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Otsego Herald

March 13, 2014

British Attack in North

From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, March 12, 1814

Compiled, with comments

by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL

RAID ON NORTHERN NEW YORK

The Plattsburgh Republican, of the 26th ult. [February] says, that on the 19th, the enemy from Cornwall and Coteau de Lac, having learned that our troops had left French Mills, on the15th, crossed the St. Lawrence, and visited the French Mills, Malone and Chateaugay, and had “carried off between 150 and 200 barrels of provisions, good and bad, public and private.”

“Owing to the precaution of the enemy, (adds the Republican) or the defection of the people in the quarter invaded, the intelligence of this invasion was not known here before...Monday the 21st; and it was then reported that the enemy, from two to three thousand strong, with eight pieces of artillery, and a body of dragoons and Indians, had camped the night before...three miles east of Chateaugay....

“Gen. Wilkinson instantly mounted his horse...and...3000 men marched...to meet the foe...with seven pieces of artillery. The general followed...with the head of the front column, when he was met with the advice that the enemy had commenced their retreat...and...cut down the bridges which our troops had left for their passage.... The detachment was...remanded to their quarters—the enemy being forty miles ahead of them, and the pursuit of course vain.... It is stated by a gentleman who left Malone day before yesterday, that the enemy did not destroy the arsenal at that place.”

COMMENT: Much of the population along the northern border of New York State were engaged in smuggling goods to the British enemy across the St. Lawrence River, and if anything opposed any American military activities in the area. A well-known 1860 New York State Gazetteer noted in a footnote about this affair that: “There is good reason to believe that some of the inhabitants were traitors to their country, and supplied the enemy with cattle and provisions and kept them informed with regard to public movements.”

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