most respectable inhabitants.
(From a Better to the Editors of the Baltimore Whig.)
FORT GEORGE, 8th June, 1813.
From the Forty Mile Creek we learn that the affair at Stoney
Creek was very serious. The confusion was great. Some spy or
deserter procured the countersign at our encampment, went to the
British camp and in 5 minutes after he entered General Vincent s
tent the English army was in motion. Our camp was entered with
out opposition by means of the above mentioned treachery ; the light
artillery near the front was seized and turned upon our men, when
Winder, &c., riding up to prevent what they thought a mistake in
tiring against themselves, found themselves seized and carried off by
the enemy. Captain Towson, (an ornament to Maryland,) soon
opened a fire from his light artillery, (which was more to the rear,)
and threw the enemy into disorder. The advanced corps, the 5th and
the 25th, and a squadron of Colonel Burn s light horse bore the brunt
of the action. The enemy retreated but renewed the assault, it is
said, three times, when about daylight our horse, &c., pursued and cut
down immense numbers. For two miles the roads and woods are
strewed with dead or British, (desperately wounded.) Our loss in
killed is comparatively very trifling. General Vincent was missing
on the part of the British but is not taken by us. So his fate remains
unascertained at present. They lost Colonel Clark, a zealous and
loyal partizan, killed. Generals Winder and Chandler and Captain
Steele, (a brave officer,) have been captured. Next day it was deemed
proper to fall back to a strong and convenient place. Yesterday
about 2 o clock, it is supposed, General Boyd arrived and our army
shouted with exultation at the news of his approach.
Very heavy cannonading was heard all this morning it must
either proceed from the army or the enemy s squadron. May the
result retrieve what we lost on the 27th ult., when we ought to have
slain or taken the very troops that have since given us so much
Of Procter we have heard no recent intelligence worthy of belief.
It is supposed he shall find it a hard task to retreat his Indians may
turn upon him if he offers to fly. Harrison will capture him if he
remains in the upper country. Such is the opinion of some shrewd
men whom I saw today from the mouth of Grand River.
June 9, 1813. I walked down to the beach yesterday morning
to see some English prisoners bro t in boats the night before from a
place called Forty Mile Creek. They are very clean, smart looking
General Chandler had taken the command before our army was
surprised by Gen. Vincent. Our camp, they say, was badly and
loosely laid out. The British advanced silently with fixed bayonets,
not a musket was allowed to be loaded for fear of blowing their
design. Some officers and men advanced at some distance ahead of
them, who hailed, amused, and stabbed some of our centinels, pretend
ing to give the countersign. The advanced guard were first alarmed
by hearing the dying groan of a sentry who had been run through.
Five pieces of light artillery were seized and fired against our troops,
and they say that General Winder was made prisoner in making a
desperate attack on the British to retake them.
The regiments in the centre and rear never got to the assistance
of the front. The 16th Regiment, when formed, was broken through
by our cavalry that had cut their way through the 49th (British)
Regiment and could not stop. Owing to that and the darkness some
of its companies unfortunately engaged their own men. Col. Pearce,
a very good man, was left sick at this place, and Colonel Dennis had
cleared out for Philadelphia after being only two or three days on
the lines. Capt. Steele had the command. He was wounded and
taken prisoner, but in the end our army killed three or four to one
and made the red coats scamper. Colonel Burn and Colonel Milton
are said to have saved the army.
(From Niles Weekly Register, of Baltimore, Md., 12th June, 1813. Vol. IV., pp. 262-3.
New York Statesman, June 24th, 1813.
Extract of a letter from an officer in the army to his friend in
We took possession of Queenston with some artillery, remained
there one night and returned to Fort George next evening, where we
remained two days, when General Winder s brigade was ordered to
pursue the enemy. Capts. Hindman, Biddle and Nicholas, with their
companies and the riflemen, joined the brigade again as an advance
We left Fort George on the 2d irist. and followed the enemy s
retreat, but on our near approach they possessed themselves of a
stronghold about 46 miles from Fort George and fortified it, in con
sequence of which our army was checked one day within 15 miles of
them. The next we continued our march and our advanced party
drove in the enemy s picquets with a slight loss on both sides, after
which we, with General Chandler s brigade, took our ground about
three miles from the enemy, and notwithstanding the opinion of all
the officers that an attack would certainly be made that night, yet
Generals Chandler and Winder permitted us to encamp without any
order or regularity. One brigade of 800 men was three rniles from
the other. No order of battle, no watchword, not a rallying post
assigned. In this situation about 2 o clock in the morning the enemy,
with Indians, surprised with loud yelling and attacked our advance
guard, which we composed. We were able to make but a feeble resist
ance, as the enemy was not more than 15 yards from us when Capt.
