appears no gleam of consolation to an interested mind. The
feelings of a soldier are widely different from those of a citizen, and
are often merely local or transitory.
Yours, my dear Sir, and those
of many others in this Province are, I am \vell aware, of a different
composition. It may be presumptuous in me offering an opinion,
but the confidence imposed by your flattering friendship tempts me
to suggest for your consideration the propriety of immediately
ascertaining the real intentions of the Commander of the Forces
respecting this Province. Your danger, in my humble opinion,
is much too imminent to be much longer trifled with, or be dis
missed by a bare hope of reinforcements being sent up from the
Lower Province. So impressed am I at this moment with the
urgency of our actual situation, and so much do I consider that your
future salvation depends .upon your own exertions, that I humbly
conceive it will be an act of suicide if you much longer delay asking
for, and indeed requiring, some explanatory information on this
highly interesting subject.
I cannot anticipate any security from an increase of our marine,
however extended, unless timely reinforcements of experienced
troops be sent up.
I do not find that there is any intention of affording us the
necessary relief which must, I should imagine, be o\ving to a want
of proper application or to a total or wilful ignorance of our situ
ation. Colonel Vincent informs me that be has received orders to
send up one company of the 49th. If the subject were not too
serious in its consequences one might be justified in laughing at the
ignorance and folly of such conduct.
I have long since tired your sight and patience with my volu
minous and ill-digested sentiments. They are offered with all
deference and confidence to your superior discernment, and I feel
sensible you will do me justice in considering them perfectly con
fidential and proceeding from the most disintererested and honor
I would not unwillingly volunteer my services to proceed
immediately to the Lower Province and submit the actual state,
either verbally or in a written statement, to His Excellency s con
sideration, but I am not insensible of the prejudice that might
arise from so important a mission being entrusted to feeble hands,
and to an officer of such subordinate rank. If, however, such a
measure could receive the smallest countenance of the Commander
of the Forces, I would risk any consideration and should not despair,
from a knowledge of his opinion already formed in my favor, of
rendering some service to this cruelly neglected Province. I was
very happy in hearing that the calumny that had been so indus
triously [circulated] against the Lecturers in Yonge street was not
sustained. In offering my tribute to your noble efforts to sustain
the spirit of the militia and to excite new efforts in the defence of
the country, I w r as not aware of the conditions of your Patriotic
Institution. Being now instructed on this head, I most willingly
avail myself of your suggestion, and shall be much flattered by
being admitted to the room of a sitting in that Society. You will
therefore do me the favor of putting down my name on the list of
subscribers at the rate of twenty pounds per annum, for which I
will give an order on Montreal at a moment s warning.
I hear that M[ajorJ-G[eneral] S[heaffe] intends paying York a
visit in the course of a few days, but I should imagine this will
very much depend upon the expected communication from below,
and the appearances that may be exhibited along the enemy s
frontier when the ice affords them facility for again treading upon
this land of promise.
I am sorry to conclude by informing you that our friend,
M[ajor]-G[eneral] S[heaffe], is much changed of late. There appears
at times an irresistible melancholy on his mind, which is very dis
tressing. I have reason for knowing that his expectations from
below are by no means flattering. He hinted to me as much yes
terday, when privately alluding to passing events. He is well
acquainted with iny zeal and friendship, which I hope neither time
nor circumstances will ever diminish. I am sometimes vain enough
to think that had he condescended to occasionally give me credit
for my knowledge of men and manners in this Province he might
have escaped some portion of mortification.
I beg to be most kindly remembered to all under your roof,
and, believe me, my dear Sir. yours most faithfully,
J. B. GLEGG.
From MS. in possession of George Murray Jarvis, Esq., Ottawa.)
