examined and report that the British force at Fort Erie and the
batteries below is rising 600 regulars and a few militia.
Two persons have lately been arrested on these frontiers, former
residents of Canada, charged with being spies.
We shall mention
their names should what is alleged against them prove true. They
are, we understand, in safe custody.
It is reported that Gen. Sheaffe with a reinforcement of troops
has arrived at Fort George. That position is now considered to be
a place of considerable strength. The British have constructed a
line of batteries between Fort George and Queenston in such posi
tions as to rake every possible point of crossing the river.
Lieut.-Col. Preston of the 20th U. S. Infantry arrived in this
village on Thursday last with a detachment of tine looking troops
(File in Buffalo Public Library. )
Colonel Talbot to Brigadier-General Vincent.
DOVER MILLS, 18th May, 1813.
MY DEAR GENERAL,
Your favor of the llth instant reached me at a late hour last
night. I had for two days been anticipating much gratifying com
munication from you in consequence of reports having been current
of that General Procter had obtained a complete and brilliant victory
over Harrison, likewise accounts stating that the officers and sea
men had actually arrived at Kingston and that the most active
exertions prevailed in the dockyard at that place, and as if good
news was not to have an end it was said that Sir George Prevost
intended to assume the command in this Province and was on his
way up with a powerful reinforcement. From the source I have
received the foregoing I am in hourly expectation of having my
anxiety relieved by a confirmation of these desirable events from
you. As to the York affair, as yet all my accounts of the disastrous
and I fear disgraceful proceedings attending the capture have been
by fragments. The Governing Heads must have been in a state of
torpor not to have made arrangements for securing the office papers.
I will immediately attend to your instructions regarding the
appointment of fit persons to be the bearers of despatches between
myself and Major Hatt. Have the goodness to instruct me as to
the pay of persons on express service.
The militia of the larger portion of this district shew great
promptness in turning out, but there is a part of the County of
Oxford that with a very few exceptions are, I am sorry to say,
composed of a more violent and systematic band than those that
compose the American army. Should Sir George reach the lines
with a strong force I will recommend that all the aliens should be
sent out of the Province with as little delay as possible. They are
indefatigable in spreading discord amongst the inhabitants, and it
would be a most salutary measure did circumstances admit to send
100 or even 50 regulars to be stationed at Turkey Point under an
active and steady officer, as the presence of such a force would
create the necessary confidence in the well disposed, and traitors
would be intimidated into subordination.
I have every difficulty in procuring a correct return of the
arms distributed thro the district, the militiamen have been so
careless of their arms. The chief of such as were on duty during
the last autumn and winter on the lines and deserted or ran home
left their arms behind them, and others had orders from Col.
Bisshopp to deliver in their arms on being dismissed from Fort Erie.
I am able to account for 350 stand, including the 100 which you
ordered up lately.
(From the Talbot Papers.)
Brigadier-General Vincent to Sir George Prevost.
FORT GEOUOE, 19th May, 1813.
SIR, I was this day honored by Your Excellency s communi
cation (duplicate) dated Montreal, 7th inst., which was brought by
an officer of militia despatched by Major-General Sheaffe from
In expressing my high sense of obligation for so prompt an
assurance of support in my efforts to maintain the independence of
this frontier of His Majesty s dominions from invasion, I should be
wanting in duty and justice to the zeal and energy of those officers
who participate so largely in my confidence were I not to assure
Your Excellency that the flattering assurance held forth in your
communication has not only been truly gratifying to our mutual
feelings but has created new energies throughout this command.
Your Excellency will have been apprized through my letters
to Colonel Baynes that the American flotilla, after remaining at
anchor off this harbor for three days without attempting any enter
prise, proceeded down the lake, and the wind being favorable for
Sackett s Harbor it is probable its destination was to that place.
