The Battle of Ogdensburgh (NY) - February 22, 1813

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The Battle of Ogdensburgh (NY) - February 22, 1813

Post by pud » Sun Jan 28, 2007 9:16 pm

Source: A History Of The War between Great Britain and the United States of America During The Years 1812, 1813 & 1814. G. Auchinleck. Arms and Armour Press and Pendragon House, Great Britain, 1972. pp. 131-132.

"From Major Macdonell, to Sir George Prevost
Prescott, February 23, 1813.

Sir,-I have the honor to acquaint you, for the information of his Excellency the commander of the forces, that, in consequence of the commands of his Excellency to retaliate, under favorable circumstances, upon the enemy, for his late wanton aggression's on this frontier, I this morning, about 7 o'clock, crossed the river St. Lawrence upon the ice, and attacked and carried, after a little more than an hour's action, his position in and near the opposite town of Ogdensburg, taking eleven pieces of cannon, and all his ordinance, marine, commissariat, and quarter-master-general's stores, four officers and 70 prisoners, and burning two armed schooners, and two large gunboats, and both his barracks.

My force consisted of about 480 regulars and militia, and was divided into two columns: the right commanded by Captain Jenkins, of the Glengarry light infantry fencibles, was composed of his own flank company, and about 70 militia; and, from the state of the ice, and the enemy's position in the old French fort, was directed to check his left, and interrupt his retreat, whilst I moved on with the left column, consisting of 120 of the king’s regiment, 40 of the royal Newfoundland corps and about 200 militia, towards his position in the town, where he had positioned his heavy field artillery. The depth of the snow in some degree retarded the advance of both columns, and exposed them, particularly the right, to a heavy crossfire from the batteries of the enemy, for a longer period than I expected; but pushing on rapidly after the batteries began to open upon us, the left column soon gained the right bank of the river, under the direct fire of his artillery and line of musketry, posted on an eminence near the shore; moving on rapidly my advance, consisting of the royal Newfoundland and some select militia, I turned his right with the detachment of the king’s regiment, and after a few discharges from his artillery, took them with the bayonet, and drove his infantry through the town; some escaping across the Black river into the fort, but the majority fled to the woods, or sought refuge in the houses, from whence they kept such a galling fire, that it was necessary to dislodge them with our field pieces, which now came up from the bank of the river, where they had stuck, on landing, in the deep snow.

Having gained the high ground on the brink of the Black river, opposite the fort, I prepared to carry it by storm; but the men being quite exhausted, I procured time for them to recover breath, by sending in a summons, requiring an unconditional surrender. During these transactions, Captain Jenkins had gallantly lead on his column, and had been exposed to a heavy fire of seven guns, which he bravely attempted to take with the bayonet, though covered with 200 of the enemy's best troops: advancing as rapidly as the deep snow, and the exhausted state (in consequence) of his men, would admit, he ordered a charge, and had not proceeded many paces, when his left arm was broken to pieces by a grape shot; but still undauntedly running on with his man, he almost immediately afterwards was deprived of the use of his right arm, by a discharge of a case-shot; still heroically disregarding all personal consideration, he nobly ran on, cheering his men, to the assault, till, exhausted by pain and loss of blood, he became unable to move; his company gallantly continued the charge under Lieutenant M’Auley; but the reserve of the militia not being able to keep up with them, they were compelled, by the great superiority of the enemy, to give way, leaving a few on a commanding position, and a few of the most advanced, in the enemy's possession, nearly about the time that I gained the height above mentioned. The enemy hesitating to surrender, I instantly carried his eastern battery, and by it silenced another, which now opened again; and ordering on the advance the detachment of the King’s, and the Highland company of militia, under Captain Eustace, of the King’s regiment, he gallantly rushed into the fort; but the enemy retreating by the opposite entrance, escaped into the woods, which I should have effectually prevented, if my Indian warriors had returned sooner from a detached service, on which they had that morning been employed.

I cannot close this statement without expressing my admiration of the gallantry and self- devotion of Captain Jenkins, who had lost one arm, and is in danger of losing the other. I must also report the intrepidity of Captain Lefevre, of the Newfoundland regiment, who had the immediate charge of the militia under Colonel Fraser; of Captain Eustace, and the other officers of the King’s regiment; and particularly of Lieutenant Ridge, of that corps, who very gallantly led on the advance; and of Lieutenant M’Auley, and ensign M'Donnell, of the Glengarry regiment; as also Lieutenant Gangueben, of the royal engineers; and of Ensign M’Kay, of the Glengarry light-infantry; and of Ensign Kerr, of the militia, each of whom had charge of a field-piece; and of Lieutenant Impey, of the militia, who has lost a leg. I was also well supported by Colonel Fraser and the other officers and men of the militia, who emulated the conspicuous bravery of all the troops of the line. I inclose a list of killed and wounded. The enemy had 500 men under arms, and must have sustained a considerable loss.
I have the honor to be, &c.
G. Macdonnell,
Major, Glengarry light infantry,
Lieutenant Colonel, commanding in the Eastern District of Upper Canada
Sir G. Prevost &c.”

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