Notes on the Conduct of Major-General R. H. Sheaffe and Major-
In 1812, Major-General Sheaffe, having succeeded to the mili
tary and civil command in the Province of Upper Canada, and
having on the day of the disastrous fall of Major-General Brock on
the Heights of Queenston rallied the troops and captured the entire
invading army of the enemy, became from that moment the object
of envy and jealousy. This gentlemen had the misfortune to be
born in New England, and although he had been in the service
from ten years of age in the navy as a midshipman, and had received
his military education in England at Lock s Academy, where he
was contemporary with Sir George Prevost, then his Commander-
in-Chief in Canada, was obnoxious to many around him on account
of his birth, as inevitably tending to weaken his exertions against
This jealousy had long prevailed among the vulgar, and had
on his accession to the command extended to other characters, and
in a short time was fomenting in the minds of all ranks, not ex-
cepted the military.
The occasion which first afforded an opportunity for open dis
play of this spirit was on the occasion of a threatened invasion
from Buffalo and Black Rock, when the opposite post of Fort Erie
was protected only by a small force of regular troops and militia.
This force was under the command of a young officer, Lieut.-
Col. Bisshopp, who upon the approaching crisis pressed for some
General Sheaffe was then at the Chippawa with all the force
he could command, barely adequate to check the invading force,
which, he was well aware, was destined to attack him, and would
not land higher up unless to destroy the bridges, so as to retard
the junction of the two divisions from Fort Erie and Chippawa.
Under such circumstances General Sheaffe addressed the following
letter to Colonel Bisshopp :
CHIPPAWA, Nov. 30th, 1812.
SIR, Reinforcements cannot be spared to you : the force here
is scarcely sufficient to defend this post, and the movements of the
enemy may be directed against this place. You do not mention
number of militia that has left you, but if the display of force on
the enemy s side has had the effect of intimidating the militia it
adds a strong motive to that which may have before existed for
relinquishing your position. Your regular force, however, to be
depended upon is too small to resist the force that the enemy
appears to be able to direct against you. It ought not to be exposed
incessantly ; therefore immediately consult the field officers of the
line and the militia on the best measures best adapted for a retreat
if your force be inadequate to repulse the enemy, and keeping open
the communication, which appears to be the case; besides, there are
some miles of the route between us on which the enemy may estab
lish himself in force. If the motives for a retreat appear to your
field-officers of the line and militia sufficiently strong to justify it
which you might have gathered from what I wrote before if
retreat be decided upon, which I suppose will be the case, let it be
done with as much rapidity as may be consistent with good order
and as quietly as possible, leaving as little as possible to be of use
to the enemy that is of any importance, but avoiding what may
apprise him of your design or your movement.
I have, &c.,
Lieut.-Col. Bisshopp, R. H. S.
Com g Fort Erie. Major-General.
FORT ERIE, Nov. 30th, 1812.
SIR, Lieut.-Col. Bisshopp has this evening laid before us your
letter of this date.
It is our unanimous opinion that the disposition of the forces
under his command is both able and judicious, and the best that
could be made. We do not, under existing circumstances, consider
retreat at all necessary, nor do we consider it as a measure which
ought to be looked forward to. We think that our position may
be defended and that a small reinforcement would enable us to gain
a decided advantage over any force the enemy has in its power to
bring against us. We are further of opinion that the probabilities
are exceedingly against the enemy s being able to establish him
self between this and Chippawa, and that even in such an event we
have it in our power to open and preserve a communication with
the main body of the army.
(Signed) ORMSBY, CHAMBERS, GIVINS,
CLARK, NICHOL, HATT.
This document is worthy consideration. General Sheaffe s letter
did not call for it, and it would have been as well for Col. Bisshopp
to have taken the opinion of his field officers without producing it,
but in such case the presumed opening would not have been afforded
to these heroes so directly to mark their contempt for the Com
manding General. The letter was addressed to Col. Bisshopp, not
to his field officers, and their report should have been to him and
not to the General, even if had contained nothing insolent or offen
sive, but then Col. Bisshopp could not have circulated [it] through
the country but must have confined his answer to the discretion of
the Major-General, whereas this offensive document was circulated
amongst the regulars and militia, and when coupled with a report
that the General had verbally suggested that it might be proper to
give up Fort Erie as a sop to the Americans, who were so tired of
the war that they only wanted the report of a single success to
withdraw. This verbal suggestion he obviously said in joke, and
[tho riot] correct, coupled with the written sanction to abandon the
position was circulated as the sentiments of a traitor, and gave
excuse for meetings and combinations against the Commanding
General, in which some of the militia officers took part. At one of
these meetings an officer of the Quartermaster-General s Depart
ment, supposed to be on a secret mission from headquarters, was so
impressed with what he heard that on his return to headquarters
he did not hesitate to declare that General Sheaffe must be removed
from the command the instant he (Capt. Gray) arrived at Quebec.