Some of the smaller vessels remained and continued cruizing
for several days between this port and York, and previous to their
final departure they landed a party of nearly two hundred men at
the head of the lake with the express purpose of destroying the
Government House arid outbuildings. The small force stationed
there for the sole purpose of keeping up our communication with
York not being sufficiently strong to oppose the landing of that
number, their debarkation being covered by the guns of the vessels,
it was deemed prudent to fall back upon the reinforcements which,
though quickly brought forward, were too late to chastise the
marauding acts of an enemy who have precipitately retreated and
avoided a contest. With the exception of an almost constant osten
tatious parade of troops, artillery and boats immediately in our
view on the opposite shore, no event has hitherto occurred deserving
of notice on this frontier. Within the last few days the enemy has
been busily employed in the construction of batteries opposite to
this point with an apparent intention of threatened invasion.
I am happy to assure Your Excellency that the best spirit, zeal
and exertions continue to animate every individual of the army on
this frontier, and I feel confident that no effort will be wanting to
repel invasion whenever it may be attempted, and no exertion will
be omitted to prevent the enemy gaining a foothold in this Province.
Lieut.-Colonel Bisshopp is perfectly aware of my ideas, and a
plan of co-operation is mutually arranged in the event of that
measure becoming necessary. I have considered it expedient to
establish a depot of ammunition and provisions, in a very central
and commanding position near a place called the Beaver Dams, in a
stone house belonging to a captain of militia who is a loyal and
I have judged it proper to divide the force of this post into
three divisions: the right under Lieut. -Colonel Harvey, the left
under Colonel Myers, and the centre under my own immediate
direction, each being so circumstanced as to give the most prompt
support to each other. I propose leaving in the fort a company of
the 49th Regiment, the guard and gunners, with a portion of the
militia under Colonel Claus ; and Captain Norton, whose anxiety
and zeal for the public service is so constantly conspicuous, is
encamped on my left towards the lake with about one hundred
Indians, where it is probable the enemy might make a descent.
With respect to the militia, it is with regret that I can neither
report favorably of their numbers nor their willing co-operation,
Every exertion has been made and every expedient used to bring
them forward and unite their efforts to those of His Majesty s forces,
with but little effect, and desertion beyond all conception continues
to mark their indifference to the important cause in which we are
now engaged. In considering it my duty thus to offer a fresh
exposition of my sentiments to Your Excellency respecting the
militia of this Province, I must at the same time express a belief
that when the reinforcements reach this frontier many of the
inhabitants who have been for some time wavering and appalled by
the specious force of the enemy s resources will instantly rally round
the standard of their King and country.
Your Excellency s condescension in allowing me to point out
my wants, calls for my respectful acknowledgments. Impressed
with a conviction of the urgency and importance of sending off
immediate aid to Brigadier-General Procter, I only await the arrival
of the Queen CJtarlotte at Fort Erie to move a company and the
headquarters of the 41st Regiment to Amherstburg, risking this
diminution of my force under a confident persuasion that reinforce
ments are near at hand to replace them.
I herewith enclose a return of the regulars and militia on this
(C. 678, p. 301.)
Colonel Myers to Colonel Baynes.
FORT GEORGE, May 20, 1813.
MY DEAR COLONEL,
Since my letter to you of the 13th, matters have
in nearly the same state.
Brigadier-General Vincent yesterday received % letter fro.m Sir
George Prevost, and all the accounts which have readied us from
Kingston are of the most cheering nature. What has become of
Chauncey, Heaven knows. We had every reason to expect his
return to this offing before now.
Our situation has been so fully detailed to you by General
Vincent that it leaves me little to say on the subject. You are
acquainted with our means and what are opposed to us. As far as
appearances can justify the conclusion, I confess I feel no appre
hension for the safety of this position for some time, and I have no
doubt but help is at hand. I wrote Gray my ideas as to pushing
on troops as far as the carrying place in batteaux, and we look
hourly for the tidings of their approach. By their arrival we shall
be enabled to look down the arrogance of the enemy in this quarter.
I do not think his means have increased since the statement
sent you by General Vincent. I trust I will be pardoned in most
earnestly recommending that a force be sent forward to this line to
enable us to commence offensive operations. It is not wise to hold
an enemy too cheap, but I cannot divest myself of the idea that the
foe opposite us is despicable, and that it would be no hard task to
dislodge him from the entire of his lines on the Niagara River.
