USS Constitution - Raisin River

USS  Constitution takes the HMS Java
Niles' Weekly Register, 
Volume 5, September 4, 1813

On the declaration of war against Great Britain, it was submitted by the government to Commodore Bainbridge's own inclination, either to retain his post at the navy yard, pr to cruise against the enemy on the ocean. Accustomed to a life of active service, and preferring the hazard of: warfare and the chance of victory, to the security of inaction, he did not hesitate to choose the former, and was accordingly appointed to command the frigate Constellation; but on the arrival at Boston of captain Hull, after his victory over the British frigate Guerriere, he applied for a furlough to attend to his private concerns, and commodore Bainbridge was permitted to take command of the Constitution. 

In a few weeks he sailed, in company with the sloop of war-Hornet, captain Lawrence, on a cruise to the East-Indies. After parting company with captain Lawrence, he was running down the coast of Brazil, when, on /Thursday, the 29th of December, he discovered, about nine in the morning, two sail, one of which was standing off shore towards him. He immediately made sail to meet the strange ship, and finding, as he approached her, that she did not answer his private signals, proceeded out to sea in order to separate; her from her companion, and draw her off the neutral coast. About one o'clock, having reached what he considered a proper distance from the shore, he hoisted his ensign and 'pendant, which was answered by English colors, and perceiving that she was an English frigate (the Java, captain Lambert) he took in the royals, tacked and stood for the enemy. 

The Java immediately bore down, intending to rake, which the Constitution avoided by wearing. The enemy being now within half a mile to windward, and having hauled down Ms flag, the Constitution fired a gun ahead to make him show his colors, and immediately poured in her whole broad-side, on which English colors were hoisted, and the fire returned. On this the action became general, within grape and cannister distance. In a few minutes the wheel of the Constitution was shot away; and in about half an hour, commodore Bainbridge finding that his adversary still kept too far off, determined to close with him at the risk of being raked. He therefore luffed up so close to the Java, that in passing, her jib boom got foul of the Constitution's mizen rigging; and having 'now gained a nearer position, be poured in so well directed a fire, that in ten minutes he shot away the Java's jib boom and part of her bowsprit; in five minutes more her foremast went by the board—her main top mast followed— then the gaft and spanker boom, and lastly, the mizen mast went nearly by the board.— 

At five minutes past four, one hour and fifty-five minutes from the commencement of the action, the Java's fire was completely silenced, and her colors being down, commodore Bainbridge supposed that she had struck: lie therefore shot ahead to repair his rigging; but while hove to for that purpose, discovered that her colors were still firing, although her  mainmast had just gone by the board. Ho therefore bore down again upon her, and having got close athwart hie bows, was on the point of raking her with a broadside, when she hauled down her colors, being a completely unmanageable wreck, entirely dismasted, without a spar of any kind standing. 

On boarding her, it was found that captain Lambert had been mortally wounded, and that the Java was so much injured, that it would be impossible to bring her to the United States. All the prisoners and the baggage were therefore brought on board the Constitution, a service which it required two days to perform, there being but a single boat left between the two frigates. On the Slat she was blown up, and the Constitution put into St. Salvador. The Java carried forty-nine guns, and upwards of four hundred men: she was bound to the East-Indies, and had, in addition to her own crew, upwards of one hundred supernumerary officers and seamen, for different ships on the East-India station—among whom was a master and commander in the navy, and also lieutenant-general Rislop, and his two aids, of the British army.

Her loss was sixty killed; and among these captain Lambert. Of the wounded, the accounts varied from one hundred and one (which were ascertained positively) to be one hundred and seventy.   On board the Constitution, nine were killed, and twenty-live wounded; among whom wag the commodore himself.

This victory was scarcely less honorable to commodore Bainbridge, than the generosity with which he exercised the rights of a conqueror. While on board, the prisoners were treated with the most respectful attention. Immediately on their landing at St Salvador, they were set at liberty on parole, and received every article of their baggage: and particularly a service of plate belonging to general Hislop, was carefully preserved and restored to him. These proofs of honorable courtesy were not lost on the prisoners, who expressed their gratitude in a manner as creditable to themselves as to the victors.

The decayed state of the Constitution and other circumstances, combining to interfere with the original plan of the cruise, commodore Bainbridge now left the Honietto blockade a superior British force at St. Salvador and returned to the United states.

On his arrival at Boston, lie was received with an enthusiastic welcome by his countrymen, who felt peculiar pleasure in seeing that Fortune had at last relented, and given him an opportunity of adding success to merit, Fiftv thousand dollars prize-money, as a compensation for the. loss of the Java, were given by congress to the officers and crew, and a gold medal presented to the commodore himself. These were followed up by types of thanks and testimonials of respect, from several of the state legislatures, and also from various corporate bodies and meetings of the citizens generally.

