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John] 1793-1863 [Russell.

The history of the war, betwee the United States and Great-Britain, which commenced in June, 1812, and closed in Feb. 1815 .. online

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fresh from the southward, when I parted my larboard
cable and dragged directly out to sea. Not a mo-
ment was to be lost in getting sail on the ship. On
Tounding the point a heavy squall struck us, and car-
ried away our main top-mast, precipitating four men
into the sea, who drowned, Both ships now gave
chase ; seeing I could not recover my former anchor-
age in my disabled stale, I ran close into a small bay?
and anchored within pistol shot of the shore, under
cover of two batteries off Valparaiso, which being



300 HISTORY OF THE WAR.

Tientral were bound to protect me ; at least till I had
re|)aired damages. I had not succeeded in repairing
or getrttig' a s})ring on my cable \^ben the enemy at
54 minutes past 3, P. M. made bis attack. The
Phoebe [)lacing' herself under my stern, and the Che-
rub on my starboard bow; butfindmg that situation a
hot one, she bore up and run under my stern also;
where both ships kept up a raking- fire. I had got
3 long 12 pounders out of the stern ports, which were
worked with so much bravery that in half an hour we
so disabled both as to compel them to haul olf to re-
pair damages. My ship had leceived many injuries,
and several had been killed and wounded, but all ap-
peared determined to deiend the ship to 'he last, and
to (lie in preference to a si ameful surrender. The
enemy soon repaired his damages, and made a fresh
attack with both ships on my starboard quarter, out
of reach of my carronades, and where my stern g-uns
couid not be brought to bear — he there kept up a gal-
Jing- fire which it was out of my power to return.
The only rope not cut was tlu nyiiig gib halliards,
and that being the only sail I could set, I caused it to
be hoisted, my cables to be cut, and run down on
both ships, with an intention of laying the Phoebe on
board.

The firing on both sides was now tremendous ; I
had let fall my fore-topsail and foresail, but the
want of tacks and sheets rendered them useless, yet
were we enabled for a short time to close with the
enemy, although our decks were strewed with the
dead, our cockpit filled witls wounded, our ship had
been several times on fire, and a pei-fect wreck, we
were still encouraged to hope to save her, as the
Cherub in her crippled stale, had been comi'.elled to
haul off. The Phoebe, from our disabled state, was
enabled to edge off, and choose her distance, for her
long guns, and kept up such a tremendous fire, as to
mow down my brave companions by the dozen. I
now gave up all hopes ol closing vv;th hm), and de-
termineu to run onshore, land my men, and destroy



HISTORY OF THE WAR. 301

the vessel. We had approached the shore within
musket shot, when in an instant the wind shifted, and
payed our head down on the Phoebe. My ship was
now totally unmanageable ; yet, as her head was to-
ward the enemy, and he to the leeward of me, I still
hoped to be nble to board him. Finding the enemy
•was determined to avoid being- boarded, and my ship
alarmingly on lire, and the slaughter on board having
become most horrible, I directed a hawser to be bent
to the sheet anchor, and the bow anchor to be cut, io»
bring her head round : this succeeded, and we again
got our guns to bear ; but the hawser soon gave way
and left us a perfect wreck. The Hames were burst-
ing up the hatchway, and no hopes were entertained
of saving the ship, as a qnantity of powder had al-
ready exploded, and the fire had nearly reached the
magazine, which served to increase the horrors of our
situation. I therefore directed those who could swim
to jump overboard and gain the shore. Some reach-
ed it — some were taken by the enemy — and some
perished. We who remained, turned our attention
wholly to extinguishing the flames; when we had
succeeded, went again to onr guns, where the firing
was kept up for some minutes. Almost every gun
having been dismounted, and the impossibility of
making further attempts to capture our antagonists,
aiul the entreaties of the remainder of my br;\ve
crew, to- surrender to save the Mounded, I sent
for the officers of divisions to consult them, b«t
what was my surprise, to find only acting Lieut.
M'Knight remaining. I was informed that the cock-
pit, steerage, wardroom, and birth-deck would con-
tain no more wounded ; and that the ship was filling
with water very fast. The enemy were enabled from
the smoothness of the water, to take aim at us as a
target — in fine, I saw no hopes of saving my vessel
or making my escape, and at 20 minutes past C P. M.
gave the painful order to strike the colors. Seventy-
five men, including officers, were all that remained
of my crew when the colors were struck, capable of