With some subordinate attacks upon his flanks, I am of opinion it
would be an enterprise of little hazard for us to get an establish
ment on the heights above Lewiston, opposite to Queenston. This
once effected I cannot but feel the strongest confidence that we
would in a very short time complete the object so much to be desired.
It would be giving such a new turn to the war that I conceive it
would strike a terror into the enemy which would produce the
happiest effects, and would inflict a just punishment on the vain
glorious turn which he will give to the disastrous affair at York. I
hope I will be excused for thus writing. I confess I do so under
feelings of some irritation and impatience for the chastisement of
American arrogance. Should offensive operations be decided on
here, may I indulge an humble hope that I may be permitted to
partake in them.
We are anxiously on the lookout for the appearance of our
vessels. I must not omit to acquaint you that the enemy are said
to be building two twenty-gun vessels at Presqu Isle on Lake Erie
with five gunboats, and some smaller vessels are now rigging behind
Squaw Island. I have had no very late accounts from the dock
yard at Amherstburg. The last were favorable. I am in hourly
expectation of hearing of the arrival of the Queen Charlotte at Point
Nothing further occurs to me to mention at this moment
beyond assuring you that the only sentiment pervading all ranks
here is the firm determination to bravely oppose all attempts of the
enemy on this frontier.
(C. 678, p. 314.)
I/ieut.- Colonel Mahlon Burwell, ist Middlesex Militia, to Colonel
PORT TALBOT, 21st May, 1813.
MY DEAR COLONEL,
Yours of the 19th inst. I have just received. Lieut.-Colonel
Bostwick had informed me of General Procter s success on his way
down. I regret that the victory was not more complete. I did
hope that the expedition would have finished the campaign for this
year. Then we might have sent the regulars below again. I had
not heard before this that Sir Roger retreated to Kingston. I was
inclined to believe that he had only retreated to the river Don. I
lament the death of poor Donald McLean, [Clerk of the House of
Assembly, killed at York April 27th, 1813.] I think he was a good
person. I fear many more of the good people of York are gone
also, but I am happy to learn that the Provincial papers are not
destroyed, as that excited considerable alarm in me. Our loss must
have been great, but I hope the enemy will not be much benefited
by it. We must have had considerable stores of provisions there,
but I shall be content if Sir Roger had them all destroyed previous
to his retreat. What a wanton, ferocious, savage proceeding that
was, to burn the Government House at the Beach [Burlington], a
house, they must have known, purely for the accommodation of
travellers. I am glad to hear that Sir G[eorge] Pfrevost] is a little
aroused for the security of this Province. If the arrival of rein
forcements should be pretty prompt, and that account of the sea
men arrived and preparations making at Kingston, we may still pre
vent them from destroying our settlements about Lake Ontario.
Their thinking they have such a complete mastery of the lake may
lull them into such a confidence of their superiority that I should
be not at all surprised to hear that our vessels have lessened their
flotilla. The inhabitants are now in the midst of their planting and
it will be like drawing their eye teeth to call them out until they
have done. ......
(From the Talbot Papers.)
(Buffalo Gazette, 25th May, 1813.)
On Friday evening last, (May 21,) Chauncey s fleet arrived at
Four Mile Creek, with a respectable reinforcement under Brig.-
Gen. Chandler. A strong force was left at Sackett s Harbor, at
which place troops were daily arriving.
Since last paper a considerable number of troops have arrived
in the neighborhood of Fort Niagara.
We understand that several companies of volunteers are about
to be raised in this and the neighboring counties for one month s
service. If ever there was a time for volunteers to enroll themselves
for the purpose of taking part in active military operations THAT
TIME IS NOW.
(File in Buffalo Public Library.)
I/ieut.- Col. John Harvey to Colonel Baynes.
FORT GEORGE, 25th May, 1813.
