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From the National Archives
Ottawa
 
The Royal Scots leave the West Indies
 
  On the 24th of June, 1812, the 1st Battalion Royal Scots departed the fort of St. Ann, Barbados, destined for Quebec City to join the forces already engaged in the War of 1812 in North America.
  As part of the convoy of vessels carrying the battalion, the transport Samuel and Sarah contained, according the Embarkation Return, 3 Lieutenants, 9 serjeants, 2 drummers, 145 rank & file, 10 women and 9 children.  The transport became detached from the convoy and lagged far behind, losing sight of the rest of the transports. At 3 a.m. on the 11th of July, it was intercepted by the United States frigate USS Essex under command of Daniel Porter.
  The following are letters copied from that incident. One is from the Captain of the Essex, 1 from Lt. Hopkins (Royal Scots), 1 from the commanding officer at Halifax.
  This transport and those aboard arrived in Quebec on the 13th of August, 7 days after the rest of the battalion.
 
 
United States Frigate Essex - at sea July 11th 1812
 
Sir,

     I offer you the following conditions which if accepted I will permit the Samuel & Sarah Transports & the troops under your Command to proceed to their destination, if you should reject them, they will not again be _____ and I shall immediately move the Troops on board this ship and proceed with them to an American Fort.

First Article:  The whole of the small arms & ammunition under your charge to be delivered unto - - -

2nd   You assure the officers under your command will give you Parole of Honor, that you will not serve against The United States of America, during the War, unless regularly exchanged, you will on your part give a similar promise for the non Commissioned officers, Drummers & Privates under your Command.

3rd    The Officers will be permitted to retain their Swords- -

To    Lieut Hopkins

I have the honor to assist His Britannic Majesty's Troops on board the Samuel & Sarah Transports.

yours respectfully, D Porter -

Accepted C. S. Hopkins Lieutenant - Commanding Detachment 1st Royal Scots

William Campbell do___ do____

William Billing do___ do____


 

Halifax 27 July 1812


Sir,

  I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a letter, with enclosures, from Lt. Hopkins of the 1st Battalion of the Royals for the information of His Excellency the Commander of the Forces, relating the account of the Capture of the detachment under his command on board the Samuel & Sarah Transport by the American frigate the Essex on the 11th Instant.

  The Samuel and Sarah has since put into this port, but will sail again immediately with this detachment for Quebec according to her destination.

  I have the honor to be In Your most obedient humble servant

J.L. Sherbroooke

 

Halifax 20th July 1812 on Board the Samuel and Sarah Transport

Sir,

  I have the honor to inform you, for the information of His Excellency Lieutenant General Sir John Sherbrooke that this transport with the Troops under my Command as per enclosed Return, was captured by the United States Frigate Commanded by Captain Porter, at three oclock on the morning of the 11th Instant. where in latitude 33” 4 and Longitude 65” 49' being far astern of the fleet, The enemy was mistaken for the Commodore bearing down to bring us up, nor was The frigate known to be an American, until, when within fifty yards, he hailed, ordering us to make no signal or he would fire a broad side & sink us.

  The enclosed letter from Captain Porter contains his proposal to release the Troops on Parole, which after consulting the opoinion of the officers under my command I accepted.

  Had there been any prospect of a recapture I would have acted otherwise, but the fleet was out of sight and it was not likely The Commander would leave his Convoy to pursue the enemy.

  At 4 oclock The same morning we were permitted to proceed on our course, but I proposed to the Master to run for this port as I did not know that there might be French Corsairs on the Coast.

  The Master of the Transport ransomed her for twelve thousand Dollars by bills of exchange drawn on his owners and broker.

  These the honor, C S Hopkins, Lt. Royal Scots

 

Daniel Porter became a hero of the war as the Essex had one of the longest, most prolific and successful cruises of the infant U.S. Navy during the war.

The archives contained the embarkation return for this ship and letters pertaining to its capture and release but did not unfortunately have the returns for the other transports.

From the book The Naval War of 1812 by Theodore Roosevelt

Chapter 3 - the cruise of the Essex

On the 11th of July at 2 A. M., latitude 33 deg. N., longitude 66 deg. W., the _Essex_ fell in with the _Minerva_, 32, Captain Richard Hawkins, convoying seven transports, each containing about 200 troops, bound from Barbadoes to Quebec. The convoy was sailing in open order, and, there being a dull moon, the _Essex_ ran in and cut out transport No. 299, with 197 soldiers aboard. Having taken out the soldiers, Captain Porter stood back to the convoy, expecting Captain Hawkins to come out and fight him; but this the latter would not do, keeping the convoy in close order around him. The transports were all armed and still contained in the aggregate 1,200 soldiers. As the _Essex_ could only fight at close quarters these heavy odds rendered it hopeless for her to try to cut out the _Minerva_. Her carronades would have to be used at short range to be effective, and it would of course have been folly to run in right among the convoy, and expose herself to the certainty of being boarded by five times as many men as she possessed.

 

A note in the General Orders book.

