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SACKETT'S HARBOR, November 13th, 1812. SIR,
I arrived here last evening in a gale of wind, the pilots having refused to keep the lake. On the 8th I fell in with the Royal George, and chased her into the bay of Quanti, where I lost sight of her in the night. In the morning of the 9th we again got sight of herlying in Kingston channel. We gave chase, and followed her into the harbor of Kingston, where we engaged her and the batteries for one hour and 45 minutes. I had made up my mind to board her, but she was so well protected by the batteries, and the wind blowing directly in, it was deemed imprudent to make the attempt at that time, the pilots also refused to take charge of the vessel. nder these circumstances, and it being after sun-down, I determined to haul off and renew the attack next morning. We beat up in good order under a heavy fire from the Royal George and batteries to 4 mile point, where we anchored. It blew heavy in squalls from the westward during the night, and there was every appearance of a gale of wind. The pilots became alarmed, and I thought it most prudent to get into a place of more safety. I therefore (very reluctantly) deferred renewing the attack upon the ships and forts until a more favourable opportunity.
At 7 A. M. on the 10th, I made the signal to weigh, and we beat out of a very narrow channel, under a very heavy press of sail to the open lake. At 10 we fell in with the governor Sincoe running for Kingston, and chased her into the harbor. She escaped by running over a reef
of rocks under a heavy fire from the Governor Tompkins, the Hamilton and the Julia, which cut her very much. All her people ran below while under the fire of these vessels. The Hamilton chased her into nine feet water before she hauled off. We tacked to the southward, with an intention of running to our station at the Ducks, but it coming on to blow very heavy, the pilots told me it would be unsafe to keep the lakes. I bore up for this place, where I arrived last night.
In our passage through the bay of Quanti, I discovered a schooner at the village of Armingstown which we took possession of, but finding she would detain us (being then in chase of the Royal George, I ordered lieutenant Macpherson to take out her sails and rigging and burn her, which he did. We also took the schooner Mary, Hall, from Niagara, at the mouth of Kingston harbor, and took her with us to our anchorage. The next morning, finding that she could not beat through the channel with us, I ordered the sailing master of the Growler to take her under convoy and run down past Kingston, anchor on the east end of Long Island, and wait for a wind to come up on the east side. I was also in hopes that the Royal George might be induced to follow for the purpose of re-taking our prize, but her commander was too we aware of the consequences to leave his moorings. W lost in this affair one man killed, and three slightly wounded,
with a few shot through our sails. The other vessels lost no men and received but little injury in their hulls and sails, with the exception of the Pert, whose gun burst in the early part of the action, and wounded her commander (sailing-master Arundel) badly, and a midshipman aad three men slightly. Mr. Arundel, who refused to quit the deck, although wounded, was knocked overboard in beating up to anchorage, and I am sorry to say was drowned.
The Royal George must have received very considerable injury in her hull and in men, as the gun vessels with a long 32 pounder were seen to strike her almost every shot, and it was observed that she was reinforced with troops four different times during the action.
I have great pleasure in saying that the officers and men on board every vessel behaved with the utmost coolness, and are extremely anxious to meet the enemy on the open lake, and as long as I have the honour to command such officers and such men, I can have no doubt of the result.
I think I can say with great propriety, that we have now the command of the lake, and that we can transport troops and stores to any part of it without any risk of an attack from the enemy. Although the whole of his naval force was not collected at Kingston, yet the force at the different batteries would more than counterbalance the vessels that were absent. It was thought by all the officers in the squadron, that the enemy had more than thirty guns mounted at Kingston, and from 1,000 to 1,500 men. The Royal George, protected by this force, was driven into the inner harbor, under the protection of the musketry, by the Oneida and four small schooners fitted out as gun boats ; the Governor Tompkins not having been able to join in the action until about sun-down, owing to the lightness of the winds, and the Pert's gun having burst the second or third shot.
We are replacing all deficiencies, and I shall proceed up the lake the first wind, in the hopes to fall in with the Earl Moira and the Prince Regent; at any rate I shall endeavour to prevent them from forming a junction with the Royal George again this winter. I shall also visit Niagara river if practicable, in order to land some guns and stores that I have taken on board for that
If the enemy are still in possession of Queenstown, I shall try to land them a few miles below. I shall have the honour of writing you more in detail upon this subject on my return, or perhaps before I leave here, if the wind should continue ahead.
I have the honour to be
ISAAC CHAUNCEY. The Hon. Paul Hamilton,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington.
NEW YORK, November 24th, 1812. SIR,
I here avail myself of the first opportunity of informing you of the occurrences of our cruise, which terminated in the capture of the Wasp, on the 18th of October, by the Poictiers of 74 guns, while a wreck from damages received in an engagement with the British sloop of war Frolic, of 22 guns ; 16 of them 32 pound carronades, and four twelve pounders on the main deck, and two twelve pounders, carronades, on the topgallant-forecastle, making her superior in force to us by four twelve pounders. The Frolic had struck to us and was taken possession of, about two hours before our surrendering to the Poictiers.
We had left the Delaware on the 13th. The 16th had a heavy gale, in which we lost our gib-boom and two men, Half past 11, on the night of the 17th, in the latitude of 37 degrees north, and longitude 65 degrees west, we saw several sail ; two of them appeared very large. We stood from them for some time, then shortened sail and steered the remainder of the night the course we had perceived them on. At day-light, on Sunday the 18th, we saw them ahead-gave chase, and soon discovered them to be a convoy of six sail, under the protection of a sloop of war, four of them large ships, mounting from 16 to 18 guns. At 30 minutes past 11, A. M. we engaged the sloop, of war, having first received her fire at the distance of fifty or sixty yards, which space we gradually lessened until we laid her on board, after a well supported fire of 43 minutes; and although so near, while loading the last broadside, that our rammers were shoved against the side of the enemy, our men exhibited the same alacrity which they had done during the whole of the action. They immediately surrendered upon our gaining their forecastle, so that no loss was sustained on either side after boarding.
