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Battle and massacre at Frenchtown, Michigan, January, 1813 / by Rev. Thomas P. Dudley, one of the survivors. Dudley, Thomas P., b. 1792. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-217-30936514 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Battle and massacre at Frenchtown, Michigan, January, 1813 / by Rev. Thomas P. Dudley, one of the survivors. Dudley, Thomas P., b. 1792. Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Oh. : 1870. 4 p. ; 22 cm. Coleman Caption title. Reprint. Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1995. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN04607.17 KUK) Printing Master B92-217. s 1870 ohu n IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. Raisin River, Battle of, 1813. 3tste -A X str4 and I orthmil 4'tt HISTORICAL SOCIETY. NUMBER ONO. BATTLE AND MASSACRE AT FRENCLRTOWN, MXC1 GHI[XN, JANUARY, 181:3. BY REV. THOMAS P. DUDLEY, ONE OF THE SURVIVORS. The following incidents relating to the march of a detachment of Kentucky troops under Colonel Lewis to Frenchtown, on the River Raisin, Michigan, January, 181E; the battles of the 18th and 22d; the massacre of the prisoners, and the march to Fort George, on the Niagara river, were written by the Rev. Thomas P. Dudley, of Lexington, Ky., May 26th, 1870, and indorsed as follows: A. T. Goodman, Esq., Secretary Western Reserve Historical Society: DEAR SIn: I take pleasure in forwarding to your society an interesting and reilt e narrative by the Rev. Thomas P. Dudley, of this city. Very truly yours, LESLIE CooMBS. LEXINGTON, June 1, 1870. On the 17th day of January, 1813, a de- tachment of 550 men, under command of Colonel William Lewis, with Colonel John Allen, and Majors Ben. Graves and George Madison, from the left wing of the Northwest army, was ordered to French- town, on the river Raisin, where it was un- derstood a large number of British had col- lected, and were committing depredations on the inhabitants of that village. On. the 17th. at night, the detachment encamped at the mouth of Swan creek, on the Niatmee of the lake. On the 18th, they took up the line of marcb, meeting a number of the in- habitants retreating to the American camp, opposite to where Fort Mleigs was subsequently built. Our troops inquired whether the British had any artillery, to which the reply was, "They have two pieces about large enough to kill a mouse." They reached the River Raisin about 3 o'clock in the after- noon, and while crossing the river on the ice the British began firing their swivels, when the American troops were ordered to drop their knapsacks on the ice. Reaching the opposite shore, they raised a vell, some crowing like chicken cocks, some barking like dogs, and others calling, "Fire away with your mouse cannon again." The troops were disposed as follows: The right battalion commanded by Colonel Allen, the center by Major Madison, the left by Major Graves. The latter battalion was ordered to dislodge the enemy from the position occupied by them, "being the same occu- pied by the American troons in the battle of the 22d," during which the right and center were ordered to remain where they were, in the open field. until Major Graves' com- mand should force the enemy to the woods. While Graves was drivingr the enemy occa- sional balls from the woods. opnosite Col- onel Allen's command, wounded some of his men. Hence Colonel Allen ordered a partial retreat of forty or fifty yards, so as to place his men out ot the reach of the In- dian guns. Just as this order was accom- plished, we discovered, from the firing, that Major-Graves ha driven the enemv to the woods, when he was ordered to advance the right and center. Up to this time the fight- ing was done by Major Graves' battalion. So soon as the right and center reached the woods the fighting became generai and most obstinate, tne enemy resisting every inch of ground as they were compelled COWARDICE OF COL. WELLS. to fall back. During three hours the battle raged, the American detachment lost eleven killed and fifty-four wounded. About dusk Major Graves was sent by Colonel Lewis to strop the pursuit of the enemy, and direct the officers commanding the right and center, who had been hotly engaged in the conflict, and had killed many of the enemy, to return to Frenchtown, bearing the killed for interment. and the wounded for treatment. Nothing of importance oc- curred until the morning of the 20th, when General Winchester,'with a command of 200 men, under Colonel Wells, reached French- town. Wells' command was ordered to encamp on tne right of tne de- tachment, who fought the battle of the 18th, and to fortify. The spies were out continually, and brought word on the 21st that the enemy were advancing In considerable force to make battle. On the 21st morning Wells asked leave to return to the camrp, which he bad recently left, for his