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more than an hundred prisoners were taken beyond our works. These facts prove, that the affair was not merely a defence of our position, or a mere repulse of the enemy, as I find it called by some. As regards myself, I am satisfied with the result, and am not disposed to make any difficulty about the name by which the affair
may be called; but it is due to the brave men I have the honour to command, that I should say, that the affair was to the enemy a sore beating and a defeat, and it was to us a handsome victory.
Our position is growing stronger every day by the exertions of majors M‘Ree and Wood, and the officers and men generally. We keep up a smart cannonade. One of the enemy's pickets yesterday approached nearer to ours than usual. Major Brooks, officer of the day, added 100 men to our picket, attacked and drove them in with considerable loss; the major brought in about 30 muskets. In this affair, however, we have to lament the loss of another gallant officer, captain Wattles, of the 23d ; our loss was otherwise inconsiderable.
I have the honour to be, &c.
E. P. GAINES,
Brigadier General Commanding. Hon. John Armstrong, Secretary of War.
BATTLE OF BLADENSBURG.
BALTIMORE, August 27th, 1814. SIR,
When the enemy arrived at the mouth of Potomac, of all the militia which I had been authorized to assemble there were but about 1,700 in the field, from 13 to 1400 under general Stansbury near this place, and about 250 at Bladensburg, under lieutenant colonel Kramer ; the slow progress of draft, and the imperfect organization, with the ineffectiveness of the laws to compel them to turn out, rendered it impossible to have procured more.
The militia of this state, and the contiguous parts of Virginia and Pennsylvania, were called on en masse, but the former militia law of Pennsylvania had expired on the 1st of June or July, and the one adopted in its place is not to take effect in organizing the militia before October. No aid, therefore, has been received from that state.
After all the force that could be put at my disposal in that short time, and making such dispositions as I deemed best calculated to present the most respectable force at whatever point the enemy might strike, I was enabled by the most active and harrassing movements of the troops, to interpose before the enemy at Bladensburg, about 5000 men, including 350 regulars, and commodore Barney's command. Much the largest portion of this force arrived on the ground when the enemy were in sight, and were
disposed to support in the best manner the position which general Stansbury had taken. They had barely reached the ground before the action commenced, which was about one o'clock, P. M. of the 24th instant, and continued about an hour.
The contest was not as obstinately maintained as could have been desired, but was by parts of the troops sustained with great spirit and with prodigious effect, and had the whole of our force been equally firm, I am induced to believe the enemy would have been repulsed notwithstanding all the disadvantages under which we fought. The artillery from Baltimore, supported by major Pinkney's rifle battalion and a part of captain Doughty's from the Navy Yard, were in advance to command the pass of the bridge at Bladensburg, and played upon the enemy, as I have since learned, with very destructive effect; but the rifle troops were obliged after some time to retire, and of course artillery. Superior numbers, however, rushed upon them and made their retreat necessary, not however without great loss on the part of the enemy. Major Pinkney received a severe wound in his right arm, after he had retired to the left flank of Stansbury's brigade. The right and centre of Stansbury's brigade, consisting of lieutenant colonel Ragan's and Shutez's regiments, generally gave way very soon afterwards, with the exception of about forty rallied by.colonel Ragan, after having lost his horse and a whole or a part of captain Trower's company, both of whom general Stansbury represents to have made, even thus deserted, a gallant stand. The fall which lieutenant colonel Ragan received from his horse, together with . his great efforts to sustain his position, rendered him unable to follow the retreat; we have, therefore, to lament that this gallant and excellent officer has been taken prisoner. He has, however, been paroled, and I met him here recovering from the bruises occasioned by his fall. The loss of his services at this moment is serious. The 5th Baltimore regiment, under lieutenant colonel Sterret, being the left of brigadier general Stansbury's brigade, still, however, stood their ground, and except for a moment, when part of them recoiled a few steps, remained firm and stood until ordered to retreat with a view to prevent them from being out flanked.
The reserve under brigadier general Smith, of the district of Columbia, with the militia of the city and Georgetown, with the regulars and some detachments of the Maryland militia, flanked on their right by commodore Barney and his brave fellows, and lieutenant colonel Beall, still were to the right on the hill and maintained the contest for some time with great effect.“
It is not with me to report the conduct of commodore Barney and his command, nor can I speak from observation, being too remote; but the concurrent testimony of all who did observe them, does them the highest justice for their brave resistance, and the destructive effect they produced on the enemy. Commodore
Barney, after having lost his horse, took post near one of his guns, and there unfortunately received a severe wound in the thigh, and he also fell into the hands of the enemy.
Captain Miller, of marines, was wounded in the arm fighting bravely. From the best intelligence there remains but little doubt that the enemy lost at least four hundred killed and wounded, and of these a very unusual portion killed. Our loss cannot, I think, be estimated at more than from thirty to forty killed, and fifty or sixty wounded.
You will readily understand that it is impossible for me to speak minutely of the merit or demerit of particular troops se little known to me from their recent and hasty assemblage. My subsequent movements, for the purpose of preserving as much of my force as possible, gaining reinforcements and protecting this place, you already know.
I have the honour to be, &c.
WM. H. WINDER,
Brig. Gen. Comdg. 10th M. D. P. S. We have to lament that captain Sterret, of the 5th Baltimore regiment, has also been wounded, but is doing well; other officers, no doubt, deserve notice, but I am as yet unable to particularize. Hon, John Armstrong, Secretary of War.
