The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
A Plain Statement of Facts.
Geneva Gazette (Geneva, NY), 15 Jul 1812

Full Text

(From the Manlius Times)

A Plain Statement of Facts.

The Subscribers, owners in part or whole of a number of merchant vessels lying at Ogdensburg on the river St Lawrence, immediately after receiving the news of a declaration of war with Great Britain, attempted to get them up the St. Lawrence to a place of greater security. They conceived this step to be of the first importance to the United States, as the possession of those vessels would give the enemy the undisputed right to the lake and river. They, therefore, made application to the respective commandants at Oswego, Sacket's Harbor, Cape Vincent and Ogdensburgh, for 100 militia to aid in bringing their vessels up the St. Lawrence. To their surprise and regret, however, each of them declined affording assistance, either in men, arms or ammunition, alleging in excuse, that the force was not adequate to the defence of their respective posts.

Finding all hopes of military aid vain, we then made the attempt to bring up the vessels with the trifling assistance of 15 private citizens, distributed on board the schooners Charles and Ann, Diana, Fair American and Ontario, armed with muskets in bad order, being such as could be borrowed at a few minutes warning from the inhabitants, also two small swivels; and on the 29th of June proceeded on our way to the foot of which are usually called the Upper Narrows, when at about one o'clock at night we discovered the schooner, Sophia, Capt. Montgomery (Matthew McNair, one of the subscribers, owner) and the schooner Island Packet, Capt. Hill, (Townsend, Bronson & Co., which firm one of the subscribers is part owner, owners) ON FIRE at a little distance above us; which induced us, after due consideration, to return with the four above named vessels to Ogdensburgh, at which place and very much exposed to attacks from the enemy, they are now lying.

The Captains of the vessels which were burned have since returned upon parole honor, and inform that the force by which their vessels were captured and burned consisted of four armed boats and 62 men commanded by Capt. Patrick Smith, a well known, wealthy merchant of Kingston. Capt. Montgomery further informs that onboard of his vessel were from 15 to 20 passengers, and that they were allowed but minutes to leave the vessel, which obliged them to abandon to the flames most of their baggage and clothing.


Oswego, July 6th, 1812.


The volunteer corps of Riflemen, commanded by Maj. Moseley of this village, yesterday exchanged their homes for the "tented field," having previously received orders to march to Oswego. The military skill of the officers - the superior discipline and complete equipment of the soldiers rendered this corps an important part of the "Great Bulwark of the nation;" and what ever may have been their opinion of the policy which has brought us to a state of war, as that state now actually exists, we do not hesitate to say, that their known character and spirit affords the surest pledges that defence of their country's rights they were to be found ready on any emergency to "BREAK THEM TO THE SHOCK."

Capt. Mulholland also marched for the same destination with a volunteer company of Artillery, composed of some of the many useful citizens of this village and its vicinity all in complete uniform. - Manlius Times, July 7.


The activity of preparation since the declaration of war, is likely to atone, in some measure, for past remissness. Our troops have taken possession of Carleton Island, at the entrance of the St. Lawrence, and are about to fortify it. This village is to be garrisoned immediately with 1,000 troops.

We are happy to find that a disposition prevails on both sides of the St. Lawrence, to conduct the war with as much humanity is consistent with a state of open hostility. Arrangements are on foot among the inhabitants to keep down Marauders as much as possible. By such forbearance many lives and property will be preserved for further usefulness. - Ogdensburg paper.

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Date of Publication:
15 Jul 1812
Richard Palmer Collection
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 44.6961699177058 Longitude: -75.4983043670654
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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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A Plain Statement of Facts.