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history 2 - Tk Democrat and Chronic! Sunday Magatine, June...
Tk Democrat and Chronic! Sunday Magatine, June 5, 191& s I DRAMATIC 2 men killed and 7 wounded our loss was one wounded. "Yesterday morning- morning- they hove out of sight, supposedly for Kingston. Kingston. The Militia were ordered home after they had secured the flour by hauling it back in the woods. . . . Their is no danger of their doing further mischief as there is now about 1.500 Militia there and before night will be 2,500." Uncertainty over the proper methods of forwarding the campaign campaign seems to be indicated in John's next letter, dated from, Geneva, Aug. 4, 1813, when he .writes: "I have rec'd orders twice to march, once to Ft. George A once to Greenbush but both have been countermanded. I now have charge of about 200 British prisoners in conjunction with Capt. Scott " John Rochester's contemplated march to Greenbush was postponed postponed for more than a month,' for on Sept. 20 he again wrote his father with news of the war on the lake. "Dear Father I drop you a few lines informing you I am well," he penned hurriedly. "I wrote a Day or two since to Sophia his sister). I mentioned then a report that was . currently believed believed of the capture of the British vessels P. Regent A Earl Moira I am sorry to inform you now it is without foundation. Comd. Chauncey has arrived ofT Sackets Harbor he brot in a few prisoners captured of the Royal George which were thrown overboard by the falling of the masts of the vessell he also Took Six Gun Boats which sunk A Drove the British fleet In the Bay of Cante but they made their escape after getting much injured A casting overboard part of their guns." Soon after that orders definitely sent John Rochester to Greenbush Greenbush .(across the Hudson ,from Albany) for his next Jetter. was dated there Oct. 24. . "You will, no " doubt, think I have been very negligent in not writing to you or some one of the family since my arrival at this place," he wrote, "but rarely have I been so engaged, since that time (which was on the 13th Inst-) Inst-) Inst-) in consolidating A organizing organizing ab't a doz. different detach-bents detach-bents detach-bents of recruits into one company company which my Maj. has given to my command previous to my arrival at this place I had no conception of the quantity of writing I should have to do, A of the many various duties of an officer at H. Quarters with a corn- corn- pany of soldiers . . . My Maj. talks of taking on the recruits to the Northern army A leaving me here with one other of my grade & 7 or 8 subalterns to raise and oganize two more companies A have them ready for the pen-ingr pen-ingr pen-ingr of next season's compaign "Duty of the officers and soldiers at this post is very rigid, from which I can see innumerable innumerable benefits arrive officers are not allowed to visit Albany without without the consent of the commanding commanding officer. We are to rise at five in the morning A attend to the call of the rolls of the soldiers at nine we have to attend the grand parade drill until twelve at 3 p. m. we meet in companies and drill till 5 when we join each other in front of the Hd. Quarters Quarters for a review A at tattoo, which is at 8 at night, we have to parade for roll call. "There is now at this point about 300 IT. S. soldiers fit for duty A ab't 400 sick and wounded that have been sent here from the difr't armies though ' the sick-are sick-are sick-are turning out 2 or 3 every NEW STORY day fit for duty. We also have 587 British prisoners by this morning's report . . . there is nothing nothing official from Gen'l Hampton report says he is marching down this side of the St. Lawrence. Lawrence. I see by the last messenger that Wm. is at Fort George with Genr'l McClure I am glad they are making the British evacuate that part of Canada. ..." Here comes a lapse in John's correspondence apparently through loss of some of his Now They Repose in the Library Of the University of Rochester, And in Their Faded Pages Lives The Romance and Tragedy of the War Fought by Untrained Militia letters, for his next communication communication was from Plattsburgh, Jan. 13. 1814. - Ten days later found John back in Albany, and preparing to leave again, for he opened his next letter, dated Jan. 23, 1914, by saying: "Tomorrow I leave the canton't with a company of Inff. for Sackets harbour by Order of Gen'l Wilkinson who has left this place this morning on his return to French Mills. It is expected by all the military that a winter campaign is in contemplation all the officers and men from this Quarter is ordered to Sackets Harbour, French Mills and Plattsburgh I go with my company, company, in sleighs as the sleighing is very delightful and it being the. much more expeditious way of getting to the scene of action." . From .Sackets Harbour came more news of the progress of the campaign which, it was evident, was being planned. Writing on Feb. - 20. 1814. John announced: "A large military force is now collected at this post. . . . There are by the morning reott 7,700 effective men here including the corps of Marines. ... There are three very fine vessels building building here, two of which are to mount 32 guns and the other 44 if completed in season I think will undoubtedly give us ascendancy ascendancy on I.ake Ontario." John's next letter, written-' written-' written-' from Sacketx Harbour Mar. 22, 1814, was concerned largely with personal business instructions to his father, but it contained one note indicative of his sense of the uncertainties of warfare. After speaking of a quantity of papers and valuables he left with a friend In Albany, he wrote: "I mention this as It U not impossible that I may never get them in which case they will be sent you." Then referring to the new ships he mentioned in his previous previous letter, he announces that "the two new brigs building at this place will lx launched one this and one next week- week- the frigate from its present appearance appearance will not he ready to launch before the middle of April." Growing discontent wm becoming becoming one of the army's troubles at this time, as it evidenced in John's statement that, of a force marching to Niagara, "one regiment, the 21st. halted about 60 miles from here, stacked their arms ami refused to march, in consequence of thejj- thejj- not having having had any pay for six or seven months -they -they were however however soon got on the march again." In hi next epi.it