Since his return, he has been appointed to command the eastern station from Portsmouth to Connecticut, within which limits he had charge of the Constitution and two brigs; and the construction of two sloops of war; but bis chief employment is the building at Charles town of a seventy-four, which he is appointed to command.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.
I lay before Congress a letter with accompanying documents from Commodore Bainbridge, now commanding the United States frigate ' the Constitution,' reporting his capture, and destruction of the British frigate ' Java.' The circumstances of the issue of this combat afford another example of the professional skill, and heroic spirit which prevail in our naval service. The signal display of both by Commodore Bainbridge, his officers and crew, command the highest praise. This being the second instance in which the condition of the captured ship, by rendering it impossir sible to get her into port, has barred a contemplated reward for successful valour, I recommend to the consideration of Congress, the equity and propriety of a general provision, allowing, in such cases, both past and future, a fair proportion of the value which would accrue to' the captors on the safe arrival and sale of the prize.
After reading the message, the following resolution was passed.

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of America, in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby requested to present tp Captain William Bainbridge, of the frigate Constitution, a gold medal, with suitable emblems and devices, and a silver medal, with suitable emblems and devices, to each commissioned officer of the said frigate, in testimony of the high sense entertained by Congress of the gallantry, good conduct, and services of Captain William Bainbridge, his officers and crew, in the capture of the British frigate Java, after,a successful combat.
HENRY CLAY,  Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

 WM. H. CRAWFORD, President of the Senate, pro temp

Journal of Commodore William Bainbridge

Tuesday 29th December 1812

At 9 AM, discovered two Strange Sails on the weather bow, at 10. AM. discovered the strange sails to be Ships, one of them stood in for the land, and the other steered off shore in a direction towards us. At 10.45. We tacked ship to the Nd & Wd and stood for the sail standing towards us,-At 11 tacked to the Sd & Ed hauld up the mainsail and took in the Royals. At 11.30 AM made the private signal for the day, which was not answered, & then set the mainsail and royals to draw the strange sail off from the neutral Coast.

Wednesday 30th December 1812, (Nautical Time) Commences with Clear weather and moderate breezes from E.N.E. Hoisted our Ensign and Pendant. At 15 minutes past meridian, The ship hoisted her colours, an English Ensign, --having a signal flying at her Main Red Yellow-Red At 1.26 being sufficiently from the land, and finding the ship to be an English Frigate, took in the Main Sail and Royals, tacked Ship and stood for the enemy

At 1 .50. P.M, The Enemy bore down with an intention of rakeing us, which we avoided by wearing. At 2, P.M, the enemy being within half a mile, of us, and to wind ward, & having hawled down his colours to dip his Gafft, and not hoisting them again except an Union Jack at the Mizen Mast head, (we having hoisted on board the Constitution an American Jack forward Broad Pendant at Main, American Ensign at Mizen Top Gallant Mast head and at the end of The Gafft) induced me to give orders to the officer of the 3rd Division to fire one Gun ahead of the enemy to make him show his Colours, which being done brought on afire from us of the whole broadside, on which he hoisted an English Ensign at the Peak, and another in his weather Main Rigging, besides his Pendant and then immediately returned our fire, which brought on a general action with round and grape.

The enemy Kept at a much greater distance than I wished, but Could not bring him to closer action without exposing ourselves to several rakes.-Considerable Manoeuvers were made by both Vessels to rake and avoid being raked.

The following Minutes Were Taken during the Action
At 2.10. P.M,
Commenced The Action within good grape and Canister distance. The enemy to windward (but much farther than I wished).
At 2,30. P.M,
our wheel was shot entirely away
At 2.40.
determined to close with the Enemy, notwithstanding her rakeing, set the Fore sail & Luff'd up close to him.
At 2,50,
The Enemies Jib boom got foul of our Mizen Rigging
At 3
The Head of the enemies Bowsprit & Jib boom shot away by us
At 3.5
Shot away the enemies foremast by the board
At 3.15
Shot away The enemies Main Top mast just above the Cap
At 3.40
Shot away Gafft and Spunker boom
At 3.55
Shot his mizen mast nearly by the board
At 4.5
Having silenced the fire of the enemy completely and his colours in main Rigging being [down] Supposed he had Struck, Then hawl'd about the Courses to shoot ahead to repair our rigging, which was extremely cut, leaving the enemy a complete wreck, soon after discovered that The enemies flag was still flying hove too to repair Some of our damages.
At 4.20.
The Enemies Main Mast went by the board.
At 4.50
[Wore] ship and stood for the Enemy
At 5.25
Got very close to the enemy in a very [effective] rakeing position, athwart his bows & was at the very instance of rakeing him, when he most prudently Struck his Flag.

