Monday, June 15, 2015

Bears and Indians on Board a British Flagship

HMS Detroit at the Battle of Lake Erie

An interesting mention of some passengers on board the British flagship, HMS Detroit at the time of the Battle of Lake Erie:

We learned from the prisoners that Commodore Barkley (James Herriot Barclay) had two pet bears on board of his vessel, and took also two Indians, whom he placed in the round tops, with rifles, to shoot Commodore Perry, and other American officers. But the thunder of the first broadside so frightened them that they left their positions and went below decks, and coiled themselves away in the cable tier; and the bears following the example of their brethren of the forest, did the same thing, and the whole four were found there in a heap after the action. I saw the Indians among the prisoners, the pictures of despair; they were delivered over to our Indians. But the bears, I believe, were claimed by the sailors, as belonging to the ship.
--From the memoirs of Rev. Alfred Brunson, published 1872.