War of 1812 Bicentennial

General Orders

We have been obligingly favored with a copy of the following General Order, issued the day before the enemy entered Plattsburgh, which is a specimen of the excellent arrangements made by General Macomb, for the defence of this post, and an evidence of the determination which pervaded all ranks to retain the possession of the works or perish in their defence.

Head Quarters, Plattsburgh, Sept. 5

General Orders.

The General is now satisfied that the enemy will attack the post in a few days. He relies with confidence on the valor and intrepidity of those he has the honor to command. Let it not be said that Erie was better defended than Plattsburgh. It was there that the American Soldiers beat and defeated the heroes of Spain, France and Portugal, and their example must be followed or our reputation is lost. The eyes of America are on us. ----Fortune always favors the brave. The works being now capable of resisting a powerful attack, the manner of defending them the General thinks it his duty to detail, that every man may know and do his duty.

The troops will line the parapet in two ranks, leaving intervals for the artillery. A reserve of one fifty of the whole force in Infantry will be detailed and paraded fronting the several angles, which it will be their particular duty to sustain. To each bastion are to be assigned by the several commandants of Forts a sufficient number of infantry to line all the faces (in single rank) of each Tier.---Should the enemy gain the ditch, the front rank of the part assailed will mount the parapet and repel him with its fire and the bayonet. If the men of this rank are determined, no human force can dispossess them of that position. The officers are commanded to put to instant death any man who deserts his post. The principal work, Fort Moreau, is entrusted to the care of Col. Melancthon Smith, of the 29th regiment, having for its garrison the old 6th and his own regiment. Redoubt No. 1,* is entrusted to Lieut. colonel Stoir, and the detachments of the 30th and 31st will form its garrison. Redoubt No. 2 is entrusted to Major Vinson and has for its garrison the 33d and 34h infantry. The block-house near Platt's is entrusted to captain Smith of the 1st rifle regiment, and has for its defence detachments of his company and convalescents of the 4th regiment. The block house on the point is entrusted to Lt. Fowler, and will be garrisoned by a detachment of artillery, and the light troops under Lieut. colonel Appling and captain Sproul, will take post in the ravine near the Assistant Inspector General's Marquee, when they come in, and will receive orders from the General.

The Light Artillery will take such position as will best annoy the columns of the enemy, keeping up constantly a brisk fire on them---they will also take post, when not employed, in the same ravine with the light troops.

Mr. Paris, captain of the Artificers, will form a corps of Rocketeers with his men---they will take the direction of the chief engineer. The artillery is to be considered a separate service and the officers of that arm are responsible to the commanding general for the correct exercise of their functions. The officers of engineers will give directions for additional defences and for repairs, as occasion may require, which it will be the duty of the several commandants to lend all the aid in their power to execute.---Every man knowing his post & his duty, no excuse can be received for not executing with firmness and decision, all that may be required for a vigorous defence of the place.

By order of Brig. Gen. Macomb, com'g.

     Wm. R. Duncan,

Act. As. Adj. Gen.

*Since named Forts Brown & Scott.

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