Had The Enemy Suffered the broadside to have raked him previously to strikeing, his additional loss must have been extremely great laying like a log upon the water, perfectly unmanageable, I could have continued rakeing him without being exposed to more than two of his Guns, (if even Them)

After The Enemy had struck, wore Ship and reefed the Top Sails, hoisted out one of the only two remaining boats we had left out of 8 & sent Lieut [George] Parker 1st of the Constitution on board to take possession of her, which was done about 6. P.M, The Action continued from the commencement to the end of the Fire, 1 H 55 m our sails and Rigging were shot very much, and some of our spars injured-had 9 men Killed and 26 wounded. At 7 PM. The boat returned from the Prize with Lieut. [Henry D.] Chads the 1st of the enemies Frigate (which I then learnt was the Java rated 38 - had 49 Guns mounted--)-and Lieut Genl [Thomas] Hislop-appointed to Command in the East Indies,-Major Walker and Capt Wood, belonging to his Staff. -Capt [Henry] Lambert of the Java was too dangerously wounded to be removed immediately.

The Cutter returned on board the Prize for Prisoners, and brought Capt [John] Marshall, Master & Commander of The British Navy, who was passenger on board, as also Several other Naval officers destined for ships in the East Indies. The Java had her whole number complete and nearly an hundred supernumeraries. The number she had on board at the commencement of the Action, The officers have not candour to say; from the different papers we collected, such as a muster book, Watch List and quarter Bills, she must have had upwards of 400 souls, she had one more man stationed at each of her Guns on both Decks than what we had The Enemy had 83 wounded & 57 Kill'd.

The Java was an important ship fitted out in the compleatest manner to [carry out] the Lieut. Genl & dispatches. She had Copper &c. on board for a 74 building at Bombay, and, I suspect a great many other valuables, but every thing was blown up, except the officers baggage when we set her on fire on the 1st of January 1813 at 3 P.M. Nautical Time.

Source: National Archives, Record Group 45, Captain's Letters, 1813, Vol.1, No.8 1/2.

Massacre at River Raisin 

January 22, 1813 —Battle of the River Raisin, and defeat and massacre of the Americans under Gen. Winchester; 300 are killed in bailie, die of wounds or by the tomahawk of the Indians.

General Winchester had sent out a foraging party to the River Raisin, and it arrived at that place on the 18th of January, 1813. There they dislodged a body of the Indians. On the next day, General Winchester, having a force of about a thousand men, joined the advance party, and encamped on the north bank of the River Raisin. At the commencement of the winter Gen. Harrison's head-quarters were at Franklinton in Ohio. General Winchester remained at Fort Defiance, with about eight hundred men, comprised of the most respectable young men of Kentucky, until information was received that French Town was in danger from the British and Indians. A force was dispatched to Presqu' Isle, there to remain till it should be joined by the main body of his army. He was warned of the approach of the British from Malden, but he made no extraordinary efforts in self-defense. 

On the 22d, early in the morning, his force was attacked by the combined force of the British and Indians under Proctor, and the noted Indian chiefs, Round-Head and Split-Log. The left flank, under Major Madison, defended themselves with the utmost vigor and success, but being without any general commander, it soon fell back. An attempt was then made to retreat across the river; but that movement was anticipated, and the savages were posted in a position to oppose their progress. During the night, Gen. Winchester had taken lodgings upon the opposite side of the river, at the house of Col. Robert Navarre, and was not therefore prepared to make a defense. Major Madison, who had fought with so much gallantry, was soon informed by Gen. Winchester, who was then a prisoner, that the party had been surrendered. He had, however, taken the precaution to enter into a formal stipulation with Gen. Proctor to protect his troops from the ferocity of the savages after they should have surrendered.

The battle of the River Raisin develops one of the most infamous transactions which marked the operations of the war of 1812. Gen. Winchester having arrived at French Town, encamped on the banks of the Raisin, which now constitutes the French Town side of the river, and while Col. Lewis and Major Madison seemed to Le on the alert, the American troops occupied a greater part of the night in ranging about the village. During the evening, a Frenchman brought information that a force, consisting of British and Indians, supposed to comprise about three thousand men, were about to march from Malden soon after he left that place. This information, however, seemed to be discredited, because no preparations of any consequence were made in the American camp to guard themselves against surprise. 