Henderson formed the advance. Notwithstanding our danger we
gave them three or four rounds of musketry, which they warmly
returned and obliged us to retire in great confusion, as it was quite
dark. You can imagine my astonishment and regret when at the
approach of day we could not muster more than 60 of our brave
companions, the rest were killed, wounded or made prisoners. Out
of our fine battalion of artillery, which you saw leave Philadelphia,
not more than 75 were left. Capt. Biddle s fine company musters
only about 20 men.
(File in New York Society Library.)
Captain John Johnson, sth U. S. Infantry, Assistant Adjutant-
CAMP, FORTY MILE CREEK,
June 7, 1813.
It is with extreme regret that I announced to you the loss of our
brave and worthy friend, General Chandler, who was made prisoner
yesterday morning in the action with the enemy near Stoney Creek.
Unfortunately General Winder was also taken, both about the time
victory was ours. The morning was extremely dark, so much so that
we could not distinguish a red coat from a blue one at the distance of
three paces. This induces me to believe that they were lost by enter
ing the enemy s line supposing it to be their own. They both
behaved throughout the action with the utmost coolness and
bravery, and it is with great satisfaction that I can assure you that
they were not taken by surprise or alarm. They anticipated an
attack and had made their arrangements accordingly. Our troops
slept on their arms in line of battle, formed to the best advantage the
ground would admit of.
The Generals spent the previous evening together until 12 o clock
in General Chandler s tent making arrangements for the victory they
expected the next day.
After the departure of General Winder and our guides, General
Chandler and myself lay down but did not sleep. About 20 minutes
past 2 o clock in the morning our outposts and guards were fired on
by the head or advance of the enemy s column. They immediately
after advised us of their approach by a tremendous savage yell.
General Chandler and myself were mounted instantly, and the line
formed and waiting for the enemy by the time they were within
musket shot. Gen. Chandler immediately took post in the rear of
the left flank of the right wing where he issued his orders with the
utmost coolness, and occupied his leisure moments by encouraging his
troops to perform acts of valor. I carried his orders frequently to
General Winder, who commanded the left wing, where I found him
busily employed and with great energy encouraging his men and
In carrying these orders I lost sight of General Chandler and did
not know he was taken until daylight. His horse was shot under
him in the heighth of the action.
The officers and men behaved like veterans, and if we had not
lost our Generals we should have been covered with glory.
(From Niles Weekly Register, 10th July, 1813, Vol. IV., pp. 307-8. Reprinted from
the Boston Patriot.;
(From the United States Gazette of Philadelphia, 8th July, 1813.)
Letter from an officer in the United States army to the Editor
of the United States Gazette :
FORT GEORGE, UPPER CANADA, June 22, 1813.
SIR, Our army with the exception of two regiments marched
from this place in pursuit of the British and advanced as far as
Stoney Creek and halted, on the evening of the 5th inst., within a few
miles of the enemy and about 47 from this post towards the head of
Lake Ontario. About half-past two o clock the very next morning
after we halted, our camp was surprised by a few hundred British
under the command of General Vincent, who, after taking two pieces
of cannon, two Brigadier-Generals, three captains and one Assistant
Quartermaster General, w T ith about three hundred and fifty rank and
file retreated to their former position with the loss of only a hundred
in killed, wounded and taken prisoners. About forty of the latter
we took in the woods after the action, who had lost their way owing
to the darkness of the night. Two of our regiments happened to
have good positions ; they kept up a fire until daylight, at which time
the 6th Regiment, under command of a subaltern, (Lieut. Machesney,)
discovered the enemy taking off our cannon and made a successful
charge and retook two pieces with their caissons. This was done
without any orders. In fact there was not a solitary instance of any
officer excepting the above attempting to retake either our officers,
men or cannon, but they stood as the British retreated, waiting, as
they said, for orders when both our Generals were taken prisoners.
