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At day break on the 6th the fleet appeared, bearing up under easy sail. The Wolfe, &c. took a position directly against the fort and batteries, and for 3 hours kept up a heavy fire of grape, &c. Finding that the enemy had effected a landing, I withdrew my small disposable force into the rear of the fort, and with two companies, (Romayne's and Melvin's) met their advancing columns, while the other companies engaged the flanks of the enemy. Lieutenant Pierce of the navy and some seamen, joined in the attack, and fought with their characteristic bravery. We maintained our ground about 30 minutes, and as long as consisted with my farther duty of defending the public stores deposited at the falls, which no doubt formed the principal object of the expedition on the part of the enemy.
Nor was this movement made precipitately. I halted within 400 yards of the fort. Captain Romayne's company formed the rear guard, and, remaining with it, I marched to this place in good order, destroying the bridges in my rear. The
landed 600 of De Watteville's regiment, 600 marines, two companies of the Glengary corps, and 350 seamen.
General Drummond and commodore Yeo were the land and naval commanders. They burned the old barracks and evacuated the fort about 3 o'clock in the morning of the 7th.
Our loss in killed, is 6; in wounded 38—and in missing 25. That of the enemy is much greater. Deserters, and citizens of ours taken prisoners and afterwards released, state their killed at 64 and wounded in proportion-among them are several land and navy officers of merit.
I cannot close this despatch without speaking of the dead and the living of my detachment. Lieutenant Blaney, a young man of much promise, was unfortunately killed. His conduct in the action was highly meritorious. Captain Boyle and lieutenant Legate merit my highest approbation, and indeed I want language to express my admiration of their gallant conduct. The subalterns M.Comb, Ansart, King, Robb, Earl, M'Clintock and Newkirk, performed well their several parts.
It would be injustice were I not to acknowledge and report the zeal and patriotism evinced by the militia, who arrived at a short notice, and were anxious to be useful.
Extract of a letter from captain Macdonough to the Secretary of
“ VERGENNES, May 14th, 1814. “I have the honour to inform you, that an engagement between our battery at the mouth of Oiter Creek, and eight of the enemy's galleys, with a bomb-vessel, has terminated by the retreat of the enemy, who it is supposed came with an intention of blockading us.
“The battery, commanded by captain Thornton of the artillery, who was gallantly assisted by lieutenant Cassen of the navy, received but little injury, although a number of shells were thrown, and many lodged in the parapet.
Colonel Davis was advantageously posted to receive the enemy in the event of his landing, which we had reason to expect, as his new brig, with several other gallies, and four other sloops, were within two and a half miles of the point, on which the battery stands, during the action, which lasted one hour and a half, when they all stood off, and were seen passing Burlington for the northward. Every exertion was made to get the vessels down to the creek, which, however, we could not effect until the enemy had withdrawn. Our whole force is now at the creek's mouth, with the exception of the schooner, and she will be down also in the course of four or five days."
Extract of a letter from captain Macdonough to the Secretary of
“ VERGENNES, May 18th, 1814. “ I omitted stating in my letter of the 14th, that the enemy had two fine row-boats shot adrift from their gallies in the action with the battery, which, in their precipitate retreat, were left, and picked up by us.
“I have since learned, that in other parts of the lake they were much cut up by the militia. T'wo of their gallies, in passing up a small river, on the New York side, had nearly all their men killed and wounded.”
NEW YORK, May 29th, 1814. SIR.
I have the honour to inform you, that on the 19th, I discovered the enemy in pursuit of a brig under American colours, standing for Sandy Hook. I ordered a detachment of eleven gunboats to proceed to sea, and pass between the chase and the enemy, by which means to bring him to action, and give opportunity to the chase to escape, all which was effected; the receiving my fire, bore away, and the brig in question, entering the harbour, proved to be the brig Regent from France, with a very valuable cargo.
And on Monday the 23d, I engaged the enemy before New London, and opened a passage for torty sail of coasting vessels; the action lasted three hours, in which the Flotilla suffered very little; No. 6 received a shot under water, and others through the sails: we have reason to believe, that the enemy
suffered very great injury, as he appeared uuilling to renew the action the
following morning; my object was accomplished, which was to force a passage for the convoy. There are before New London, three seventy-fours, four frigates, and several small vessels, the latter doing great injury from their disguised character, and superior sailing. I have the honour to be, &c.
J. LEWIS. Hon. Wm. Jones, Secretary of the Navy.
UNITED STATES' SHIP SUPERIOR, SACKETT'S HARBOR,
June 2d, 1814. SIR,
Finding it a most difficult task to transport our heavy guns on by land, I determined to get them to Stony Creek by water, when we should have only about three miles, land carriage, to transport them to Henderson's Harbor, from which we could bring them to this place by water. I directed captain Woolsey to send all the stores, except the heavy guns, up to Forth Bay, and to place the guns in boats ready to move up or down the river, but to be ready to start at a moment's notice for Sandy Creek, whenever the coast is clear of the enemy's gun-boats, which hovered about the creeks in Mexico Bay. On the evening of the 28th, captain Woolsey, started from Oswego with eighteen boats, containing all our heavy guns, twelve cables, and a quantity of shot. Major Appling, of the rifle corps, accompanied the boats with about 130 riflemen. I had also engaged i30 Indians to traverse the shore, for the purpose of protecting the boats if chased on shore, or into any of the creeks. Captain Woolsey proceeded unmolested to Sandy Creek, where he arrived about noon on Sunday the 29th, with one boat missing, containing one cable and two twenty-four-pounders. As soon as I received information of the arrival of the boats at Sandy Creek, the general, at my request, despatched two pieces of artillery, and captain Harris's company of dragoons. Yesterday morning, I ordered captain Smith with about 220 marines to Sandy Creek, and general Gaines very politely offered an additional force of about 300 artillery and infantry, under the command of that excellent officer, colonel Mitchell, to the same place; but before this force could reach the creek, the enemy was discovered in chase of our look-out boats, and entered the creek a little after day-light; they landed and reconnoitered the shore : a part of their force marched up on each side of the creek, while their gun-boats ascended cautiously, occasionally firing into the woods. Major Appling disposed of his force in the most judicious manner, and permitted the enemy to approach within a few yards of his ambuscade, when the riflemen and Indians opened a most destructive fire up on the enemy, which obliged them to surrender in about ten minutes, with the loss of a number of killed and wounded, and seven boats taken,
mounting six, eight, twenty-four, eighteen, and twelve pounders, with some smaller guns.