le dated May 2.1814, John wrote his father that the two smaller ships had been completed, and that the larger, mounting 8 long 42 pound cannons" had been launched the day before and would be ready to sail in about 20 days. He also revealed that he was a member of a co'Jit martial which had about 100 pi isoners spies and deserters, to try. With the coming of spring hostilities hostilities began attain in earnest, and John declared in his next letter, written May 26 at Sackets Harbour: "You no doubt have heard various reports and many false ones relative to the late excursions excursions committed by the enemy in his direction. They still remain remain somewhat troublesome being being anchored off about five miles with their fleet and every night or two landing a marauding party party ashore to distress and pilfer our citizens. Their attack on Oswego was not as successful a one as they expected it would be. A few nights ago they landed landed about 400 men about 12 miles from here at Sandy Beach and took two hundred barrels flour which I believe amounts to double as much as all the rest they have taken this spring. They anchored altout five mile from here on the morning of the 19th inst. This morning they weighed anchor and have come within 3 miles wheie they are protected from our cannons by a smalt Island." The U. i. forces were not slow to turn the tables on the enemy, however, for on May 31 John wrote home: "I hasten to inform you of the happy result of the late skirmish skirmish between a portion of the Britinh force and a very small detachment of our army: which took place yesterday morning about two miles from this port, where the cannon and rigging for our-fleet our-fleet our-fleet had arrived on its way to this place under a guard of about 100 Indians and 150 of the 1st Rifle Reg't. The British landed from their fleet about 300 troops for the purpose of taking the above mentioned cannon, cannon, etc. They made the attack attack about 3 in the morning with an addition of four gunboats to the above mentioned numbers. Our force after a short conflict succeeded in taking 140 prison-era prison-era prison-era aud two gunboats and killed about 40 of the- the- enemy number number of which wcte olficerm. The only damage done us was to wound one Indian and two rifle men all slightly ..." Apparently during the summer John was ill, for his next letter was written from River La Cor bo, near Plattsburgh, and he opened by saying that "I am happy to inform you that I have entirely, recovered my health." Although the two forces there were only a few miles apart, ho leported, there was little military-activity, military-activity, military-activity, j It was not quiet for long, how-ever, how-ever, how-ever, for John's next letter, front Kott Monroe, Plattsburgh, Sept. 9, 1814, brought news of ant important skirmish with the British. "I have just found a moment of leisure which I am happy to employ in giving you a correct account of our situation," h related. related. "On the 6th inst. Maj. Wool with three companies of our reg't mine included marched! from this place to Beckmantown about six miles where we Bart the enemy anil gave light hut their superior strength compelled us to give them a retreating battle our force including the militia, amounted to about the enemies to four times that number. We retired In excellent order with a loss of about 22 or 3 men and one subaltern killed, wounded and missing. The loaa ' of the enemy is reported by de-setters de-setters de-setters and a few prisoners that we have since taken to be near 300, including two field officers and several platoon officers. In fact it could -not -not he otherwise, as we had every opportunity of lying behind stone fences and secreting in the woods until , they would arrive within gwi-sliof, gwi-sliof, gwi-sliof, when we would lire and retire retire about a half mile at the time in this manner we fought them for six miles, when their main force arrived and we were compelled to give up one-half one-half one-half of the town on the north side of the Saranac River. ".'Ve are now in our forts almost almost surrounded by a very large force of the enemy our force Is not far from 3.000 effectives the enemy said to be about 7.000. We are, however, in hopes with the assistance of our forts to repulse them should they attempt to storm us. They cannot cut our communications with the country country all around as we have the command of the lake. We are in expectation of receiving the governor governor of this state with about 2,000 militia tomorrow. Should he arrive before we are attacked we shall endeavor to make a prisoner of Sir Geo. Prevost who commands the British in person. "You must excuse this. I have but little time (to write). The enemy are at this moment And have been for four days bombarding bombarding us. They are erecting batteries on the opposite side of the river and making every preparation preparation to attack us ... I have the separate command of two small pieces of artillery and 60) men in one of the principal bastions of this fort, where I shall either distinguish or -tinguish -tinguish myself. "The troops here are in high spirits you would be amazed to see me write this. I am now seated on the parapet of the fert with my paper on my knee and within plain sight of the whole British force who are encamped . about IS miles from us. . . m The fate of this army must be decided in the course of 49 hours." He was right in this last statement, statement, for his next letter, dated three days laer. told of their successful successful engagement with the British. This seemed to provide a fitting fitting close to John Rochester's part in the war, for no further letters of his are found in the collection until Mar. 17. U15, ' after peace had been concluded. Two months later found John at Plattsburg on May 20. awaiting awaiting discharge and hopeful it would come within a few weeks. But the war was over, and hi thoughts were turning to the business of peace, for in thia letter last one in the collection he wrote: "Should it meet with your approbation approbation I should myself like to settle at Rochester if there ie an opening there for any business business that I could pursue . . . Whether or not he found an "opening" we don't know, but there-are there-are there-are no records to Indicate that John Rochester was a permanent permanent resident of the etty. which bears his

Clipped from
  1. Democrat and Chronicle,
  2. 05 Jun 1938, Sun,
  3. Page 60

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