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War of 1812
The Battle of Plattsburgh

By James P. Millard

Purser Letter

Actual transcript of Letter from George Beale, Jr. Purser of USS Saratoga to Commodore Thomas Macdonough1


U.S. SHIP Saratoga,
Sept. 13, 1814


I have the honor to enclose to you a list of the killed and wounded on board the different vessels of the squadron under your command in the action of the 11th instant. It is impossible to ascertain correctly the loss of the enemy. From the best information received from the British officers, from my own observations and from various lists found on board the Confiance, I calculate the number of men on board that ship, at the commencement of the action, at two hundred and seventy, of whom one hundred and eighty at least were killed and wounded, and on board the other captured vessels, at least eighty more, making in the whole, killed and wounded, two hundred and sixty. This is doubtless, short of the real number, as many were thrown overboard from the Confiance during the engagement. The muster books must have been thrown overboard, or otherwise disposed of, as they are not to be found.

I am sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEO. BEALE, Jr., Purser

To see a list of the American killed and wounded from the United States squadron, click HERE.


1 U.S. Congressional Documents- Annals of Congress, 13th Congress, 3rd session, Pages 1795-1800.
Library of Congress- "American Memory- A Century of Lawmaking: 1774-1873."

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