baggage. General Winchester declined giving leave, informing Wells that we would certainly and very soon be attacked. In the afternoon Wells again applied for leave to return for his bargage. General Winchester again replied, "The spies bring intelligenee that the enemv have reached Stony Ureek, five miles from here. If you are disposed to leave your command in the immediate vicin- itv of the enemy, when a battle is certain, you can go." Wells left and went back. OD the 22d, just as the reveille was arous- iDg the troops, (about daybreak,) the first gun was fired. Major Graves had been up some hours, and had gone to the several companies of his battalion, and roused them. Upon the firing ot the first gun he imme- diately left his quarters and ordered his men to stand to their arms. Very many bombs were discharged by the enemy, doing, how- ever, very little execution, most of them bursting in the air, and the fighting became general alone the line, the artillery of the enemv being directed mainly to the right of our lines, where Wells' command had no protection but a common rail fence, four or five rails high. Several of the Americans on that part of the line were killed, and their fence knocked down by the cannon balls, when General Winchester ordered the right to fall back a few steps, and reform on the bank of the river, where they would have been protected from the enemy's guns. Unfortunately, however, that part of the line commenced retreatinz, and reaching Hull's old trace along the lane, on either side of which the grass was so high as to conceal the Indians. At this time, Colonels Lewis and Allen, with a view of rallying the retreating party, took 100 men from the stockade and endeavored to arrest their flight. Very many were killed and wounded, and others made prisoners, among the former Colonel Allen, Captains Simson, Price, Ed- mundison, Mead, Dr. Irwin, Montgomery, Davis, McLlvain and Patrick, and of the latter, General Winchester, Colonel Lewis, Major Overton, etc. The firing was still kept up by the enemy on those within the pickets and returned with deadly effect. The Indians, after the re- treat of the right wing. got around in the rear of the picketing, under the bank, and on the same side of the the river, where the battle was raging, and killed and wounded several of our men. It is believed that the entire number of killed and wounded within the pickets did not exceed one dozen, and the writer doubts very much whether, if the reinforcements had not come, those who fought the first battle, although their number had been depleted by sixty five, would not have held their ground, at least until reinforcements could have come to their relief. Indeed, it was very evident the British very much feared a reinforcement, from their hurry in removing the prisoners ! they bad taken, from the south to the west of the battle ground, and in the direction of Fort Malden, from which they sent a flag, i accompanied by Dr. Overton, aid to General Winchester, demanding the surrender of the detachment, informing they had Generals Winchester and Lewis, and in the event of refusal to surrender, would not restrain their Indians. Major Graves being wounded, Major Madison was now left in command, who, when the summons to surrender came, repaired to the room in which Major Graves and several other wounded officers were, to consult with them as to the propriety of sur- rendering. It is proper here to state that our ammunition was nearly exhausted. It was finally determined to surrender, requir- ing of the enemy a solemn pledge for the security of the wounded. If this was not unhesitatingly given, determined to fight it out, but oh, the scene which now took place! The mortification at the thought of surrendering the Spartan band who had fought like heroes, the tears shed, the wringing of hands, the swelling of hearts, indeed, the scene beggars description. i Life seemed valueless. Our Madison replied to the summons, in substance. '-We will not surrender without a guarantee for tne safetv of the wounded and the return of side arms to the officers.," (We did not in- tend to be dishonored.) The British offi- cer haughtily responded: "Do you, sir, claim the right to dictate what terms I am to offer" Major Madison replied: "No, but I intend to be understood as regards the i orily terms on which we will agree to sur- I render." Captain William Elliott, who had 2 BRITISH FAITH. charge of the Indians, it was agreed would be left with some men, whom it was said would afford ample protection until carry- alls could be brought from Malden to trans- port the prisoners there, but the sequel proved they were a faithless, cowardly set. The British were in quite a hurry, as were their Indian allies, to leave after the sturren- der. Pretty soon Captain Elliott came into the room where Major Graves, Captain Hickman, Captain Hart, and the writer of this (all wounded) were