Guards, however, were placed as usual around the encampment, although no picket guard was placed on the road through which the enemy might be supposed to advance. The night was extremely cold, and on the morning of the 22nd the reveille beat as usual at daybreak. A few minutes after three, guns were fired in quick succession by the sentinels. The troops were soon formed, and the American camp was immediately attacked by a heavy fire from the British, with bombs, balls, and grape shot. At night the British had taken advantage of the darkness, and planted their cannon on the right behind a small ravine. The fire from the cannon was suddenly succeeded by a general discharge from the fire arms of the British regulars, together with the onset of the savages with the most fiendish yells.

The regulars of the British soon approached within reach of the fire arms of Lewis's camp, and they were soon repulsed in the left and centre. Gen. Winchester having arrived from the opposite bank of the river with a reinforcement, opposed to the heavy fire of the British, and unprotected by any breastwork, soon fell back. The order was then given for the re treating troops to rally behind a fence and the second bank of the river, to incline toward the center, and take refuge behind the pickets. This order was either not heard or understood; and the necessary consequence was, that the retiring line, being pressed by the British, and attacked on their right by the Indians, retreated in great disorder over the river.

In the mean time the right wing was attempted to be reinforced by a detachment sent out from the pickets of the American camp, together with Colonels Lewis and Allen, who exerted their efforts to rally the retreating soldiers, and also those who had been scattered through the gardens and pickets of the village. This, however, was done without success. The suddenness of the attack, the want of preparation, and the British force, whose vigorous onset, together with the Indians, who made the battle-field more horrible by their yells, caused a general panic among the American troops. Indians were stationed upon almost every avenue which could command a retreat, and upon the edge of the bordering forests. A long narrow lane leading from the village, and which the soldiers attempted to pass through, was guarded on both sides by Indians; and the retreating Americans were shot down in great numbers. A party of a hundred men, who had fled to the borders of the woods, were surrounded and massacred with the tomahawk; while the flying soldiers were met at every point by the Indians, who, with that refinement of cruelty which belongs to their vindictive character, brained them with the war club and the hatchet.

Col. Allen behaved with extraordinary courage during the whole action, having several times endeavored to rally his men, but without success, although he was wounded in the thigh. Having escaped about two miles from the spot where the action had chiefly raged, and exhausted, from the loss of blood as well as from fatigue, sat on a log, when he was seen by an Indian, who knew from his dress that he was an officer of distinction, and therefore wished to take him prisoner. Coming near the American, the savage, who was an Indian chief, threw his gun across his lap, and told him to surrender. At the same time another Indian, who advanced with hostile attitude, was laid dead at his feet by one stroke from the sword of Col. Allen; Col. Allen, one of the most respectable citizens of Kentucky, was then shot by a third Indian. Detached parties of men, who had escaped to those points where escape seemed possible, were shot down, and their unburied bodies were left to feed the wolves and Indian dogs. About three quarters of a mile from the village, Gen. Winchester and Col. Allen, together with a few others, were captured at a bridge, and taken to the British lines after having been stripped of their coats. It is affirmed that Round-Head, who, together with Split-Log, commanded the savages, was seen arrayed in his dress on that occasion.

While these scenes were passing around, Majors Graves and Madison had maintained their position within the pickets of the American camp, although assailed by Proctor and his savages. A cannon was posted by the British behind a house about two hundred yards down the river. By this the camp was considerably annoyed. No ground, however, was yielded. "Never mind me, but fight on," said Major Graves, a gallant officer, to his soldiers, while he bound up his own wound which had been received in the knee.

The American army having been routed, a flag was seen advancing from the British lines, and conveying an order from Gen. Winchester, directing the officers of the American forces to surrender them prisoners of war. Col. Proctor demanded an immediate surrender, and threatened if this was denied, the village should be burned, and the Indians should be permitted to go forward in an indiscriminate massacre. He was answered by Major Madison, that it had been customary for the Indians to massacre the wounded and prisoners after a surrender, and that he would not agree to any capitulation which General Winchester might direct, unless the safety and protection of his men were stipulated. "Sir," said Col. Proctor, "do you mean to dictate to me?" "No," said Madison ; "I mean to dictate for myself, and we prefer selling our lives as dear as possible, rather than be massacred in cold blood." A surrender was accordingly agreed upon in the following terms: that private property should be respected; that the next morning sleds should be sent to convey the sick and wounded to Amherstburgh; and that the side arms of the officers should be restored to them at Malden. These terms were perfected, while the Indians commenced a general plunder. Major Madison having received information of this conduct, ordered his men to exclude all Indians from his line, and if they came into the lines and attempted violence, to shoot or charge them with the bayonet.

