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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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 27 of 38)
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ed she mounted 4 peices of canno i.and equipped ac-
cordingly. On the 6th at 4, \. M. we boarded the
brijr, her crew consistniij of a Ciot. a sading-niaster,
and 8 marines, making no resistance. It Demg nearly
daylight, I ordered*the |)risonersiiito my boat, and set
fire to die brig, which proved to be the C^rus, loaded
with rum, bread, and soldiers clothing.
I have the honor to be, kc.



Directed hy Major General Jackson to be read at the
head of each of the corps tomposiny the line below
New-Orleans, Jan. 21, 1815.

Citizens and fellow soldiers! The enemy has re-
treated, and your general has now leisure to pro-
ctaitu to the world what he has noticed With adnnia-
tion and pride — your undaunted courage, your patri-
otism, and patience, under hardships and fatig'.ies —
Natives of different States, acting together for the lirst
time in this camp; differing in habits and in lan-
ffuajie, instead of viewinff in these circumstances \he
germ of distrust and division, you have made tl.em the
source of an honorable emulation, and irom the seeds
of discord itself have reaped the fruits of an honora-
ble union. This day completes the fourth week since
fifteen hundred of you attacked treble your mimber


of men, mIio had boasted of their discipline and their
services under a celebrated leader, in a long, and
eventful war — attacked them in their camp, the mo-
ment they had profaned the soil of freedom with their
hostile tread, and inflicted a blow which was a pre-
lude to the final result of their attempt to conquer, or
their poor contrivances to divide us. A few hours
was sufficient to unite the gallant band, though at the
moment they received the welcome order to march,
they were separated many leagues, in different direc-
tions from the city. The gay rapidity of the march,
and the cheerful countenances of the officers and men,
would have induced a belief that some festive enter-
tainment, not the strife of battle, was the scene to
which they hastened with so much eagerness and hi-
larity. In the conflict that ensued, the same spirit
was supported, and my communication to the executive
of the U. S. have testified the sease I eiiterlained of
the merits of the corps and officers that were engag-
ed. Resting on the field of battle, they retired in
perfect order on the the next morning to these lines,
destined to become the scene of future victories, which
they were to share with the rest of you, my brave
companions in arms. Scarcely were your lines a
protection against musket shot, when on the 28th a
disposition was made to attack them with all the
pomp and parade of military tactics, as improved by
those velerans^of the Spanish war.

Their batteries of heavy cannon kept up an inces-,
sant fire ; their rockets illuminated the air ; and under
their cover two strong columns threatened our flanks.
The foe insolently thought that this spectacle was too
imposing to be resisted, and in the intoxication of his
pride he already saw our lines abandoned without a
contest— how were those menacing appearances met?

By shouts of defiance, by a manly countenance,
not to be shaken by the roar of his cannon, or by the
glare of his firework rockets ; by an artillery served
with superior skill, and with deadly eflect. JNever,
my brave friends, can your Gen. forget the tetimoni-
als ofallaclmient to ourglorious cause of indignant hat-


red to our foe, of effectionate confidence in your chief,
that resounded from every rank, as he passed a'ong-
your hue. This animating scene damped the cour-
Jig-e of the enemy ; he dropped his scahnuj ladders
and fascines, and the threatened attack dwindled in-
to a demonstration, which served only to shew the
emptiness of his parade, and to inspire you with a
just confidence in yourselves.

The new year was ushered in witii the most tro-
mendious fire his whole artillery could produce, a
few hours only, however, were necessary for the brave
and skilful men who directed our own to dismount
his cannon, destroy his batteries, and effectually si-
lence his fire. Hitherto, my brave friends, in the
contest on our lines, your courage had been passive
only ; you stood with calnmess, a hre that would
have tried the firmness of a vetran, and you anticipa-
ted a nearer contest with an eagerness which was soon
to be gratified.

On the 8th of Jan. the final effort was made. At
the dawn of day the batteries opened and the columns
advanced. Knowing that the volunteers from Ten-
nessee and the militia from Kentucky were stationed
on your left, it was there they directed their chief at-

Reasoning always from false principles, they ex-
pected little opposition from men whose officers even
were not in uiiilorm, who were ignorant of the rules
of dress, and who had never been caned into disci-
pline — fatal mistake ! a fire incessantly kept up, di-
rected with calmness and with unerring aim, strewed
the field with the bravest officers and men of the col-
umn which slowly advanced, according to the most
approved rules of European tactics, and was cut
down by the untutored courage of American militia.
Unble to sustain this galling and unceasing fire, some
hundreds nearest the entrenchment called for quarter,
which was granted — the rest retreating, were rallied
at some <listance, but only to make them a surer mark
for the grape and cannister shotofourartdlery, which,
without exaggeration, mowed down whole ranks al


every discharge : and at length they precipirtalely re-
tired from the Held.

