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cause of my falling; being stunned by the fall, I lay some time senseless, and when I came to, I was cut over the head with a cutlass, which nearly terminated my existence. Eleven of our midshipmen were confined in a small place, nine feet by six, with an old sail to lie on, and a guard at the door, until a day or two before our arrival at Halifax ; and likewise eleven of us upon five rations, and some days only one meal. Our clothes were taken on board of the Shannon ; lieutenant Wallis, the commanding officer on board, would not let us take our clothes below with us, but pledged his word and honour as an officer, we should receive our clothes. But we discovered next morning that their midshipmen had on our clothes and side-arms. We were conversing toge. ther respecting our clothes, one of their midshipmen overheard our conversation, and made report to the lieutenant commanding. He then sent word to us, that if we said any thing more about the clothes, he would put us in the forehold with the men. We expected to receive our clothes when we arrived in port; but I assure you, sir, nothing was ever restored. Other rascally things occurred, which our officers will, when they return, make known to the public, disgraceful to a civilized nation. If your request could have been made sooner, I should have felt gratified in making a fuller statement.
I have the honour to be, &c.
WILLIAM BERRY. Hon. L. Condit, Washington.
GEORGETOWN, July 30th, 1813. SIR,
Having perused a letter of yours to Mr. Berry, requesting information respecting the treatment of the American officers and seamen of the late Chesapeake, I consider myself bound, sir, to lay before you what came under my knowledge. My having been wounded and remaining on board the Chesapeake might not give me that scope for observation which others possessed; but I am sorry to say, many things transpired disgracefalto a brave enemy. Whilst undressing myself in the
steerage, after the Americans were driven below or had surrendered, and after resistance had ceased, I believe entirely, several muskets and pistols were at once pointed down the hatchway, and discharged in the direction of the cock-pit, and as the steerage and cock-pit were filled with wounded, in all probability some of them were killed outright.
It was midshipman Hopewell, and not Livingston, who was so inhumanly treated, as described in the public prints. It has been the custom in our navy, to take the side-arms of officers, (prisoners) but to return them on leaving the ship. Ours were taken, worn, and never restored, together with what nautical instru
ments they could lay their hands on. When spoken to by the. American officers on the subject, the answer was, such things were free plunder. A day or two after the action, I was conversing with lieutenants Budd and Mr. Nichols, near the taffrail, respecting the engagement, when it was observed some of the Shannon's men were listening to our conversation. Immediately after, lieutenant Faulkner, the commanding officer, ordered sentinels to be placed at the mizen-mast. And said he to them, if you see any of the Chesapeake's officers abaft the mizen-mast, cut them down, if you see them conversing together cut them down without hesitation. It will be remembered that three officers who caused this order, were all severally wounded. We received no caution, and overheard it by accident. So great was the rage for plunder, that captain Lawrence, before his death, could not obtain a bottle of wine from his private stores, without a note from the doctor to the lieutenant commanding. I pass over the robbing of the midshipmen on board the Shannon, as it did not come under my immediate notice. If your request could have been made earlier, I should have felt gratified in making a fuller statement.
WM. A. WEAVER The Hon. Lewis Condit, Washington.
HEAD QUARTERS, SENECA TOWNS,
August 4th, 1813 SIR,
In my letter of the 1st instant, I did myself the honour to inform you that one of my scouting parties had just returned from the lake shore, and had discovered the day before, the enemy in force near the mouth of the Sandusky bay. The party had not passed Lower Sandusky two hours before the advance, consisting of Indians, appeared before the fort, and in half an hour after a large detachment of British troops; and in the course of the night they commenced a cannonading against the fort with three six pounders and two howitzers. T'he latter from
boats. The firing was partially answered by major Croghan, having a six pounder, the only piece of artillery.
The fire of the enemy was continued at intervals during the second instant, until about half after five P. M. when finding that their cannon made little impression upon the works, and having discovered my position, and here apprehending an attack, an attempt was made to carry the place by storm. Their troops were formed in two columns, lieutenant colonel Short headed the principal one composed of the light battalion companies of the 41st regi ment. This gallant officer conducted his men to the brink of the ditch under the most galling and destructive fire from the garrison,
and leaping into it, was followed by a considerble part of his own and the light company; at this moment a masked port hole was suddenly opened, and a six pounder with an half load of powder, and a double charge of leaden slugs at the distance of 30 feet poured destruction upon them, and killed or wounded nearly every man who had entered the ditch. In vain did the British officers exert themselves to lead on the balance of the column; it retired in disorder under a shower of shot from the fort, and sought safety in the adjoining woods. The other column, headed by the grenadiers, had also retired, after having suffered from the muskets of our men, to an adjacent ravine. In the course of the night the enemy, with the aid of their Indians, drew off the greater part of the wounded and dead, and embarking them in boats, descended the river with the utmost precipitation. In the course of the ed instant, having heard the cannonading, I made several attempts to ascertain the force and situation of the enemy. Our scouts were unable to get near the fort from the Indians that surrounded it. Finding, however, that the enemy had only ght artillery, and being well convinced that it could make little impression upon the works, and that any attempt to storm it would be resisted with effect, I waited for the arrival of 250 mounted volunteers, which on the evening before had left Upper Sandusky. But as soon as I was informed that the enemy were retreating, I set out with the dragoons to endeavour to overtake them, leaving generals M'Arthur and Cass to follow with all the infantry (about 700) that could be spared from the protection of the stores and sick at this place. I found it impossible to come up with them. Upon my arrival at Sandusky, I was informed by the prisoners that the enemy's forces consisted of 490 regular troops and 500 of Dixon's Indians, commanded by general Proctor in person, and that Tecumseh, with about 2000 warriors, was somewhere in the swamps between this and Fort Meigs, expecting my advance or that of a convoy of provisions. As there was no prospect of doing any thing in front, and being apprehensive that Tecumseh might destroy the stores and small detachments in my rear; I sent orders to general Cass, who commanded the reserve, to fall back to this place, and to general M Arthur, with the front line, to follow and support him.
