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siege this place were then in view. On the succeeding night they broke ground upon the heights opposite, and on the following morning our batteries opened upon them and continued a partial firing throughout that and the following day. On the first of May the enemy returned it from a two gun and one mortar battery, and on the second from a third gun battery. On the night of the third they passed a part of their troops to this side of the river, and opened another gun and mortar battery within two hundred and fifty yards of our lines. They were soon however driven from that position, and obliged to take one at a more respectful distance.
On the first, second, and third instant, the fire was most incessant and tremendous. Five and a half and eight and a half inch shells, with twenty-four pound ball, fell in showers in our camp, and would have produced the most unfortunate effect, but from the great pains and labour which had been bestowed in the erection of traverses, which in a great degree shielded our camp from the former. For the latter there was no preventative but that of taking the batteries. About twelve o'clock last night an officer arrived in a boat from general Clay, to inform me of his approach, and that he would reach this place in about two hours. I immediately determined upon a general sally, and sent an officer to general Clay directing him to land eight hundred men some short distance above, to attack and carry the batteries, spike the cannon and destroy the artillery. The general was unfortunately delayed longer than he expected in passing the Rapids, and the detachment destined to make the attack did not reach the landing until near nine o'clock. This however did not prevent them from making the attempt, and never was any thing more completely successful. The four batteries were immediately taken possession of, and their defenders driven off, and the cannon spiked. Here the work of our men was done. But that confidence which always attends militia when successful, proved their ruin, although there was time sufficient to return to the boats before a reinforcement arrived to the enemy. They remained upon the grounds in spite of the repeated calls which we made across the river to bring them back, suffered themselves to be amused and drawn into the woods by some faint skirmishing, whilst the British troops and an immense body of Indians, were soon brought up. A severe action then took place. The British immediately interrupted the retreat of our men to the plain over the river, where they would have been under cover of our cannon; but about one hundred and fifty only, out of nearly eight hundred effectives,
made their escape to the boats. Where the balance of general Clay's force made its appearance and attempted to land above the garrison, their flank was attacked by a large body of Indians. I immediately ordered out a detachment consisting of part of the 19th United States' regiment, about one hundred twelve months' volunteers, and some militia. They however succeeded in driving the enemy entirely off. Pursuant to the plan which I had formed, an attack was then
made upon the batteries on this side of the river, conducted by colonel Miller, of the 19th regiment, with part of his regiment, the atoresaid volunteers, and a few militia. "This attack was also completely successful. The enemy were driven from their works, a number killed, and two British officers and forty-one privates brought into camp. This attack was intended to be simultaneous with that on the other side, and it was nearly so. Notwithstanding the severe loss we have sustained in the Kentucky militia, the events of the day have been honourable to the American arms. The detachment under colonel Miller suffered very little, and had the militia been contented with executing what they were ordered to do, every object which I had contemplated would have been accomplished.
I have only time to add that I am confident of my ability to defend this place until the expected large reinforcements arrive; and that I am, with great respect, &c.
WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON. Honourable John Armstrong,
Secretary of War.
Extract of a letter from Stephen H. Moore, captain of the Baltimore volunteers, to his brother, dated
NIAGARA, May 5th, 1813. “I last wrote you from the harbor, stating that I was then about to embark with my company, together with general Pike's brigade, for the purpose of making a descent on the Canada shore. I have to inform you now of the result, which has been victorious and glorious to the American arms, although peculiarly unfortunate to me. We arrived at the head of lake Ontario on Tuesday morning the 27th ultimo, and debarked the forces about a mile above York, the capital of Upper Canada. Here we were met on the beach by about five hundred British regulars and two hundred and fifty Indians. We contended with then, warmly for about an hour, when we succeeded in driving them before us, and made good our landing, with a loss of some brave officers, and about forty men killed and wounded. We then formed immediately, moved up to York, and when arrived just at the opening of the main street, the enemy sprung a mine upon us, which destroyed about eighty of his own men, and killed and wounded about one hundred and thirty of our men. This horrible explosion has deprived me of my leg, and otherwise grievously wounded me. I was taken from the field, and carried on board the commodore's ship, where my leg was amputated, and I am now likely to recover. Two of my company were killed at the same time, and four or five more of my brave fellows were severely wounded, now out of danger. We have taken the capital of the enemy, and about a
million and a half worth of public stores and other property: We have killed and wounded about three hundred British and their savage allies, and have taken prisoners about seven hundred men. We have taken from them also several vessels of war which were found in the harbor, and destroyed a 32 gun frigate, then on the stocks.
“ This is the severest blow the British have felt since the war, and is to them irremediable. It will teach them a lesson of American bravery, which they cannot soon forget. The conquest of Upper Canada is now no longer doubtful, as almost all the guns, munitions of war, and provisions, necessary to carry on the present campaign, were deposited at York, and have been taken by us. General Pike, however, the brave and gallant projector of this enterprize, fell in the very moment of complete victory, at the head of his column. We have suffered severely in loss of officers; two captains and fourteen lieutenants have been killed, and five captains and seven lieutenants wounded. My wound, they say, is a very good one, but it has maimed me for life. Lieutenant Irvine received a bayonet through his right shoulder, at the moment of stepping out of the boat, but is doing very well. Gill and Warner escaped unhurt. My company distinguished themselves gloriously, and were noticed for their determined spirit.”