These troops were comprised, in a great measure, of volunteers from some of the most respectable families of Kentucky, young men of chivalrous character, in the full bloom and glory of ripening manhood.

But the crowning disgrace of this transaction remains to be described. While the principal part of the Indians went to Stony Creek, about six miles below Malden, a few stragglers remained, who went from house to house in quest of plunder. The prisoners of the British still remained at French Town. About sunrise, a large body of Indians, comprising about two hundred, returned, painted black and red; and a council being held, it was determined to massacre the Americans in revenge for the loss of their warriors. The savages soon began to yell, and to plunder the houses of the inhabitants. Breaking into the houses where the wounded prisoners were lying, they stripped them of their blankets, and then brained them with their tomahawks. Two of the houses, which contained a greater part of the prisoners, were set on fire, and most of the wounded were consumed. Those who were able to crawl about, and who endeavored to escape from the windows, were wounded with the hatchet and pushed back into the flames, while others on the outside were killed, and thrown into the conflagration, others were massacred and left in the highway. Major Woolfolk, the secretary to Gen. Winchester, was shot through the head, and left in the street, where he was partly devoured by the hogs before he was removed. The few prisoners who remained were taken towards Malden, but as soon as they became by their weakness unable to march, they were massacred, and left dead upon the road. Thus ended this affair of the River Raisin, a foul blot on the character of General Proctor.

By Henry William Harrison

In the West and Northwest the American arms were unfortunate. The left wing of the Northwestern army was commanded by General James Winchester. Receiving intelligence that the British and Indians were posted at Frenchtown, on the river Raisin, Harrison ordered this detachment to proceed against them, if its commander thought it practicable. Winchester immediately detached an efficient force, under Colonel Lewis, which made a rapid march and reached the vicinity of Frenchtown on the 18th of January. The enemy were prepared to receive them; but the Americans advanced with such impetuosity that the enemy were dislodged from their works and driven to the distance of two miles. The battle lasted from three o'clock in the afternoon until dark. The American detachment then encamped on the spot from which it had driven the enemy. The loss of the British and Indians was very severe. That of the Americans was 12 killed and 55 wounded. General Winchester, with about 300, arrived at Frenchtown on the 20th.

On the morning of the 22d the Americans were surprised and attacked by a greatly superior force of British and Indians, commanded by Colonel Proctor. The action was warmly contested for about a half hour, when, the enemy's fire becoming too galling, Winchester ordered his men to form on the north bank of the river; but they gave way, and could not be rallied. The Indians gained their rear, and, thus borne down by numbers, General Winchester, 35 officers, and 487 non-commissioned officers and privates, surrendered themselves prisoners of war. Before the troops surrendered, the British commander promised them protection from the ferocity of the Indians; but the promise was made to be broken. At break of day the next morning the savages were suffered to commit every depredation they pleased. An indiscriminate slaughter of all who were unable to walk ensued; many were tomahawked, and many were burned alive in their houses. Every species of private property remaining in the tents was appropriated by the Indians. The whole detachment was captured or destroyed. The loss of the British and Indians was not ascertained, but must have been severe, since, for a time, the Americans fought with the fury of desperation. There is no doubt that this disaster was owing to Winchester's want of caution.



The following incidents relating to the march of a detachment of Kentucky troops under Colonel Lewis to Frenchtown, on the River Raisin, Michigan, January, 1818 ; the battles of the 18th and 22nd; the massacre of the prisoners, and the march to Fort George, on the Niagara river, were written by the Rev Thomas P. Dudley, of Lexington, Kentucky, May 26, 1870, and endorsed as follows: 

A. T. Goodman, Esq., Secretary Western Reserve Historical Society: 

Dear Sir: 

I take pleasure in forwarding to your society an interesting and reliable narrative, by the Rev. Thomas P. Dudley, of this city. 

On the seventeenth day of January, 1813, a detachment of Ave hundred and fifty men, under command of Colonel William Lewis, with Colonel John Allen, and Majors Ben. Graves and George Madison, from the left wing of the Northwest Army, was ordered to Frenchtown, on the River Raisin, where it was understood a large nnmber of British had collected, and were committing depredations on the inhabitants of that village. On the 17th, at night, the detachment encamped at the mouth of Swan Creek, on the Maumee of the lake.. On the 18th, they took up the line of march, meeting a number oi the inhabitants retreating to the American camp, opposite to where Fort Meigs was subsequently built. Our troops inquired whether Ihe British had any artillery, to which the reply was, "They have two pieces about large enough to kill a mouse." They reached the River Raisin about three o'clock in the afternoon, and while crossing the river on the ice the British began firing their swivels, when the American troops were ordered to drop their knapsacks on the ice. 