302 HISTORY OF THE WAR.

doingf duty. 1 directed an opposite ^«n fired to slicw
"Vi'e intended no further resistance ; but they did not
desist ; a number or men were killed by my side and in
other parts of the ship. 1 1 ow believed he intended to
show us no quarter, and thought it would be as well to
die with my flag" flying' as struck, and was on the
point of again hoisting it, when 10 minutes after
h.uling- the colors down, he ceased firing.

I must in justification of myself and crew observe,
tliat with our six twelve pounders only, we fought this
action, our carronades being almost useless.

Our loss is 58 killed — iS6 wounded — and 31 mis-
sing — total 154. I have the honor, 8cc.

DAVID PORTER.

\Exlract\ Com. Channcey tothe Secrdai^i of the Navy ,
tJ. S. ship Superior, Sackett's Harbor, JVlay 16, 18 J4,
The enemy has paid dearly for the little booty
which be obtained at Osweg-o. From the best infor-
mation which I can collect, both from deserters and
my agents, the enemy lost 70 men killed and 165
wounded, drowned and missing — in all, 235 ; nearly
as many as were opposed to them. Capt. Mutcaster
is ceitainly mortally wounded ; a Gapt, of marines
killed, and a number of other officers killed and
Avounded.

Col. Miichell, to Gen. Bronm.
Head Quarters, Oswego, May 8th, 1814.
[Extract^ SIR — I informed you ot" my arrival at
fort Oswego on the 30th ult. This post being but
occasionally and not receiilly occupied by regular
troops, was in a bad state of defence. Of cannon we
had but five old guns, three of which l>ad lost their
trunnions. What could be done in the way of repair
was effected. On the 5th inst. the British naval force,
consisting of four large shij>s, three brigs and a num-
ber of gun and other boats were descried at reveillebeal-
ittg about seven miles from the fort. Inforraation
was inuuediately given to Capt. Woolsey of the uavyi,



HISTORY OF THE WAR. 303

(irwho was at Oswego viUage) and to the neighboring
militia. It being doubtful on what side ot the river
the enemy would atteni|)t to land, and my torce, (290
effectives) being too small to bear division, I ordered
the teiits in stor«. to be pitched on the village side,
while I occu[)ied the other with my whole force, (t
is probable that this artitice had its effect aad deter-
mined the enemy to attack where, from ap|)earances,
they expected the least opposition. About one
o'clcok the fleet approached. Fifteen boats, large and
crowded with troops, at a given signal, moved slow-
ly to the shore. These were preceded by gun-boats
sent to rake the woods and cover the landing, while
the larger vessels opened a fire upon the fort. Capt,
Boyle and Lieut. Legate, (so soon as the debarking
boats got within range ofoursliot) opened upon them
a very successful fire from the shore battery, and
compelled them twice to retire. Tliey at length re-
turned to the ships and the whole stood off from the
shore for better anchorage. One of the enemy's boats
which had been deserted, was taken up by us, a .d
some others by the militia. The first mentioned was
sixty feet long, carried thirty-six oars and three sails
and could accommodate 160 men. She had receiv-
ed a ball through her bow, and was nearly filled with
water.