HEAD QUARTERS, CAMP MEIGS, May 9th, 1813. SIR,
I have the honour to inform you that the enemy having been several days making preparations for raising the siege of this post, accomplished this day the removal of their artillery from the opposite bank, and about 12 o'clock, left their encampment below, were soon embarked and out of sight. I have the honour to enclose you an agreement entered into between general Proctor and myself, for the discharge of the prisoners of the Kentucky militia in his possession, and for the exchange of the officers and men of the regular troops which were respectively possessed by us. My anxiety to get the Kentucky troops released as early as possible, induced me to agree to the dismission of all the prisoners I had, although there was not as many of ours in general Proctor's possession. The surplusage is to be accounted for, and an equal number of ours released from their parole, whenever the government may think proper to direct it.
The two actions on this side the river on the 5th, were infinitely more important and more honourable to our arms, than I had at first conceived. In the sortie made upon the left flank, captain Waring's company of the 19th regiment, a detachment of twelve month's volunteers under major Alexander, and three companies of Kentucky militia under colonel Boswell, defeated at least double the number of Indians and British militia.
The sortie on the right was still more glorious ; the British batteries in that direction were defeated by the grenadier and light infantry companies of the 41st regiment, amounting to two hundred effectives, and two companies of militia, flanked by a host of Indians. The detachment sent to attack those, consisted of all the men of duty belonging to the companies of Croghan and Bradford, of the 17th regiment; Langham's, Elliott's late Graham's) and Waring's, of the 19th ; about eighty of major Alexander's volunteers, and a single company of Kentucky militia under captain Sebree; amounting in the whole to not more than three hundred and forty. Yet the event of the action was not a moment doubtful, and had not the British troops been covered in their retreat by their allies, the whole of them would have been taken.
It is not possible for troops to behave better than ours did throughout; all the officers exerted themselves to execute my orders, and the enemy, who had a full view of our operations from the opposite shore, declared that they had never seen so much work performed in so short a time.
To all the commandants of corps I feel particular obligations. These were colonel Miller of the 19th intantry, colonel Mills of the Ohio militia, major Stoddard of the artillery, major Ball of the dragoons, and major Johnson of the Kentucky militia. Captain Gratiot of the engineers, having been for a long time much indisposed, the task of fortifying this post devolved on captain Wood. It could not have been placed in better hands. Permit me to recommend him to the President, and to assure you that any mark of his approbation bestowed on captain Wood, would be highly gratifying to the whole of the troops who witnessed his arduous exertions.
From major Hukill, acting inspector general, my aid-de-camp, major Graham, lieutenant O‘Fallon, who has done the duty of assistant adjutant general in the absence of major Adams, and my volunteer aid-de-camp John Johnson, esq. I received the most useful assistance.
I have the honour to enclose you a list of the killed and wounded during the siege, and in the two sorties ; those of the latter were much greater than I had at first expected.
Want of sleep and exposure to the continued rains which have fallen almost every day for some time past, render me incapable of mentioning many interesting particulars; amongst others a most extraordinary proposition of general Proctor's, on the subject of the Indians within our boundary : this shall form the subject of a communication to be made to-morrow or next day, and for which I will provide a safer conveyance than that which carries this. All the prisoners and deserters agree in saying, that the information given to major Stoddard, by Ryland, of the British having launched a sloop of war this spring, is incorrect, and the
most of them say, that the one which is now building, will not be launched for many weeks.
I have the honour to be yours, &c.
WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON.
Honourable John Armstrong,
Secretary of War.
P. S. Captain Price, of the regiment light artillery, and the twenty regulars, prisoners with general Proctor, were taken on the north-western side of the river, with the Kentucky militia. We had no prisoners taken on this side during the siege.
HEAD QUARTERS, FORT MEIGS, May 9th, 1813.
The information received by the general, and the movements of the enemy, indicating their having abandoned this post, the general congratulates his troops on having completely foiled their foes, and put a stop to that career of victory which has hitherto attended their arms. He cannot find words to express his sense of the good conduct of the troops of every description and of every corps, as well in sustaining and returning the fire of the enemy, as for their assiduity and patience in performing those laborious duties which the occasion called for. Where merit was so general, indeed almost universal, it is difficult to discriminate. ”The general cannot, however, omit to mention the names of those whose situation gave them an opportunity of being inore particularly useful. From the long illness of captain Gratiot, of the corps of engineers, the arduous
and important duties of fortifying the camp devolved on captain Wood, of that corps. In assigning to him the first palm of merit, as far as relates to the transactions within the works, the general is convinced his decision will be awarded by every individual in the camp who witnessed his indefatigable exertions, his consummate skill in providing for the safety of every point, and in foiling every attempt of the enemy, and his undaunted bravery in the performance of his duty in the most exposed situations. An unfortunate wound in the commencement of the siege deprived the general, after that time, of the able services of major Stoddard, of the artillery, whose zeal and talents had been eminently useful. Captain Gratiot, in the remission of a severe illness, took charge of a battery, and managed it with ability and effect. Captain Cushing, of the artillery, and captain Hall, of the 17th infantry,