Our n^ht had only a short contest to sustain with
a few rash naen who fatally for ihemselvts, forced their
entrance nito the unfinished redouht on the river.
They were quickly dispossessed, and this e^lorious day
termnrated with the loss to the enemy of their com-
mander in chief and one Maj. Gen. killed, another
Maj. Gen. wounded, the mostexjerienced ai.d bravest
of tlieir officers, and more than three thousand men
killed, wounded and missing", whde our ranks, my
friends, were thinned only b) the loss of six of our
bra\e comp-.inions killed and seven disabled by
wounds — wonderful mtei*position of Heaven ! unex-
ampled event m the history of war !

Let us he grateful to the God of battles who has di-
rected the arrows of indignation against our invaders
while he covered with his protecting shield the brave
defenders of their country.

After this unsuccesslul and disastrous attempt, their
spirits were broken, their force was destroyed, and
their whole attention was employed in providing the
means of esca|)e. This they have etfected ; leaving
their hea\y artillery in our power, and many of their
woumted to our clemency. The consequences of this
short, but decisive campaign, are incahulably im[)or-
tant. The pride of our arrogant enemy humbled,
bisforces broken, his leaders killed, his insolent hopes
of our disunion frustrated — his expectation of rioting
in our spoils and wasting our country^ changed into
igi.ominious defeat, shameful flight, and a reluctant
acknowledgment of the humanity and kindness of
those whom he had doomed to all the horrors and hu-
miliation 01 a coi.quered state.

On the other side, unanimity established, disaftec-
tion crushed, confidence restored, your country saved
from conquest, your property from pillage, your wives
and daughters troni insult and violation* — the union
preserved from dismemberment, and perhaps a period

* Previous to tlie attack Gen. Pacljentiam gave out for watcti-
word, ' Beauty and Booty* and promised three days riot and plunder.


put by this decisive stroke to a bloody and savage
war. These, my brave tru^iuls, are the consequences
oftheeftorts you have made, and the success with
which they have been crowned by Heaven.

Tljese important results have been effected by the
luiited couratj^e and persexerance ot the arms ; but
wliich the dilterent corps as well as the individuals
that compose it, ha\y vied with each other in their
exertions to produce. The g-ratitnde, the admi-
ration of their country, offers a fairer reward than
that which any praises of th>- Gen. can bestow, and the
best is that of which they can never be dej)rved, the
consciousness of haviiijj;- done their duty, and of merit-
ing the applause they will receive.

Com. Decatur to the Secretary of the Navy.
H. B. M. Ship Endymion, at sea, Jan. 18, 1815.
SIR — The pai iful duty of detailing- to you the
particular causes which preceded and led to the cajj-
tureof the late U S. frigate President by a squadron
of his Br. tannic Majesty's ships* has devolved upon
me. [n my communication of the 14lh, I made
known my intention of proceeding to sea on that eve-
ning. Owing- to some mistake of the pilots, the ship
in going out grounded on the bar, where she continu-
ed to strike hc^avily for an hour and a half; although
she had broken several of her rudder braces, and had
received such other material injury as to render her
return into port desirable, I was unable to do so Irom
the strong westerly wind which was then blowing-.
We shaped our course along the shore of LMng-Isl-
and for 50 miles, and then steered S. E. by E. At
five o'clock, three ships were discovered ahead ; we
immediately hauled up the ship and passed two miles
to the northward of them. At day light, we discov-
ered four ships in chase, one on each quarter, and two
astern, tiie leading- ship of the enemy a razee — she
commenced a tiie upon us but without effect. At
meridian the wind became light and baffling; we

t Majestic razee, Endymion^ Potnone, Tenedos, Dispatch {brig)