At day break on the 6th the fleet appeared bear-
ing up under easy sail. The Wolfe, Sec. took a posi-
tion directly against thefortand batteries, and for three
hours kept up a heavy fire of grape, Sec. Finding that
the enemy had effected a landing, I withdrew my
small disposable force into the rear of the fort, and
with two compames met their advancing columns,
while the other companies engaged the flanks of the
enemy. Lieut. Pearce of the navy and some seamen,
joined in the attack and fought with their character-
istic bravery. We maintained our ground about
thirty minutes, and as long as consisted with my fur-
ther duly of defending the public stores deposited at
the falls, which no doubt formed the principal object



"^nJJF'



304 HISTORY OF THE WAR.

of the expedition on the part of the enemy. Nor was
this movement made precipitately. I halted within
400 yards of the fort. Capt. Romayne's company
formed the rear guard, and, remaining" with it, 1
marched to this place in good order, destroy iiig the
bridges in my rear. The enemy landed six hundred
of De Watteville's regiment, six hundred marines,
two companies of the Glengary corps, and three hun-
dred and fifty seamen.

Gen. Drummond and Com. Yeo were the land and
naval commanders. They burned the old barracks
and evacuated the fort about 3 o'clock in the mornins:
ot the 7lh.

Our loss in killed, is six ; in wounded, thirty-eight
— and in missing, twenty five. I'he enemy lost 70
killed, and 165 wounded, drowned, and prisoners.

Gen. Brown to the Secretary of fVar.
Head' Quarters, Chippewa, July 7th, 1814.
[Extract.] SIR — On the 2d inst. I issued orders
for crossing the Niagara, and made arrangements
deemed necessary for securing the garrison of Fort
Erie — the 3d, that post surrendered, at 5 P. M.^ Our
loss in this affair, was 4 wounded ; 137 prisoners, in-
cluding 1 Maj. I Capt. 3Lieuts. and 1 ensign, with
the ammunition and cannon belonging to the post
were surrendered to us.

— On the morning of the 4th, Brig. Gen. Scott, was
ordered to advance towards Chippewa, and be
governed by circumstances ; taking care to secure a
good military position for the night ; after some skir-
mishing, he selected this plain with the eye of a sol-
dier, his right resting on the river, and a ravine being
in front. At 11 at night I joined him, with the reserve
under Brig. Gen. Ripley, with our field and battering
train, and corps of artillery. The next morning Gen.
Porter arrived with a part of the Pennsylvania and
N. York volunteers, and some Indians. Early in
the morning oftheoth, the enemy commenced a petty
war upon our pickets, and, as he m'us indulged, his
presam[)tion increased.



HISTORY OP THE WAR. 305

At 4 P. M. asri'eeably to my orders, Gen. Porter
advanced from the rear of our camp, taking- the
woods in order to keep out of view of the enemy, in
hopes of surrounding their scouting^ parties. In
half an hour Porter's command met the light parlies
and drove them to camp ; and near Chippewa, met
their whole column in order of battle. I mimediate-
ly ordered Gen. Scott to advance with his brigade,
and Towsan's artillery, who met them upon the high
plain in front of our camp. He advanced in the
most officer like style, and ma few minutes was in
close action, with a superior force of Brit sh regulars.
Gen. Porter's command had given way, and fled in
every direction, which caused Scott's left flank to be
greatly exposed. Capt. Harris, with his dragoons,
was directed to stop ihe fugitives, behind the ravine
fronting our camp ; Gen. Hipley was directed to pass
to the left and skirt the woods, so as to keep out of
view, a »d fall upon the rear of the enemy's right flank.
This order was promptly obeyed, and the greatest
e\ertions made to close with the enemy - but in vain ;
for such was I he zeal and activity of the line com-
manded by Gen. Scott, that it was not to be checked-
Maj. Jessup, commanding the left flank, finding him-
self pressed in front and flank, and his men falling
fast around him, ordered his baltallion to ' support
armsy and advance ; the order was promptly
obeyed, amidst a most deadly and destructive fire.
He gained a more secure position, and returned upon
the enemy so galling a discharge, as caused them to
retire. By this time their whole line was falling
back, and our gallant soldiers pressing upon them,
when they broke their lines, and ran to regain their
works. In this effort he was too successful, when the
guns opened immediately upon our line, checked, in
some degree, the pursuit. At this moment, I deter-
mined to bring up my ordnance, and force the [)lace by
a direct attack ; Maj. Wood, of the engineers a:. d
Capt. Austin, my aid, rode to the right of their line
39



306 HISTORY OP THE WAR.

of works and examined Ihem ; 1 wns imluced l.y their
renoH, to order the forces to retire to camp, tiU a
<•..,„•<- lime Respectfully nnd truly yonrs,

iutmttime. l JACOB BROWN.

