Letter to General Harrison from Major Croghan

dated August 5th 1813

Dear Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the combined force of the enemy, amounting to at least 500 regulars, and as many Indians, under the immediate command of Gen. Proctor, made an appearance before this place, early on Sunday evening last: and as soon as the General had made such disposition of his troops, as would cut of my retreat (should I be disposed to make one), he sent Col. Elliot, accompanied by Major Chambers, with a flag, to demand the surrender of the fort, as he was anxious to spare effusion of blood: which he should probably not have in his power to do, should he be reduced to the necessity of taking the place by storm.

My answer to the summons was, that I was determined to defend the place to the extremity, and that no show of force, however large, should induce me to surrender it.

So soon as the flag had returned, a brisk fire was opened apon us, from the gunboats in the river, and from a five and a half inch howitzer, on shore, which was kept up with little intermission throughout the night.

At an early hour the next morning, three sixes (which had been placed with 250 yards of the pickets), began to play apon us - but with little effect.

About four o'clock p.m., discovering that the fire, from all his guns was concentrated against the N.W. angle of the fort, I became confident that his objective was to make a breach, and attempt to storm the works at this point.

I therefore ordered out as many men as could be employed, for the purpose of strengthening that part - which was so effectually secured, by means of bags of flour, sand, &c., that the picketing suffered little or no injury; notwithstanding which, the enemy, about 500, having formed in close column, advanced to assault our works, at the expected point; at the same time making two feints on the front of Captain Hunter's lines. The column which advanced against the north western angle, consisting of about 350 men, was so completely eveloped in smoke as not to be discovered, until it had approached within 18 or 20 paces of the lines; but the men being at their posts, and ready to receive it, commenced so heavy and galling a fire as to throw the column a little into confusion; being quickly rallied, it advanced to the outworks, and began to leap into the ditch; just at that moment a fire of grape was opened from our six-pounder (which had been previously arranged, so as to rake in that direction), which, together with the musketry, threw them into such confusion, that they were compelled to retire precipitately to the woods.

During the assault, which lasted about half an hour, an incessant fire was kept up by the enemy's artillery (which consisted of five sixes and a howizter), but without effect.

My whole loss, was one killed and seven slightly wounded. The loss of the enemy, in killed, wounded, and prisonors, must excede 150.

One Lieutenant Colonel, a Lieutenant, and 50 rank and file, were found in the ditch, dead or wounded; those of the remainder, who were not able to escape, were taken off, during the night by the Indians.

Seventy stand of arms and several brace of pistols have been collected near the works.

About three in the morning the enemy sailed down the river, leaving behind them a boat, containing clothing and considerable military stores.

Too much praise cannot be bestowed on the officers, non commissioned officers, and privates under my command, for their gallantry and good conduct during the siege.

Yours, with respect,

G. Croghan.

Major 17th U.S. Inf. commanding