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List of the principal British officers, and an exhibit of the several
corps under the command of lieutenant general Sir George Prevost, at the siege of PLATTSBURGH.
Lieutenant general Sir George Prevost, commander in chief. major general De Rottenburg, major general Robertson, major general Powers, major general Brisbane, major general Banes, sir Sidney Beckwith, colonel Hughes, major Sinclair, lieutenant colonel Tryall, captain Murray, colonel Burke, major Montgomery, captain Davis, &c.
Regiments and corps of the British army. 1st Brigade,
3700 2d do.
3600 3d do.
3100 Light do.
2800 do. Dragoons,
300 Royal Artillery,
400 Rocketeers, Sappers and Miners,
HEAD QUARTERS 3d BRIGADE, BALTIMORE,
September 15th, 1814. SIR,
I have the honour to report to you, that, in obedience to your orders, I marched from Baltimore, on Sunday the 11th instant, with part of my brigade, as the advance corps of the army under your command. My force consisted of 550 of the 5th regiment, under lieutenant colonel Sterret; 620 of the 6th, under lieutenant colonel M.Donald ; 500 of the 27th, under lieutenant colonel Long; 450 of the 39th, under lieutenant colonel Fowler : 700 of the 51st, under lieutenant colonel Amey ; 150 riflemen, under captain Dyer ; 140 cavalry, under lieutenant colonel Blays, and the Union artillery of 75 men, with six four pounders, under captain Montgomery, inaking an aggregate of 3,185 effective men. I moved towards North Point, by the main road, and at 8 o'clock P. M. reached the meeting-house, near the head of Bear creek, seven miles from this city. Here the brigade balted, with the exception of the cavalry, who were pushed forward to Gorsuch's farm three miles in advance, and the riflemen, who took post near the blacksmith's shop, two miles in advance of our encampment. At 7 o'clock in the morning of the 12th, I received information from the advanced videttes, that the enemy were debarking troops from and under cover of their gun vessels which lay off the bluff of North Point, within the mouth of Patapsco river. I immediately ordered back my baggage under a strong guard, moved forward the 5th and 27th regiments and my artillery to the head of Long-log-lane (so called) resting the 5th with its right on the
head of a branch of Bear creek, and its left on the main North Point road, while the 27th was posted on the opposite side of the road in line with the 5th, its left extending towards a branch of Back river. The artillery I posted directly at the head of the lane in the interval between the 5th and 27th. The 39th occupied a ground 300 yards in the rear of the 27th, and the 51st the same distance in rear of the 5th, extending each parallel to the front line. The 6th regiment was thrown back to a position a short distance this side of Cook's tavern, and half a mile in the rear of the second line. My orders were, that the 5th and 27th should receive the enemy, and if necessary, fall back through the 51st and 39th, and form on the right of the 6th or reserve regiments. The riflemen were ordered to the skirts of a thick low pine wood, beyond the blacksmith's shop, with a large sedge-field in front, that as the cavalry were still in advance, who would inform him of the enemy's approach, they might take advantage of the covering of the wood, and annoy his advance. I soon learned that the enemy's advance party was moving rapidly up the main road, and as the cavalry continually announced their progress, I fiattered myself with the hope that the riflemen would soon proclaim, by a galling fire, their still nearer approach. Imagine my chagrin when I perceived the whole rifle corps falling back upon my main position, having too credulously listened to groundless information, that the enemy were landing on Back river to cut them off. My hopes of early annoyance to the enemy, being thus frustrated, I threw the riflemen on the right flank of my front line, thereby, with the addition of a few cavalry, very well securing that flank. My videttes soon brought information, that the enemy in small force, was enjoying himself at Gorsuch’s farm. Insulted at the idea of a small marauding party thus daring!y provoking chastisement, several of my officers volunteered their corps to dislodge it. Captains Levering's and Howard's companies, from the 5th, about 150 in number, under major Heath, of that regiment; captain Aisquith's, and a few other riflemen, in all about 70; one four pounder, with 10 men, under lieutenant Stiles, and the cavalry, were immediately pushed forward to punish the insolence of the enemy's advance, or, if his main body appeared, to give evidence of my wish for a general engagement. The latter purpose was soon answered: this small volunteer corps had proceeded scarcely half a mile before the main body of the enemy showed itself, which was immediately attacked. "The infantry and riflemen maintained a fire of some loss in killed and wounded; the cavalry and artillery, owing to the disadvantageous ground, not being able to support them. In this skirmish, major Heath's horse. was killed under him. At half past 2 o'clock, the enemy commenced throwing rockets across my left flank, which seemed harmless, and had no other effect than to prepare my line for the sound of the artillery, which soon commenced by us on the enemy's right column, then pushing across towards my left, and re