AMEKICAN loss.
Killed 00— wounded 244— missing 19.
BBITISH loss.

Killed 199— wounded 3a0— prisoners 245.

Gen. BroKH to ike Secretary of ll'a.-.

Buffalo, Aug. 17, 1814.
rFvlracn SIR— You are already apprised that
the an"v had on the 2oth ult. taken a position at Clup-
pew a About noon of that day. Col. Sw,ft,whowas
IZIa atLewistown, advised me by express, that the
CmvaPP^»'-^din considerable force .n aueenstown
ad on iL heights ; that four of the enemy s Beet had
"rnved during the preceding night, and were then
H nt near Fort Niagara, and that a nuniber of boats
v^ eliview, moving up the streight. Wilhm a few
mim.es after this intelligence had been .-eee.ved, I
wa u1her informed by Capl. Denmon, of theQi-a,^
JlrMiser's department, that the enemy was lauding
at 'Sown, and that our baggage and stores a
ScWosseis and on their way thither, were ,n danger ot
Wu e Ua te capture. Gen. Scott, with the 1st brigade,
Townsou's artillery, and all the dragoons and mount-
ed men. were accordingly put in march or. the road
"eadmo- to aneenstown, with orders to report it the
em /appeared, and to call for ''''""'""'^^ '' " 'f^
was necessarv. On the Generals arriva at the Falls
helearned that the enemy was in force direelly m his
from Tn-, "ow piece of woods alone intercepting his
^i^w^ them Wailing only to give this mformation,
.e ^dtn eTupon Ihern". By the time Assistant Adj.
Gen .Tones had delivered his message, ' !« '«^''°" b*;
ffai and befm-e the remaining part ot the division
n 'crossed the Chippewa, it had become close a.,d
General between the advance corps, {''""^h t>^,"-
Klpley with Ihe 2d brigade, major Hmdman with U.e



HISTORY OF THE AVAR. 307

corps of artillery, and Gen. Porter at the head of his
command, liad respectively pressed forward with ar-
dor, it was not less than an hour befoi'e they were
brought to sustain Gen. Scott, durino- which time his
command most skilfully and gallantly maintained the
conflict. Upon my arrival 1 found that the General
had passed the wood and engaged the enemy at
Q,ueeMstown road, and on the ground to the left of
it, with the 9lli, 1 Ith, and 22d legts. and Townson's
artillery. The 2oth had been thrown to the right to
be governed by circumstances. Apprehending that
these corps were much exhausted, and knowing that
tliey had suHlred severely, I determined to interpose
a new line with the advancing troops, and thus dis-
engage Gen. Scott and hold his brigade in reserve.
Orders were accordingly given to Gen. Ri|)ley. The
euemy's artillery at this moment occupied a hill which
gave him great advantages, and was the key of the
whole position. It was supported by a line of infant-
ry. To secure the victory, it was necessary to carry
this artillery and seize the height. This duty was as-
signed to Ool. Miller, while, to favor its execution,
the 1st regt. under the command of Col. Nicholas,
was directed to menace and au»use the infantry. To
my great mortitication, this regt. after a discharge
or two, give way and retreated some distance before
it could be rallied, though it is believed the officers
of the regiment exerted themelves to shorten this dis-
tance, in the mean time. Col. Miller, 'without re-
gard to this occurrence, advanced steadily and gal-
lantly to his object and carried the height and the
cannon. Gen. Ripley brought up the 2od (which
had also faultered) to his support, and the enemy dis-
a{)peared from before them. The 1st regiment was
BOW brought into line on the left of the 21st, and the
detachments of the 17lh and J 9th, Gen. Porter oc-
cupying, with his command, the extreme left. About
the time Col. Miller carried the enemy's cannoi), the
2>th regiment, u.ider Maj. .lessup, was engaged in a
more ob-jtmate conil^ct with all that remamed to uis-



