The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Extract of a letter from brigadier-general Gaines to the secretary of war
Niles Weekly Register, Sat., June 18, 1814., page 265

Full Text
Extract of a letter from brigadier-general Gaines to the secretary of war, dated
Headquarters, Sackett's Harbor, May 31st, 1814

"I have the honor to transmit herewith major Appling's report of the gallant affair which took place yesterday morning between a detachment of the 1st rifle regiment and Oneida Indians under his command, and a detachment from the British fleet, consisting of sailors and marines commanded by captain Popham of the royal navy.

"Major Appling had been ordered to cooperate with captain Woolsey of the navy, in escorting the cannon and naval stores from Oswego, destined for the fleet here, on board of a flotilla of barges, and after having gotten safely into Sandy creek, 16 miles south-west of this place, they were pursued up the creek by the enemy's force, which they met and beat and took, after an action of ten minutes, without any other loss on our part than one rifleman wounded."

Copy of a letter from major Appling to brigadier-general Gaines.
Stony creek, May 30, 1814.

Sir - Presuming that you have already been made acquainted with the result of the affair of this day, I consider it necessary only to furnish you with the return of the killed, wounded, and prisoners on the part of the enemy, which is as follows:

Prisoners,27 marines
Do.106 sailors
Wounded,28 sailors and marines
Killed,13 do do
Do, 1 midshipman

with two post-captains, four lieutenants of the navy, prisoners; and two lieutenants of marines, dangerously wounded and prisoners. The dead will receive all the honors and attention due unfortunate soldiers; the wounded remain at this place waiting the arrival of medical aid from the harbor. The prisoners have been marched into the country, and to-morrow they will proceed to the harbor. The enemy's boats also fell into my hands, consisting of two gun boats and five barges, some of which arrived howitzers. Of 120 men and a few indians, my loss did not exceed one man of the rifle corps wounded.

I cannot sufficiently extol the conduct of the officers who served under me, who were lieutenants M'Intosh, Calhoun, Macfarland, Armstrong and Smith, and ensign Austin.

I have the honor to be &c.
(Signed)D. APPLING
Brigadier-General Edmund P. Gaines,
Commanding at Sackett's Harbor.
Head Quarters, Sackett's Harbor, 1st June, 1814

GENERAL ORDERS.- The brigadier-general has the satisfaction to announce to the troops under his command, the defeat and capture of a British force consisting of 186 marines and sailors, with two gun-boats consisting of 186 marines and sailors, with two gun-boats and five barges, under the command of captain Popham of the royal navy, by a detachment of 120 riflemen and a few Oneida warriors, under the command of major Appling of the first United States' rifle regiment.

Major Appling had been detached to protect the cannon and naval stores at Oswego, destined for commodore Chauncey's fleet. They were embarked on board a flotilla of boats, in charge of captain Woolsey of the navy, and had arrived safely in Sandy creek. They were pursued by the enemy, who was gallantly met by the riflemen, and after an action of a few minutes beaten and taken, without the loss of a man on our part - an indian and one one rifleman only wounded. The Oneida warriors were not in the action until the enemy began to retreat.

The riflemen were most judiciously posted along the bank, a short distance below captain Woolsey's boats, where the creek is narrow and shoal. Most of the men having been taken from the boats, and the enemy, amused, perhaps, with the idea that even the sign of a British force had been sufficient to appal [sic] American riflemen, gave three cheers at the prospect of the rich prize before them; his joy was of short duration, for at this moment the riflemen poured forth their deadly fire, which in about ten minutes terminated in his total defeat, leaving an officer and thirteen men killed, two officers and twenty-eight men wounded (the officers and many of the men dangerously) the residue consisting of ten officers and 133 men taken prisoners.

The greatest praise is due to major Appling for the very judicious manner in which his gallant little corps was posted, as well as for the cool, deliberate valor display throughout the action, and his prompt exertions in arresting the tragic hand of his warriors so soon as the enemy had struck.

Major Appling speaks in the highest terms of the courage and good conduct of his officers and men. The officers were lieutenants M'Intosh, Calhoun, Macfarland, Armstrong and Smith, and ensign Austin. Captain Harris with his troop of dragoons, and captain Melvin with his two field-pieces had made (Page 266) a rapid march, and would in a few minutes have been ready to participate in the action, had the enemy been able to make a stand.

(Signed) E.P. GAINES, Brig. gen. com'g.

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Date of Original:
Sat., June 18, 1814.
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  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.94923 Longitude: -76.12076
Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Extract of a letter from brigadier-general Gaines to the secretary of war