Monday, April 29, 2013

Fort Meigs--29 April 1813

 A 24-pounder cannon overlooks the Maumee River. It was near this spot on the opposite bank that the British hauled two 24-pounders through mud into a position to bombard the American camp.

Blogging the siege of Fort Meigs has been tiring, especially since many of the primary sources and accounts contain slight discrepancies in chronology. The journal of Major Peter Chambers actually seem to be notes that were jotted down as he supervised many of the operations. As we shall see from his notes and other reports, he also played an important role in the combat around the fort by leading from the front.

From Major Chambers notes:
29 A number of Shawonies, Winabagoes Kickapoos killed several Pigs and Oxen under the Enemies Guns. 8 o'clock P.M. all hands to the 24 Pdrs and after a hard struggle succeeded in transporting them to the Batteries (which were this day completed). In the course of the night got up an 8 Inch Howitzer and all the platforms except two the two 12 Pons [12-pounder guns] and two Sixes two 51/2 inch Mortars were all taken up.
 According to John Richardson, who was serving as a "gentleman volunteer" with the 41st Regiment, it took two oxen and two hundred men to pull the two biggest cannons up the river bluff. The mud, he wrote, was up to the axles of the gun carriages. 

The Americans kept up a harassing fire from their own big guns in the fort. However, they were unable to destroy the British work parties because their supplies of 18- and 12-pound cannon balls were running very short. Major Amos Stoddard started the siege with little more than 300 18-pound shot, and even less for the 12-pounder guns. At least, as we shall see, the Americans were about to be resupplied with the latter type.

From Captain Cushing's journal:
Thursday 29th-- This day we are employed in finishing the traverse and making ready for battle, for we have been surrounded by British and Indians for two days. We let loose our cannonade on them yesterday and have kept it up by spells all this day, and shall let loose upon them this evening with an eighteen pounder that is already elevated.