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The British army under lieutenant general Drummond, $ strongly posted opposite to Black Rock, two miles east of this fort; a skirt of thick wood separates us. I yesterday endeavoured to draw him out to see and try his strength; for this purpose, I sent the rifle corps through the intervening woods, with orders to amuse the enemy's light troops until his strong column should get in motion, and then to retire slowly to the plain this side the woods, where I had a strong line posted in readiness to receive the enemy. Our riflemen met and drove the enemy's light troops into their lines, where they remained, although the riflemen kept the woods near two hours, and until they were ordered in. They returned without being able to draw any part of the enemy's force after them.
Major Morgan reports that his officers and men acted with their usual gallantry. The enemy left 11 dead, and three prisoners in our hands, and I am informed by two persons just from the British camp,
that their loss was much more considerable; among their killed, were five Indians. We lost five killed, and three or four wounded.
General Drummond's force, from the best information we are able to collect from deserters and others, amounts to upwards of 4000, principally regulars. De Watteville's regiment has joined since the battle of the 25th ultimo, together with two or three. companies of the Glengary corps; making a total joined since the 25th, of about 1200.
AUGIJST, 11th, 1814. The enemy's position remains unchanged; they have constructed two batteries with two embrasures each, and have erected a wooden breast work 1200 to 1400 yards in our rear. amining their works yesterday, captain Birdsall of the 4th rifle regiment with a detachment of the 1st, and his company, amounting in the whole to 160 men, beat in two of their strong pickets with a loss on their part of 10 killed. Captain Birdsall had one killed and three wounded. General Drummond was much disappointed and chagrined at the failure of the enterprize of the 3d instant, against Buffalo, our riflemen having opposed and beaten them. Colonel Tucker, it seems, has been publicly reprimanded in general orders.
I have the honour to be, &c.
EDMUND P. GAINES. Hon. Secretary of War.
UNITED STATES' SHIP SUPERIOR, OFF KINGSTON,
August 10th, 1814, SIR,
I have been duly honoured with your letters of the 19th and 24th of July. I do assure you, sir, that I have never been under
any pledge to meet general Brown at the head of the Lake; but on the contrary, when we parted at Sackett's Harbor, I told him distinctly, that I should not visit the head of the Lake, unless the enemy's fleet did. I can ascribe the intimation of general Brown, that he expected the co-operation of the fleet to no other motive, than a cautious attempt to provide an apology for the public, against any contingent disaster to which his army might be exposed.
But, sir, if any one will take the trouble to examine the topography of the peninsula, (the scene of the general's operations,) he will discover that this fleet could be ot no more service to general Brown, or his army, than it could to an army in Tennessee.
General Brown has never been able to penetrate nearer to lake Ontario than Queenstown, and the enemy is in possession of all the intermediate country; so that I could not even communicate with the army, but by a circuitous route of 70 or 80 miles.
Admitting general Brown could have invested Fort George, the only service he could have derived from the fleet, would be our preventing the supplies of the enemy from entering the Niagara river; for the water is so shallow, that the large vessels could not approach within two miles of their works. General Brown had therefore two abundantly sufficient reasons for not expecting the co-operation of this fleet; it was not promised him-and was chimerical in itself.
My fixed determination has always been to seek a meeting with the enemy the moment the fleet was ready, and, to deprive him of any apology for not meeting me, I have sent four guns on shore from the Superior, to reduce her armament in number to an equality with the Prince Regent's, yielding the advantage of their 68 pounders. The Mohawk mounted two guns less than the Princess Charlotte, and the Montreal and Niagara are equal to the General Pike and Madison. I have detached, on separate service, all the brigs; and am blockading his four ships with our four ships, in hopes that this may induce him to come out.
I have the honour to be, &c.
ISAAC CHAUNCEY. Honourable William Jones,
Secretary of the Navy.
UNITED STATES' SHIP SUPERIOR, OFF KINGSTON,
August 10th, 1814. SIR,
Great anxiety of mind and severe bodily exertions have at length broken down the best constitution, and subjected me to a violent fever that confined me for eighteen days. This misfortune was no more to be foreseen than prevented, but was particularly severe at the moment it happened, as it induced a delay of five or six days in the sailing of the fleet.
In the early part of July, I expected the fleet would be made ready for sailing by the 10th or 15th ; but many of the mechanics were taken sick, and amongst them the block-makers and blacksmiths, so that the Mohawk could not be furnished with blocks and iron works for the gun and spar decks before the 24th or 25th ultimo, when she was reported ready by captain Jones. As considerable anxiety had been manifested by the public to have the fleet on the lake, I should have asked captain Jones to take charge of it and go out, but I yas then recovering my health, and was confident I should be able in three or four days to go on board myself. There was an additional reason for submitting to this delay in the difficulty I found in making the changes of commanders, neither of them being willing to be separated from his officers and men, and a change of crews through the fleet being inadmissible.
In the afternoon of the 31st of July, I was taken on board, but it was calm, and I did not sail before the next morning. To satisfy at once whatever expectations the public had been led to entertain of the sufficiency of this squadron to take and maintain the ascendancy on this lake, and at the same time to expose the futility of proinises, the fulfilment of which had been rested on our appearance at the head of the lake, I got under weigh at 4 o'clock in the morning of the 1st instant, and steered for the mouth of the Niagara. "Owing to light winds, I did not arrive off there before the 5th. There we intercepted one of the enemy's brigs, running over from York to Niagara with troops, and ran her on shore about six miles to the westward of Fort George. I ordered the Sylph in, to anchor as near to the enemy as she could with safety, and to destroy her. Captain Elliot run in, in a very gallant manner, to within from 300 to 500 yards of her, and was about anchoring, when the enemy set fire to her and she soon after blew up. This vessel was a schooner the last year, and called the Beresford-since they altered her to a brig, they changed her name, and I have not been able to ascertain it. She mounted 14 guns; 12 twenty-four pound carronades, and two long nine pounders.