Reaching the opposite shore, they raised a yell, some crowing like chicken cocks, some barking like dogs, and others calling, "Fire away with your mouse cannon again." The troops were disposed as follows: The right battalion commanded by Colonel Allen, the center by Major Madison, the left % Major Graves. The latter battalion was ordered to dislodge the enemy from the position occupied by them,"being the same occupied by the American troops in the battle of the twenty-second," during which the right and center were ordered to remain where they were, in the open field, until Major Graves's command should force the enemy to the woods. While Graves was driving the enemy occasional balls from tie woods, opposite Colonel Allen's command, wounded some of his men. Hence Colonel Allen ordered a partial retreat of some forty or fifty yards, so as to place his men out of reach of the Indian guns. Just as this order was accomplished, we discovered, from the firing, that Major Graves had driven the enemy to the woods, when he was ordered to advance the right and center. Up to this time the fighting was done by Major Graves's battalion. So soon as the right and center reached the woods the fighting became general and most obstinate, the enemy resisting every inch of ground as they were compelled to fall back. During three hours the battle raged, the American detachment lost eleven killed and fifty-four wounded. About dusk Major Graves was sent by Colonel Lewis to stop the pursuit of the enemy, and direct the officers commanding the right and center, who had been hotly engaged In tho conflict, and had killed many of the enemy, to return to Frenchtown, bearing the killed for interment, and the wounded for treatment. Nothing of importance occurred until the morning or the 30th, when General Winchester, with a command of two hundred men, under Colonel Wells, reached Frenchtown. Wells's command was ordered to encamp on the right of the detachment, who fought the battle of the 18th, and to fortify. The spies were out continually, and brought word on the 21st that the enemy were advancing in considerable force to make battle. On the 21st morning Welleaskel leave to return to the camp, which he had recently left, for his baggage. General Winchester declined giving leave, informing Wells that we would certainly and very soon be attacked. In the afternoon Wells again applied for leave to return for his baggage. General Winchester again replied, "The spies bring intelligence that the enemy have reached Stony Creek, five miles from here. If you are disposed to leave your command in the immediate vicinity of the enemy, when a battle Is certain, you" can go." Wells left and went back.

On the 22nd, just as the reveille was arousing the troops, (about daybreak,) the first gun was fired. Major Graves had been up some hours, and had gone to the several companies of his battalion, and roused them. Upon the firing of the first gun he immediately left his quarters and ordered his men to stand to their arms. Very many bombs were discharged by the enemy, doing, however, very little execution, most of them bursting in the air, and the fighting became general along the line, the artillery of the enemy being directed mainly to the right of our lines, where Wells's command had no protection but a common rail fence, four or five rails high. Several of the Americans on that part of the line were killed and their fence knocked down by the cannon balls, when General Winchester ordered the right to fall back a few steps and reform on the bank of the river, where they would have been protected from the enemy's guns. Unfortunately, however, that part of the line commenced retreating, and reaching Hull's old trace along the lane, on either side of which the grass was so high a* to conceal the Indians. At this time, Colonels Lewis and Allen, with a view of rallying the retreatmg party,took one hundred men from the stockade and endeavored to arrest their flight Very many were killed and wounded, and others made prisoners, among the former, Colonel Allen. Captains Slmpsonj Price, Edmundson, Mead, Dr. Irwin, Montgomery, Davis, Mcllvain and Patrick, and of the latter, General Winchester, Colonel Lewis, Major Overton, &c. 

The tiring was still kept up by the enemy on those within the pickets and returned with deadly effect. The Indians, after the retreat of the right wing, got around in the rear of the picketing, under the bank, | and on the same side of the river,  where the battle was raging, and killed and i wounded several of our men. It is believed that the entire number of killed and wounded within the pickets did not exceed one dozen, and the writer doubts very much whether, if the reinforcements had not come, those who fought the first battle, although their number I had been depleted by sixty-five, would not have held their ground, at least until reinforcements could have come to their relief. Indeed, it was very evident the. British very much feared a reinforcement, from their hurry in removing the prisoners they had taken, from the south to the west of the battle ground, and in the direction of Fort Maiden, from which they sent a flag, accompanied by Dr. Overton, aid to General Winchester, demanding the surrender of the detachment, informing they hail Generals Winchester and Lewis, and in the event of refusal to surrender, would not re strain their Indians. Major Graves being wounded, Major Madison was now left in command, who, whom the summons to surrender came, repaired to the room in which Major Graves and several other wounded officers were, to consult with them as to the propriety of surrendering. It is proper here to state that our ammunition was nearly exhausted It was Anally determined to surrender, requiring of the enemy a solemn pledge for the security of the wounded. If this was not unhesitatingly given, determined to fight it out, but O. the scene which now took place! The mortification at the thought of surrendering tin Spartan band who had fought like heroes, the tears shed, the wringing of hands, the swelling of hearts, indeed, the scene beggars description. Life seemed valueless. 

