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June 6, 2013

Attack on Sacket's Harbor

From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, June 5, 1813

Compiled, with comments

by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL

American Victory

“Sacket’s Harbor, May 29. The British fleet, of 5 or 6 sail, were discovered off our harbor early yesterday morning. By 9 o’clock it was reduced to a certainty that it was their intention to land. Alarm guns were immediately fired, and every preparation made to give them a warm reception. A light wind and some other causes prevented their landing until 4 o’clock this morning, when they effected it with considerable loss. The action continued warm and general until 6 o’clock, when it terminated in the retreat of the enemy to their fleet.

“I am not able to give you the number of killed or wounded, on either side, but it is considerable on both. Lt. Col. MILLS, of the volunteers, is among the slain. Col. BACKUS of the 1st regt. light dragoons is said to be mortally wounded. Two General officers of the enemy were found dead on the field. It is understood that Gov. Provost commanded the enemy. Gen. BROWN commanded our forces, and fought bravely. The enemy are now making their way out of the Harbor. You must wait for particulars. In haste, &c.”

We learn, since the above was received, that our loss in killed, did not probably exceed 25. The enemy must have suffered more severely. Gen. Gray, who led on the British regulars, was slain.

We regret to add, that some persons, without orders, set fire to one of our barracks, by which means considerable public property was consumed. Col. Tuttle, with his regiment, arrived a short time after the engagement. Utica Gazette, June 1.

COMMENT: Sacket’s Harbor, near the beginning of the St. Lawrence River from Lake Ontario, was the principal American naval base on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812. The British landing in May 1813 was repulsed after some fighting, although an American naval officer, fearing a British victory, burned many American supplies (worth $500,000). The Americans lost 153 men who were killed or wounded and 154 captured. The British lost 230 killed or wounded, plus 35 captured.

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