The Watertown Herald
Watertown, Jefferson County, N. Y.
Saturday, August 5, 1893
A TALE OF UNKNOWN HEROES AND A
BATTLE FORGOTTEN BY HISTORY
The Brave Young Pole’s Inspiring
Words--The Sally From the Wind-
mill -- The Stand at the Old Stone
Fence -- Four Score British Soldiers
Stretched Upon the Field -- The Re-
lief Party Return -- Overtures for
Surrender -- Prison
The British steamers were now patroling the river and occasionally firing shots at the windmill. One shot was fired at the steamer United States while in American waters, and passed through her wheel house, instantly killing the man at the wheel. The British troops, under Colonel Dundus, came marching down to the windmill to annihilate the patriots. General Von Schoultz, said: “Brave boys, let us meet the enemy.” He marched the men out of the building into the field. They formed a line behind a stone fence which they used as a breast work for their protection. The British commenced firing when about one hundred yards away, and they continued their firing as they advanced without doing any injury. The patriots held their fire until the enemy had advanced to within fifteen rods from them, and then they were ordered to fire. The broadside resulted in the killing of thirty-six British soldiers and wounding many others. The enemy fell back, but the firing continued on both sides. This was followed by the retirement of the patriots. Some to the windmill and others occupying the outhouse, but continuing their fire at long range. Several cannon shots were aimed at the mill, but in being of octagonal shape, the balls glanced off and produced no effect on the walls. The battle raged three hours and twenty minutes, during which time six patriots had been killed and twenty-one wounded. It was estimated that seventy-five of the British lay dead upon the field, and one hundred and fifty were wounded. Colonel Dundas now sent a flag of truce asking a cessation of hostilities for one hour, that they might remove their dead and wounded which was cheerfully granted by Von Schoultz. The three steamers kept up a cannonading of the mill during the battle, and only suspended under the flag of truce to retire to Prescott. The strife was watched with intense interest by a large crowd of people at Ogdensburg. The river now being clear, the Hon. Preston King, with a few volunteers chartered the Paul Pry to go over and get the patriots away from the windmill. This might have been done, seemingly by the consent of the British forces. The boat went over, but, it is claimed, never touched Canadian shore, thus rendering it impossible for the patriots to remove their dead and wounded which then would have been glad to do. Five of them succeeded in getting onto the Paul Pry, which then returned to Ogdensburg, much to the disgust of the patriots left behind. Preston King was charged with cowardice, which so unbalanced his mind that he was taken to the Utica insane asylum where he remained for about six months for treatment.
The next morning found the patriots in a precarious condition. They were without any possible hope of succor or relief. The physician had no medicine or instruments, with which to alleviate the pains and sufferings of the wounded. Four of their number, Daniel George, Charles Smith, Aaron Dresser and William Gates volunteered to make the effort and brave the dangers of a passage to Ogdensburg to obtain the necessary surgical supplies and medicines to relieve the sufferings of their wounded comrades. They soon found an old yawl filled with water and sand, in which they started on their perilous voyage. They had made come paddles from pieces of boards and just pushed off from shore when they saw a detachment of soldiers that were guarding the bank about forty rods below. The soldiers commenced firing at them but did no damage. The steamer Coburg perceiving them, hastily left Prescott to intercept their crossing. She fired several cannon shots, which, however, passed over their heads. Finally she came within musket range, when, between the fear of the bullets and of being run down, the boys took off their hats as a signal to surrender, and were soon taken on board the steamer as prisoners. They were heavily manacled and placed under a strong guard. (Joseph Fayal’s name did not appear at the end of this article as it did in the other two pieces.)
About ten o’clock on the third day the British regulars reinforced with about 1,000 militia, came bearing down upon this almost defenseless band in the old mill. They had but little ammunition left, but they resolved to sell their lives as dear as possible. The troops continued firing their cannon and volleys of musket balls, however, without perilous effect. At length Von Schoultz ordered a cannon loaded with musket balls, spikes and pieces of iron placed in the door of the mill, and at an opportune moment it was discharged, killing twenty-five of the enemy and wounding as many more. This threw them into confusion and they made a retreat.
At length Von Schultz saw that his men could not stand another charge, and, with much reluctance, sent out a flag of truce, the bearers of which were immediately fired upon and taken prisoners. They then displayed a white flag from the top of the mill but no notice was taken of it. Towards night Col. Dundas sent out a flag demanding a surrender of the men at his discretion. Von Schoultz offered to surrender as prisoners of war but Col. Dundas would grant no conditions. Finally the little band finding opposition hopeless, gave themselves up without terms into the hands of the British commander.
