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

June 20, 2013

American prisoners killed

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Cooperstown Crier

---- — From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, June 19, 1813

Compiled, with comments

by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL

Massacre by “His Majesty’s Allies”

When our informant passed through Newark [Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario] the Kentuckians taken in the late engagement at the Rapids, were arriving there in considerable numbers, having been ... liberated on their parole. Their appearance was truly deplorable, having been stripped and plundered by the Indians of every thing valuable. Few of them had any other garment except shirt and trousers, and blankets which had been sent them by [American] gen. [William Henry] Harrison.

The inhabitants had furnished most of them with hats, though many were still without any. The people too were very liberal in supplying them with provisions.

After giving some particulars ... concerning the detachment of 800 militia under command of col. William Dudley, which landed opposite Fort-Meighs [Meigs]; their success in carrying the batteries, spiking the cannon ... and skirmishing with the retreating Indians till they were cut off by the British who were encamped in their rear ...

The prisoners were taken to the old fort where they were counted, and stated by the British officer to amount to about 530. Having been left in the fort under a small guard, the Indians broke in upon them and killed a number. Two of the English soldiers were killed by the Indians, in attempting to defend them; Tecumseh and Col. [Matthew] Elliot soon came to their relief, and put an end to the massacre. Tecumseh, in particular, was much enraged at the conduct of the Indians.

Their loss in killed was variously stated from 60 to 100, one-third of which were said to have been massacred by the Indians after the surrender. Among the killed was col. Dudley and four captains ... They represent the Indians in general to have acted with great cruelty. The British on the other hand, treated them well, took care of the wounded, and used every exertion to protect them from the Indians. They estimate the force of the British at about 1,000 men, and that of the Indians from 15 to 20 hundred. — Columbian

COMMENT: During the British siege of Fort Meigs in Ohio, Colonel William Dudley (1766-1813) led 800 Kentucky militia in a sortie to disable British artillery firing on the fort. Though successful in this, they were surrounded by Indians and forced to surrender to the British, and taken to the ruins of Fort Miami. There Indians killed about 30 of them. In all, 650 of the 800 were killed, wounded or captured. The event became known as Dudley’s Massacre. Colonel Matthew Elliot (1739-1814) was an officer in the British Indian Department, who also served as a member in the Upper Canada Legislative Assembly from 1801-1812.

US Frigate Chesapeake Captured?

We learn nothing certain relative to the fate of the Chesapeake. The opinion has become pretty general that she is captured. — Albany Argus

Masonic News

The anniversary of St. John the Baptist, will be celebrated by the Rising Sun Lodge, at Springfield, on Thursday, the 24th inst. The procession will be formed at the Hall at 10 o’clock, A.M. and proceed from thence to the East Meeting House, in said town, where and Oration will be delivered by a brother. The brethren of the adjacent Lodges are respectfully invited to attend. Per order. A. GREEN, Sec’y. Springfield, June 10.

COMMENT: The Rising Sun Lodge in Springfield had been formed on March 5, 1806, but it suspended work in about 1825. The Secretary was Anson Green (1774-1849), who came from Connecticut, and served for a number of years as Springfield Town Clerk.

British Commander Sacked

Governor Prevost is said to have ordered General Sheaffe to England, and to have taken command in person of the forces in Upper Canada.

COMMENT: Boston-born General Sir Roger Hale Sheaffe (1763-1851), then commander of British forces in Upper Canada (Ontario), was dismissed and returned to England after the American raid on York (now Toronto) in Upper Canada in 1813, where he was accused of cowardice. He continued, however, to have a successful military career.

A Description of York

York has had the most rapid growth and improvement of any town in Canada, and now [1807] contains more than 3,000 inhabitants, and many stately buildings.

York, or Toronto, is placed ... near the bottom of the harbor of the same name. A long and narrow peninsula ... Gibraltar Point, forms and embraces this harbor ...

Stores and blockhouses are constructed near the extremity of this point. A spot called the garrison, stands on a bank of the main land, opposite to the point, and consists only of a wooden block-house, and some small cottages of the same material, little superior to temporary huts.

The house in which the lt. governor resides is likewise formed of wood in the figure of a half-square, of one story in height, with galleries in the center It is sufficiently commodious for the present state of the province, and is erected on the bank of the lake near Toronto bay.

The town, according to the plan, is projected to extend to a mile and a half in length from the mouth of the harbor along its banks. Many houses are now completed, some of which display a considerable degree of taste ...

Two buildings of brick at the eastern extremity of the town, which were designed as wings to a center, are occupied as chambers for the upper and lower house of assembly. — Niles’ Weekly Register

COMMENT: Much of this had been destroyed during the American raid on the town, which formed the capital of Upper Canada, thus provoking (and legally entitling) the British to destroy the public buildings of the American capital in 1814, although some of the damage in both cases was caused by local criminals.