Our main-top-mast was shot away between four and five minutes from the commencement of the firing, and falling together with the main-top-sail yard across the larboard fore and foretop-sail braces, rendered our head-yards unmanageable the remainder of the action. At eight minutes the gaft and main topgallant-mast came down, and at twenty minutes from the beginning of the action, every brace and most of the rigging was shot away. A few minutes after separating from the Frolic, both her masts fell upon deck, the main-mast going close by the deck, and the fore-mast twelve or fifteen feet above it. The courage
and exertions of the officers and crew fully answered my expectations and wishes. Lieutenant Biddle's active conduct contributed much to our success, by the exact attention paid to every department during the engagement, and the animating example he afforded the crew by his intrepidity. Lieutenants Rodgers, Booth, and Mr. Rapp, shewed by the incessant fire from their divisions, that they were not to be surpassed in
resolution or skill. Mr. Knight and every other officer acted with a courage and promptitude highly honourable, and I trust have given assurance that they may be relied on whenever their services may be required.
I could not ascertain the exact loss of the enemy, as many of the dead lay buried under the masts and spars that had fallen upon deck, which two hours'exertion had not sufficiently removed. Mr. Biddle, who had charge of the Frolic, states that from what he saw and from information from the officers, the number of killed must have been about thirty, and that of the wounded about forty or fifty-of the killed is her first lieutenant and sailing master; of the wounded, captain Whinyates and the second lieutenant.
We had five killed and five wounded as per list; the wounded are recovering. Lieutenant Claxton, who was confined by sickness, left his bed a little previous to the engagement, and though too weak to be at his division, remained upon deck and shewed by his composed manner of noting incidents, that we had lost, by his illness, the services of a brave officer.
I am, respectfully, yours, &c.
JACOB JONES: The Hon. Paul Hamilton,
Socretary of the Navy.
FORT NIAGARA, November 25th, 1812. SIR,
I beg leave to inform you that on the morning of the 21st instant, at 5 o'clock, a heavy connonading opened upon this garrison from all the batteries at, and in the neighbourhood of, Fort George, which lasted, without intermission, until after sun-down. They had five detached batteries, two mounting 24 pounders. one mounting a 9, and two mortar batteries, one of 104, the other 54 inch. The batteries fired hot shot, which set some of our buildings on fire, but from the extraordinary vigilance of the officers and men, particularly major Armistead of the United States' corps of engineers, whose indefatigable exertions were extended to all parts of the garrison, the fires were got under without being observed by the enemy:
The garrison was not as well provided with artillery and ammunition as I could have wished; however, the batteries opened a tremendous fire upon them in return, with hot shot, admirably well directed.
Several times during the cannonading, the town of Newark was in flames, but was extinguished by their engines, as also the centre building in Fort George. Their mess house and all the buildings near it were consumed. Captain M‘Keon commanded a 12 pounder in the south-east block house, and distinguished him
self by his usual gallantry and skill. Captain Jacks, of the 7th regiment militia artillery, commanded a six pounder on the north block house, and together with a part of his own company, though placed in a situation most exposed to the fire of the enemy,
maintained their position like veterans. Lieutenant Rees of the 3d regiment of artillery, had the command of an eighteen pounder on the south-east battery, which was pointed at a battery en barbette, mounting a twenty-four pounder, and also at Fort George ; several well directed shot were directed from this gun,
which proved the skill of its commander.
About 10 o'clock, lieutenant Rees had his left shoulder bruised by a part of the parapet falling on him; which, though it did not materially injure him, obliged him to retire, and captain Leonard, of the 1st regiment United States' artillery, at that moment arriving, he took command of the battery for the remainder of the day. Lieutenant Wendel, of the 3d regiment of artillery, had the command of an eighteen and four pounder on the west battery, and doctor Hooper, of captain Jack's company of militia artillery, had the command of a six pounder on the mess house. Of these gentlemen and their commands, I cannot speak with too much praise; they distinguished themselves highly, and from their shot, all of which was hot, the town of Newark was repeatedly fired, and one of the enemy's batteries silenced for a time.
Ăn instance of extraordinary bravery in a female (the wife of one Doyle, a private of the United States' artillery, made a prisoner at Queenstown) I cannot pass over. During the most tremendous cannonading I have ever seen, she attended the six pounder on the old mess house with red hot shot, and showed fortitude equal to the maid of Orleans.
Lieutenants Gansevoort and Harris, of the 1st regiment United States' artillery, had command of the salt battery at Youngstown, mounting one eighteen and a four pounder. These two guns played upon the battery of Fort George and the buildings near it: from every observation I could make during their fire, I am happy to say they merited my warmest thanks for their skill in the service of these guns.
Lieutenant Harris, from his four pounder, sunk a schooner which lay at their wharf: she was one of those taken by the enemy at the inouth of Genesee river a short time since. He also assisted in burning and destroying the buildings near the wharf. These two officers and their men in the warmest part of the cannonading, having fired away all their cartridges, cut up their flannel waistcoats and shirts, and the soldiers their trow. sers, to supply their guns.
I cannot say too much of all the officers and soldiers of the artillery immediately under my observation in this garrison ; they merit the thanks and esteem of their country for the defence of it, and I believe it never sustained so sharp and continued a bombardment. The enemy threw more than two thousand red hot