quartered. He rec- ognized Captain Hart, with whom he had been a room-mate at Hart's father's, in Lex- ington, Ky. Hart introduced him to the other officers, and after a short con- versation, in which be [Elliott] seemed quite restless and a good deal agitated [he, I apprehend, could have readily told why,), as he could not have for- gotten the humiliation he had contracted in deceiving Hart's family, pecuniarily. He proposed borrowing a horse, saddle, and bridle for the purpose of going immediately to Malden, and hurrying on sleighs to re- move the wounded. Thence assuring Cap- tain Hart especially of the hospitality of his house, and begging us not to feel uneasy; that we were in no danger; that he would leave three interpreters, who would be an ample protection to us. He obtained Major Graves's horse, saddle, and bridle, and left, which was the last we saw of Captain El- liott. We shall presently see how Elliott's pledges were fulfilled. On the next morn- ing, the morning of the massacre, between davbreak and sunrise, the Indians were seen approaching the houses sheltering the wounded. The house in which M ajor Graves, Captains Hart and Hickman and the writer were had been occupied as a tavern. The Indians went into the cellar and rolled out many barrels, forced in their heads, and began drinking andyelling. Pret- ty soon they came crowding into the room where we were, and in which there was a bureau, two beds, a chair or two, and per- haps a small table. They forced the draw ers of the bureau, which were filled with towels, table-cloths, shirts, pillow slips, etc. About this time Major Graves and Captain Hart left the room. The Indians took the bed clothing ripped open the bed tick, threw out the feathers, and apportioned the ticks to themselves. They took the over- coat, close bodied coat, hat and shoes from the writer. When they turned to leave the room, just as he turned, the Indians toma- hawked Captain Hickman in less than six feet from me. I weent out on to a porch, next the street, when I heard voices in a room at a short distance, went into the room where Captain Hart was engaged in conversation with the interpreter. He asked: "What do the Indians intend to do withus." The reply was: "They intend to kill you." Hart rejoined. "Ask liberty of them for me to make a speech to them before they kill us." The interpreters re- plied: "They can't understand." "But," said Hart, "you can interpret for me." The intorpreters replied: "If we undertook to I interpret for you, they will as soon kill us as you." It was said, and I suppose truly, that Captain Hart subsequently contracted with an Indian warrior to take him to Am- herstburg, giving him 600. The brave placed him on a horse and started. After igoing a short distance they met another company of Indians, when the one having charge of Hart spoke ot his receiving the 600 to take Hart to Malden. The other Indians insisted on sharing the money, which was refused, when som1e altercation took place, resulting in the shooting of aHart off the horse by the Indian who re- ceived the money. A few minutes after leaving the room, where I had met Hart and the interpreters, and while standing in the snow eighteen inches deep, the Indians brought Captain Hick- man out on the porch, stripped of clothing except a flannel shirt, and tossed him out on the snow within a few feet of me, after which he breathed once or twice and expired. While still standing in the yard, without coat, hat or shoes, Major Graves approached me in charge of an n- dian, and asked if I had been taken. I an- swered no. Ile proposed that I should go along with the Indian who had taken him. I replied, "No, if you are safe I am satisfied." He passed on and I never saw him afterward. IWhile standing in the snow two or three In- dians appioached me at different times, and I made signs that the ball I received was still in my shoulder. They shook their heads, leaving the impression that they de- si'ned a more horrid death for me. I felt that it would he a mercy to me if they would shoot me down at once, and put me out of my misery. About this time I placed my Ihand under my vest, and over the severe wound I had received, induced thereto by the cold, which increased my suffering. Another young warrior passed on and made signs that the ball had hardlv struck and passed on, to which I nodded assent, He immediately took off a blanket capot (having two) and tied the sleeves around my shoulders, and gave me a large red apple. The work of death on the prisoners being well nigh done and the houses tired, he started with me toward De- troit. After going a short distance he dis- covered mv feet were suffering, being with- out shoes, and he having on two pair of moccasins, pulled off the outer pair, and 3 A KIND INDIAN. put them on my feet, Having reached i Stony Cieek, live miles from the bat- tle ground, where the Brit- ish and Indians camped