The Fight in the Beechwoods: A Study in Canadian History by Ernest Cruikshank: Appendix
Mrs. Secord's narrative, cited by Mr. Auchinleck in 1853, is as follows: It was while the Americans had possession of the frontier that I learned the plans of the American commander, and determined to put the British troops under Fitzgibbon in possession of them, and, if possible, to save the British troops from capture or perhaps total destruction. In doing so, I found I should have great difficulty in getting through the American guards, which were out ten miles in the country. Determined to persevere, however, I left early in the morning, walked nineteen miles in the month of June over a rough and difficult part of the country, when I came to a field belonging to a Mr. Decamp, in the neighborhood of the Beaver Dam. By this time daylight had left me. Here Evening found all the Indians encamped; by moonlight the scene was terrifying, and to those accustomed to such scenes might be considered grand. Upon advancing to the Indians, they all rose, and with some yells, said "Woman," which made me tremble. I cannot express the awful feeling it gave me; but I did not lose my presence of mind. I was determined to persevere. I went up to one of the chiefs, made him understand that I had great news for Capt. Fitzgibbon, and that he must let me pass his camp, or that he and his party would be all taken. The chief at first objected to let me pass, but finally consented, after some hesitation, to go with me and accompany me to Fitzgibbon's station, which was at the Beaver Dam, when I had an interview with him. I then told him what I had come for, and what I had heard—that the American intended an attack upon the troops under his command, and would, from their superior numbers, capture them all. Benefiting by this information, Capt. Fitzgibbon formed his plans accordingly, and captured about five hundred American infantry, about fifty dragoons, and a fieldpiece or two was taken from the enemy. I returned home next day exhausted and fatigued. I am now advanced in years, and when I look back I wonder how I could have gone through so much fatigue with the fortitude to accomplish it.
Certificate of Lieut. Fitzgibbon.
I do hereby certify that Mrs. Secord, the wife of James Secord, Esq., of Chippawa, did in the month of June, 1813, walk from her house in the village of St. Davids to Decamp's house in Thorold by a circuitous route of about twelve miles, partly through the woods, to acquaint me that the enemy intended to attempt by surprise to capture a detachment of the 49th regiment, then under my command, she having obtained such knowledge from good authority, as the event proved. Mrs. Secord was a person of slight and delicate frame, and made the effort in weather excessively warm, and I dreaded at the time that she must suffer in health in consequence of fatigue and anxiety, she having been exposed to danger from the enemy, through whose line of communication she had to pass. The attempt was made on my detachment by the enemy, and his detachment, consisting of upwards of 500 men, with a fieldpiece and fifty dragoons, were captured in consequence. I write this certificate in a moment of much hurry and from memory, and it is therefore thus brief.
Formerly Lieutenant in 49th Regiment.
Mr. Lossing in his Field-book of the War of 1812, quotes on page 621 the following extract of a letter from Mrs. Secord:
"After going to St. David's and the recovery of Mr. Secord, we returned again to Queenston, where my courage again was much tried. It was there I gained the secret plan laid to capture Captain Fitzgibbon and his party. I was determined, if possible, to save them. I had much difficulty in getting through the American guards. They were ten miles out in the country. When I came to a field belonging to a Mr. De Cou, in the neighborhood of the Beaver Dams, I then had walked nineteen miles. By that time daylight had left me. I yet had a swift stream of water (Twelve mile Creek) to cross over on an old fallen tree, and to climb a high hill, which fatigued me very much.
"Before I arrived at the encampment of the Indians, as I approached they all rose with one of their war yells, which, indeed, awed me. You may imagine what my feelings with to behold so many savages. With forced courage I went to one of the chiefs, told him I had great news for his commander, and that he must take me to him or they would be all lost. He did not understand me, but said, 'Woman! What does woman want here?' The scene by moonlight to some might have been grand, but to a weak woman certainly terrifying. With difficulty I got one of the chiefs to go with me to their commander. With the intelligence I gave him he formed his plans and saved the country. I have ever found the brave and noble Colonel Fitzgibbon a friend to me. May he prosper in the world to come as he has done in this.
"Chippawa, U. C., Feb. 18, 1861."
Articles of Capitulation.
"Particulars of the capitulation made between Captain McDowell, on the part of Lieutenant-Colonel Bœrstler, of the United States Army, and Major De Haren, of his Britannic Majesty's Canadian Regiment, on the part of Lieutenant-Colonel Bishopp, commanding the advance of the British, respecting the force under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Bœrstler:
"Article 1.—That Lieutenant-Colonel Bœrstler and the forces under his command shall surrender prisoners of war.
"Article 2.—That the officers shall retain their arms, horses and baggage.
"Article 3.—That the non-commissioned officers and soldiers shall lay down their arms at the head of the British column, and shall become prisoners of war.
"Article 4.—That the militia and volunteers with Lieutenant-Colonel Bœrstler shall be permitted to return to the United States on parole.
"Captain of the United States Light Artillery.
"Acceded to and signed,
"C. G. Bœrstler,
"Lieut.-Col. commanding detachment United States Army.
"P. V. De Haren,
"Major Canadian Regiment."