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Otsego Herald

February 21, 2013

Battle of Frenchtown


General Winchester (1752-1826) wasn’t killed; captured early in the attack, he spent over a year as a prisoner of war. The British lost 24 killed and 161 wounded; the Americans 397 killed, 27 wounded, 547 captured. After the battle, some seriously wounded Americans, left behind by the departing British, were slaughtered by Indians in what came to be known as the River Raisin Massacre. Americans back home were infuriated and vowed revenge.

Raid on Canada

By a gentleman directly from Ogdensburgh, we learn, that Capt. Forsyth, commanding at that post, in consequence of the frequent attempts made by the British to disturb his picket guard, between Ogdensburgh and Morristown, some of whom had been taken prisoners on Saturday evening last, left Ogdensburgh with about 200 volunteers in sleighs, crossed the St. Lawrence from Morristown to Elizabethtown, and completely surprised the enemy at that place, took about 50 prisoners, 120 muskets, 20 rifles, five casks of fixed ammunition, and some other articles of war, and returned without the loss of a single man.

Among the prisoners taken were Maj. Carly, commandant at Elizabethtown, captains Jones, Steward and Hubbel. All the prisoners were paroled.

COMMENT: Major Benjamin Forsyth, of the United States First Rifle Regiment, led the Feb. 6 raid on Elizabethtown. It was a pyrrhic victory. On Feb. 20 the British counterattacked on Ogdensburgh, and won a significant battle, capturing the town, killing 20, wounding six, and capturing 70 Americans, with a loss of only six killed and 44 wounded.

Thereafter, the American side ceased trying to garrison Ogdensburgh, which for the rest of the War of 1812 remained an important route for smuggling supplies across the river to the British. Forsyth went on to a more-distinguished military career until he was killed in 1814. Forsyth County in North Carolina, and Forsyth Street in New York City, are named for him.

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