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Reminiscences Of 1812

Reminiscences Of 1812 image
Parent Issue
Day
10
Month
March
Year
1876
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

An Eye-Witness' Account of the War ott the Border and Surt'ender oí Detroit. The Maumee Valley Pioneer Association met at Perrysburg, Ohio, recentlyj and a number of addresses weïe made and papers read by old settlers. Among the number was a paper by Gen. John E. Haat, tmtraets from which we give herewith : Judge Thomas Dunlap then read the follo-.ving recollections of the olden , time, entitled "Sixty Years Since," embracing mainly reminiscences from Gen. John E. Hunt's experienee. On the march from Miami to Monroe, when about half way, news reached us of the declaration of -war. The British got the news bef ore we did, through a fur company's agent, who took it by expresa direct to Canada. The CanadiaiiB might have taken De! troit by surprise bef ore Huil got there. I Huil stoppod two days at Monroe to make a display of his tröoDS. Thenoe we marched up the Eiver Huron ; there we eamped in an open prairie. We could see from our camp the masts of the brig 20-gun ship, Queen Charlotte, which lay in the lake off Malden. Some Indians were obsèrved at a distance. During the night wo were aroused by a false alarm. Hull's nension oí au attack by a forcé whicli might be landed from the Queen Charlotte gave color to the alarm. It was afterward learned that the Indians were Wyandotts, who offeredthemselves to us as allies at Detroit. ïheir services were not accepted, as our government's orders to Huil were to have nothing to do with them. At that time there were no British troops on board the Queen Charlotte. On the occasion of this false alarm it was whispered in camp that the old man Huil was a good deal frightened. The next day we went into camp at the Kiver Rouge, seven miles from Detroit. We marched in great disorder, strung along five or six miles. Huil halted there eight or ten days to prepare his men to make a display through the streets of Detroit. Detroit was then a town of from ten to twelve hundred people. Then he marched his men through Detroit and back again to camp on the Eiver Bouge. After some days he moved up and crossed the Detroit Eiver in batteaux Lelaw Belle Isle. One beautiful morning they crossed without opposition and made a fine display, marching down opposite Detroit with colors nying ana music playing. TJiere they made a fortified camp aud remained. A two-story briok house in the center of the camp was the General's headquarters. Thei-e I flrst saw Gen. Cass, then a Oolonel. It was a ■warm July morning, and I was taking my breakfast at a boarding house kept by a man whose name was Deputy. At the table sat Maj. Munson, of Zanesville, Ohio. A faced young man with a morning gown on, came in, and, as he took a seat alongside of Maj. Munson he said something severe against Gen. Huil. Maj. Munson said: "Col. Cass, what is the matter with you?" Cass replied he had been two hours with that old fooi and could not get hini to make a push on Malden, all he could do. "He has agreed to let me go down with my regiment and two companies of the Fourth United States Infantry, and if God Iets me live 111 have Malden bef ore I get back. " TLe British kad a two-gun battery at the Kiver Canard, four miles above Malden, so posted as to rake the causeway and bridge at that point. A day or two bef ore a regiment of ourmilitia had been driven back from there. Cass sent two componies of the United States Fourth Infantry, under Capt. Snelling, to ford the stream above the battery. When Snelling made his appearance approaching tke British en their flank, Cass moved forward with his main force upon the bridge. The enemy opened fire upon him, but when they discovered Snelling on their flank they retreated. Cass followed them to within a mile and a half of Malden, when it became so dark he thought it prudent to go back to the battery at the bridge. Frm thence he sent an expresa to Huil for reinforcements, so as to attaok Malden the next morning. Instead of doing so, Huil sent his aid to Col. Wallace, of Cincinnati, and ordertd Cass back. Cass had frequently told me that he has always regretted he did not disobey orders and march on Malden. He afterwards learned the British had all their valuables ready to leave, and loaded on board the Queen Charlotte. If he had made his appearance in the morning the British would have blown up their fort and sailed away to Niágara. This would have provented an Indiau war and saved Detroit. Cass returned to camü. and a few days after Huil, on hearing óf the advance of Gen. Broek, retreated across the river to Detroit, where he occupied Fort Shelby. This fort was ated right about the center of the present city of Detroit, about the fourth street back from the river. Gen. Broek, at Niágara, had overreached Gen. Dearborn, another superannuated revolutionary officer( who was then in command of thilt frontier, and had t'oncluded with liim ah armistice of thirty daVs. This gave time for the Queen of Charlotte to sail from Malden to the lower end öf Lake Èrie, and return with himself and force,. whieh captured Detroit. Boon afber Huil ci'ossed back; Broek iaoved the Queen Charlotte up tne river and anchored off Sandwich, covering witn her guns the crossing to Detroit. While the ship was stationed