Sunday, April 28, 2013

Siege of Fort Meigs--April 28, 1813


From the diary of Captain E.D. Wood:
...It became necessary to intrench the army entirely anew, which of course must be done within the original lines of the camp. A plan for a kind of intrenched citadel had been some time before arranged and recommended by Captain Wood of the engineers to General Harrison as the only effectual security for the army in case the enemy should attack with artillery... On the 28th in the morning the whole army was set to work, and continued in the trenches until "tattoo"; when on account of darkness and rain...the troops were accordingly dismissed with directions to the different commandants of parties to resume their stations in the trenches again at break of day...
...The Indians had now become extremely troublesome; there was not a stump, bush, or log, within musket shot of the camp, but what shielded its man, and some of them two or three. Unfortunately, we had not been able to clear the wood away to a sufficient distance, on our left, of which circumstance those demons of the forest very readily availed themselves, and, instead of remaining idle at the foot of the trees, they bounced into their tops, with as much agility and dexterity as if they had been taught it from their infancy; and from those elevated stations, poured down into our camp prodigious showers of musketry; but the distance being so great, out of the numerous quantity  of  balls received in camp, but very few took effect...
From the Diary of Captain Daniel Cushing:
Wednesday, 28th.--Last night we had the heaviest rain that I ever knew and very hard thunder. This morning we had the pleasure of seeing about 300 British down the river and a number of Indians and British came opposite to our fort and fired at our men that were on the river bottom. I gave them one shot with an eighteen pounder which made them leave their stations. Captain Hamilton was sent down the river this morning--he reported that the British had landed on the other side about 1,500 or 2,000. We expect a hard fight this night. I completed the abatis this evening in front of the grand battery. The whole army was at work this day, one third at a time, heaving up a traverse through the camp. A party of dragoons rode out a short distance from camp this evening; one of them received a ball in his arm from the rifle of an Indian--there was a party watching for our men.
 From Major Chambers Journal:
28 Left this Encampment and encamped at the Old British Fort. The Indians cross'd to the Enemy's side and kill'd a number of Hogs & Bullocks, took several Horses--from under the very Guns of the Fort. Extremely engaged all Day in Transporting our Stores for the intended Batteries.
 From An Anonymous Ohio Militiaman:
28th Mounted guard at gate at 10 the Indians began to fire the across the river saw 6 Indians more going round the fort (gates all shut) some balls falling in the fort
some men are now afraid to be seen in bodys by our bulldogs
one third of each company employed in throwing up entrenchments in the garrison
some troopers went out to reconoiter were fired on by the Indians they returned everyman to his post at 10 P.
  From Captain Robert B. McAfee's History of the Late War:
An express was now sent to general Clay, with letters also for the governors of Ohio and Kentucky. This perilous journey was undertaken by captain [William] Oliver, the commissary to the fort, a brave and intelligent officer, who possessed every necessary qualification for such an enterprise. He was accompanied by a single white man, and an Indian, and was escorted some distance from camp by captain Garrard with 80 of his dragoons.
From a letter to Ohio Governor Return Jonathan Meigs from General Harrison:
 The enemy are determined to put their threats in execution their columns are now in sight and their Gun Boats with their artillery &c about two miles from us and the woods on both sides of the river are full of Indians. I send this by a confidential person, Mr. Oliver, who will take it on as far as he thinks proper. Be pleased to write immediately to the Governor of Kentucky—my men are in fine spirits, do not my dear sir doubt the results—the enemy little dream of the bitter pill I have prepared for them. In a little time I hope to be able to inform you of their complete discomfiture...