The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Copy of a letter from a gentleman residing in Oswego, of undoubted veracity, to the Editor, dated Oswego, May 10, 1814
Geneva Gazette (Geneva, NY), Wed., May 25, 1814

Full Text

Manlius, May 17.

Copy of a letter from a gentleman residing in Oswego, of undoubted veracity, to the Editor, dated Oswego, May 10, 1814.

Dear Sir. - I have barely time to give you a few facts in relation to our late disaster, but will endeavor to furnish you a more circumstantial account, as soon as I have time.

The enemy appeared in sight early on Thursday morning and commenced their cannonading on the Fort and village about 12 o'clock; at about 3 a squall obliged them to retire. In this it appears their object was to ascertain where our guns were mounted, and to make soundings of the water. The next morning they were discovered at a few miles distance, and by 11 o'clock took their position for attacking the fort; after 2 1/2 hours severe cannonade, they landed and made the attack in three divisions; the right, sailors and marines, headed by Sir James, ascended the bank near our main battery, and entered the fort at the gate and over the bank near the flag staff.

The centre came up in the rear of the fort, against a part of our troops who lay in the intrenchment outside the fort. The left endeavored to flank our troops and cut off their retreat. The two last divisions, land forces, were headed by Gen. Drummond in person. The fort was gallantly defended, and when obliged to abandon it, a retreat was effected with the loss of 24 or 25 prisoners; our killed and wounded from 40 to 50; one officer, Lt. Daniel Blaney, killed, and one slightly wounded. Their loss not ascertained, but supposed to be considerable; Capt. Mulcaster severely wounded at the flag staff, after entering the fort.

Colonel Mitchell's force, on the east side of the river, between two and three hundred. The British force that first landed, probably 5 or 600 - their whole force, estimated by themselves at 2,000 land forces, 1,000 sailors and marines; their shipping, 4 ships, the Prince Regent, carries about 60 guns, and the Princess Charlotte perhaps 36 guns, both elegant vessels. The widow of Montgomery's house, and Mr. Dougherty's blacksmith shop, adjoining, were burnt - probably took fire from the barracks. The village suffered severely, but perhaps not more than might have been expected.

The enemy left the village about 12 o'clock on Friday night, the fort at 3, & their fleet set sail about 7 on Saturday morning. Our prospects are really gloomy; if Chauncey gets out his whole fleet, in force, from the best estimate I can make, will exceed the naval force the enemy had here, exclusive of gun boats, about 20 guns. They took one schooner and three boats, ready loaded with guns and rigging, and a considerable quantity in store; the guns taken were six 32's and two 24's - two sunk. Yours, &c.

Copy of a letter from Com. Chauncey, to the Secretary of the Navy, dated
U.S. ship General Pike)
Sacket's Harbor, April 25, 1814. )

SIR - The Lady of the Lake (which I have kept cruizing as a look-out vessel between the Gallows and Kingston ever since the ice broke up) having a commanding breeze yesterday, run close into Kingston and showed her colours, which was answered by the enemy's fleet and batteries. His old fleet lay moored off the town with all sails bent and top-gallant yards across - a number of gun-boats also appeared to be ready - one only of the new ships had her lower masts in, the other appeared to be preparing to take masts in.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, sir, your most obedient servant,

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Date of Original:
Wed., May 25, 1814
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.45535 Longitude: -76.5105
Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
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Copy of a letter from a gentleman residing in Oswego, of undoubted veracity, to the Editor, dated Oswego, May 10, 1814