308 HISTORY OF THE WAR.

pnte with us the field of battle. The Maj. as has been
already stated, had been ordered by Gen. Scolt, at the
commencement of the action, to take ground to his
rijriit. He had succeeded in turning" the enemv's left
flank — had captured (by a detachment under Captain
Ketchum) Gen. Riall and sundry other officers, and
shewed himself again to his own army, in a blaze of
fire, which delV^ated or destroyed a very superior force
of the enemy. He was ordered to form on the right
of the 2d regiment. The enemy rallying his forces,
and as is bebeved, having received reinforcements,
now attempted to drive us from our position, and re-
gain his artillery. Our line was unshaken, and the
enemy repulsed. Two other attempts having the
same object, had the same issue. Gen. Scott was
again engaged in repelling the former of these; and
the last I savv of him on the field of batt'e, he was
near the head of bis column, and giving to its march
a direction that would have placed him on the ene-
my's right. It was with great pleasure' 1 saw the good
order and intrepidity of Gen. Porter's volunteers from
the moment of their arrival, but during the last charge
of the enemy, those qualities were conspicuous.
Stimulated by the examples set by their gal'ant lead-
e', by M'lj. Wood, of the Pennsylvania corps, by Col.'
Pobbin, of New-York, and by their officers general-
ly, they precipitated themselves upon the enemy's line,
and made all the prisoi»ers which were taken at this
point of the action.

Having been tor sometime w©unded, and being a
good deal exhausted by loss of blood, it became my
wish to devolve the command on Gen. Scott, and re-
tire from the field j but on enquiry, I had the misfor-
tune to learn, that he was disabled by wounds ; I
therefore kept my post, and had the satisfaction to see
the enemy's last effort repulsed. I now consigned the
command to Gen. Ripley.

I saw and felt the victory was complete. The ex-
bauslion of our men was such as made some refresh-
ment necessary. They particularly required water ;
I therefore ordered Gen. Ripley to return to camp,



HISTORY OF THE WAK. 809

ufter br'uio^inor off the dead, wounded, and artillery,
M'hicli was effected in ^ood order.
1 have the honor to be. Sec.

JACOB BROWN.
American Loss.
Killed, 171 - Wounded, 572— -Missing, 110.

British Loss.
Killed, 184— Wounded, 559— Prisoners, 221.



CHAPTER XII.

Copy of a Letter from the mayor oj Alexandria to
the mayor of Georyttorvn.
Dkar Sir — Enclosed is a copy of the terms pro-
posed to the common council of Alexandria, by the
commandiiij^ officer of the squadron now lying before
the town, to which they were compelled to submit.
Very respectfully, &c.

CHARLES SIMMS.
TERMS OF CAPITULATION.
His Ma)estys ship iSea Horse,
Off Alexandria, 29th Aug. 1814.
Gentlemen — ^In consequence of a deputation
yesterday received from the city of Alexandria, re-
questing- favorable terms for the safety of the city, the
undermentioned are the only conditions in my power
to offer.

The town of Alexandria, with the exception of
public works, shall not be destroyed, unless hostilities
are commcinced on the part of the Americans, nor
shall the inhabitants be molested in any manner what-
ever, or their dwelling houses entered, if the follbw-
ing- articles are complied with :

Art. 1. All naval and ordnance stores, public or
private, must be immediately delivered up.

2. Possession will be immediately taken of all the
shipping, and their furniture must be sent on board
by the owners without delay.



UiQ HlSTO£^Y OF THE WAR.

3. The vessels that have been sunk must be deliv-
ered up in the state they wt-re, on the 19lh of Auo'ust,
the day of the squadron passing tlie Kettle Bottoms.

