James Madison Papers
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From James Madison to James Monroe, [14 July 1814]

To James Monroe

Thursday 1 OC. [14 July 1814]

Dear Sir

An Expres[s] mail from Genl. Brown, states Officially that an action took place at Chippeway with Genl. Riall (having probably the whole B. force in the Peninsa:) in which the Enemy were defeated, leaving 400 killed & wounded on the field, and escaping to their works not distant.1 Genl. Scott seems to have had a conspicuous share in the victory. Our loss is not mentioned. The details were to follow the acct. recd.2 Nothing from any other quarter, but the arrival of troops from Bourdeaux in Canada; the number not very great.3 In haste Affe. respects

J. Madison

RC (DLC: Monroe Papers). Postmarked at Washington “Jul 14.” Undated; date assigned based on the postmark and evidence in n. 1.

1JM evidently referred to Maj. Gen. Jacob Brown’s letter to John Armstrong of 6 July 1814, reporting the U.S. victory at Chippawa the previous day (DNA: RG 107, LRRS, B-49:8).

2Brown provided details of the battle in a letter to Armstrong of 7 July 1814. After capturing Fort Erie with minimal losses on 3 July, he wrote, the troops under his command established a position near Chippawa. Late in the afternoon of 5 July, volunteers and Indians commanded by New York militia Gen. Peter B. Porter encountered the main body of the British army under Gen. Phineas Riall advancing toward the U.S. forces. Porter’s troops retreated in disorder, but Brig. Gen. Winfield Scott’s brigade, which Brown had ordered into action in the meantime, rapidly broke the enemy line and pursued the fleeing British to their fortifications at Chippawa. Brown wished to storm the batteries but was dissuaded by Scott and Maj. Eleazer Wood of the Corps of Engineers, who reported that the British position was too strong (DNA: RG 107, LRRS, B-50:8). American losses in the battle, the majority of which came from Scott’s brigade, were 51 killed, about 245 wounded, and 9 missing. The British had 145 killed, 321 wounded, and 46 missing. This victory of American regulars over a British regular force roughly equal in numbers markedly improved the reputation of the U.S. Army, led to an increase in enlistments, and contributed to a decline in Indian loyalty to the British (Quimby, U.S. Army in the War of 1812, 2:526–27).

3This news was published in the Daily National Intelligencer on 14 July 1814, under the heading “Arrival of a part of Lord Wellington’s Army,” with a dateline of 30 June at Quebec. The report stated that thirteen British regiments, and parts of four others, “were under orders to embark at Bordeaux for N. America.”

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