Anniversary of the Capture of Oswego
On the 6th day of May, 1814, forty years ago to-day, Oswego was captured by a British naval and land force, after a gallant defense by a small force of soldiers and marines. On the preceding day, May 5th, a British naval force consisting of their whole fleet, under the command of Sir James Yeo, arrived off the harbor and commenced a heavy bombardment of the place.
The garrison at Fort Ontario consisted of 300 men, under command of Lieut. Colonel Mitchell, with five guns and a shore battery of one twelve-pounder. The U.S. schooner Growler also lay in the river, under command of Lieut. Pierce, and was receiving guns for the new ship Superior, building at Sacket's Harbor. As soon as the enemy was perceived, the Americans sunk the Growler, and her crew joined the garrison in the Fort.
The enemy attempted to land with fifteen barges filled with troops under cover of several gunboats, while the cannonading from the ships was kept up. They were so warmly received by a well-directed fire from one gun on shore, that their boats were twice repulsed, one of the largest barges falling into the hands of the Americans, and were at last compelled to retire to their shipping.
On the 6th the enemy renewed the attack, having resolved to land under cover of their ships. They kept up a heavy fire for three hours, while their land forces, two thousand strong, under General DeWatterville, succeeded in landing upon the low ground, east of the Fort, after a gallant resistance by Lieut. Pierce and his seamen. Col. Mitchell now abandoned the Fort, joining the marines and seamen, and engaged the enemy's front and flanks, and did great execution.
The enemy sustained a heavy loss on the field. Finding further resistance useless, our forces fell back in good order upon Oswego Falls. The naval stores which the enemy came after had been removed to the Falls principally, so that all the booty they got, was the guns of the Fort and a few barrels of provisions and whiskey. These cost them 235 men in killed, wounded and missing. The next day, May 7th, the enemy evacuated the place, carrying with them our present respected fellow-citizen, Hon. Alvin Bronson. Although a merchant they made Mr. Bronson a prisoner on account of his having been engaged in forwarding and shipping munitions of war for the United States.