had increased our distance from the razee, but the
next ship astern, which was also a large ship, had
gained and continued to g-ain upon uscojisiderably ;
we imnu-diately occupied all hands to lighten ship.
At 3, we had the wind quite light ; the enemy who
had now been joined by a brig, had a strong breeze,
and were coming up with us rapidly. The Endy-
inion (mounting oO guns, 24 pgjinders on the main
deck) had now approached us within gun shot, and
had commenced a tire with her bow guns, which we
returned from our stern. At 5 o'clock she had ob-
tained a position on our starboard quarter, within half
point blank shot, on which neither our stern nor
quiu'ter guns would bear ; I remained with her in
this position for half an hour, in the hope that she
"would close with us on our broadside, m which case
I had prepared my crew to board, but from his con-
tinuing to yaw his ship to maintain his position, it be-
came evident that to close was not his intention.
JEvery lire now cut some of our sails or rigging. To
have continued our course under these circumstances,
would have been placing it in his power to cripple us,
without being sutiject to injury himself, and to have
hauled up more to the northward to bring our stern
guns to bear, would have exposed us to his raking

It was now dusk when I determined to alter my
course south, for the purpose of bringing the enemy
abeam, and although their ships astern were drawing
up fast, I felt satisfied I should be enabled to throw
him out of the combat before they could come up, and
was not without hopes, if the night proved dark (of
which there was every appearance) that I might still
be enabled to effect my escape. Our opponent kept
off at the same instant we did, and our tire commenc-
ed at the same time. We continued engaged, steer-
ing south with steering sails set two hours and a half,
when we completely succeeded in dismantling her.
Previously to her dropping entirely out of the action,
there were intervals of minutes, when the ships were
broadside and broadside, and in which she did not


fire a gun. At this period, half past 8 o'clock, al-
though dark, the other ships of the squadron were
ill sight, and ahnost within gun shot. We were of
course compelled to abandon her. In resuming our
former course for I he purpose of avoiding the squad-
ron, we were compelled to present our stern to our
antagonist — hut such was his state, though we were
thus exposed and within range of his guns for half an
hour, that he did not avail himself of this favorable
oj)portu;iitv of raking us. We continued this course
until 1 1 o'clock, when two fresh ships of the enemy
(the Pomona and Tenedos) had come up. The Po-
mona had opened her fire on the larbuard bow, with-
in musket shot ; the other wbout two cables' length
astern, taking a raking position on our quarter j and
the rest (with the exce[)tion of the El^'dymion) within
gun shot. Thus situat<^d, with about one Hftli of my
crew killed and wounded, my ship crippled, and a
more than four-fold force opposed to me, without a
chance of escape left, 1 deemed it my duty to sur-

It is with emotions of pride [ bear testimony to the
gallantry and steadiness of every officer ami man I
had the honor to command on this occasion, and I
feel satisfied that the fact of their havmg beaten a
force equal to themselves, in the presence, and almost
under the guns of so vastly a superior force, when,
too, it was almost self-evident, that whatever their ex-
ertions might be, they must ultimately be captured,
will be taken as evidence of what they would have
performed, had the force opposed to ihem been m any
degree equal.

For 24 hours after the action it was nearly calm,
and the squadron were occupied in repairing the
crippled ships. Such of the crew of the President as
were not badly wounded, were jjut on board the dif-
ferent ships ; myself and a part of my crew were put
on board this ship. On the 17th we had a gale from
the eastward, when this ship lost her bowsprit, fore
and mam-masts, and mizen top-mast, all of which
were badly wounded, and was, in consequence of


her disabled condition, obliged to throw overboard
all her u per deck guns.
1 have the honor to be, ^c.

American Loss. — Kuled 24 — wounded 55,
British Loss — Kdled 15 — wounded 28.

Capt. Boyle to IMr. George P. Stephenson.

Datt d at sea, March 2, 1815.

[Extract.] SIR — I Isave the honor to inform vou,
thai on the :26th of Feb. being about six leagues to
windward of Havanna and 2 leagues from the land
— ;it 1 !, A. M. discovered a schooner bearing N. E.
ot us, apparently running before the wind ; made
every possible sail in chase. At half past meridian
I lired a gunman J hoisted the American flag, to as-
certain, if possible, the nation which she belonged to,
bul she shewed no colors. At 1,P. M. drawing up
W:th hmi very fast, she fired astern chase gun at us,
and hoisted English colors, slievvuig at the same time
oidy three ports in the side next to us.