This declaration was made at the table of an ancient friend of
General Sheaffe, to whom it was instantly communicated, and at
the same time that friend expressed to an officer of the General s
staff his astonishment that himself and another, high on the staff of
the army, had suffered their commanding officer to remain ignorant
of what was passing around him, and which it was essential to his
honour that he should know.
General Sheaffe, so apprised by his friend at York of the
calumnies circulated by Captain Gray of the Q. M. General s Dept.,
who reported him to be the confidential emissary of the Commander
of the Forces, lost no time to transmit to headquarters the com
munication he had received, but it does not appear that he asked or
received any assistance from those about him to repel or punish the
slander, but the atrocious calumny, officially reported to the Com-
mander-in-Chief, was shortly afterwards strongly and officially
contradicted by the Chief of the Department to which Capt. Gray
belonged. This assurance was given by that chief to General
Sheaffe s York friend in exculpation of himself as jointly censured
with another officer of the staff for cruel indifference on this
When in progress to headquarters Capt. Gray repeated his
budget of slander to Colonel Vincent of the Major-General s Regi
ment, second in command and his bosom friend, then at Kingston,
three hundred miles from the provincial headquarters. That gallant
officer was so shocked at the incredible reports intimated from a
confidential officer of the staff that he was staggered and awaited
only the confirmation by Major Glegg, then personally attached to
the Major-General, to fly at any risque to save the Province and the
honour of the army.
Sixteen years after these occurrences, when the subject was
before the Major, (now Lieut.) General and his York friend, the
latter, upon listening to the complaining of his friend that he was
neglected, chanced to say with too much warmth that the General
had never known the extent of the calumny that had prevailed
against him during his command, and an observation by the General
seeming to doubt that extent was replied to by a declaration that
the nearest to him in friendship and command had been so staggered
as to only await confirmation from Major Glegg to supersede him
(the General) in his civil and military commands, and his assertion
being treated with contempt as an invention, the friend offered to
convince him of the truth in the handwriting of General Vincent.
This was an error his information was from a transcript from the
handwriting of that of Major Glegg. That person had been in the
habit of correspondence with the York friend of Major-General
Sheaffe, by whose desire whatever passing at headquarters, sup
posed to be interesting, was through this channel communicated.
On occasion of the calumnies circulated by Capt. Gray, the friend
at York had written to Major Glegg rather reproachfully that such
things were not made known at once by himself or Colonel Myers,
(second in command,) to the party so deeply interested. The reply
of Major Glegg was marked "confidential" and did in fact contain
matter of a nature not to be disclosed, according to my construction
of it, and was not referred to until 1828, on the occasion stated
I consider it a duty to myself to put General Sheaffe in posses
sion of the whole correspondence, or rather communication from
Major Glegg, that he may decide how far I was justified in the fact
that Major-General Vincent was so affected by the calumny as to
think the safety of the Province and honour of the army in danger
and to fly himself from his post to their rescue.
(From MS. in handwriting of Hon. Wm. D. Powell in possession of G. M. Jarvis,
Colonel Myers to Brigadier-General Procter.
FORT GEORGE, January 10, 1813.