the night before the battle of the 22d of January, their camp fires were still burning, and many had stopped with their prisoners to warm. In a short time I discovered some commotion among them. An Indian toma- hawked Ebenezer Blythe, of Lexington. Immediately the Indian who had taken me 1 resumed his march, and soon overtook his father, v. hom I understood to be an old chief. They stopped by the roadside, and directed me to a seat on a log and proceeded topaint me. We reached Brownstown about sundown in the evening, when having a small ear of corn A e placed it in the fire for a short time, and then made our supper on it. A blanket was spread on bark in front of the fire, and I pointed to lie down. My captor finding my neck and shoulder so stiff that I could not get my bead back, immedi- ately took some of his plunder and placed under my head and covered me with a blanket. Many Indians, with several pris- oners, came into the council house after- ward, and they employed themselves dress- mg, in hoops, the scalps of our troops. There was the severest thunder storm that night witnessed at that time of the year. The water ran under the blanket, and the ground being lower in the centre around the fire, I awoke some time before day and found my- self lying in the water, possibly two iches deep, got up and dried myself as well as I could. About daybreak they resumed their march toward Detroit, stopping on the way and painting me again. We reached Detroit about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and as we passed along the street, a number of women approached us, and entreated the Indians not to kill me. Passing on, we met two British officers on horseback, and stopped and chatted with the Indians, ex- ulting with them in the victory, to whom the women appealed in mv behalf, but they paid no more regard to me than if I had been a dog. I passed the night with the Indians at the house of a white woman in the city, who the next morning asked lib- erty to give me a cup of tea, with a. loaf of bread and butter. In the afternoon the Indians paraded with their prisoners and the trophies, scoip, and marched to the fort. After remaining some time in the guard-house, where all the prisoners were suriendered but myself, my captors arose to leave with me. When we reached the door the guard stopped me. which seemed to excite the Indians considerably. Major Muir, commanding the fort, was immediate- ly called for, and entered into a treaty for myt release. It was said he gave as a ran- som for me an old broken down nack horse and a keg of whisky. My Indian captor took affectionate leave of me, with a promise to see me again. Let me here say my Indian captor exhibited more the principle of the man and the soldier than all the British I had been brought in contact with up to the time I met Major Muir. The next day the British officers, Hale and Watson, invited me to mess with them so long as I remained in the fort. . Three or four days afterward and the day before our officers, Winchester, Madison and Lewis, were to leave for the Niagtra nver, one of these officers accompanied me across the Detroit river to tiandwich. When passing to the hotel where they were, when I became op- posite the dining-room door, I saw Major Madison sitting down to supper. The temptation was so strong I entered the door, to the astonishment of the Major and other officers, who supposed 1 had been murdered with many other prisoners. I am con- strained to acknowledge the great mercy of God in my preservation thus far. On the following morning, when arrangements were being made for transportation of officers to Fort George, but none for me, my heart felt like sinking within me at the thought of being left to the care of those I had no confidence whatever in. Providen- tially a Canadian lieutenant was listening and as soon as all, both British and Ameri- can officers, left the room, nobly came to me and said: "I have a good span of horses and a good carryall. You are welcome to a seat with me." I joyfully accepted his offer, and I herebv acknowledge that I met in his person a whole-souled man and soldier, through whose kindness, mainly, I reached Niagara river. When I was once more per- mitted to look on that much loved flag of our country, and paroled and put across the INiaeara liver on American soil, then, with all the suffering, I felt that I could once more breathe freely. I have again to ac- knowledge the goodness of God, in provid- ing for reaching my home and friends, after travelinz more than 1,000 miles, badly woundcd, a half-ounce ball buried in my shoulder. But I lived to be fully avenged upon the enemies of my country in the bat- tle of the 8tb of January, 1915, below New Orleans. I have omitted many minor in- cidents that were in this communication, the writing of which has given great pain in mv wounded shoulder. THOMAS P. DUDLEY. Lexington, Ky., Jfay 26, 1870. 4