NAVY YARD, WASHINGTON, August 27th, 1814. SIR,
After receiving your orders of the 24th, directing the public shipping, stores, &c. at this establishment, to be destroyed, in case of the success of the enemy over our army, no time was lost in making the necessary arrangements for firing the whole, and preparing boats for departing from the yard, as you had suggested. About 4 P. M. I received a message by an officer, fronı the Secretary of War, with information that he could protect me no longer.” Soon after this, I was informed that the conflagration of the Eastern Branch bridge had commenced ; and, in a few minutes, the explosion announced the blowing up of that part near the “ draw," as had been arranged in the morning.
It had been promulgated, as much as in my power, among the Inhabitants of the vicinity, the intended fate of the yard, in order that they might take every possible precaution for the safety of themselves, families, and property. Immediately several individuals came, in succession, endeavoring to prevail on me to deviate from my instructions, which they were invariably informed was unavailing, unless they could bring me your instructions in writing, countermanding those previously given. A deputation also of the most respectable women came on the same errand, when I
found myself painfully necessitated to inform them that any farther importunities would cause the matches to be instantly applied to the trains, with assurance, however, that if left at peace, I would delay the execution of the orders as long as I could feet the least shadow of justification. Captain Creighton's arrival at the yard, with the men who had been with him at the bridge, (probably about 5 o'clock,) would have justified me in instant operation; but he also was strenuous in the desire to obviate the intended destruction, and volunteered to ride out and gain me positive information, as to the position of the enemy, under the hope that our army might have rallied and repulsed them. I was myself, indeed, desirous of delay, for the reason that the wind was then blowing fresh from the south south west, which would most probably have caused the destruction of all the private property north and east of the yard, in its neighbourhood. I was of opinion, also, that the close of the evening would bring with it a calm, in which happily we were not disappointed. Other gentlemen, well mounted, volunteered, as captain Creighton had done, to go out and bring me positive intelligence of the enemy's situation, if possible to obtain it.
The evening came, and I waited with much anxiety the return of captain Creighton, having almost continual information that the enemy were in the neighbourhood of the marine barracks, at the capitol hill—and that their “ advance” was near Georgetown. I therefore determined to wait only until half past 8 o'clock, to commence the execution of my orders, becoming apprehensive that captain Creighton had, from his long stay, fallen into the hands of the enemy. During this delay, I ordered a few marines, and other persons who were then near me, to go off in one of the small gallies, which was done, and the boat is saved. Colonel Wharton had been furnished with a light boat, with which he left the yard, probably between 7 and 8 o'clock. At twenty minutes past 8 captain Creighton returned; he was still extremely averse to the destruction of the property, but having informed him that your orders to me were imperative, the proper disposition of the boats being made, the matches were applied, and in a few moments the whole was in a state of irretrievable conflagration. When about leaving the wharf I observed the fire had also commenced at Greenleaf's point, and in the way out of the branch, we observed the Capitol on fire. It had been my intention not to leave the vicinity of the yard with my boat during the night; but having captain Creighton and other gentlemen with me, she was too much encumbered and overladen to render that determination proper. We therefore proceeded to Alexandria, in the vicinity of which I rested till the morning of the 25th, when, having also refreshed the gig's crew, we left Alexandria at half past 7 o'clock, and proceeded again up to the yard, where I landed, unmolested, about a quarter before nine.
The schooner Lynx had laid alongside the burning wharf, still unhurt; hoping, therefore, to save her, we hauled her to the quarter of the hulk of the New York, which had also escaped the ravages of the flames. The detail issuing store of the navy store keeper had remained safe from the fire during the night, which the enemy, (being in force in the yard) about 8 o'clock set fire to, and it was speedily consumed. It appeared that they had left the yard about half an hour when we arrived. I found my dwelling house, and that of lieutenant Haraden, untouched by fire; but some of the people of the neighbourhood had commenced plundering them ; therefore, hastily collecting a few persons known to me, I got some of my most valuable materials moved to neighbours' houses out of the yard, who tendered me their offers to receive then, the enemy's officers having declared private property sacred. Could I have staid another hour, I had probably saved all my furniture and stores ; but being advised by some friends, that I was not safe, they believing that the admiral was by that time, or would speedily be informed of my being in the yard, he having expressed an anxious desire to make me captive, but had said that the officers' dwellings in the yard should not be destroyed. I therefore again embarked in the gig, taking along out of the branch one of the new launches, which lay safe, although along side of a floating stage enveloped in flames. I had no sooner gone than such a scene of devastation and plunder took place in the houses (by the people of the neighbourhood,) as is disgraceful to relate ; not a moveable article, from the cellars to the garrets, has been left us, and even some of the fixtures, and the locks of the doors, have been shamefully pillaged. Some of the perpetrators, however, have been made known to me.
From the number and movements of the enemy, it would have appeared rash temerity to have attempted returning again that day, though my inclination strongly urged it; therefore, reconnoitering their motions, as well as could be effected at a convenient distance in the gig, until evening, I again proceeded to Alexandria for the night. Yesterday morning, the 26th, it was impossible to form (from the various and contradictory reports at Alexandria) any sort of probable conjecture, either of the proceedings and situation of our army, or that of the enemy. Determining, therefore, to have a positive knowledge of some part thereof, from occular demonstration, I again embarked in the gig, proceeding with due caution to the yard, where I learned with chagrin the devastation and pillage before mentioned, and found also, to my surprise, that the old gun boat, which had been loaded with provisions, and had grounded, in endeavouring to get out of the branch, on the evening of the 24th, was nearly discharged of her cargo, by a number of our people, without connexion with each other. Having landed in the yard, I soon ascertained that the enemy had left the city,excepting only a serjeant's guard, for the security of the sick and