SIR, A long letter which I addressed to you on our marine
affairs for Lake Erie will, I hope, have reached you safely. As it
becomes a matter of the greatest moment to gain as accurate infor
mation as possible of the preparations of the enemy as to building
armed vessels and boats, I request you will be pleased to select
some intelligent inhabitant in your vicinity who would undertake
to proceed down the border of Lake Erie as far as in his power
towards Buffalo, for the purpose of obtaining the information so
essential to our plans. It would be his object to examine at all the
rivers and creeks what is going forward. It would require the
greatest caution and circumspection as well as secrecy in the person
chosen for this service. He should be one whose habits or profes
sion would justify his assuming the character of a person travelling
on some matters of business, and to insure his attention to the
objects on which he is sent it will be advisable to agree with him
for a sum to be paid him commensurate with the distance he may
travel and the information he may obtain. You will be pleased to
communicate to me for the information of Major-General SheafFe
the result of the measures proposed.
(Niles s Weekly Register, Baltimore, January 15, 1814. Vol. V., p. 326. Alleged to
have been captured in General Procter s baggage on 5th October, 1813.)
From the Buffalo Gazette, isth January, 1813.
Arrangements are, we understand, in great forwardness for
completely guarding the coast since the lake has closed. During
the last week several families have removed from the country ; we
think their fears are groundless. We have no doubt but that we
shall be effectually guarded. However, it would not be inconsistent
with the principles of self preservation that every citizen have his
arms in good order, with a supply of ammunition.
It is rumored that General Boyd has been assigned to the com
mand on this frontier and may be expected on here very shortly.
General Boyd is a skilful warrior and a brave man ; his valor and
skill have been tested in battle. We hope the rumor may prove
true. We believe, even noiv, he would receive the confidence of the
Cold Friday. On Friday last Fahrenheit s thermometer stood
at 12 degrees below cypher the same degree of cold as on the
coldest day of last season. The coldest day of last winter was the
second of March.
The lake between Sturgeon and Altino points is, we believe ;
completely and effectively closed. Between Buffalo Creek and Fort
Erie, owing to the rapidity of the current, there are several place
not yet closed.
(File in Buffalo Public Library.)
From the New York Statesman, February 2nd, 1813.
Extract of a letter from a gentleman at Buffalo, January 14th
The report, as I already mentioned, of General Boyd being
about to assume the command of the Niagara frontier has given
lively hopes to the army. He, it is expected, will correct abuses
and relieve them from the odious conduct of a demi-brute or whim
sical savage, who ought to be placed in a museum or sent into the
forest with the orang outang.
The lakes being frozen over, our guards are extended up and
down the beach, but I do not expect a visit from the British. They
will remain on the defensive.
(New York Society Library.)
Sir George Prevost to Earl Bathurst.
QUEBEC, 15th January, 1813.
MY LORD :
I have the honour to acquaint Your Lordship that I opened
the Provincial Parliament on the 29th of December, and delivered
to them the speech a copy of which is herewith transmitted.
I have since received from the Legislative Council and House
of Assembly the addresses, copies of which are also transmitted.
Nothing particular has occurred upon our frontiers since the
retreat of the enemy and their going into winter quarters, which
I had the honour of communicating to Your Lordship in my des
patch, No. 24, of the 28th of November last,
My attention has since that time been principally called to the
reinforcing, as far as my limited means would permit, of the Upper
Province, and forwarding thither the supplies necessary for the
building and equipment of the vessels to be added to the marine in
A considerable proportion of the stores, &c., have already
arrived there in safety, and such others as I have it in my power to
afford are on their way and will shortly be transported thither.
But I cannot too strongly call Your Lordship s attention to the
necessity of complying as speedily as possible with the different
requisitions I have made on this subject in my former letters.
I have been under the necessity of providing clothing for the
embodied militia both of this and the Upper Province, the whole
of which is in a great state of forwardness, and though not alto
gether of the description 1 could wish will answer the purpose of
putting the militia in comfortable clothing until I can receive the
supplies for which I have already written Your Lordship.
(Canadian Archives, Q. 121. p. 2.)
Captain A. Gray to Colonel John Vincent.
POINT FREDERICK, 10th January, 1813.
SIR, I beg leave to acquaint you that I have this day inspected
the two ships of war laying in this harbor, and have the honor of
reporting for your information the state of those vessels.