there, Capt. Snelling asked Gen. Huil, in my presence, liberty to take two twelve-pound guns down to Springwells and sink her or start her from her position. Huil said, "üio, sir; you can't do lt' BrocK had built a battery on the Canada side, opposite Fort Shelby. As soon as it was finished, when the suh was about an hour high, h opened fire on us. During the hight sheUs wsïë ihrown at intervals. At the dawn of day a heavy fire öf bombs and solid shot was opened. I was taking a drink of water at the door of one of the officer's quarters, in company with a boy of my age, who afterward became Maj. Washington Whistler, United States afcmy anti died in Kussia of choleïft mahy yeárs after. At the next door to us; and about twelve ieet from us, four of omcers wer'e standing together. They weïe Capt. Haiiks, LieUfr. Bib.lfcy, Dr. Blóod, and Dr. BftytioMs-, of Columbus. A thirtyfcwo pouhd shot came from theenemy's battery, killing Hanks, Sibley, and Keynolds, and wounding Dr. Blood. They were knocked into a heap into a little naarew 'entry way-a narrow, confined space. Their mangled remains were a terrible sight. Capt. Hanks was lying on top, nis eyes rolling in his head. Directly came along Gen. Huil, who looked in upon them and turned very pale, tho tobaeco juice running from the corners of his mouth on to the frills of his shirt. In a short time after the white flag was hoisted, that ball seeming to ünnian kim. After these men were killed I left the fort of to recónnitre. Ön the street in front of Maj. Whipple's house, a quarter a mile in front of Fort Shelby, I found two 32-pound guns in position. Capt. Bryson, of the artillery, had placed them there to rake the British column of l,500men,who hadmadea landing and were approaching the city by way of Judge Slay's long kne, They had landed at Springwells and were marching up the lañe to reach a ravine which orossed it and through -which they could &le and be protected from any battery we had-. They were marching in close column, in f uil dress uniform of scarlet, in perfect order, at a steady, regular pace, without musió. As they came on, followed by their Indian allies and some twenty whites dressed as Indians, my boyish fancy was struck with their appearance, as I expected every moment o see them torn to pieces by thoso thirtyiwo pounders doublé charged with canisr and grape. My brother Thomas stood ready at the juns. In his hand a lighted match was leid up in the air. He was in the very iet of firine. when Collace. the aid of Gen. Huil, carne up and said, "Don't flre, the .white flag is up." And that instant Oapt. Huil, who had been across the river with, a flag of truce, feil in with us on his return. Col. Wallace said to him, " It's all up, your father haa surrendered. " Capt. Huil esclaimed, " My God, is it possible ?" Oapt. Huil afterward showed great bravery on the Niágara frontier, where he was killed. During the British occupation of Detroit the following incident occurred between the British oflicers and myself, at the house of Mr. Mclntosh, in Sand'yich. Mclntosh was the agent of the N. W. Fur Company in Canada, and by brother had married a sister of his. I had been in the habit of going over to spend Sunday and going to church in Sandwich. The church there was the only Protestant church in that part of the land at that time. There were also some nice young ladies there, the daughters of Mr. Melntosh. On the Sunday after the surrender I went orer with my brother. To my surprise I found Gen. Broek with his staff offleers dining with Mclntosh. The host cailed on all the officers present for toasts, beginning with Gen. Broek. Toward tea time the old gentleman cailed on me, putting his hand on my shoulder, saying in his broad Scotch: " Come, my lad, give us a toast." Ihad become [mach attached to Capt. Huil, son of the General. On the trip to Detroit he had shown ine mucli attention on account of my famüy connections. So I shoved my chair back, stood up, and gave them " Capt. Huil." Whereupon Broek slapped liis hand on the table, saying, "By George, that's a good one." " Well, gentlemen, we will drink to a brave man if he is an enemy." He had heard the day before of Capt. Huil in the frigate United States taking the British frigate Guerriere. The joke was I meant Capt. Huil of the army. They drank the toast to Capt. Huil of the navy. I did not disabuse their minds because I thought the taking of the Guerriere pretty good offset to our surrender at Detroit. Melntosh clapped me on the shoulder and said, " That's right, my boy, always stick to your country." Col. Cass, with the officers taken at Detroit, went on board the Queen Charlotte as prisoners, sailed down the lake and were landed at Niágara! Gen. Broek being aboard the same vessel, Cass asked him how he could have thought of such a thing as coming up to take Detroit with thesmall f orce he had. ' ' Why, sir, " said he, ' ' I knew there was something the matter with your army. I could not teil whether the fault was in the army or in the general. It was a forlorn hope with me ; unless I could conclude an armistice with Dearborn, bring my whole forcé to Detroit, and succeed in taking it, I knew we should lose upper Canada. " During the succeeding winter I lived at Sandwich and went to school. Proctor's hcadquartera were there.

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Subjects
Old News
Michigan Argus