MY DEAR COLONEL,
The whole of the enemy s fleet are here, (the Madison having
arrived early this morning) ; we have been cannonaded since day
light. The enemy s fire has been wholly (and most successfully)
directed hitherto against the fort, which is made a complete example
of, every log barrack in it being burnt down. As soon as his pur
pose is effected against the buildings in the fort I have no doubt of
his directing his fire against the town, which you know is com
pletely at his mercy ; that this will be followed by an attack in
front and on both flanks either to-night or early to-morrow morn
ing none of us can doubt. What their actual force is immediately-
opposite to us is of course difficult accurately to state, but in esti
mating it at 6000 I do not think I overstate it. This force with
abundant means of transport, aided by a powerful flotilla, is not in
our circumstances to be despised. We are accordingly preparing to
give them as warm and hearty a reception as may be in our power,,
(and the men, I can assure you, are infuriated against them,) and, in
the second, to concentrate our force, should that distressing alterna
tive be forced upon us. General Vincent and Colonel Myers are
writing to you. It might therefore have been unnecessary for me
to have troubled you with a repetition of the details which they
will give you. As, however, I find some of our letters fail when
others reach you, I have scribbled a few lines to guard against a
similar accident. After what I have said in the former part of this-
letter it is quite unnecessary for me to suggest the necessity of an
(Canadian Archives, C. 678.)
Colonel William Claus to Major Glegg.
(25th May, 1813.)
The garrison on fire by hot shot. (In pencil in the handwriting
of Colonel Claus, but undated and unaddressed.)
(On the other side, in ink.)
25th May, 7 o clock.
Whilst drinking a cup of coffee at Mr. Gordon s, James Bunting
of Captain Servos s company came in with a message from you,
enquiring for water buckets. Mr. Gordon says there are none in
the ordnance department, nor does he know of there being any in
You must make use of those now in use among the troops.
J. B. GLEGG, B. M.,
(From MSS. in possession of Miss Claus, Niagara, Ont.)
HEADQUARTERS, NIAGARA, May 26, 1813.
After order. Received at 5 p. m.
The army will embark at three o clock to-morrow morning.
The troops will be up at one and eat their breakfast at two, and be
actually on board their respective boats ready to move at half after
three. Each man will take his blanket and one day s rations ready
Asst. Adj. Gen.
(From Documents and Facts relative to Military events during the late war. p. ]3.
By General John P. Boyd. )
CAMP, FOUR MILE CREEK,
NIAGARA, May 2(3, 1813, 6 p. m.
Conformably to the general ordeis of the 25th and 26th hist.,
the First Brigade will embark in boats at three o clock to-morrow
morning. The several regiments will hold themselves in readiness
accordingly. The boats of the brigade will form in three lines, suc
ceeding Lieut.-Colonel Scott s advance party. The (jth Regiment,
formed in column of battalion, right in front, will precede ; the 15th
and 16th Regiments will successively follow in the same order.
Colonel McClure s volunteers will flank the right of the brigade and
move accordingly. Four pieces of light artillery to move in the
rear of the 15th Regiment and four in the rear of the 16th Regi
ment. The first four to form immediately on landing on the right
of the 15th Regiment, and the other four on the right of the 16th
Regiment. The troops will land in order and form immediately in
order of battle, Colonel Miller of the 6th on the right, Major King
of the loth in the centre and Colonel Pearce of the 16th on the
left ; McClure s volunteers to flank the right.
The boat of the Brigadier-General will be designated by a green
bough, the commanding officers of regiments by the regimental
standards. To guard the stores and camp equipage of each regi
ment a commissioned officer and a sufficient number of non-effectives
will be detached. The commanding officers of regiments will be
responsible that their boats are in perfect readiness to receive the
The troops which compose the first brigade have already once
triumphed over the foe they have now again to encounter. Their
country expects much from them and will not be disappointed.
With their accustomed bravery they will plant the United States
flag in Canada.
JOHN P. BOYD,
Brig. Gen., Com d g 1st Brigade.
(From Boyd s Documents and Facts, p. 13.)
Sir George Prevost to I/ord Bathurst,
UPPER CANADA, 26th May, 1813.
I have the honor to report to Your Lordship the arrival at
Quebec on the 15th inst. of six troops of the 19th Light Dragoons
and the 2nd Battn. of the 41st Regt. Major-General Glasgow,
whom I left in command of that fortress, informs me that, in pur
suance of the instructions I had transmitted to him, he will lose no
time in pressing forward that portion of the 41st Regt. considered
most fit for active service, consisting of about four hundred men,
and that the boys will be retained for garrison duty.