I commenced my inspection with the Royal George by first
ordering the crew to be turned up and mustered, which consisted as
Ship s company, including officers 80
Detachment of Newfoundland Regt., acting as marines 22
Of the above number there were 28 of the seamen sick, reduc
ing the total effective strength to 70.
The general appearance of the men bespeak the greatest want
of attention to cleanliness and good order. After the inspection of
the ship s company I directed them to be ordered to their quarters,
and the shots drawn and the cartridges fired off to scale the guns.
This operation occupied 50 minutes. Such was the state of the
guns. The greater part of them missed fire repeatedly in conse
quence of the vents being choked up, and would not go off till they
were cleaned out with pricking needles and fresh primed.
I next examined the state of the vessel as to cleanliness and
interior economy, and found her everywhere in the most filthy
I next proceeded to inspect the JTVnm, and found her
Ship s company, including officers 35
Detachment of the Newfoundland, acting as marines 16
Of the above number there were six sick, reducing the total
effective strength to 45.
The men, guns and state of the vessel very much resembled
the Royal George, or rather, the state of the Moira was bad and
that of the Royal George worse.
As I have reason to believe that a radical reform in the Pro
vincial Marine will soon take place, I do not conceive it necessary
to recommend any partial changes, as I have reason to believe no
material benefit would result to the service from such a measure.
This statement will, however, show the absolute necessity there is
of making suitable provision for the protection of these depots until
they are in a condition to defend themselves.
(Canadian Archives, C. 729, pp. 28-9.)
Sir George Prevost to Earl Bathurst.
QUEBEC,, 16th January, 1813.
MY LORD :
I do myself the honour to report to Your Lordship that in
consequence of the enemy collected on the frontier of the Canadas
having shewn a disposition to carry on a winter campaign, I have
thought it prudent to afford some additional reinforcements to the
Upper Province and to strengthen considerably the line of com
munication between Montreal and Kingston.
These movements have induced me to furnish Lieut. -General
Sir J. Sherbrooke, commanding in Nova Scotia, with conditional
instructions to direct the march of the detachments of Royal Artil
lery and the proportion of the 104th Regiment now in New Bruns
wick overland immediately to Quebec, and to replace the men to be
withdrawn from that district by a sufficient detachment of troops
Which arrangements, under the present circumstances of the
country, I hope will meet the approbation of His Royal Highness
the Prince Regent.
(Canadian Archives, Q. 121, p. 19.)
Militia General Order.
ADJUTANT GENERAL S OFFICE,
FORT GEORGE, 18th January, 1813.
His Honor Major-General Sheaffe is pleased to direct that the
flank companies which may be on duty on this frontier be, until
further orders, relieved on the 25th day of each month, and not as
directed bv the General Order of the 14th Dec r last.
Militia General Orders.
ADJUTANT GENERAL S OFFICE,
FORT GEORGE, 18th January, 1813.
Thomas McCormick, Esq., paymaster of militia, having signified
a desire to relinquish that situation, the duties of which are now
much diminished, John Symington, Esq., will, until further orders,
muster such of the Militia as may be stationed from Fort George to
Chippawa, and Samuel Street, Esq., those from Chippawa, inclusive,
to Point Abino.
Captain A. Gray to Sir George Prevost.
KINGSTON, 19th January, 1813.
SIR, I beg leave to submit to Your Excellency s consideration
what appears to me the most practicable means of effecting a
junction with our naval force at York, and at the same time to state
what may be required from below to enable me to carry into effect
this object as soon as the navigation is open.
I find from Colonel Bruyeres that there is no ordnance at
Quebec adapted to these vessels. But he is of opinion that as many
long 12-pounders may be collected as would enable us to arm the
new ship building here. If we can arm this ship, alter the Moira
so as to render that ship efficient, and complete the crews and new
officer the whole of the ships there is every prospect of our being
enabled to contest the point with the enemy ; at all events we shall,
by taking advantage of a fair wind, be enabled to force our way to
York. There are three or four merchant craft here that may be
armed for the occasion and afterwards returned to their owners.