Finding the enemy had two other brigs and a schooner in the Niagara river, I determined to leave a force to watch them, and selected the Jefferson, Sylph and Oneida for that purpose, and placed the whole under the orders of captain Ridgely. Having looked into York without discovering any vessel of the enemy, left Niagara with the remainder of the squadron, on the evening of the 7th, and arrived here on the 9th. We found one of the enemy's ships in the offing, and chased her into Kingston.
My anxiety to return to this end of the lake, was increased by the knowledge I bad of the weakness of Sackett's Harbor, and the apprehension that the enemy might receive large reinforcements at Kingston, and, embarking some of his troops on board his fleet, make a dash at the harbor and burn it with all my stores
during our absence. When I left the harbor, there were but about 700 regular troops fit for duty. It is true a few militia had been called in, but little could be expected of them should an attack be made. My apprehension, it seems, was groundless, the enemy having contented himself with annoying, in some trifling degree, the coasters between Oswego and the harbor in his boats.
I cannot forbear expressing the regret I feel, that so much sensation has been excited in the public mind, because this squadron did not sail so soon as the wise heads that conduct our newspapers have presumed to think I ought. I need not suggest to one of your experience, that a man of war may appear
of a landsman, perfectly ready for sea, when she is deficient in many of the most essential points of her armament, nor how unworthy I should have proved myself of the high trust reposed in me, had I ventured to sea in the face of an enemy of equal force, without being ready to meet him in one hour after my anchor was weighed.
It ought in justice to be recollected, that the building and equipment of vessels on the Atlantic, are unattended by any of the great difficulties which we have to encounter on this lake; there every department abounds with facilities. A commander makes a requisition, and articles of every description are furnished in 12 hours; but this fleet has been built and fitted in the wilderness, where there are no agents and chandlers' shops and founderies, &c. &c. to supply our wants, but every thing is to be created ; and yet I shall not decline a comparison of what has been done here, with any thing done on the Atlantic, in the building or equipment of vessels. The Guerriere, for instance, has been building and fitting upwards of twelve months in the city of Philadelphia, and is not yet ready. The President frigate went into the navy yard at New York, for some partial repairs, a few days after the keel of the Superior was laid ; since then, two frigates of a large class and two sloops of war of the largest class, have been built and fitted here, and have sailed before the President is ready for sea, although every article of their armament and rigging has been transported from New York in despite of obstacles almost insurmountable. I will go further, sir, for it is due to the unremitted and unsurpassed exertions of those who have served the public under my command, and will challenge the world to produce a parallel instance, in which the same number of vessels of such dimensions have been built and fitted in the same time by the same number of workmen.
I confess that I am mortified in not having succeeded in satisfying the expectations of the public, but it would be infinitely more painful, could I find any want of zeal or exertion in my endeavours to serve them, to which I could in any degree impute their disappointment.
I have the honour to be, &c.
HEAD QUARTERS, FORT ERIE, August 13th, 1814. SIR,
It has become my painful duty to announce to you the loss of that brave and excellent officer major Morgan, of the 1st rifle regiment. He fell at the head of his corps, in an affair with the enemy, on the 12th instant, after a display of gallantry worthy of the corps, and meriting the gratitude of his country.
I had desired him to send a detachment of from 80 to 100 men to cut off a working party, supported by a guard of the enemy's light troops, engaged in opening an avenue for a battery in our rear, having directed to have his corps ready to support, in case the enemy
should be reinforced. The detachment was commanded by captain Birdsall, who attacked and drove the enemy; but when about to return to camp, he discovered a large force approaching. The firing having continued longer than the major expected, he moved up the moment the enemy's reinforcements made their appearance. A warm conflict ensued, in which they were forced back, but discovering additional reinforcements, and receiving my order to fall back, on the appearance of a large force, the inajor gave the signal with his bugle to retire ; at this moment he received a ball in his head. He was brought from the field, together with his men who were killed and wounded. Of the former were two riflemen and a New York volunteer, who, unsolicited, accompanied the riffemen with a small party of his corps, under the command of lieutenant Goodfellow, who, I am informed, has distinguished himself on similar occasions, and for whom, permit me to request a commission in one of the rifle regiments.
I have the honour to be, &c.
EDMUND P. GAINES. Honourable Secretary of War.
DEFEAT OF THE BRITISH AT FORT ERIE.
HEAD QUARTERS, FORT ERIP, U, C.
August 15th, 1814. SIR,
My heart is gladdened with gratitude to Heaven and joy to my country, to have it in my power to inform you that the gallant army under my command has this morning beaten the enemy commanded by lieutenant general Drummond, after a severe conflict of near three hours, commencing at 2 o'clock this morning. They attacked us on each flank, got possession of the salient bastion of the old fort Erie, which was regained at point of the bayonet, with a dreadful slaughter. The enemy's loss in killed and prisoners, is about 600; near 300 killed. Our loss is considerable, but I think not one-tenth as great as that of the enemy. I will not