Our Madison replied to the summons. In substance, "We will not surrender without a guarantee for the safety of the wounded, and the return of side arms to the officers.'' (We did not intend to be dishonored.) The British officer haughtily responded: "Do you, sir, claim the right to dictate what terms I am to offer?" Major Madison replied: "No, but I intend to be understood as regards the only terms on which we will agree to surrender" Captain William Elliott, who hod charge of the Indians, it was agreed should be left with some men, whom It was said would afford ample protection until carryalls could be brought from Maiden to transport the prisoners there, but the sequel proved they were a faithless, cowardly Bet. The British wore in quite a bur ry, as were their Indian allies, to leave after the surrender. Pretty soon Captain Elliott came into the room where Major Graves, Captain Hickman, Captain Hart, and the writer of this (all wounded) were quartered. He recognized Captain Hart, with whom he had been a room mate, at Hart's father's in Lexington, Kentucky. Hart introduced him to the other officers, and after a short conversation, In which he (Elliott) seemed quite restless and a good deal agitated, (he, I apprehend, could nave readily told why.) as he could not have forgotten the humiliation he had contracted in deceiving Hart's family, pecuniary. He proposed borrowing a horse, saddle and bridle tor the purpose of going immediately to Maiden, and hurrying on sleighs to remove the wounded. Thence assuring Captain Hart especially of the hospitality of his house, and begging us not. to feel uneasy; that we were in no danger; that he would leave three interpreters, who would be an ample protection to us. 

He obtained Major Graves's horse, saddle and bridle, and left, which was the last we saw »t Captain Elliott. We shall presently see how Elliott's pledges were fulfilled. On the next morning, the morning of the massacre, between daybreak and sunrise, the Indians were seen approaching the houses sheltering Die wounded. The house in which Major Graves, Captains Hart and Hickman and the writer were, had been occupied as a tavern The Indians went into the cellar and rolled •out many barrels, forced in their heads and began drinking and yelling. Pretty soon they came crowding into the room where we were, and in which there was a bureau, two beds, a chair or two and perhaps a small fabric. They forced the drawers of the bureau, which were tilled with towels, table cloths, shirts, pillow slips, &c. About this time Major Graves and Captain Hart left the room. The Indians took the bed clothing, ripped open the bed tick, threw out the feathers, and apportioned the ticks to themselves. They took the overcoat, close bodied coat, hat and shoes from the writer. When they turned to leave the room, just as he turned, the Indians tomahawked Captain Hickman in less than six feet from me. 

I went out on to a porch, next the street, when I heard voices in a room at a short distance, went into the room where Captain Hart was engaged in •conversation with the interpreter. He asked: "What do the Indians intend to do with us." The reply was: "They intend to kill you." Hart rejoined: "Ask liberty of them for me to make a speech to them before they kill us." The interpreters replied: "They can't understand." "But," said Hart, "you can interpret for me." The interpreters "replied: "If we undertook to interpret for you, they will as soon kill us as you." It was said, and I suppose truly, that Captain Hart subsequently contracted with an Indian warrior to take hint to Amhersthurg, giving him 1600. The brave placed him on a horse and started. After going a short distance they met another company of Indians, when the one having charge of Hart spoke of his receiving the $600 to take Hart to Maiden. 

The other Indians insisted on sharing the money, which was refused, when some altercation took place, resulting in the shooting of Hart off the horse by the Indian who received the money. A few minutes after leaving the room, where I had met Hart and the interpreters, and while standing in the snow eighteen inches deep, the Indians brought Captain Hickman out on the porch, stripped of clothing except a flannel shirt, and tossed him out on the snow within a few feet of him, after which he breathed once or twice and expired. While still standing in the yard, without coat, hat or shoes, Major Graves approached me in charge of an Indian, and asked if I had been taken. I answered no. He proposed that I should go along with the Indian wno had taken him. I replied "No, if you are safe I am satisfied." He passed on and never saw him afterward. While standing in the snow two or three Indians approached me at different times, and I made signs that the ball I received was still in my shoulder. They shook their heads, leaving the impression that they designed a more horrid death for me. I felt that it would be a mercy to me If they would shoot me down at once, and put me out of my misery. About this time I placed ray hand under my vest, and over the severe wound I had received", induced thereto by the cold, which increased my suffering. Another young warrior passed on and made signs that the bail had hardly struck and passed on, to which I nodded assent. He immediately took off a blanket spoil (having two) and tied the sleeves around my shoulders, and gave me a large red appie. The work of death on the prisoners being well nigh done and the houses fired, he started with me toward Detroit. After going a short distance he discovered my feet were suffering, being without shoes, and he having on two pair of moccasins, pulled oft the outer pair, and put them on my feet. 