Picture to yourself an army of between two and three thousand
infantry, with artillery and cavalry halted on their arms, each com
manding officer choosing such ground and place as he thought proper,
some on a hill, others in a hollow, some one way, some another. No
order of battle, no watchword. View this army attacked by at most
seven hundred British regulars. What was our confusion ! The
horses of the cavalry and infantry bursting in amongst us at every
direction. General Chandler running about crying : " Where is the
line ? Where is the line ?" General Winder in the same manner
exclaiming : " Come on !" &c., and both in among the British soldiers.
No orders passing from or to any corps or any officer. May my eyes
never witness such a scene again. Everything appeared to add to
the confusion and disorder.
I did not think my anticipations of our Generals would have
come to pass so soon, nor that the consequences would have been quite
so fatal. But when I informed you some time since that Chandler
was coming on with his undisciplined regulars I hinted and dreaded
the consequences, knowing him when at Plattsburg to have been a
particular favorite of General Dearborn, who entrusted to his charge
and command the whole of the above expedition. As to General
Winder, if he had one or two years experience in the field as a platoon
or field officer he might then have made a tolerable good General.
But Chandler has neither sense nor discretion, and is without any
military knowledge at all. This I assure you is a fact known to
every officer who has had as good an opportunity of witnessing his
folly as myself. Thank God, he is now w r here he can do us no more
harm and General Dearborn is sick. General Lewis left here on the
19th for Sackett s Harbor. General Boyd is commanding officer of
the army. Colonel Miller takes Boyd s brigade. A Colonel Milton
commands the second brigade. I have been with Colonel Miller and
find him a most excellent officer. He and General Boyd went up
from this place and brought the army back from Stoney Creek.
The British fleet is now out and has the command of Lake
Ontario. It consists of two ships, a brig and two schooners, all of
which were cruising off here on the 13th and 14th instant. It has
committed many depredations on our side of the lake, particularly in
the Genesee river, where a great quantity of public stores were taken.
Our fleet is expected here about the first of July and is now only
waiting for a large new ship, which will be ready for sea by that
time in Sackett s Harbor.
The names of the officers who were taken prisoners to my
knowledge are : Brigadier-Generals Chandler and Winder, Captain
Van Vechten, (who had command of the picket guard,) of the 23d
Regiment, and Captains Steel and McEwen of the 16th Regiment,
and Major Van De Venter, Assistant Quartermaster General. Many
of the inhabitants of this country, when we were up towards the
head of the lake, showed us every favor and every attention. But
on our retreating the scene was truly distressing. To see them of
every age and sex weeping and bewailing their fate, nothing more
than an anticipation of their distress ; they believed the tales we told
them too soon. Many of them have been thrown on board the British
fleet, whilst others have had their property given up to pillage and
destruction. I feel it the more sensibly as the inhabitants on this
side have been infinitely more kind than those on the other.
Many of the officers have resigned, who will be now enabled to
give those particulars in detail which I cannot express.
(File in Philadelphia Library.)
Sir George Prevost to Earl Bathurst.
HEADQUARTERS, KINGSTON, UPPER CANADA,
6th June, 1813.
MY LORD, Since I had the honour of addressing Your Lordship
on the 3d instant, I have received from Colonel Vincent the intelli
gence herewith transmitted, together with a letter which accompanied
it from the commander of the American forces, relating to the British
subjects who were taken in arms at Queenston in October last and
sent to England in His Majesty s ship Jason.
I have taken measures for the immediate reinforcement of our
army at the head of the lake with the flank companies of the 104th
Regiment and a detachment from the Glengarry levy. This is all
that the force I possess at the present moment will allow me to do
until the promised succour arrives. Your Lordship cannot fail to
observe the eagerness with which the enemy are pressing forward in
very superior numbers for the conquest of Upper Canada before I
can possibly receive a sufficient support to enable me to withstand
them, and I am very apprehensive that when the expected reinforce
ments arrive they will come so much in detail and at such uncertain
periods as not to produce to me the means of making one grand effort
to arrest the progress of the American army and drive it out of His
Majesty s territory.
