Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

September 19, 2013


Cooperstown Crier

---- — From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, September 18, 1813

Compiled, with comments


Battle of Sandusky

We cannot help calling the attention of our readers to the noble conduct of Croghan and his brave associates at Sandusky, after repulsing the enemy ... The enemy had sought their lives, had openly menaced their extermination, had declared that he would give no quarter.

He was repulsed; he was vanquished by a handful of men. He left the ditch full of his wounded, and retreated with precipitation, leaving his Indian allies scattered at a distance round the fort, to revenge the loss of their comrades by chance shots from the deadly rifle.

Regardless of the danger from this fire our brave soldiers employed themselves ... in letting down water in buckets to the wounded of the enemy in the ditch, whom the darkness of the night and the uncertainty of the enemy prevented them from relieving in any other way.

What an interesting subject for the painter and the poet! What a beautiful picture of generosity and humanity does not this exhibit! Such a scene in other nations would of itself immortalize the actors in it. But here, it is only regarded as a trait marking the conduct of American citizen soldiery, wherever its character has been fairly developed, has shone forth with peculiar lustre. – National Intelligencer

COMMENT: British Major General Henry Procter (1763-1822) — possibly the most incompetent British general during the War of 1812 — after twice failing to capture Fort Meigs, moved on Aug. 2, 1813, to capture an American supply depot at Sandusky, Ohio. It was guarded by Fort Stephenson, where American Major George Croghan (1791-1849) led a small garrison of 170 troops.

[NOTE: This Croghan is NOT to be confused, as is all too often is the case, with the George Croghan (1718-1782), Deputy British Indian Agent in colonial New York, who in 1768 purchased 100,000 acres of land in what is now Otsego County, and for a time tried to settle at the foot of Otsego Lake.]

At Sandusky, despite his tiny force, Major George Croghan succeeded in driving off the much larger British force — in part by firing an old cannon (“Old Betsy”) filled with musket balls down into the ditch where the British were attacking the Fort. Procter withdrew, with casualties of almost 100. American losses were seven wounded and one 14-year-old drummer boy killed. “Old Betsy” still stands outside the Fremont, Ohio, public library.

Croghan Promoted

Washington, Sept. 2. We understand that the President has conferred on major GEORGE CROGHAN, the brevet rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the army of the United States, to rank from the 2d of August, 1813 — a day which will ever be conspicuous in the biography of this youthful hero, while it affords a memorable proof of the gallantry and Spartan valor of the little band under his command in the fortress of Sandusky.

COMMENT: A “brevet rank” was a temporary one usually granted for a particular war or command. Croghan was later promoted to Colonel, was given the Congressional Gold Medal in 1835, and fought with distinction in the Mexican War.

Sixth Naval Achievement.

Boston, Sept. 28 ... A ... dispatch from the Navy Agent in Portland ... containing the following particulars of the capture of the British brig of war BOXER ... to wit::-- “The United States brig Enterprize, Lt. WILLIAM BURROWS, on Friday last [September 5, 1813], between Seguin and Cape Elizabeth, fell in with his Britannic Majesty’s brig Boxer, CAPT. BLYTH, rating 14 and mounting 18 guns ... which she captured after an action of 45 minutes. On board the Enterprize, her Commander, Lieut. BURROWS, and one man were killed, and seven wounded; on board the Boxer, her commander, Capt. BLYTH, was killed, and between 40 and 50 killed and wounded. Both vessels were much cut up, and have both arrived in Portland [Maine].”

COMMENT: This was a psychologically important naval victory for America, but its most interesting feature was that the two dead Captains — one British, one American — were buried side-by-side, with full military honors, in Portland’s Eastern Cemetery. There they remain today.

A modern literary historian writes: “On September 7... the bodies of the two commanders were brought on shore in ten-oared barges, rowed at minute strokes by masters of ships, and accompanied by a procession of almost all the barges and boats in the harbor. Minute guns were fired from the vessels, the same military ceremony was performed over each body, and the procession moved through the streets, preceded by the selectmen and municipal officers, and guarded by the officers and crew of the Enterprise and the Boxer. The funeral was attended with all the honours that the civil and military authorities of the place, and the great body of people, could bestow. The whole scene was strikingly impressive. The bells were tolled, and the two companies of artillery fired minute guns ...”


On the 27th [August] the city of Charleston S. C. and its neighborhood was visited by the most stupendous Tornado that ever was known at that place. Great damage was done to the shipping in the harbor, many of the wharves were almost entirely destroyed, others were covered with boats, lumber, &c. that were thrown upon them by the violence of the waves. Many individuals have sustained serious losses.

COMMENT: The National Weather Service says of this storm: “Hurricane made landfall just north of Charleston. One of Charleston’s worst storms with significant property damage and 15 to 20 deaths.” Another modern account states: “A hurricane struck Charleston and spread gale force winds as far north as Maryland. An all-day easterly gale was seen in the Upper Chesapeake Bay on the 28th. A north-northeast wind began on the 27th. By 10 p.m., it shifted to southeast, accompanied by squalls. As winds became southwest, strong winds buffeted the region until 1 a.m. the 28th. By 11 a.m., winds were dying and the sun was shining once more.”