Page images

It is impossible to state with any degree of accuracy the number of Canadian militia and Indians which were killed or wounded during the engagement; it could, however, not have been small, having received for three or four hours the constant fire of the musketry and riflemen, from the breast-work under which they were formed. The action had endured about a quarter of an hour, when the right division of our troops, who were less secured by a breastwork, and exposed to a heavy fire from a body of Indians and militia, who had possessed themselves of some outhouses within their reach, were obliged to retreat from their lines in the encampment, for the purpose of occupying ground less exposed. This retreat being discovered by the enemy, the whole Indian force, together with a portion of the militia, bore down upon them with redoubled violence, and prevented, by their superiority of numbers and the severity of their fire, the practicability of ever again forming this portion of our troops in order of battle. It was from this division that our principal loss was sustained, few indeed having escaped. Every effort in vain was employed to form them in some order of action, as affording the only means of either repelling the pursuers, or regaining the temporary breast-work from behind which the remaining part of our troops still gallantly defended themselves; but every exertion was in vain employed, and the very few who survived of the party surrendered as prisoners to the enemy.

Our loss in this action will be ascertained by the list herewith enclosed. Among the killed, I have to lament several brave and valuable officers, some of whom had distinguished themselves in the action of the evening of the 18th, and fell on the 22d, while unavailingly engaged in rallying the troops, who retreated in disorder from the lines. Among those, the loss of Col. John Allen, and Major E. M'Crannahan, is to be particularly regretted, as also Capt. John H. Woolfolk, one of my aids-de-camp; their exertions were unsuccessful, notwithstanding every possible exertion was employed; they bravely fell in discharge of their respective duties. While I regret the fate of those who bravely fell upon this occasion, I should do injustice to pass over, without notice, the few partakers in their danger, who were fortunate to survive them. To Lieut. Gol.

William Lewis, who commanded on the 18th, and to Capt. John Overton, my aid-de-camp, who attended my person on the field, my thanks are particularly due, for their prompt and willing exertion, during every period of the conflict. To the officers and soldiers who bravely maintained their ground in the temporary fortifications, too much praise cannot be bestowed. Assailed by numbers, greatly superior, supported by six pieces of artillery, they gallantly defended themselves with their small arms alone, for near four hours of constant battle. No troops ever behaved with more cool and determined bravery; from the commanding officer down to the private soldier, there was scarce a single abandonment of duty; and at the last when their ammunition was nearly exhausted, and surrounded by the enemy, greatly superior in number and the means of 'war, surrendered with a reluctance rarely to be found upon similar occasions. The officers commanding in the breastwork defended themselves to the last, with great gallantry, and merit my warmest gratitude, as well as the highest praise of their country.

With sentiments of respect, &c.



Killed, wounded, and missing 863.


Killed 150-wounded 158,


[The following Narrative of the massacre at Frenchtown, after Gen. Winchester's defeat, was drawn up by Lieut. Baker of the 2d regt. U. S. Infantry.]

So much has been said about the Indian massacres at Frenchtown and its neighborhood, that something circumstantial from one who had an opportunity of acquiring information on the subject may not be unacceptable to the public. I therefore submit the following narrative.

On the morning of the 22d of January, I was captured by the Indians about 9 o'clock, with another officer and about forty men. Closely pursued by an overwhelming force of Indians, we were endeavoring to effect our escape, and had attained the distance of about three miles from Frenchtown, when an offer of quarter was made us by an Indian

[ocr errors][merged small]

chief. Many Indian chiefs on horseback being in our rear, tomahawking the hindmost, aud withal the men being much wearied with running through the deep snow, we concluded it best to accept the chief's proposition. Accordingly we assembled around him, and gave up the few remaining arms that were still retained in the flight. In a few minutes the Indians on foot came up, and notwithstanding the chief appeared solicitous to save, massacred about half our number. I was led back towards the river along the road we had retreated in. The dead bodies of my fellow comrades, scalped, tomahawked, and stripped, presented a most horrid spectacle to my view. I was at length taken to a fire near Col. Proctor, where I remained till our army capitulated, aud marched by me towards Malden. Major Madison,* as he was marching past, demanded me of the British officer commanding the guard, as an American officer; but the noble Briton replied with a sneer, You have too many officers,' and ordered the column to advance which had made a partial hait. I was taken to Sandy creek, about three miles off, on Hull's road, and there kept during the night with about 20 other prisoners. Next morning my master left me in charge of the old Indian, and with the exception of 20 or 30, all the Indians in the camp went back towards the river Raisin. They returned about 2 o'clock, P. M. bringing a number of fresh scalps and about 30 prisoners, many of whom were wounded, though with a single exception, none dangerously. I was told by the prisoners that the Indians had that morning returned to the village, and massacred Capt. Hickman and a great many others, and that they were fearful that Maj. Graves and Capt. Hart were of the number; that some of the wounded had been scalped alive and burned in the houses. I had scarcely been told these things, when a volunteer who was standing by my side, was knocked down,

