Click here to learn more about this site Click here to return to our home page Click here to visit our "clickable" map of local historic sites Click here to visit Part I of our huge two-part Table of Contents Click here to search the site Click here to learn about using the images and materials published on this site Click here to contact us

The Online Resource for Historians, Educators, Students and Visitors since 1997
This is a graphics-intensive publication, to fully experience the site we recommend you have JavaScript enabled.

General Alexander Macomb- the OTHER hero of Plattsburgh

The Defense
Fort Moreau

transcribed by
James P. Millard

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
September 12, 1814 2

(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.

           ALEX. MACOMB.

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)

*America's Historic Lakes is a favorite of educators around the world. You can feel confident that the material
on this site is accurate, well-researched, properly cited and presented.

Creative Commons License
America's Historic Lakes by James P. Millard and Guest Contributors is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

 Privacy Policy

James P. Millard
Post Office Box 262
South Hero, Vermont 05486-0262

Terms of Service and Disclaimer of Liability

The historical information on this web site is provided as a public service by James P. Millard. I  have attempted to be as accurate as possible in my presentation of this historical material. However, I make no claims, guarantees or promises about the accuracy, currency, or completeness of the information provided. In no event shall the publisher; James P. Millard, be liable for any errors or omissions with respect to any information on this site. Material submitted by guest contributors and published on the site is the property of the contributor and may be removed at any time at my discretion or upon request of the contributor. This website occasionally provides links to sites of other organizations maintained by third parties. These links do not constitute an endorsement of the content, viewpoint, accuracy, opinions, policies, products, services, or accessibility of that website. Links to third-party websites are provided as a public service and convenience to users of our site; James P. Millard/America’s Historic Lakes does not control, endorse or recommend the content on sites we may link to. Once connected to another website, you are subject to the terms and conditions of that website.