War of 1812 Bicentennial

Events of the War

Events of the War.

The late invasion of our state and appearance of the enemy before our village could not but strike the most daring with a sense of our situation—left as we were with a small number of troops, immense stores, a great quantity of provisions and ordnance, which if possessed by the enemy would enable him to drive our flotilla from every bay and harbor in the Lake, and of course afford the means of carrying the war into the heart of our country.

The small army left to complete and defend the works, inspired by their chief, did not for a moment despair of success, though invested by ten times their number: And the issue has shown to the country which they defend and the enemy whom they oppose, that the honor and interest of the nation will never be abandoned while the means of defence is within their reach and love of fame warms the soldiers' breast.

The state of our works and the number of our troops were truly alarming, when compared with the incredible force of the enemy, headed by his best generals, fresh from the fields of glory, and who have stormed the fortresses of Seringapatam in India, Badajos and St. Sebastian in Spain, where they have assailed the highest walls, and plucked from the most lofty towers the "deathless laurel."—How different their fate in this country! opposed by men who for want of experience in War, they have been led to believe incapable of sustaining themselves against equal numbers.

But they have been disappointed and driven from our soil by the united exertions of the determined regulars, the brave and patriotic volunteers of Vermont, and militia of New York.

The enemy advanced by the lake, and Beekman town roads on the morning of the 6th, in two columns; they were met by small detachments of regulars and militia, who disputed every inch of ground, until compelled to retire under cover of the works and the forest which line the south bank of the Saranac. This river, though fordable at every point, the enemy attempted in vain to cross; for as soon as he was discovered advancing from the thicket on the north bank, became a mark for our regular sharp shooters and hardy woodsmen.

Thus finding the woods alive with men resolved to defend their native soil, determined to try his skill in reducing the works by regular approaches.

He accordingly in the course of 3 nights threw up seven batteries, constructed of Fascines and sand bags; and on the morning of the 11th, when their squadron bore down on ours at anchor, commenced a tremendous fire on our works from his big heavy guns, Howitzers and Rockets; attempting, at the same time, to cross the river in great force, with ladders to scale the works, but was repulsed with spirit.

No sooner did the flashes of the enemy's guns discover the positions of his batteries, than a fire opened from our Forts, which astonished the heroes of the old world—and after continuing the bombardment as long as his batteries could sustain themselves against our superior fire, he wisely withdrew his dismounted guns, and under cover of the night, while we were anticipating the threatened assault, precipitately raised the siege, withdrew his forces, leaving his sick and wounded to our kind attention.

Who could view with indifference the old, the young, and middle aged, flocking to the Standard of their country, leaving their families, friends, and sweets of domestic life, for the scene of danger: how pleasing the scene! how noble the motive! and how glorious the result.

[Public Domain mark] Copyright/Licence: This work was published in 1922 or earlier. It has therefore entered the public domain in the United States.