He also reports having made arrangements for sending on the
dragoons. This intelligence of a reinforcement to the forces has
not failed to cheer the army employed in maintaining in Upper
Canada a most unequal contest, and although the period of the
arrival of this small portion of infantry in this Province must,
when measured by our impatience, appear remote, still the knowl
edge of their approach will be attended by highly beneficial conse
quences to His Majesty s interests in the Canadas.
The growing discontent and undissembled dissatisfaction of the
mass of the people of Upper Canada in consequence of the effects of
the militia laws upon a population thinly scattered over an exten
sive range of country, whose zeal was exhausted and whose exer
tions had brought want and ruin to the doors of many, and had in
various instances produced a considerable emigration of settlers to
the United States, from whence most of them originally come, have
compelled me to bring forward my best and reserved soldiers to
enable me to support the positions we hold on the Niagara and
Detroit frontiers. I have been also induced to adopt this measure
from the further consideration that the militia had been consider
ably weakened by the frequent desertion of even the well disposed
part of them to their farms for the purpose of getting seed into the
ground before the short summer of this country had too far
It is an act of justice, and ray duty to state to Your Lordship
for the gracious consideration of His Royal Highness the Prince
Regent, that in the Niagara command Colonel Vincent has dis
played superior talents and abilities and a determination worthy of a
British soldier, and that in that of Detroit Colonel Procter has been
so fortunate as to have had frequent opportunities of evincing sound
military judgment and a happy decision in all the various difficulties
attendant on his situation in a remote and occasionally inaccessible
district of this Province. Both these officers being old Colonels are
acting as Brigadiers-General until His Royal Highness s pleasure is
known. The enemy, continuing to avail themselves of their naval
ascendency on Lake Ontario, left Sackett s Harbor on the 20th inst.
and have appeared off Fort George with sixteen vessels laden with
troops, which they disembarked on the following day in the rear
of their fort at Niagara. Colonel Vincent being apprehensive of an
immediate attack from a force in numbers vastly superior to his
own, I have advised Commodore Sir James Yeo to sail with the
vessels that are ready for service to reconnoitre the enemy s flotilla,
in order that he may form an opinion upon the practicability of
conveying on board of them to Fort George a reinforcement of about
three hundred, being the whole disposable force I can command at
present, and which is held in readiness to embark at a moment s
notice. I propose accompanying it. As soon as this service is per
formed it is my intention to place the civil administration and
military command of Upper Canada in the hands of Major-General
De Rottenburg, and Major-General Sir R. Sheaffe will return to
Lower Canada, where he will remain, (for reasons which shall be
hereafter detailed to Your Lordship,) if such should be the pleasure
of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent.
(Canadian Archives, Q. 121, p. 227.)
Sir James Yeo to Hon. John Wilson Croker.
His Majesty s Ship Wolfe, KINGSTON,
UPPER CANADA, 20th May, 1813.
Sill, I have the honour to acquaint you, for the information
of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that I arrived here
on the 16th inst. with one hundred and fifty of the officers and sea
men under my command : the remainder have also arrived here at
different periods between that and the 24th.
The ships and vessels were in a very weak state, the Royal
George had 18 32-pounder carronades and two long nine-pounder
guns ; the Moira, 18 18-pounder carronades ; the Beresford, 10 12-
Eounder carronades and two long six-pounder guns ; the Wolfe was
lunched but not decked, or rigged, nor any guns on board. She
has since been furnished at different times with 20 guns and carron
ades of various calibres collected from the forts, and which have
arrived from Quebec. The enemy have burnt, on their taking
possession of York, a ship that was building there, intended to
carry 30 guns, as was stated in my letter, No. 1, at Quebec, on 5th
From the arrival of the establishment to the present date all
hands have been very actively employed in fitting and preparing
the squadron in the best possible manner the short time would
allow in a state to put to sea or defend themselves in case of a
The enemy s squadron are very superior, both in number and
the complete way they are equipped, their force, consisting of one
ship of 20 32-pounder carronades arid 6 long 18-pounder guns, a