turned by their six pounders and a howitzer upon my left and eentre. The cannonadıng was brisk for some minutes, when I ordered my fire to cease, until the enemy should get within close range of cannister. Seeing that my left flank was the object of the enemy, I brought up the 39th into line, on the left of the 27th, and detached two pieces of artillery to the left of the 39th. Still more securely to protect my left flank, colonel Amey of the 51st was ordered to form his regiment at right angles with my line, resting his right near the left of the 39th. This order being badly executed, created for a moment some confusion in that quarter, but was soon rectified by the efforts of my aid-de-camp and brigade majors; who corrected the error of colonel Amey, and posted the 51st in its ordered position. The enemy's right column displayed and advanced upon the 39th and 27th. The 51st, unmindful of my object to use its fire in protection of my left flank, in case an attempt should be made to turn it, totally forgetful of the honour of the brigade, and regardless of its own reputation, delivered one random fire, and retreated precipitately, and in such confusion, as to render every effort of mine to rally them, ineffective. Some disorder was occasioned in the second battalion of the 39th, by the flight of the 51st, and a few gave way. The fire now became general from left to right; my artillery in the centre, poured forth an incessant volley of cannister upon the enemy's left column, who were endeavouring to gain the cover of a small log-house, about fifty yards in front of the 5th; which, however, caution had been taken to fire, so soon as captain Saddler's Yagers, of the 5th, (who were originally posted therein) should be compelled to leave it. The enemy's line advanced about 10 minutes before 3 o'clock, with a severe fire, which was well returned by the artillery, the whole 27th, the 5th, except the three companies of captains Levering, Howard and Saddler, which were too much exhausted by the advanced skirmish of the two former, and the ordered retreat of the latter to resume their positions in line; and from the first battalion of the 39th, who maintained its ground in despite of the disgraceful example set by the intended support on the left. The fire was incessant till about 15 minutes before 4 o'clock, when finding that my line, now 1400 strong, was insufficient to withstand the superior numbers of the enemy, and my left flank being exposed by the desertion of the 51st, I was constrained to order a movement back to the reserve regiment, under colonel M.Donald, which was well posted to receive the retired line which mostly rallied well. On forming with the 6th, the fatigued state of the regiments and corps which had retired, and the probability that my right flank might be turned by a quick movement of the enemy in that direction, induced me, after proper deliberation, to fall back to Worthington's mill; which I was the more persuaded to, by my desire to have the 6th regiment (whose officers and men were eager to share the dangers of their brother soldiers) perfect and in good order to receive the enemy on his nearer approach to
the city. All retired as I could wish, and were ready to act as circumstances might require. In this situation you found the brigade on the morning of the 13th, somewhat fatigued, but with increased confidence in ourselves, and renewing our preparation for the annoyance of the enemy alone if deemed proper, or in conjunction with any other force.
I have thought it due to the merits of my brigade, to detail thus fully their whole movement, and I feel a pride in the belief that the stand made on Monday in no small degree tended to check the temerity of a foe, daring to invade a country like ours, and designing the destruction of our city, in whose defence some of the best blood in the country has already been spilt, and for whose safety and protection the citizen soldiers of the 3d brigade are ready to suffer every privation, and meet every danger. Should report be true, (and I doubt not the fact) that the enemy's commanding officer, major general Ross, was killed in this action, and that the enemy suffered in proportion to his superior numbers, I shall feel still more the valuable consequences of our fight.
