Sunday, May 19, 2013

Another Account of the Battle of the Rapids

I was looking through digitized versions of the Kentucky Gazette, printed in Lexington Kentucky 200 years ago, and came upon this account of Dudley's Massacre by an anonymous participant. It is an extract of a letter written by a Kentucky militia officer on May 9, and printed in the Gazette on May 18, 1813:
Of the several battles fought on the 5th, you have been informed. Although made to retreat by the thousands of Indians they had around us, we compelled them to raise the siege; and the Indians, we are induced to believe, are leaving them rapidly. The British permitted them to murder not only our wounded, whose cries were heard all night by our centinals at their posts, but even many of the prisoners. This information, at least the latter part, we have from a couple of Canadians, who left the British and swam over to us in the night: finding other information they gave us correct, we have no doubt of that. We had several interviews before they left us, with a flag. I accompanied it in hops to meet Shelby, even in presence of his honor Gen. Procter, who is the most savage looking rascal I ever saw. Carr and Underwood are with him. I escaped, after having the pleasure of breaking 3 bayonets in their cannon, and should have succeeded in blowing up their magazine, had I not been prevented by Col. Dudley, who was under the impression, we ought to retain the place. The intention of Gen. Harrison war for us to retreat, as soon as we had spiked the cannon, which we succeeded in doing; but Col. Dudley permitted a few Indians to lead him into the woods, and keep him employed until a reinforcement was sent from the old British garrison, two miles below--two attacks were made at the same time on this side. The plan was an excellent one, had it been executed.
The enemy had, in regulars, Canadians, and Indians about 3000 men; we could spare from the fort about 16 or 1700--eight hundred were ordered to land above the fort, to surprise and spike the cannon before a reinforcement could get up from the garrison, and then retreat to the boats, which command was given to Col. Dudley, who thought because we drove them from their batteries they were of course whipped; he followed them into the woods, and permitted his troops to get scattered, adn was completely cut off, myself and lieut. Sanders excepted, with about 160 who are all that have returned--we have some hopes a few may have gone up the river-- They have about 350 prisoners--their names they promised to give us, but never did. The prisoners will reach you in a few days by the river Huron, to which place we furnished boats for their transportation and provision. The work that has been done since the sige (sic) commenced would surprise you--we all live under ground, or did, till this morning, when after formally demanding a surrender, the enemy retired in disgust.

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