War of 1812 Bicentennial

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From the Montreal Herald, Sept. 17.

From the Montreal Herald, Sept. 17.

As we have reason to think that the accounts which have hitherto been given to the public of the late disastrous action on Lake Champlain have been, for want of sufficient information on the subject, extremely erroneous and imperfect, we have collected from authentic sources, the following statement which we give to our readers, as a correct one, of this unfortunate event. The two squadrons met in Plattsburg bay on the morning of the 11th instant: capt. Downie, in the new ship, the Confiance, led the attack in the most gallant style, but was unfortunately killed a few minutes after the action commenced. His ship was afterwards fought for more than an hour with the most determined bravery, by lt. Robinson, when having suffered a very severe loss, both in officers and men, the side opposed to the enemy being very much disabled, and failing in an attempt to wear, in order to bring her other broadside to bear on her opponent, whilst the enemy's ship had succeeded in swinging round, so as to bring her fresh broadside to bear on the Confiance: her commanding officer most reluctantly offered her colors to be struck, and the enemy got possession of the mere wreck; which from the damage she had sustained, was with great difficulty kept from sinking.

The brig Linnet, commanded by capt. Pring, and the two sloops supported the frigate in the most courageous and determined manner, and did not yield until the fall of the latter rendered all further resistance unavailing. The gun-boats, which did not appear to bear any great share in the action, seeing the fate of the other vessels, were enabled to make good their retreat with the provision vessel which attended the squadron.

Shortly after the action commenced, our batteries were opened upon the enemy's forts and works, and our troops were preparing to assault them, when in consequence of the disastrous result of the naval contest, it was deemed expedient to recall the storming parting then advancing.

The object of the expedition having been completely frustrated by the loss of the fleet, the possession of the enemy's forts and works, were not considered of sufficient importance to compensate for the valuable lives of the many brave men which must have been sacrificed to obtain them, particularly as the position could not have been maintained even if we had gained possession of it. Our fleet was not fired upon during any part of the action from the enemy's batteries. The only one from where it was supposed the squadron could have been annoyed, was a battery constructed by the enemy upon the beach, from which they were driven without a shot having been fired from it, immediately after the fire of our batteries had opened.

Our whole loss in the action is estimated at about 170 in killed and wounded; that of the enemy is nearly as great.—The enemy's ship was much damaged both in her hull and rigging, and her side first opposed to the Confiance nearly disabled. Our army retired from Plattsburgh on the 12th to Champlain, where part of it is now posted and the remainder immediately upon our own frontier.

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