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"Repulse of the British"

The Battle of Fort Stephenson
The American Viewpoint

Attack on Fort Stephenson

[Excerpted from: An Authentic History of the Second War of Independence, volume I, by Samuel R. Brown, published in 1815.]

"* * * The firing began from the gun boats in the river, and was kept up during the night. At an early hour the next morning, three sixes, which had been planted during the night within 250 yards of the pickets, began to play upon the fort, but with little effect. About 4 p.m. all the enemy's guns were concentrated against the north western angle of the fort, for the purpose of making a breach. To counteract the effect of their fire, Col. Croghan caused that point to be strengthened by means of bags of flour, sand and other materials, in such a manner that the picketing sustained little or no injury. But the enemy supposing that their fire had sufficiently shattered the pickets, advanced to the number of 500, to storm the place, at the same time making two feints on different points. The column which advanced against the north western angle, were so completely enveloped in smoke as not to be discovered until it has approached within 18 or 20 paces of the supposed breach, but the men being all at their posts, and ready to receive it, commenced so heavy and galling a fire as to throw the column into confusion, but being quickly rallied, Lt. Col. Short, the leader of the column exclaimed, " Come on my brave fellows, we will give the damned Yankee rascals no quarters," and immediately leapt into the ditch, followed by his troops; as soon as the ditch was entirely filled by the assailants, Major Croghan ordered the six pounder which had been masked in the block house, to be fired. It had been loaded with a double charge of musket balls and slugs. This piece completely raked the ditch from end to end. The first fire levelled the one half in death; the second and third either killed or wounded every one exept eleven, who were covered by the dead bodies. At the same time, the fire of the small arms was so incessant and destructive, that it was in vain the British officers exerted themselves to lead on the balance of the column; it retired in disorder under a shower of shot, and sought safety in an adjoining wood. The loss of the British in killed was about 150, besides a number of their allies were killed. The Americans had but one killed and seven slight wounded. Early on the morning of the 3d the enemy retreated, down the river, after having abandoned considerable baggage, and a gun boat laden with cannon ball.

The only American killed in the fort was a boy 14 years of age. He raised his arm above the pickets in defiance of the enemy; a cannon ball struck it and tore it from his body, and the poor fellow survived but a few moments.

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