The conduct of many of my company, officers and privates, was such as I calculated on; that of most of my field officers also merits my particular notice. Major Richard K. Heath of the 5th, who led on the
advanced party to bring on the action, behaved as became an officer; the facts of his horse being killed under him in the first skirmish, his second being badly wounded, and himself receiving a contusion on the head by a musket ball, in the general action, are ample proofs of his bravery and exposure in discharge of his duty. Lieutenant colonel Sterret, and major Barry of the 5th, gained my highest approbation, and they unite with all in praise of captain Spangler and his company of volunteers from Pennsylvania, then attached to their command ; also of adjutant Cheston, who is slightly wounded. Lieutenant colonel Long of the 27th, and his field and company officers, did well; this whole regiment were unsurpassed in bravery, resolution and enthusiasm. My brigade has to bewail the loss of adjutant James L. Donaldson, who fell in the hottest of the fight, bravely discharging the duties of his commission. Lieutenant colonel Fowler, and major Steiger, of the 39th, did their duty in every respect; they speak highly of the volunteer companies of captain Quantril from Hagerstown, and captain Metzgar from Hanover, Pa. Captain Quantril is wounded. Captain John Montgomery, commanding my artillery, gained for himself and his company lasting honour. Captain Aisquith and his company of riflemen, merit my thanks. "Ensign Wilmot, commanding the company of United Volunteers of the 5th, and many of his men, distinguished themselves.
To brigade majors Calhoun and Frailey, I am under great obligations for the prompt und zealous performance of their duty. To my aid-de-camp, major George P. Stevenson, too much praise cannot be given: his industry in every arrangement before the
fight, and in animating the whole line, was conspicuous; the sprightliness of his manners in the most trying scenes had the happiest effect upon all to whom he had to communicate my orders; and the precision with which he delivered my commands, could be exceeded only by the coolness with which he always saw them executed. He was animated, brave, and useful. Major W. Barney, and adjutant L. Taylor, of the cavalry, who, having no opportunity of distinction in regiment owing to the grounds, did me great service, the former in aiding captain Montgomery, the latter in conveying my orders through the whole. Mr. Robert Goodloe Harper deserves my thanks. He visited me just before the action ; accompanied the advanced party, and aided me much throughout. The brave soldiers under my command have suffered many privations, and I recognize among our killed and wounded many valuable men; of which I will make a report in a few days.
I have the honour to be, &c.
JOHN STRICKER, Brig. Gen. Commanding 3d Brigade M. M. Major General Smith,
FORT BOWYER, September 15th, 1814, 12 o'clock at night. SFR,
After writing the enclosed, I was prevented by the approach of the enemy from sending it by express. At meridian they were under full sail, with an easy and favourable breeze, standing directly for the fort, and at 4 P. M. we opened our battery, which was returned from two ships and two brigs, as they approached. The action became general at about 20 minutes past 4, and was continued, without intermission on either side, until 7, when one ship and two brigs were compelled to retire. The leading ship, supposed to be the commodore, mounting twenty-two 32 pound carronades, having anchored nearest our battery, was so much disabled, her cable being cut by our shot, that she drifted on shore, within 600 yards of the battery, and the other vessels having got out of our reach, we kept such a tremendous fire upon her that she was set on fire and abandoned by the few of the crew who survived. At 10 P. M. we had the pleasure of witnessing the explosion of her magazine. The loss of lives on board must have been immense, as we are certain no boats left her except three, which had previously gone to her assistance, and one of these I believe was sunk; in fact one of her boats was burned along side of her.
The brig that followed her, I am certain, was much damaged both in hull and rigging. The other two did not approach near enough to be so much injured, but I am confident they did not escape, as a well directed fire was kept on them during the whole time.