4. Merchandize of every description must be in-
stantly delivered up, and to prevent any irregularity,
that might be committed in its embarkation, t!te mer-
chants have it at their option to load the vessels gener-
ally' employed for that purpose, when they shall be
towed oft" by us.

5. All merchandize that has been removed from
Alexandria, since the 19th inst. is to be included in
the above articles.

6. Refreshments of every description to be suppli-
ed the ships, and paid for at the market price, by bills
on the British government.

7. Officers will be appointed to see that articles
]Vo. 2, 3, 4 and 5, are strictly complied with, and
any deviation or non-compliance, on the part of the
inhabitants of Alexandria, will render this treaty null
and void.

J have the honor to be, &c.

JOHN A. GORDON,
Captain of H. 31. ship Sea Horse,
and senior officer of H. 31. ships ojf Alexandria.
To the common council
of the town of Alexandria.

Gen. Winder to the Secretary of War,

Baltimore, August 27, 1814.

SIR — When the enemy arrived at the mouth of
the Potomac, of all the anlitia which* I had been au-
thorised to assemble there were but about 1700 in the
field, fromtliirteen to fourteen hundred under general
Stansbury near this place, and about 2oO at Bladens-
burgh, under lieutenant colonel Kramer.

Alter all the force that could be put at my disposal
in that short time, and making such dispositions as I
deemed best calculated to present the most rt spertjible
force at whalevtrpoint.the enemy might strike, I was
enabled by tue most active and harrassmg movement*



HISTORY OF THE WAR. M fill

of the troops to interpose befor the enemy at Bladens^
bnroh about five thousand men, including- three hun-
dred and fifty regulars and commodore Barney s com-
mand Much the laruest portion of this force arriv-
ed on the trround when the enemy were m sight, and
were disposed of to support in the best mamuT the
position which Gen. Stansbury had taken. They
had barely reached the ground before the action com-
menced, which was about 1 o'clock P. M. of the
o4ih inst. and continued about an hour.
" The artdlery from Baltimore supported by major
Pinkney's rifie'baltalion, and a part of captam Dough-
lev's from the navy yard, were in advance to com-
mand the pass of the brido^e at Bladensburgh, and
plaved upon the enemy, as I have since learned, with
very destructive efiV:ct. But the rifle troops were ob-
lipcd after some time to retire and ot course artillery.
Superior numbers however rushed U|)on them and
made their retreat necessary, not however without
o-reat loss on the part of the enemy.
"^ The rioht and centre of Stansbury s brigade con-
sistincr of' lieutenant colonel Ragan's and Shuier's
reoiinents, generally gave way very soon afterward^
^^^th the exception of about forty rallitd by colonel
Raffan, after having lost his horse, and the whole or
a pTrt of captain Shower's company, both ot whom
oeneral Stansbury represents to have made, even
Thus deserted, a gallant stand.

The reserve under brigadier general Smith ot the-
district 'of Columbia, with the militia of the city and
Georgetown, with the regulars and some detachments
of Marvh^nd militia, flanked on their nglit by com-
modore''Barney and his brave fellows, and lieutenaftt
colonel Beal, still were on the right on the hill, and
maintained the contest for some time with great

efl'ect.

It is not with me to report the conduct of commo-
dore Barney and his command, nor can I speak troai
observation; bein- too remote, but the concurrent
testimony of all who did observe them, does \hem



312 HISTORY OF THE WAR.

the highest justice for their brave resistance and the
destructive effect they produced on the enemy.

From the best intelligence, there remains but little
doubt that the enemy lost at least four hundred killed
and wounded, and of these a very unusual portion
killed.

Our loss cannot, I think, be estimated at more than
from thirty to forty killed, and fifty to sixty wounded.

They took altogether about one hundred and tw en-
ty prisoners.

I am With very great respect, sir, your obedient



Online LibraryJohn] 1793-1863 [RussellThe history of the war, betwee the United States and Great-Britain, which commenced in June, 1812, and closed in Feb. 1815 .. → online text (page 24 of 38)