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Otsego Herald

December 20, 2012

Disaster upon disaster!

From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, Dec.19, 1812

Compiled, with comments

by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL

Weather: Utica 1812 Almanack: Look for some snow about these days.

Disaster upon disaster!

The old scenes of imbecility, treachery and cowardice, have been again displayed upon our frontier. With grief and shame do we record that [Alexander] Smyth who promised so much, who centered in himself the generous confidence of strangers, of friends and of his government, who was to convince the American people that all their generals were not base, cowardly and treacherous, even Smyth must be added to the catalogue of infamy which begun with the name of [William] Hull.

Our minds are depressed with shame and our hands tremble with indignation, at this final prostration of all our dearest and fondest hopes. But we will endeavor to assume some calmness, while we state to our readers the disgraceful events that have occurred on the Niagara river.... 

Three thousand men were embarked: fifteen pieces of light artillery completely equipped in every respect, were in the scows or flats; and a corps de reserve of at least 5000 men, were waiting for a chance to cross. At this auspicious moment, when the enemy’s batteries were completely silenced, instead of crossing or attempting to move, Gen. Smyth sent over a flag of truce to the enemy.... [There were further negotiations.] Suddenly orders were received for all to return to their tents. The volunteers who had come out under Smyth’s proclamation, were coldly told that they might stack their arms and go home. The regulars were ordered into winter quarters!

Smyth was universally denounced as a coward and a traitor; he was shot at several times, and was hooted thro’ the streets of Buffalo.... Every tavern-keeper in and near Buffalo, declined the infamy of his company. — Canandaigua Messenger, Dec. 8.

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