Thus ended one of the most foolish and ill conceived experiments that was ever attempted to aid a people who were suffering from oppression. Nineteen of the patriots were killed, thirty five were wounded and about 190 were taken prisoners. The latter were placed on board the steamers and taken to Kingston where they were confined in Fort Henry. It was estimated that about 125 of the British were killed and 200 wounded.
The following volunteers were from Jefferson County, although Onondaga, Cayuga, Oswego and Lewis counties furnished a large number of Patriot prisoners.
(Typist’s Note: Look for an Every Name Index of the names within this article. This index appears below this text. Names in this article have been typed as they appeared in the Watertown Herald. There are obvious discrepancies regarding these names from document to document.)
Timothy P. Rawson, George T. Brown, Aaron Dresser, of Theresa, William Reynolds, Orin W. Smith, Andrew Smith, Peter Crocker (Typist‘s Note: Name appears throughout the documents in several variations ), Hugh Calhoun, Hiram Wall, of Orleans; Edgar Rogers, Martin Van Slyke, John Bradley, Charles Crossmon, Leonard Delmore, Lorenzo E. Finney, Edward Foster, Daniel D. Heustis of Watertown; Orison Rogers, Charles Rogers, Hiram Shaw, Abner B. Townsend, Orton Blodgett, John Brewster, Harvey Shaw, Nelson Butterfield, Hiram Coulton of Philadelphia, Leonard Root, Hunter V. Vaughn, of Sackets Harbor; Charles Smith, Joseph Thompson, Chauncy Bailey, William Gates, Andrew Leiper, Charles Dory, David Liscom, Sylvester Lawton, Lawrence O. Bailey, Ira Polly, Levi Putman, Jacob Paddock, Ethel Penney, Russel Phelps, of Lyme; John G. Swansburg, William D. Sweet, Silvinius Sweet, George VanAmber, Samuel Austin, John Cronkhite, David Gould, David House, Garrett Hicks, William O’Neil of Alexandria; William Stebbins, Duncan Anderson, Jeremiah Winegar, Charles E. Brown, Moses A. Dutcher, Edward Garrison, John Gilman, Justice Merriam, Gains Powers, Lawton S. Peck, Johnson Vancurler of Brownville; Andrew Morris of Smithville; Ferris Miller, Sebastical Carpenter, William Denio, Riley Whitney, John Elmore, Selah Evans, P. Carpenter of LeRay; Oliver A. Hooker, Joel Peeler of Rutland; Nelson Truax, Foster Martin of Antwerp, Charles Van Wormer of Ellisburgh; John Bromley of Depauville, Elon Fellows of Dexter, Charles Wilson of Cape Vincent, Dorephus Abbey, David Heustis, Luther Darby, James Wheelock, Sam Wiley, Thomas Stockton, Martin Woodruff and George Kimball, of Watertown. The prisoners were confined in squads of fifteen to twenty in small rooms in the fort, and placed under a strong guard. Their food was of the poorest kind. Sir George Arthur had decided that they were brigands and must be tried by a court martial to be composed of seven field officers and seven captains all of the line with Major General Clitcherow as president. Captain Muller of the Royal Regiment was detailed to act as judge, advocate and solicitor, with General Stewart, his legal advisor. The serious nature of the condition of these prisoners excited the deepest sympathy of the people, as well as their friends and on this side meetings were held in all the towns under great excitement, petitions being circulated far and wide and extensively signed. These were presented to Sir George Arthur, the governor-general, asking clemency for these poor deluded victims. The best legal talent in the state volunteered their aid in defence of the prisoners, and in mitigation of their condition. William H. Seward, Philo Gridley, Hiram Denio, Joshua A. Spencer, Bernard Bagley and George C. Sherman, all united and used their best effort in appealing to the Governor General for clemency and to modify his decisions.
Every Name Index of Names Used in the Above Article
Arthur, Sir George
Bailey, Lawrence O.
Brown, Charles E.
Brown, George T.
Clitcherow, Major General
Dutcher, Moses A.
Finney, Lorenzo E.
Heustis, Daniel D.
Hooker, Oliver A.
Peck, Lawton S.
Seward, William H.
Sherman, George C.
Smith, Andrewbr<> Smith, Charles
Smith, Orin W.
Spencer, Joshua A.
Swansburg, John G.
Sweet, William D.
Townsend, bner B.
Van Amber, George
Van Slyke, Martin
Van Wormer, Charles
Vaughn, Hunter V.
Von Schoultz, General
This article was transcribed and posted by sitehost on July 26, 2006. There are several more articles from the Watertown Herald which will soon be posted here. See below:
Index of All Patriot War Articles
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