Under the impression that she was a running vessel
bound to Havanna, weakly armed and manned, I
tried every eft'urt to close with him as quick as possi-
ble. Saw very few men on hi;^ deck, and hastily
made small preparation for action, though my officers,
myself and men did not expect an\ fighting, of couise
we were not completely prepared for action. At 1,
26, we were within pistol shot of him when he open-
ed a tier of ten ports on a side, and gave his broad-
side V f round, grai>e and musket balls. 1 then open-
ed the Chasseur's fire from the great guns and musk-
etry, and endeavored to close with him for the j)ur-
pose of boarding; we having quick way at this time,
shot ahead of him under his lee; he put his helm up
for the purpose of wearing across our stern and to
give us a raking fire, which I prevented by timely
taking notice of his intention, and putting our helm
hard up also. He shot quick ahead, and I closed
Within ten yards of him ; at this time both fires were
heavy, severe and destructive. I now found his men


had been concealed uader his hnlwark, and that I
had a heavy enemv to contend with, and at 1, 40, g-ave
the order for boardniuf, which my brave officers and
men cheerfully obeyt'<l vvith unexaiuided quickness,
instantly put the helm to starb >ard to lay him on
board, and in the act of board int>- her, she surreiider-
ed. She proved to be H B. Majesty's scliooae • .St.
Lawrence, commanded by Lieut. James E. Ciortlon,
of 15 guns, 14 twelve pound carronades upon an un-
proved construction, and a long"ni,ie; 75 men, and
had on board a number of so.diers, man les, and
some gentlemen of the navy passengers; having l>y
the report 15 killed and 23 wounded. 1 had 5 men
killed, and 8 wounded, myself amongst the latter,
though very slightly. Thus ended the action in 15
minutes after its commencement, and about 8 minutes
close quarters, with a force in every respect erjual to
our own.

The Chasseur mounts six 12 pounders, and eight
short 9 pound carronades, (the latter taken from one
of her prizes) ten of our 12 pound carronades having
been thrown overboard while hard chased by the
Burrosa frigate. Yours with respect,


Col. Scott to Governor Ear it/.

Great Satill rner, Feb! 28, 1815.
[Ex'trnct.^ SIR — I have the pleasure to inform
yo»iof a brilliant atiair having taken place on the 24th
inst. on the river St. Mary's between a part of mv de-
tachment, 20 men, comnninded by Capt. Will. am
Mickler, aided by about oO o: ttie Patriots of Flori-
da, under Col. Dili, a. id ti of the enemy's barges,
containing about 250 men, \\h ch hail attempted to
proceed up the river to burn Mr. A C ark's mills.
The enemy were iirst attacked by the Patriots from
the Florida shore, near Camp P.nckney, when the
barges immediately tacked about to retreat, but our
men being in aml)ush o;i this shore gave them a se-
cond reception, and thus tiie lire was kept up irora


both shores until they got into a greater extent of riv'
er than our riflemen could reach. Tlie enemy lost
160 killed and wounded. — We had one man severely
wounded through the body, and several received
balls through their clothes, but no further injury.


Sailing-master John HurJhurd to Com. Campbell,
U. S. Gun Boat, No. 168, Cumberland Sound,)

March 18, 1815. |
\Extract.'] SIR. — Proceeding with the despatch
which you did me the honor to entrust to ray care, I
sailed from Tybee bar, at 1, P. M. on the 16th inst.
wind N. E. steering south ; at half past 3 descried a
sail in the S. E. quarter, which we soon found to be
a ship standing N.N. W. about 40 minutes after she
iired a gun and hoisted her colors, the shot passing
over our fore gaff; our colors were hoisted, con-
tinued our course for a few minutes, when anoth-
er gun was fired ; the shot passed abaft the main rig-
ging over the lee quarter. Heaving his vessel too on
the starboard tack, hailed me by saying, ' you damn'd
rascal, if you don't lower your boat down and come
on board immediately, I'll fire into you, I'll sink you,
God damn you.' Seeing me in the act of taking in
the square sail, * why don't you heave to, God damn
vou, I'll sink you ; I'll fire a broadside into you.*
As soon as I could be heard I said, this is a tJ. S.
ivessel, from Savannah, with despatches for Admiral
Cockburn. In the act of pronouncing the last words,
a musket was fired at me, the ball passed near my
shoulders, over the hand of ihe man at the helm, strik-
ing the water from twenty Lo thirty feet from the ves-
sel. Putting the helm down, I again informed him
of the character of the vessel, saying, if you wish for,
further satisfaction you are at liberty to send your boat
on board ; he said, * I don't care a damn for the des-
patches nor Admiral Cockburn either; God damii
them and the United States too; I'll fire a broadside
into you and sink you, if you don't lower your boat
down and come on board, you rascal.' Put about and