Quebec 19th September 1812


  In consequence of the great irregularity of Serjeant Maddin of the Royal Scots who commanded the Provision Store Guard on the night of the 15th Ins. in permitting Liqour to be Brought to the Guard Room whereby Private John Mills, William Thomas & John Watsford got drunk on that Guard.

  The Commandant is pleased to commute the punishment awarded them by the Garrison Court Martial of the 17th Instant, to 14 Days Confinement each to their Barracks & to do Pioneers Duty during that time.

Letter on dersetions National Archives reel # C-3266

Burlington Heights

February 2?th 1814

Sir,

I am concerned to report to Your Excellency the Desertion of no less than eight men of the Royal Scots Regiment from Queenstown. They were all foreigners. Three were on Sentry, along the River. And, it is supposed, the others left their quarters, about an hour before day break, and crossed over in a small boat, which was in charge of one of those on Sentry; as the boat was found adrift about two miles below Queenstown in the morning. -


I am concerned also, to state to Your Excellency that four of the King's Regt have likewise deserted, from Fort Niagara.

I have the honor to be Sir,

Your Excellency's Most obedient humble Servant

Gordon Drummond

Captain of Royal Scots wounded at Battle of Chippawa

     A remarkable entry about Captain John Wilson following the battle of Chippawa, including an image of an oil painting by George Jones, RA (Royal Academy) depicting that event.

     The battle of Chippawa was the first major engagement between Major-General Jacob Brown’s Left Division of the United States Army and the Right Division of Upper Canada led by Major-General Phineas Riall. Both commanders committed a brigade onto the plain of Chippawa during the afternoon of 5 July 1814. The three British units included the 1/1st Foot, 1/8th Foot and 100th Foot. The 1st Foot formed the centre of the British line and its pre-battle reported strength was 500 all ranks under Lt Col John Gordon. Heavily engaged during the battle, the Royals suffered one officer and 77 other ranks killed and eight officers and 144 other ranks wounded. Two officers were taken prisoner and 77 solders were reported as missing.

     Captain John Morillyon Wilson was one of the two severely wounded officers that were taken prisoner. He had been wounded seven times and left for dead on the battlefield. A native armed with a knife then attacked him, but Wilson killed his attacker and was then kept alive by a native woman from a nearby village before being taken prisoner. He was exchanged in February 1815.

     Wilson is described as “one of the more colourful officers in the Regiment’s history.” He was born in 1783 and joined the Royal Navy, serving off Egypt where he was wounded three times. The last wound resulted into total deafness and in 1803 he was invalided out of the navy. Then having recovered sufficiently, Wilson joined the 40th Foot in 1804 before moving to the 63rd Foot in January 1807. Later that year, he was a captain in the 1st Foot and serving with the 3rd Battalion at Walcheren in 1809, where he was wounded twice again leading the grenadier company during the assault on Flushing. In 1810, he was brought before court martial for using language “subversive to discipline, and disrespectful to the character of Colonel Barnes,” his commanding officer. Although acquitted of conduct unbecoming a gentlemen, he was found guilty of using language that was disrespectful and sentenced to a public reprimand. Wilson later served in the Iberian Peninsula and then was sent to British North America, where he participated in the following actions: Sackets Harbor, Fort George blockade, Fort Niagara, Black Rock and Chippawa. Wilson eventually rose to lieutenant-colonel, was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath and Knight of the Royal Hanoverian Order. He became the adjutant at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in 1822 and was still serving there when he died in 1868. During his 70-year career, he was wounded thirteen times and carried two musket balls in his body to his death.

 

The Battle of Longwoods - March 4, 1814


From colonel Butler to general Harrison,


Dear SIR,


By lieutenant Shannon, of the 27th regiment United States infantry, I have the honor of informing you, that a detachment of the troops under my command, led by captain Holmes, of the 24th United States infantry, have obtained a signal victory over the enemy.

The affair took place on the 4th instant, about 100 miles from this place, on the river French. Our forces consisted of no more than 160 regulars and mounted infantry. The enemy, from their own acknowledgement, had about 240. The fine light infantry of the royal scots is totally destroyed; they led the attack most gallantly, and their commander fell within ten paces of our front line. The light company of the 89th has also suffered severely; one officer of that company fell, one is a prisoer, and another is said to be badly wounded.

In killed, wounded, and prisoners, the enemy lost about 80, whilst on our part there were but four killed, and four wounded. This great disparity in the loss on each side, is to be attributed to the very judicious position occupied by captain Holmes, who compelled the enemy to attack him at great disadvantage. This even more gallantly merits the laurel.

Captain Holmes has just returned, and all will furnish a detailed account of the expedition, which shall immediately be transmitted to you. Very respectfully,

your most obedient servant,

H. BUTLER.

Major-general Harrison. Lieut.-col. commandant Detroit.

Enemy's forces, as stated by the prisoners.

Royal Scots, 101, 89th Regiment, 45, Militia, 50, Indians, 40 to 60, total 236

from

A Full and Correct Account of the Military Occurances of the Late War Between Great Britain and the United States of America, by William James, 1818.

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