Resource for Historians, Educators, Students and Visitors since 1997
The three forts south of the Saranac were the scenes of feverish activity as the British juggernaut pushed south from the border. The few men Macomb had at his disposal knew their only hope of holding back the mighty British army was a strong defensive barrier. This... and a victory in the bay. That outcome was out of their hands- they could only wait and take solace in the impressive fleet at anchor in a line in Cumberland Bay. In the meantime, they did what they could- strengthened the forts and batteries.
Fort Moreau, the largest of the earthen embrasures, halfway between the Saranac and the lakeshore was commanded by Col. Melancton Smith. Moreau was manned by the 6th and 29th regiments. Fort Brown, close by the southern bank of the river was under the charge of Lieutenant Col. Storrs. This fort was manned by detachments of the 30th and 31st regiments. Fort Scott- 33rd and 34th regiments, closest to the lake, was commanded by a Major Vinson. The blockhouse and battery closest to the mouth of the river were commanded by Captain Smith and Lieutenant Fowler. Most of the troops with Smith in the blockhouse were convalescents who were well enough to remain behind as the sickest soldiers were evacuated to Crab Island.
On September 5th, Macomb issued his orders, stating his plan of defense:
Retreating from Chazy, Appling's riflemen fell back to the Dead Creek bridge between the Village and Cumberland Head. Here, Macomb had sent 200 infantrymen under Captain John Sproul along with two cannon to hold the bridge and delay the left flank. The combined forces were assisted in their efforts by American gunboats just off shore. It was during this engagement that the intrepid Silas Duncan received his horrible wound, as the British forces brought up artillery and turned these guns on the American vessels.
The British right flank was having its own problems. Driving south through Beekman's Town, they had scattered a group of militia. They were met at Culver's Hill by a determined force of regulars under Major John Wool. Wool had under his command but 250 men, but they surprised the British and put up a spirited defense. Soon, they also were forced to pull back to Halsey's Corners, a mere mile and a half from a critical bridge within the Village. Prevost lost officers at Culver's Hill- among the dead were a Lt. Colonel Wellington, and Ensign Chapman. Many enlisted men were killed and wounded on both sides.
At Halsey's Corners, Wool was reinforced by Captain Leonard and two field pieces. Here another stand was made with devastating results for the oncoming British. Leonard set up his cannon at right angles to the road, where they were hidden from view. The infantry took positions behind a stone wall and other obstacles. The oncoming columns of Redcoats advanced straight into the maw of these guns, which were discharged repeatedly with deadly effect. The British responded bravely and charged the American line with bayonets, resulting in a retreat from this last post outside the Village. The main road into the Village of Plattsburg lay open before them...
A signal victory on Lake
1 William S. Rann. 1886. History of Chittenden County, Vermont. Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co. Publishers) 167
Help Support This Site. Visit our Book Shop!
*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.
America's Historic Lakes by James P. Millard and Guest Contributors is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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.