To enable Your Lordship to appreciate the importance to our
cause of the Indian chief Norton, I enclose the original letter
addressed to me by him after the late unequal contest at Niagara, in
which I have the heartfelt satisfaction of assuring Your Lordship the
character of the British soldier was well supported. Our flotilla is on
Lake Ontario with a reinforcement of troops and supplies of ordnance
stores and provisions for Colonel Vincent. I cannot learn that the
American fleet has ventured out to contest with us for the ascendency
on that lake.
The period has arrived when, from the uncertain state of affairs,
paper money loses its effect and specie alone can command the hidden
resources of the country.
Your Lordship has long been aware of the total deficiency of
specie in the Canadas. and I must now beg leave to inform you that
among the many difficulties I have to encounter this is becoming one
of excessive magnitude, in consequence of the small quantity of pro
visions which can be obtained in these provinces for the maintenance
of the troops.
(Canadian Archives, Q. 121, p. 262.)
KINGSTON, 8th June, 1813.
Captain Mclntosh of the Embodied and Captain Davy of the
Incorporated Militia are appointed each to command a gunboat.
Colonel Cartwright is directed to furnish crews from the militia to
man these gunboats, one sergeant, one corporal and 24 privates for
the Thunder gunboat; Black Snake gunboat, one sergeant, one
corporal and twenty privates. Two gunners from the Royal Artil
lery to be attached to each gunboat. Captain Wallace, R. A., will
select these men. Captains Mclntosh and Davy will receive written
instructions for their guidance from Lt.-Col. Drummond, Acting
Deputy Qr. Mr. General.
Major De Haren will be furnished a pilot by Colonel Cartwright
8th June, 1813, 5 o clock P. M.
His Excellency the Commander of the Forces has just received
an express announcing that a strong division of the enemy had
advanced to the Forty Mile Creek with the intention of attacking
the position occupied by Brigadier-General Vincent at the head of
Burlington Bay. The enemy s plan was, however, anticipated by the
gallant General and completely defeated by a spirited attack at day
break on the 6th instant on the American army, which was com
pletely defeated and dispersed. Twelve officers, two of whom were
Generals, and five pieces of cannon were taken, and the fugitives were
pursued in every direction by a numerous body of Indians under the
Chief Norton. The enemy s force is stated at 200 cavalry and 4000
infantry, besides a strong force in boats.
The intelligence was communicated off York at 2 p. m. to Com
modore Sir James Yeo, who had sailed with the fleet on the 3d instant
to co-operate with General Vincent, and immediately proceeded with
reinforcements on board to support the General s further attack upon
the enemy. Further reinforcements under Major De Haren proceeded
this day from Kingston to join General Vincent. The British loss,
has been very slight. The official despatch is hourly expected.
EDWARD BAYNES, Colonel,
Colonel John Vincent to Sir George Prevost.
BURLINGTON BAY, 8th June, 1813.
SIR, In consequence of our attack on the enemy s camp on the
6th inst. they have made a movement to their rear and retired back
to the 40 Mile Creek, which has given me an opportunity of pushing
out my patrols to their late camp.
I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 2d instant
with a memorandum enclosed. The fleet are this moment reported.
I am therefore perfectly secure in this post as long as we have the
lake open to us. I have this morning made a change of position to a
place named Coot s Paradise, in which I am throwing up a strong
fortification in my front. All other parts are so strong as to secure
themselves from an attack of the enemy. In my situation I am
determined to hold out, if their whole force of twelve thousand is
brought against me. Colonel Harvey and Captain McDouall will
write very fully on the subject of this new situation to Colonel
I have to report the arrival of Sir James Lucas Yeo. He informs
me that this morning he cannonaded a camp at 40 Mile Creek, which
he dispersed with some batteaux. I had already given orders for the
detachment of the 8th to be disembarked, when I received a private
express from the 40 Mile Creek, that in consequence of our fleet being
upon the lake the enemy struck their tents and are retiring towards
Fort George. I have therefore sent this detachment back to the 40
Mile Creek with the Commodore, and I have pushed forward my
outposts with some Indians to co-operate with our fleet to take up
their quarters this night at the 40 as my advanced post.