The number of officers and men which the enemy entered the creek with, were about 200, but the number killed, wounded, and taken prisoners, I am still ignorant of, as no return has been made to me; amongst the prisoners, however, are two post captains, four lieutenants, and two lieutenants of the marines.
The conduct of major Appling, and the troops under his command, has been highly honourable, and they are entitled to my warm acknowledgments for the zeal and ability with which they have defended the guns and stores for this station.
I have made arrangements for transporting the guns from Sandy Creek by land, which is about sixteen miles. I hope to have them all here before the 10th.
I inclose herewith for your information, captain Woolsey's report of his proceedings.
I have the honour to be, &c.
ISAAC CHAUNCEY. Hon. Wm. Jones, Secretary of the Navy.
SACKETT'S HARBOR, June 1st, 1814, SIR,
I have already had the honour to inform you of the affair at Sandy Creek on the soth ultimo, but for want of time at that juncture, I had it not in my power to give you the particulars, and as the most of my communication since measures were adopted for a push from Oswego Falls to Sandy Creek, with the naval, stores, bave been made in great haste, I avail myself of a leisure moment to make a report in detail of my proceedings since that period. On the 17th I despatched Mr. Huginan to Mexico, to hire a number of ox-teams, and to engage a quantity of forage, &c, I also sent orders to Oswego Falls to have additional number of large wheels made for transporting the guns and cables back across the portage, and caused reports to be circulated in every direction that I had received your orders to send all the naval stores to Oneida lake, with all possible expedition. On the morning of the 28th, when these reports were well in circulation, and when (as I have since heard from good authority) they had been detailed to sir James, I had the honour to receive per express your communication of the 27th, vesting in me discretionary powers, I immediately despatched Mr. Dixon in the long gig to reconnoitre the coast. I went with my officers to the falls, to run the boats down over the rapids. At sun-set we arrived at Oswego with the boats (19 in number) loaded in all with 21 long thirty-two pounders, 10 wenty-four pounders, 3 forty-two ditto (carronades) and 10 cables, besides some light articles, and distributed in the batteaux a guard of about 150 riblemen, under command of major Appling. Mr,
Dixon having returned with a report of the coast being clear, we set off at dark and arrived at Big Salmon river about sun-rise on the 29th, with the loss of one boat having on board 2 twenty-four pounders and one cable. I cannot account for her having separated from us, as every possible exertion was made to keep the brigade as compact as possible.
Āt Big Salmon we met the Oneidas, whom I had despatched the day previous, under the command of lieutenant Hill, of the rifle regiment. As soon as they had taken up their line of march along the shore of Big Sandy creek, I started with all the boats and arrived at noon at our place of destination about two miles up the creek. In this laborious and hazardous duty, I feel much indebted to major Appling, his officers, and men, for their exertions, having assisted my officers and seamen in rowing the boats without a moment's rest, twelve hours, and about half the time enveloped in darkness and deluged with rain; also, to some of the principal inhabitants of Oswego, who volunteered their services as pilots. At 2 A. M. on the 30th, I received your letter of the 29th, 6 P. M. per express, and agreeably to the order contained therein, sent lieutenant Pierce to look out as far as Stony Point. About 2 o'clock he returned, having been pursued by a gun-boat and three barges. The best possible disposition was made of the riflemen and Indians, about half a mile below our boats. About 8 A. M. a cannonading at long shot was commenced by the enemy, and believing, as I did, that no attempt would be made to land with their small force, I ordered lieutenant Pierce to proceed in erecting sheers and making preparations to unload the boats ; and, as all the teams had retrograded in consequence of the cannonading, I sent in pursuit of them to return. About 9 o'clock captain Harris, with a squadron of dragoons, and captain Melvin, with a company of light artillery and two six pounders, arrived. Captain Harris, the commanding officer, agreed with me that this reinforcement should halt, as the troops best calculated for a bush fight were already on the ground, where they could act to the greatest advantage, and that the enemy, seeing a large reinforcement arrive, would most probably retreat. About 10, the enemy having landed and pushed up the creek with three gun-boats, three cutters, and one gig; the riflemen, under that excellent officer, major Appling, rose from their concealment, and after a smart fire of about ten minutes, succeeded in capturing all the boats and their crews, without one having escaped.
At about 5 P. M. after having buried with the honours of war, Mr. Hoare, a British midshipman, killed in the action, I was relieved by captain Ridgely, whom you did me the honour to send to Sandy Creek for that purpose. All the prisoners, except the wounded, having been removed, and expecting another attack at night, I remained to assist captain Ridgely in that event : but yesterday morning, seeing nothing in the offing, I availed myself of my relief, and returned to this place. In performing, to the