I remained at Sandusky until the parties that were sent out in every direction returned ; not an enemy was to be seen.
I am sorry that I cannot transmit you major Croghan's official report.
"He was to have sent it to me this morning. But I have just heard that he was so much exhausted by thirty-six hours of continued exertion as to be unable to make it. It will not be amongst the least of general Proctor's mortifications to find that he has been bafiled by a youth who has just passed his twenty-first year. He is however a hero worthy of his gallant uncle (general William Clark) and I bless my good fortune in having first introduced this
promising shoot of a distinguished family to the notice of thes government.
Captain Hunter of the 17th regiment, the second in command, conducted himself with great propriety, and never were a set of finer young fellows than the subalterns, viz: lieutenants Johnson and Baylor of the 17th, Anthony of the 24th, Meeks of the 7th, and ensigns Ship and Duncan of the 17th.
The following account of the unworthy artifice and conduct of the enemy will excite your indignation. Major Chambers was sent by general Proctor, accompanied by colonel Elliott, to demand the surrender of the fort. They were met by ensign Ship. The major observed that general Proctor had a number of cannon, a large body of regular troops, and so many Indians whom it was impossible to control, and if the fort was taken as it must be, the whole of the garrison would be massacred. Mr. Ship answered that it was the determination of major Croghan, his officers and men, to defend the garrison or be buried in it, and that they might do their best. Colonel Elliott then addressed Mr. Ship, and said, “ you are a fine young man, I pity your situation, for God's sake surrender and prevent the dreadful slaughter that must follow resistance." Ship turned from him with indignation and was immediately taken hold of by an Indian, who attempted to wrest his sword from him. Elliott pretended to exert himself to release him, and expressed great anxiety to get him safe into the fort.
In a former letter I informed you, sir, that the post of Lower Sandusky could not be defended against heavy cannon, and that I had ordered the commandant, if he could safely retire upon the advance of the enemy, to do so after having destroyed the fort, as there was nothing in it that could justify the risk of defending it, commanded as it is by a hill on the opposite side of the river, within range of cannon, and having on that side old and illy constructed block houses and dry friable pickets. The enemy ascending the bay and river with a fine breeze, gave major Croghan so little notice of their approach, that he could not execute the order for retreating. Luckily they had no artillery but six pounders and five and a half inch howitzers.
General Proctor left Malden with the determination of storming Fort Meigs. His immense body of troops were divided into three commands, and must have amounted to at least 5000. Dixon commanded the Mackanaw and other northern tribes ; Tecumseh those of the Wabash, Illinois and St. Joseph ; and Round Head, a Wyandot chief, the warriors of his own nation and those of the Ottaways, Chippeways, and Putawattamies of the Michigan territory. Upon seeing the formidable preparations to receive them at Fort Meigs, the idea of storming was abandoned, and the plan adopted of decoying the garrison out, or inducing me to come to its relief with a force inadequate to repel the attack of his immense hordes of savages. Having waited several days for
the latter, and practising ineffectually several stratagems to accomplish the former, provisions began to be scarce and the Indians to be dissatisfied. The attack upon Sandusky was the dernier resort. The greater part of the Indians refused to accompany him and returned to the river Raisin. Tecumseh, with his command, remained in the neighbourhood of fort Meigs sending parties to all the posts upon Hull's road and those upon the Auglaiza to search for cattle. Five hundred of the northern Indians under Dixon attended Proctor. I have sent a party to the lake to ascertain the direction that the enemy have taken. The scouts which have returned saw no signs of Indians later than those made in the night of the 2d instant, and a party has just arrived from Fort Meigs who make the same report. I think it probable that they have all gone off. If so, this mighty armament, from which so much was expected by the enemy, will return covered with disgrace and mortification. As captain Perry was nearly ready to sail from Erie when I last heard from him, I hope that the period will soon arrive when we shall transfer the labouring oar to the enemy, and oblige him to encounter some of the labours and difficulties which we have undergone in waging a defensive warfare, and protecting our extensive frontier against a superior force. I have the honour to enclose you a copy of the first note received from major Croghan. It was written before day, and it has since been ascertained that of the enemy there remained in the ditch one lieutenant colonel (by brevet), one lieutenant and twenty-five privates, fourteen of them badly wounded. Every care has been taken of the latter and the officers buried with the honours due to their rank and their bravery. All the dead that were not in the ditch were taken off in the night by the Indians. It is impossible, from the circumstances of the attack, that they should have lost less than one hundred. Some of the prisoners think that it amounted to two hundred. A young gentleman, a private in the Petersburg volunteers of the name of Brown, assisted by five or six of that company, and of the Pittsburg blues, who were accidentally in the fort, managed the six pounder which produced such destruction in the ranks of the enemy.
I have the honour to be, &c.
WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON. The Secretary of War.
N. B. Of our few wounded men there is but one that will not be well in less than six days.
LOWER SANDUSKY, August 5th, 1813. DEAR SIR,
I have the honour to inform you that the combined force of the enemy, amounting to at least 500 regulars and seven or eight hundred Indians, under the immediate command of general Proctor