th infantry, acting as aid-de-camp, slight contusion ; captain Bigger, New York volunteers, acting aid, severely through the breast and shoulder; lieutenant colonel Dobbin's regiment-captain Knapp, in the hip; lieutenant Bailey, in the side; lieutenant colonel M.Burney's regiment-captain Hale, wounded and prisoner; lieutenant coIonel Hopkins' regiment-lieutenant Gillet, through the thigh.
Missing-lieutenant colonel W.L. Churchhill; major E. Wilson ; quarter master 0. Wilcox; captain Crouch ; captain Case; Heutenant Case ; ensign Chambers ; ensign Clark; ensign Church, prisoners.
FORT M'HENRY, September 24th, 1814.
A severe indisposition, the effect of great fatigue and exposúre, has prevented me heretofore from presenting you with an account of the attack on this post. On the night of Saturday the 10th instant, the British fleet, consisting of ships of the line, heavy frigates and bomb vessels, amounting in the whole to 30 sail, appeared at the mouth of the river Patapsco, with every indication of an attempt upon the city of Baltimore. My own force consisted of one company of United States' artillery, under captaire Evans, and two companies of sea-fencibles, under captains Bunbury and Addison. Of these three companies, 35 men were unfortunately on the sick list, and unfit for duty. I had been furnished with two companies of volunteer artillery from the city of Baltimore under captain Berry and lieutenant commandant Petr
nington. To these I must add another very fine company of volunteer artillerists, under judge Nicholson, who had proffered their services to aid in the defence of this post whenever an attack might be apprehended; and also a detachment from commodore Barney's fotilla, under lieutenant Redman. Brigadier general Wirder had also furnished me with about 600 infantry, under the command of lieutenant colonel Stewart and major Lane, consisting of detachments from the 12th, 14th, 36th, and 38th regiments of United States' troops—the total amounting to about 1000 effective men.
On Monday morning, very early, it was perceived that the enemy was landing troops on the east side of the Patapsco, distance about ten miles. During that day and the ensuing night, he had brought sixteen ships (including five bomb ships) within about two miles and a half of this fort. I had arranged my force as follows:--the regular artillerists under captain Evans, and the volunteers under captain Nicholson, manned the bastions in the Star Fort. Captains Bunbury's, Addison's, Rodman's, Berry's, and lieutenant commandant Pennington's commands were stationed on the lower works, and the infantry, under lieutenant colonel Stewart and major Lane, were in the outer ditch, to meet the enemy at his landing, should he attempt one.
On Tuesday morning, about sun-rise, the enemy commenced the attack from his five bomb vessels, at the distance of about two miles, and kept up an incessant and well directed bombardment. We immediately opened our batteries, and kept up a brisk fire from our guns and mortars, but unfortunately our shot and shells all fell considerably short of him. This was to me a most distressing circumstance; as it left us exposed to a constant and tremendous shower of shells, without the most remote possibility of our doing him the slightest injury. It affords me the highest gratification to state, that though we were left thus exposed, and thus inactive, not a man shrunk from the conflict.
About two o'clock P. M. one of the 24 pounders of the southwest bastion, under the immediate command of captain Nicholson, was dismounted by a shell, the explosion from which killed his second lieutenant, and wounded several of his men; the bustle necessarily produced in removing the wounded and replacing the gun, probably induced the enemy to suspect we were in a state of confusion, as he brought in three of his bomb ships, to what I believed to be good striking distance. I immediately ordered a fire to be opened, which was obeyed with alacrity through the whole garrison, and in half an hour those intruders again sheltered themselves by withdrawing beyond our reach. We gave three cheers, and again ceased firing-The enemy continued throwing shells, with one or two slight intermissions, till one o'clock in the morning of Wednesday, when it was discovered that he had availed himself of the darkness of the night, and had thrown a considerable force above to our right; they had approach