Having I cached Stony Creek,five miles from the battleground, where the British and Indians camped the night before the battle of the 22nd of January. Their camp fires were still burning, and many had stopped with their prisoners to warm. In a short time I discovered some commotion among them. An Indian tomahawked Ebenezer Blyth, of Lexington. Immediately the Indian who had taken me resumed his match, and soon overtook his father, whom I understood to be an old chief. They stopped by the roadside, and directed me to a seat on a log and proceeded to paint me. We reached Brownstown about sundown in the evening, when having a small ear of corn we placed it in the fire for a short time, and then made our supper on it. 

A blanket was spread on bark in front of the Are, and I pointed to He down. My captor finding my neck and shoulder so stiff that I could not get my head back, immediately took some of his plunder and placed under my head and covered me with a blanket. Many Indians, with several prisoners, came into the council house afterward, and they employed themselves dressing, in hoops, the scalps of .our troops. There was the severest thunder storm that night witnessed at that time of the year. The water ran under the blanket, and the round being lower in the centre around the re, I awoke some time before day and found myself lying in the water, possibly two inches deep, got up and dried myself as well as I could. About daybreak, they resumed their march toward Detroit, stopping on the way and painting me again. 

We reached Detroit about three o'clock in the afternoon, and as we pawed along the street, a number of women approached us, and entreated the Indians not to kill me. Passing on,we met two British officers on horseback, and stopped and chatted with the Indians, exulting with them in the victory, to whom the women appealed in my behalf, but they paid no more regard to me than if I had been a dog. I passed the night with the Indians at the house of a white woman in the city, who the next morning asked liberty to give me a cup of tea, with a loaf of bread and butter. In the afternoon the Indians pleaded with their prisoners and the trophies, tulip, and marched to the fort. After remaining some time in the guard-house, where all the prisoners were surrendered but myself, my captors arose to leave with me.  When we reached the door the guard stopped me, which seemed to excite the Indians considerably. Major Muir, commanding the fort, was immediately called for, and entered into a treaty for my release. It was said he gave as a ransom for me an old broken down pack horse and a keg of whisky. My Indian captor took affectionate leave of me, with a promise to see me again. Let me here say my Indian captor exhibited more the principle of the man and the soldier than all the British I had been brought in contact with up to the time I met Major Muir. The next day the British officers, Hale and Watson, invited me to mess with them so long as I remained in the fort. Three or four days afterward, and the day before our officers, Winchester, Madison and Lewis, were to leave for the Niagara river, one of these officers accompanied me across the Detroit river to Sandwich. When passing to the hotel where they were, when I became opposite the dining room door, I saw Major Madison silting down to supper.

The temptation was 10 strong I entered the door, to the astonishment of the Major and other officers, who supposed I had been murdered with many other prisoners. I am constrained to acknowledge the great mercy of God in my preservation thus far. On the following morning, when arrangements were being made for transportation of officers to Fort George, but none for me, my heart felt like sinking within me at the thought of being left to the care of those I had no confidence whatever in. Providentially a Canadian Lieutenant was listening and so soon as all, both British and American officers, left the room, nobly came to me and said: "I have a good span of horse and a good carryall. You are welcome to a seat with me." I joyfully accepted his offer, and I hereby acknowledge that I met In his person a whole souled man and a soldier, through whose kindness, mainly, I reached Niagara river. When I was once more permitted to look on the much loved flag of my country, and paroled and put across the Niagara river on American soil, then, with all my suffering, I felt that I could once more breathe freely. I have again to acknowledge the goodness of God, in providing for reaching my home and friends, after traveling more than one thousand miles, badly wounded, a half ounce ball buried in my shoulder. But I lived to be fully avenged upon the enemies of my country in the battle of the 8th of January, 1815, below New Orleans. I have omitted many minor incidents that were in this communication, the writing of which has given great pain in my wounded shoulder.

Thomas P. Dudlet. Lexington, Ky., 

May 26, 1870


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