After the surrender of our troops to the British, at the river Raisin, the Indians, in violation of the articles of capitulation, crowded among them, and were plundering their property-when the heroic Madison desired Col. Proctor to keep them off; the Indians are fierce and unmanageable, (said Prector) it cannot be done' Madison cooly replied, 'if you cannot disperse them, I will.'—the men were ordered to shoulder their arms, and Proctor fearing that charge bayonet' would follow, waved his sword, and the Indians instantly withdrew.


scalped, and afterwards tomahawked. Three others were successively treated in the same manner.

Seven days afterwards, I was sold in Detroit to some American gentlemen, and the next day sent over to Sandwich, where I remained nearly three weeks. In this time I had an opportunity of making enquiry about the massacres, and found that 60 had been massacred subsequent to the day of battle, and two officers the day on which the battle was fought, after they had surrendered. Of the first were Capt. N. G. S. Hart of Lexington, Capt. Paschal Hickman of Franklin, John H. Woolfolk, Esq. the General's Secretary; and of the latter Capt. Virg.1 M'Cracken of Woodford, and Ensign Levi Wells, son of Col. Wells of the U. S. Infantry. Judge Woodward has ascertained several instances of great barbarity exercised on our prisoners, which will appear as soon as that truly philantropic and patriotic gentleman returns to his own country. Massacres were not only committed on the 22d and 23d, but also on the 24th, 25th, and 26th, and even three weeks afterwards fresh scalps were brought into Malden.

[ocr errors]

Should this relation be doubted, many living witnesses of high standing for probity, may be found to attest them.

Expedition against the Indians.-Major Gen. Samuel Hopkins, on the 11th of Nov. 1812, marched with 1000 men under his command, from fort Harrison, on an expedition to the Prophet's town, for the purpose of destroying their village, provisions, &c. On the morning of the 19th, a detachraent of 300 men destroyed a town, and a great quantity of corn, belonging to the Winebago tribe, lying on the Ponce Passu creek, one mile from the Wabash, and four from the Prophet's town. On the 20th, 21st, and 22d, they destroyed the Prophet's town and a Kickapoo village, on the opposite side of the river, consisting of upwards of 200 houses, a considerable quantity of corn, &c.

On the 21st a large body of Indians were discovered above seven miles from the town, by a small party, who the Indians fired on, and killed one man; the next day Lieut. Cols. Miller, and Wilcox, anxious to bury their comrade, as well as gain a more complete knowledge of their situa

tion and strength, set out with party of horsemen, consisting of about sixty; the Indians had placed themselves in a strong place, on a ridge of land, running between two large and rapid creeks, which could not be ascended only by a steep ravine-our party returned, after a smart skirmish, in which we lost, in killed, wounded, and missing, 18 men. On the 24th, the main body of the army started for the purpose of destroying the enemy in their strong hold; but when arrived at the spot they found they had fled, previous to the storm of snow, which fell very deep, on the 23d which prevented any further pursuit.

Brig. Gen. Smyth, in November, 1812, issued several addresses to the inhabitants on the frontiers, for the purpose of raising volunteers to cross into Canada, opposite Niagara. Including the regular army under his command, and the volunteers that repaired to his camp, he had, on the 27th Nov. 4000 men. Two parties were sent across the river to destroy a bridge below fort. Erie, and capture and spike the cannon in the batteries, and some pieces of light artillery, After accomplishing their object, the parties separated by misapprehension; Lieut Angus, the seamen, and a part of the troops returned with all the boats, while Capts. King, Morgan, Sproul, and Houston, with about 60 men, remained. The party thus reduced, took and rendered unserviceable two of the enemy's batteries, captured 34 prisoners, and 2 boats, in which Capt. King sent his prisoners, his own officers, and half of his men across, remaining himself with 30 men, refusing to abandon them.

On the 30th Nov. Gen. Smyth again attempted to cross, with 3000 men, but by some misunderstanding only a few would, or could be made to embark. The killed in both these attempts amounted to about 20-the wounded 30and prisoners 31. The enemy lost 10 killed-17 wounded, and 34 prisoners, besides an Indian chief.

Capt Forsyth, commandant at Ogdensburg, crossed over to Elizabethtown on the 7th of Feb. 1813, with about 200 volunteers from the militia and citizens, where they surprised the guard, took 42 prisoners, with 1 Maj. 3 Capts. 2 Lients. and 120 muskets, 20 rifles, two casks of fixed ammunition, and considerable other public property, which was effected without the loss of a man.

« PreviousContinue »