run close under the ship's lee, saying, 'this is tlie U.
States' gun vessel No. 1(58, with despatches for the
Admiral off St. Mary's ; if you doubt her being
what she >)pearsto be, you can send your boat on
board. Timing to uie, he says, * God damn you,
come on board or Tli sink you — Til fire thunder mto
you.' I replied, * if you do, 1 shall return your com-
plements with lightning.' At this time I received,
if possible, a greater flood of vulgar abuse than be-
fore I hove about, stood to wmdward of him, heav-
ing too on his starboard quarter, with the larboard
tacks on board ; when a Lieut, came alongside, and
ordered me into the boat, saying, * if you do not go
on board, every one of you will be taken out and
cixrried to Charleston.' Go on board and tell your
commander that I shall not lower my boat, nor shall
an officer or man leave the vessel, but by force,
sho^ving hmi the paper for Admiral Cockburn. *If
you don't go on board, you'll be sunk as soon as I go
on board ; 1 advise you to go' — >' I want no advice,
(said i) I have the orders of my government, by
which I am governed ; tell your commander that
such trifling shall not pass with impunity.' On the
boat leaving us the Captain of the ship said, * won't
the damned rascal come ? then come alongside and
let me sink hun ; J'll fire a broadside into him.' On
tlie boat's reaching the ship's side a gun was fired;
the shot [)assing to leeward, through the mainsail,
near the mast, cutting avvav one of the stays, going
between the foremast and rigging i while he gave full
vent to his vulgar abuse. I now saw every one of
our little crew anxiously waiting the order to fire in-
to the apparent enemv ; but I considered that several
lives would in all probability be lost, and the flag
struck at last. Under these considerations, I fired a
gun across his bows, as the vessels were lying, sunk
the signals, and hauled the colors down. A Lieut,
came on board, to whom I made a formal surrender
of the vessel ; he observed that he was only a Lieut.
* Send an officer on board, (I replied) the officers and
men are your prisoners.* He ordered me on board

348 HISTORY or the v/ar.

the ship. On m}' arrival on board the ship, I was
met by the Capl. near the main mast, saying, this \s
his majeslv s ship Erebns, Bartholomew, commaiider.

* This IS my sword, (I repbed) that is the U. Slates
gun vessel No. lt)8, which 1 surrender as your prize,
m\seit, othcers and crew as your prisoners.' He
said ag"Jiin, 'how dare you refuse to come on board
bis majesty's ship when ordered ?' ' I know not nor
do I acknowledge any right you have to order me
on board, or to mlerrujit me sailing along the Amer-
ican coast I sh;d', however, make a fair representa-
tion of this most flagrant abuse of power on your part
to my government. I very much regret that I have
not the comma, id of a ve>.sel of 20 guns, which would
save the trouble of demanding satisfaction at a future
day, by taking it on thes ot.' He said, 'I only wish
to warn you off tlie coast; wdi you see my orders
from the Admiral to warn all vessels from the coast r*'

* As I am guverned b\ the orders of my own gov-
ernment, 1 can have nothing to do with those ot Ad-
miral Cockburn.' He said ' 1 ihouiiht you might be
from the Cape of Good Hope.' * You could not be-
lieve any such thing, when you see she has no quar-
ter, has not the appearaiice of having been at sea any
length of time; her boats not stowed as if to remain
long at sea; nor could you supj>ose that were I from
a long crUize, I should run past the port of Savannah,
thereby exposing my vessel to any British cruizer
that might happen to be on the coast.' He then said
*upon my honour, 1 believe it was an accident, but
I am sure the last shot would not have been firt^l if
you had not been tr^uigto run away from me.' ' You
could believe no such thing; jou saw both gibs to
"windward, aiul the helm a-lee.' He said, * upon my
honor, I don't no whether it went off by accident or
was fired, no orders were given to tire ' After v\ alk-
ing the quarter-deck for a few minutes, reliirning,
he said, * will you see my orders to warn all vessels
off the coast.' * As I have nothing to do with I hem
I can have no wisli to see them.' * I( you tlinik this
\ydlcau9e any dis^jute between the two govenuueu^


(said he) T will return with you to the Admiral and
h:ive it settled.' I re, lied, ' I do not t'eel mysflf
authorised in my present sitna'ioa to receive any sat-
isfaction vou may iiave in your power to oftbr for such
a wiltui insult offered to the U. Stalt.s.' I was then
ordered on board, and lo proceed with the des-

Capt. Stewart to the Sccretari/ of the l\av?/.

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 27 of 38)