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Actual transcript of General
Alexander Macomb's letter to the Secretary of War written immediately upon the
withdrawal of British forces from Plattsburgh, New York
(spelling and formatting are from original)
Brigadier General Alexander Macomb
(Samuel L. Waldo- 1815)1
The Centenary of The Battle of Plattsburg (1914) Floyd Harwood Collection
Fort Moreau, Sept. 12, 1814
SIR- I have the honor to inform you, that the British army, consisting of four brigades, a corps of artillery, a squadron of horse, and a strong light corps, amounting, in all, to about fourteen thousand men, after investing this place, on the north of Saranac river, since the 5th inst. broke up their camp, and raised the siege this morning, at 2 o'clock; they are now retreating precipitately, leaving their sick and wounded behind. The enemy opened his batteries yesterday morning, and continued the cannonading, bombarding, and rocket-firing, until sunset; by this time our batteries had completely silenced those of our opponents.
The light troops, and militia, are now in full pursuit of the enemy, making prisoners in all directions; deserters are continually coming in, so that the loss of the British army, in this enterprize, will be considerable.
A more detailed report will be made of the siege, and circumstances attending it, as soon as possible.
The officers, and men, have all done their duty. The artillery, and the engineers, have performed their functions, with a zeal and precision highly creditable to themselves, and honorable to their country. Our loss is trifling, indeed; having only 1 officer and 15 men killed, and 1 officer and 30 men wounded.
The militia of New-York, and volunteers of Vermont, have been exceedingly serviceable, and have evinced a degree of patriotism, and bravery, worthy of themselves and the states to which they respectively belong. The strength of the garrison is only 1,500 effective men, rank and file.
I have the honor, &c.
Hon. Sec. War.
Click HERE to read Macomb's detailed report of the action (15 Sept. 1814):
1 The Centenary of The Battle of Plattsburg. 1914. (Albany, NY: The University of the State of New York)15
2 H. A. Fay. 1817. Collection of Official Accounts, in detail, of all the battles fought by sea and land, between the navy and army of the United States and the navy and army of Great Britain, during the years 1812, 13, 14, & 15. (New York: E. Conrad) 236, 237 (Library of American Civilization: LAC 12346)
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