I can assure Your Excellency that a troop of dragoons will be of
the greatest service in this country. I have to make an excuse for
the hasty manner of writing this letter.
(Canadian Archives, C. 679,)
General Dearborn to the Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS, FORT GEORGE,
June 8, 1813.
SIR, I have been honored with your letters of the 26th and
27th ult., and a duplicate of one of the 19th April. My ill state of
health renders it extremely painful to attend to the current duties,
and unless my health improves soon I fear I shall be compelled to
retire to some place where my mind will be more at ease, for a short
time. Colonel Macomb proceeded with two hundred men with the
Commodore to Sackett s Harbor. Lieutenant-Colonel Ripley has
also gone by the way of Oswego to the harbor with his regiment,
where he will be joined by several hundred recruits. He took charge
of the provisions to Oswego. The Commodore will probably not
venture out until his new ship is fit for sea. The enemy has now
the command of the lake, and as long as that is the case any offensive
operations below this must be suspended. I had intended placing a
small garrison at Fort Erie and a stronger one at Fort George, but as
you have directed otherwise I shall select Fort George as guarding
the only harbor on the southern shore of the lake. Detroit will be
the safest harbor on Lake Erie. I have by request of Commodore
Chauncey detached 200 men to aid Captain Perry in moving his armed
vessels from Black Rock to Presque Isle. Commodore Chauncey is
unwilling to approach Maiden unless he can have a reinforcement to
General Harrison of our regulars. As my command does not extend
to Maiden I ask your directions on this subject. The Commodore is
anxious that his fleet on Lake Erie should proceed with troops to
Michilimackinac and St. Joseph as soon as the business shall be
decided at Detroit. On taking possession of this place the inhabi
tants came in in numbers and gave their paroles. I have promised
them protection. A large majority are friendly to the United States
and fixed in their hatred against the Government of Great Britain.
If they should generally be made prisoners of war and taken from
their families it would have a most unfavorable effect on our military
operations in the Provinces. The whole country would be driven to
a state of desperation and satisfy them beyond a doubt that we had
no intention of holding the Provinces. The same effect would be pro
duced on the Indians, who are now principally quiet for fear of losing
their valuable tract of land on Grand River. I had authorized the
civil magistrates to combine in the due exercise of their functions
and cannot with propriety revoke this authority unless specially
The whole of our troops, officers and men in the action of the
27th discovered a degree of ardor and readiness for action which
evinced a determination to do honor to themselves and country. The
animating example set by Colonel Scott and General Boyd in landing
and repulsing the enemy deserves particular mention. I am greatly
indebted to Colonel Porter, Major Armistead arid Captain Totten for
their judicious arrangements and skilful execution in demolishing the
enemy s forts and batteries, and to the officers of the artillery gener
ally who had the direction of the guns.
(American State Papers, Military Affairs.)
Major Thomas Evans to Colonel John Vincent.
FORTY MILE CREEK, half-past seven o clock p. m.,
8th June, 1813.
SIR, I have the honor to report to you that part of the force
of which you honored me with the command has taken possession of
the post hastily abandoned this morning by the American army
under Major-General Lewis. So precipitate has been their flight
that their tents were in part left standing, and various articles of
stores, arms, ammunition and provisions have been secured. The
naval part of our force has captured fourteen or sixteen boats laden
with supplies. Many prisoners have been made. The American
force is stated to have consisted of from 4 to 5,000 men and repre
sented as in a sickly condition. I have stationed my force as best
calculated for its immediate security and pushed on the Indian force
in hopes of intercepting the enemy s course and troubling his rear.
I enclose for your information a return of ammunition, &c., arrived
for the use of the army in the Lady Gore.
P. S. The detachment of the 41st and 49th, under Lieut-Colonel
Dennis, arrived in time and took possession of the post abandoned
by the enemy at Milton s.
(Canadian Archives, C. 679.)
Anne Powell to Justice William D. Powell.
YORK, 8th June, 1813.
Mrs. Claus and her family arrived this
morning. I have seen her. She confirms the cause of the firing.